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Health-Care War Continues in Florida, Congress

March 24, 2010 - 7:00pm

Florida remains the political frontline in the battle on health care.

As Florida Republicans in Washington demand the repeal of the new health-care reform law, Democrats in Florida blast Attorney General Bill McCollums lawsuit challenging the law's constitutionality.

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Florida, introduced a bill in Congress to repeal health-care reforms that President Barack Obama signed into law on Tuesday.

Trial Attorneys Put Human Side of Medical Error on Display

March 24, 2010 - 7:00pm


Victims of medical malpractice and their family members gathered today in Tallahassee to lobby against legislation that would cap damages against emergency room personnel.

The Florida Justice Association (FJA), which represents trial attorneys, organized a news conference for the victims and their family members.

Pointing to the 20 people around him, who were all carrying signs with photos of their loved ones impacted by medical malpractice, Marcus Michaels of the FJA said, These are the representatives of the human cost of medical negligence.

Nurse Practitioners Rally, Hoping to Write Prescriptions

March 23, 2010 - 7:00pm


Health care continued to dominate the Florida Legislature Wednesday -- this time with nurse practitioners demanding to be able to write prescriptions.

More than 300 nurse practitioners rallied at the Capitol to lobby for legislation that would allow them to prescribe medicines. Florida and Alabama are the only two states in the nation that don't allow nurse practitioners to prescribe controlled medicine.

Bills in the House and Senate would change the law. But, neither has much of a chance of passing during the session.

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.

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