With another legislative fight brewing, the Florida Medical Association is signaling that it could play a large role this year in a debate about limiting the amount of money doctors can charge for dispensing drugs to workers' compensation insurance patients.
Sen. Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood) has filed a "domestic partnership" bill for the March session of the Florida Legislature. It would allow same-sex couples to establish recognized relationships that provide at least some marital benefits.
One opponent of the bill said it would not get far in the Republican-dominated Legislature.
Ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won't be able to attend his scheduled swearing-in this week. But his congressional allies have voted to allow the ceremony to be delayed while he recovers from his cancer surgery in Cuba.
It's estimated that more than 100,000 Venezuelans now live in South Florida legally and many more are undocumented residents who left their homeland to flee Chavez’s leftist regime.
When Gov. Rick Scott recently listed ways he thinks Florida could reduce voting difficulties and long polling lines, he drew the most attention for a change of course in suggesting that more early voting might help.
But another idea Scott raised may have more far-reaching implications for public policy in Florida, and might even be more difficult to accomplish than the politically volatile suggestion about early voting.
A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds a heart-shaped sign that reads in Spanish "I vote for Chavez!" and a picture of Chavez outside the National Assembly in Caracas over the weekend. On Thursday, Chavez is scheduled to be sworn in for a fourth term. Government officials are suggesting the ceremony could be delayed as the president recovers from cancer surgery in Cuba.
In the Bolivar Plaza of downtown Caracas, supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrive carrying photographs of their leader and singing songs urging him on. Music blares from loudspeakers, repeating over and over, "Chavez, my commander, is here to stay."
Chavez, however, is most definitely not here, and increasingly many Venezuelans wonder if he'll ever be back. He flew to Cuba, Venezuela's closest ally, for an operation that took place on Dec. 11. Before leaving for his fourth cancer surgery, Chavez named a successor.
Advocates for working folk haven’t had a lot of luck establishing a right to paid sick leave in Florida.
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan's proposal was defeated last year and, in Orlando, Orange County commissioners found a way to avoid a sick time referendum, even though 50,000 residents had won a ballot spot, fair and square, with their signatures on a petition.
Republican State Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla of Miami was an early and enthusiastic supporter of cutting back Florida's early voting period from 14 to 8 days in 2011. He called it a "voter friendly" bill that would save money.
"Generally, early voting in Miami-Dade County has not been very efficient, " Diaz de la Portilla said at the time. "What you see more often than not is that there is a trickle of two or three people a day at a very high cost to keep those public libraries and polls open. ... We felt it was an efficiency measure."
A South Florida lawmaker filed legislation Friday to repeal the law allowing the use of red light cameras, following a report earlier this week that says intersections where they're used have seen drops in crashes in most places.
Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, seeks to end the use of the cameras, saying they unfairly dole out tickets to people who can't defend themselves, noting that malfunctioning cameras can't be cross-examined.
Among the more than 80 House freshmen who were sworn in this week, there were several who had been there before — including Florida Democrat Alan Grayson.
After starting his first term four years ago, Grayson quickly made a name for himself with biting comments targeting Republicans — like when he said during the health care debate: "If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly."
His national stature, however, didn't prevent him from being defeated in 2010. But now Grayson is back.