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State Challenges Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ruling

February 19, 2019 - 8:45am

As lawmakers weigh changes to the state’s medical-marijuana laws, the Florida Department of Health has appealed a circuit judge’s ruling that struck down a limit on the number of dispensaries that marijuana businesses can operate.

Attorneys for the Department of Health filed a notice late Friday that said they were challenging a Feb. 1 ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers. As is common, the notice of taking the case to the 1st District Court of Appeal did not detail the department’s arguments.

Windshield Damage Claims: Insurance Companies Win One

February 14, 2019 - 9:00am

Supporters say the proposal could prevent shady insurance claims. Opponents say it would hurt small businesses.

But after a lengthy debate Wednesday, a House panel approved a bill (HB 323) that would prevent auto-glass shops from offering cash, gift cards and other incentives to motorists to attract windshield-repair work.

House Insurance & Banking Chairwoman Cyndi Stevenson, R-Saint Johns, pointed to concerns about “bad behavior” that can result from such incentives. That includes unnecessary insurance claims that could lead to higher premiums for motorists.

Port St. Lucie Restoration Firm Asks High Court to Overturn AOB Ruling

February 12, 2019 - 7:30am

In a closely watched case, a restoration firm asked the Florida Supreme Court on Monday to overturn a ruling that allowed restrictions on the controversial insurance practice known as “assignment of benefits.”

Attorneys for Restoration 1 of Port St. Lucie filed a 45-page brief at the Supreme Court arguing that the 4th District Court of Appeal improperly backed restrictions placed on a policy by Ark Royal Insurance Co. in a St. Lucie County dispute involving water damage to a home.

DeSantis' $18.8 Million Scholarship Boost Showcases His Dedication to School Choice

February 5, 2019 - 6:00am

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday touted a proposal to spend an additional $18.8 million next year on a program that provides voucher-like scholarships to students with disabilities, saying he trusts “parents to make the best decision” for the education of their children.

DeSantis' Record-High $91.3 Billion Budget Nevertheless Strives to Cut Taxes

February 1, 2019 - 2:00pm

In what would be the largest budget in state history, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday released a proposed $91.3 billion spending plan that would increase school funding, pump money into water-quality projects and trim taxes. DeSantis’ proposal is a starting point for lawmakers, who will negotiate a 2019-2020 budget during the legislative session that starts March 5. The Legislature typically makes significant changes to spending proposals offered by governors.

Judge Karen Gievers Rules against State on Medicaid Contract

January 29, 2019 - 6:00am

The state Agency for Health Care Administration has quickly appealed after a circuit judge ruled that it improperly awarded a Medicaid managed-care contract in Southwest Florida.

Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers last week rejected AHCA’s contract with Molina Healthcare of Florida, Inc., finding the agency exceeded a limit on the number of health plans that state law allows to serve Medicaid beneficiaries in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota counties. 

Lawmakers Could Revisit School Funding Formula

January 28, 2019 - 8:00am

A House panel Thursday began delving into an arcane and potentially controversial issue that has lingered in Florida’s education system for years --- how to divvy up money among the state’s school districts.

The issue focuses primarily on determining how much it costs to hire teachers and other school employees in various parts of the state. A price-level index, which is calculated to try to represent those costs, is part of a broader formula that lawmakers approve each year to distribute money to districts.

Senate Prepares for 'AOB' Insurance Fight

January 23, 2019 - 6:00am

A Senate committee plunged again Tuesday into a debate about the controversial insurance practice known as “assignment of benefits,” with the chairman vowing to resolve the issue after unsuccessful attempts in past years.

John Morgan Petitioning to Put $15/Hour Minimum Wage on 2020 Ballot

January 22, 2019 - 3:00pm
John Morgan

After spearheading efforts to pass a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana, Orlando attorney John Morgan said Tuesday he is moving ahead with a ballot drive aimed at gradually raising Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

State Board of Education Grapples with Hurricane Aftermath, School Security Issues

January 16, 2019 - 2:30pm
Andrew Pollock, new Board of Education member

With the annual legislative session nearing, lawmakers and education leaders likely will have to grapple with the fallout of Hurricane Michael on Northwest Florida school districts and continued questions about how to bolster school safety throughout the state.



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