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'The Most Egregious Judicial Activism in the History of Florida'?

June 26, 2019 - 7:30am
Duane Eugene Owen and Ashley Moody

Reversing the state’s retroactive consideration of certain death-penalty cases would amount to “the most egregious judicial activism in the history of Florida,” a lawyer for a Death Row inmate argued in a brief filed Monday with the Florida Supreme Court.

The filing, in the case of convicted murderer Duane Eugene Owen, comes as a revamped Supreme Court is exploring whether to reverse course on decisions that allowed dozens of convicted murderers to have their death sentences reconsidered.

Weekly Roundup: Waiting Game Ends

June 22, 2019 - 8:00am

Gov. Ron DeSantis played the waiting game, at least as far as Capitol insiders were concerned, as speculation percolated throughout the week about when the Republican chief of state would uncap his red pen for the first time and veto items tucked into the new state budget.

The waiting might have been the hardest part for some, but the 90-minute notice given to Tallahassee reporters to cover Friday afternoon’s budget press conference may have been even more painful.

Fate of Broward Sheriff Sparks Fiery Hearing

June 20, 2019 - 7:30am
Scott Israel

In his quest to get his old job back, Scott Israel spent hours jousting with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ lawyer Wednesday in a series of combative exchanges highlighting two deadly mass shootings in Broward County that led to the former sheriff’s suspension.

Israel’s seven hours of testimony Wednesday concluded a two-day hearing before a Senate special master in an appeal filed by the veteran law enforcement official after DeSantis stripped him of the sheriff’s post shortly after the Republican governor took office in January.

Weekly Roundup: A Matter of Conscience?

June 1, 2019 - 7:30am
Mexico Beach

Blue tarps, bent trees, boarded windows and busted-up roads.

That’s the daily reality in parts of Florida’s Panhandle, 234 days since Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc.

And with the advent of the 2019 hurricane season Saturday, the anxiety is palpable.

For many in the conservative corner of the Sunshine State, angst has morphed into anger, after not one, not two, but three Republican congressmen blocked a $19 billion federal disaster-aid package that includes $1.2 billion to help rebuild heavily damaged Tyndall Air Force base, an economic driver in the area.

Calder Should Lose Slots License, Judge Says

May 25, 2019 - 7:15am
Calder demolished its grandstands in 2017

In a turnabout from a similar case last year, an administrative law judge Friday decided that state gambling regulators erred when they allowed South Florida’s Calder Race Course to keep its lucrative slot-machine license after demolishing a grandstand where bettors watched horses compete.

The Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association challenged a state Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering renewal of Calder’s slots license after the grandstand was razed and a slot-machine facility was built near outside areas where patrons could view live races.

D'Alemberte Remembered as 'Definition of a Statesman'

May 22, 2019 - 9:00am
Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte

With a shock of white hair, a trademark bow tie and a soft, Southern drawl, Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte was a legal icon who influenced decades of Florida governance and was described Tuesday as a “force of nature.”

Conservative Court Eyes Key Death Penalty Issue

May 21, 2019 - 8:45am
Florida Supreme Court

More than 100 inmates condemned to death could face a major upheaval, as a revamped Florida Supreme Court ponders whether to undo a 2016 ruling that allowed nearly half of the state’s Death Row prisoners to have their death sentences revisited.

With a conservative bloc of justices led by Chief Justice Charles Canady now in the majority, the court has begun the process of reconsidering whether changes to Florida’s death penalty-sentencing system should continue being applied retroactively to cases dating to 2002.

Tribe Says No Dice to Paying State

May 15, 2019 - 6:45am

The Seminole Tribe of Florida made good on threats Tuesday by telling Gov. Ron DeSantis it is quitting a long-standing revenue-sharing agreement with the state after negotiations on a new gambling deal went nowhere this spring.

Controversial Felons' Rights Plan Clears the Senate

May 3, 2019 - 8:45am
Jeff Brandes

Seeking to carry out a November constitutional amendment, the Florida Senate on Thursday passed a measure that would require repayment of financial obligations before felons’ voting rights could be restored, an issue that’s been a sticking point as lawmakers grappled with one of this year’s most controversial pieces of legislation.

The Senate spent about two hours in emotional debate on the measure before voting strictly along party lines and sending the proposal to the House for consideration Friday, the final day it can pass before the legislative session ends.

Would a Lottery-Addiction Warning Make Florida a Nanny State? Lawmakers Divided

May 2, 2019 - 8:00am

Booze and beer don’t carry similar cautions, but some Republican lawmakers want people playing the state lottery to be warned that the games may be addictive.

With the 2019 legislative session in its final days, the Senate is considering a proposal that would require all lottery tickets to include a warning, which also would be part of any advertisements for the state-sponsored games.

The bill would require the tickets and promotions to include the words: “Warning: Lottery games may be addictive,” or “Play responsibly,” under an amendment approved Wednesday by the Senate.

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