As lawmakers decide how --- or whether --- to move forward with parts of the federal Affordable Care Act, House and Senate select committees plunged Monday into issues such as a potential expansion of the Medicaid program and the law's effects on Florida businesses.
In back-to-back meetings, lawmakers heard testimony from people with far-different perspectives about the controversial health overhaul, which Florida Republican leaders resisted for more than two years.
Affordable Care Act issues are expected to dominate discussions of insurance in the Legislature in the weeks ahead but lawmakers will also take swipes at workers compensation, hurricane preparations and Citizens Property Insurance Corp when they return.
Above is a neighborhood in Haiti before the earthquake. One caller, Henryka of Coral Gables, who has worked in Haiti for the past 4 years, says the focus should not be on reconstructing what was there, but building something better.
On The Florida Roundup: Saturday marks the third anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. How has it affected us in South Florida, home to the nation’s largest Haitian diaspora? We take your calls on what you have seen in Haiti and what responsibility we have to this country less than 700 miles away. Why has development been so slow after so many promises?
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.
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.
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.
JUSTICE DIES: Ben Overton, far left, was the first state Supreme Court justice to be appointed rather than elected. Gov. Reubin Askew swore him in March, 1974. At right, an official court portrait from the 1990s.
Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Ben F. Overton, the first justice appointed by the governor after the switch in the 1970s from elected justices, has died from complications of heart surgery, a spokesman for the court said.
Overton, who retired in 1999, was 86.
On the court for more than two decades, his legacy includes letting cameras into Florida courtrooms.
In 2012, Florida remained the state that can't vote straight.
President Barack Obama sent Florida's GOP leaders in to shock by winning the state in November, and some Democrats followed his coattails to make the state slightly bluer. But while licking their wounds, Republicans remain in firm control of Florida's agenda.
Rep. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has been all over the news this week. On Monday, responding to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, he said all remedies must be "on the table" legislatively, including allowing teachers and principals to arm themselves on school grounds.
On Tuesday, after his comments had been reported widely, Baxley issued a statement that this is a time to respect the victims. "Contrary to media reports, no specific proposals have been advanced or filed by me," he wrote.
On the Florida Roundup: The tragedy in Connecticut hits home in what some people call “The Gunshine State,”as Florida has over a million concealed weapons permits, the most in the country. Do you feel safer? We hear your reaction to Florida’s milestone. And will gun control be on the agenda in Tallahassee?
In what may be a preview of the governor’s race, former governor Charlie Crist directly criticized Governor Rick Scott before a U.S. Senate hearing on voting rights. Crist was critical of Scott for helping to pass a 2011 election law that limited early voting hours.