Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Friday, May 15

May 15, 2009

To view a complete story, click on a headline below:


Florida drought creates state of emergency

Gov. Charlie Crist declared a statewide state of emergency Thursday because of extreme drought conditions in central Florida that have made the area tinderbox ripe for wildfires.


Homeowners Choice profit jumps 60% with Citizens policies

Clearwater-based Homeowners Choice Inc. posted strong gains in revenue and profit after assuming policies from Citizens Property Insurance Corp.


Insurers’ rate deregulation up to Crist

The fate of legislation that would allow Florida’s largest property insurers to raise homeowners rates as much as they want rests with Gov. Charlie Crist, who may not want to make waves as he runs for U.S. Senate.


Fla. Agent Group Blasts Lawmakers’ Insurance Stance

Officials of a Florida independent agent’s trade group, the Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FALA), hit state legislators Thursday for what they said were actions on insurance putting homeowners at financial risk in the event of a big hurricane.


Editorial: Let consumers pick

Open up market for big property insurers

Gov. Charlie Crist faces an intriguing dilemma over his decision on the fate of a property insurance measure known as the Consumer Choice Bill.


Rep. Bill Proctor: Florida needs more property insurance choices

Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty’s assertions that Florida has “one of the most” competitive property insurance markets and easing rate regulation will not encourage private carriers to return to Florida, are both open to serious question.


Power lines being hardened for storms

Florida Power & Light plans to spend $85 million this year hardening electrical lines for critical infrastructure.

Continuing to harden the power system to better withstand hurricanes, Florida Power & Light announced this year it’s strengthening the electrical lines around 14 hospitals and acute care facilities in Miami-Dade and 10 similar facilities in Broward.


State Farm gets award from Florida for storm exhibit before the big pullout

State Farm may be locked in an epic battle with Gov. Charlie Crist and the state over its plan to drop more than 1 million policies and withdraw from Florida’s property insurance market.


Storm of sorts for Crist at hurricane conference

Gov. Charlie Crist praised Florida’s emergency responders Thursday, but not before shaking off reporters challenging his political commitment to Florida and the Republican Party.


Editorial: SBA may need complete overhaul

Three statewide politicians who oversee the state agency that invests billions of dollars in government assets finally agreed this week to exercise more direct oversight.


Column:  A busy day at the candidates, er, Cabinet meeting

It’s all about politics now.


3 in South Florida charged with defrauding Medicare

Federal agents rounded up three Miami-Dade men accused of bilking Medicare of millions of dollars at clinics in five states. Some of the clinics didn’t even exist.


Editorial: Workers’ comp bill kicks injured workers

Reform of the worker’s compensation system is a perennial issue, with businesses and employees at odds over medical costs and litigation.


Veto fight heats up on doctors’ pay

In a case of odd bedfellows, consumer groups have joined the state’s largest insurer in seeking a veto of a bill that would make it easier for doctors to treat health plan patients without joining the plan’s network.


Gov. Charlie Crist’s no-new-taxes pledge might lead him to veto Florida budget

Gov. Charlie Crist signed a no-new-taxes pledge Thursday, indicating that while he’s running for the U.S. Senate he might veto some of the fees and taxes legislators raised to balance Florida’s budget.


Crist urged to veto growth management bill

Environmentalists across the state are urging Gov. Charlie Crist to veto a newly passed growth management bill that was sponsored by state Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton.


Crist thanks water district officials for ‘yes’ votes in U.S. Sugar deal

A day after winning approval for his landmark Big Sugar land purchase, Gov. Charlie Crist thanked water managers in person.


Tax plan sets off new round of debate

When state lawmakers adopted a proposed constitutional amendment on property taxes late in their spring session, it came as something of a surprise even to those who backed it.


Gambling Action: May 15

The ball is in the Seminole Tribe’s court.


Fla. AG McCollum to announce run for governor next week

Attorney General Bill McCollum will announce Monday that he’s running for governor.


Lt. Gov. Kottkamp considered bid for governor, but leaning more toward attorney general

Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp said he considered a run for governor, but now says it’s “almost a certainty” he will run for attorney general.


Editorial: Party bosses jump the gun

The interests of Floridians – not political parties – should be paramount as candidates jockey for position in the state’s 2010 elections.


Two newcomers enter District 57 House race

With the primary more than 15 months away, two first-time candidates have already tossed their names into the House District 57 race.


Case against tobacco-maker being heard in Pensacola

Opening statements began Thursday in a wrongful death lawsuit that pits a Pensacola widow against tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds.


Bolden seen as likely pick to lead NASA

President Barack Obama is poised to pick a nominee to lead NASA as early as next week, and former astronaut Charles Bolden remains a contender.


Allstate, 5 Other Insurers Okayed For Bailout Billions

The Treasury Department said Thursday night it had approved Allstate Corporation and five other insurers to get taxpayer rescue money under its multibillion-dollar Capital Purchase Program.


Former Insurance Regulator Tells Congress U.S. Should Supervise Parts Of Insurance

Consumer advocate and former insurance regulator J. Robert Hunter said Thursday in congressional testimony that the federal government should take over capital, surplus and solvency regulation of insurance.


We’ll Put U.S. Oversight On Insurers Shortly, House Subcommittee Chairman Vows

The chairman of a key subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee today said he intends to move quickly to impose direct federal oversight of insurance, starting with a system to regulate systemic risk.


Trial against corps over Katrina flooding ends

A trial against the Army Corps of Engineers for the flooding of eastern New Orleans, the Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish during Hurricane Katrina ended Thursday after four weeks of testimony.


Louisiana Plans Demonstrations for Opening of 2009 Hurricane Season

Residents to urge national leaders to restore Louisiana’s coast

With the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season just three weeks away, the America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) today announced it will bring together coastal residents for public demonstrations and rallies to urge national leaders to restore Louisiana’s coast, the state’s first line of defense against storm surge and an area vital to U.S. security.


Mississippi AG: Keep State Farm settlement deal sealed

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has asked a court to block renewed efforts to make public a settlement agreement between his office and insurer State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. that was part of their feud over homeowner claims from Hurricane Katrina.


FEMA unveils its new disaster trailer

A fleet of newly designed mobile homes was rolled out here yesterday by federal officials to replace the much-criticized travel trailers used after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.


U.S. Senate panel schedules hearing on tainted Chinese drywall

A U.S. Senate subcommitee has scheduled a long-awaited hearing on the issue of tainted Chinese drywall for next week.


To unsubscribe from this newsletter, please send an e-mail to