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Five Things To Know for Thursday's Legislative Session

TALLAHASSEE Lawmakers, lobbyists and laymen have a busy day Thursday before they leave town for the Easter holiday. Here are five things to watch in the Capitol and beyond:

 

The Florida Education Association, the state teachers' union, will hold an 8:30 a.m. news conference to discuss how changes to the Florida Retirement System would impact the teaching profession.

 

Speaking of those pension bills, the Senate will hear two of them Thursday when the Appropriations Committee meets at 9 a.m. The committee will also hear a buzzed-about proposal from Sen. Joe Negron that would limit how law enforcement agencies can use drones.

 

Also up in Senate Appropriations  Negron's plan to reduce the cost of car registrations. The bill, SPB 7132, would eliminate a $220 million annual tax credit for insurance companies, and use the money to decrease the cost of registering cars by about $12 each.

 

House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, will address the Board of Governors about his plan to more fully incorporate online learning into higher education. The meeting takes place in the student union at Florida A&M University, with Weatherford speaking at 9:30 a.m.

 

The House Appropriations Committee, which meets at 4 p.m., will consider a proposal to let universities raise the fees that support construction and maintenance.

Kathleen McGrory, Herald-Times Tallahassee Bureau

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PS

Will Charlie Crist launch his gubernatorial campaign on May 11?

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No More Rick Scott

The Columbia/HCA fraud case is one of the largest examples of Medicare fraud in U.S. history. Numerous New York Times stories, beginning in 1996, began scrutinizing Columbia/HCA's business and Medicare billing practices. These culminated in the company being raided by Federal agents searching for documents and eventually the ousting of the corporation's CEO, Rick Scott, by the board of directors. Among the crimes uncovered were doctors being offered financial incentives to bring in patients, falsifying diagnostic codes to increase reimbursements from Medicare and other government programs, and billing the government for unnecessary lab tests, though Scott personally was never charged with any wrongdoing. HCA wound up pleading guilty to more than a dozen criminal and civil charges and paying fines totaling $1.7 billion. In 1999, Columbia/HCA changed its name back to HCA, Inc.

Wikipedia on Medicaid fraud.

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