Monday, April 14, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST April 14, 2008

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-Dispute stalls bill banning bias over sexual orientation
It looked like a big victory for gay and lesbian Floridians and theirallies: A state Senate committee overwhelmingly approved legislation lastweek that would ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.,0,1012101.story

-Patients rate hospitals in Broward County in new federal survey
Some hospitals make the grade in new report card
South Florida patients spoke loud and clear about which hospitals they likedand disliked, in a new federal survey aiming to help consumers judge theirlocal institutions,0,2202191.story

-Find it: Search survey results for South Florida hospitals
The ratings in this database are the result of surveys of patients on 10questions -- asking whether the hospital or medical center was clean andquiet, the nurses and doctors were helpful, if they would recommend it tosomeone else and an over 1 to 10 rating.,0,5064162.htmlstory

Miami Herald
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-Pundits split on Crist's VP shot
Republican presidential candidate John McCain will never pick Gov. CharlieCrist to be his running mate. Or maybe he will. As the Democratic primaryplods on and restless political minds turn to the Republican veepstakes, theaffable governor of Florida is routinely on the national media's shortlist.

-Program weakens state's public education system
As superintendent of the Miami-Dade Public Schools from 2001 to 2004, Iexperienced the effects of the Corporate Scholarship sham directly. When ourschools opened in the fall of 2002, we amazingly lost 3,500 elementaryschool students. The teachers were in their school classrooms and ready tostart but without many anticipated students.

-Keeping Miami clean is a never-ending job
It may come as a surprise to you that Miami is the cleanest city in theUnited States.

-Fund Glades cleanup, Florida Forever
Since 2000, the Florida Legislature has allocated $2.8 billion forEverglades restoration to keep its end of the bargain that the state and thefederal government would split the costs. But while Florida lawmakers haveconsistently stepped up, Congress dithered year after year. Until lastspring, that is, when Congress finally approved a water resources bill thatincluded federal dollars for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan,to the applause of all the project's stakeholders.

There's gold for some in the mortgage mess
Perhaps we've all been looking at the housing crisis from the wrong angle.
We've seen the plunging share prices of banks that made mortgages.

Steve Rothaus
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-International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association announces 2008 Hall of Fameand annual honors
Fort Lauderdale, FL (April 14, 2008) -- Matt Skallerud, Chairman of theBoard of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA)announced with pleasure today the recipient of the 2008 IGLTA Chairman'sAward.

Fort Report
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-Taxpayer 'Bill of Rights' all wrong for Florida
Looking for a smart and responsible way to jump out of a plane without aparachute? Here's a hint: There isn't one.

Are cuts tough, or are they ruthless?
Republican legislators hope voters will look at last week's debate overbudget cuts and see the same kind of fiscal discipline families practice atthe kitchen table in tough times.,0,3535640.column

-Congressmen stick with presidential picks against grain
WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings is a black congressman who is notsupporting the first black presidential candidate likely to win theDemocratic nomination.

-Florida public schools face major budget cuts
Crist promised to 'hold schools harmless' but cuts continue to deepenIn January, Gov. Charlie Crist broke with tradition and gave the press asneak peek at his eye-popping proposal to increase public school spending by$1 billion.

-Some state lawmakers pitch uniform sex education
As schools grow and STD rates rise, some state lawmakers want contraceptiontaught in 6th grade.,0,5607153.story?track=rss

-House pushing $10 million cut from libraries
TALLAHASSEE - Just as people have less money to buy a new book from Barnes &Noble or a DVD from Best Buy, local libraries also may be strapped for cash.

To All MedicaidAdvocates.Com Members, Friends, and Allies:
From Bill Rettinger Bill Rettinger, Co-Founder

-THIS story from TODAY'S New York Times NEEDS to be read by ALL of us andALSO FORWARDED BY ALL OF US to ALL of the Members of the Senate HealthCarePolicy Committee that will be meeting tomorrow! Let them ALL see WHAT weARE NOW facing, and WILL DIE FROM, with the elimination of the MedicallyNeedy Share of Cost Program! Thanks to the "heads up" byMedicaidAdvocates.Com member Michael Golk of Sarasota for bringing thisstory to my attention for forwarding!
Senate Health Policy Committee
Mandy Dawson - Chair: 850-487-5112 / (D - Ft.Lauderdale)
Victor Crist - Vice Chair: 850-487-5068 / (R-Tampa)
Charles Dean - 850-4875017 / (R- Inverness)Paula Dockery - 850-487-5106 / (R -Lakeland)
Rudy Garcia - 850-487-5009 / (R- Walton Beach)Burt Saunders - 850-487-5124 / . Possibleswing vote, given his history on tobacco issues
NOTE re Arthenia Joyner - She is with us so any phone calls to hershould be to say "Thanks": 850-487-5059 / Tampa)

Co-Payments Go Way Up for Drugs With High Prices
Health insurance companies are rapidly adopting a new pricing system forvery expensive drugs, asking patients to pay hundreds and even thousands ofdollars for prescriptions for medications that may save their lives or slowthe progress of serious diseases. With the new pricing system, insurersabandoned the traditional arrangement that has patients pay a fixed amount,like $10, $20 or $30 for a prescription, no matter what the drug's actualcost. Instead, they are charging patients a percentage of the cost ofcertain high-priced drugs, usually 20 to 33 percent, which can amount tothousands of dollars a month. The system means that the burden of expensivehealth care can now affect insured people, too.

From Palm Beach Human Rights Council

Introduced by: Senator Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton).
Co-Introducers: Senators Dave Aronberg (D-Greenacres), Jeff Atwater (R-NorthPalm Beach), Charlie Justice (D-St. Petersburg), Gwen Margolis (D-MiamiBeach), Nan Rich (D-Fort Lauderdale) and Jeremy Ring (D-Margate). SenatorsAlex Diaz de la Portilla (R-Miami), Victor Crist (R-Tampa), Rudy Garcia(R-Hialeah), Burt Saunders (R-Fort Myers) and Gary Siplin (D-Orlando) allvoted in favor of the bill.on April 8, 2008, when it was approved by theSenate Commerce Committee by a vote of 7 to 1. For a link to the web pagefor CS/SB 572 which includes a link to the complete text of the bill asamended on April 8, 2008, please go to:

To date, twelve of Florida's forty state senators (seven Democrats and fiveRepublicans) are on record supporting CS/SB 572. It appears likely that ifthe bill reaches the Senate floor, it will be approved and sent on to theFlorida House of Representatives for consideration. The bill is currentlyin the Committee on Community Affairs. We have asked Chairman Rudy Garcia toplace the bill on the agenda within the next few days, and we await hisreply. If the bill is approved in the Committee on Community Affairs, itnext goes to the Judiciary Committee. Finally, the bill must pass theGeneral Government Appropriations Committee before it can be considered bythe full Senate .

Next Sunday, April 20th, the 20th Annual AIDS Walk Miami will commence onthe streets of South Beach. Join our Grand Marshal, Jane Lynch, and ourMaster of Ceremonies, Fox News Anchor, Craig Stevens and "Mr. Miami Beach"Michael Aller, along with your family, friends and co-workers for an amazingday and help Care Resource, the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of SouthFlorida, Broward House, and Food For Life Network, continue the fightagainst HIV/AIDS in South Florida. As we anticipate a greater attendancethis year, registration will begin at 7:30 at Hall D of the Miami BeachConvention Center. The entrance is located on Convention Center Drive,directly across from the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens. The 20th AnnualAIDS Walk Miami is a 5K (3.2 mile) walk, run, blade fundraiser beginning9:00 AM at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The scenic route heads (routemap) through the commercial heart of Miami Beach, along the Atlantic ocean,and concludes at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens with an excitingpost-walk celebration sponsored by MTV Latin America. Cool down and enjoythe sounds of DJ HiRO?, performances by Life Project, Shelina, and TonyCruz, visit our sponsor booths, enjoy free massages provided by Miami-DadeCollege School of Massage, food, drinks, and more.


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