08/19/14 State Roundup
Human trafficking is a crime that reaches a broad spectrum of victims — teenage runaways, the homeless, undocumented workers and even "kids who hang out at the mall every day," Mike Carroll, interim secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, said Monday at the first meeting of the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking.
Many victims are also foster care kids who are under state care or have aged out of the state system and have nowhere to go, Carroll, the council's vice chair, said....
Human trafficking is a crime that reaches a broad spectrum of victims -- teenage runaways, the homeless, undocumented workers and even "kids who hang out at the mall every day," Mike Carroll, interim secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families said Monday at the first meeting of the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking.
Many victims are also foster care kids who are under state care or have aged out of the state system and have no where to go, Carroll, the council's vice chair, said....
Former Junior League president and police chief appointed to human trafficking council
Lee Lowry, a former president of The Junior League of Tampa, and Philip Thorne, Springfield's police chief, have been picked by Gov. Rick Scott to fill the two remaining seats on the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking.
The council, which was created during the legislative session to develop recommendations for programs and services for victims of human trafficking and maximize existing resources, will have its first meeting at 2 p.m. Aug. 18 in Room 214 of the Knott Building at the Capitol. ...
Sen. Grimsley named to new human trafficking council
Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, has been appointed by Senate President Don Gaetz to the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, which was established by the legislature this session.
The first meeting of the 15-member council will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 18th in Room 214 of the Knott Building at the Capitol....
In a closed-door session, the Florida Commission on Ethics ruled in favor of Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, after an investigation into whether he misused his position to benefit a company that allegedly funded a grant awarded to his personal business venture.
The nine-member panel also decided there was no probable cause concerning an allegation that Grant had a conflict when he voted on legislation that related to excise taxes on phosphate mining....
Democrat Charlie Crist said he's already a "believer" in climate change but said he listened to a scientific presentation Friday partly to highlight the differences between him and Gov. Rick Scott.
The presentation took place during a press conference as Jeff Chanton, a Florida State University oceanography professor, showed slide after slide showing the impact of global warming on Florida and the world. Chanton was one of 10 scientists who last week sent a letter to Scott requesting a sit-down to discuss climate change since the governor has often said he's not a scientist when asked about global warming....
Attorney General Pam Bondi is turning to emergency medical workers to help fight human trafficking in Florida, which is the third highest ranked state for the crime.
Emergency medical providers are at the "front line to help to identify possible victims of human trafficking," Beth Brunner, CEO of the Emergency Medicine Learning and Resource Center in Orlando, said in a press release....
Legislative director leave
A longtime presence in state government, Darrick McGhee has left his job as director of legislative affairs for Gov. Rick Scott, and will be starting a new position as vice president of government relations for the lobbying firm, Johnson & Blanton, on Aug. 4th
Darrick is "an outstanding human being, a really good guy," said Travis Blanton. "He's very knowledgeable of the (state) agencies because he's worked in several and he's very knowledgeable about how Florida government works."...
Legislative leaders identified reform of Florida’s assisted-living facilities as one of their top goals this session, but once again lawmakers did not adopt measures to improve conditions in the 3,048 facilities around the state.
It is the third year the Legislature has not passed reforms proposed after a 2011 Miami Herald investigation that revealed the neglect, abuse and death of residents at some in ALFs....
05/12/14 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Legislative leaders identified reform of Florida's assisted-living facilities as one of their top goals this session, but once again lawmakers did not adopt measures to improve conditions in the state's 3,048 facilities.
It is the third year the Legislature has not passed reforms proposed after a 2011 Miami Herald investigation revealed the neglect, abuse and death of residents at some ALFs....
New state ombudsman for the elderly takes the helm
Leigh Davis has been named the state’s new top advocate for the elderly in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care facilities.
Davis, who has 30 years experience in the health-care and long-term care industry, filled the role of long-term care ombudsman for the Department of Elder Affairs on Feb. 3. In her position, she’ll oversee the statewide council of trained volunteers who visit facilities and investigate complaints and act as advocates for the elderly....
TALLAHASSEE — Crystal White was enjoying a parasailing adventure with her sister Amber in Pompano Beach on a summer day in 2007 when something went horribly wrong. The wind picked up, pulled the boat to shore and the rope attaching the parasail to the boat snapped. The two young girls were first slammed into a beach hotel and then a tree.
White, now 24, sustained head trauma and other injuries but survived. Amber died two days later, just before her 16th birthday....
Gov. Rick Scott may wear the state seal on his cowboy boots, but it shouldn’t be popping up on his campaign website, say Florida Democratic Party officials, who argue that Scott isn’t following state laws prohibiting the use of the seal in public campaigns.
The official state seal appears when visitors to the campaign website click on a few videos, including a Feb. 3rd announcement of $80 million in cancer research funding and another on education. Florida statutes state that “in no event shall approval be given for the use of the Great Seal for the following: (a) Political or campaign purposes.”...
For the fourth year, Democratic legislators and advocates for medical marijuana are pushing for a measure to legalize the drug. What makes all of them more hopeful about success this session is the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative amendment, which will be on the ballot Nov. 4.
“We’ve seen a seismic shift in how the legislature is beginning to look at these issues,” said Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, at a press conference Monday to announce his 157-page bill, the "Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act" (SB 962), with House sponsor Rep. Joe Saunders, D-Orlando. ...