Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Wednesday, March 24

Mar 24, 2010



Matt Gaetz

Above:  Matt Gaetz won the Republican primary in yesterday’s Special Election to fill the Florida House of Representatives District 4 seat left vacant by Ray Sansom.


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Blog:  In less than 30 words, Crist voices opposition to deregulation bill

Gov. Charlie Crist made a rare appearance in a Senate committee Wednesday to oppose legislation that would let property insurers offer unregulated rates to homeowners.


THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA:  Florida Hurricane Fund Changes

The House took up SB 1460 which makes a number of changes to the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. The bill changes the CAT fund contract year and sets caps on exposure at $17 billion until sufficient reserves are accumulated. The bill passed 116-0.


Florida leaders fear insurance companies may be hiding profits

Gov. Charlie Crist and state Cabinet members called Tuesday for increased scrutiny to determine if Florida property insurers are using internal financial deals to hide profits.


Florida Governor, Regulator Want Check on Insurer Payments to Affiliates

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said he would like to give the state insurance regulator authority to prevent excessive payments by home-based insurance companies to affiliated managing general agencies and other entities.


Florida lawmakers eye more control of property insurers

Unease over Florida’s property insurance stability growing

Facing increasing criticism, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty assured state leaders Tuesday he is working to stabilize the state’s troubled insurance market.


Blog:  Broward Commission wants congressional hearings on FEMA response to Chinese drywall problems 

Broward County commissioners are asking Congress to hold hearings to address why homeowners plagued with Chinese drywall are not receiving emergency assistance from FEMA.


Legislative leaders strike deal with business lobby and trial lawyers on lawsuits

The Florida Legislature’s top brass have cut a Solomon-like bargain with warring businesses and trial lawyers, agreeing to place new restrictions on lawsuits over injuries at tourist spots and grocery stores while making it easier to collect damages from the government.


McCollum’s health care suit could backfire politically

From newspapers to blogs to cable news, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum captured the national spotlight Tuesday for leading the court fight against President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.


Medicaid cost to Florida depends on assumptions

The cost of enrolling additional Medicaid beneficiaries in Florida under new rules passed in the federal health law would start at $149 million four years from now and rise to $1.05 billion by the end of the decade, according to a new chart released Tuesday by the Agency for Health Care Administration. 


Florida lawmakers: Slash pensions for police, teachers, firefighters

Unions irate as Legislature searches for ways to cut costs

Two bills aimed at slashing pensions for Florida’s teachers, police and other public employees, as well as requiring some of them to work several years longer before retiring, are being considered by state lawmakers.


Winner: Gaetz takes Florida Republican District 4 primary

The race for the Republican nomination for the District 4 state House seat looked early on like it could be a runaway, but attorney Matt Gaetz escaped with a victory by a final margin of just 635 votes.


Florida Department of Law Enforcement Breaks Up Central Florida Fraud Ring

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement today announced 42 individuals have been charged for their involvement in an elaborate organized fraud and identity theft ring operating across Central Florida.


Florida House panel OKs $67.2 billion budget bill

Hospital and nursing home reimbursements would be cut, schools would get less money per student and most state workers would see a 3 percent pay cut, while overall state spending would rise by $700 million under a proposed $67.2 billion budget bill that cleared a Florida House committee Tuesday.


In Tallahassee today, immigration and insurance

Heading into the midway point of the legislative session, lawmakers are ready Wednesday to tackle immigration, local-government advertising and dissolving a massive state agency.


Florida Senate kills teacher tenure pay system; raises tied to student success

The state Senate on Wednesday approved on a controversial bill on a 21-17 vote to dismantle teacher tenure, a decades-old system in which educators’ pay is based on years of experience and whether they earn upper-level degrees.


Crist gets bill banning Florida gun fund raids

The Florida House has sent Gov. Charlie Crist a bill that will prohibit lawmakers from raiding a trust fund that covers the costs of the state’s concealed weapons permitting program.


Crist, Cabinet OK Using State Property for Legoland 

The panel today approved using 150 acres of state property at Cypress Gardens, which closed last year, for the new theme park based on Lego toy plastic blocks.


Rubio’s spending targeted in ethics complaint

Former House Speaker Marco Rubio misspent donations to the Republican Party of Florida and his political committees “to subsidize his lifestyle,” according to a sweeping complaint filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics.


Blog:  Bogdanoff gets blessing from Haridopolos in Florida Senate

Senate Finance and Tax Chair Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, just got endorsed in her Senate bid from the next president and current campaigner-in-chief of the chamber, Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island.


Florida’s Courts Are Cool to Business, Survey Says

A survey of corporate lawyers and executives by the chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform ranks Florida 42nd among the 50 states in legal fairness.


Senate passes Florida-tomato safety bill

Local tomato growers are cheering a bill that passed in the Florida Senate on Tuesday that is designed to ensure the safety of Florida-grown tomatoes, following a salmonella scare two years ago.


Blog:  House tracks hot air with new debate clock

House Rules Chairman Bill Galvano is practically giddy about his chamber’s latest piece of technology: a clock. “This is an historic moment,” he said as the House’s giant video monitor flashed a picture of a grid that listed how much time each side had for debate.


Southshore Community Bank in Apollo Beach agrees to changes, more oversight by regulators

SouthShore Community Bank in Apollo Beach has entered into a consent order with federal and state regulators, agreeing to additional oversight to bolster its finances.


Insurance Agents, Carriers Make Progress in Modifying Dodd Financial Bill

Insurance agents and carriers are reporting progress in their efforts to modify a proposed federal financial services regulation bill passed by the Senate Banking Committee, while risk managers have extended their support to the legislation.


Insurer Refunds Nearly $1 Million to New York Policyholders

Auto insurer Clarendon National Insurance Co. has refunded $992,000 to 1,227 automobile insurance policyholders the company overcharged when it improperly imposed a 30 percent rate hike, the New York State Insurance Department said.


Chinese Drywall Losses Could Be Significant, But Manageable, Says Moody’s 

Insurers’ claims and litigation costs stemming from Chinese drywall problems are expected to be significant, property damage up to the $10 billion range by one estimate, a rating firm said.


Report: National Hurricane Center surpassed accuracy records in 2009

The track forecasts from the National Hurricane Center during the Atlantic hurricane season last year broke accuracy records, according to the agency. Improvements in computer models, atmospheric observations and forecaster skills have helped the NHC reduce its forecast errors by about 50% in the past 15 years, the report said.


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