State investigators say there’s no evidence Planned Parenthood in Florida purchased or sold human organs or tissue.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger confirmed in an email Monday that an inquiry into Planned Parenthood has closed and didn’t move into a full investigation.
State health officials inspected 16 Planned Parenthood facilities in August and reported that three clinics were illegally performing second-trimester abortions.
Planned Parenthood representatives have maintained that abortions were performed during the first trimester and that state officials were changing trimester definitions. Executive Director Laura Goodhue said Monday that the organization doesn’t offer any tissue donation services in Florida.
Gov. Rick Scott ordered the inspections after videos surfaced showing organization officials discussing fetal organ research. Scott spokeswoman Jeri Bustamante said Monday that the governor appreciates the law enforcement division’s work.
After two years of complaints about healthcare in Florida’s prisons, the private company that has been responsible for the largest share of inmate care — Corizon Health — decided not to renew its $1.1 billion contract with the state Monday, leaving the future of care for 74,000 inmates in limbo when the company pulls out in six months.
The decision by the Tennessee-based company to exercise its right to terminate the contract that was scheduled to expire in 2018 came as the Florida Department of Corrections was attempting to renegotiate the agreement amid reports of inmate maltreatment, chronic understaffing and rising numbers of unnatural inmate deaths.
"We appreciate the contracts for inmate health services permit very little of the flexibility that Secretary Jones would like in order to address issues such as staffing, mental health care, and electronic health records," Corizon Chief Executive Officer Karey Witty said in a statement. "We have tried to address the department's concerns but have found the terms of the current contract too constraining. At this point, we believe the best way to move forward is to focus our efforts on a successful transition to a new provider." …
Marco Rubio said Monday that mental health issues need to be better addressed in relation to shootings but stressed the federal government is not the answer to broader questions.
Rubio spoke on a New Hampshire radio show and was asked for his “presidential prescription” for domestic terrorism. The host cited the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.
Rubio called it “horrifying” and focused on mental health.
“As a country,” Rubio said on WKXL, “we need to be more serious about how we address mental health. I know there’s a bill working its way through Congress and that is something we should look at that will help improve things to some extent.
“But I also think we need to look at our society at large. Why is it that these things are happening? It kind of leads you back to (that) the societal breakdown is a major contributor to some of the problems we face in this country. And not every problem in America has a federal government solution to it. A lot of them lie in our own homes, in our own neighborhoods, in our own communities.
“Obviously mental health is an illness and needs to be treated as such. We need to be serious about people that have not just shown they have mental illness but have expressed violent tendencies and ensure that we have systems at the state and local level that are in place to address that before it turns into a violent incident."
Six senators, the head of the House redistricting committee and a long list of Republican political operatives could be questioned under oath as potential witnesses in the week-long Senate redistricting trial that begins Dec. 14.
Sen. Anitere Flores and Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, both Miami Republicans, may be questioned under oath about the origins and development of the staff-drawn base maps approved by the Senate and submitted tp the court by Gardiner, R-Orlando, according to a lengthy witness list filed Monday with the court by the coalition of voting groups.
Also on the potential witness list are Republican Sens. Jack Latvala of Clearwater and Tom Lee of Brandon and House Redistricting Committee Chairman Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes. The plaintiffs list only Galvano, R-Bradenton, as a witness who will definitely be called.
A five-day trial is scheduled before Leon County Circuit Court Judge George Reynolds and the plaintiffs, led by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause of Florida, say they will show that the map proposed by the Senate was rife with attempts to protect incumbents, in violation of the anti-gerrymandering provisions of the state constitution.
Lambrix was convicted in Glades County in 1984 for killing Aleisha Bryant and Clarence Moore, Jr.
According to information from the governor's office, Lambrix and his girlfriend met the victims at a bar and invited them back to the trailer where they lived for dinner. Lambrix then beat Moore to death with a tire iron and strangled Bryant. He stole a gold chain from Moore's body and buried them in a shallow grave before taking Moore's car.
Lambrix had escaped from work release in December 1982 while serving a two-year prison sentence for violoating probation.
Organizers are expecting a crowd of more than 200 at the “Conversation with Hillary Rodham Clinton” Wednesday at the home of Alex Sink, Clinton’s first campaign event in Tampa in this race, but they won’t include any reporters.
“They aren’t allowing any press,” Sink said in response to a request from a Times reporter to attend.
“Tampa fundraiser is closed to the press,” confirmed campaign spokesman Tyrone Gayle.
Former Mayor Sandy Freedman said the campaign told her a week ago there were more than 200 RSVP’s for the event, and the number likely has increased since.
After a shooting at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs last week, anti-abortion activists in Florida are cancelling a rally planned at the state Capitol next week.
The Florida Family Policy Council, which was going to bus supporters from Miami and Orlando to picket the governor's office Dec. 7, has decided to push back the rally to the spring in response to the shooting that left three dead on Friday.
“This violent and horrifying act by someone who has a troubling and violent past, is in complete opposition to the pro-life cause,” said the group's president, John Stemberger, in a statement Monday. “We believe that we must continue promoting the pro-life message and reiterate the concern we have for every human life including the victims of this tragedy."
Stemberger and his supporters have been calling on Gov. Rick Scott to cancel contracts with Planned Parenthood that require the state to match some federal Medicaid funds. …
The Republican Party of Florida on Monday formally named the candidates for next March's presidential primary ballot.
There has been concern the winner-take-all status of the primary and homestate favorites Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush would keep other candidates away. But the dynamics of the race continue to evolve and the state looks more competitive.
Candidates who appeared at the recent Sunshine Summit were granted ballot access. Missing from the list is George Pataki, who did not attend the Orlando summit and missed the deadline to get on the ballot. "He will not be on the Florida ballot," RPOF spokesman Wadi Gaitan said.
The Florida League of Cities is mobilizing opposition to kill a legislative proposal to revamp the state's elections timetable in advance of a House vote this week.
The House State Affairs Committee is scheduled to vote Thursday on a bill that would shift city elections to the same date as statewide November general election dates in even-numbered years and to similar dates in odd-numbered years. Most cities hold elections in the spring when they often have the ballot all to themselves. The change is being pushed by Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-North Fort Myers, the panel's chairman, who says his goal is to inprove voter turnout in city elections. …
Sen. Bill Nelson's longtime spokesman, Dan McLaughlin, will retire at the end of the year.
Nelson announced the news to staff today.
Dan McLaughlin, our Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director, is retiring at year's end after more than 21 years of outstanding public service, the last 15 of which were in the U.S. Senate. He has decided to pursue opportunities in the private sector, including his passion for oil painting and Florida art. Dan has been my confidant and friend all these years, and is recognized in both journalism and communications as one of the best.
He is succeeded by Ryan Brown who, as Director of Communications, is hitting the ground running.
McLaughlin was a formidable reporter for the Tampa Tribune before entering politics. Nicknamed "Mad dog," he was not shy about telling reporters where he thought a story was to be found -- or if he thought a story was bull. His art has become an increasing focus.
McLaughlin's decision follows recent news that Nelson's chief of staff, Pete Mitchell, is retiring -- but not before laying the groundwork for Nelson's 2018 re-election campaign.
Get 5 updates from the Tampa Bay Times' political team including Adam Smith and Alex Leary emailed to you Monday — Friday at 3 p.m. Plus, Jebio a daily news nugget on Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, so you'll be the first to know when news breaks.
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For Florida political news today, the Buzz is your can't-miss-it source. Tampa Bay Times writers offer the latest in Florida politics, the Florida Legislature and the Rick Scott administration. Keep in mind: This is a public forum sponsored and maintained by the Tampa Bay Times. When you post comments here, what you say becomes public and could appear in the newspaper. You are not engaging in private communication with candidates or Times staffers.