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John Armstrong

Confirmation of 4 Florida agency heads going to Senate floor

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The confirmation of four agency heads in Florida Gov. Rick Scott‘s administration will be headed to the Senate floor. The Ethics and Elections Committee on Monday voted in support of the confirmations of Jeffrey Bragg as Secretary of Elderly Affairs, Dr. Celeste Philip as Surgeon General, Justin Senior as Secretary of Health Care Administration and Glenn Sutphin as Director of Department of Veterans Affairs. All four are expected to be approved by the full Senate. Last year, Dr. John Armstrong…

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Health department responds to Tampa Bay Times report on changes to HIV stats

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The Florida Department of Health is pushing back on a report by the Tampa Bay Times over the weekend that said health department had removed hundreds of HIV cases from the books. The newspaper found that the department’s division of disease control lowered the number of HIV cases from 6,147 to 4,613 in 2014. The report found that the state occasional updates the numbers, and doesn’t consider the data final until July when it is reported. However, the Tampa Bay…

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Andy Gardiner still considering whether to bring up John Armstrong’s confirmation

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Don’t count out Surgeon General John Armstrong quite yet. Senate President Andy Gardiner said he is still debating whether the Senate will consider Armstrong’s confirmation. Gardiner said if the Senate were to take up Armstrong’s confirmation, it could come up on Thursday. But, Gardiner said, that’s still a big if. “I’m not sure we’re there yet,” said Gardiner. “We are not whipping. For me, it’s more of a procedural (question). If we bring him up, what’s the sense of the…

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John Armstrong burnishes anti-HIV cred amid confirmation doubts

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The same week that the Senate confirmation chances of its secretary – Surgeon General John Armstrong – continue dangling by a thread, the Florida Department of Health issued a news release in advance of an upcoming HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Armstrong has been criticized for, among other things, the state’s overall growing rate of HIV/AIDS. Thursday is the 11th annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the release says. The news release notes one silver lining: “From 2010 through 2014, the number of…

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Senate panel postpones Surgeon General John Armstrong’s confirmation hearing

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A Senate panel postponed Surgeon General John Armstrong’s confirmation hearing Tuesday, but the chair of the committee said he hopes to take it up before the end of the 2016 legislative session. The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee was scheduled to discuss the confirmations of three governor-appointed department heads. However, Sen. Garrett Richter, the chair of the committee, said Armstrong’s confirmation was postponed because several members still had questions and “wanted to meet one-on-one to have more extended conversations” with…

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Florida Senate confirms 10 agency heads appointed by Rick Scott

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The heads of 10 Florida state agencies will keep their jobs. The Florida Senate voted Thursday to confirm top officials appointed by Gov. Rick Scott. They also confirmed Rick Swearingen who was appointed the head of Florida’s law-enforcement agency by Scott and members of the Florida Cabinet. The vote was important because state law would have required the agency heads to leave their jobs if the Senate failed to confirm them this year. Among those confirmed were Julie Jones, secretary…

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Today on Context Florida: Antonin Scalia, education improvement, computer coding, volunteerism and John Armstrong & AIDS

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Today on Context Florida: Mitch McConnell couldn’t even wait until Justice Antonin Scalia’s corpse was cold before exploiting his death for partisan politics, says Martin Dyckman. The oleaginous majority leader means to keep the seat empty, no matter the likelihood of that paralyzing the sharply divided Supreme Court for a year, on the chance that voters might elect a Republican president to appoint Scalia’s replacement. The people, he said, “should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court…

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