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DOC Deficit Balloons; Now $95 Million in the Red

February 20, 2013 - 6:00pm

The cost of downsizing and consolidating Florida's prison system cost at least $15 million more than expected this year and the Department of Corrections continues to operate in the red, the state's prisons secretary told lawmakers Wednesday.

Deficits related to the closure of two correctional facilities, a controversial push to privatize health service and overtime expenses incurred as a result of consolidation combined to deepen the Department of Corrections deficit to $95.2.million.

Rick Scott Doles Out $2.6 Million for Military Support

Weekly Roundup: Hello Managed Long-Term Care, Goodbye Crystal River Nuke Plant

February 8, 2013 - 6:00pm

Florida this week won approval to begin shifting low-income, long-term care residents to managed-care plans amid broader questions about whether it will go along with the federal government in expanding Medicaid.

Federal approval this week of the long-term care changes brought Republican backers a step closer to the Holy Grail -- a federal waiver allowing the state to shift virtually all Medicaid patients to HMOs or similar plans.

Meanwhile, lawmakers returned to preparation for a session that, although not scheduled to begin for more than a month, feels in full swing.

Could We Have a Full-Time Legislature?

Bondi Urges Borrowers to Act on Mortgage Settlement

Cabinet Approves Everglades Sugar Leases

January 23, 2013 - 6:00pm

The governor and Cabinet on Wednesday granted 30-year leases to a pair of sugar growers over the objections of environmental groups that urged the panel to approve much shorter terms for the tracts that drain into the Everglades.

By unanimous vote, the panel approved the renewal of leases for Florida Crystals and A. Duda and Sons on separate tracts totaling more than 13,000 acres in the Everglades Agricultural Area. In exchange the companies have agreed to sell parcels that water management district officials say they need now.

Weekly Roundup: Let My People Vote (Early and in More Places)

January 18, 2013 - 6:00pm

Gov. Rick Scott this week broke with many in his own party by saying some recent Republican-backed election changes should be reversed to give voters more time to cast ballots.

Following an election mired by hours-long lines in certain precincts, Scott said local elections supervisors need more flexibility to expand early voting hours and venues in an effort to make every potential vote count.

Sen. Oscar Braynon Files Docs vs. Glocks Repealer

January 15, 2013 - 6:00pm

A 2011 law restricting how doctors can talk to patients about guns would be repealed under a bill filed Tuesday in the state Senate.

Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, filed the measure (SB 314) to repeal the 2011 "Firearm Owners' Privacy Act," which isn't currently being enforced because a federal judge threw it out in July. The state, however, is appealing that ruling.

The law prevents doctors from asking patients questions about whether they have guns in their house.

Miami Dolphins to Ask for Money to Fix Stadium

January 14, 2013 - 6:00pm

Miami Dolphins management on Monday trumpeted the team's $400 million quest to renovate Sun Life Stadium, and while they say they'll pay for most of it, they will ask for some state help.

Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said the team will ask lawmakers to provide a $3 million a year tax rebate on sales of merchandise at the stadium, in Miami Gardens north of the city. Team officials said they will also ask the Legislature to pass a bill that would allow Miami-Dade County to raise its tourist bed tax from 6 percent to 7 percent on mainland hotels in Miami.

Weekly Roundup: Health Care -- But Wait, There's More ...

January 10, 2013 - 6:00pm

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and state health officials spent much of the week on their heels while the estimated price of the Affordable Care Act dropped faster than tree ornaments the day after Christmas.

What began Monday as a $26 billion millstone around the neck of Florida taxpayers was reduced eight-fold to a more manageable $3 billion expense after Agency for Health Care Administration officials fine-tuned their 10-year estimates for what expanding Medicaid would cost the state.




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