Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Tuesday, December 30

Dec 30, 2008


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Buffett Wins $224 Million Storm Bet With Florida

Billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. won a $224 million bet that Florida would escape major damage from hurricanes this year.


Allstate IDs 10 Deadliest Cities For New Year’s Teen Drivers

Jacksonville, Fla., led the list of 10 cities that Allstate calls the deadliest hotspots for teen drivers on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.


500 South Florida suppliers lose right to sell to Medicare patients

South Florida companies violated federal rules designed to uncover fraud, officials say

About 500 medical equipment suppliers in South Florida have been stripped of the right to sell to Medicare patients because they violated federal rules set up to detect fraud, federal officials said Monday.


SEC Unveils Alleged Haitian Ponzi Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday it has filed an emergency action to halt an alleged Ponzi scheme conducted by Creative Capital Consortium, LLC and A Creative Capital Concept$, LLC in Lake Worth, both led by George L. Theodule.


COLUMN:  Homeowners Insurance, Foreclosure and the Decline of the Housing Market

When discussing shifting of taxes professors of public finance point out that increases in property taxes tend to be shifted to current property owners.


HUD approves $28 million in Fla. foreclosure help

A federal agency is giving more than $28 million dollars to three Florida communities that have been slammed by high foreclosures and dropping home values.


More Florida bankruptcies expected in 2009

Given the depths to which the Florida economy has plunged, it is not surprising to find bankruptcies rising dramatically.

Chapter 7 filings, in which companies and individuals attempt to completely liquidate their debts, doubled to 10,607 during the first 10 months of 2008 from 5,330 during the first 10 months of 2007, statistics from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida show.


House Speaker Sansom Releases Special Session Schedule Summary

The Office of Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom released a proposed schedule summary for the upcoming Legislative Special Session today, December 30, 2008.


Jeb Senate bid a GOP remedy?

As former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ponders a campaign for the seat of retiring Sen. Mel Martinez, the decision comes down to how best to rehabilitate the Bush brand as well as the Republican party, possibly laying the groundwork for a future presidential campaign.


COLUMN:  Many eyeing Martinez seat really shouldn’t

As the new year unfolds, I’ll be dying to see if Jeb Bush really sets out on a quest of family retribution by running for the U.S. Senate. Will this seem his time to begin restoring confidence in the Bush family name after his brother — God bless him, as bona fide Southerners would say — has so blown any hope of a respectable presidential legacy.


State law loophole lets Florida public officials retire, then return to their jobs

This year some of Florida’s public officials are giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “home for the holidays.”


Write-ins may have to pay for ballot spot

Write-in candidates, you must pay to play.

So says state Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, who has introduced a bill that would require write-in candidates to pay a fee to get on the ballot.


Secret ballot initiative backed by business group

A new business-backed coalition is targeting at least five states in an attempt to require all union elections be conducted by secret ballot.


Shy, rich farmers thrust in spotlight as players in U.S. Sugar deal

The buzz in the close-knit Florida grower crowd started in 2000: A wealthy Missouri farmer was buying groves. Lots of groves.


McCollum Calls on Local Governments, Law Enforcement and School Districts to Make Enhanced Sunshine New Year’s Resolution

Attorney General Bill McCollum today called on local governments, sheriffs and school districts to make government transparency their New Year’s Resolution and to commit to providing enhanced access to information before Sunshine Sunday in March. In a letter sent to Florida’s sheriffs, county commissions and school boards, the Attorney General reminded local leaders that with advances in technology, government in the sunshine can be as easy as uploading information to public websites.


Researchers leaving Fla. and taking their grants

When a lead Florida State University researcher needed five faculty members last year to start a landmark center dedicated to studying autism, state budget cuts prevented the school from hiring the additional professors.


Former FSU President D’Alemberte and Former Governor Graham:  We must ensure integrity in judicial-selection process

By the early 1970s, patronage politics had severely undermined confidence in Florida’s judiciary. After he became governor in 1971, Reubin Askew issued an executive order to limit political influence on judge selections and establish merit as the basis on which Florida filled vacancies at every level of the court system.


Income disparity on Miami Beach is highest in nation

The working class and fixed-income retirees view wealth with inspiration and frustration in Miami Beach, which has the highest income gap in the United States.

Miami Beach has the highest income disparity in the country, according to 2008 census data. A Miami Beach pastor and a resident discuss what that means.


COLUMN:  Speaking truth to power isn’t the best strategy

In the last hours of the last day of the last legislative session that Johnnie Byrd was speaker of the Florida House, some lobbyists ran out to a costume store and bought some sheep masks. They wore them in the Capitol rotunda — after they’d made sure their bills were safely in the Senate, or headed for the governor, and could not be scuttled in the House.


Munich Re 2008 Catastrophe Report Cites Role of Climate Change

Munich Re has released its analytical report on the natural catastrophes that occurred in 2008, which the reinsurer describes as, “one of the most devastating years on record.”


WSI Predicts Three Major Hurricanes For 2009

WSI Corporation is forecasting three Category 3 or higher hurricanes, and seven hurricanes in total for the 2009 Atlantic tropical season.


Texas looks at mediation on Ike claims

Amid a growing number of conflicts between Texans and their insurance carriers over hurricane damage, state regulators are taking a look at mediation to help solve disputes.


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