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Supreme Court Ready to Wade into Major Cases

May 25, 2016 - 8:45pm

For legal junkies, the Florida Supreme Court will be the best show in town during a three-day period in June.

Justices are poised to hear arguments on a series of high-profile issues, including gambling, the death penalty, guns and medical malpractice, according to a schedule released Wednesday.

Here are five cases to watch:

--- GAMBLING: Justices will take up a closely watched case about whether a pari-mutuel facility in rural Gadsden County should be able to offer slot machines --- a case that could have implications for five other counties across the state.

Lobbying Fees Pile Up in Early 2016

May 16, 2016 - 8:30pm

Lobbying firms pulled in more than $35 million during the first three months of the year for their work in the Legislature --- with five firms each earning at least $1 million, according to newly filed reports.

The fees came as lawmakers held an earlier-than-usual session that started in January and ended March 11. Firms faced a Sunday night deadline for filing reports that gave at least broad compensation totals for the first quarter, though in most cases the reports do not include exact amounts.

Tallahassee Players Funnel Money to Political Committees

April 13, 2016 - 10:00pm

Millions of dollars poured into Florida's political system during the first three months of 2016, with huge chunks coming from business groups and industries such as utilities and insurers.

But much of the money didn't go directly to candidates or to the state Republican or Democratic parties. Instead, it landed in the accounts of political committees --- often known by motherhood-and-apple-pie names --- that will play a major role this year as voters elect all 160 members of the Legislature and decide the fate of high-profile ballot initiatives.

Use of Retired Judges Draws Constitutional Questions

April 7, 2016 - 8:30pm

As Florida courts have struggled in recent years with a flood of foreclosure cases, retired judges have played a key role in reducing backlogs.

But a pair of Pinellas County lawyers this week filed a petition in the Florida Supreme Court arguing that the heavy reliance on retired --- or, as they are known, "senior" --- judges violates the state Constitution. The document asks the Supreme Court to curb the practice in the circuit that includes Pinellas and Pasco counties and, possibly, to review the use of senior judges statewide.

Supreme Court Weighs Workers Comp Battle

April 6, 2016 - 4:45pm

Florida Supreme Court justices Wednesday tried to sift through arguments about the constitutionality of the state's workers-compensation insurance system --- and whether they should decide the issue.

State, Gun-Rights Groups Back 'Docs v. Glocks' Law

March 29, 2016 - 5:45pm

Readying for oral arguments in June, attorneys for the state and Second Amendment groups are urging a full federal appeals court to uphold a 2011 Florida law that would restrict doctors from asking questions and recording information about patients' gun ownership.

New Trauma Proposal Draws Challenges

March 21, 2016 - 8:30pm

Broward County and major hospital systems in Jacksonville and Miami are challenging the Florida Department of Health about a proposed change in the way trauma centers are divvied up among various parts of the state.

Broward, UF Health Jacksonville and the Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County, which operates the Jackson Health System, filed challenges Friday and Monday in the state Division of Administrative Hearings. They argue that the Department of Health overstepped its legal authority in proposing a new rule for the state trauma system.

Voter Registration Paints Party Picture

March 14, 2016 - 9:30pm

It should be no surprise presidential candidate Marco Rubio spent the final days of Florida's Republican primary campaign visiting places like Melbourne and The Villages. Or that former President Bill Clinton was campaigning for his wife, Democrat Hillary Clinton, in places like Tallahassee.

After all, a big part of winning primaries involves turning out the base.

Voter registration for the presidential primaries closed last month. And here are seven party takeaways from numbers compiled by the state Division of Elections:

Clinton, Trump Keep Hefty Lead in Florida -- Q-Poll

March 9, 2016 - 10:45am

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump hold hefty leads as next week's presidential primaries loom in Florida --- a potentially ominous sign for home-state GOP candidate Marco Rubio, according to a poll released Wednesday.

'Common Sense' Needle Exchange Pilot Passes House, Heads to Governor

March 2, 2016 - 8:15pm

Pointing to a high rate of new HIV cases in South Florida, the House on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that would create a pilot needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade County.

The 95-20 vote came after repeated attempts in recent years to approve such a program, which supporters say would help prevent the spread of infectious diseases among intravenous drug users. Senators voted 37-2 last week to approve the bill (SB 242), and it is now ready to go to Gov. Rick Scott.

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