Gov. Rick Scott

The Florida Legislature is back in Tallahassee this week after ending their regular session three days early. Things fell apart after the House and Senate could not agree on how to get health insurance to the state’s low income residents. The standoff has real consequences for health care in our area, in particular at UF Health Jacksonville. UF Health CEO Russ Armistead joins us with his thoughts about the way forward for health care funding in Florida.

State of Florida

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed nearly 50 bills into law this week. One of them lifted decades-old restrictions on doing business with Northern Ireland.

The move has raised the ire of Irish Catholics.

Gregory Todaro / WJCT News

Congresswoman Corrine Brown and several state legislators rallied in front of Jacksonville hospital on Monday. The Democratic lawmakers declared opposition to Florida Governor Rick Scott’s refusal to expand Medicaid. 

If the Medicaid debate goes unresolved, Brown warns it might fall on local taxpayers to keep hospitals operating.

UF Health

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown is asking the feds to bypass Tallahassee and work directly with the city to keep the UF Health Jacksonville open.

The hospital receives around $95 million a year from a federal program called LIP that covers uninsured, low-income patients. The LIP program is set to expire at the end of June.

The Office of Governor Rick Scott

A congressional committee will hold a hearing on Gov. Rick Scott's showdown with the federal government over health-care funding, but that meeting could come too late to help close a potential $2.2 billion hole in the state budget.

Scott announced Tuesday that U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., will have the House Energy & Commerce Committee look into the governor's allegations that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is trying to illegally coerce the state into accepting Medicaid expansion.

The Office of Governor Rick Scott

In a new sign of escalating tensions between state and federal officials, Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday he will sue the federal government to try to resolve a standoff over $2.2 billion in funding for hospitals and other health providers.

Anna Hamilton

This week, Florida Governor Rick Scott and his Cabinet approved a conservation easement on more than 200 acres in Putnam County. That land belongs to one family who’s been farming there for decades. 

Mr. Smith go to Tallahassee

It’s Tuesday morning, and Jared Smith waits patiently to address Governor Scott and the Cabinet. Jared is speaking on behalf of his grandparents, Wayne and Patsy Smith, who are selling a conservation easement on 238.45 acres in Hastings.

“It’s just another day in the office of a farmer, I reckon,” Smith said.

The Office of Governor Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed a wide-ranging bill aimed at rolling back the number of tests given to public school students, capping off a discussion that saw Florida Republicans ease back at least slightly on a longstanding principle of the state's education-reform movement.

Scott's office announced that he had signed the high-profile measure, following up on weeks of legislative wrangling and his own campaign promise to review the level of testing in schools.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

Florida Governor Rick Scott was in Jacksonville today to thank staffing company Adecco for bringing nearly 200 jobs to the Sunshine State.

tax cut chart
Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

House members backed Gov. Rick Scott's push to reduce taxes on cell-phone bills and pay TV on Tuesday.

And they bettered the governor, by $17 million, in rolling out a $690 million tax-reduction package that offers a slew of sales-tax holidays and eliminating taxes on gun-club memberships, college textbooks, materials purchased at book fairs and vehicles purchased overseas and brought to Florida by military members.

Daniel Lobo / Flickr

With the state's unemployment rate holding steady as Gov. Rick Scott's second term got underway, he focused Tuesday on private-sector job growth since he first took office.

The jobless rate stood at 5.7 percent in January, equaling a revised unemployment mark for December, the state Department of Economic Opportunity said Tuesday.

The December figure had initially been posted at 5.6 percent. The national unemployment rate stands at 5.5 percent.

The January figure represents approximately 551,000 Floridians qualifying as unemployed from a work force of 9.7 million.

The Office of Governor Rick Scott

House budget writers unveiled an education spending plan Monday that would provide public schools with almost $47 less per student than Gov. Rick Scott proposed, and a key senator said his chamber was also unlikely to meet the governor's number when a Senate blueprint is released Tuesday.

The two developments cast increasing doubt on one of Scott's chief priorities only two weeks into the 60-day legislative session.

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Larry Hannan, Florida Times-Union reporter; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; Jeff Billman, outgoing Folio Weekly editor; and Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor.

The Office of Governor Rick Scott

Calling on something he termed "Florida exceptionalism," Gov. Rick Scott used the annual State of the State address Tuesday to try to reinvigorate his legislative agenda after a difficult opening to his second term.

During the 21-minute speech, Scott pushed lawmakers to adopt his proposals to slash taxes, hold down the cost of higher education and boost public education spending to the highest per-student level in state history.

JAXPORT / Flickr

The top lobbying group for Florida's seaports wants the state to establish a marketing campaign to help lure cargo-shipping companies from major ports in other areas of the country.

A study released this week by the Florida Ports Council calls for lawmakers to create an advertising effort to entice shipping firms to move cargo through the Sunshine State rather than ports in Savannah, Houston, New York or even Los Angeles.

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