Posts Tagged ‘Uncategorized’

Make Sure You Get Home A Dog

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

According to most people who love dogs are definitely more reliable and trustworthy mainly because they know what compassion is all about and while you might think that this is something that comes from the nature of the person the truth is that it comes from an animal. There are various breeds you can consider bringing home, but if you want to make sure that you are comfortable with a dog that does not require too much maintenance then you might want to bring home a labradoodle today. There are some amazing labradoodle puppies for sale online and although there are a number of dealers that will help you get the pups, you need to make sure that you get in touch with a legal dog breeder who will be able to provide you with all the documentation for these puppies.
Remember that when you bring home a labradoodles you’re not only bring home a dog but you bring home a companion for yourself who will keep you company and keep you happy irrespective of how you are feeling. At the end of the day you will have somebody who will come and show a lot of love to you and this is a feeling that will fill your heart with joy. It is believed that people who have dogs at home are less likely to fall prey to heart diseases and are also healthier as compared to those who don’t. This is because they end up going out with the dog a lot more and they also start to walk more.
In case you have elderly people at home it is always recommended to have a dog along with them, because while you might not be able to trust a human being with an elderly person you can be rest

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Hello world!

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!

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Maytag Fridge Repairs: Reliable Repair Services

Friday, June 9th, 2017

The fridge is the essential appliance of the home which wants proper care and in such a hustle bustle life it is not possible to spend time on that. You must take a time to time repair service and Hire a reliable service provider is too important in order to maintain the fridge for a long time. Maytag Fridge Repair London is the best repair service and if you are looking for such type of company then you must go for this. Here are many problems for which it is necessary to hire a company. Now I am describing some basic problems which generally seen in the fridge and you must call a repair service if you are facing such issues in the fridge.

If a fridge is making any type of noise while opening or closing door or started smelling bad.
The freezer is not keeping things too cold for a longer time is the main issue which you can’t ignore at any cost.
Water leaking is another problem which you can see many times in your fridge whether water is leaking from inside or outside.
Not working in a proper way, it has seen very rarely but if it happens then you need immediate service.
You can see a light in the fridge which turns on when we open the door and switch off when the door closed. If that internal light is not working in a proper way, you should go for the repairing.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YOOJxrE3DA?feature=oembed&w=620&h=349] These are some problems which you can’t fix by yourself. If there is any one problem from above mentioned then you must call the best repair service without wasting any time. You can talk to the repair experts in order to get the proper information about the condition of the fridge, in fact, they can suggest you many

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Florida Competes says anti-discrimination bill would boost state economy by $5B

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Bills to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity would boost Florida’s economic output by more than $5 billion over the next 10 years according to a study touted by Florida Competes.
The anti-discrimination advocacy group pointed to the study as part of their push for bills banning discrimination against LGBT individuals.
According to the Thinkspot study, such legislation could boost the state’s standing among skilled workers, which could create about 36,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.
The jump in employment would increase state GDP by $3.46 billion over the decade, while Florida’s total economic output would jump by $5.46 billion over the same stretch.
Thinkspot based the numbers on an 0.75 percent increase in Florida’s “attractiveness” to high-value workers if such legislation were passed, noting that American workers “vote with their feet.”
Florida Competes Executive Vice President John Tonnison said Florida “is graduating some of the most talented students in the country, and needs to do what it can to keep that talent in state.
“Competition is fierce for these future leaders, who look for both an inclusive work environment and a high quality of life,” he said in a press release. “Florida needs to follow the lead of Fortune 500 companies and add sexual orientation and gender identity to its anti-discrimination law.”
Tonnison said business leaders aligned with Florida Competes would be talking to lawmakers this week about the economic benefits of anti-discrimination laws.
Florida Competes’ coalition includes AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Raymond James, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort, Wells Fargo, as well as more than 450 local businesses.
This session, the Senate anti-discrimination bill, SB 666, is sponsored by Lake Worth Democratic Sen. Jeff Clemens. It would prohibit discrimination against members of the LGBT community when it comes to public lodging, public restaurants, the sale or rental of

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Kevin Rader files resolution to oppose United Nations Security Council decision

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Democratic Sen. Kevin Rader called on the Florida Senate officially oppose a United Nations resolution that would classify Israeli settlements in historically Palestinian areas as legally invalid.
“Filing this resolution hits very close to home,” Rader said. “It is personal because my family lives in Israel and I, my wife and kids constantly go back and forth. The safety of everyone involved is at stake, not only for my family members but also the people of Israel.”
UN Security Council Resolution 2334 states that “the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including east Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”
SR 574, filed by Rader in January, would have the Florida Senate oppose and request the repeal of the UNSC 2334. The measure has no official power over the UN’s decision.
Rader said the UNSC resolution runs counter to the preferred two state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict.
“A two state solution is the only sensible way to keep the peace in the region and to stop the constant bloodshed that is killing innocent people,” he said. “We need to keep protecting the rights of Israel and what the UNSC has imposed is going to have a negative impact.”
Rader’s resolution is expected to be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday afternoon.
The post Kevin Rader files resolution to oppose United Nations Security Council decision appeared first on Florida Politics.

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David Smith starts Florida House run with $25K loan; David Santiago, Mike La Rosa raise $21K

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Republican candidate David Smith has started his run for Florida House District 28 with a personal $25,000 loan to his campaign.
Smith, of Winter Springs, is running to replace state Rep. Jason Brodeur, who is term-limited out in 2018, in a district that covers east Seminole County.
The former Marine colonel and modeling and simulation business consultant faces student Devin Guillermo Perez, who reported no campaign money through the end of February, in the latest information filed with the Florida Division of Elections and posted Friday.
Smith raised more than $200,000 in a failed primary challenge to then U.S. Rep. John Mica in 2014, in a race in which he contributed only about $3,000 to his own campaign.
Among Central Florida House races, Smith’s loan gives him one of the biggest campaign chests of those who have reported.
Both Republican incumbent state Reps. David Santiago of Deltona and Mike La Rosa of St. Cloud reported raising $21,000 during the month, all in contributions, and that represents their full campaign fund for the cycle so far.
Santiago has a primary opponent in House District 27, Deltona personal injury lawyer William McBride, who kicked off his campaign last year with a $250,000 loan, then took some of it back. He has not raised any money in several months but still has $114,000, including $37,000 he raised early last year.
La Rosa does not yet have an opponent in House District 42.
Republican state Rep. Scott Plakon of Longwood has $29,000 so far for his re-election bid in House District 29. All of it was raised last year. He has no opponent yet in House District 29.
Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia of Orlando raised $2,000 in February, giving him $27,700 for his re-election campaign in House District 50.
Republican state Rep. Bob Cortes of Altamonte Springs raised $6,000 last month and $18,400

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Former Florida lawmaker charged with misusing campaign funds

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Former Florida lawmaker Dwayne Taylor has been charged with wire fraud in an indictment that alleges he misused campaign funds.
The nine-count indictment made public on Thursday accuses Taylor of withdrawing money from his campaign fund and depositing that same amount in his personal bank accounts.
The federal indictment in Orlando says Taylor used the campaign money for personal expenses and then submitted false campaign expenditure reports to the state of Florida.
Federal prosecutors are seeking a return of the $62,000 they say Taylor obtained.
Taylor, a Democrat, represented a Daytona Beach House district from 2008 until last year when he made an unsuccessful run for U.S. Congress.
Court records showed no attorney for 49-year-old Taylor.
No one answered the phone at a number listed for Taylor in public records.
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.
The post Former Florida lawmaker charged with misusing campaign funds appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Enterprise Florida names Mike Grissom interim CEO

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Enterprise Florida’s Executive Committee named Mike Grissom interim CEO Tuesday, a day after the embattled agency’s CEO abruptly resigned.
Former CEO Chris Hart IV resigned after serving only three months on the job.
Stan Connally, vice chairman of the Enterprise board of directors, hastily called the meeting Tuesday and nominated Grissom, who served as interim CEO last year. Grissom is the current executive vice president of the economic development agency.
“Mike Grissom served in the previous interim CEO role,” said Connally. “He has familiarity with the issues and it makes good logical sense to put him in that role again.”
Grissom served as interim CEO from June 2016 to January 2017, before Hart officially became the CEO. Connally suggested that there would be no time limit on Grissom’s interim role.
“Let’s let the dust settle from the last day and half before we make bigger decisions,” Connally said.
The measure passed with a unanimous vote, ending the 13-minute meeting.
Hart was hired Nov. 30, after the agency spent five months looking for a replacement for former CEO Bill Johnson, who resigned 15 months into his two-year contract. Hart never signed a formal contract with Enterprise Florida. He left the department leaderless amid a battle with the state House, which is pushing a bill to eliminate both Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.
Before joining Enterprise Florida, Grissom served as a senior director at the Florida Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Republican Party of Florida. He also held positions in the offices of Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Bill McCollum.
Grissom will continue his duties as both executive vice president and interim CEO of the agency.
The post Enterprise Florida names Mike Grissom interim CEO appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Florida Senate convenes in Tallahassee, adopts compromise budget rules

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

The Florida Senate is in session.
Senators convened at 9:30 with a prayer and the traditional singing of the national anthem.
“They need wisdom, direction, and understanding,” Pam Olsen, president of the Florida Prayer Network said during the invocation.
“Keep their marriages strong” while the members are “here doing the people’s business,” she prayed.
“I know I’m asking for a miracle, but make this session end on time.”
There for the occasion were Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, plus members of the Florida Supreme Court.
“We understand you have a busy morning,” Senate President Joe Negron told Scott, who was due to deliver his State of the State address later than morning.
One of the first orders of business was approval of rules changes designed to prevent a meltdown over the House’s strict new rules for member projects in the state budget while respecting the Senate’s prerogatives.
In reaching the agreement with the House Friday, “potentially we dodged a bullet that could have stopped our appropriations process in about the fifth week,” budget chairman Jack Latvala said.
Negron discussed his hopes for education funding during the session, including building the state’s universities to “national elite” standard, comparable to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, and the University of Michigan.
Also, that every student in Florida, regardless of financial and family background, be able to attend the state university of his or her choice. They might have to work their way through college, he said, but he hopes “there will never be a financial impediment to a student attending a university and graduating on time.”
He touted his plan to prevent discharges of toxic algae from Lake Okeechobee — which, he said, draws unflattering national attention to the state. He wants to buy land to store

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House Rules Committee votes to kill most economic-development programs

Monday, March 6th, 2017

The House Rules committee voted, 15-3, Monday to kill state support for 23 economics development programs, including Enterprise Florida, but spared Visit Florida, the state’s tourism promotion organization.
The members then voted, 15-2, to subject Visit Florida to stringent oversight, comparable to contract, pay, and disclosure requirements that apply to state agencies.
“They take from the many and give to the few,” said Paul Renner, the Palm Coast Reopublican carrying the legislation for the House leadership.
The votes came the same day that Enterprise Florida CEO Chris Hart resigned, citing a lack of “common vision” with Gov. Rick Scott.
Cissy Proctor, who runs the Office of Economic Opportunity, said the mere debate of killing the incentives has already damaged job growth, as out-of-state employers stall on coming to Florida.
“The business-friendly environment in our state no longer exists,” she said.
A host of business representatives urged retention of the programs. Development officials from rural counties were united in opposition, saying they need help building roads and other infrastructure to support new businesses.
But supporters denounced the incentives as “economic cronyism” and said they pick “winners and losers.”
In the end, both Democrats and Republicans supported CS/HB 7005, the main bill. Support for the Visit Florida measure also crossed party lines.
The committee approved an amendment that stripped Visit Florida out of the bill, and took up separate legislation, HB 9, that would increase oversight of the organization.
You can find details about both measures here.
The post House Rules Committee votes to kill most economic-development programs appeared first on Florida Politics.

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With role on the line, NCCI insists: We’re not ‘an evil empire unto itself’

Monday, March 6th, 2017

The National Council on Compensation Insurance will take no position on a Senate bill that would require workers’ compensation carriers to propose their own rates to the Office of Insurance Regulation.
“We don’t have an opinion in it. We operate in both environments,” Susan Donegan, chief regulatory services officer for NCCI, said in a telephone interview Monday.
SB 1582 would shift Florida from a “fully administered” state to a “loss cost” system. That means that instead of proposing premium levels for most of the carriers in the state, as NCCI does now, the companies would compete with each other on rates.
NCCI would have a role under either system, Donegan said. In fact, of the 36 states in which it operates, only four — including Florida — are fully administered. In the others, the company crunches numbers for individual carriers.
“We have a lot to do in the states that are loss cost, too,” Donegan said. “We are still very much part of the process. It’s just a different way we provide the reports to the regulators.”
The shift would mean more work for the insurance office, she added.
“It means they have a little bit more to to on their end. The they will have to understand there’s going to be a part of the rate that they’ll get directly from the carriers, and then they’ll have to approve that.”
The House’s proposed workers’ compensation fix would keep Florida an administered-rate state but allow carriers to diverge from the statewide rate by no more than 5 percent.
NCCI routinely analyzes proposed legislation for the effect on the market. Company analyists were still reviewing the House and Senate bills, Donegan said.
“We have not had a chance to do a deep dive on it,” she said.
Workers’ compensation reform is a top priority for business interests, alarmed at a 14.5 percent increased

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Florida needs teachers, but high schoolers aren’t interested

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

As Florida legislators consider ways to get more high-achieving charter schools into the state, school districts have another concern: getting more teachers into the state.
The national teacher shortage is hitting Florida hard. Hillsborough County alone could use another 500 teachers. Advocacy group Teachers of Tomorrow identifies Florida as one of the top five states struggling to find educators, with a 5,708 teacher shortfall.
The Florida Department of Education’s 2016-17 report on what subjects are in greatest need of more instructors identified critical shortage areas in general sciences, physical science, education, mathematics, English for speakers of other languages, reading, and exceptional student education.
In these subjects, there are significant teacher vacancies and a dearth of education-program graduates entering the field.  A substantial proportion of teachers filling these positions are certified in other subjects.
In Liberty County, nearly one-third of all core classes were taught by teachers working outside of their field of expertise in the 2014-15 school year. Statewide, the average is closer to 6 percent.
Duval County, which is looking to fill 100 teaching spots, currently has 20 percent of core classes being taught by teachers working out of field.
“College students are not convinced that teaching will be a rewarding career path,” Pamela Carroll, dean of the University of Central Florida’s College of Education, told the Orlando Sentinel.
Palm Beach Superintendent Robert Avossa said that nearby Florida Atlantic University sent 40 new teachers to the district last year.
“I need 1,500,” he said.
Jacqueline Twiggs, lead state strategist for ACT Inc., told legislators at a recent Education Committee hearing in the Florida House of Representatives that the state’s teaching pipeline is shrinking faster than in other places around the country.
“Education is continuing to be an area students are not interested in going into,” she said.
When students take the ACT in high school, they are asked to identify their career

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Richard Corcoran says philosophy, facts drive his EFI, VISIT Florida axe

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran made it clear Friday he is sticking to his drive to abolish Enterprise Florida Inc. and VISIT Florida saying  the moves are right in philosophy and in facts.
“I’m telling you we’re right. We’re absolutely right,” Corcoran declared in a speech before the Central Florida Urban League.
Corcoran described Enterprise Florida as an organization that serves the top 1 percent of companies and most of them did not deliver, and  belittled VISIT Florida for paying for Pitbull‘s video that he said essentially declared, “Come to Florida and have sex.”
“Here is what we know about VISIT Florida and Enterprise Florida. First, Enterprise Florida  and VISIT Florida didn’t exist in this state until the mid-’90s. Guess what we had before that? I’m going to shock you. We had visitors. I’m going to shock you. We had businesses that came to this state.”
Corcoran, a Republican from Land ‘O Lakes, began Friday by defending his positions against criticism from Democratic Miami Beach Mayor  Philip Levine, who in an earlier speech declared both organizations are valuable to Florida’s economic growth.
Yet Corcoran’s fight has not been with Democrats, and certainly not with mayors, but with Gov. Rick Scott and others in the Republican Party. Corcoran acknowledged that, referring to “my fight with the governor” and “members of my own party, then accused them of launching  counter attacks that got personal and uncivil.
“I always try to maintain civility. I’ll stick to the facts. We ought to do that in a civil way. I will tell you that words matter. Words hurt. Words destroy,” Corcoran said. “And you ought to be very careful with your words. Especially now more than ever in this environment. And we ought to be speaking the truth.”
Corcoran  also took a shot at the state’s Urban Crime Tax Credit, which has been criticized for creating loopholes that

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Rick Scott to court: Throw out Richard Corcoran’s Lottery lawsuit

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott‘s administration is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran.
A Leon County circuit judge held a brief hearing Thursday over Corcoran’s lawsuit that maintains the Florida Lottery broke the law when it approved a more than $700-million contract with IGT Global Solutions to help run lottery games.
Corcoran’s lawsuit contends the contract is illegal because it exceeds the department’s authorized budget.
Barry Richard, an attorney hired to represent the state’s lottery secretary, argued the agency followed the law because the contract states it is contingent on state funding.
Richard told reporters after the hearing that if the Legislature “doesn’t like it, they don’t have to fund it.”
The case could get decided quickly. Judge Karen Gievers scheduled a March 6 trial.
The post Rick Scott to court: Throw out Richard Corcoran’s Lottery lawsuit appeared first on Florida Politics.

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House Transportation and Tourism panel begins vetting member projects

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

The House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee began voting on nearly $500 million in member project bills Wednesday, as its chairman warned that the panel’s approval does not guaratee a project will make it into the final House budget bill.
“Our point here is to try to vet these to the extent we can in the time that we have,”  Rep. Clay Ingram told committee members.
“As we pass or don’t pass them, it doesn’t mean they are going to be in the House bill, but it makes them eligible,” he said. “I think we’ve had in the neighborhood of 300 bills filed, and a whole lot more in the queue ready to be filed before session starts.”
Actually, House members had requested 319 projects worth $708 million by the House’s Feb. 7 deadline. The various appropriations subcommittees began culling the herd Wednesday.
Ingram said he had sidelined some projects that he knew just wouldn’t fly.
“My first paring down was looking at the bills. There are a whole lot that we just didn’t even consider to be brought up. The bills that were presented today are bills that I thought had merit and had already been vetted to some extent,” Ingram said.
He deep-sixed projects if he thought “the amounts were just absurdly too high, or it was not something I felt the House as a body would be comfortable funding,” he said.
“I tried to make it clear that this was one more step in vetting a project. It doesn’t guarantee it’s going to be in the House bill, but it’s one more step in the process.”
Among the bills that will move along are measures that would designate a portion of State Road 408 in Orange County the Arnold Palmer Expressway, for about $1,000 from the Department of Transportation budget; spend $2 million for Americans with Disabilities Act

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Senate may balk at Rick Scott’s plan to hit hospitals over charity care

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott‘s proposal to cut Medicaid rembursment payments to profitable hospitals that stint on charity care may run into trouble in the Senate.
During hearings Wednesday before the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, members including chairwoman Anitere Flores raised objections.
“The governor’s office has made some assumptions, based on the fact that some hospitals are very profitable, that they can afford a cut,” Flores said following the meeting.
“I’m hearing very different things from our local hospitals,” she said. “I think you heard from other members that they have some concerns, as well.”
Scott’s $83.4 billion spending plan would save $298 million “by eliminating arbitrary and inconsistent supplemental payments for hospitals that provide less charity,” according to a summary available here (scroll down to page 27.)
Aides to the governor briefed committee members on his asks for the agencies for Health Care Administration and Persons with Disabilities; and the departments of Children and Families. Elder Affairs, Health, and Veterans’ Affairs.
Also Wednesday, the panel began hearing from advocates seeking state support for local projects. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has begun insisting on full hearings for member projects in the budget this year, but Flores said the Senate began such hearings last year.
Projects presented include programs for older Floridians, veterans, people suffering drug addition and mental problems, and children.
For example, The Arc Nature Coast sought $425,000 to replaced a 58-year-old farm house with a new center to house and serve 75 former Sunland residents from Hernando and Pasco counties; and Tallahassee’s Apalachee Center sought $1 million to provide forensic mental health services people in eight counties, rather than send them to the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee.
Flores said the exercise was a way for programs to “make their case to the Legislature.”
The post Senate may balk at Rick Scott’s plan to hit hospitals over charity care

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Lawyers for the state tell Senate committee they need pay raises, too

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

State attorneys and public defenders face off in court, but they agreed on one thing during a meeting Wednesday of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice: Their staff attorneys need pay raises.
Trouble is, committee chairman Aaron Bean isn’t convinced there’ll be enough money to pay for that, as much as he sympathizes.
“The secret is that there’s just not going to be enough money to cover everybody’s requests,” Bean said following the hearing. “That’s why we triage.”
Representatives of an array of state agencies that field attorneys begged the panel for pay raises. Other than state attorneys and public defenders, the commitee heard from regional conflict counsel, the statewide guardian ad litem office, and capital collateral representative offices.
Additional public-safety agencies also requested increases, including higher salaries. This document outlines their presentations to the committee.
Gov. Rick Scott‘s proposed $83.5 million state budget would add resources for public-safety agencies — particularly the Department of Corrections. They include $38.7 million to pay corrections and probation officers more; $4.9 million for hiring bonuses in high-vacancy institutions; and a $2.5 million base-pay bump for corrections officers in mental health units.
Scott envisions no pay raises for other state workers, however, other than a potential to earn bonuses of up to $1,500.
Stacy Scott, public defender for the 8th Circuit in Gainesville, and who argued that public defenders are underpaid compared to prosecutors, insisted it makes sense to invest in trial attorneys.
“Public defenders handle cases at much less expense than if you have to pay a private lawyer to represent indigent people who have a right to a lawyer,” Scott said.
Bill Cervone, Scott’s counterpart in the Gainesville state attorney office, held out hope for pay raises.
“We keep hearing that (Senate budget chief Jack) Latvala‘s pushing it and (Senate President Joe) Negron‘s on board with Latvala,” Cervone said.
Bean said that, notwithstanding

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‘Groveland Four’s” haunting 1949 injustice addressed in resolutions

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Two South Florida lawmakers are hoping to get Florida to make some amends for one of the darkest moments of the racist Jim Crow days, with bills seeking exoneration for the so called “Groveland Four,” young black men and teenagers killed or imprisoned over false 1949 rape charges.
State Rep. Bobby DuBose and state Sen. Gary Farmer, both Democrats from Fort Lauderdale, introduced resolutions seeking exonerations and pardons for Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, and Ernest Thomas, and apologies to their surviving families.
The quartet’s long-overlooked story was brought to national light in Gilbert King‘s 2012 Book “Devil In The Grove,” which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize after showing how racist injustice of late 1940s and early ’50s Lake and Madison counties had ended or destroyed their lives.
“It has been so well-documented,” Farmer said. “There is so much in the way of evidence that was either withheld or excluded from the legal proceedings. FBI files have been revealed now that shed light on the investigation that wasn’t available back then. And it has been the subject of a lot of research and study.”
Last year then state Sen. Geraldine Thompson of Orlando introduced a similar bill in the Florida Senate but it had no house companion and it went no where. Farmer said he spoke with Thompson before crafting the new resolution.
DuBose’s Resolution 631, filed earlier this month, and Farmer’s Senate Concurrent Resolution 920, filed Tuesday, resolve that, “we hereby acknowledge that Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, and Ernest Thomas were the victims of gross injustices and that we apologize to the families of the Groveland Four for all of the aforementioned wrongs and deem the four men formally exonerated” and that “the Legislature urges the Governor and Cabinet to review the cases of Walter Irvin and Charles Greenlee and to

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No matter the issue, Donald Trump knows a guy

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

President Donald Trump knows a guy.
No matter what issue Trump is addressing, he seems either to know somebody with a relevant personal experience or he’s got a firsthand tale to recount.
When he met airline CEOs on Thursday, Trump said his own pilot — “who’s a real expert” — had told him about problems with obsolete equipment.
When he met business and economic experts a week earlier, Trump cited the difficulties his friends in business were having borrowing money from banks as he spoke about the need to reduce financial regulations.
When he approvingly sized up Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Trump said last month that he’d had a “very bad experience” in his own businesses when dealing with the EU bureaucracy.
“Getting the approvals from Europe,” he said, “was very, very tough.”
Call him the anecdotal president: For good or ill, Trump processes policy proposals through his own personal frame of reference.
“It’s all about him,” says Jeff Shesol, who wrote speeches for President Bill Clinton. “His frame for Europe, his frame for the airlines, his frame for the banking system … is himself.”
It’s not necessarily a bad thing to draw on real-world experiences in developing or justifying policy.
Plenty of presidents and politicians have recognized the value of anecdotal storytelling in advancing their agendas.
President Barack Obama offered his own improbable life story as a metaphor for the wide-open possibilities available to all Americans. And he frequently drew on the concerns that came up in the 10 letters a day that he read from people who wrote to the White House.
Clinton was famous for sketching his encounters with ordinary Americans.
President Lyndon Johnson drew on his early experiences teaching disadvantaged Mexican-Americans in stressing the importance of education and economic opportunity for all Americans.
“I think it was then that I made up my mind that this

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House panel approves new cause of action for abortion negligence

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Legislation cleared a House committee Thursday to create a new cause of action for women who suffer injuries or emotional distress during abortion procedures as a result of the doctor’s failure to provide informed consent.
HB 19, by Vero Beach Republican Erin Grall, specified that women would not be bound by restrictions imposed under Florida’s medical malpractice laws, which impose a two-year statute of limitations and mandatory arbitration, among other burdens to bringing lawsuits.
Women would have 10 years to file suit. That the doctor obtained a signed medical consent form would be no bar to the courthouse.
The Civil Justice & Claims Subcommittee approved the measure on a 10-6  vote.
“This bill is really about a woman’s access to the courts if she has been injured by a negligent physician,” Grall said.
Mark Delegal, a Holland & Knight partner representing medical malpractice insurer The Doctors Co., said the problems Grall decried were intended under reforms passed in 2003 to depress insurance rates.
“A lot of the elements that are in the law that were criticized today were designed to bring that under control,” Delegal said.
“This is bigger than the abortion issue, ladies and gentlemen,” he said. “This is a bill that impacts the current system. I think that’s pretty serious in light of the substantial progress we’ve made” on lowering medical malpractice rates.”
“This bill will certainly have a negative effect on a woman’s ability to have this procedure done,” said Sean Shaw, a Democrat from Tampa. Furthermore, he said, “a cause of action for a specific procedure is totally foreign to Florida law. If we need to change the medical malpractice statute, let’s do that.”
Other committee members, including vice chairman Jay Fant, a Jacksonville Republican, worried about delivering a “trial bar bonanza.” He said he’d vote for the bill with the understanding Grall would work to eliminate that possibility as the bill

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House budget panel weighs raids on trust funds, Visit Florida’s future

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

A House budget panel debated sweeping money from housing, transportation and economic development trust funds to meet spending cuts imposed by House leaders.
The House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee also entertained a suggestion that Visit Florida, the state’s tourism promotion arm, operate on local tourism taxes, instead of state general revenues.
Rep. Mike La Rosa, a St. Cloud Republican, came up with the idea as a way out of the contretemps between Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran over the wisdom of spending state tax dollars to promote economic and tourism development.
“Have it funded locally, so there’s a secured funding mechanism for Visit Florida,” La Rosa explained following a committee meeting.
“Hopefully, that gives a little more buy-in for local tourist boards. Then, the state can decide what role it wants to play, ultimately, in Visit Florida,” he said.
“There would have to be some policy changes,” La Rosa conceded. “I haven’t gone that far and started to think about who’s ultimately going to control it. Is that the locals 100 percent, or does the state still buy in and still have some general direction in it?”
La Rosa sits on the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee, which was scheduled later in the day to take up legislation supported by Corcoran and other House leaders to eliminate state spending on economic incentives, including Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. The bill is PCB CCS 17-01.
The transportation and tourism panel heard leaders of the agencies under its purview — the Department of Economic Opportunity, the Department of Transportation, the Department of State, the Department of Military Affairs, and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles — explain what Scott’s $83.5 billion proposed state budget would mean for their agencies.
Then it took up an excercise in budget cutting imposed by House leaders worried that state spending is outpacing tax

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Rick Scott accuses House leadership of playing politics on economic development

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott accused House leaders Tuesday of political posturing on Florida’s economic- and tourism-development programs.
“It’s pretty clear. If you don’t care about people’s jobs, you must be caring about something else,” Scott told reporters following a Cabinet meeting.
“What else can it be? How can anybody say, ‘We don’t want to help a poor family get a job?’ How can anybody say, ‘Oh, this investment where we get a significant return, we don’t want to do that?’ ” Scott said.
“The only thing this could be would be politics. You would never think this way in business.”
Legislation introduced in the House last week would dismantle Enterprise Florida, which provides incentives to businesses considering moving to the state, and Visit Florida, which markets tourism and provides education and training to tourism business owners.
The bill is PCB CCS 17-01.
“We’re seeing people who just want to run for higher office,” Scott said. “They’re not concerned about what happens to other people. They just think it’s a nice sound bite. But it doesn’t help anybody in the community. It doesn’t help anybody in our state.”
House Speaker Richard Corcoran has been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor in 2020. He has denounced Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida for misspending tax money and engaging in crony capitalism.
Last year, the Legislature blocked Scott’s request for $250 million for Enterprise Florida; this year, he has asked lawmakers for $85 million.
Scott conceded problems at both agencies, but pointed to management improvements.
“Is anything in life perfect? Could Enterprise Florida do things better? Sure,” he said.
“There’s more transparency now. There’s new leadership. If there’s something you can do better, you go and improve it. But you don’t just say, ‘Oh, I’m not ever going to do it again,’ ” Scott said.
“If we don’t create a market for the best jobs, we won’t get the best jobs.”
In

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Jeff Brandes: Legislature needs educating about flood risk

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

A state senator proposing legislagtion to mitigate flood risk said Friday that lawmakers in Tallahassee don’t fully appreciate the extent of that risk.
“I think my colleagues in the Legislature don’t quite understand the gravity of the situation — much like Congress,” said Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican. “They do not understand how serious the risk is.”
But that’s understandable, Brandes said — their constituents don’t, either.
“Most folks don’t understand how important the issue of flood insurance is. Most Floridian think flood is part of their home owner’s insurance. It isn’t. They also think, ‘Oh, I don’t live in a flood zone — I don’t have to buy it.’ ”
Brandes discussed flood insurance during the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Insurance Summit in Miami.
He has introduced SB 584, to create a statewide flood mitigation and assistance program, providing up to $50 million per year in matching grant money.
The money would help reduce the risk and severity of coastal flooding by using Amendment 1 resources for land acquisition and preservation, and extending the expiration of deregulated rates in flood insurance to 2025 from 2017, to give the flood insurance market more time to grow.
National Flood Insurance Program costs less in communities that have mitigated their flood risk, Brandes said during a short interview.
“You can get discounts off a community’s entire collective premium base if you mitigate. With $50 million, we could be able to create hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for Floridian,” he said.
Your house isn’t in an official flood zone? Sorry, you’re not immune.
“Most of the homes that are flooded don’t have flood insurance because they actually are not in a flood zone,” Brandes said.
“They think the feds will come in and help us. It doesn’t work that way. They don’t have the resources.
Brandes sees an opportunity for private insurers to enter

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Jeff Atwater delivers frank advice at Chamber’s Insurance Summit

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Jeff Atwater delivered some frank advice Thursday when he warned insurers they need to present hard facts to the Legislature before they can expect help in solving problems with the workers’ compensation system and other priorities.
Speaking at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Insurance Summit in Miami, the state’s Chief Financial Officer called for “honesty and transparency with an abundance of data that makes the case that a legislator, when weighing the evidence, can make a solid choice between what is out there today and where we go forward.”
He told insurance representatives that their industry has not always helped itself — as when, two years ago, it resisted his Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights.
“I’m not crying crocodile tears for anybody in here,” he elaborated to reporters following his remarks to the gathering.
“The industry has created its own perceptions — slow walking, not getting a repair done on time, lowballing with a contractor. Over a long period of time, this created conditions where there’s a tremendous suspicion of what could really be the motivations of the insurance industry.”
The industry has three big items on its legislative agenda for 2017 — reining in rising workers’ compensation premiums; attacking abuse of assignment of benefits agreements under homeowners insurance; and what to do about personal injury protection, or PIP, insurance.
He invited insurance representatives to a workshop in Orlando next month so that prosecutors can school them in how to prepare referrals to his office to attack fraud. The industry presented him with 226 such referrals last year, but few had enough details to produce prosecutions, he said.
“If you believe there is fraud, you have to get your skill sets right,” Atwater said. “Because I do believe there are bad actors.”
Atwater said he suspects mandatory PIP is headed for repeal, probably for a requirement to buy bodily injury coverage.
He’s not sure that

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Saying voter intent ‘ignored’ on medical marijuana, Tampa Bay Times is just plain wrong

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

The Tampa Bay Times is just plain wrong about something, and it has stuck in my craw for nearly a week now.
Last Thursday, a Times headline read: “Voter intent on medical marijuana ignored.” Two days later, columnist John Romano followed suit with virtually the same narrative.
“Ignored?”
The clear inference of the editorial – notably, the word “ignored” – utterly fails to acknowledge reality.
“Ignored” clearly and purposefully claims the will of those who voted for the constitutional amendment has been intentionally disregarded or not considered. Whether you agree or disagree with the direction things are headed, clear evidence suggests Amendment 2 is NOT being ignored.
If the amendment were indeed being ignored, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) would have done nothing. Nada.
Instead, the DOH – absent legislative guidance and before rule hearings or public testimony – took a fairly dramatic stance expanding access to medical cannabis. The Department publicly stated physicians can now order medical marijuana for those patient conditions identified in the amendment.
That’s not ignoring. That’s the Department of Health taking a pretty bold step forward. (Applause?)
Typically, state agencies have limited authority to make such a determination. But in this case, the DOH action – taken within days of Amendment 2’s enactment – allows for the expansion of conditions precisely as directed under the newly passed amendment.
One could make the argument that this is the exact opposite of “ignored.”
Further, DOH did not (and does not) have authority to simply wipe away statutes put in place explicitly to handle an array of issues that deal with a substance that is (may I remind everyone) STILL illegal at the federal level.
The agency could not have, for example, issued an edict allowing anyone to grow marijuana or to sell it as that person saw fit. And they cannot just wipe away licensure requirements or

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Bank moves on BBQ biz associated with Jacksonville councilor

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Last week, Ameris Bank moved for a Summary Judgment against KJB Specialties, one of the troubled businesses associated with Councilwoman Katrina Brown (a member of the council’s Finance Committee.)
Back in 2007, KJB Specialties borrowed $50,000 from Ameris Bank. Payments were made as agreed until March 2015, during the time when Councilwoman Brown was running for office.
Brown, running as one of Corrine Brown‘s “quick picks” against an experienced political veteran in Pat Lockett-Felder, scored a victory some would have called an upset in the May 2015 election.
However, as the councilwoman’s electoral and political fortunes rose, KJB went AWOL on its loan and other financial obligations.
Principals were informed of the default in August 2015, and the impending legal action a month thereafter.
Now the bank demands what is due: a $37,490 principal; $1,399 of interest; $253.40 in late charges; and $7,681 in legal fees.
KJB Specialties was in the news already this month for warrants incurred for failure to pay sales tax.
Another Brown business, “Basic Products, LLC,” likewise was in the news for failure to pay sales tax.
These are, alas, the tip of the iceberg.
The base of that iceberg: a $640,000 economic development agreement to build a barbeque sauce plant.
The deal was initially struck between the city and KJB Specialties. However, for reasons unknown to anyone beyond the Browns, KJB handed the deal off to another Brown business with a nebulous name (“CoWealth, LLC”) and no apparent purpose beyond providing a financing mechanism devoid of tangible product or economic utility.
The city has been taking progressively more direct action in attempting to clawback some of its squandered seed money.
On January 5, a Certified Letter was sent from Jacksonville’s Office of Economic Development to CoWealth, LLC, related to the company failing to create the jobs it was supposed to.
The letter that the city received the “required annual surveys” for 2012 to 2015, in which the company

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Visit Florida defenders swarm Senate Appropriations Committee hearing

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Tourism business owners flocked to a Senate committee room Thursday to plead the case for Visit Florida, the state’s embattled tourism promotions agency.
Representing both large operations and independent hotels and restaurants, they urged members of the Appropriations Committee to let the agency continue to sell Florida to potential tourists in the United States and overseas.
Sheldon Suga, a manager at Hawks Cay Resort in Duck Key, brought 1,000 letters from hotel housekeepers and desk clerks, charter boat captains, and other tourism employees.
“Individuals who rely on tourism in this state,” he said. “They don’t have the ability to bring tourists to this state. Visit Florida does.”
Lino Maldonado, a vice president at Wyndham Vacation Rentals North America, said Visit Florida is important to “the individual operators — small mom and pop companies that have no marketing budgets — they don’t get travelers unless there are additional eyes and ears on the state.”
“Small lodgings have small budgets,” said Gilda Steiger, of the Superior Small Lodging Association, representing small hotels.
“Without the Visit Florida grant programs, cooperative marketing opportunities, and education and training programs, our members and other independent small property owners in our state would not be able to market to, attract, and keep as loyal advocates those tourists who are looking for the type of experience that only the small, individual property owner can provide.”
Committee chairman Jack Latvala was openly sympathetic.
“This is an issue that this committee will give a lot of attention to — the Legislature is going to give a lot of attention to,” Latvala said.
“The tourism industry employees 1.2 million Floridian,” he said. “It’s an industry we cannot turn our back on. We can’t crawl in a hole and pull a blanket on top of us. We have to compete economically with other states that also advertise and offer things to folks to come

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House subcommittee looks into state courts’ caseload backlogs

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

The percentage of the Florida Supreme Court’s caseload still pending after 180 days doubled after the U.S. Supreme Court upended the state’s death penalty system last year, a court representative told a House panel looking into court delays on Thursday.
In Hurst v. Florida, the justices in Washington invalidated Florida’s death penalty because the law gave too much discretion to judges instead of juries in handing down death sentences. The court in Tallahassee is still weighing a response.
“That has completely held up the death penalty cases in Florida,” said John Tomasino, clerk of the Florida Supreme Court.
The court has set a standard for deciding cases within 180 days. The House Civil Justice and Claims Subcommittee held hearings into how quickly  the high court and other appellate and trial courts are clearing their caseloads.
Since 2006, the Florida Supreme Court has left between 1 percent and 4 percent of its cases lingering past that deadline. In 2015, the percentage was 3 percent. It swelled to 6 percent in 2016.
Cord Byrd, a Republican attorney from Neptune Beach, wanted to know why the Supreme Court takes so long sometimes to ruling on appeals. The court took more than two years to decide Castellanos v. Next Door Co., last year’s bombshell workers’ compensation ruling.
“Those are the exception, not the rule,” Tomasini said. “It does happen from time to time. All I can do is to point to factors that can contribute to those cases when that type delay does happen. One I definitely can share is the court trying to decide it properly, trying to decide it together.”
Officials representing trial courts and district courts of appeal said that what data exist about case clearance are sometime wrong. Chief trial judge Mark Mahon of Jacksonville referred to a report that his judges let 2,789 jury cases linger for

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Agencies propose spending cuts to House budget subcommittee

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

The Department of Revenue would trim its tax collection, auditing, and criminal investigation efforts to meet budget cuts sought by House leaders.
The Division of Administrative Hearings would close workers’ compensation appeals courts in Ft. Meyers, Port St. Lucie, and St. Petersburg.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation would cut gambling prevention.
Representatives from those agencies and others presented their plans Wednesday to meet budget cutting targets set by House leaders this year.
“It doesn’t eliminate the program, but it would reduce it by 21 percent, DOR executive director Leon Biegalksi told members of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Operations and Technology of his agency’s cuts to tax enforcement.
“Which means reducing the number of collectors, the number of auditors, the number of criminal investigators that we have,” he said. “Collections would go down by almost $142 million.”
The DBPR cuts would hit “core mission functions,” interim director Mathilde Miller said.
Appropriations subcommittees in the House are asking agencies to propose cuts in response to burgeoning demands for  education and health care spending amid flat revenue estimates this year and deficits during the next two years.
“Each agency goes before us and says, ‘If you have to cut, we are ranking how you should cut.’ It gives us a guide in what we can cut,” said Blaise Ingoglia, chairman of the panel.
“It does’t mean we have to take any of these recommendations,” he continued. “What the cuts are is up to the subcommittee and the full Appropriations Committee.”

 
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Bill to ban hydraulic fracking attracts bipartisan support

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers have endorsed proposed legislation to ban extraction of oil and gas via hydraulic fracturing in Florida.
“This bill is concise and straightforward. It bans fracking of all types in Florida,” Senate sponsor Dana Young said Tuesday during a news conference outside the Senate chamber.
“As a sixth generation Floridian and avid outdoorsman, I believe we must act quickly and decisively to to protect our fragile environment from incompatible practices.”
Present at the news conference  to discuss SB 442 were Sens. Gary Farmer, Jack Latvala, and Linda Stewart; House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, and House member Mike Miller.
“Just this collection of folks, you can see that this is an issue that transcends politics,” Farmer said. We can all come together to protect something as critically important as our water supply.”
Legislation to study fracking in Florida died last year in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Lavala, who chairs that committee this year, helped to kill it. He said he didn’t buy assurance from the Department of Environmental Protection that fracking would be safe in Florida.
“We looked a the worst-case scenario, and if there was any possibility in anyone’s mind that a bill might have the effect that people thought it would, then we took the bill down,” Latvala said. “Now we’re all together to try to so something positive to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future.”
 
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