Monday, January 22, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST January 22, 2007

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Deal for rate relief in place
By S.V. Date

Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau

Monday, January 22, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - Pushed by a new governor who promised lower insurance rates,lawmakers Sunday reached a deal they said does exactly that: at least 25percent for customers of private insurers in their windstorm premiums, and 5percent to 20 percent for those of state-run Citizens Property InsuranceCorp.

"This had the ability to bring Florida's economy to its knees," said SenatePresident Ken Pruitt, praising the group of two dozen senators and Housemembers who worked through the weekend.

The compromise bill, which was still being drafted late Sunday fordistribution today, includes dozens of provisions. Key among them areclauses that would:

. Provide as much as $19 billion more in state-sponsored reinsurance, withprivate insurers who take advantage of the programs having to pass allsavings to their policyholders.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,6057392,print.story?coll=sfla-news-sfla

Legislative deal would cut windstorm rates by 7-35% for Florida propertyowners

By Linda Kleindienst and Kathy Bushouse
Tallahassee Bureau

January 22, 2007

TALLAHASSEE · Key legislators reached a final compromise Sunday night on howto solve Florida's property insurance woes, and the full House and Senatewill vote on the plan today, the last day of a weeklong emergency session.

Republican Gov. Charlie Crist gave a tentative stamp of approval to thebipartisan deal, reached after four days of intense talks between House andSenate negotiators.

Legislative leaders promised the plan will deliver rate relief to homeownersstatewide who have been socked with soaring insurance premiums after twodevastating hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005.

Rate cut estimates for customers of private insurance companies range from 7percent to 35 percent on the windstorm coverage in their policies. Customersof Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-backed insurer forhomeowners who can't get private insurance, could see up to a 20 percentreduction in their premiums.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,5315727,print.story?coll=sfla-news-broward

Free parking comes to an end north of Sunrise on Fort Lauderdale beach

By Brittany Wallman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

January 22, 2007

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Powder blue skies. Rolling sea. Warm sand. Free parking.

Which one doesn't belong?

Parking meters are expected to rise this year on a section of FortLauderdale beachfront with 250 free parking spots, the last free seasidepublic parking in Broward County.

The 170,000 residents of Fort Lauderdale would get a break, still parkingfor free on the strip of State Road A1A north of Sunrise Boulevard. Butvisitors from Tamarac to Quebec would pay $1.75 an hour.

City elected officials said they support the plan, which still requires apublic hearing and vote in order to add lifeguards to that stretch of thebeach, which is unprotected.

"That would suck," Mike McMullen, a visitor from Saratoga, N.Y., saidrecently as he pulled a beach chair out of his car trunk in a free spot."That's a little steep. The money generated by tourists alone should morethan compensate for that."


Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn
Tri-County -

Absolute Power
The real reason the Bush administration won't back down on Guantanamo.

By Dahlia Lithwick
Posted Saturday, Jan. 13, 2007, at 6:52 AM ET

Why is the United States poised to try Jose Padilla as a dangerous terrorist, long after it has become perfectly clear that he was just the wrong Muslim in the wrong airport on the wrong day?

Why is the United States still holding hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, long after years of interrogation and abuse have established that few, if any, of them are the deadly terrorists they have been held out to be?

And why is President Bush still issuing grandiose and provocative signing statements, the latest of which claims that the executive branch holds the power to open mail as it sees fit?

Willing to give the benefit of the doubt, I once believed the common thread here was presidential blindness—an extreme executive-branch myopia that leads the president to believe that these futile little measures are somehow integral to combating terrorism. That this is some piece of self-delusion that precludes Bush and his advisers from recognizing that Padilla is just a chump and Guantanamo merely a holding pen for a jumble of innocent and half-guilty wretches.

But it has finally become clear that the goal of these foolish efforts isn't really to win the war against terrorism; indeed, nothing about Padilla, Guantanamo, or signing statements moves the country an inch closer to eradicating terror. The object is a larger one, and the original overarching goal of this administration:expanding executive power, for its own sake.

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