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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 apply...

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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, custody of...

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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 think t...

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Florida's system of raising revenue antiquated? listen

09/05/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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In the wake of the Florida Supreme Court removing Amendment 5 from this November’s ballot, legislative leaders in Florida say they will again make property taxes a top issue in their annual spring session.

But some say the Legislature shouldn’t wait that long to act. Florida Chief Financial Office Alex Sink says now that Florida has a $1.5 billion shortfall, Gov. Charlie Crist should call a special session to be held the day after the November presidential election. That call has been seco...

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Judge: Amendment 5 too confusing for ballot listen

08/14/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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A judge in Tallahassee today struck the so-called tax swap from the Nov. 4 ballot, saying the language was "misleading" and didn't give voters "fair notice of the content and sweep of the proposal."

The amendment asked voters to eliminate the state-set school property tax forever and directed the Legislature to replace the education money with $9 billion to $11 billion gained from other taxes and budget cuts. But the replacement money, called the "education hold harmless amount," was only ...

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