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Moody Files Fourth Challenge of Citizen Petition Seeking 2020 Ballot

October 5, 2019 - 7:00am
Ashley Moody

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has filed her fourth legal challenge of a citizen initiative vying for the November 2020 ballot.

Moody this week -- joined by the Republican Party of Florida and the Florida Democratic Party -- filed a motion with the state Supreme Court to block a prospective “open” primary proposal from being presented to voters.

Look for 'Climate Change' to Be Referenced in Blue-Green Algae Report

September 28, 2019 - 6:00am
Blue-green algae on the Treasure Coast in 2018

The Blue-Green Algae Task Force appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in January to study ways to prevent or reduce algae blooms spawned by Lake Okeechobee runoff into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers is nearing completion of its first draft of recommendations to lawmakers.

And it’s apparently going to include data referencing “climate change” and “global warming,” words former Gov. Rick Scott forbid from being mentioned in previous state-funded efforts to address blue-green algae and red tide.

‘Assault weapon’ Ban, Marijuana Legalization Go Before Florida Supreme Court Feb. 4

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

The Florida Supreme Court will conduct its mandated review of proposed ballot language in prospective constitutional amendments seeking to impose an “assault weapons” ban and to legalize recreational marijuana on Feb. 4.

Both measures are seeking to qualify for the November 2020 ballot and are among three initiatives being challenged by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.

A Year Later, 18,000 Hurricane Michael Insurance Claims Still Unresolved

September 20, 2019 - 6:00am
Michael's damage to a Lynn Haven home

About 12 percent of claims, or 18,211, filed in the wake of Category 5 Hurricane Michael, which hammered the Panhandle last October causing more than $6.5 billion in insured losses, remain open, Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier told the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee earlier this week.

That’s the bad news. The good news, he said, is the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has not received many complaints from policyholders, an indication most are “satisfied” with attempts by insurers to resolve outstanding claims.

Florida Congressional Delegation Rallies to Keep Liaison Offices in VA Hospitals

September 18, 2019 - 6:00am
Robert Wilkie and Brian Mast

Florida’s congressional delegation is pushing to quickly adopt legislation requiring the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) to allow them to staff liaison offices in Veterans Administration (VA) facilities, especially hospitals.

The urgency in passing the "Improving Veterans Access to Congressional Services Act of 2019" was underscored on Aug. 30 when, days after the bill was heard by the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, six Florida lawmakers who share offices in two Florida VA hospitals were informed they were being evicted at year’s end.

DeSantis Will Push 2020 Legislature to Toughen Fines for Municipal Sewage-Spillers

September 16, 2019 - 7:00am

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will ask the Legislature in 2020 to raise the state’s $10,000 fine for spilling sewage into waterways by 50 percent == a measure aimed at municipalities, since most sewage treatment plants are owned and operated by local governments.

He will also request lawmakers give the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) the capacity to levy daily fines after the initial $15,000 penalty until the issue has been remedied because, he said, “Right now, it’s a slap on the wrist and move on.”

Recreational-Marijuana Ballot Campaign Up to $1 Million in Contributions

September 12, 2019 - 6:00am
A scene in Oregon, where recreational marijuana is legal

A month after launching a petition drive to get a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana on the 2020 Florida ballot, the prospective measure’s sponsors have already raised more than $1 million in contributions.

Make It Legal Florida, which registered its "Adult Use Of Marijuana" initiative with the state’s Division of Elections (DOE) on Aug. 1, reported on its September finance filing that it had raised $1.09 million in cash and received $104,500 in in-kind contributions.

Proposed Resolution Seeks to Put Medicaid Expansion Back on the 2020 Ballot

September 7, 2019 - 7:00am
Annette Taddeo

A month after a proposed constitutional amendment to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was withdrawn from the 2020 ballot, a South Florida Democrat has pre-filed a resolution asking lawmakers to put it back.

Sen. Annette Taddeo of Miami Thursday submitted Senate Joint Resolution 224, which requests the Legislature ask voters to consider a measure to “provide Medicaid coverage to persons under age 65 with an income equal to or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level.”

Florida-Georgia Water Fight to Be Heard in October before Federal Judge in New Mexico

September 6, 2019 - 6:00am
Oystermen, a dying breed on the Apalachicola River

Florida’s “last, best hope” to save Apalachicola Bay’s multi-million-dollar shellfish industry will play out Oct. 17 before a federal judge in Albuquerque, N.M.

Senior U.S. Circuit Court Judge Paul J. Kelly, appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court in August 2018 to serve as a “special master” to oversee Florida’s 2013 lawsuit against Georgia, said the hearing would be nearly two months earlier than originally scheduled.

Dorian’s Projected Labor Day Landfall Draws Comparisons to Savage 1935 Storm

August 31, 2019 - 6:00am
Dorian at 7:20 p.m. Friday

President Donald Trump called it “an absolute monster” comparable to 1992’s Hurricane Andrew. Others say its relatively compact and “terribly beautiful” eye wall resembles Hurricane Charley’s fist of fury in 2004.

But as Hurricane Dorian churned into open water northeast of the Bahamas Friday morning on a projected beeline for Florida’s Atlantic coast, many were making comparisons with the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, perhaps the most savage in state history.

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