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Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014

Fresh Squeezed

A Florida Politics Blog

Made fresh, never frozen, here's the juice on local and state politics from the staff of The Tampa Tribune, The St. Petersburg Tribune and the Tribune/Scripps Capital Bureau.

Citizens announces more settlements in sinkhole suits

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has has made settlement offers to 600 policyholders to resolve lawsuits over sinkhole damage, a spokesman said Tuesday.

All of the customers are represented by Tampa’s Marshall Thomas Burnett law firm, which specializes in sinkhole and personal injury litigation.

“Citizens has agreed to pay for below-ground repairs as recommended by a licensed professional engineer, who will monitor the repair work and direct any additional necessary below-ground repairs,” spokesman Michael Peltier said in a release.

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Tampa’s Sen. Joyner will press for compensation for FSU player’s family

Published:
Staff and wire reports

A Tampa senator, also the incoming leader of that chamber’s Democrats, is now championing the cause of a Florida State University football player who died during preseason training.

State Sen. Arthenia Joyner filed a bill Tuesday that would lead to the state paying $1.8 million to the parents of Devaughn Darling, who collapsed and died in 2001.

The parents, Wendy Smith and Dennis Darling, Sr., reached a $2 million settlement with the university.

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Florida sheriffs pick Latvala as “Legislator of the Year;” state pension support noted as reason

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

The Florida Sheriffs Association announced Tuesday it had selected state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, as “Legislator of the Year.”

The association gave Latvala the award at its summer conference in St Johns County.

The group recognized Latvala “for his tireless work to support Florida’s sheriffs and all law enforcement across the state,” said Polk County Sheriff and association president Grady Judd.

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Politicians’ use of blind trusts is constitutional, Tallahassee judge rules

Published:   |   Updated: July 28, 2014 at 05:57 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

A state law allowing politicians to use blind trusts to avoid conflicts of interest is constitutional, a Tallahassee judge ruled Monday.

Jim Apthorp, a former top aide to the late Democratic Gov. Reubin Askew, had challenged the law in May.

He said the use of blind trusts violates the Sunshine Amendment, approved by voters in 1976, which calls for elected officials and candidates to “file full and public disclosure of their financial interests.”

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State medical lobby ties support for Medicaid expansion to increased doctor pay

Published:   |   Updated: July 28, 2014 at 04:47 PM
By William March

In a significant sign of physician backing for expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the Florida Medical Association now says it favors the idea.

The FMA, the premier trade association for Florida doctors, is normally a politically conservative group, though non-partisan, making its stance a major breakthrough in the eyes of Obamacare and Medicaid expansion supporters.

But the FMA attached one significant condition: It said it backs Medicaid expansion only if doctors get paid more for treating Medicaid patients.

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Gravis Marketing: Crist 68, Rich 20

Published:
By William March

new poll by Gravis Marketing

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More endorsements announced in HD 61 race

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

The battle of endorsements between the two leading candidates in the Florida House District 61 Democratic primary keeps getting hotter.

This Thursday, Sean Shaw dropped the news that state Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, had given him her approval.

“I’m often asked to endorse candidates, but this time I volunteered,” Joyner said in a news release sent out by the Shaw campaign.

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Dems hit Scott on Solantic litigation

Published:   |   Updated: July 24, 2014 at 05:52 PM
By William March

release a deposition

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Clinton tops Florida 2016 landscape

Published:   |   Updated: July 24, 2014 at 10:29 AM
By William March

a new Quinnipiac University poll

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Group now seeking sponsors to erect miniature billboards on state trails

Published:   |   Updated: July 23, 2014 at 05:21 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

It’s unclear what companies, if any, are willing to shell out cash for miniature billboards on state trails.

State lawmakers looking to raise money for trail upkeep passed a law in 2012 allowing companies and nonprofit groups to sponsor seven trails and place signs to announce their support.

The trails include the Withlacoochee State Trail that passes through Hernando and Pasco counties.

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