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Progressive groups sue over Rick Scott’s judicial appointment power

in 2017/Top Headlines by

When Gov. Rick Scott appointed a conservative jurist to the state’s Supreme Court in December, he made clear he wasn’t done. “I will appoint three more justices the morning I finish my term,” he said, referring to the mandatory retirement in early 2019 of the court’s liberal-leaning triumvirate of Justices Barbara Pariente, Peggy A. Quince and R. Fred Lewis. Now, two progressive organizations are saying to Scott: Prove you can. They say he can’t. The League of Women Voters of Florida (LWVF)…

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Supreme Court strikes down limit on medical malpractice awards

in Statewide/Top Headlines by
medical malpractice

In a 4-3 decision, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday agreed with a lower court and said limiting certain damages in personal-injury medical malpractice lawsuits is unconstitutional. The ruling split along the usual lines, with the progressive-leaning justices concurring, and the conservatives—now including new Justice C. Alan Lawson—in dissent. The Legislature established $500,000 limits, or caps, on what are called “non­-economic” damages for such cases. The Supreme Court previously ruled they don’t apply in medical malpractice cases involving wrongful death. The…

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New deal? Gretna asks court to reconsider slots ruling

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Lawyers for a North Florida racetrack have asked the state’s Supreme Court to rehear argument in a case over whether pari-mutuels can add slot machines in counties that passed referendums allowing them. Gretna Racing‘s motion for rehearing was filed late Friday, court dockets show. The horse track, also known as Creek Entertainment/Gretna, is managed and operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Last month, the court unanimously ruled against the track, meaning that gambling facilities in Gadsden County’s Gretna and in…

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Justices rejects Florida appeal over death penalty

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The Supreme Court has left in place a lower court ruling that said imposing a death sentence in Florida requires a unanimous jury. The justices on Monday turned away an appeal from Florida officials seeking to overturn the ruling last year from the state’s highest court. The Florida Supreme Court had struck down a newly enacted law allowing a defendant to be sentenced to death as long as 10 out of 12 jurors recommend it. That ruling concluded that Timothy…

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Pari-mutuels subdued on next steps after Supreme Court slots decision

in Statewide/Top Headlines by
slot machines

With the state Supreme Court’s decision last week striking down the possibility of a slot machine expansion, what’s next? A unanimous court ruled against pari-mutuels seeking to add slot machines in counties that passed a referendum in support of them: Brevard, Duval, Gadsden, Hamilton, Lee, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Washington. Those concerns are holding their cards close to the vest, at least publicly. That includes bestbet in Jacksonville, which unsuccessfully applied to the state for a slots license. Spokesman…

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Florida Supreme Court rules against Gretna track, slots expansion

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A unanimous Florida Supreme Court has ruled against a North Florida racetrack seeking to add slot machines. The 20-page decision, released Thursday, means that gambling facilities in Gadsden County’s Gretna and in seven other counties that passed local referendums allowing slots also will not be able to offer them. In doing so, the court upheld a decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal that agreed with state gambling regulators who denied the track a slots permit. In sum, the…

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Chris Sprowls looks back on successful legislative session

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Now that the 2017 Legislative Session is in the history books (for the most part), Florida lawmakers are beginning to take stock. And Palm Harbor Republican Chris Sprowls is no different. Sprowls offers his own post-Session review, in an email to supporters highlighting some of his major legislative actions in the House over the past year. At the top of the list is HB 221, the landmark ride-sharing legislation co-sponsored by Sprowls and recently signed into law by Gov. Rick…

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