Capital Report: 07-12-2013

Jul 12, 2013

Because of federal budget cuts, furloughs are causing Florida National Guard facilities to operate differently.  Stan Jastrzebski visited a base this week where Guard higher-ups briefed the rank-and-file on what to expect, how to protect their money and what delays will be considered acceptable with a four-day work week.

The ACLU of Florida wants law enforcement agencies to have warrants before asking state health officials for patient information housed in Florida’s prescription drug database--this after the names of more than 3,000 Central Florida residents were released to prosecutors and defense attorneys as part of a probe into doctor shopping.  As Lynn Hatter reports, the news is stirring privacy concerns and charges that Florida’s efforts to crack down on prescription drug abuse may have gone too far.

Florida’s 2014 primary elections are a little more than a year away and there’s a striking lack of people at the top of each party’s ticket.  Gov. Rick Scott has repeatedly delayed picking a running-mate and there’s been no Democrat anointed as Scott’s likely opponent. As Sascha Cordner reports, the process leading up to those decisions could be turning into a standoff between the parties.

A state appeals court has, for the second time, allowed a South Florida assisted living facility for young adults with developmental disabilities to keep accepting clients--despite its license being revoked. After health regulators have tried to close the center for years, Jessica Palombo reports members of one Pinellas County family protested at the Statehouse earlier this month, saying they don’t want other families to endure what they have.

Marriage equality got a major boost when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down major provisions in the Federal Defense of Marriage Act last month.  But as Nick Evans reports, it’s still unclear how married same-sex couples will access benefits if they live in states--like Florida--that don’t recognize their unions.

Florida’s capital is now considering a ban on hiring smokers for city government jobs.  Tallahassee would not be the first Florida town to put such a ban in place. Some city leaders say that would help them close a $5 million budget shortfall.  But, as Ryan Benk reports, it’s not clear if smoking bans save money.