Jim Turner's blog

House Democratic Leader-designate Perry Thurston, D-Plantation, wants the task force to review the state’s Stand Your Ground law to include members of the law enforcement community, prosecutors, public defenders and even sitting or retired members of the judiciary.

And, Thurston adds, the appointments need to be made now.

"I believe the task force should have begun by now," Thurston stated in a letter to Gov. Rick Scott on Friday.
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Gov. Rick Scott appointed Scott Stewart as interim secretary at the Department of Management Services, replacing Jack Miles who announced he was resigning from the $140,000-a-year post in February.

Stewart currently serves as assistant secretary for administration at the Department of Children and Families.
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Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest mark since February 2009, as the number dipped 0.2 percent between January and February, according to the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment mark for the Sunshine State stood at 9.4 percent for February, representing 869,000 Floridians listed as jobless.

In January, 894,000 were listed as unemployed out of Florida's work force of 9.3 million.

More to come.

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Gov. Rick Scott signed a controversial Medicaid bill, HB 5301, on Thursday that will require counties to pay more into Medicaid, including 85 percent of what the state claims are years of unpaid bills.

"I respectfully acknowledge the concern this provision may create for some counties," Scott wrote in a letter announcing his signature. " ... To that end, I have pledged to the counties that AHCA and my staff will work diligently with them to certify that any billings for which counties are charged are accurate and valid."
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A 12-member jury in Sarasota quickly found 17-year-old Shawn Tyson guilty Thursday of killing British tourists James Coope and James Kouzaris.

The case drew international attention, primarily from the United Kingdom.

Read more here.

Gov. Rick Scott released the following statement after the verdict was announced:
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Florida’s Supreme Court has agreed to hear condemned killer David Alan Gore’s appeal, with his execution two weeks away.

On April 4, the court will hear oral arguments in Gore's appeal that a circuit court judge denied his request for a hearing seeking to stop his scheduled April 12 execution.

Gov. Rick Scott signed Gore’s death warrant Feb. 28. Gore has been convicted of the 1983 death of a Vero Beach teen.

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Gov. Rick Scott appointed Kimberly Hennecy as Osceola County clerk of court, serving for the suspended Malcom Thompson.

Hennecy, 41, of St. Cloud, has been the chief deputy clerk of the Osceola County clerk of court office since 2009, serving for 15 years.

Thompson, who was running for re-election in November, was suspended by Scott in Jan. 30 after being charged with assault and battery against members of his staff, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

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The Florida Democratic congressional delegation sent a letter to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi expressing concerns over the Trayvon Martin case.

The letter asks the attorney general’s office to keep the six Democrats -- Alcee L. Hastings, Miramar, Frederica Wilson, Miami Gardens, Ted Deutch, Boca Raton, Kathy Castor, Tampa, Corrine Brown, Jacksonville, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Weston -- updated on the state’s investigation.

The letter:
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Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced two Tampa Bay-area residents were arrested Thursday for alleged workers’ compensation fraud.

Yvonne C. Timmons, 61, of St. Petersburg, and Willie Lee Kendrick, 52, of Palmetto, were charged in separate cases with filing false or misleading information in order to fraudulently obtain workers’ compensation insurance benefits, a release from Atwater’s office stated.
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Gov. Rick Scott named former Jacksonville City Council member Matthew Carlucci to the Florida Commission on Ethics.

Carlucci, 55, has been the owner of Matthew F. Carlucci Insurance Agency Inc. for 31 years.

He served on the Jacksonville City Council from 1999 to 2003 and from 1987 to 1994, serving as council president from 2001 to 2002. He has also been on the board of directors of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and was president of the Jacksonville Police Council.
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