Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Thursday, November 13

Nov 13, 2008


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2008-2010 Florida Senate Leadership Team Announced

Florida Senate President-Designate Jeff Atwater (R-Palm Beach) announced his 2008-2010 leadership team today, which comprises Senator Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) as Senate President Pro-Tempore and Senator Alex Villalobos (R-Miami) as Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.


Don’t raid state funds to help budget, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink tells lawmakers

Florida’s billion-dollar cash crunch has so far prompted a collective shrug from Gov. Charlie Crist and Republican legislators, who hope short-term borrowing will help them escape the year without deeper budget cuts.


OP-ED:  Florida’s Big Insurance Problem

When Hurricane Ike took a left on Sept. 8, heading away from Florida, locals breathed a sigh of relief. Not only are their homes on the line with each burst of violent weather but their pocketbooks are increasingly at risk, too. Over the past four years, Florida taxpayers’ vulnerability to a major weather catastrophe has grown.


Federal grants help Melbourne recover

Melbourne pulled in nearly $2.2 million in federal funding for projects aimed at preventing erosion damage resulting from Tropical Storm Fay.

The money from a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will pay for about 75 percent of three projects at sites where Fay’s water caused a waterline break, one road collapse and another road to be undermined.


Newly public Homeowners Choice posts profit gain

Homeowners Choice Inc. reported net income of $802,000, or 12 cents a share, for the third quarter of 2008, compared to a net loss of $114,000, or 2 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.


Avalon Healthcare names insurance vet to board

Avalon Healthcare Holdings Inc. added to its board of directors with the appointment of Kevin Hill, a health insurance industry veteran.


Miami clinic owner sentenced for Medicare fraud

Nayda Freire, 61, was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $8 million in restitution for defrauding Medicare in connection with a $10.9 million HIV infusion fraud scheme.


Back in Tallahassee, Crist keeps eye on GOP’s national outlook

After a wild ride of an election season that took him from John McCain’s Arizona ranch to Old Europe, Gov. Charlie Crist is in the midst of a quick rise to the national stage, proposing a distinctive blend of sunny, pocketbook-driven politics as Republicans plot a way back to power. Could it be the right message for a party demoralized in the election?


GOP governors debate party’s direction at Miami conference

Republican governors meeting in Miami say their party has to shift its emphasis from ideology to voters’ everyday issues.

The Republican Party, still grappling with last week’s election results, should position itself as a pragmatic problem-solver for working people, GOP governors meeting in Miami said Wednesday.


Ga. governor questions Fla. argument in water wars

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue looks at his state’s pristine coastline and then at the development Florida allows on its shores and said he wonders how Florida officials can preach about the environment.


U.S. Sugar deal draws water managers’ concern

The governor may be sweet on the new Big Sugar deal, but the water managers he appointed still have plenty of reservations.

Saluting the spirit of late Everglades icon Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday hailed the $1.34 billion deal for a chunk of Big Sugar as ”nothing short of miraculous.”


Four Power Companies Get Rate Hike OK

Four of Florida’s five investor-owned power companies have received approval for monthly rate increases of 5% to 24%. The Florida Public Service Commission on Wednesday approved the increases because of rising fuel costs. They go into effect in January.


Newly elected state officials settling in

Fresh from the rough-and-tumble of campaigning, newly elected Florida lawmakers were politely warned by House leaders Wednesday to play nice and not let winning go to their heads.


Attorney:  Open Government Laws Go Beyond the Computer

On the job since June, Alexis Lambert, the attorney general’s Sunshine Law attorney, has fielded hundreds of calls from journalists and other citizens, some of whom are relaying suspicions that public officials are using instant or text messages to circumvent open government laws.


March of Dimes report:  Florida failing in efforts to prevent premature births

Florida earned a dismal F on the March of Dimes’ first nationwide Premature Birth Report Card released Wednesday.

With a statewide pre-term birth rate of nearly 14 percent, the state is far short of a national goal to reduce the number of premature births to a rate of 7.6 percent by 2010. Florida ranks 41st in the nation, according to the report released on National Prematurity Awareness Day.


Mass Mutual, New York Life Reject Government Aid

Two insurance companies have said they will not participate in the government’s rescue program to directly invest billions in financial companies.


AALU:  Wish For OFC, But Be On Guard

The next Congress could give the life insurance industry a federal charter system – but participants in a discussion hosted by a group that backs federal charter efforts says the next Congress also could consider measures that would increase insurers’ regulatory burdens.


Life Insurers Facing Cuts in Ratings

Life insurance companies, hobbled by real estate investments and committed to paying some costly retirement contracts, face more cuts in their credit ratings before the year is up and have little choice but to seek capital in unforgiving markets.


Idaho Insurance Director Cautions Insurers on Use of Credit Scores

Idaho Department of Insurance Director Bill Deal is urging insurers to carefully review their use of credit related information in rating insurance policies.


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