Politics

Public Insight Network
11:00 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Texting While Driving And Other Sins Of Florida's Drivers

39 states - including libertarian-leaning New Hampshire - ban texting while driving. Florida isn't one of them.
Credit taestell

Florida is one of only 11 states that does not prohibit texting while driving.  Though state legislators have already introduced 3 texting ban bills for the upcoming session, similar bills have failed in the past several years. 

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Session 2013
9:00 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Legislators Want To Deny Licenses To U. S. Graduates Of Free Cuban Medical School

HEADED FOR THE BLACK LIST: The Latin American School of Medicine is the world's largest medical school. Republicans in the Florida Legislature want to make sure that American graduates of the Cuban school cannot get Florida medical licenses.
Credit Toronto Star

American medical students who get their diplomas in Cuba could forget about practicing in Florida if legislative bills filed by two Hialeah Republicans are passed this session.

State Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. said Americans who overlook human and civil rights abuses just to get a cheap medical degree lack the "moral clarity to serve patients in Florida."

The Senate bill, SB 456, was filed by State Sen. Rene Garcia.

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Session 2013
12:01 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Hager's Bill Could Ban Smoking At The Beach

NOT AT THE BEACH: State. Rep. Bill Hager of Boca Raton wants to let cities and counties ban smoking at beaches and parks.
Credit billhager.com

A determined Palm Beach County teenager is gaining ground on a big goal -- stopping people from smoking at Florida's beaches and public parks.

Caitlyn Johnston's campaign caught the eye of State. Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, who filed a bill (HB 439) giving cities and counties the power to ban smoking on their own public lands.

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The Art Of Politics
11:00 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Limericks Inspired By Florida's Muddy Politics

Can you explain a state policy in a limerick?
Credit Public Domain Pictures

Politics can be quite the poetic muse - especially statehouse politics, it turns out.

We recently challenged members of the Public Insight Network to write about politics in the Sunshine State - in a limerick.* 

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Medicaid Policy
9:00 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Why Florida Lawmakers Are Now Considering Medicaid Expansion

State Sen. René García is less opposed to Medicaid expansion than he used to be.
Credit Sammy Mack / WLRN

When Florida sued to overturn the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers targeted a piece of the law that would have forced Florida to make Medicaid available to more than a million uninsured Floridians.

The U. S. Supreme Court upheld most of the act but it made Medicaid expansion optional.

Now some Florida lawmakers who originally opposed Medicaid expansion are seriously considering that option.

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Immigration Reform
11:34 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Rubio Says We 'Can't Round Up And Deport Millions'

Rubio has become a leading voice for the group’s plan.
Credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Florida’s Marco Rubio is among a group of eight Democratic and Republican Senators unveiling a bipartisan immigration plan today.

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Embargo On Cuba
10:00 am
Mon January 28, 2013

DNC Chair: 'Unbelievable Oppression' In Cuba Makes Continuing Embargo Necessary

South Florida Congresswoman and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz addresses the audience at a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches event.
Credit C. DiMattei

The leader of the Democratic National Committee says the U.S. embargo of Cuba should remain in place, in spite of recent reforms in the Communist island nation.

Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz spoke before a crowd of over 500 people Friday at an event sponsored by the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches. 

The DNC chair says it doesn't make sense to lift the embargo, in light of what she calls the "unbelievable oppression" in Cuba.

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Mortgage Settlement
7:00 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Floridians Get More Money For Mortgage Assistance

Attorney General Pam Bondi announces $60 million from a national mortgage settlement is now available for additional assistance to Floridians.
Credit Jordan Michael/WLRN

An additional $60 million in assistance from a national mortgage settlement is now available to Floridians who lost their homes due to unfair foreclosure practices.

Attorney General Pam Bondi announced how the money will be used.

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Politics
9:00 am
Sun January 27, 2013

Drinks For All, And For More Hours, In Oakland Park

Credit Creative Commons, Steve Sparshott

Yesterday was a big day for bars and restaurants in Oakland Park. After a unanimous commission vote last week, the city lifted its law prohibiting the sale of alcohol between 7 a.m. and noon on Sunday mornings.

Oakland Park is the latest in a string of cities (including Fort Lauderdale, Margate and Deerfield Beach) to repeal their so called "blue laws.”

Hooligans Rule!

You can make an argument that Oakland Park’s blue law repeal started with a group of English hooligans who wanted to watch their European soccer matches.

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The Florida Roundup
12:00 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Is Florida Driving Us Crazy?

Florida is one of only 11 states that don't have a ban on texting while driving.
Credit JASElabs

On the Florida Roundup: From immigration reform to gay rights, we’ll discuss how the president’s inauguration speech resonated here.  

The Dolphins win the first battle in their fight for public funding to renovate Sun Life Stadium, with the Miami-Dade County Commission agreeing to ask the state for an increase in the hotel tax.  But Florida state lawmakers might not be receptive.

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Session 2013
9:30 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Florida Mental Illness Programs Leave Most Patients Untreated, House Panel Hears

DEEPENING CRISIS: Florida lawmakers are hearing that too little money is appropriated for mental illness programs and too much of that is misspent.
Credit healthyplace.com

Florida's system for the mentally ill is an underfunded shambles that leaves most people untreated and settles for locking up many of the rest.

Officials and experts told a House committee in Tallahassee on Thursday that system funding levels, in real terms, are below what they were in the 1980s and that the crisis is "deepening."

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Politics
4:04 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Marketplace In Miami: An Economic Roundtable On Miami's Biggest Challenges

Credit Charlton Thorp / Marketplace

 

Is Miami the city of the future? What economic challenges does it face going forward? Jeremy Hobson hosts a roundtable discussion with Paola Iuspa-Abbott, a reporter with the Daily Business Review, Andrea Heuson, a professor of finance at the University of Miami, and Dan Grech, formerly of Marketplace and now the news director at WLRN Miami Herald News.

One of the questions Marketplace asked: What is the biggest economic problem in South Florida right now? 

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Florida's Future
9:15 am
Thu January 24, 2013

'Seven50' Summit Will Plan The Half-Century For New Mega-Region: SouthEAST Florida

Movers, shakers, thinkers and doers from the seven counties of Southeast Florida are meeting today in downtown Miami to forge a 50-year trajectory for the region's economy, culture and quality of life.

The Seven50 summit is a recognition that the old Dade-Broward-Palm Beach "South Florida" has swelled out of its borders to become a seven-county mega-region with six million residents and a desperate need for shrewd and unified planning.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Bill Would Give Ethics Commission More Power With Expansive Overhaul

A bill, which would give the Ethics Commission more power to collect fines and strengthen conflict-of-interest laws, unanimously passed a Senate committee Tuesday.
Credit adamr / freedigitalphotos.net

A Senate committee unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that supporters called the most expansive overhaul in decades of the rules elected officials must follow, even as the measure obscured what could be a battle with the House over campaign finance laws.

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Session 2013
8:30 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Senate Gambling Committee Sets Glacier Pace For New Casino Legislation

PATIENCE: The Florida Senate serves notice it may be a year and a half before it even starts thinking about gambling legislation.
Credit Panama City News-Herald on Facebook

Florida's gambling future won’t be settled  in the 2013 session of the Florida Legislature -- and maybe not even in the one after that.

The divide between competing stakeholder visions remains very wide. And, at a hearing before the Florida Senate Gaming Committee on Tuesday, chairman Garrett Richter, R-Naples, said it could be 18 months before the work on developing legislation even begins.

"I want to do something deliberative and thoughtful," Richter told reporters after the meeting.

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