Politics

Environmental Issues in Session 2013
8:00 am
Thu March 7, 2013

High-Stake Environmental Issues Before The Florida Legislature in 2013

A number of bills before the 2013 Session hold interest for Florida's environmental groups.
Credit flguardian2 / Flickr Creative Commons

The Florida Legislative Session 2013 is in full swing, and environmental groups are worried about a number of  bills before lawmakers. Organizations like Audubon of Florida are focused on proposed measures that would impact environmental funding, wildlife protection, water quality and land use and conservation.  

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Politics
2:57 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Hallandale Mismanaged Millions In Redevelopment Funds, According To Report

Dr. Deborah R. Brown with former congressman Kendrick Meek.

Broward’s Inspector General has found that Hallandale Beach officials “grossly mismanaged” millions of dollars in public funds “entrusted to the care of its Community Redevelopment Agency,” according to a report obtained by BrowardBulldog.org.

  “The OIG (Office of Inspector General) investigation substantiated the allegations and uncovered numerous deficiencies in the city’s administration of the CRA,” says the 50-page preliminary report. It has not been released publicly  that has not been released publicly.

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Venezuela's Future
9:00 am
Wed March 6, 2013

The Morning After Hugo Chavez's Death: What Happens Next For Venezuela And Its Allies?

Venezuelans in Doral celebrate the death of Hugo Chavez.
Credit Andrea Torres / Miami Herald

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is dead. Public reactions from South Florida's sizeable Venezuelan ex-pat community were jubilant on Tuesday night. In Venezuela, less so.

The big question this morning: what happens next for Venezuela and its allies?

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Hugo Chavez Is Dead
7:35 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Hugo Chavez Is Dead: Here's What You Should Know

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, left, speaks with National Guard Cpl. Juan Rodriguez in Maracay, Venezuela, Sunday, April, 14, 2002.
Credit Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is dead, says the country's Vice President Nicolas Maduro.  Maduro made the announcement on Tuesday.

You can find the latest updates on what this means for Venezuela--and how South Floridians are taking the news--right here.

And be sure to check back; We'll be updating this post regularly.

Chavez Is Dead
7:31 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Venezuelan Team's Request For A Moment Of Silence For Hugo Chavez Turned Down

The Venezuelan flag, to the left of the American flag, flew at half staff for about 10 minutes in the outfield of Roger Dean Stadium. Team Venezuela's request for a moment of silence was denied.
Credit Manny Navarro / Miami Herald

Venezuela's national baseball team was warming up ahead of Tuesday evening's exhibition game against the Miami Marlins in Jupiter, Fla., when news arrived that President Hugo Chavez had died.

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Hugo Chavez And Weston
6:33 am
Wed March 6, 2013

'Weston-zuela' Welcomes News Hugo Chavez Is Dead

Cafe Canela owner Ramon Peraza waves a Venezuelan flag during a news report on the death of Hugo Chavez.
Credit C. DiMattei

It was busier than usual inside Café Canela last night, but owner Ramon Peraza repeatedly came out from behind the counter to give new arrivals a hug or a handshake. All of them were jubilant.

But Peraza struggles to describe his emotions.

“I feel that my heart is very, very happy and quiet, quiet. We are waiting for this for many years,” says Peraza

When Peraza says the word “quiet,” he makes a soothing gesture over his chest. 

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Citizens Property Insurance
12:00 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Citizens Property Insurance Could Require Two On Board To Hail From South Florida

Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, filed a bill in the Florida Senate Friday that would add a consumer advocate to Citizens Property Insurance Corp.'s board of directors. It would also require that two of the members hail from South Florida.
Credit Keerati / freedigitalphotos.net

There are seven faces behind Florida’s largest home insurer. But there could be eight. Or nine.

And two might have to be South Florida cardholders.

According to the News Service of Florida,

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Politics
8:00 am
Tue March 5, 2013

State CFO Objects Scott's Proposal to Expand Medicaid

Credit Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / freedigitalphotos.netChief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said Florida cannot financially handle Gov. Rick Scott's Feb. 20 proposal to expand Medicaid. 'Floridians deserve better than a plan to double down on a system awash in fraud, that raises costs on everyone, burdens small businesses and yanks the rug out from under doctors,' he stated in his weekly newsletter posted online Friday.Edit | Remove

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Politics
5:00 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

On Last Day For Fundraising, Lawmakers Wine And Dine In Tallahassee

Andrew's Grill is the place to be for Capitol movers and shakers at lunch time.
Credit LaCrai Mitchell/WLRN

Let the last ditch fundraisers commence.

They’ve been going on for weeks now, but they're in high gear today.

This is the last day lawmakers can raise money before the Florida Legislature convenes for the regular session.

Session typically begins on the first Tuesday in March, and it means a 60-day moratorium on legislative fundraising. 

So the Monday before opening day is rife with wining and dining in downtown Tallahassee. Most of the "receptions" take place within a few blocks of the Capitol.

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Sinkholes
10:24 am
Mon March 4, 2013

At Florida Sinkhole, Demolition Continues

In Seffner, Fla., on Sunday, demolition crews and firefighters watched as a crane operator worked to bring down the home where a man was sucked into a sinkhole last week.
Scott Audette Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 10:54 am

The grim work continues at a home near Tampa, Fla., where a man apparently died last week when a sinkhole opened up under his bedroom.

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Politics
12:00 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Why Florida's Stand Your Ground Law Isn't Budging

State Senator Chris Smith (D-Fort Lauderdale), a strong proponent of changing Stand Your Ground, says constituencies outside of South Florida are particularly opposed to any conversation about amending the law or gun control regulations.
Credit Jessica Meszaros/WLRN
  • A conversation about Stand Your Ground and Gun Control at the WLRN - Miami Herald Town Hall.

On The Florida Roundup, here's what we're talking about from this week's news:

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Family Law
11:36 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Payers Pin Hopes On Alimony Reform Bill

WHO GOT THE MERCEDES? Florida alimony payers say current law allows too much unfairness and needs to be reformed.
Credit cherylsmith999 on flickr

  When WLRN's Public Insight Network asked for comments about the alimony laws in Florida, it tapped into a very deep vein of anger and resentment.

Commenters told us about ex-husbands who could no longer plan to retire because of their lifetime alimony obligations. We heard from second wives who worried that the courts could come after their own income if it increased their husbands' ability to pay.

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Haiti Recovery
8:55 am
Thu February 28, 2013

What Happened To The Aid Meant To Rebuild Haiti?

Many homes that were rebuilt after the earthquake in 2010 are even more dangerous than the original ones. This three-story home was put up after the quake but is already slated for demolition to make way for an 18-unit housing project.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 4:39 pm

After a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, governments and foundations from around the world pledged more than $9 billion to help get the country back on its feet.

Only a fraction of the money ever made it. And Haiti's President Michel Martelly says the funds aren't "showing results."

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Politics
8:01 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Prosecutors Clear Cop Who Allegedly Threatened Suspect In Bathtub With Taser

Coconut Creek Police Officer James Yacobellis allegedly used the threat of a taser to interrogate a suspect.
Credit Photo via Wikipedia Creative Commons

A Coconut Creek police officer who held an activated Taser stun gun at the ready while questioning a frightened 19-year-old theft suspect he made stand in a bathtub won’t be charged with a crime.

Civil rights advocates call Officer James Yacobellis’ interrogation of Blake L. Robinson on Aug. 15, 2011, a disturbing example of police misconduct akin to torture.

But Broward corruption prosecutors did not see it that way.  In fact, their case closeout memo expressed tolerance for police use of the Taser as a technique to enhance an interrogation.

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Town Hall
7:00 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Talk To Us: Florida Legislators & A Session 2013 Sneak Peek At WLRN - Miami Herald Town Hall

Audience members weighed in at our live Town Hall event. Now it's your turn.
Credit Jessica Meszaros

Redistricting, property insurance, Medicaid expansion and political transparency were among the topics covered during this week’s Town Hall event on Session 2013 of the Florida Legislature hosted by WLRN and the Miami Herald.  The second annual forum marks the beginning of WLRN's coverage of Session 2013, which convenes March 5 and continues through May 3.

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