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Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

New driver’s licenses to boost security

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Colorful high-tech driver’s licenses and state identification cards, designed for added security and to cut down on fake IDs, will start rolling out across Florida this month. But unless it’s time to update a card because of an expiration date or a name or address change, there’s no need to rush out for a new ID.

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Proposed legislation could break the cycle of debt for many caught in Florida’s legal system

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It’s a vicious circle: Poor people who can’t afford their court-related costs and penalties incur escalating costs for not paying, further indebting them to the state. “It’s a circle that some people get stuck in and they can’t get out,” Christopher Torres, a Tallahassee defense attorney and former Florida assistant attorney general, told Watchdog.org. Compounding the problem is the state’s practice of suspending drivers’ licenses as both a punishment for delinquent payments and an incentive to get people to pay up. For those…

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Rick Scott declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Matthew

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Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for all of Florida as Hurricane Matthew barrels toward Jamaica and Haiti. Heavy bands from the Category 4 storm have already flooded streets and sent many people to emergency shelters in the two countries. Two deaths have already been reported in Haiti, bringing the total for the storm to at least four. “If Hurricane Matthew directly impacts Florida, there could be massive destruction which we haven’t seen since Hurricane Andrew devastated Miami-Dade…

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State DHSMV moving its computers in May

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Don’t try to renew your driver’s license online the weekend of May 6-8. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) will be offline then as it moves its computers and other equipment to a new home, the agency said in a Tuesday news release. The move begins 8 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) on Friday, May 6 through 8 a.m. Monday, May 9. “The department anticipates that offices will be open to walk-in customers Monday, May 9, but will it not…

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Personnel note: Veteran state CIO Rob Fields joins One Eighty Consulting

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Rob Fields, chief information officer of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, is joining One Eighty Consulting, a Tallahassee-based governmental affairs consultancy firm. Fields, a 14-year-veteran of Florida state government, has been a top adviser to several senior government leaders on a variety of issues: health care, banking, insurance, motor vehicle and law enforcement. In a prepared statement Tuesday, Fields said he was “really excited” to be moving from the public to private sector. “One Eighty Consulting…

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Woman: Florida license mistakenly labeled me a sex offender

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A Florida woman who was issued a driver’s license that mistakenly labeled her a sexual predator said Thursday that she plans to file a defamation lawsuit against a county tax collector’s office. Tammy Lemasters, 42, said she was denied service when trying to book a room at a hotel and has endured funny looks from cashiers when cashing checks because of the blue letters in the bottom-right corner of her license that say “SEXUAL PREDATOR.” “I was afraid to drive…

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Red light cameras, with $105M in revenue last year, remain controversial

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Red-light Cameras (RLC) caught violations by nearly one million Floridians last year, creating quite the revenue stream for municipalities across the state, according to a new report Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. As reported by Lloyd Dunkelberger of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, of 941,000 violations issued to motorists, a majority of them (648,000) pay the $158 penalty, which is then split between local governments ($75) and the state ($83). Of those 37,000 who challenged the citations, 12,000 wound…

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