Thursday, April 17, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST April 17, 2008

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-Florida Legislature set to bar dumping of treated sewage into ocean
TALLAHASSEE - South Florida may soon face a deadline to stop dumping treatedsewage into the ocean, and local residents could face higher bills to payfor improved water treatment.,0,7235763.story

Miami Herald
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-Domestic partner gains likely in Dade
A Miami-Dade County Commission committee approved a package of benefits fordomestic partners.

Steve Rothaus
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-Gay Chamber to hold mixer April 16 (tonight) at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
It is April and time for another fantastic event! This is a not-to-bemissed opportunity to visit the Seminole Hard Rock as they pull out all thestops for our members and guests.

-Sidelines Sports Bar: Zoom Airlines' launch event a triumph for the GLBTmarket
The British came, saw, and loved the warm reception that the Fort Lauderdalegay community gave them last Thursday evening as Sidelines Sports Bar hostedthe Pre-Pride Launch Party for Zoom Airlines. Zoom Airlines, the leading,low-fare transatlantic airline, was in town to attend Pridefest and promotetheir new transatlantic service between London Gatwick and Fort Lauderdale,Florida in May 2008 to the GLBT community.

From Fairness for All Families
Senior Advocates Urge Floridians to VOTE NO on Amendment 2
Florida Retirees Risk Loss of Essential Health and Family Benefits
(Tallahassee) Advocates for Florida seniors today called on voters to DEFEATAmendment 2, the so-called Florida "Marriage Protection" Amendment. Themeasure that denies benefits to unmarried Floridians will hit seniorsparticularly hard, according to the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans.
"Many seniors who are widowed do not remarry because, if they do, they risklosing essential pension benefits or they fear that a new marriage mightupset estate plans for their adult children," said Barbara DeVane, secretaryfor Florida Alliance for Retired Americans. "This amendment threatens tostrip away essential health and family protections unmarried seniors counton to take care of themselves and their loved ones." Already, backers of theamendment are preparing to challenge Tampa's domestic partnership policythat provides health coverage and other protections to firefighters, policeofficers and other municipal employees.

From AIDS Walk Miami - Walk Talk
This is it South Florida!!! This Sunday is the 20th Annual AIDS Walk Miamiwhen our Grand Marshal, Jane Lynch, our Master of Ceremonies, Fox NewsAnchor, Craig Stevens and "Mr. Miami Beach" Michael Aller, along with you,your family, friends and co-workers will gather for an amazing day and helpCare Resource, the GLCC of South Florida, Broward House, and Food For LifeNetwork raise funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS in South Florida. We areanticipating a huge attendance this year, so we have moved up theregistration time which will now begin at 7:30 in Hall D of the Miami BeachConvention Center. The entrance is located on Convention Center Drive,directly across from the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens.

From Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Lethal Injection Ruling
Florida has become the first state to announce that executions will nowbegin again as a result of today's U.S. Supreme Court decisionupholding Kentucky's lethal injection protocol. As you know, thecourt's ruling focused on the constitutionality of Kentucky's method ofexecutions. The court upheld the Kentucky State Supreme Court's rulingthat their lethal injection procedures did not constitute a"substantial risk" of pain, torture and lingering death. Florida'sprocedures, although similar to Kentucky's, are not identical. Morelegal challenges are expected here.
The real issue, of course, is the Death Penalty system itself.
Florida's Death Penalty system has the nation's highest risk ofexecuting the innocent (26 exonereations off Death Row) as well asbeing hugely expensive (over $51 million a year), absolutelyunnecessary (we have life in prison without parole) and inherentlyinhumane (there is no humane way to commit and inhumane deed).

Fort Report
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-State Senate passes property insurance measure
TALLAHASSEE -- Legislation that gives Florida regulators more authority overprivate property insurance companies sailed through the Senate on Wednesday,escalating the state's ongoing battle with insurers.

Miami-Dade lawmakers stymie immigration bills
Bills targeting illegal immigration have yet to make much headway in thestate Legislature.

Crist wants to slash state's gas tax
The governor called for a gas-tax break, but legislators are doubtful itwould save Florida drivers money.

-Florida Senate approves Crist health plan
TALLAHASSEE - A unanimous nod from the Florida Senate on Wednesday broughtGov. Charlie Crist closer to his goal of offering health insurance touninsured Floridians. But victory is a long way off.

-Flat tax fight returns to state House
TALLAHASSSEE -- A divided House panel picked up the baton of a citizen taxrevolt on Tuesday, agreeing to ask voters in November to cut property taxesby at least $5.9 billion.

-Legal fight vowed after Crist signs guns-to-work law
Groups say they'll challenge Crist
TALLAHASSEE - As Gov. Charlie Crist signed the Florida Legislature'scontroversial guns-to-work bill into law Tuesday, business interests vowedto take the fight to a new arena: the courtroom.,0,2790792.story

-East Florida Amtrak may gain momentum
A long-discussed plan for passenger rail service along Florida's east coastbetween Miami and Jacksonville may get a push Friday.

-Florida: Water Plan Favors Georgia
WASHINGTON - Florida would still "bear the brunt" of Georgia's lack ofdrought planning under the Bush administration's latest water-sharing planfor the Southeast, a Florida congressman says.

-Court upholds lethal injection
TALLAHASSEE - Florida wasted little time in seeking to get executions backon track after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Kentucky cancontinue using lethal injection to carry out the death penalty.

-Florida execution list
The state of Florida has active death warrants for three Death Row inmates,Mark Dean Schwab, Wayne Tompkins and Robert Trease. Another inmate, GaryAlvord, has served the longest time on Death Row -- going on 34 years --though he has not been scheduled for execution.
Here is a look at the four men:
.Mark Dean Schwab was convicted of raping and killing 11-year-old JunnyRios Martinez of Daytona Beach in 1991. Gov. Charlie Crist signed Schwab'sdeath warrant in 2007, aiming to have him be the first person executed sincethe state halted the procedure after a botched lethal injection in December2006. His execution was stayed in November after the U.S. Supreme Court tookup the Kentucky case.
.Wayne Tompkins was sentenced to die for the murder of a 15-year-old
Lisa DeCarr, whose body was recovered beneath her mother's home in Tampa 14months after her 1983 disappearance. A jailhouse informant told police thatTompkins, her mother's boyfriend, had confessed to the murder. Former Gov.Jeb Bush signed a warrant for his death in 2001, but a controversy over DNAtesting secured Tompkins a reprieve.
.Robert Trease was sentenced to die for the Aug. 17, 1995, slaying of aman during a robbery in Sarasota County. Bush signed his death warrant in2001, but stayed the execution during court reviews.
.Gary E. Alvord was convicted of the 1973 slaying of Lynne Herrmann, hermother and her grandmother in their Tampa home. He has been on Death Rowsince 1974.


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