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Judge Rules Against Gambling Regulators on Card Games

August 26, 2016 - 10:30pm

Florida gambling overseers were wrong to do away with a rule governing controversial "designated player" card games at pari-mutuel facilities without replacing the regulations, an administrative law judge said Friday.

Judge E. Gary Early's ruling could have widespread implications within the state's gambling industry and could have an impact on a lawsuit filed by the Seminole Tribe of Florida challenging the card games.

Racism Allegations against Judge Enter Death Row Case

August 4, 2016 - 7:15pm

A lawyer for Death Row inmate Terrance Phillips wants the Florida Supreme Court to order an investigation into allegations of racism involving the circuit judge who sentenced the Jacksonville man to death --- including accusations that the judge once said blacks should "go back to Africa."

Judge: Controversial Card Games Violate State Law

August 1, 2016 - 10:15pm

In a decision that could have wide-ranging implications for pari-mutuels throughout the state, an administrative law judge ruled Monday that the way "designated-player" card games are being operated by a Jacksonville poker room violates the state's ban on so-called banked card games.

Monday's ruling that the popular card games are being played illegally comes more than four years after Florida gambling regulators first signed off on the games, which have eclipsed other card games like Texas Hold 'Em in popularity among patrons.

Weekly Roundup: Party Parties Over, Real Politicking Begins

Medical Marijuana Ready to Hit the Market

July 20, 2016 - 6:30pm

Medical marijuana could be available to a select group of Florida patients as early as next week, after health officials gave the go-ahead for the state's first pot dispensary to begin distributing products.

The Northwest Florida operation, known as "Trulieve," is one of six dispensing organizations licensed by the state Department of Health to grow, process and distribute pot that purportedly does not get users high but is believed to alleviate life-threatening seizures.

Frustrated Police, Black Leaders Seek Answers after Shootings

July 18, 2016 - 8:30pm
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings

In the aftermath of fatal attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La., black leaders say Florida --- which has a long and ugly history of racism --- has reached a race-relations crossroads.

Meanwhile, one sheriff says the African-American community needs to "mature" as law enforcement officials seek to keep a lid on the violence that has erupted in other states.

High Profile Developer Backs Medical Marijuana Operation

July 13, 2016 - 11:00pm

Panhandle developer Jay Odom is bankrolling a Northeast Florida operation licensed by health officials to grow, process and distribute non-euphoric marijuana products, a lawyer for Chestnut Hill Tree Farm confirmed Wednesday.

Odom was sentenced to six months in prison three years ago after pleading guilty in a 2007 scheme to funnel $23,000 in campaign contributions through employees or their family members to a presidential candidate.

Federal Judge Blocks Abortion Law

July 1, 2016 - 6:00pm

Siding with Planned Parenthood affiliates, a federal judge late Thursday blocked key provisions of a sweeping new state law that would have barred abortion providers from receiving public funds for other services and required a dramatic increase in inspections of abortion records by health officials.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle's preliminary injunction came just hours before the new law would have gone into effect.

Gun Giveaway Draws Attention for Congressional Candidate

June 21, 2016 - 9:00pm
Greg Evers

Critics call it a gimmick, but state Sen. Greg Evers' decision to give away a semiautomatic rifle similar to a gun used in the massacre at an Orlando nightclub could be priceless.

Evers, running for an open Northwest Florida congressional seat in one of the state's most conservative districts, announced Monday morning on Facebook that he is giving away an AR-15 to a district resident who "likes" the social media post and shares it with others.

Justices Look at Semantics, 'Common Sense' in Slots Fight

June 7, 2016 - 4:30pm

In a case that could have broad implications for the state's gambling footprint, a tiny horse track on Tuesday tried to convince Florida Supreme Court justices that it should have slot machines, even without the express approval of the Legislature.

Marc Dunbar, a lawyer and part-owner of Gretna Racing in Gadsden County, relied on a semantic analysis to try to persuade the justices that a 2009 state law gave the track permission to let voters decide whether slots should be allowed at the pari-mutuel.

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