FAC News Clips –October 19, 2017
Tampa Bay Times
TAMPA — More than 20 people spoke in favor of a proposed ordinance that would require dog trainers and dog day cares to be licensed during a Hillsborough County Commission's meeting Wednesday. Many wore hot pink "protect my pet" T-shirts and some pushed aside tears as they described how their pets were severely injured or killed under the care of a dog trainer. Lorie Childers of Land O'Lakes brought a stuffed dog on a leash in front of the commission to demonstrate a controversial discipline method known as helicoptering or hanging.
Community redevelopment agencies in Melbourne and Titusville are coming under scrutiny for the use of tax money to help pay special events like festivals and parades. Municipal officials believe that their use of the money for that purpose is perfectly legal. Titusville Mayor Walt Johnson, for example, cites a 2010 legal opinion of then-Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. But Brevard County Commissioner John Tobia — backed up by legal opinions from County Attorney Scott Knox — says otherwise.
Tampa Bay Times
LARGO — Another Tampa Bay housing agency has lost out on a multi-million dollar tax credit award because of problems with its application. The Pinellas County Housing Authority was awarded a 10-year tax credit worth about $15.7 million in May to build 85 new apartments for low-income seniors in Largo. But the Florida Housing Finance Corp. recently rescinded the award after an administrative judge recommended the agency be disqualified because of a "false statement" in its application.
Can members of the powerful panel that has the authority to put constitutional amendments directly on the November 2018 ballot discuss votes in secret and lobby each other? That is the question Indian River County Commissioner Bob Solari has been trying to get answered for six months. Now, his failure to get an answer, he said, could spell trouble for the commission. As a member of the Constitution Revision Commission, Solari left the June 6 meeting of the commission baffled and confused.
Palm Beach Post
The Florida Constitution Revision Commission on Tuesday voted to advance four public proposals, including a measure dealing with homestead exemptions and another potentially impacting abortion rights. The commission, which meets every 20 years and has the power to place constitutional amendments directly on the 2018 ballot, has voted to formally consider a total of six measures proposed by the public, out of more than 2,000 proposals submitted after a series of public hearings earlier this year.
Miami-Dade County leaders borrowed $400 million in 2009 to finance a baseball stadium for the Miami Marlins. Projections indicate the tab for county taxpayers to pay off the debt with interest could reach $2.4 billion. This isn’t a subsidy — it’s a stick-up. But a bad deal — even a spectacularly bad one — made by leaders in one county eight years ago doesn’t justify yet another bid by state legislators to drain power and authority from locally elected leaders throughout Florida.
Palm Beach Post
A day after one of Florida’s U.S. senators expressed concerns about 90 percent of Hurricane Irma’s early flood claims being denied, another state official asked the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reconsider the timing of a switch in third-party vendors to manage certain policies before hurricane season is over. Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said in a letter to FEMA Administrator William “Brock” Long he is worried the upcoming vendor transition could delay the processing of federal flood claims in the state.
Regulators pressed representatives of a workers’ compensation insurance rating service Wednesday about whether two Florida Supreme Court rulings had in fact increased the cost of administering claims, as many had feared. The answer: Still too soon to say. Nor is it clear that carriers adjusted their reserves or other practices in response to the rulings to any degree of consistency. “At this point, the data is too immature,” said Jay Rosen, senior actuary for the National Council on Compensation Insurance, which proposed rates for around 240 Florida carriers.