Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Friday, June 19

Jun 19, 2009


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Army Corps has cash and plan to strengthen Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee

Bite by bite, a giant clam-shell-style scoop lowered by a crane chomps into the 30-foot-tall earthen mound that for seven decades has guarded South Florida against getting swamped by Lake Okeechobee.


Firm to look at ways to ease Daytona Beach flooding

The city has hired an Orlando engineering consulting firm to study several different measures that could alleviate flooding in the low-lying areas off Nova Road hardest hit by last month’s record-setting rains.


Florida probes Miami-area medical-equipment kickbacks

Medicaid investigators are targeting fraud in Miami-Dade County, zeroing in on questionable billing for medical equipment.

State investigators snuffed out more Medicaid fraud in Miami-Dade this week: They swept 12 medical equipment providers suspected of bilking the state healthcare program for low-income people by billing for oxygen concentrators that are not medically needed.


Legislative agency pans Fla. Medicaid experiment

The Florida Legislature’s watchdog agency on Thursday recommended against expanding an experimental Medicaid program, once touted by former Gov. Jeb Bush as a national model, unless more data can be obtained.


Fla. pension fund begins in-state investing

Florida’s public employee pension fund has launched a new program that will make venture capital investments with in-state companies.


Gainesville man accused in $1.8M insurance scam

The insurance agent allegedly pocketed premiums for policies he took out.

Gainesville insurance agent James Sirmans Jr. is in a San Diego jail awaiting extradition on a charge of first-degree grand theft after allegedly pocketing $1.8 million in premiums for policies he took out on 20 sham businesses he started.


Florida Growth Fund launched this morning

Officials of the State Board of Administration presented the details this morning regarding the launch of the Florida Growth Fund, an investment program that will back technology and growth-related companies with a significant presence in Florida.


Meetings raise questions for state utilities regulator

In coming weeks, Katrina McMurrian will be among five state officials deciding whether Florida’s largest utility companies are granted more than $1.3 billion in rate increases.


New Florida law takes aim at illegal pill trade

Florida will launch a new program to monitor prescription drug sales next year to crack down on illegal pills under a bill signed by the governor.

Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday signed legislation aimed at curbing the growing black market of illegal prescription drugs flowing from South Florida pain clinics across the eastern United States.


Gov. Charlie Crist limits ‘double-dipping’ for state workers

Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday signed into law new rules that will limit state employees’ ability to collect a paycheck and a pension from the same agency.


Rep. Kendrick Meek is no mild contender

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek loves a good fight.  As a state senator, the Miami Democrat sparred frequently with then-Gov. Jeb Bush — staging an overnight sit-in in 2000 to protest Bush’s plan to roll back affirmative action in Florida.


Alex Sink offers refunds to reelection contributors

Now running for governor, Sink has offered to refund donations made when she was seeking reelection as the state’s chief financial officer.

When Democrat Alex Sink sought reelection as Florida’s chief financial officer, she was such a safe bet to win a second term that a number of Republicans raced to her campaign with $500 checks in hand.


U.S. House agrees to cut NASA exploration

Overriding concerns from NASA allies in Congress, the U.S. House agreed 259-157 on Thursday evening to a 2010 budget proposal that would slash nearly $700 million from the agency’s plans to replace the space shuttle.


Tentative House Committee Schedule on Financial Regulatory Reform Released

U.S. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank on Thursday announced the Committee’s tentative schedule for consideration of the the Obama Administration’s plan for financial regulatory reform and restructuring.


NAIC Likes Most Of The Obama Financial Regulatory Plan 

The Obama administration’s financial services regulatory reform proposal, that basically leaves the state insurance regulatory system intact, has drawn a positive response from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.


SEC chief talks new financial regulations

Making it easier for shareholders to seat directors on company boards, restricting short-selling in down markets, strengthening oversight of mutual funds, and tightening scrutiny and standards for investment advisers are among the pro-investor initiatives being undertaken by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency’s chairman said Thursday.


P&C Insurance Industry Will Be Smaller at End of Financial Crisis

The property and casualty insurance industry is projected to be smaller, in dollar terms, once the current financial crisis is corrected, according to a leading industry economist.


Senators seek tax relief for Chinese drywall victims

Three U.S. senators, including Florida Democrat Bill Nelson, and a U.S. congressman have written to the Internal Revenue Service asking that costs incurred by homeowners who have fallen victim to Chinese drywall should be deductible for federal tax purposes.


Texas coastal residents to bear brunt of Farmers increase

Farmers Insurance customers living closer to the coast could see home insurance rates climb higher than the average 9.9 percent statewide hike the company notified regulators about this week.


State Farm to increase auto insurance rates in Texas

State Farm Mutual customers will see auto insurance rates climb an average 3 percent statewide later this summer.


New rebrand in works for AIG commercial P/C unit

AIU Holdings Ltd. is close to settling on a new name as part of its review of the company’s brands and its efforts to distinguish itself from American International Group Inc.


Fitch: U.S. Workers’ Comp Faces Challenges Following 2008 Underwriting Losses

According to a special report issued today by Fitch Ratings, the workers’ compensation insurance market faces considerable near-term challenges as the industry recorded an underwriting loss in 2008. Underwriting performance is expected to worsen in 2009 as rate reductions persist and loss costs trend higher.


RIMS Says 2008 Cost Of Risk Dropped 9.4 Percent 

The average total cost of risk, made up of insurance premiums retained losses and risk management administrative costs, fell  9.4 percent per $1,000 of revenue in 2008, according to a survey.


Employers Holdings, Inc. to be Added to S&P 600

Employers Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EIG) announced Standard & Poor’s will add it to the prestigious S&P 600 SmallCap Index.


Obama’s pick to lead CPSC gets panel’s nod

Inez M. Tenenbaum, President Barack Obama’s choice to head the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, got one step closer to the job Thursday when a Senate committee unanimously voted to approve her nomination.


Supreme Court makes age-bias suits harder to win

The justices, overturning a jury award won by a 54-year-old who was demoted, say workers bear the full burden of proof.

With workplace age-discrimination claims rising rapidly, the Supreme Court made it much harder Thursday for older workers to win in court.


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