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Today on Context Florida: Assignment of benefits, primary Karma, human trafficking, dirty caucusing and water law facts

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Today on Context Florida:

When consumers experience water damage unconnected to hurricanes, Alan Daley says they usually call a plumber, a roofing specialist or their insurance company to repair the damage. The plumbing or roofing contractor will probably suggest that the consumer assign the insurance benefits, so that payment for any work will go directly from the insurer to the contractor – a process known as “assignment of benefits” (AOB). Like in 49 other states across the U.S., the process is supposed to help consumers fix things quickly and let the insurer seamlessly settle claims, but Daley says Florida’s process is having some serious problems, which are leading to higher consumer prices.

Whenever Dan Gelber waits in a supermarket line (or movie theater, department store, or, frankly, any line), every other line always appears to move faster. This maddening phenomenon is, of course, known as Supermarket Line Karma. Floridians are well aware of this phenomenon because we have watched it play out in presidential primaries. About a decade ago, when Gelber was incoming House Democratic Leader, a fresh-faced, eloquent incoming Republican House Speaker approached me about moving up the Florida primary in the run up to the 2008 presidential elections. Before that election, we voted on “Super Tuesday” with so many others. “It would make Florida more relevant,” was one of the rationales. Made sense, sort of. Gelber agreed to the move because he forgot that Karma exists in presidential primaries as well.

Bill Day’s latest:

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A woman unpaid with unusually long work hours, or a young man recruited for a job under false premises. Christina Daly and Mike Carroll point out that it is difficult to comprehend the evil of human trafficking, but its existence is real and occurs not only in poor and impoverished villages halfway around the world, but right here in our own communities. Human trafficking is the fastest growing multibillion-dollar industry that victimizes more than 27 million people worldwide, one-fourth of them children. Its evil grasp goes largely unnoticed in the country, but these staggering facts cannot be ignored and should call us to action. Even just one victim of human trafficking is one too many.

The Iowa caucuses are now in the books and Tim Bryce notes the candidates have moved on to the next battlefield, New Hampshire. But, he says there are some nagging questions about dirty dealings in Iowa. As we all know, the caucuses are conducted differently than regular voting. There are rumors that voter identification was not checked, allowing anyone to attend any of the caucuses and vote. However, Breitbart reported what seems to be an odd coincidence. Six Democratic precincts were deadlocked, causing officials to toss a coin to break the tie. In all six coin-tosses, Hillary Clinton remarkably won. The odds of doing so are 64-to-1. The Des Moines Register noted that one coin toss, coming from a precinct in Ames, was conducted even when “60 caucus participants apparently disappeared from the proceedings.”

Charlie Dean and Matt Caldwell say that the Florida House and Senate are off to a great start in the 2016 session, having passed significant legislation expanding job and education opportunities for people with disabilities and approving a historic water bill. Thanks to Gov. Scott, both of these bills are now law. The comprehensive water bill has been the subject of newspaper editorials around the state, and now that it’s the law, the two lawmakers believe Floridians deserve to know about the many benefits it will provide.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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