Tuesday, October 09, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST October 09, 2007

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Candidate for State Senator

Thursday, October 25, 2007
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Enjoy Hors d'oeuvre's and Wine

With your friends from
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Political Advertisement paid for and approved by Ken Gottlieb, Democrat, forState Senate, District 31


The Miami Herald


Democratic spouses also shun Florida

Posted on Tue, Oct. 09, 2007

As far as the Democratic presidential campaigns are concerned, Florida hascooties.

Most candidates had already pledged to shun the state for breaking nationalparty rules by moving up its presidential primary to Jan. 29. Now, theywon't even let their spouses come.

The Florida Democratic Party invited several spouses -- most notably formerPresident Bill Clinton -- to Orlando later this month in an effort tosalvage a convention expecting 3,000 activists but no major presidentialcandidates. On Monday, representatives of Hillary Clinton, as well as rivalsBarack Obama and John Edwards, confirmed that the spouses will not becoming.

''We are not campaigning in Florida, nor are we sending any surrogates tocampaign in Florida,'' said Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee.

The four states approved by the national party to hold the earliestprimaries or caucuses -- Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada --leaned on the candidates to pledge not to campaign in Florida.

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Palm Beach Post


New deal on tax cuts in the works

Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau
Tuesday, October 09, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - Lawmakers appear close to a new agreement for cutting propertytaxes that would include doubling the $25,000 homestead exemption andoffering homeowners "portability" of their accrued Save Our Homes taxsavings, top legislators and the governor said Monday.

The new plan would total $7.6 billion in property tax cuts over the firstfive years, rather than as much as $16 billion expected from a proposedsuper homestead exemption constitutional amendment. Because a judge struckthat amendment question from the Jan. 29 ballot, lawmakers and Gov. CharlieCrist have been forced to decide whether to replace the super exemptionquestion on the ballot or fight the judge's decision in appellate court.

Crist said another property tax session would take place "soon" - before theOct. 31 deadline lawmakers face to put a new proposal on the Jan. 29presidential primary ballot. Lawmakers can place questions on ballots noless than 90 days prior to the election in question.

Top Capitol leaders said privately that the fourth special session of theyear, or even an extension of the ongoing session to cut the budget, couldbegin Friday and wrap up by Monday.

The new plan would give Crist two solutions that he campaigned for lastyear - doubling the homestead exemption and portability.

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Florida Times-Union


No-fault car insurance: How it works

October 9, 2007
By J. Taylor Rushing,
Capital Bureau Chief

Florida lawmakers needed just three days and one lopsided vote last week toextend and revise the state's no-fault auto insurance law.

More Times-Union legislative coverage Learn more about members of the FirstCoast legislative delegation State budget coverage Florida health servicescoverage State education coverage Public safety legislation

Although details were hashed out between top House and Senate negotiators,there was intense lobbying over whether personal injury protection shouldexpire - and once it did, whether it should stay expired. Insurancecompanies and most Republicans wanted it gone, claiming that the system wasriddled with fraud. Hospitals and most Democrats disagreed, saying therequirement was necessary to avoid a "surge" of uninsured drivers and higherhealth and auto insurance costs.

The final deal gave something to both sides. Florida's 36-year-old PIP law,which requires all drivers to buy $10,000 worth of medical coverage forcosts resulting from an accident regardless of fault, will become law againon Jan. 1. But it will come with significant crackdown on potential fraud.Here are a few things to know:

What happens until Jan. 1?PIP coverage is voluntary until then, which meansdrivers are more exposed to lawsuits over medical costs from an accident.PIP coverage will apply only in accidents where both drivers have thecoverage, so costs in such accidents will be covered regardless of fault.For wrecks that involve at least one driver without the coverage, any drivercould be sued for medical costs, and the question of fault will bedetermined by police investigators and courts.

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Portability needs thorough review

October 9, 2007
ISSUE: Homestead portability back in spotlight.

Strike two!

If the governor and Florida lawmakers must take another swing at propertytax reform before next year's regular session, they ought to go out of theirway to connect this time.

So far, Gov. Charlie Crist and the GOP-led Legislature have come up empty ontwo attempts to overhaul an inequitable property tax system. In the spring,a proposal to replace property taxes with a higher sales tax fizzled. Now,the Legislature is backing away from a second try, creating a superhomestead exemption, after a judge in Tallahassee ruled the language on theJan. 29 ballot is too vague.

Two very different proposals, yes, but there is one common thread betweenboth. In each case, Republican lawmakers rushed ahead with a plan thatwasn't fully vetted, and then didn't give it the public debate it deserved.It's not encouraging, either, that the GOP leadership in the House lefttheir Democratic counterparts in the dark during last week's budget-cuttingnegotiations.

What's more, whatever solution Tallahassee Republicans aim to put forwardmay need bipartisan approval from voters. The best way to achieve broadpublic support is to promote a solution derived from bipartisanship in thestate capital.

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Palm Beach Post


Former inner-city superintendent picked as state's education chief

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 09, 2007

TAMPA - Eric J. Smith, a former inner-city superintendent praised for hisvision but criticized for his single-mindedness, was named Florida's nextcommissioner of education. Smith was chosen from 29 applicants.

He won unanimous approval from the state Board of Education on Monday. Afterthree hours of interviews, the board chose him over finalists Cheri PiersonYecke, the state's K-12 chancellor, and Joseph J. Marinelli, a regionalsuperintendent in New York.

Smith, 57, and state board members must still reach agreement on his salary,other compensation and start date. The position was advertised with a salaryrange of $195,189 to $275,058.

Board Chairman Willard T. Fair said Smith's style impressed him.

"He understands that there are tough decisions that have to be made. Thething that impressed me was at the end of the day, he knew the buck stoppedwith him," Fair said. "Every place that I looked, while people werecomplaining about him, at the end of the day, what he was supposed to bedoing, he got done."

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