Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Thursday, March 26

Mar 26, 2009

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Bill banning ‘crash tax’ gains approval in state House committee

As more cities and counties impose fees on drivers who get into accidents on their roads, some state lawmakers want to halt the practice, blocking the so-called crash tax.


THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA: GOP beats back compromise workers’ comp amendment

The House on Thursday rejected a proposed compromise and stuck with a hard cap on plaintiffs lawyers fees in workers compensation cases, with the bill’s sponsor couching it as important economic relief for employers in a down economy.

Long after Charley, FEMA pays Charley bill

Anyone doubting that hurricane recovery is a long-term job — or just how stubborn the federal bureaucracy can be — consider ‘Mount Trashmore.’


Many South Florida Medicare recipients can switch plans to save money

Deadline to switch Medicare plans is Tuesday, though not everyone can

Medicare recipients are switching prescription drug plans more than usual this year, partly because some seniors were shocked by big cost increases and decreased drug coverage that began Jan. 1, health officials say.

THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA: Federal Funds Entwined In Senate Health Care Budget

The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee has proposed a $25.1 billion budget that calls for billions in federal stimulus funds to make ends meet.


Florida senators to take up school prayer, lobbyists, budget

From school prayer to the ”shell game” of the federal stimulus money to wining and dining lawmakers, Thursday at the state Capitol is sure to set off fireworks.


Gov. Charlie Crist to downsize Everglades-U.S. Sugar deal

Version No. 3 of the governor’s Big Sugar buy is expected to net less than half the land for Everglades restoration but cut taxpayer costs by about $800 million.

His hand forced by a failing economy, Gov. Charlie Crist is poised to dramatically downsize his proposed Big Sugar buyout — and his vision for Everglades restoration.


Attorney General Calls for Cooperative Approach to State’s Mortgage Fraud Issues

Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that he has sent a letter to several state agencies and associations, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Office of Financial Regulation, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Florida Bar, calling for a cooperative approach to the state’s mortgage fraud crisis.


Treasure Coast legislators work to get stimulus money into agencies

Members of the Treasure Coast legislative delegation, from both sides of the aisle, are confident the state won’t waste its share of the $787 billion federal stimulus package.

THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA: Faster downloads for everyone –Broadband bills pass in committee

If it took more than a couple seconds for you to get this story to come up on your computer, take heart. Florida would be able to seek federal money for the building of broadband Internet infrastructure under legislation approved unanimously Wednesday by the House Economic Development Council.

Leon County grand jury expected to take up Sansom probe Thursday

A Leon County grand jury is meeting today, and it is expected to resume its look into former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom’s dealings with Northwest Florida State College.

Florida Rep. Cannon: Gambling wouldn’t hurt other tourism businesses

A top Orlando legislator — who will play a central role this spring in deciding whether and how much to expand gambling across Florida — says he doesn’t believe new gambling would harm the state’s existing tourism industry.

Baseball legislation could hurt local bottom lines across state

In Sarasota, the Cincinnati Reds are packing their bags and moving spring training operations to Arizona’s Cactus League. Nearly $1 million in state economic development funds couldn’t help convince them to stay.


Bill puts Embry-Riddle University in charge of saving space jobs

A decade ago, the Kennedy Space Center fired off at least one rocket a month and was expecting to do 50 annually by 2005.

White House Asks U.S. Regulator For Large Insurers

The Obama administration Thursday asked Congress for authority to create a federal regulator with authority to administer large insurance companies.


Signs of Stress, Fraud on Roadside

More Vehicles Burned, Ditched in Apparent Schemes by Owners to Get Insurance Payout

Police detective Mark Menzie drove 55 miles into the desert Sunday to inspect the charred remains of a formerly silver Ford Expedition.


Report: P-C insurers need national regulation

With Congress debating the idea of creating a systemic risk regulator, a Wednesday report by McKinsey & Co. says that may not be the best option for the U.S. economy or the property/casualty industry.


A Health Plan for All and the Concerns It Raises

It is one of the most contentious health care proposals President Obama has floated: offer a federal, Medicare-like insurance plan to anyone, at any age. And let commercial insurers offer their private health plans alongside it.


Fusty Insurance Lures Buyers Seeking Safety

Whole-Life Policies Offer Steady Ride, but Figuring Actual Returns Can Be Tricky

As the economy sinks, a growing number of Americans are turning to a stodgy financial product favored by their parents and grandparents: whole-life insurance.


Doctors groups allege WellPoint’s collusion cost them millions

A federal lawsuit accuses the owner of Anthem Blue Cross of fixing prices for ‘out-of-network’ procedures.

Anthem Blue Cross of California parent WellPoint Inc. colluded with database firm Ingenix to fix prices in a multistate scheme to underpay doctors for so-called out-of-network medical care, physician organizations contended in a lawsuit filed Wednesday.


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