Politics

House Of Representatives
10:00 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Outspoken Democrat Alan Grayson Of Florida Gets Another Chance As A Congressman

VINTAGE GRAYSON: Many remember the outspoken Democrat for his satiric assaults on Republicans.
Credit House of Representatives

Among the more than 80 House freshmen who were sworn in this week, there were several who had been there before — including Florida Democrat Alan Grayson.

After starting his first term four years ago, Grayson quickly made a name for himself with biting comments targeting Republicans — like when he said during the health care debate: "If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly."

His national stature, however, didn't prevent him from being defeated in 2010. But now Grayson is back.

'The People United'

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Immigration
9:00 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Kinder Deportation Rule A Sign That Obama Is Addressing Immigration Reform Regrets

A STEP AT A TIME: This week's deportation rule change is seen as a sign that the president is addressing a first-term regret: no immigration reform.

The Obama Administration has announced another significant reset of national deportation law that could allow hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to apply for legal residency without leaving the country.

It was another use of the president's executive power, analysts say, to soften the ground for major legislative immigration reforms ahead.

The new policy applies to immigrants who are spouses, parents or children of U. S. citizens and would otherwise face long family separations under the previous process of applying for residency.

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Foreclosure Crisis
8:30 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Florida's Mortgage Mess: Options

Some people facing foreclosure have fewer options than others.
Credit Robert Lyle /WLRN

All this week, we've been looking at the continuing foreclosure crisis sure crisis in Florida. Today, we check in back in with one woman who fears losing her home.

While there are many federal, state and private bank programs to modify troubled mortgages, each requires the lender to agree.

Unlike the more than 260 lenders in Florida who are helping, Marla Popkin’s mortgage holder won’t. Popkin is an Occupational Therapist in Miami. Work is slow and she has come into some rough times. Now she's trying to save her home. 

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Judiciary
8:00 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Obama Nominates Black, Gay Judge From Miami For Promotion To Federal Bench

NOMINEE: William L. Thomas, a Miami-Dade circuit judge since 2005, 'resembles the nation' he will serve, Pres. Obama says.
Credit File

Making sure the judiciary "resembles the nation it serves,"  President Obama has nominated a black, openly gay Miami-Dade circuit judge for elevation to the federal bench.

The candidate is William L. Thomas, who's been a local judge since 2005. If he's confirmed, he'll be the first black, gay federal judge who is also a man. President Bill Clinton appointed the first black-gay-period judge when he nominated Deborah Batts for the Southern District of New York.

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PolitiFact Florida
1:30 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

PolitiFact Checking 2013

Florida Governor Rick Scott and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez have each kept about 30 percent of their promises since taking office
Credit file photo

How are Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Florida Gov. Rick Scott faring on PolitiFact Florida's Truth-O-Meter? Surprisingly similar, even though the just-reelected Gimenez remains popular, and Scott very unpopular.

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Health Care Reform
10:00 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Florida Is 'Interesting' As Obamacare Dawns

WELCOME TO ALL: Once one of Obamacare's worst enemies, Florida appears ready to comply with it.

Florida led the multi-state court case that tried unsuccessfully to derail President Obama's health care reforms last year.

But now, Gov. Rick Scott seems to be halfway through a complete reversal toward complying with Obamacare.

He's setting up an infrastructure to support the insurance exchanges that the Affordable Care Act would create. He's got a meeting with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius next week and his state Senate has already set up a committee to study Florida's Obamacare options.

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Fiscal Cliff
8:50 am
Thu January 3, 2013

In Florida, Payroll Tax Means It's Still A Cliff

CLIFF NOTE: A leading economist says the two percent payroll tax increase will drain $6.5 billion out of the Florida economy.

Congress' fiscal cliff compromise may have protected Florida's middle class wage earners from a massive income tax increase, but the small tax increase it didn’t address remains a threat to the recovering state economy.

Starting Jan. 1, a two percent payroll tax holiday that President Obama put in place in 2010 expires, meaning that the paycheck deduction that funds Social Security will increase by that same two percent.

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Guns And Society
8:00 am
Thu January 3, 2013

'Stand Your Ground' Linked To Increase In Homicides In Florida

STOOD HIS GROUND: George Zimmerman, shown here in court, is the defendant in the Trayvon Martin shooting which became a flashpoint for 'stand your ground' laws around the country.

If a stranger attacks you inside your own home, the law has always permitted you to defend yourself. On the other hand, if an altercation breaks out in public, the law requires you to try to retreat. At least, that's what it used to do.

In 2005, Florida became the first of nearly two-dozen states to pass a "stand your ground" law that removed the requirement to retreat. If you felt at risk of harm in a park or on the street, you could use lethal force to defend yourself. The shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford drew national attention to these laws.

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Obamacare
7:48 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Domino's Birth Control Verdict Heartens Catholic Pizza King's Florida University

TOM MONAGHAN: Catholic businessman and founder of Ave Maria University wins his birth control case.

A federal court in Michigan has ruled that Domino's pizza founder and former owner Tom Monaghan has the constitutional religious freedom to exclude contraception from his employees' insurance coverage.

Now he's waiting to see whether that ruling will extend to the other institution he founded, Florida's Ave Maria University. Monaghan sold Domino's Pizza in 1998.

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Foreclosure Crisis
6:00 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Florida's Mortgage Mess: When Help Is At Arm's Length

Sometimes lenders are hesitant to take on government programs that could help foreclosure victims.
Credit Robert Lyle /WLRN

Foreclosure help in Florida comes with conditions.

Florida pops to the top of the list anytime someone mentions home foreclosures.

The federal government and the major banks are trying to help people modify mortgages so they can stay in their homes. But those programs frequently come with caveats and conditions.

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Cuba
1:00 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Will 2013 Bring New Hope To Cuban-American Relations?

Former Cuban president Fidel Castro and his successor and brother, Raul Castro
Credit Archivo Invasores III

The New Year marked 54 years since the Castro Revolution in Cuba. Since then, there have been 11 U.S. Presidents. Will 2013 finally be a year of major change on the island? Will Cuban-American relations improve?

We brought together two experts to look into their crystal balls, El Nuevo Herald reporter Juan Tamayo and Dr. Andy Gomez of the University of Miami's Institute of Cuban-American studies.

Both agree that nothing will change without the release of American  contractor Alan Gross, who has now been held in Cuba as an accused spy for more than three years.

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Fiscal Cliff
9:30 am
Wed January 2, 2013

'Milk Cliff' Avoided, Too, But Congress May Have Left Florida Farm Prices In Disarray

TENSION REMAINS: Eight-dollar milk is now off the table but the fiscal cliff deal disrupted other agreements Florida farmers were counting on.

The News Service of Florida

The deal between the White House and Congress narrowly approved Tuesday evening by the House to avoid going over the fiscal cliff would extend a 2008 farm law through September 2013.

That will keep milk prices from doubling but leaves other major issues unresolved.

Florida advocates have been worried about the farm bill, in part because of milk prices, but also because of its affect on food aid to the poor.

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Fiscal Cliff
8:01 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Sen. Marco Rubio Voted To Risk The Cliff

VOTING NO: Rubio said the fiscal cliff bill would would threaten job creation and the broad economy.

Most of the Florida delegation went along with last night's vote to stay on the high side of the fiscal cliff. But the big exception was Sen. Marco Rubio.

He voted no on the bill -- one of just eight senators to do so -- explaining that it was an historic tax hike that would hurt the economy.

"Rapid economic growth and spending reforms are the only way out of the real fiscal cliff our nation is facing," Rubio said. 

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Senate Agenda
7:30 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Rubio Makes Middle Class His 2013 Project

GOT THE MESSAGE: Sen. Marco Rubio wants to strengthen the middle class with education opportunities, good jobs and a healthy Social Security/Medicare system.

Florida U. S. Sen. Marco Rubio plans to begin the new year with proposals to strengthen the middle class with education opportunities, jobs that will be worth their new degrees and solvent Social Security and Medicare systems to await their retirement.

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New Florida Laws
6:30 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Headlight Speed Trap Warnings Now Legal

FREEDOM TO FLASH: It is now your right as a Floridian to flash your high beams as a speed trap warning to oncoming cars.

Motorists who notice radar-equipped police cars hiding behind bushes and under overpasses, and then flash their high-beams to warn other drivers, haven’t always been rewarded for their concern.

On the contrary. A lot of them have gotten tickets for those little acts of kindness and roadway solidarity. But, just maybe, no more.

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