Politics

Session 2013
7:34 am
Wed January 16, 2013

In Tallahassee, A Dim View Of NRA Gun Bills

Gun policy is back in the Florida Legislature this year.
Naypong freedigitalphotos.net

Indications are growing that the gun lobby might face unusual difficulties in the Florida Legislature this year.  

In Tallahassee on Monday, the Republican chairman of the Senate Education Committee announced his opposition to arming Florida school teachers as a defense against school shooters and a Democratic senator filed a bill to repeal one of the National Rifle Association's trophy bills from 2011, the law forbidding doctors to ask patients whether they have guns at home.

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Haiti Cholera
2:49 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

After Bringing Cholera To Haiti, U.N. Plans To Get Rid Of It

Haitians protest against the United Nations peacekeepers in Port-au-Prince in November 2010.
Hector Retamal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 11:11 pm

Not quite 10 months after Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake, a more insidious disaster struck: cholera.

Haiti hadn't seen cholera for at least a century. Then suddenly, the first cases appeared in the central highlands near a camp for United Nations peacekeeping forces.

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Session 2013
12:30 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Senate President Don Gaetz Has Ethics, Voting Proposals To Take To Legislature

DON GAETZ: He says ethical behavior is so rare the public is losing respect for elected officials.
Credit Orlando Sentinel

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) is ready to toughen ethics laws, reform campaign finance, streamline the Florida ballot...just about every issue of timely significance, he told the Orlando Sentinel editorial board, except for gun control.

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Haiti Aid
11:38 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Despite Billions In Aid, Many Haitians Still Live In Squalid Camps

Jacqueline Syra has been living in the La Piste camp for three years. She says she has no idea when she will be able to leave.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 9:06 am

Saturday marks the third anniversary of the powerful earthquake that destroyed much of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The quake killed roughly 200,000 people and left 1.5 million Haitians homeless.

Despite billions of dollars in international aid and pledges to help Haiti rebuild from the disaster, very little new, permanent housing has been built. And about 350,000 Haitians are still living in squalid, makeshift camps — where they face an array of health challenges.

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Miami City Hall
10:30 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Frank Suarez Says He'll Run For Miami Mayor

HE'S RUNNING: A Miami city commissioner since 2009, Frank Suarez grew up during his father, Xavier Suarez's, four terms as mayor.
Credit City of Miami

It's election year in the region's largest city and the race for Miami mayor has just become a little more interesting. City Commissioner Francis "Frank" Suarez, 35,  will officially announce a challenge to incumbent Mayor Tomas Regalado today.

Suarez is the son of former longtime Miami mayor and now county commissioner Xavier Suarez, who was removed from office in 1997 after charges of voter fraud. The younger Suarez, who grew up with his father running the city before being removed after winning a fourth term, says "sins of the father" should having nothing to with him

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Session 2013
8:59 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Uninsureds' Midnight Fears Raise Curtain On Obamacare Legislative Session In Florida

COST ESTIMATES: Senate select committee chairman Joe Negron says lawmakers must plan with better numbers.
Credit Florida House

As lawmakers decide how --- or whether --- to move forward with parts of the federal Affordable Care Act, House and Senate select committees plunged Monday into issues such as a potential expansion of the Medicaid program and the law's effects on Florida businesses.

In back-to-back meetings, lawmakers heard testimony from people with far-different perspectives about the controversial health overhaul, which Florida Republican leaders resisted for more than two years.

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The Week In Dogs
8:14 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Rick Scott's Missing Labrador Gives Governor, PR Staff A Lesson In Political Power Of Dogs

WHAT DID RICK SCOTT DO TO THIS DOG? It barked too much and the governor held it accountable.
Credit Facebook

If Gov. Rick Scott didn't know this before, he sure knows it now: If you're in politics, your dog can make you or break you.

A hilarious  story in the Tampa Bay Times tells how the Scott family's photogenic but slightly psychotic Labrador, Reagan, failed to work out as a gubernatorial dog and was discreetly gotten rid of. 

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Venezuela
12:05 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Taking The Pulse Of Venezuelan-American Sentiment After Chavez' Delayed Swearing In

Venezuela president Hugo Chavez in healthier times.
Credit cc-by Valter Campanato - Agencia Brasil.

With an ailing Hugo Chavez still in Cuba, and perhaps on his deathbed, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans now living in South Florida are anxiously awaiting word of what happens next.

El Arepazo 2 on N.W. 79th Avenue in Doral is their unofficial headquarters.

Inside the restaurant, the walls are covered with major league baseball cards, honoring players from Venezuela's most popular sport, such as reigning MVP Miguel Cabrera and Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio.

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Immigration
9:10 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Rubio, Diaz-Balart On Board As Obama Shoots For The One Big Immigration Bill

END OF THE PATH: Illegal residents could look forward to citizenship under the comprehensive immigration bill President Obama favors.
Credit 8asians.com

Holdouts against amnesty for millions of undocumented immigrants in the U. S. are bracing for the lobbying pressure they are certain to experience as President Obama, grassroots groups and converts in Congress prepare for the Big Immigration Bill.

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Florida Insurance
11:00 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Why Florida Session Will Be Dominated By The Affordable Care Act And Other Insurance Issues

It's raining insurance policy in Tallahassee this spring.
Credit digitalart / freedigitalphotos.net

Affordable Care Act issues are expected to dominate discussions of insurance in the Legislature in the weeks ahead but lawmakers will also take swipes at workers compensation, hurricane preparations and Citizens Property Insurance Corp when they return.

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The Florida Roundup
12:00 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Anniversary Of The Earthquake In Haiti And Spotlight On Poet Richard Blanco

Above is a neighborhood in Haiti before the earthquake. One caller, Henryka of Coral Gables, who has worked in Haiti for the past 4 years, says the focus should not be on reconstructing what was there, but building something better.
Credit waterdotorg

On The Florida Roundup:  Saturday marks the third anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti.  How has it affected us in South Florida, home to the nation’s largest Haitian diaspora?   We take your calls on what you have seen in Haiti and what responsibility we have to this country less than 700 miles away.   Why has development been so slow after so many promises?

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Voting Problems
9:00 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Republican Party Spokesman: ‘More Than One Way To Fix' Voting Problems

These voters in Miami waited in line about three hours before casting their ballots.
Credit Phillip Pessar/flickr

The elections supervisor in the state capital says the Legislature will have to make changes to avoid what happened during the last election.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have filed bills in Tallahassee to increase the number of early voting hours.

Proposals by the Democrats call for a return to 14 days of early voting.

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Latin America
3:33 am
Fri January 11, 2013

After 50 Years, Cuba Drops Unpopular Travel Restriction

A traveler stands at the check-in lobby at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport last year. On Jan. 14, Cuba scraps a much-reviled, decades-old exit permit requirement, easing most Cubans' exit and return.
Dwamons Boylan Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 8:35 am

For the first time in five decades, Cubans will no longer need an "exit permit" to travel. The change, which takes effect Monday, is part of a broader immigration reform by President Raul Castro making it easier for Cubans to go abroad — and also to return.

But critics say the communist government continues to treat travel as a privilege, not a right, and a useful tool to punish dissent.

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Session 2013
9:00 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Florida Docs Want To Keep Lucrative Drugs Scheme While Cutting Workers' Comp Costs

COST DRIVER? Florida doctors insist their profitable way of dispensing medications does not increase the cost of workers' compensation.

With another legislative fight brewing, the Florida Medical Association is signaling that it could play a large role this year in a debate about limiting the amount of money doctors can charge for dispensing drugs to workers' compensation insurance patients.

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Session 2013
8:00 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Eleanor Sobel's New Domestic Partnership Bill Will Be 'Lucky' To See Debate, Critic Says

CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE: Sen. Eleanor Sobel's domestic partnership bill is seen as a challenge to Florida's one-man-one-woman requirement.

Sen. Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood) has filed a "domestic partnership" bill for the March session of the Florida Legislature. It would allow same-sex couples to establish recognized relationships that provide at least some marital benefits.

One opponent of the bill said it would not get far in the Republican-dominated Legislature.

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