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  • Charlie Crist is a boogeyman for many in GOP primaries 1, August23, 2016
    Former Governor Charlie Crist isn’t on the ballot until November in his effort to become a Congressman in his hometown of St. Petersburg, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the former Republican turned Democrat could be a factor in multiple  primary races next week. As Governor, Charlie Crist had sky high approval ratings, but now, […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Solar Push Heading into Primary 1, August23, 2016
    Early voting is in full swing and the primary is next week, but as Matt Galka tells us, voters will be deciding on more than local elections with a group of environmentalists pushing a constitutional amendment. Florida voters have a solar choice in the August primary. On the ballot – Amendment 4 – which gives […]
    Matt Galka
  • FPL seeking one point three billion for “good service” 1, August22, 2016
    A months long hearing into whether Florida Power and Light should be allowed to increase its rates by one point three billion dollars a year began today in the state Capitol. FPL spokeswoman Sarah Gatewood says the company has earned the increase because it’s done such a good job keeping rates low. “We have worked […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Third Grade Retention Policy on Trial 1, August22, 2016
    Parents from six counties (Orange, Hernando, Sarasota,Broward, Osceola, and Pasco)were in court today challenging a star law that requires the retention of third graders who don’t perform well on state assessment tests. As Mike Vasilinda tells us,  the parents told the court their kids were not given alternative ways to be promoted as star law […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Opting Out Law Suit takes unusual turn 1, August19, 2016
    Legal gymnastics played out in a Federal Court today in a lawsuit by parents whose kids opted out of state tests last spring and were held back.  As Mike Vasilinda tells us, a state court judge is on track to decide as early as next week if kids who dan’t take a standardized test can […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Task Force Makes Dozier Recommendations 1, August19, 2016
    The Dozier School for Boys – the panhandle reform school and site of alleged child beatings, sexual abuses, and murders – still stands. But as Matt Galka tells us, a statewide panel was appointed to try and come up with a proper memorial, and in their final meeting – solutions were hard to come by. […]
    Matt Galka
  • Pharmacy Flap Could Limit Patient Access 1, August18, 2016
    More than 650 thousand Floridians receiving Medicaid in Florida are being told that after November first,  they can only use big chain pharmacies to have prescriptions filled. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the policy of two providers has locally owned drug stores crying foul. Massy Pharmacy is a locally owned business in Quincy Florida…25 miles […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Citizens Insurance Seeking Rate Increase 1, August18, 2016
    Nearly half a million Floridians have a state-run Citizens property insurance policy, the so called “insurer of last resort.” As Matt Galka tells us, Floridians who are sticking with citizens could be paying more next year. A rate hike for Citizens customers? Policy holder Joe Walsh from Monroe County told state regulators ‘no way’ Thursday. A […]
    Matt Galka
  • Changes coming to Guardianships in Florida 1, August17, 2016
    New legislation licensing public guardians, the people who care for someone when their families can’t, are coming under strict new scrutiny after years of complaints of abuse. As Mike Vasilinda tells us,  the new protections are the result of dozens of families pushing back against the system. We’ve followed the saga of Doug Franks and […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Bear Management 1, August17, 2016
    The Fish and Wildlife Commission has 825 thousand dollars this year to help local governments and residents bear proof their neighborhoods. Today, FWC signed an agreement with Waste Pro to provide bear resistant trash container in the panhandle. FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski says Floridians need to be more involved in bear proofing their property. “You […]
    Mike Vasilinda

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Charlie Crist is a boogeyman for many in GOP primaries

August 23rd, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

Former Governor Charlie Crist isn’t on the ballot until November in his effort to become a Congressman in his hometown of St. Petersburg, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the former Republican turned Democrat could be a factor in multiple  primary races next week.

As Governor, Charlie Crist had sky high approval ratings, but now, from one end of the state to the other, Crist has become the boogeyman for conservative Republicans. In the GOP Primary for the Second congressional district, opponents are slamming each other for their ties to Crist.

One ad supporting Neal Dunn takes Mary Thomas to task for having worked for Charlie Crist. “Even after Crist left the republican Party, Thomas kept collecting her government paycheck as a senior member of his administration.”

But an ad from a PAC supporting Thomas asks “Who is Neal Dunn? A liberal lobbyist, Obama Car loving, Charlie Crist republican.”

Crist is also the ogre in Jacksonville’s fourth congressional district race that slams candidate Hans Tanzler.

“Then he used his money to support Democrats and Charlie Crist.”

In Ft. Myers, he’s the object of shame in a heated State Senate race. An ad for Kathleen Passidomo says this about opponent Matt Hudson. “He voted for Crist’s massive tax increase and all those Obama stimulus dollars.”

And Crist is even being compared to Marco Rubio by Senate Candidate Carlos Beruff,  even though the two have never gotten along.

“Both abandoned Florida. Conclusion: Rubio and Crist are virtually identical.”

So why is Charlie Crist so big a target. We asked Political Scientist Carol Weissert.

“So you are talking about main stream Republicans here, and I think they were offended by his  what they might call being a turncoat” says Weissert.

We reached out to the former Governor more than a week ago for a comment. He didn’t return our text.

But like it or not, the former Governor could be a factor this coming Tuesday, and he’s not even on the ballot.

While the former Governor did not return Mike’s text, his media advisor, Kevin Cate, did say in an email that he wouldn’t touch this story, quote, with a ten foot pole.”

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Solar Push Heading into Primary

August 23rd, 2016 by Matt Galka

Early voting is in full swing and the primary is next week, but as Matt Galka tells us, voters will be deciding on more than local elections with a group of environmentalists pushing a constitutional amendment.

Florida voters have a solar choice in the August primary. On the ballot – Amendment 4 – which gives businesses a tax break for installing solar panels.  And now a coalition of environmentalists called the Florida Conservation Voters want to make sure you’re casting a ballot.

“One of the things we noticed was that it’s really not that easy to find your early voting location,” said Aliki Moncrief, the Florida Conservation Voters Executive Director.

They’ve launched a website that helps voters find their closes early voting location. So why the election push? The amendment would need 60 percent of the vote to pass.

“Florida voters overwhelmingly support solar, but primaries typically have lower turnout, that is why we wanted to make it as easy as possible,” said Moncrief.

State lawmakers are responsible for the ballot measure.

“When people try to do the right thing, by installing solar panels on top of their roofs, they shouldn’t be taxed for doing the right thing,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-Florida).

 

The environmentalist group opposes November’s other solar ballot initiative – saying it’s a utility backed measure looking to maintain the status quo on solar.

If Amendment 4 gets 60 percent of the vote during the August primary, it would require the legislature to act in the 2017 legislative session, and would go into effect in 2018.

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FPL seeking one point three billion for “good service”

August 22nd, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

A months long hearing into whether Florida Power and Light should be allowed to increase its rates by one point three billion dollars a year began today in the state Capitol. FPL spokeswoman Sarah Gatewood says the company has earned the increase because it’s done such a good job keeping rates low.

“We have worked very hard to improve service for customers and in keeping their bills low. We’ve lowered rates four times over the last two years. We want to continue to make the smart investments we can improve our service while keeping our bills low, among the lowest in the nation and the states” says Gatewood.

But the State Public Counsel and AARP say the company should return 800 million a year, not get more. Kenneth Thomas is an AARP volunteer on fixed income.

“Salaries aren’t going up that quickly. Retirement incomes are not going up very quickly. As a matter of fact those in my community on fixed incomes, we haven’t seen a reasonable rate increase in several years.this is really a severe burden on older adults, on all adults” says Thomas.

A decision is expected in October for rates that would take effect at the beginning of the year.

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Third Grade Retention Policy on Trial

August 22nd, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

Parents from six counties (Orange, Hernando, Sarasota,Broward, Osceola, and Pasco)were in court today challenging a star law that requires the retention of third graders who don’t perform well on state assessment tests. As Mike Vasilinda tells us,  the parents told the court their kids were not given alternative ways to be promoted as star law requires.

The day long hearing began with lawyers jockeying to have the challenge to the third grade retention law heard in each of the six counties. When the judge didn’t rule, they refused to participate. Richard Bush is the Attorney for the Hernando County School Board.

“Hernando is not participating in this because we don’t think the court has jurisdiction” Bush told the judge.

Hernando County mom Brandy Kinkade told her kids to be in class, open the test, but not answer questions. She says she doubts the validity of the tests.

“The FSA is not a vetted test, and my child is not a guinea pig, and she will not be used for profit” Kinked testified.

“Did your child receive passing grades in the third grade” asked her lawyer.

“Honor roll all year.”

State law allows third graders to move to the fourth grade if they can show they are competent, even if they don’t do well on standardized tests. But parents challenging the law say their kids weren’t given that option.

A Broward County mom testified her attempts to have her children judged by alternative assessment methods were rebuffed Brandy Paternoster said that even her kids principal hated the decision, but.

“She understood that my children deserved to go to fourth grade, but that her hands were tied. She said it was coming down from the district” says Paternoster.

Beth Overholt is not part of the suit, but she is  a firm believer in the opt out movement.

“We believe that teachers need to be treated as professionals.  and that we should listen to them for promotion decisions” says the mother of two high schoolers.

While parents in six counties are challenging the retention requirement, a victory for them could impact kids in every county in the state.

The same lawyers who didn’t participate today also tried unsuccessfully to have the case moved to Federal Court last week. A federal judge refused.

 

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Opting Out Law Suit takes unusual turn

August 19th, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

Legal gymnastics played out in a Federal Court today in a lawsuit by parents whose kids opted out of state tests last spring and were held back.  As Mike Vasilinda tells us, a state court judge is on track to decide as early as next week if kids who dan’t take a standardized test can be held back.

The Opt Out Florida network has thousands of likes on it’s Facebook page, as well as this video featuring Jennifer Deuterwmann.

“It’s not okay that art music and research are being squeezed out by testing and test prep. It’s not okay to reduce social studies in a number of grades” she tells a crowded room.

Opt Out is also trying to raise money to fund it’s law suit. 13 Parents whose kids didn’t answer questions on state standardized tests last spring are in court after their children weren’t allowed to go from third to fourth grade.

A state judge was set to rule on the case as early as Monday. Then, late Thursday, the state as well as six school boards being sued asked a federal court to take the case over.

In an emergency hearing Judge Mark Walker questioned why the maneuvering was taking place.

“If someone was a conspiracy theorist, they’d think there was a design to secure a particular judge when the case was filed in Gainesville. Why was this case filed in Gainesville?”

Matthew Mears, FL Dept of Education General Counsel responded.

“We, we don’t know what happened. It was some kind of a technology glitch” Mears told the Judge.

The filing in Federal Court came after the state judge sent signals she was sympathetic to the kids who had opted out of the test.

But after more than an hour long phone hearing, Judge mark Walker decided to keep the case in state court.

Now the legal path is clear for the state judge who has a history of siding with kids to rule on whether they can be held back for not taking a test.

The state and six counties being sued argued that if the case goes back to state court, they would like each case to be heard individually in their respective home counties. That’s a issue they are likely to raise on Monday when they appear before a judge in Tallahassee.

 

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Task Force Makes Dozier Recommendations

August 19th, 2016 by Matt Galka

The Dozier School for Boys – the panhandle reform school and site of alleged child beatings, sexual abuses, and murders – still stands. But as Matt Galka tells us, a statewide panel was appointed to try and come up with a proper memorial, and in their final meeting – solutions were hard to come by.

What should happen to the Dozier School for Boys – the reform school caused immeasurable pain for so many.  A state assembled panel had plenty of ideas Friday.

Rep. Ken Roberson/(R) Punta Gorda

“A large memorial of solid, grey blue granite, a monument to commemorate the lives of the boys who died at the school,” said Rep. Ken Roberson (R-Punta Gorda) who has substantial funeral experience.

“It would provide community meeting space for living in to forgiveness and embrace here in this county,” said Rev. Russel Meyer.

“We in Gadsden County, we are fully willing to accept those remains if the state is wiling to work with us,” said Stephen Britt, who’s uncle’s remains were found at the school.

But for people who actually spent time at Dozier, there are two very different sides of the issue.

Charles Fudge is part of the White House Boys – a group that says they were victims of notorious beatings at Dozier in the early 60’s. He doesn’t want remains anywhere near the site.

“Those boys died because they tried to run away and leave there, why would we want to leave their bodies there?” he said.

But Richard Huntly – sent to Dozier from Orlando for truancy – feels like sending remains elsewhere like Tampa – an idea that was pitched – would gloss over the school’s awful history.

“Why would something happen in Jackson County but now you got it over in Tampa? Why? Because you don’t want that on your hands,” he said.

The task force voted to rebury remains of victims in Tallahassee, with two memorials – one in Jackson County and one in Tallahassee. The legislature and cabinet will receive the recommendations and ultimately have the final say.

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Pharmacy Flap Could Limit Patient Access

August 18th, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

More than 650 thousand Floridians receiving Medicaid in Florida are being told that after November first,  they can only use big chain pharmacies to have prescriptions filled. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the policy of two providers has locally owned drug stores crying foul.

Massy Pharmacy is a locally owned business in Quincy Florida…25 miles west of the state Capitol. It’s a favorite for locals like retired mosquito control director Michael Dunn.

“I’ve been going here just about all of my…just about since I was born just about, and I know the people that own it” Dunn told us.

But locally owned stores accross Florida are feeling pressure from the HMO’s managing the states Medicaid program. Two companies, Molina and Humana account for almost one in five of nearly Medicaid patients, and they are limiting prescription refills to big chains, not small stores like this one. Michael Jackson is the CEO of theFlorida Pharmacy Assn.

“You have a policy statement that says a patient can go over here, but can’t go over there” says Jackson.

The Pharmacy Association is complaining loudly.

“They are being told that their taxes and fees you pay to help fund the Medicaid program to care for the indigent are good enough to take care of that program but your services are not good enough, and we have a problem with that” says the CEO.

Massey’s was founded 80 years ago by Terrance Massey’s grandfather.

“If one company gets by doing this, then other companies are going to follow suit. It’s just a matter of time before its going to happen” says Terrance.

State law allows managed plans to control their networks based on three factors: Price, quality and credentials.  But pharmacists say they are only focusing on price.

The mom and pop’s say they can compete, but they’re not even being given the change.

“You know, jobs will be lost, and we’re local” says Massey.

Ultimately, lawmakers may have the final say if other HMO’s begin limiting competition.

The Florida Pharmacy Association met with the Agency for Health Care Administration, Previously the ACHA has responded to complaints by saying it can only take action if the HMO’s don’t have a pharmacy within 20 miles in a big city or sixty in a rural area.

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Citizens Insurance Seeking Rate Increase

August 18th, 2016 by Matt Galka

Nearly half a million Floridians have a state-run Citizens property insurance policy, the so called “insurer of last resort.” As Matt Galka tells us, Floridians who are sticking with citizens could be paying more next year.

A rate hike for Citizens customers? Policy holder Joe Walsh from Monroe County told state regulators ‘no way’ Thursday. A proposed rate hike from the state run insurer would hit policy holders in the county with a nearly 9 percent increase.

“This isn’t a rich person’s issue, this is a regular guy’s issue. Teachers and firefighters and real estate brokers and police officers, those are the people that are most directly affected by this 8.9% increase,” said Walsh.

Most policy holders could be hit with a nearly 6.8 percent, but it varies.

“We must charge actuarially sound rates and those actuarially sound rates are going to be increasing substantially,” said Citizens’ President Barry Gilway.

Whether or not the rate hikes get approved is up to the office of insurance regulation.

“It’s certainly very troubling to hear that folks that are residents in Monroe County and really in any county in the state are having to consider moving out of their homes and making other accommodations in order to afford housing because of insurance rates,” said Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier.

Citizens customers have the right to shop around for another insurer, but only a little more than 47,000 customers have left this year.

Public comment on the rate hike is still being taken until September 1st. If you want to sound off about it, you can email comments to ratehearings@floir.com.

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Changes coming to Guardianships in Florida

August 17th, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

New legislation licensing public guardians, the people who care for someone when their families can’t, are coming under strict new scrutiny after years of complaints of abuse. As Mike Vasilinda tells us,  the new protections are the result of dozens of families pushing back against the system.

We’ve followed the saga of Doug Franks and his mother Earnestine for the last two and a half years.  Earnestine still lives in her Pensacola home, but when Doug and his Brother disagreed on her care. A public guardian was appointed. Doug says it has been an irreversible nightmare ever since.

“My mother always says, Can you spend the night? for the last four years, she’s been saying that, spend the night, we got plenty of rooms. But I can’t tell her, mom, I’ll be put in jail if I do that. I can’t I’m sorry” says her son.

We’ve watched Doug testify before legislative committees, where this year and last he helped push through new licensing requirements for guardians.

This week Doug and other victims of Guardian Abuse testified before the panel making rules for the new law. Alan Sayler of St. Petersburg made the trip with his wife, whose mother is under the care of a guardian.

“If they violate these new rules, then they can be disciplined, which can also include the revocation of their license and they’ll no longer be able to work as guardians” says Sayler.

There are hundreds of similar stories across Florida.

Many accuse judges of being unsympathetic, and going so far as appointing their friends as guardians in lucrative cases. Kathleen Zargaros of Tampa says judges have been no help in her case.

“So this will take it from them, so we can go somewhere and say this is what we are giving you. This person has broken all of your rules and they should be revoked. Then they will investigate it, where before, all we had were the courts.”

“And they wouldn’t do anything?”

“Nothing. They never do” says Zargaros.

The new legislation is the first effort to monitor and regulate guardians at any level of government. And those like Doug who say they’ve been abused by the system are seeing their first ray of hope.

The Department of Elder Affairs is accepting written comments on the new rules for the next week. The new legislation, which includes the ability to file complaints is expected to be up and running October first.

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Bear Management

August 17th, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

The Fish and Wildlife Commission has 825 thousand dollars this year to help local governments and residents bear proof their neighborhoods. Today, FWC signed an agreement with Waste Pro to provide bear resistant trash container in the panhandle. FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski says Floridians need to be more involved in bear proofing their property.

“You know, the states out in the western part of America have been doing this for years. It’s part of their culture. It now needs to become part of the culture of Florida” says the FWC Chairman.

Just over six thousand nuisance bears were reported to FWC last year. 15 mostly rural counties account for the majority of complaints.

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Alligator Stand Your Ground?

August 17th, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

A Sumpter County man was arrested after shooting an alligator who he says threatened his horses. Social media has exploded after the incident, with many asking why he could not have used Stand Your Ground, but it does not apply to animals. FWC Public InformationCoordinator Rob Klepper says people should call the FWC hotline with gator complaints.

“Let us know and we’ll send a trapper out as soon as we can to take care of that gator. Now, of course, we can’t tell people not to protect their life and property, but every case is going to be different and we really want to encourage people to call that hotline” says Klepper.

The Hot line number is 866-FWC- Gator or 866-392-4286.

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School Choice Lawsuit Stalls For Now

August 17th, 2016 by Matt Galka

Public school teachers were dealt another blow in their fight against school choice. As Matt Galka tells us, the latest court ruling siding with state tax credit scholarships gives the state’s largest teacher’s union one more option – Florida’s Supreme Court.

They rallied and they put a full on ad blitz on tv, and now the 1st District Court of Appeals has sided with school choice advocates and stopped the lawsuit against Florida’s tax credit scholarship program for now.

Ron Meyer represents the Florida Education Association and says they still believe public schools are being harmed with less funding despite the ruling.

“We don’t agree that there is no special injury when, as we said in the complaint of this lawsuit, hundreds of millions of dollars are being taken from the public fisk, with student leaving the public schools to go to these unregulated voucher schools,” he said.

The FEA has said in the past they’d be willing to take the fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

“We are reviewing to see if the Supreme Court should have the final say,” said Meyer.

But school choice advocate and Tallahassee pastor R.B. Holmes says he hopes it doesn’t go that far. He argues that more than 90,000 students would have been out of luck had the ruling gone the other way.

“School started this week, and you’ve got close to 100,000 students that are using these scholarships, that would be a travesty,” he said.

Advocates say the program mostly helps minority low income families who’s children were being failed by public schools. The tax credit scholarship program is expected to cost just under $560 million dollars this year.

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Rigged Election? Not in Florida!

August 16th, 2016 by Matt Galka

Elections can get feisty and downright nasty…and 2016’s unique election cycle is no different. As Matt Galka tells us, the GOP’s presidential nominee says if he loses, the election must’ve been rigged, but voting officials here in Florida say not so fast.

A rigged election? That’s what one candidate is suggesting. But it’s not likely to happen here in Florida. After all, we are talking about the state with a storied history of election messes and fixes. Does Bush-Gore in 2000 ring a bell?

Florida’s Supervisors of Elections Association put out a statement last week casting doubt on the rigged election talk.

Ron Labasky is the counsel for the association. When you ask him about a fixed election in November…

“I think that it would be virtually impossible,” he said.

He says safeguards put in place nearly a decade ago help to deter fraud.

“The fact that we have a paper ballot obviously ensures that if there were any question about a vote not being properly tabulated or the count being incorrect, you can go back and compare those individual pieces of paper rather than relying on some computer generated result,” he said.

Bottom line: the message from the county elections officials to the more than 12 million registered voters in the state – we won’t screw this up.

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Workers Comp rates to go up, but by how much?

August 16th, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

The Florida Supreme Court declared the states scheme for handling injured workers unconstitutional in three cases earlier this year (One of them involving the City of St. Petersburg). The result, as Mike Vasilinda tells us, is a potential twenty percent increase in Workers Comp insurance for Florida businesses.

In 2003, Florida has some of the highest rates for the insurance business buy to protect injured workers. Changes that year cut the cost by 60 percent. But in three cases earlier this year, the Florida Supreme Court found the savings came at the expense of injured workers.

Lori Lovgren from the Natl. Council on Compensation Insurance told the panel “It found unconstitutional 4.40 related to attorney’s fees.”

The court also struck down a system that allowed 104 weeks of income after an injury and reinstated the 260 weeks in the law before the 2003 change.

A hearing on what to do next brought out every major industry in the state. Most say the ruling hurts business. Mark Wilson is the President of the Florida Chamber.

“It advantages trial lawyers and disadvantages injured workers:”

A state sanctioned, industry run commission is recommending a 19.6 percent increase.

“We’re here today because the law says rates can’t be inadequate” says Lovgren.

But Dr. Michael Helvacian, an expert hired by a pro business anti lawyer group says the rates need to increase at least 35 percent to be legal, but if they do, consequences will be dire.

“The demand for employees will be dampened because the costs, employers cost of doing business will be higher” says Helvacian.

The higher the rate hike after this courts ruling, the more likely big business can force the legislature to do something.

Many on both sides believe the rate hike is the beginning of what will be the biggest issue for lawmakers next spring. Rich Templin of the Florida AFL-CIO says the union just wants fair legislation.

“What we want is for the system to provide medical care and decent benefits for workers at the time of their injury when this happens.

The council is recommending higher rates for everyone as early as October.

One expert says the higher rates will slow job creation by one hundred six thousand each year. The decision is the first major rate case that will be made by the state’s new Insurance Commissioner.

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Grid Security A Hot Topic for Lawmakers

August 16th, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

Thousands of state lawmakers and staff at a national conference in Chicago on issues facing states got an earful on the security of the electric grid, , and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, utilities admit they know less about the issue than they should.

The bright lights of big cities would be dimmed, along with the lights in your home for weeks or even months as a result of cyber attacks or an act of war. The utilities, speaking to lawmakers, say they are fighting off attacks every day. Devon Streit runs the Arkansas Electrical Coop.

“And they only have to be right once. We have to be right every single time” Streit told lawmakers on behalf of the industry.

Electrical providers say an outage is more likely to last weeks than months if a major attack succeeds, but they admit they don’t know as much as they should, which is why they are funding extended research on EMP and cyber attacks.

“Electro-magnetic waves are fluky things. No odosne really understands how they work, and I’m an electrical engineer, and I’ll just tell you that right now” quipped Streit.

A  2013 attack on a substation in California got the utilities attention. Street says they now have a list of the most vulnerable sites in America. “Now that’s a confidential list, so I’m not going to tell you which ones they are” he said.

But former news anchor turned author Ted Koppel told the audience the attacks are much more likely and devastating than the utilities admit and no one is ready for the worst case scenario.

“This isn’t Ted Koppel saying it, this is Ted Koppel quoting the former head of the national security agency” says the Author.

South Florida lawmaker Richard Stark (D_Broward) called the session eye opening.

“Instead o being pro-active and planning, we tend to wait until there is a disaster” says Stark.

Koppel and others say a lengthy grid outage would strain food and fuel supplies as well as everything else that we take for granted.

Russia, China and the US all have the capabilities to take out the other’s grids, but not the will. But defense experts say North Korea or ISIL may lack the capability but not the will, and may someday have the capability to cause major electrical outages.

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