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Florida-Georgia Water War Set to Play Out in a Federal Courtroom in New Mexico

October 31, 2019 - 6:00am
Apalachicola River, known as "America's Most Endangered River"

Albuquerque is a long way from Apalachicola.

But when a federal judge in the New Mexico city hears arguments next week in a long-running water war between Florida and Georgia, the small Panhandle community will be at the center of the case.

Senior U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Paul J. Kelly, appointed as a special master by the U.S. Supreme Court, will weigh whether Georgia uses too much water from a river system that flows into Apalachicola Bay.

Court Eyes Medical Malpractice 'Crisis'

October 19, 2019 - 6:00am

In a case stemming from a woman’s lung-cancer death, an appeals court Friday urged the Florida Supreme Court to look again at whether the state has a medical-malpractice insurance “crisis” that justifies limiting damages in certain lawsuits.

The move by a panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal came in a Lee County lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law that prevented the adult children of Ramona Reyes from recovering non-economic damages -- commonly known as pain and suffering damages -- in her death.

Approval Sought for $15.5 Million Settlement in 'Best and Brightest' Teacher-Bonus Program

September 20, 2019 - 6:00am
Teacher-bonus program called 'discriminatory'

The state Department of Education and the Florida Education Association asked a federal judge Thursday to preliminarily approve a $15.5 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit alleging that the “Best and Brightest” teacher-bonus program discriminated against black and Hispanic teachers.

Next House Speaker Tackles Spending, Climate Change

September 18, 2019 - 6:00am
Chris Sprowls

Moments after he was formally elected Tuesday to serve as Florida’s next House speaker, Palm Harbor Republican Chris Sprowls waded into issues such as bolstering the state’s finances and addressing climate change.

And he made clear he doesn’t think much of social media and the goings-on in Washington, D.C.

State Seeks to Scuttle Fight over Hospital Money

August 28, 2019 - 6:00am
Mary Mayhew and Ashley Moody

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office wants a judge to toss out a lawsuit challenging a legislative decision that would strip Medicaid money from two South Florida hospitals with ownership ties to a nursing home where residents died after Hurricane Irma.

Moody’s office, representing Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew, filed a 32-page document last week arguing that a Leon County circuit judge should dismiss the lawsuit by Larkin Community Hospital and Larkin Community Hospital Palm Springs Campus, both in Miami-Dade County.

Appeals Court Rules against Sen. Lauren Book's Cyberstalking Injunction

August 15, 2019 - 6:00am
Derek Logue and Lauren Book

Pointing to First Amendment rights, a divided South Florida appeals court Wednesday overturned an injunction that state Sen. Lauren Book had obtained against a man she accused of cyberstalking and harassing her.

Cities Take Aim at Wireless Technology Law

August 14, 2019 - 6:00am

The Florida League of Cities and three communities this week filed a renewed constitutional challenge to a state law that is expected to help telecommunications companies install wireless technology on city-owned utility poles and in public rights of way.

Judge Backs State on Teachers Unions Law

August 13, 2019 - 8:15am

A Leon County circuit judge has rejected arguments by teacher unions that a controversial 2018 education law violates collective-bargaining rights and improperly singles out teachers among public employees.

Judge Angela Dempsey on Friday issued an eight-page decision siding with the state’s arguments on the constitutionality of the law, which can require teacher unions to be recertified to represent employees. Such recertification is required if fewer than 50 percent of the employees eligible for representation are dues-paying members.

Florida Continues Cutting Phone Cords

August 8, 2019 - 7:15am

Floridians continue hanging up on traditional phone service.

With cell phones in hand --- or in their back pockets --- and access to broadband technology, hundreds of thousands of Florida residents and businesses stopped using landline phones in 2018, a new state report on the telecommunications industry shows.

Justices Back Away from 'AOB' Battle

July 30, 2019 - 9:00am
Florida Supreme Court

Pointing to a law passed this spring, a divided Florida Supreme Court on Monday scrapped plans to take up a closely watched case about the controversial insurance practice known as assignment of benefits.

Justices, in a 4-3 ruling, reversed course on a December decision and said they would not hear a case that stemmed from water damage to a St. Lucie County home. While the two-page ruling did not go into extensive detail, the court’s majority cited a law passed by the Legislature in April and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in May.

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