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Capital Report: 02-09-2012

The Florida House Thursday passed a $69.2 billion proposed budget. It cuts payments to hospitals, directs more money to classrooms and increases tuition rates for college students. The House is ahead of the Senate in crafting a state spending plan for next year.  Senate budget subcommittees are still finalizing their recommendations. And James Call tells us, leading lawmakers predict there will be a robust discussion of certain items when the budget proposal makes it to the Senate floor.

The Florida Senate has signed off on new voting district maps, and they are now headed for a judicial review. Democrats have long claimed the state’s new elections law and current process of redistricting are an attempt to block them from having any substantial influence in Florida politics. Republicans hold super-majorities in both chambers of the legislature, and have full control of the Cabinet. Now, as Lynn Hatter reports, the minority party is making a case that the majority party is engaging in voter suppression and gerrymandering.

A bill that would shift public-health responsibilities from the Florida Department of Health to the state’s 67 counties is moving through the Florida House. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, opponents believe the public’s health care services should stay right where it is.

After several years of steady decreases, Florida businesses have seen recent hikes in their workers’ compensation payments.  Tom Flanigan reports a house committee was trying to reverse that trend today (Thursday)….

Florida lawmakers are looking into what the state’s energy future should hold. Experts agree the state should have a diverse energy portfolio, but Regan McCarthy reports some disagree on how quickly the state should start shifting more of its energy dependence on to renewable sources.