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226 posts from February 2013

February 25, 2013

FL cops raid home of wheelchair-bound Rx-marijuana activist who's to have legislation named for her


Just after our story posted on the polling numbers and popularity of medical-marijuana, the following coincidentally happened to an activist mentioned in the piece:

by Richard Dymond of the Bradenton Herald

The Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act will come before Florida legislators in 2013 in honor of a wheelchair  Parrish woman who has fought for the past 16 years for the legalization of medical cannabis in Florida.

But, Cathy Jordan’s celebrity in the area of medical cannabis, including her conviction that the herb has helped her battle her Lou Gehrig’s disease, does not insulate her from existing marijuana laws.

Jordan’s husband, Robert, told the Herald that his Parrish home in Beck Estates on 98th Avenue in Parrish was raided shortly after 2 p.m. Monday by deputies and detectives with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office drug intervention unit who wore ski masks.

Continue reading "FL cops raid home of wheelchair-bound Rx-marijuana activist who's to have legislation named for her" »

Movers & Shakers: New Democratic Deputy Whips; Sachs retools firm

Democratic state representatives Lori Berman, of Delray Beach, Reggie Fullwood, of Jacksonville, José  Rodríguez, of Miami, Hazelle Rogers, of Lauderhill,  and Joe Saunders, of Orlando, have been appointed Democratic Deputy Whips by House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston (D-Plantation) and House Democratic Whip Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee).

Thurston called the representatives outstanding public servants who have demonstrated qualities of leadership, organization and a rigorous work ethic that are essential to the task of Deputy Whip,” in a press statement.

From Williams:  “Deputy whips are an important position, which includes the careful review of all legislation that comes before the Florida House of Representatives. Their task also involves counting votes and communicating the Democratic Caucus position to other Caucus members. I am confident that we have assembled an effective and great team.”

Continue reading "Movers & Shakers: New Democratic Deputy Whips; Sachs retools firm" »

PolitiFact fact-checks U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson on the sequester

As Washington wrangles over how to avoid the sequester, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson spoke with a Central Florida news station to help explain the issue — and now viewers question his accuracy.

Anchor Ybeth Bruzual had asked Nelson, a Democrat, about mandatory budget cuts set to go into effect March 1: "How did we get to this point?"

Here’s what he told viewers of Central Florida News 13, a partner of PolitiFact Florida:

"Well, a year and a half ago, when the country, in order to pay its bills, (and we) had to raise the artificial statutory debt ceiling so the country could pay its bills, a deal was struck: a trillion dollars of cuts went into effect immediately, and then a special committee was set up. They were to get agreement on another $3 trillion of cuts.

"Hanging over their head was a meat cleaver called the sequester, that was going to be, across the board, over a trillion dollars of additional cuts, but without a scalpel — a meat cleaver. Nobody ever expected the sequester to go into effect. It was never supposed to. It was the onerous alternative that would force the super-committee to come to agreement."

Nelson’s right that the sequester’s across-the-board cuts don’t allow for much fine distinction.

But was Nelson correct that the 2011 budget deal included "a trillion dollars of cuts went into effect immediately, and then a special committee was set up ... to get agreement on another $3 trillion of cuts"? Read PolitiFact to find out why we gave Nelson a Half-True.

Poll: 7 in 10 back FL medical-marijuana plan, could affect governor’s race


As many as seven in 10 Florida voters support a state constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana – more than enough to ensure passage and possibly affect the governor’s race — according to a new poll from a group trying to put the measure on the 2104 ballot.

Medical pot’s sky-high approval cuts across party and demographic lines, with Republican support the lowest at a still-strong 56 percent, the poll conducted for People United for Medical Marijuana, or PUFMM, shows.

The outsized support of Democrats and independents brings overall backing of the amendment to 70 percent; with only 24 percent opposed, according to the poll obtained by The Miami Herald.

Regionally, voters from the Miami and Orlando areas, among the most socially liberal in the state, want medical marijuana the most.

Continue reading "Poll: 7 in 10 back FL medical-marijuana plan, could affect governor’s race" »

Execution set for Tuesday raises new questions about Florida's death penalty

The execution of Paul Augustus Howell scheduled for Tuesday has put Florida’s death penalty process under the microscope again.

Howell, 42, was convicted in 1992 of the pipe-bomb killing of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Fulford in Jefferson County, east of Tallahassee. If he dies by lethal injection as scheduled, his attorneys say, he will be the first Florida inmate to die without his case having been reviewed in federal court under a habeas corpus appeal. They argue Howell deserves that review — and a chance to seek another trial.

They say the court never heard about the conflict of interest involving his trial attorney, the failure to tell the court of Howell’s brain damage, his paranoia, child abuse or his lost court files. And the court never heard about Howell’s inadequate representation from the appellate lawyer who missed a crucial deadline for his federal review.

“Lawyers who never met the client in the 13 years they represented him lost his records in a flood and haven’t asked for new ones,” said Sonya Rudenstine of Gainesville, a new attorney hired by the inmate’s family. “If it weren’t so tragic, it would be a comedy of errors.”

The Florida Supreme Court rejected an appeal last week by Howell’s new attorneys and, when they filed a second appeal the court rejected that on Monday. The court said it could not address claims he may raise in federal court. His attorneys have filed a new request in federal court in Tallahassee. More here.


Study: Florida Capitol Press Corps tops in social media 'klout'

Florida's Capitol Press Corps has the largest social media influence compared to their comrades in other large states, according to a recent evaluation by Kevin Cate Communications. The study considered the overall Klout of members of Florida's press corp. Klout is a company that measures individuals' influence across social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.

The study included the following states: California, New York, Texas, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, North Carolina, and Florida. All of them have social active members of the press, according to Cate Communications.

Other highlights of the study:

  • Texas Capitol Press Corps has the most average Twitter followers (3,220)
  •  Ohio Capitol Press Corps members tweet the most (5,230 average)
  • California Capitol Press Corps has the most total followers (88,646)
  • Texas Capitol Press Corps has the highest average Klout score (54.08)

Cate, whose public relations firm is active in the Capitol, gave Florida the win because when he added the Klout scores of all the press corps members it was the highest. 

Continue reading "Study: Florida Capitol Press Corps tops in social media 'klout'" »

February 24, 2013

Scare tactics or straight talk? The FL #s in the White House's state-by-state sequester-cut guide


The White House this evening started a well-planned offensive to let residents in every state know what the automatic budget cuts scheduled for March 1 could mean to them and their community.

In Florida, 31,000 civilian contractors with the defense department face furloughs and reduced pay; 7,450 children could go without some vaccines; thousands will get smaller unemployment checks and schools could face a small reduction, according to the White House.

In all, about $85 billion in spending nationwide is scheduled to be reduced as part of what's known as "the sequester." It's a roughly 2.4 percent reduction of the roughly $3.6 trillion in federal spending. (Florida's budget, for those keeping score, is about $70 billion this year).

Continue reading "Scare tactics or straight talk? The FL #s in the White House's state-by-state sequester-cut guide" »

The Rivera files: Why Mr Smith...er...Mr. Sternad didn’t go to Washington


Lamar Will Take Us Far.

The catchy slogan of the congressional candidate who called himself Lamar Sternad was the earliest indication of a campaign of deception. His first name isn’t Lamar.

But Justin Lamar Sternad’s slogan was spot-on in one regard.

Of the hundreds of no-name political neophytes who mount quixotic bids for office in Miami, Sternad went farther than them all: The 10th floor of a federal justice building.

There in open court Friday, Sternad was formally accused of violating three federal laws stemming from his suspicious campaign finances, which were first uncovered in an investigation by The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald.

Continue reading "The Rivera files: Why Mr Smith...er...Mr. Sternad didn’t go to Washington" »

Raul Castro: I'll leave Cuba presidency in 2018


Cuban leader Raul Castro announced on Sunday he would step down from power after his second term as president ends in 2018.

Castro made the announcement in a nationally broadcast speech shortly after the Cuban National Assembly elected him to a second five-year term in the opening session of the new parliament.

In a surprise move, the new parliament named a rising young star as his first vice president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, 52, a member of the political bureau who rose through the party ranks in the provinces to become the most visible possible successor to Castro. Diaz-Canel would succeed Castro if he cannot serve his full term.

More here

The legislature's Medicaid dilemma: Meet some of the lives in the balance

Faces of MedicaidFlorida’s Medicaid system today serves more than 3 million people, about one in every six Floridians. The decision whether to expand the system by a full third will be made by men and women in suits in Tallahassee’s mural-filled chambers this spring.

But the impact is elsewhere, in children’s hospitals in Tampa and Miami, in doctors’ offices in New Port Richey and in the home of a woman who recently lost her full-time teaching job. Here are some of the names and faces of people whose health care future is in the hands of Florida's lawmakers.

Photo: Nancy Fraze was making too much money waitressing to be eligible for Medicaid. So she quit her job. Her son, Dustin Rozwarski, 16, has severe allergies and asthma and requires expensive care. MAURICE RIVENBARK / TAMPA BAY TIMES

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/23/v-fullstory/3250065/the-faces-of-floridas-medicaid.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/23/v-fullstory/3250065/the-faces-of-floridas-medicaid.html#storylink=cpy