Session 2013

Community Contributor
10:32 am
Thu April 11, 2013

'Medical Marijuana' Contradicts A Physician's Do-No-Harm Mantra, Doctor Says

Pot can't be classified as a drug, says Dr. David A. Gross.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

A patient, we’ll call him John, called my office several years ago, frantic over the behavior of his son Aaron. “My son thinks there are helicopters circling our home, following his movements,” he said.

At my office the next day, dad was frantic. Aaron, who appeared disheveled and preoccupied, presented his experiences in a matter-of-fact style. He was certain some authority had singled him out to be placed under surveillance. He had no insight into the psychotic nature of his thinking.

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Politics
6:00 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Hey, Everybody! Florida Is Looking At A Budget Surplus Next Year

Tax revenues are up, enabling Florida lawmakers to spend $4 billion more than last year.
Credit athrasher/flickr

Florida lawmakers are doing something they haven't done in years: adding money to state programs.

The recession sent the state into multi-billion-dollar budget shortfalls that led to big cuts in education and state government payrolls.

But this year, lawmakers have money to play with. Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a budget of more than $74 billion for the fiscal year that starts in July. That's about a $4-billion increase in spending over the current year.

So where did the extra money come from?

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Community Contributor
2:01 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Unlike Most States, Florida Forbids Nurse Practitioners From Prescribing Some Drugs

Florida law restricts nurse practitioners from prescribing all kinds of medicine.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Once upon a time, nurses were not allowed to take blood pressure – only the doctor could do that. Times change.

  But they haven’t changed enough. For 19 years, nurse practitioners in Florida have tried to get the right to practice to the full extent of our education and capability, which includes prescribing scheduled substances. So far, our efforts have been fruitless.

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Medical Marijuana
10:00 am
Wed April 3, 2013

What's Snuffing Out Medical Weed In Florida?

SURVIVING ON POT: ALS patient Cathy Jordan has outlived her prognosis by decades, she believes, because of marijuana.
Credit Rick Stone

    

A medical marijuana bill sponsored by two South Florida Democrats has reached the end of the line in Tallahassee.

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Feral Cats in Florida
8:01 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Feral Cats Bill Pits Animal Welfare Advocates Against Conservationalists

Feral cats are a contentious topic in Florida.
Credit Austin Evan / Flickr Creative Commons

Animal welfare advocates are at odds with wildlife conservationalists as the Florida Senate prepares this week to look at a controversial feral cat bill. 

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Transportation
5:11 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Why Hasn't Florida Banned Texting And Driving?

39 states ban texting while driving. An additional 5 states make it illegal for novice drivers to text and drive.
Credit Jason Weaver/Flickr

Steve Augello lives in Spring Hill Florida, just outside of Tampa. Like a lot of dads, he always made his 17-year-old daughter, Alessandra, check-in with him when she was out. Augello also had a rule.

“You weren’t allowed to have that cell phone out while you’re driving,” Augello remembers telling Alessandra. “I even tested her a few times I called her when she was driving and it always went right through to the recorder.”

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News
6:20 am
Thu March 28, 2013

South Florida Seniors To Lawmakers: Hands Off Our Arcades

Above: 75-year-old Emma Illel plays one of the games at Cleopatra Arcade in Boynton Beach. Below: Outside Cleopatra, a message for Florida lawmakers
Credit Christine DiMattei

Playing cards -- even though you hate it.

Going shopping -- although you already have a closetful of clothes.

Staying home and watching television? Yawn.

Golf?  Not on your life.

Many of the senior citizens who gathered Tuesday in solidarity at Boynton Beach’s Cleopatra Arcade paint a grim picture of a future without their beloved senior arcades.

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Community Contributor
2:00 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

With Majority Of Floridians In Favor, Lawmakers Debate Medicinal Marijuana

Goldstein's daughter would benefit if medicinal marijuana is approved in Florida.
Credit Photo provided

My dedication to legalizing medical marijuana results from personal experience. My daughter has epilepsy, and although she was always compliant with her medication, she continued to have occasional seizures. When she moved to California for her job, and had yet another seizure, she met with a neurologist, who recommended that she join a medical marijuana dispensary. That was in 2000. She has not had another seizure since.

But she cannot come home to visit us in Florida. Because of our marijuana laws, she cannot legally maintain her doctor-recommended medical regimen.

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Questions From Town Hall
10:00 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Bookseller Wonders, Why Doesn't Florida Get Sales Tax For Stuff You Buy On The Internet?

FIVE YEARS, FIVE TRIES: State. Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda says no-new-tax sentiment has blocked her attempts to pass an Internet sales tax bill.
Credit Rick Stone

Florida's sales tax is a huge competitive downside for local retailers who sell the same products as their Internet competitors.

Because online sellers rarely collect the sales tax, it leaves the brick-and-mortar shops at a roughly 7-percent price disadvantage. And that's why business and retail lobbies have been demanding sales tax collection for online sales for years.

The issue arose during the WLRN-Miami Herald Session 2013 Town Hall last month, where we heard from Fort Lauderdale bookseller Donna Mergenhagen.

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Education
7:01 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Referendum Would Give Miami Dade College A Half-Cent Tax

Miami Dade College would benefit from a proposed half-cent tax.
Credit Photo from Miami Dade College's Facebook page

Lonnie Robinson fell on hard times in the early 80s with drugs and alcohol. Addiction kept him out of college for decades, and he found himself living under a bridge. During the day, Robinson found solace at a Miami Dade College library in Liberty City, where a reading program changed the future course of his life. He graduated from the college in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

"No other college would accept me," said Robinson, who’s 59. Today, Robinson visits the same library daily, where he hopes to mentor and inspire younger students.

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Community Contributor
2:02 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Floridians Would Get Right To Speak Before Public Boards Under Proposed Legislation

Floridians would have the right to speak at public meetings under proposed laws.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Citizens do not have the right to speak before a public board or commission takes official action, according to Florida’s Constitution. Though Florida citizens have a right to access public records and meetings, they do not have a right to be heard before governmental bodies take official action any given proposal.  This means that city council members, county commissioners and other officials could vote on issues without letting citizens have their say.  

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Medicaid Expansion
1:00 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Florida Republican Leaders Under Fire For Rejecting Medicaid Expansion Plan

After rejecting Gov. Rick Scott's plan to expand Medicaid in both the Florida House and Senate this month, Republican legislative leaders were hit with criticism from their Democratic counterparts.
Credit Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

When they voted on Medicaid expansion in Florida this month, Florida legislative leaders mostly organized along party lines. Now, the Republicans are getting heat from their Democratic counterparts in the House.

According to the News Service of Florida,

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Session 2013
10:00 am
Mon March 18, 2013

The Best App To Keep Tabs On Your State Legislators

It would be nice to know more about state politics.  But who can keep track of all those committees and subcommittees, you say.  And all the House and Senate bills with long names and random numbers – and who is my legislator anyway?

You could go to the official state websites to find your legislators and proposed laws

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The Florida Roundup
12:00 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

A New Pope And Allied Veterans: What You Should Know From This Week's News

Jennifer Carroll resigned from her post as lieutenant governor after an investigation uncovered that a charity she had worked for had defrauded the public and government agencies.
Credit Gage Skidmore

On the week's The Florida Roundup:

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Jennifer Carroll
10:00 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Internet Cafe Gambling Scandal Overshadow Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll's Resignation

Jennifer Carroll has stepped down from her role as Lieutenant Governor in Florida.
Credit www.flgov.com/meet-the-lt-governor/

Jennifer Carroll's days as lieutenant governor and presumed running mate for Gov. Rick Scott's reelection campaign may already have been numbered when she resigned this week because of her connection to an Internet gambling scandal.

Meanwhile, the investigation of  a purported charity called Allied Veterans of the World promises to overshadow the political shakeup in Tallahassee and lead to a big change in Florida's gambling landscape.

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