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Florida House debates controversial offshore drilling bill listen

04/24/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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A proposal that would lift the state ban on offshore oil drilling was debated before the entire House of Representatives in Tallahassee this afternoon.

The issue of offshore drilling has always been contentious in Florida – it was suddenly brought up for discussion late last week, without any warning.

The Miami Herald reported this week that the shift in policy was being aggressively pushed by Associated Industries of Florida, whose members include oil companies that the group refus...

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ACLU willing to sue if election bill passes listen

04/24/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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In Tallahassee today, the House of Representatives debated a scaled down Elections Reform bill today that had received harsh criticism from activists and even Gov. Charlie Crist.

The new version removes a provision to eliminate as acceptable two forms of ID used mainly by older voters; requirements that paid petition circulators must register with the state; a requirement that voters who change their address close to an election must cast provisional ballots; and rules that would have made...

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House Bill 1121 pits Clerks against Courts listen

03/23/09 Lisa Marzilli
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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A bill currently making its way through the Florida Legislature has pit the court system against the state's 67 Clerks of Court. House Bill 1121 calls for a complete transfer of responsibilities from the clerks to the chief judges and court administrators within four years.

Legislators and judges say the bill would save the state millions and bring much needed budget accountability to the Clerks' offices. But the clerks see the bill as a money and power grab by an underfunded court syst...

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Major rally for public education set for Wednesday listen

03/17/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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More than a thousand people are expected to protest tomorrow at the state capitol to protest multimillion-dollar cuts to local school districts' budgets.

Over the past year and a half, the Hillsborough County school district has absorbed more than $82 million in cuts, according to Jeanne Clements, president of the Hillsborough County Teachers Association. She says at that same time, new schools have opened, more staff has been hired, and more students have been absorbed into the school dis...

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Senator: Unemployed should take drug tests for benefits listen

03/12/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Unemployment is now at a 16-year high in Florida, as the Sunshine State has lost more than 355,000 jobs over the past year.

For many who have lost a job, it’s a blow to the ego to have to ask for government assistance. But if one bay area legislator has his way, they may have to submit more than their personal information and their pride to collect unemployment.

Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, has introduced a bill that would require random testing for one of every 10 people who app...

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Charlie Justice on the upcoming Legislative Session listen

03/02/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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In assessing what will happen in the Legislature this year, as the state finds itself several billions of dollars in a deficit, Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, said recently that the final budget this year will be looked at as a "disaster."

Charlie Justice represents parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas County in the Florida Senate. The St. Petersburg Democrat arrived in Tallahassee today to begin the legislative session. He said he shares some of Wise’s pessimism.

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Bill Heller looks ahead to Legislative session listen

01/05/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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For the third time in 10 months, state lawmakers today began making major cuts in the budget, which has been shattered by a drop in revenues due to a struggling state economy.

The budget cuts will likely be a stopgap measure. During the regular session that begins in March, there will likely be another round of trims, perhaps as large as $4 billion, to balance the coming year's spending plan.

Last week, Gov. Charlie Crist and Republican legislative leaders said that a source of potentia...

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Success of Medicaid reform questioned listen

12/08/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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Last week Jeb Bush shook up the political world with news he is thinking about running for the U.S. Senate seat Republican Mel Martinez will vacant in 2010.

If Bush runs, his record may get a closer vetting than when he left office two years ago with high approval ratings.

One policy that might be examined is Medicaid reform. In 2005, Bush signed legislation aimed at reforming Medicaid, the health insurance program for more than two million low-income families and individuals. Origin...

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Children’s Board outlines its legislative priorities listen

12/05/08 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County provides families “with the services needed to live healthier, more productive lives,” according to its website. This morning during its annual Legislative Breakfast, the Children’s Board presented 19 priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

One priority of the Children’s Board is to allow relatives who have informal, but not legal, ...

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Sink: Budget crisis may require special session listen

11/14/08 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Because of the depressed economy, Florida is not taking in enough sales tax and other revenues to balance its budget. Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is asking for a special session of the state Legislature to deal with the revenue crisis.

“We do have a key date coming up, a week from today actually, next Friday. The governor’s economist is required to come and make some estimates about what she sees the revenue coming in. So we’ll have some more specific numbers. And I...

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