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State Budget Proposals Increase Spending

March 22, 2010 - 7:00pm


State lawmakers convene each year to conduct a legislative session that has one legal requirement -- approve next year's budget.

What that means is the governor, the Senate and the House each get an initial crack at where to spend tax dollars. They then try and work through their differences toward common ground and a final budget plan.

The first big step in that process was completed Tuesday with the release of the House budget plan. The Senate released its budget Monday, while the governor released his budget weeks ago.

Florida Republicans Move Swiftly to Reject Forced Health Care

March 21, 2010 - 7:00pm


**UPDATED at 6:30 PM**
Within hours of the U.S. House passing health care reform legislation Sunday night, Republicans in Florida began mobilizing to push back against the new federal mandate.

Republicans, with Attorney General Bill McCollum leading the charge, are preparing to specifically challenge the federal mandate that every citizen have health insurance coverage.

Last week, McCollum unveiled plans to sue the federal government as soon as the health care legislation passed. He asked other states to join him.

DOH Reorganization Gains in House

March 22, 2010 - 7:00pm


An "outside the box" plan to reorganize the Florida Department of Health sailed through the House Health Care Regulation Policy Committee on Monday.

Sponsored by Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, the legislation reduces the Department of Healths mission from 13 to seven responsibilities and would require DOH to propose a new organizational structure, including reduction of divisions and bureaus, to the Legislature by November 2010.

State Leaders Mobilize to Fight Forced Health Care

March 21, 2010 - 7:00pm


Within hours of the U.S. House passing health care reform legislation Sunday night, Republicans in Florida began mobilizing to push back against the new federal mandate.

Republicans, with Attorney General Bill McCollum leading the charge, are preparing to specifically challenge the federal mandate that every citizen have health insurance coverage.

Last week, McCollum unveiled plans to sue the federal government as soon as the health care legislation passed. He asked other states to join him.

Cannon Nudges Oil Bill

March 18, 2010 - 7:00pm


Knowing that neither Gov. Charlie Crist nor the Senate have any plans to approve his bill, Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, plans to unveil legislation on offshore energy exploration later in the session anyway.

On Friday, Cannons Select Policy Council on Strategic and Economic Planning held its last public hearing. For the past year, the council has heard presentations on offshore drilling, and how it would impact the states environment and economy.

Political Bits and Pieces

March 19, 2010 - 7:00pm

Former Rep. Loranne Ausley, the frontrunner in the race to be the Democratic nominee for state CFO, is holding as many fundraisers as possible before the end of the reporting quarter on March 31. With two fundraising events already this week, Ausley will be in Miami on the March 22 and Jacksonville on March 25 to raise more dough for her campaign Meanwhile, state Sen.

House OKs Guns in Adoptions, More

March 18, 2010 - 7:00pm


The Florida House of Representatives passed a number of bills Thursday morning with some debate but no close votes.

Republicans took aim at trial attorneys in a measure that limits fees for private attorneys representing the state attorney generals office and also in a bill reforming slip-and-fall tort law.

The House voted along party lines to cap attorney fees by a vote of 71-40 after debate. Three Democrats voted for the measure, Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Wellington, Rep. Leonard Bembry, D-Greenville, and Rep. Debbie Boyd, D-Newberry.

Slip-and-Fall Bill Passes House, Moves in Senate

March 18, 2010 - 7:00pm


Legislation shifting the burden of proof from retailer to plaintiff in slip-and-fall cases overwhelmingly passed the House Thursday and took a step toward passage in the Senate.

Proponents of the legislation say their bills shift Floridas law back to where it was before 2001. In that year, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in Owens vs. Publix that the burden of proof in such tort cases was on retailers. The next year, lawmakers adopted legislation that fell in line with the court's ruling.

Political Bits and Pieces

March 18, 2010 - 7:00pm


GOP attorney general candidate Pam Bondi is holding a fundraiser in DC with two of the big-name Florida Republicans behind her. Make that one name in two

Crist's, Legislature's Budgets Still at Odds

March 17, 2010 - 7:00pm


The Crist administration continues to base its budgetplan on unsecured funding sources -- in particular, $1 billion from Medicaid, which has not received final congressional approval, and $250 million from a proposed pact with the Seminole tribe.

Director Jerry McDaniel of the Office of Policy and Budget addressed House Democrats on Gov. Charlie Crists proposed budget Wednesday, sayinghe was optimistic these measures would soon be finalized.

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