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Calls for blue-ribbon hurricane panels abound in Capitol

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In the wake of Hurricane Irma, and with Hurricane Maria now churning the Atlantic, Florida lawmakers are forming or calling for blue-ribbon panels to improve the state’s readiness to deal with monster storms. House Speaker Richard Corcoran on Tuesday announced the creation of a “Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness” to “gather information, solicit ideas for improvement, and make recommendations.” Separately, state Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, asked Gov. Rick Scott “to form a commission to review the…

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Jake Owen pitches in after Irma

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Florida native and country music artist Jake Owen is helping relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Irma, Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday.  “Jake reached out to the governor to find out the best way to help people in his home state who have been affected by Hurricane Irma,” according to a press release.

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Rick Scott to counties: Prioritize your clean-ups

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Gov. Rick Scott is telling counties affected by Hurricane Irma to get their act together, asking them “to submit detailed debris clean-up plans” by Tuesday. The plans need to go to the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM) by noon, the governor said in a statement.  “Let me be clear – debris removal is a function handled and directed at the local level and following a storm like Irma, it is my expectation that every county immediately and aggressively begins work…

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Ritch Workman named to Public Service Commission

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Ritch Workman is headed back to Tallahassee. The former state representative, a Melbourne Republican, was appointed Friday night by Gov. Rick Scott to serve on the Florida Public Service Commission. Workman replaces Ronald Brisé, who had sought a third term on the board. Scott also re-appointed Art Graham to the commission and filled the seat left open by the departure of Jimmy Patronis with Gary Clark, the Department of Environment Protection‘s deputy secretary of land and recreation.

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Democrats batter Rick Scott over nursing home tragedy

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Democratic candidates for governor are hitting Gov. Rick Scott and others hard in the wake of eight deaths in a South Florida nursing home that lost its air conditioning as Hurricane Irma hit the state. But Scott’s office defended the governor’s actions, saying the facility never reported “that conditions had become dangerous.”

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First legislation filed after nursing home deaths

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A South Florida senator has filed the first bill in response to the deaths of eight nursing home residents this week after Hurricane Irma knocked out their air conditioning. Sen. Lauren Book, a Plantation Democrat, filed the measure (SB 284) on Friday afternoon. Among other things, it would require the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) “to determine compliance with standards for electricity and emergency power sources during the routine inspection of a licensed nursing home facility.”

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Flags at half-staff for law enforcement deaths before Irma

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Gov. Rick Scott has ordered flags at half-staff to honor Hardee County Sheriff’s Deputy Julie Ann Bridges and Florida Department of Corrections Sgt. Joseph Ossman.

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