From The News Service of Florida:
In a major ruling, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday said that a state law limiting attorney's fees in workers-compensation insurance cases is unconstitutional.
The 5-2 ruling in the closely watched case was a victory for attorneys who represent injured workers --- and a blow to business groups that have long argued legal fees drive up the costs of workers-compensation insurance. The fee issue will bounce back to the Legislature, where it could spark a fierce debate....
It was 22 seconds of silence that spoke volumes about the political tension between Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet.
Between Scott and CFO Jeff Atwater in particular.
During an escalating battle between the governor and CFO over who should become Florida's next insurance commissioner, Scott stuck by the same candidate he has wanted all along: Jeffrey Bragg of Palm Harbor. He sought a second for his motion to name Bragg the next commissioner....
Between a Florida Cabinet meeting Tuesday and another special Cabinet meeting Friday, the drama over picking a new state insurance commissioner is shifting momentarily from Tallahassee to Tampa today.
Many of the key players in the political saga, including outgoing Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, are in Tampa for the inaugural conference of the Florida Association for Insurance Reform (FAIR). The topic that analysts, insurers, reinsurers and other industry experts will tackle during the daylong event is: The Role of Catastrophe Reinsurance in a Wind Exposed Region,...
Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet today are trying for a second time to choose a new insurance commissioner.
Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater must agree on the same candidate, and both have different favorites.
Scott has remained committed to Jeffrey Bragg of Palm Harbor, calling him "the best candidate" to succeed the current commissioner, Kevin McCarty. Bragg, 67, is a former federal official who ran a terrorism risk insurance program in the Department of the Treasury....
From our friends at The News Service of Florida:
Two days after Gov. Rick Scott professed support for his lone finalist to be the state's next insurance commissioner, the governor interviewed four others who have applied for the position.
Scott conducted brief telephone interviews Friday with David Altmaier and Richard Robleto, both deputy commissioners with the Office of Insurance Regulation; Carla D'Andre, the founder of an independent insurance company in Miami; and Chlora Lindley-Myers, a deputy commissioner with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance....
04/22/16 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — Times Publishing Co., parent of the Tampa Bay Times, has sold its downtown St. Petersburg headquarters for $19 million to a joint venture of Convergent Capital Partners and Denholtz Associates, the company announced Friday.
The Times will stay under a 15-year lease as a major tenant, occupying nearly half the building, and the newspaper's name will continue to adorn its flagship location. The eight-story, 250,000-square-foot facility at 490 First Ave. S consists of three buildings, built in 1924, 1968 and 1988, which are joined together....
From Tampa Bay Times correspondent William March:
During the run-up to the Florida primary, the Hillary Clinton campaign had several Florida field offices, including spaces in Ybor City, Jacksonville, Orlando and West Palm Beach.
But while Clinton's Florida finance operation will continue to be headquartered in South Florida, her state headquarters is expected to be in Tampa, local party insiders are saying. They said it's not a done deal, but locations are being scouted....
State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, hosted constituents Thursday morning to hear from Allegiant Air CEO Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr.
Allegiant has been growing at a quick pace at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, but along the way has been under the media microscope for a number of maintenance delays, emergency landings and engine issues.
Latvala was quick to take to task the Tampa Bay Times, which has been at the forefront of Allegiant coverage....
From Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano, who has had his fill of politicians in Florida dodging questions and leaving it up to their spokespeople to answer for them:
Et tu, Patrick Murphy?
You're a U.S. Senate candidate with a name recognizable in roughly 7.4 percent of Florida homes, and already you're hiding behind a spokeswoman's written statements?
Granted, I understand the embarrassment of preaching against our campaign finance system while your rich dad pours money into a super PAC supporting your campaign....
04/15/16 State Roundup
A spring swoon has overtaken Florida's jobs market, resulting in the smallest monthly job growth in nearly four years.
The state added an anemic 3,000 jobs in March, according to figures released Friday by the state Department of Economic Opportunity. That follows a meager 5,900 jobs added in February. Both represent a small fraction of Florida's population growth, indicating more working-age newcomers are entering the state than the job market can absorb. ...
From Tampa Bay Times' columnist John Romano:
By most accounts, Florida has been a slacker in solar energy production.
Despite having enormous potential, Florida trails colder and less obvious states such as Massachusetts and New Jersey in producing solar energy.
When it comes to jobs in the solar field - Hello, Gov. Scott! - Florida has a fraction of the number it should based on this state's population....
Trigaux: Despite Enterprise Florida turmoil on job incentives, site selectors find plenty to praise in Tampa04/09/16 Blog
From Tampa Bay Times business columnist Robert Trigaux:
Who says Florida's economic development engine is on the fritz?
Sure, legislators nixed a coveted $250 million incentive fund that Enterprise Florida, the state's job-recruiting arm, really wanted.
Okay, Enterprise Florida CEO Bill Johnson warned that loss of incentives could cost Florida 50,000 jobs. Now he's leaving the agency after barely a year in office. It's unclear if he exits with a pat on the back or a kick in the pants....
From Tampa Bay Times correspondent William March:
Alan Hays, a Republican state senator from Umatilla, has never been interested in national political conventions, dismissing them as "just a formality." He didn't even bother to drive to Tampa for his party's 2012 convention.
But this year is different. Hays, state co-chairman for Ted Cruz, is considering applying for one of Florida's 99 delegate slots for the July convention in Cleveland. "If it does go beyond the third ballot, I want to be there to vote for Cruz," Hays said....
PolitiFact Florida and Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano both took a dive into the virally popular confrontation between Gov. Rick Scott and a political activist at a Gainesvillle Starbucks earlier this week.
PolitiFact Florida played referree over three claims between Scott and his irate constituent, later identified as Cara Jennings, a liberal activist and former Lake Worth city commissioner. Read more here
Think the Great Flood Insurance Rate Crisis of 2013-14 had been fixed?
Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano warns that some political maneuvering only muted and delayed the impact of the rate hikes. Now it's time to pay up:
Two years later, the flood insurance frenzy has died down. No one is shouting about inexplicable rate hikes or a real estate apocalypse. Private insurers are slowly entering the marketplace, and FEMA is keeping a low profile....