Politics

Church And State
2:01 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

ACLU Warns Miami-Dade Commissioners Not To Approve Prayer Before Meetings

ACLU of Florida warns upcoming county commission policy would disrupt separation of church and state.
Credit Wyoming_Jackrabbit /Flickr

The Miami Dade County Commission will consider a policy next month that would allow prayer before every commission meeting.

For years, the commissioners have simply observed a moment of silence before meetings, which allowed people to pray or not pray.

However, at the urging of a conservative Christian group, the commissioners are moving to change that policy back to a few years ago when praying was allowed before meetings.

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Legalizing Marijuana
1:09 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Florida Groups Seek Legal Status For Pot

Reefer Madness: Times have changed and advocates for legal pot hope attitudes have, too.

Florida advocates for liberalizing marijuana laws  felt the rush on Nov. 6 when two states, Colorado and Washington, legalized marijuana and Massachusetts approved its use for medical purposes.

So they really like their chances for their own proposed measures, two for medical and one for out-and-out legalization.

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Politics
11:52 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Post-Election, Pre-Session In Tallahassee

Steve Bousquet says the Florida Legislature hasn't changed much with the election.
Credit https://twitter.com/account/profile_image/stevebousquet

Things are changing in Tallahassee, but how much?

Republicans have lost their supermajority control of the Florida Legislature after Democrats made modest gains in both chambers in this month's elections.

What will that mean for future policy decisions and the state's unpopular governor Rick Scott?  

Why will 2013 be his most important year, and is Florida's former Gov. Charlie Crist breathing down Scott's neck? Will Crist go after his old job?

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Florid Voting Law
6:36 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Democrats In U.S. House Want Federal Investigation Of Florida Voting Law

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings and his Democratic colleagues in the House are asking the federal government for an investigation into Florida's voting law.
Credit cliff1066™ /Flickr

Just this week, news circulated that former leaders of the Florida Republican Party have admitted that Florida's voting law was aimed at suppressing the vote this year during President Obama's reelection.

Democrats in the U.S. House are clamoring for a federal investigation.

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Texting And Driving
1:45 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Senator Trying Again With Texting Ban

A state texting and driving ban could pass next year.
Credit Jason Weaver /Flickr

For the fourth year in a row, state lawmakers are going to take a stab at passing a law that would ban texting while driving all around the state.

State Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, has introduced the ban: Senate Bill 52. Her bill was among a small list of bills that have been introduced already for the upcoming Florida Legislative session, which starts in March 2013.

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Hugo Chavez
1:40 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Venezuela's Chávez Will Return To Cuba For Medical Treatment

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks on November 1.
AFP/Getty Images

Venezuela's National Assembly has approved a measure that allows President Hugo Chávez to leave the country for medical treatment in Cuba.

Chávez, as we've reported, has been battling cancer for more than a year. His treatments and the secrecy surrounding his condition led some to wonder whether he could handle a rough reelection campaign. But he made a remarkable comeback and handily won another term in October.

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The Latino Vote
9:44 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Historians Say A Speech JFK Gave The Night Before He Died Started The Latino Vote

Historians say Kennedy was the first president to court the Latino vote.
Credit U.S. Embassy New Delhi

The Latino vote was one of the most talked about voting blocs this year, mostly because this demographic helped propel President Obama into his second term in office this year -- especially in important swing states such as Florida and New Mexico.

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Judicial Ethics
6:40 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Former Judge Pando Faces New Charges

Ana Pando: New judges accuse former judge of campaign violations and writing bad checks.
Credit Miami-Dade County

Florida's Judicial Qualifications Commission has filed some new charges against former Miami-Dade County Judge Ana Pando.

Pando, who resigned from the bench after losing her primary campaign in August, has been under investigation for using her prestige and judicial stationery to revive a dissolved corporation headed by a friend of hers.

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The Florida Vote
12:01 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Top Republicans Confess: Voter Suppression Was Goal Of 2011 Florida Election Law

Jim Greer: Voter suppression was the goal, voter fraud was the marketing.

The whole idea behind the voting law state legislators passed in 2011 was to discourage Democratic voters.

That's the bottom line in a Palm Beach Post story by Dara Kam and John Lantigua. Although the law was presented as an urgently needed defense against voter fraud, sources including former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist and former state GOP Chairman Jim Greer and some Republican campaign consultants tell the Post a very different story:

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City of Miami
9:00 am
Mon November 26, 2012

City Of Miami Fails To Meet Its Own Financial Guidelines

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and other city officials received word that the city isn't following its own financial rules.
Credit Blanca Stella Mejia /Flickr

A look into the City of Miami's finances this year shows the city failed to meet its own financial rules and benchmarks.

According to The Miami Herald, "Miami failed to comply with eight of its 13 financial standards in the 2010-11 budget year, according to an internal audit published late last month."

Among the shortcomings:

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Casino Gambling
6:37 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Why 2013 Florida Legislature Will Hear No Casino Bills

Too Much? Some think this over-the-top rendering of a casino idea for the Herald site may have worked against the 2012 gambling bill.

Gina Jordan's casino legislation story.

The proposal to build mega-casinos in South Florida never made it to a final vote in the last session of the Florida Legislature. Now it looks like the issue may not be coming up again for at least another year.

Senate President Don Gaetz is setting up a new committee to examine Florida gambling which he says is both over- and under-regulated. But Gaetz is considered an opponent of gambling and he's in no hurry to pass a casino gambling bill.

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Charlie Crist
9:30 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Jilted GOP Reserves Special Anger For Crist

Crist's open support of President Obama has infuriated state Republicans.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist is taking fire from the Republican press release machine now that speculation is growing that he'll challenge Gov. Rick Scott as a Democrat in 2014.

The AP and Sarasota Herald-Tribune suggest there's an angry personal element to this that transcends ordinary politics, probably because Crist was once a Republican governor and the darling of his party. But now he's a cheating rat.

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Drug Money
11:37 am
Wed November 21, 2012

How The Government Set Up A Fake Bank To Launder Drug Money

Skip Latson marks the fake opening of RHM Trust Bank.
Bill Bruton

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 1:18 pm

In the early 1990s, Colombian drug cartels had a problem: They had more money than they knew what to do with.

"They were having a very difficult time with just the logistics of laundering millions and millions and millions of dollars every week," says Skip Latson, who worked for the DEA at the time.

So Latson and Bill Bruton, who was a special agent with the IRS, hatched a plan: They'd create a fake, offshore bank catering to the needs of the drug cartel.

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Florida Legislature
10:15 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Why The Florida Senate Might Be Less Corrupt Soon

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz is moving toward ethics reform in Tallahassee.
Credit flsenate.gov

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz was sworn in Tuesday along with his plans to move ethics reform forward in the  Legislature this year.

Gaetz has said in the past that he will make anti-corruption measures for state lawmakers a focus of his leadership in the Senate. In the past, bills aimed at passing ethics reform have failed in the Florida Senate.

Howevever, Gaetz has already made good on his promise to change ethics rules by changing some Florida Senate rules.

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Politics And Transportation
10:00 am
Wed November 21, 2012

What A State's Politics Says About Its Traffic Death Rate

Research shows that states that voted for Obama in this election have fewer fatal car accidents.
Credit neatlysliced /Flickr

A non-profit investigative news site found an interesting link between whom a state voted for in this election and the rate of traffic deaths there.

According to FairWarning, a state that voted for President Obama in this past election (a blue state) is likely to have fewer deathly traffic accidents compared with  a state that went for Mitt Romney in November (a red state).

The news outlet also reports that there is really no concrete explanation as to why there is this red state-blue state divide when it comes to traffic deaths.

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