Archive for the ‘FLORIDA’ Category

U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney mum about fat fees paid to White House Counsel’s ex-law firm

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

By Francisco Alvarado
FloridaBulldog.org
From last July to March, the campaign committee for freshman Florida Congressman Francis Rooney paid roughly $117,000 to the former law firm of White House Counsel Donald McGahn II. However, neither Rooney nor McGahn are answering questions about the payments.
The post U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney mum about fat fees paid to White House Counsel’s ex-law firm appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Miami-Dade Schools, union push costly private loan program for lowest paid workers

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

By William Gjebre
FloridaBulldog.org
A union representing the lowest-paid Miami-Dade public schools employees has endorsed a proposed private loan program for its members that would charge 24 percent interest with the school district collecting loan repayments by deducting them from employee paychecks.
The post Miami-Dade Schools, union push costly private loan program for lowest paid workers appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Hollywood targets hundreds arrested for domestic violence, public defender cries foul

Monday, April 10th, 2017

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
Hollywood police have sent letters to hundreds of residents arrested for domestic violence threatening to target them for enhanced “scrutiny and/or penalties” and “unannounced police checks on your residence.”
The post Hollywood targets hundreds arrested for domestic violence, public defender cries foul appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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FBI boss Comey and ‘inexplicable’ delays in matters of ‘highest national importance’

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
The FBI’s renewed push to dismiss a Miami Freedom of Information lawsuit seeking records of the enigmatic 9/11 Review Commission and FBI activities “of the highest national importance” should be denied, court papers contend.
The post FBI boss Comey and ‘inexplicable’ delays in matters of ‘highest national importance’ appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Prodded by federal judge, FBI finally identifies Sarasota Saudis by name in court

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
Six years after news broke that the FBI found ties between 9/11 hijackers and a Saudi family who’d moved abruptly out of their Sarasota home two weeks before the terrorist attacks – and didn’t tell Congress – the FBI has identified the family publicly.
The post Prodded by federal judge, FBI finally identifies Sarasota Saudis by name in court appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Strange case: BSO looking to buy rights to embarrassing lawsuit to quash it

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
The Broward Sheriff’s Office is making a bizarre bid to squelch a disturbing lawsuit brought against it by a former employee by purchasing all rights to the lawsuit from a bankruptcy court trustee.
The post Strange case: BSO looking to buy rights to embarrassing lawsuit to quash it appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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With help from investor-Gov. Scott, Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline looks to open in June

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

By Joseph A. Mann Jr.
FloridaBulldog.org
The Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline, a giant interstate project whose tail reaches over 268 miles into Florida, has generated fierce opposition as its construction moves through the state from Georgia to its end-point in Osceola County, where it is scheduled to link up to an existing gas pipeline in June.
The post With help from investor-Gov. Scott, Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline looks to open in June appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Gridlock on Anti-Lock Brakes Baffles Motorcycle Safety Advocates

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

By Rick Schmitt and Paul Feldman
FairWarning
After a long downward trend, U.S. traffic deaths are on the rise again, and a key factor is the stubbornly high fatality toll among some of the most exposed people on the road: motorcyclists.
Nevertheless, federal regulators have balked at requiring a safety measure that, many experts say, could save hundreds of bikers’ lives every year.
The post Gridlock on Anti-Lock Brakes Baffles Motorcycle Safety Advocates appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Ms. Book goes to Tallahassee, sees no conflict voting $ for Lauren’s Kids or dad’s clients

Monday, March 20th, 2017

By Francisco Alvarado
FloridaBulldog.org
Freshman Broward State Sen. Lauren Book says she won’t abstain from voting on matters involving clients of her father, powerful lobbyist Ron Book. Similarly, she sees no conflict of interest in voting on measures to funnel millions of taxpayer dollars to benefit her non-profit charity and political launching pad, Lauren’s Kids.
The post Ms. Book goes to Tallahassee, sees no conflict voting $ for Lauren’s Kids or dad’s clients appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Joe Henderson: Miami trial shines light on smuggling Cuban baseball players to U.S.

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
It is not unusual when a Major League Baseball team signs a Cuban defector. There is a lengthy list of players who fled that island nation so they could barter their skills for the considerable cash that comes with playing in the United States.
Usually, those stories have been treated as valiant escapes from a repressive government and the search for a better life.
A trial that concluded Wednesday in a Miami courtroom though painted a different story. Instead of something heroic, the way some players escaped was judged to be a felony.
The trial pulled back the curtain on how that

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Florida prison chief: State losing corrections staff to ‘Wal-Mart,’ creating insecurity in system

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
More than three-quarters of Florida’s corrections officers have less than two years’ experience. In some state prisons, a single CO will be left alone to supervise 150-200 inmates in a jail block.
Contraband has become so bad, one random search of (just half) a Dade facility turned up $15,000 in street value of cocaine, seven knives, 46 cellphones and an array of other drugs and illicit materials, said Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones Thursday.
The state’s prisons chief was in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee, having to explain just how bad the situation was, even though the state’s inmate population

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Bills allowing overnight stays in ambulatory surgery centers, direct primary care agreements ready for House floor

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
The House Health and Human Services Committee sent bills that would allow direct primary care agreements and overnight stays in ambulatory surgery centers to the House floor Thursday
HB 161 would allow patients and their physicians to enter into direct primary care agreements, an alternative to traditional health care plans.
Under such agreements, patients pay a flat fee to have all their primary care needs taken care of by a primary care doctor.
The bill was filed by the Health Innovation Subcommittee, with Reps. Daniel Burgess and Mike Miller serving as sponsors.
The House Health and Human Services Committee cleared the bill during its Thursday

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Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone involved in hit-and-run

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone says a car he was riding in this week in Florida was struck by a hit-and-run driver.
In a statement to The Associated Press, Stone described the incident as “suspicious,” coming as he is under scrutiny for his communication with the Russian-linked hacker Guccifer 2.0.
Stone tweeted that he was uninjured in the crash except for blurry vision in his right eye.
Stone says the car he was riding in was “T-boned” by a large, gray four-door car with a tinted windshield.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office says the driver the vehicle did not stop or make any attempt

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Senate panel OKs beer bill — that beer companies hate

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
A bill that—as one beer-company insider put it—could allow theme parks to “extort” advertising dollars out of them cleared a Senate panel this week.
The legislation (SB 388), which allows beer companies to advertise in theme parks, was OK’d unanimously by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee with scant attention.
It chips away at the state’s “tied house evil” law by allowing ads, which could include a beer company sponsoring a concert or festival within a park. And ironically, the companies don’t want the law changed.
Moreover, a previous version of the bill theoretically could have allowed beer makers to stock the inside of any Florida bar or tavern with ads

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Rick Scott yanks cop-killer case from Aramis Ayala, reassigns it

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
Gov. Rick Scott has used an executive order to pull the prosecution of alleged cop-killer Markeith Loyd away from Orlando’s State Attorney Aramis Ayala and to reassign it to State Attorney Brad King in Lake County.
Scott’s unprecedented move comes hours after the unprecedented announcement by Ayala that she would not prosecute death penalty charges, including in the case of Loyd, charged with killing his pregnant girlfriend Sade Dixon last December and that of Orlando Police Master Sergeant Debra Clayton in January.
The move is the latest event in a day of uproar that began with reports that Ayala, a newly-elected state

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Matt Gaetz: Keep working to repeal and replace Obamacare

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

President Trump has endorsed a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. His plan, called the American Health Care Act, is described as the first of three immediate steps occurring to end this nightmare. Remember, Obamacare was implemented over several bills, with tons of executive overreach. Administrative corrections and legislation clearing the 60-vote Senate threshold must follow.
For this bill, we need 51.
I’ll be frank — I’m not crazy about it. I wanted to like it, especially after hearing from Obamacare’s victims: prices skyrocketing, premiums rising, plans closing, coverage decreasing. I wanted to like it because the thought of government forcing

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House committee OK’s proposal to keep BP oil funds in Northwest Florida

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
A House panel has approved legislation to make sure settlement money from the 2010 BP oil spill stays in the Florida Panhandle.
The House Select Committee on Triumph Gulf Coast passed a proposed committee bill that, among other things, requires 75 percent of all payments that Florida receives from the settlement agreement between the five gulf states and BP be transferred from the general fund to the Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund.
Under the proposal, the Triumph Gulf Coast corporation can award funding for several things including:
— Public infrastructure projects to enhance economic recovery, diversification, and enhancement in the disproportionately affected

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Constitution Revision Commission to hold first meeting

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
The Constitution Revision Commission has launched a website and announced an organizational meeting next Monday.
The meeting will be 2-4 p.m. in the Capitol’s Senate chamber, with a brief agenda of “Welcoming Remarks, Oath of Office, Rules of the Commission, Ethics Briefing.”
The panel, which convenes every 20 years, will review and suggest changes to the state’s governing document after holding public meetings across the state.
Its newest hire is Meredith Beatrice, who was spokeswoman for Secretary of State Ken Detzner, and is now the CRC’s “external affairs” director.
The 37-member board is chaired by Carlos Beruff, a Manatee County homebuilder and unsuccessful Republican candidate for U.S.

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Spotted at the Governors Club: The last troubadour of Real Florida

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
Jeff Klinkenberg is not the kind of guy who does “luncheons,” but there he was at the Governors Club Tuesday, entertaining Friends of the First Amendment — some real, some fake — at the First Amendment Foundation’s annual fundraiser.
He looked a lot more comfortable later that day at Sally Bradshaw’s bookstore, telling true tales about things that “make Florida unique” to an appreciative audience of people who like to choose their reading material in a venue that does not sell toilet paper and tampons.
Klinkenberg coined the term Real Florida and cornered the knowledge market on everything worth knowing about

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Florida Supreme Court rules sex is sex, no matter who’s doing it

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
A law that requires someone with HIV to notify a potential sex partner beforehand applies to same-sex relationships as well as between a man and a woman, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously decided Thursday.
The defendant, Gary Debaun, has been trying to have a charge dismissed under a 1986 state law designed to prevent the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus.
Debaun is HIV-positive, according to records.
The case, argued last February, involved the definition of “sexual intercourse.” In 2011, Debaun, a man, lied to a male sex partner that he was HIV-negative, “forg(ing) his doctor’s signature on the lab report,” the opinion said. It did not state

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School recess, in disarray statewide, to become uniform under Senate bill

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
In the decades before tablets and standardized testing wormed their way into primary and secondary schools, school playgrounds were a familiar place for children and adolescents.
Up to an hour a day was spent running around, throwing balls to, or at, one another.
But with all the technology and pressure to make the academic cut, with extracurriculars lumped in, recess somehow got lost in the mix.
However, one Florida state senator is looking to change that, even if only by setting a minimum standard for schools to follow.
Sen. Anitere Flores, vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, moved her proposal, SB 78,

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Task Force wants money to fight encroachment on Florida military bases

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
Florida would place its military installations at risk of commercial encroachment — and, possibly, closure — without adequate funding for land acquisition through the Florida Forever land acquisition program, a military support organization warned Thursday.
Some $3 million from U.S. Department of Defense funds will be lost at the end of 2018 unless the state provides matching funds, said Bruce Grant, Enterprise Florida vice president for military programs, told the Florida Defense Support Task Force during a meeting in Tallahassee.
The task force operates under Enterprise Florida’s purview.
“Most legislators may not connect (Florida Forever) with military land buffering,” Grant said. “But

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Jacksonville mulls ‘block party’ moratorium

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
A bill filed by Reggie Brown in the Jacksonville City Council this week would institute a 90-day moratorium on “block party” gatherings.
The legislation (2017-196) posits “a legitimate public purpose in imposing a temporary moratorium on permitting recreational street closings … ‘block parties’ within the City, to allow the City time to create appropriate local regulations and standards.”
Brown’s motivation for filing the bill came up in a discussion of council funded community events this week, in which he noted the inconsistency between the city allowing block parties on streets, while discouraging similar gatherings in public parks.
In gatherings in parks, Brown noted a

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Winners and losers in Donald Trump’s first budget plan

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
Military spending would get the biggest boost in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. Environmental programs, medical research, Amtrak and an array of international and cultural programs — from Africa to Appalachia — would take big hits, among the many parts of the government he’d put on a crash diet.
The budget proposal out Thursday is a White House wish list; it’ll be up to Congress to decide where money goes. If Trump gets his way, there will be more losers than winners among government departments and programs.
Some programs would tread water: WIC grants — money to states for health care

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Florida House Democrats demand Rick Scott speak up on CBO’s scoring of GOP health care plan

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
Since the Congressional Budget Office said the Republican health care plan would raise the ranks of the uninsured by 14 million people next year earlier this week, Gov. Rick Scott has been silent.
Florida House Democrats are now calling him out for his sudden reluctance to weigh in on a subject he’s never been shy about talking about before.
The governor has been a major critic of the Affordable Care Act and traveled to Washington last week to meet with President Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio, and House Speaker Paul Ryan to discuss the American Health Care Act.
Scott told reporters later he was “encouraged” about the Act,

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Jacksonville leaders’ arguments for state incentives fall on deaf ears in Tallahassee

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
Jacksonville may be Ground Zero for the debate about economic incentives. Local leaders want them, but the local Florida House delegation does not.
This week, yet another prominent person in Jacksonville’s City Hall sounded the alarm for state incentives via Enterprise Florida.
The Jacksonville Daily Record reports that local OED head Kirk Wendland made the case for Enterprise Florida on Tuesday to local stakeholders.
Wendland’s quotes are so on message with Gov. Rick Scott that they could have come out of his press shop.
“If any of you know any senators and you have any conversations with them, please convey that it’s serious. We are counting

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Online poll finds majority of Floridians want ACA expansion, oppose GOP proposal

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
A majority of Floridians would like to expand the Affordable Care Act, or keep the law as is.
Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed in a new statewide poll released Thursday are concerned that people would lose health insurance if the law is repealed, according to the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative.
FAU asked 500 Floridians over the course of four days in the past week, including Monday, when the Congressional Budget Office reported that under the proposed “American Health Care Act,” the ranks of the uninsured could increase by 14 million people next year and over 24 million over

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House committee advances lobbying ban; impeachment power for attorneys, public defenders

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
Florida lawmakers advanced two key pieces of legislation through the House Thursday, including one to lengthen the period before elected officials could begin lobbying after their time in office.
The other bill would make state attorneys and public defenders in each judicial district eligible for impeachment under the governor’s power.
In an overwhelming vote, the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee passed PCB PIE 17-01 and HJR 999, though there was thorough debate by both the public and committee members on each measure.
PCB PIE 17-01, which has yet to be given a bill number and was introduced by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, vice chair of the

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Orlando State Attorney Aramis Ayala vows no death penalties

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
Saying she has concluded that Florida’s capital punishment laws are unjust for all, State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced Thursday she will not pursue the death penalty in any cases in Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit, which includes Orlando.
The policy begins with perhaps the most-obvious and highest-profile potential death penalty case that has come along in Orlando in years, that of alleged cop-killer Markeith Loyd. She said she would prosecute him for life imprisonment for the alleged murders of his pregnant girlfriend Sade Dixon last December and that of Orlando Police Master Sergeant Debra Clayton in January.
Making her announcement on the steps

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Rick Scott launches TV ad taking aim at ‘politicians in Tallahassee’ over tourism, jobs

Thursday, March 16th, 2017
The fight between Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida House is continues to heat up, with the governor taking to the airwaves to bash “the politicians in Tallahassee.”
The Naples Republican released a 30-second advertisement Thursday. The ad — paid for by Let’s Get to Work, his political committee — is expected to air across the state beginning next week, according to Gary Fineout with The Associated Press.
The advertisement comes one week after the Florida House voted overwhelmingly to approve a bill to eliminate Enterprise Florida. The House also voted to approve a measure to slash Visit Florida funding.
“The politicians

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