Gov. Rick Scott's veto of a mental health bill this week not only surprised the Florida Legislature, which passed it unanimously, it contradicted the efforts of his own agency, the Department of Children and Families.
The bill, which would have shortened from five years to three years the time frame in which a judge would have to decide whether a person was mentally competent to stand trial, among other provisions, was rejected by Scott because reducing the time frame “could pose a serious public safety risk.”...
Starting July 1, Florida’s law enforcement officers can start ticketing interstate truck or bus drivers who will face hefty fines if they talk or text on hand-held devices.
Gov. Rick Scott has signed legislation (HB 7125) that gives officers the power to enforce federal regulations that went into effect January 2012. States have three years to mirror the federal regulations, said Duane DeBruyne, of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration....
06/13/13 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Rene Hammond was 18 when the Nazis hauled her family off to Auschwitz, where her parents perished. She and her sister later managed to escape from slave labor in a munitions factory, but they lost everything, including any documentation of her family's furniture business, insurance or bank accounts.
"We have no papers," said Hammond, 87, of Pinellas Park. "They gave us a prisoner dress, wooden shoes and a blanket … That's all we had."...
Former Romney spokesman new press secretary for the Republican Party of Florida
Susan Hepworth, who served as director of the national traveling press for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign, is the new press secretary and deputy communications director for the Republican Party of Florida.
The Kansas City native traveled full time with former Gov. Romney and the press corp during his race for president....
Residents should be wary of tornadoes, flooding and storm surges as fast-moving Tropical Storm Andrea passes through Florida but the most severe weather should be over by midnight, Gov. Rick Scott said during a press conference Thursday at the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
"We've talked to all the local emergency management teams and they're ready," Scott said. "The biggest ssue we have is we're under tornado warnings. We had eight tornadoes so far in the state." He said there have not been any reports of deaths or property damage caused by the storm....
Just last month, state and local law enforcement officials broke up a human trafficking and prostitution ring based in Clearwater, but the case just scratches the surface of the state's trafficking problems, Attorney General Pam Bondi said at a press conference Wednesday.
Bondi and FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey, flanked by other law enforcement leaders, said a search for new initiatives led to the development of a new, interactive video training program....
06/05/13 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill into law on Wednesday requiring that doctors performing an abortion offer emergency medical care if the baby is somehow born alive.
Scott was joined by his wife Ann and antiabortion activists from around the state as he signed HB 1129 at the Florida Baptist Children's Home's Pensacola campus in Cantonment, a nonprofit organization that supports pregnancy resource centers and provides services for children who are neglected, abused or abandoned....
Gov. Rick Scott today signed the only abortion-related bill that passed this session, requiring that doctors must offer emergency medical care if a baby is born alive during a failed abortion or face criminal charges....
Teachers recognized at Cabinet meeting
Five of the 2013-2014 District Teachers of the Year were recognized at Tuesday's Cabinet meeting:
Carrie Cooper, Columbia County, Columbia High School
Deborah Hodge, Dixie County, Dixie County High School
Kathy Griffin, Hamilton County, Central Hamilton Elementary School
Nicole Roddenberry, Jefferson County, Jefferson County Elementary School...
05/28/13 State Roundup
It may not be the strongest law, but texting while driving will be prohibited in Florida starting Oct. 1.
Gov. Rick Scott signed the ban into law Tuesday at an afternoon ceremony in Miami. The ban prohibits motorists from using cellphones to text or email while operating a vehicle in most circumstances.
The in most circumstances, however, comes with plenty of wiggle room....
05/25/13 State Roundup
Senate President Don Gaetz calls her the Margaret Thatcher of the Florida Senate — "tough, principled, independent and absolutely fearless." Valerie Guenther, chairman of the Charlotte County Democratic Party, notes she's a "tough target" because she doesn't just vote the party line. And Sen. Tom Lee says, "She looks you in the eye and tells you what she needs. What you see is what you get with Nancy Detert."...
Gov. Rick Scott is signing the texting while driving bill (SB 52) at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Alonzo and Tracy Mourning High School in Miami, but the state law doesn't take effect until Oct. 1.
The bill prohibits drivers from manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a wireless communications device, which includes text messaging, emailing and instant messaging through smart phones. Texting would be allowed in hands-off, high-tech cars and when a car is stopped at a red light or in a traffic jam....
A signing ceremony for the texting while driving bill (SB 52) has been set for 2-3 p.m. May 28th in Miami, according to an email listed on Project Sunburst, a website that displays executive staff emails in the Governor’s office, but Jackie Schutz, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott, wouldn't confirm the information.
She said the governor hasn’t yet received the bill and he is still "reviewing the legislation....
Fighting fraud that costs the state millions of dollars and impacts poor residents who rely on public assistance payments,The Department of Children & Families on Tuesday announced a new system to crack down on cheaters.
“Florida has the highest per capita rate of reported identity theft nationally,” with more than 70 percent of ID theft tied to government-related services, said DCF Secretary David Wilkins, speaking at a a press conference with Deputy CFO Jay Etheridge and Tallahassee Police Chief Dennis Jones....
New executive editor at News Service
Jim Saunders has been named the new executive editor of the News Service of Florida. Saunders replaces founding executive editor David Royse, who will become the News Service’s associate editor of special projects....