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Capital Report: 04-01-2013

The president of Citizens Property Insurance is a step closer to keeping his job, after a Florida Senate committee grilled him about mismanagement at the company. Jessica Palombo reports, the same committee also took up a bill Monday that would create some exceptions to a lobbyist gift ban.

Florida lawmakers rejected an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act but are coming up with alternatives. Republicans balked at the expansion, saying federal support can’t be guaranteed. And they grumbled at a proposal by Sen. Joe Negron that relies on federal Medicaid money to steer the eligible population into the state’s kidcare program, but as Lynn Hatter reports, Senator Aaron Bean is putting forth an alternative to that alternative which would cover fewer people, and doesn’t rely on federal money.

Releasing stray cats back into society, after they’re neutered and vaccinated, would be legal, if a bill doing just that became law. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, the measure’s sponsor was forced to put the bill on hold, after it faced a lot of opposition during the bill’s first committee stop.

Big changes are coming to Florida’s public schools. They include new national education standards for what children must learn and when, along with new tests, and teacher evaluations. And as Tom Flanigan reports, there are some educators, as well as lawmakers and even business leaders, who worry this is all too much, too soon.

Florida’s unemployment rate is continuing to drop and the number of jobs in Florida is growing. Governor Rick Scott says that’s because of deregulation and reduced taxes. He’s pushing another measure aimed at helping manufacturers in the state and Regan McCarthy reports that’s one of the bills a Senate panel looked into Monday.

President Barack Obama visited the Port of Miami last Friday to talk about plans to improve the nation’s infrastructure, including major trade ports. But as Ryan Benk reports, Governor Rick Scott says the effort is too little, too late.

Florida’s five-hundredth birthday party is a yearlong event, but if there’s ever a time for the party to hit its high note it’s the first week of April. Thomas-Andrew Gustafson reports, starting April 1st through the 7th, Viva 500 week will be underway with special events and one very large ship.