Florida Legislative Session 2013

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Politics
4:43 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Scott Faces Tough Decision On Next DCF Secretary

Credit FrauSchütze / Flickr CC

Gov. Rick Scott faces a difficult decision in naming a permanent secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, given the demands of the job, the lateness in his term and the scrutiny of lawmakers moving to respond to a rash of child deaths.

Scott has some breathing room after announcing last week that Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo will stay on the job through the end of the 2014 legislative session. He tapped the Miami-based attorney to lead the agency in mid-July, for 90 days, after David Wilkins resigned under fire.

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Jobs
11:04 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Crist, Others Fed Up With Florida's Glitchy Unemployment Website

Credit kbzachry / Flickr CC

A U.S. senator, a Boca Raton lawmaker and a former Florida governor are demanding answers about why a new website is still tying up unemployment benefits for thousands of out-of-work Floridians.

The state's $63 million unemployment website, CONNECT, has been plagued with technical glitches since its Oct. 15 launch. Complaints have been flooding into the offices of Gov. Rick Scott and the Department of Economic Opportunity, which oversees the website. But the state agency won't explain what the problems are.

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StateImpact Florida
1:01 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott Really Wants Florida School Districts To Spend Teacher Money

School districts must come up with their own distribution plans for teacher raises.

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:53 am

School districts must come up with their own distribution plans for teacher raises.

nuchylee / freedigitalphotos.net

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Unemployment
7:29 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Did Gov. Rick Scott Keep His 700,000-Jobs Promise?

Gov. Rick Scott helped Hertz break ground last month on the rental car company’s new corporate headquarters. Hertz is relocating to Estero, FL from New Jersey, creating an anticipated 700 jobs in the state.
Credit Florida Governor's Office

Florida’s economy is improving, and soon voters will have to decide whether Gov. Rick Scott deserves enough of the credit to be reelected next year.

Scott made jobs his top priority. He said his administration would make efforts leading to 700,000 new jobs over seven years – a number above the economic growth forecast by state economists.

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Medical Marijuana
1:29 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Florida Supreme Court To Hear Pam Bondi's Argument Against Pot Ballot

Credit TheNewsHerald/Flickr

The campaign to bring medical marijuana to Florida will face what may be a massive roadblock on Thursday. Florida’s Supreme Court will hear arguments on the case brought by Attorney General Pam Bondi. She says the proposed language for the ballot gives too many people access to the drug.

While the case is about what the voters would see on the ballot University of Miami law professor Donald Jones says the court will have to consider the entire argument for medical marijuana.

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Florida Governor
7:33 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Poll Shows Crist Gaining On Scott, Marijuana Support

Credit Illustration / Flickr CC

In the zero-sum game of partisan politics, it's not too often that a pollster can say what Peter Brown said Thursday morning while introducing the latest results of the Quinnipiac University poll on the Florida's governor's race.

"To some degree, this poll has good news for both candidates," said Brown, assistant director of the survey.

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Local Elections
11:25 am
Wed November 20, 2013

UPDATED: Miami's Redrawn District 5 Shows Class, Not Race, Is The New Social Divide

The borders for District 5 broke free of the train tracks, but some question whether the district can be a cohesive community.
Credit Creative Commons via Flickr user Candie_N

UPDATE: 10:30 a.m., Nov. 20: Keon Hardemon will be the next District 5 Commissioner for Miami. In the runoff election against Rev. Richard Dunn Tuesday, Hardemon received more than 72 percent of the vote. He will take office on Nov. 27.

In advance of Tuesday’s elections, City of Miami voters are reading up on the candidates, their platforms and track records, figuring out whom to give their vote to. But in the process, some constituents may discover they’ve been brushing up on candidates from the wrong district.

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LGBT Issues
6:40 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Conversion Therapy May Soon Be Banned For Florida Kids

Credit ep_jhu / Flickr

  Conversion therapy, which is meant to turn gay people straight, may soon be banned for young people in Florida.

A bill by Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) would ban conversion therapy for everyone 18 years old and younger, but it would only apply to conversion therapy offered by licensed professionals like psychologists and counselors.

Religious groups and other non-professional organizations would still be able to offer the therapy for young people.

The American Psychological Association says these therapies have not been proven to be effective or safe.

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Gubernatorial Race
1:00 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Nelson Still Considering Bid For Governor

Credit Wikipedia.org

Fanning the flames of uncertainty about former Gov. Charlie Crist's viability as a gubernatorial candidate, Democrats close to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson are letting potential supporters know the three-term senator is waiting in the wings if Crist's campaign stumbles.

Nelson's chief of staff, Pete Mitchell, called some prominent Democrats recently and told them the 71-year-old Nelson, who has been coy about his interest in the governor's race, is considering a bid, according to sources who spoke on background.

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Politics
10:26 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Florida Taxes Would Determine The True Cost Of Medical Marijuana

Credit Vlado / Flickr CC

A Financial Impact Estimating Conference report concluded Monday that the cost of medical marijuana in Florida could not be determined due to uncertainty regarding taxation of the plant.

Although the Department of Health estimates the annual cost for Florida would be roughly $1 million, the FIEC report would be more-accurate if marijuana sales taxes were clear.

"The extent to which medical marijuana would be tax-exempt is unclear without legislative or state administrative action," the report said.

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Criminal Justice
5:36 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Florida Considers Reopening Correctional Facilities

Credit Kate Ter Haar/Fickr

Florida might soon reopen several prisons, a year after closing them after the state projected a growing inmate population. Gov. Rick Scott announced the closing of prisons across the state as good news, saying it saved the state money.

But next year, the Department of Corrections wants the legislature to reopen nine facilities from Miami to the panhandle. That will include two prisons, five work camps and two reentry centers.

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Opinion: Kelley's Korner
11:02 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Bad Move, Mr. Crist

Kelley Mitchell thinks former Gov. Charlie Crist made a press faux-pas with his Friday announcement.
Credit Mike Cohen / Flickr/Creative Commons

The first time I met Charlie Crist, he was the state Attorney General. It was at a Florida Department of Law Enforcement news conference in their then-new digs along the Dolphin Expressway near Florida's Turnpike.

I'm fairly certain it was one of those Joint Agency Task Force announcements that had something to do with Identity Theft (Hint: "We're against it.")

So am I, by the way. It can be debilitating.

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Politics
11:36 pm
Sun October 6, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott Delivers Mea Culpa On Voter Purge

Credit Photo by Creative Commons user MrX

In a rare display of contrition coming to a Florida city near you, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration is acknowledging what civil rights groups and local elections officials had already been saying: Last year’s attempted purge of noncitizens from voter rolls was fundamentally flawed.

“I accept responsibility for the effort,” Scott’s secretary of state, Ken Detzner, told the Herald/Times. “It could have been better. It should have been better.”

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Topical Currents
1:00 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Watchdog Report: Dade County Budget Hardball

www.watchdogreport.net

09/17/13 - Tuesday's Topical Currents features regular contributor Dan Ricker, publisher of the weekly “Watchdog Report.”  Topics include the budget hardball being played out in Miami-Dade County.  Funding for libraries has been restored, but there are still battles with union workers, who look for benefits to be restored.  Coconut Grove residents say more police officers are needed to curb crime in their village.  Learn more . . . and call in with concerns . . .

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