Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Thursday, March 12

Mar 12, 2009


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Florida CFO Sink Outlines Plan To Deal With Storm Risk

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced she had written key state lawmakers urging them to adopt a four step plan to help reduce the state’s exposure to hurricane risk.


Bradenton considering charging fees for crashes

When cars collide, the expenses to control traffic and respond to the injured mount for police and fire agencies, from about $180 for a fender bender up to $2,000 for a fatal wreck.


Bennett bill aims to block crash fee

State Sen. Mike Bennett has introduced a bill that would prevent local governments, like Bradentons, from seeking reimbursement for the expense of public safety departments responding to accidents

Sarasota’s Century Bank threatened with sanctions over flood insurance regulations

Federal regulators have slammed Century Bank of Sarasota, saying it has engaged in ‘unsafe and unsound’ banking practices. The Office of Thrift Supervision, which also charged Century with violating the Truth in Lending Act and flood insurance regulations, wants to hit the thrift with a cease-and-desist order.


CFO Sink seeks tougher laws on annuity fraud targeting seniors

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink wants Florida lawmakers to grow ‘alligator teeth’ to punish insurance agents who con seniors into risky deals for annuities.


Obama’s FEMA pick offers calm after the storm

Florida emergency manager Craig Fugate would bring a lot with him if he takes over the Federal Emergency Management Agency: plenty of hurricane experience, a blunt style, and a belief that preparation begins on the local level.


BLOG:  Florida Senate president gets earful from State Farm agent

Senate President Jeff Atwater got an earful from a combative State Farm agent at what was supposed to be a routine Q-and-A with Treasure Coast leaders.


Drywall maker to study Florida home

National Gypsum Co. is trying to determine what role, if any, its drywall is playing in a growing controversy over the building material that has triggered lawsuits against home builders and other suppliers in Florida.


Miami legislator stripped of post after defying House speaker

Rep. Julio Robaina, R-Miami, was replaced as the chair of the House Criminal and Civil Justice Policy Council Wednesday, after he bucked House Speaker Larry Cretul over a bill to limit lawyer fees.

CFO Sink urges House and Senate to oppose TABOR

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink sent a letter to Senate President Atwater and House Speaker Cretul Wednesday voicing her strong objection to the “Taypayer’s Bill of Rights” or TABOR (SJR 1906 and HJR 1263).  In the letter, CFO Sink outlined the negative impact TABOR would have on Florida’s bond ratings, an issue critically important as the state has already been put on negative watch.


Growth department in crosshairs

A bill that would abolish the state’s growth management agency passed a major legislative committee Wednesday but probably won’t be supported by Gov. Charlie Crist.


Crist’s pick for high court gets mixed reaction

In a move that angered some conservatives but could please minority supporters, Gov. Charlie Crist has named Circuit Judge James Perry of Sanford to the Florida Supreme Court.


Ex-Florida police chief nominated today as Obama’s ‘drug czar’

Former Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce police chief Richard Guilford “Gil” Kerlikowske has been nominated by the White House as the nation’s next “drug czar.”


Florida legislators defend earmarks as Obama signs bill chock-full of them

When it comes to the age-old practice of Congress sending millions of dollars back home, not even President Obama is likely to bring much change.


Lawmakers to examine sales tax exemptions

But there’s little chance any of them will disappear soon

For the first time in more than two decades, the Florida Legislature is taking a serious look at eliminating some sales tax exemptions that have been embedded in the state tax code at the request of special interests.


Florida sales tax breaks aren’t likely to be dumped

Lawmakers wrapped up their first sweeping review of sales tax exemptions since 1987, but few are expected to be repealed.

For the first time in more than two decades, the Florida Legislature is taking a serious look at eliminating some sales tax exemptions that have been embedded in the state tax code at the request of special interests.


Florida gears up to distribute money

With some critics charging Florida should be moving quicker to spend federal stimulus funds, state officials appear to be picking up the pace to begin distributing the state’s $13 billion share of the initiative aimed at helping revive the economy.


Florida first-time homebuyers may get break

The Florida House is moving forward with a 50 percent property-value exemption for first-time homebuyers that would offer thousands in up-front savings to lure reluctant buyers into Florida’s ailing real estate market.


Florida lawmakers to deal with public financing of campaigns

With state tax collections dwindling, should taxpayers help politicians finance their campaigns?


Bills push to show state spending online

Sen. J.D. Alexander, a Winter Haven Republican and Senate budget chief, said as staff worked to put together a comprehensive tool for budget tracking an idea was born to “effectively turn 18 million Floridians into auditors.”


EDITORIAL: Legislators could bring in billions more by joining a pact to collect unpaid taxes

Even as legislators in Tallahassee consider taking another whack at spending on health care and education to balance Florida’s next budget, they haven’t lifted a finger to collect billions of dollars in unpaid sales taxes.


Federal spending bill includes funds for seven Everglades projects

Several long-awaited Everglades restoration projects got a cash infusion from the $410 billion spending bill President Obama signed into law Wednesday.


South Florida legislator testifies in Congress on Iran sanctions

State Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, testified Thursday before the U.S. House Committee on International Monetary Policy and Trade on legislation dealing with sanctions against Iran.


Diverse slate of Democrats line up to replace Florida Rep. Meek

One of the most racially diverse congressional districts in the country has a plethora of minority candidates running to replace U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.).


Coastal Insurance Legislation Facing Test in Alabama

Coastal insurance bills face a test in the Alabama Legislature.

Michigan Regulator Disapproves Rates That Use Credit Info

Michigan’s Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) is disapproving auto insurance rate filings that use credit information as a factor in determining premiums as the issue continues to wind its way though the state’s court system.

FASB Chairman Robert H. Herz Testifies on Mark-to-Market Accounting

Robert H. Herz, Chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), testified about mark to market accounting today before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises. Herz appeared at a hearing convened by Congressman and Committee Chairman Paul E. Kanjorski (D-PA) on ‘Mark-to-Market Accounting: Practices and Implications.’


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