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Capital Report: 07-20-2012

As Floridians continue cleaning up after Tropical Storm Debby, residents all over the state are filing insurance claims to cover the losses of their homes, boats and cars. The storm also left hundreds of property owners contending with destructive and expensive sinkholes. As Jessica Palombo reports, Debby’s direct hit, months before the peak of hurricane season, adds fuel to a debate over Florida’s property insurance market. Policymakers are warning the state-run Citizens Property Insurance needs to raise rates and drop customers to avoid an even bigger financial catastrophe for Florida residents.

Now that the federal healthcare reform law has passed U-S Supreme Court muster, how might that affect the future of healthcare in Florida? That was the question a state insurance panel debated this week. Tom Flanigan reports several predictions were tossed around, none of them good and all of them uncertain.

July first was the deadline for the Florida Department of Corrections to close seven prisons and four work camps. This is due to a decrease in the number people sentenced to prison. Department officials say they’re closing the prisons in an attempt to create a more efficient corrections system. But Regan McCarthy reports others say it’ll take more than that to get a system that really runs well. Mental Health Advocates say the state’s prisons are filled with mentally ill people who really shouldn’t be there.

Here is another prison related story…this involves drug trafficking inside the state’s prison system In response to finding drugs in the St. Lucie County Jail population, Jill Roberts from member station WQCS in Fort Pierce reports, jail officials have primarily done away with strip searches….

For many students in Florida, summer vacation means finally getting out of the classroom and away from tests and homework. For others, the summer months could also mean trying to figure out where their next meal will come from. Research shows that during the summer most students forget some of what they’ve learned over the school year. It’s called the summer slide. But for low-income students, that slide is often compounded by a food crisis. Lynn Hatter reports on a program aimed at giving disadvantaged students an educational boost by providing something as simple and essential as a free meal.