Rep. Alcee Hastings and 10 other House members implicated in alleged bribery scheme


By Dan Christensen
Congressional ethics investigators will review allegations that South Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings and 10 other House members took bribes by accepting campaign contributions from the payday lending industry shortly before or after taking official actions in support of the industry.

Pipeline company to judge: Evidence of Gov. Scott’s investment in us ‘irrelevant’

Gov. Rick Scott

By Dan Christensen
Lawyers for a company that wants to build a natural gas pipeline in north Florida have told a judge that environmental opponents should be blocked from “presenting evidence or argument” about Gov. Rick Scott’s financial interest in the company.

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Florida ethics bill: Lobbyists at independent taxing districts must register, disclose


By Dan Christensen
A government ethics bill introduced in the Florida Senate would for the first time require lobbyists before many large independent special districts to register and disclose their clients, areas of interest and general compensation.

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Ex-U.S. Rep. Deutsch stirs the pot in Hollywood; New school plans upset neighbors

Ex-Congressman Peter Deutsch

By William Gjebre
Five weeks after receiving approval for a middle-senior high school in Hollywood, Ben Gamla charter school officials are exploring “substantive” changes to the project, sparking renewed controversy.

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Broward commissioners tell Henry to come up with a plan for video-on-demand of meetings

The Broward County Commission. Lois Wexler is second from right. Chip LaMarca is at the far left.

By William Hladky
UPDATE: FEB. 5 – The Broward County Commission has directed the county administrator to prepare a cost analysis and implementation plan to create an on-line, video archive of commission meetings.

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As Broward commission races take shape, LaMarca, Keechl fear nasty re-run

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca, left, and challenger Ken Keechl

By Buddy Nevins
Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca and former Commissioner Ken Keechl approach their upcoming race for the commission like a child approaches the first day of school — with anxiety and trepidation.

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EPA abandons major radiation cleanup in Florida, despite cancer concerns


By Douglas P. Guarino
Center for Public Integrity
The Environmental Protection Agency is walking away after a decades-long battle with Florida politicians and industry officials over cleaning up phosphate-mining waste in an area that could expose more than 100,000 residents to cancer-causing radiation levels.

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Amid rising deaths, a warning that heroin epidemic has begun in South Florida


By Dan Christensen
A new report sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse has determined that a heroin epidemic is underway in South Florida. “The key issue identified in 2013 is the outbreak of a heroin epidemic in South Florida and particularly in Miami-Dade County,” the report says.

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Guards may be responsible for half of prison sexual assaults

State prison inmates
Photo: Florida Department of Corrections

By Joaquin Sapien
A new Justice Department study shows that allegations of sex abuse in the nation’s prisons and jails are increasing — with correctional officers responsible for half of it — but prosecution is still extremely rare.

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Senate leaders want special districts covered by state lobbyist registration laws

Senate President Don Gaetz, right, and Sen. Jack Latvala, chairman of the Ethics and Elections Committee

By Dan Christensen
Key lawmakers in Tallahassee say they will introduce reform legislation this session to require lobbyists at independent special districts to publicly register and disclose who they work for and how much they’re being paid.

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Independent special districts: Where lobbyists ride free and the public is in the dark

Florida's sprawling water management districts spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year, but do not require lobbyists to register. Photo: Florida Department of Environmental Protection

By Dan Christensen
Nearly 1,000 special-purpose governments across Florida that raise and spend billions of dollars in public funds every year do not require lobbyists who appear before them to register, pay fees or disclose any information about themselves or their clients.

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