Thursday, December 27, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST December 27, 2007

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Florida drops to No. 19 in nation for population growth

Associated Press
6:24 AM EST, December 27, 2007

Louisiana appears to be rebounding from the devastation of HurricaneKatrina, gaining 50,000 residents in the year ending July 1, according tonew Census Bureau state population estimates released Thursday.

Florida went from being the ninth fastest-growing state to No. 19.

After the storm hit in August 2005, the bureau estimated the state lost250,000 residents. Despite the most recent gain, the state is far fromreturning to its pre-Katrina population level of 4.5 million. The CensusBureau estimate is reached by measuring births, deaths and migration intoand out of each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

In Louisiana, the Census estimates a net increase of people moving into thestate from other states of 29,000, accounting for more than half the jump.

The fastest-growing states continue to be in the Rocky Mountain region andthe Southeast. Texas also is still attracting new residents at a rapid rate.

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If Florida can get a better deal on meds, so should Washington

December 26, 2007

ISSUE: State strikes deal on medications.

Gov. Charlie Crist and state officials deserve credit for forging a deal toreduce prices on pharmaceuticals. And the fact that they did begs thequestion of why can't the federal government negotiate a better deal, too?

Under the state program, roughly 4 million elderly and low-income Floridianswill receive a drug card giving them access to cheaper medications atpharmacies across the state. Those reductions should total between 5 percentand 42 percent.

Sure, there probably are a lot of skeptical folks across the Sunshine Statetoday. And given disappointments over meager insurance premium reductions,and even the inability to slash property taxes so far, you can't blame themfor doubting this deal, too, won't be as good as promised.

The proof is in the results, and soon we'll see if the governor's plan meetsits billing. All Floridians should hope so, and should give the plan a shot.

Florida counts plenty of seniors on fixed incomes, as well as poor families,and if the plan works they'll get a much-needed break. But even Floridianswho don't qualify for the program must hope it works, too.

States should serve as a public policy laboratory for the nationalgovernment. And if there is one area that could use reform and a better wayto do things, it's the federal Medicare drug plan.

The program, enacted earlier this decade, has been long faulted because itprevents the federal government from negotiating better prices frompharmaceutical companies. If Florida's program proves that government-runpharmaceutical programs can strike better deals, it'll put pressure onCongress and the next administration to get better deals, to the benefit ofseniors and all taxpayers.

BOTTOM LINE: If Florida can do it, feds should be able to as well.


Palm Beach Post

Politics ready to take center stage

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 27, 2007

After months of controversial shake-ups in the presidential primary election calendar, the nominating season officially kicks off in Iowa a week fromtoday.

Twenty-six days and six states later, Floridians will cast ballots on theirfavorite candidate among the nine Republicans and eight Democrats appearingon the two parties' tickets.

Florida voter registration

The deadline to register to vote in the Jan. 29 presidential primary is NewYear's Eve. All registrations postmarked by Monday will be accepted. Mondayis also the deadline to register a party affiliation,a requirement to votein either the Democratic or Republican primary. Applications are availableonline and at county elections offices, libraries and Department of HighwaySafety and Motor Vehicles offices.

All voters are eligible for early voting, which runs Jan. 14-26. Contactyour county's elections office for times and locations. An acceptablepicture and signature identification are needed.

Absentee voting

To request an absentee ballot, contact your county's elections office. Allballots must be received by theoffice by 7 p.m.Jan. 29.

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Deadline approaches for voter registration, party switches
Monday is last day to register or change parties

By Anthony Man
Political Writer
December 27, 2007

If you're a Republican and you have a burning desire to cast a primary votefor Hillary Clinton, act fast.

If you're a Democrat and have a hankering to vote for Rudy Giuliani, time isrunning out.

And if you aren't registered to vote, but want to participate in what couldbe pivotal primaries for both parties on Jan. 29, only a few days are left.

Monday at 5 p.m. is the deadline for people to register to vote in theDemocratic and Republican primaries, as well as for the proposed propertytax amendment to the state constitution, and elections in six Browardcities, towns and villages.

The deadline is the same for people who want to switch party registrationsbetween Democrat and Republican, or move from an independent or third-partyto one of the major parties.

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