FAC News Clips – March 20, 2018
Pensacola News Journal
Budget mediation between the Escambia County Sheriff's Office and commissioners appears to have fallen apart. The Sheriff's Office took to Facebook Monday to declare the mediation "unsuccessful" after a disagreement over details of how contributions to workers' compensation, retirement, health care and other benefits would work. The Escambia County Commission last week voted 3-2 in favor of a preliminary budget settlement with the Sheriff's Office. The county and ECSO reached the agreement after a closed-door, mediation session March 9 and ratified it Thursday.
Florida’s full 37-member Constitution Revision Commission is meeting this week to consider proposed amendments that could be placed on the 2018 ballot. One proposal addresses a conflict in Florida’s Constitution dealing with elections. On Monday, The Constitutional Officer Resource Experts, or C.O.R.E, came together to support proposal 13. It would ensure all constitutional officers be appointed by the voters of each county they hold office in. The proposal’s sponsor is Commissioner Carolyn Timmann.
News Service of Florida
Voters who decide not to mark ballots on proposed constitutional amendments would be counted as “no” votes, under a measure that the state Constitution Revision Commission began taking up Monday. The proposal, which the commission is expected to consider again Tuesday, would make it harder for constitutional amendments to win voter approval. Currently, constitutional amendments pass if they receive 60 percent support from voters who mark ballots on those issues.
NWFlorida Daily News
Major Harding, a former chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court, says: The Florida Constitution is becoming riddled with countless, ordinary laws and specifics of government policy and regulation that lessen its status. Like the United States Constitution, the Florida Constitution is a fundamental document that should stand the test of time. In Florida, the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) convenes every 20 years, having the unique power to review proposals to be added to the ballot for Florida voters to consider as amendments to our state’s constitution.
Palm Beach Post
By the end of the year, checks are to be sent to thousands of Palm Beach County homeowners to reimburse them for healthy citrus trees that were chopped down by state crews in a failed attempt to stop the spread of canker, an attorney who has waged a 17-year fight with Florida agricultural officials said Monday. “It’s been a long journey but I’m fully confident we will have a successful ending,” said attorney Robert Gilbert, who represented homeowners in Palm Beach, Broward and three other counties who watched helplessly as state officials embarked on a $1.6 billion citrus eradication program that they later admitted was based on junk science.
Anna Marie Islander
Bradenton Beach officials are tightening regulations to deal with derelict or abandoned vessels in the anchorage area at the east end of Bridge Street. At a March 15 meeting, the mayor and commissioners unanimously approved the first reading of an updated marine ordinance. If adopted, the ordinance will replace a similar one enacted last March, which had replaced a marine mooring ordinance approved in 2008. In anticipation of a managed mooring field in the anchorage area in Sarasota Bay on the south side of the Historic Bridge Street Pier, the commission, in 2008, approved an ordinance to regulate behavior within the waters extending 500 feet into Sarasota Bay.
MANATEE COUNTY – Governor Rick Scott signs House Bill 21 in Manatee County, long identified as ground zero for the opioid epidemic in Florida. Sheriff Rick Wells says his office has been involved in more than 190 federal indictments and 40 plus people charged. “Not addicts, I have to always say this: not drug addicts,” Wells said. “..drug traffickers, drug dealers. We’ve done a lot to help the addicts, but we’ve seen a significant decrease in the last nine months and we really are excited.” Particularly about this piece of legislation, which holds what Wells thinks is the missing piece of this puzzle.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation Monday in Boca Raton that limits opioid prescribing and provides tens of millions in new funding to combat an overdose epidemic that is killing more than 1,000 people in South Florida every year. Flanked by elected leaders and law enforcement, Scott said the Legislature set aside $65 million to expand treatment and provide the overdose antidote naloxone to law enforcement and paramedics. The package also will impose a three-day limit on most opioid prescriptions, though doctors could provide a seven-day supply if “medically necessary.”
Calhoun County and Panama City are joining the legal fight against pharmaceutical companies to stem the opioid epidemic. The two local governments filed lawsuits Friday in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee against the makers and distributors of legally prescribed but widely abused opioid pain medicines. They join more than 200 cities and counties across the U.S. that are suing big drug companies, alleging they misled the public about their dangers and addictiveness and seeking damages for treatment and other costs of responding to the epidemic.
A handful of cities could soon face a legal showdown with the Trump administration over their efforts to open "supervised injection facilities" where drug addicts can shoot up with powerful illegal drugs while trained personnel stand by to prevent fatal overdoses. In an effort to stem its growing opioid death rate, San Francisco is slated to open the nation’s first two publically authorized injection facilities in July. Philadelphia and Seattle are also pursuing similar sites — even as President Trump called again for the death penalty for major drug dealers on Monday.
A new interpretation of rules that Florida counties and school districts must follow in getting reimbursed for the cost of hurricane shelters threatens to affect millions of dollars in potential reimbursements to Brevard County and the Brevard School District. For more than two decades, most counties and school districts in Florida submitted separate requests for reimbursement of their shelter costs to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
Anna Maria Islander
Bert Harris times 15. 5501 Holmes LLC is the newest plaintiff to go to bat against the city of Holmes Beach for alleged violations of the Bert J. Harris Private Property Rights Protection Act. Shawn and Jennifer Kaleta are the plaintiff’s corporate owners. The mayor hadn’t been served as of press time, but the suit filed March 5 is the 15th against the city in the 12th Circuit Court. The Bert Harris act was adopted by the state Legislature in 1995. All of the lawsuits claim inordinate economic burdens under the Bert Harris law and seek to recover market value losses blamed on city ordinances.