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Judicial ethics watchdog could suffer in fight for independent Florida courts

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Is Florida’s judicial ethics commission about to become collateral damage in a battle over the independence of the courts? House Speaker Richard Corcoran, the Land O’Lakes Republican, appears to have targeted the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) along with the courts themselves in his campaign to curb the independence of the judiciary. The JQC and the Supreme Court had not concluded an ethics case against Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey III of Jacksonville when Corcoran scheduled an impeachment hearing a month ago.…

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House panel gets update on dental carve out law

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A recent study by the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability into how effective managed care plans are at providing dental care appeared to be inconclusive, agency officials said this week. OPPAGA was tasked with looking into how effectively managed care plans are at providing dental care under a contentious 2016 law. The law, among other things, carved out dental care from the list of minimum benefits offered under the state’s Medicaid managed care plans. It required the…

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Florida’s economic development efforts are ‘underperforming’

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Florida’s state economic development efforts are “underperforming,” according to a new legislative report.   An undesirable label by any standard, critics and lawmakers already skeptical of providing taxpayer support for private businesses are likely to seize on the bureaucratic euphemism and underlying findings to bolster their anti-incentives position ahead of the March state legislative session. The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, a nonpartisan legislative research office, conducted a comprehensive review of Enterprise Florida Inc. and the Department of…

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Mitch Perry Report for 11.24.15 – Did Rick Scott release something yesterday?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

If you’re a reporter, you didn’t have to be in Jacksonville yesterday to learn the details of Governor Rick Scott‘s $79 billion budget. That’s because the governor’s press office helpfully sent out email after email to highlight aspects of the vast budget throughout the day, where the highlights include $1 billion in tax cuts and cutting 863 state jobs. There’s been a lot of news from Tallahassee of late, because the Legislature will convene for the 2016 session in less than…

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Hillsborough County officials say there are no irregularities in union contract with firefighters

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Responding to an investigative report that revealed that the Hillsborough County Firefighters Union’s members exceeded the budget for union leave over he past five years, County Administrator Mike Merrill told county commissioners this morning that there are no irregularities in the county’s contract with the union. 10 News reporter Mike Deeson recently reported that the $668,000 budgeted for union leave over the past five years actually cost taxpayers almost $850,000. He has also reported that union members were allowed under their contract…

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Jeff Brandes makes another run at ending red-light cameras

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State Sen. Jeff Brandes has never been shy about his dislike of red-light cameras. Last year, the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability released a stinging report on how local governments use the cameras. In response, Brandes filed legislation to rein in their use. “There are perverse incentives inherent in the red-light camera program,” he said at the time. Although the proposal did not make it in 2014, Brandes takes another run at the cameras Tuesday.  He seeks…

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