Posts Tagged ‘Associated Press’

News groups ask appeals court to protect American’s Freedom of Information Act rights

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
Accusing the FBI of years of dishonesty in handling Freedom of Information Act requests, a legion of news organizations and support groups asked a federal appeals court Monday to protect Americans’ rights under the law.
The post News groups ask appeals court to protect American’s Freedom of Information Act rights appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Press organizations file brief in workers’ compensation rate hike appeal

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

The Associated Press, Florida Press Association, and Florida First Amendment Foundation have entered the legal battle over whether the state’s Sunshine Law covered the organization behind the state’s workers’ compensation premium increase.
In a friend-of-the-court brief, the three accused the National Council on Compensation Insurance, or NCCI, of employing “an evasive device” to get around its legal obligation to calculate premiums in the sunshine.
They pointed to a section of the insurance code requiring organizations like NCCI, which proposes rates to the Office of Insurance Regulation, to open deliberations and documents to the public.
“NCCI’s construction of (the law) turns the statute on its head and, through the evasive act of delegation, writes transparency out of the statute. It is for this reason that Florida courts have rejected efforts to skirt Florida’s vaunted Sunshine Law and have held that sunshine follows delegation,” the amicus brief says.
“Otherwise, public officials would be incentivized to avoid transparency through the fiction of allowing one individual, through a series of meetings with numerous others, to perform a public function behind closed doors even though the Legislature decreed that very function should be open to the public.”
The organizations are not attacking the rate increase itself, said Barbara Peterson, president of the First Amendment Foundation.
“We are not interested in the substantive decision. We want to make sure they comply with the (open government) process, and they did not,” she said.
The argument tracks those by lawyers for James Fee, a Miami workers’ compensation attorney challenging the 14.5 percent rate increase that began taking effect in December.
He complained he was denied access to NCCI’s internal deliberations and to some documents.
The insurance office subjected NCCI’s proposed 19.6 percent rate increase to a public hearing in September before approving a scaled-back increase.
A Leon County trial judge in December sided with Fee and against NCCI

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Rick Scott to roll out his spending plan

Friday, January 27th, 2017

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is announcing his annual budget recommendations next week.
Scott plans to release details of his spending plan on Tuesday during the annual legislative planning session hosted by The Associated Press.
The Florida Legislature will consider Scott’s budget request during the session that starts in March.
The Republican governor has already outlined some recommendations. Scott this week called on legislators to slash taxes by $618 million this year.
Legislators usually use the governor’s budget recommendations as the starting point.
But this year legislators appear to be on a collision course because of recent projections showing that Florida could have a budget shortfall in two to three years. House Speaker Richard Corcoran says because of that he wants to cut the budget by at least $1 billion.
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.
The post Rick Scott to roll out his spending plan appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Madonna Repeatedly Slams Donald Trump, Says She’s “Ashamed to be an American” at Miami Fundraiser

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

The musician also kissed Ariana Grande and teased ex-husband Sean Penn, who crawled through her legs at one point as the two tried to coerce the audience to bid higher.read more

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Miami’s Cubans Celebrate, Hope for Change With Fidel Castro’s Death

Saturday, November 26th, 2016

The news triggered a celebration on Saturday.read more

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Hillary Clinton Pushes Back Against “Deeply Troubling” New FBI Email Review During Rally

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

“It is pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election,” the Democratic nominee said as supporters rallied in Florida on Saturday.read more

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Adele Endorses Hillary Clinton at Her Concert in Miami

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Adele told the audience that while she is British, “what happens in America affects me too.”read more

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Miami Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez Killed in Boating Accident

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that Fernandez was one of three people killed in a boat crash off Miami Beach.read more

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Open government office goes behind closed doors

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

According to the Associated Press, the governor’s office just got a $153,000 makeover. Well, technically it was to the reception area outside the place where Gov. Rick Scott conducts the weighty affairs of state.
There was new carpet to replace the 13-year-old stuff that covered the floor. That’s good. We want visitors to think we run a classy joint here in Florida.
There was what AP called “bulletproof material” in the reception desk. No problem there. I don’t make jokes when it comes to protecting the chief political officer in the state and his staff. People who know about security said that was important. So be it.
But …
Wait for it …
The “upgrades” included putting the Florida Office of Open Government under lock and key and restricting admission to just the working staff. That’s the place where worker bees respond to those pesky open-records requests that can cost a lot and take forever to complete, although the state says those things are expected to be filled “in an expeditious manner.”
Creating the office also was one of the first official acts by Scott after he was inaugurated in 2011.
Anyway, here’s how the state’s web page describes the mission statement of that office:
“The Office of Open Government is charged with providing both the Executive Office of the Governor and each of Florida’s agencies with the guidance and tools to serve Florida with integrity and transparency.”
Transparency.
That always has been the issue since Scott was first elected. That’s why the lock-and-key and admission restrictions on the “Open Government” room is dripping with symbolism.
I checked his ballyhooed “Project Sunburst” website. That’s the place where Scott’s executive staff emails are supposed to be available to the public to, as the webpage says, “increase transparency in government.”
There are a lot of emails on there, but nothing that looks like anything

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