Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Monday, March 8

Mar 8, 2010



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Florida legislation to limit sinkhole claims to 25%

On Azalea Blossom Drive, homeowners feel that at any moment, “We could fall into a hole. That’s very scary,” said Laura Clemons.


Editorial:  Florida’s unacceptable risk

Legislature should require insurers to have the means to cover their policyholders

Florida homeowners have learned to live with the risk of hurricanes. They shouldn’t have to live with the risk that their property insurer won’t cover their losses if disaster strikes.


Manatee County lawsuits over defective Chinese drywall heading to trial

A lawsuit involving four Manatee County homes is the latest salvo in the legal battle over Chinese drywall, which is about to go on trial for the first time next week.


Drywall evidence presents dilemma for Miami-based Lennar Corp.

Evidence presented at the Chinese drywall remediation trial in New Orleans provided some insights on the extent of the damage to homes.


Coral Gables couple again accused of stealing, selling patient records

A Coral Gables couple are indicted a second time on charges of stealing the private records of patients to sell to lawyers for personal-injury claims.

Last year, they were charged with running a racket to pilfer patient records from Jackson Memorial Hospital to sell to lawyers for personal-injury claims.


Lawson has mixed record with insurance industry

You could say Al Lawson knows insurance.


Heartland Institute Florida Insurance Project:  Wake-up call on property insurance

Paige St. John’s exposé on Florida’s nearly bankrupt property insurance system is a wake-up call for Floridians who depend on their insurance to restore their lives after catastrophic events.


Editorial:  Red-light cameras–Either standardize use or ban them

Traffic enforcement cameras have become so pervasive in Florida that a Web site maps them out.


Commentary:  Auto insurance fraud threatens Tampa area drivers

Every day, hundreds of thousands of drivers in the Tampa Bay area head onto local roadways to work, shop or play.


Crackdown urged on undocumented migrants’ mental healthcare

With a waiting list for Florida mental health facilities, a state debate is emerging on whether illegal immigrants should have the same rights to public healthcare as legal residents.

The crisis puts Florida at the forefront of a national debate over whether illegal immigrants should enjoy the same public healthcare rights as legal residents.


Medicare cuts push Florida docs to rally

Pending cuts in Medicare reimbursements are threatening the practices of local physicians, according to Manatee County Medical Society leaders.


State returned $22M of unclaimed property in February

The Florida Bureau of Unclaimed Property returned more than $22 million last month, marking the largest amount of unclaimed property returned to owners in state history.


State to pay $540 million on interest in loans to keep unemployment benefits flowing

The decision was easy for Gov. Charlie Crist and legislative leaders as they watched the economy sputter and voters seethe in an election year.


More trouble on the horizon for Florida banks

Community bankers Don Page and Larry Starnes were both breathing easier last week.


New York Times:   Deal to Save Everglades May Help Sugar Firm

When Gov. Charlie Crist announced Florida’s $1.75 billion plan to save the Everglades by buying out a major landowner, United States Sugar, he declared that the deal would be remembered as a public acquisition “as monumental as the creation of the nation’s first national park, Yellowstone.”


Backers of military in Florida oppose extensive  drilling in Eastern Gulf

Military backers told a House panel in no uncertain terms Friday that any talk of oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico better not hamper military operations in the region.


Senate pushes to end gambling talks with take-it-or-leave-it plan

The Florida Senate has come out with a new Seminole Indian gambling deal – and this time, the chamber is telling Gov. Charlie Crist and the tribe: Take it or leave it.


In Tallahassee today: recycling, gambling and, of course, the budget

Legislators will get the damage estimates on the Florida economy this week, as economists complete their revenue projections for the 2009-10 budget year and budget writers set to work on cutting programs to fill the expected $3.2 billion budget gap.


Florida ownership rights to get another look

State lawmakers may beef up protections of property owners’ rights by rewriting a law this spring that is at the center of a case of alleged fraud in Pasco County.


Reverse foreclosure forces banks to pay Florida homeowner association fees

Revenue-starved condominium and homeowners associations struggling to keep the taps running and the lawns mowed have found a novel way to squeeze money from units that don’t pay what they owe.


McCollum, Sink Stay on Sidelines Of Tough Session

Neither candidate has advanced a bold legislative agenda.

As state lawmakers grapple with how to close a $3.2 billion budget gap and shrink unemployment ranks, Florida’s leading candidates for governor are playing it safe.


Column:  Democrats see Florida District 25 as chance for gain

Heavily Hispanic, it includes Collier

With the departure of U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart from congressional District 25 – which includes much of Collier County and crosses the state into Miami-Dade – the election of his replacement could be hot, and opens the door for a Democrat to hold part of Southwest Florida.


Florida Democrat Stacy Frank faces a towering election problem

Florida party leaders consider South Tampa Democrat Stacy Frank one of their greatest hopes for wresting a state House seat away from the Republicans in November.


Business Development Consultant Chevon Baccus is Fourth to Open Campaign for Florida District 66 Seat

Chevon Baccus says her priorities will be education, economy.

Lake Wales business development consultant Chevon Baccus has become the fourth Republican to start a campaign for the open District 66 Florida House seat.


In Florida, Web operations sprout to report on the Capitol

Envision a well-financed news organization created by big oil companies. Or big power companies. Or gambling casinos. Or a political party. Or anyone else who could afford the tab.


Democrats file complaint against Republican Party of Florida over financial reports

Thurman: GOP violating ethics rules

The head of the Florida Democratic Party filed a legal complaint Friday accusing the state Republican Party of illegally juggling its state and federal financial reports.


Cantenses charged with running Ponzi scheme in Miami

A prominent Miami businessman and his wife have been charged with running a $135 million Ponzi scheme that targeted the Cuban-American community.


Obama sets conference on future of space program

President Barack Obama plans to host a conference in Florida next month on his administration’s approach to the next step in space exploration.


Clean Energy Fading in Florida

Solar industry sees widespread layoffs as state fund has dried up.

Despite all the attention Florida has gotten for its clean-energy efforts – including President Barack Obama’s recent visit to a solar plant in Arcadia – many experts say the state’s clean-energy market is on the verge of collapse.


Florida aims to lure tourists from burgeoning China

South Florida is starting to court the next big thing in tourism: visitors from China.


We’re cheap: Orlando International Airport ranks No. 1 for low airfares

Orlando airfares: Orlando International Airport has the lowest average airfares of any major airport in the country, according to the airport’s latest research.


Florida Legislature Considers Mickey Mouse on a License Plate

Plan being worked on that would sell advertising space on vehicle tags.

A Mickey Mouse license plate courtesy of Walt Disney World? How about a tag emblazoned with McDonald’s golden arches, Nike’s swoosh or, maybe, a Coke or Pepsi logo?  That’s the latest moneymaking idea being floated in the Florida Legislature in these hard economic times.


Florida lawmakers want restaurants to post calories on menus

A meal from your favorite eatery may soon come with a side of calories.


Sen. George LeMieux works to build his own political brand

The phone rang past 10 on a Saturday night. U.S. Sen. George LeMieux had a scoop: Florida was getting a nuclear aircraft carrier. “This is huge news,” he told a reporter.


Cash for Ike repairs can still be in limbo

Insurance money held up until complete repairs are assured

Problems with delayed insurance claims have dominated mortgage-related complaints to state regulators since Hurricane Ike – though it’s not clear how many of them involved Ike-related claims.


FEMA Revises Guidance On Policies Affected by National Flood Insurance Lapse 

Guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency regarding the lapse in the National Flood Insurance Program on Monday and Tuesday was revised late yesterday by the agency.


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