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'Stand Your Ground' Task Force Has First Public Meeting

June 12, 2012 - 6:00pm

Gov. Rick Scott's appointed Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection held its first public hearing Tuesday morning near Sanford, the site of the Trayvon Martin shooting that spurred the new look at the state's self-defense law.

The panel is charged with studying the 2005 Stand Your Ground law, which says people out in the streets have no duty to try to retreat before shooting someone to death in self-defense. The committee is expected to report its findings to Scott and the Legislature.

Minimum Mandatories a Decade on: Longer Prison Terms in Florida

June 11, 2012 - 6:00pm

Criminal justice experts say they weren't surprised by last week's study showing that the time Florida prisoners spend behind bars has grown more than in any other state a 166 percent increase in the average sentence between 1990 and 2009.

Former Department of Corrections Secretary James McDonough ascribed the findings of the report, "Time Served: The High Cost, Low Return of Longer Prison Terms" by the Pew Center on the States to changes in Florida statutes during the mid-to-late 1990's.

Jack Abramoff Discusses Corruption, Apologizes

June 7, 2012 - 6:00pm

Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff on Thursday told the Capital Tiger Bay Club that he's now trying to reform the political process, via a book and a speaking tour that reveal previously unknown secrets of the inside-the-Beltway culture.

And in a room full of people who have made their living in the political process he admits to abusing, Abramoff also apologized for his role in making it more corrupt.

Assisted Living Facilities Rulemaking Under Way; Industry, Advocates at Odds

June 5, 2012 - 6:00pm

After a newspaper report last year revealed 70 deaths from abuse and neglect at Florida's assisted living facilities since 2002, efforts to reform the system have so far come to naught but on Tuesday another got under way.

The Miami Herald series "Neglected to Death" generated a work group appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, a grand jury probe and several reform bills that died in the last legislative session. Those bills that adopted the work group's recommendations for oversight of the facilities passed the Senate but didn't get a hearing in the House of Representatives.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Approach Is New

May 28, 2012 - 6:00pm

It's been one year since Jim Crochet became Florida's long-term care ombudsman, head watchdog of the program charged with protecting the rights of nursing home and long-term care residents statewide.

It's been a tough year.

In February, soon after Gov. Rick Scott took office, he dismissed the previous ombudsman, Brian Lee, who had served for seven years and was considered a thorn in the side of providers as were some of his volunteers.

NSF Has Five Questions for Doug Guetzloe

May 24, 2012 - 6:00pm

Political consultant Doug Guetzloe is in the news this week after being sentenced to 15 months in federal prison Monday for not filing his tax returns. But he has long been a newsmaker and figure of controversy. His conservative activism takes many forms in Central Florida, where he's based, and in state and national issues. He founded Ax the Tax, a Florida anti-tax group, in 1982, and is a radio talk-show host and media maven. (Last month he was one of the Sayfie Review's "Florida Gurus.")

'Stand Your Ground' Drawing Public Interest

May 23, 2012 - 6:00pm

As policymakers study the controversy surrounding the "stand your ground" self-defense law, the issue is drawing interest from a broad swath of the general public.

A town hall meeting on the law drew 200 people to Florida State College in Jacksonville Tuesday night.

Chris Smith: Battered Women Not Protected by 'Stand Your Ground'

May 20, 2012 - 6:00pm

Incoming Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith ratcheted up criticism of Florida's Stand Your Ground law Friday, pointing to a loophole that could endanger some women, rather than protect them.

Smith's remarks came in response to a recent case in which a Jacksonville woman was sentenced in a domestic assault case.

Smith said the law which allows people to shoot back when threatened without a duty to retreat could actually end up making domestic violence victims more vulnerable.

Another Case Involving a Self-Defense Claim Roils a Florida Community

May 13, 2012 - 6:00pm

As Florida reviews its "Stand Your Ground" law in the wake of the Trayvon Martin killing, Marissa Alexander on Friday received a 20-year sentence for firing a shot in what she claims was self-defense and her backers say was a case of her standing her ground.

Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of three, was sentenced in Jacksonville under a mandatory minimum law for firing one shot in the direction of a spouse with a record of domestic violence in a 2010 dispute.

Nan Rich Testing the Waters for Possible Governor Run

April 17, 2012 - 6:00pm

Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich confirmed Wednesday she'll run for governor in 2014 against Gov. Rick Scott --the first to toss a hat in the ring to challenge the Republican governor.

The Democrat from Weston, in Broward County, said in an interview that comments she made to Broward Democrats on Tuesday evening weren't intended as a formal announcement, but confirmed she's in and "formulating a strategic and financial plan."

Rich, 70, also said she intends to conduct a listening tour of the state.

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