Judge grants Planned Parenthood injunction against Indiana defunding law

After having to temporarily close its doors to thousands of patients, Planned Parenthood of Indiana can now reopen to Medicaid beneficiaries. U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood this past week over Indiana's new law aimed at defunding the chain of women's clinics. However, unintended consequences from the law have already put women's health at risk in the state.

Mica-sponsored water bill passes House Committee

The “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011” sponsored by Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today in a 35-20 vote. Environmental law firm Earthjustice argues that the bill is misleading in name, and would do little more than turn back the clock on existing clean water safeguards.

Report: Prescription drugs kill far more in Florida than illegal drugs, Oxycodone deaths at record high: News. Politics. Media

According to a report released Thursday by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, 5 percent of all deaths in 2009 were attributable to prescription drug use, far outnumbering those caused by illegal substances. The report indicates the most frequently occurring drugs found in decedents were ethyl alcohol (4,046), all Benzodiazepines (3,379), Oxycodone (1,948) and cocaine (1,462). The drugs that caused the most deaths were Oxycodone, all Benzodiazepines (with Alprazolam, also known as Xanax, accounting for the majority of the deaths), methadone, ethyl alcohol, cocaine, morphine and Hydrocodone. Oxycodone, the generic version of the Purdue Pharma brand name prescription pain-killer OxyContin, was the cause of 1,185 state deaths in 2009, a 26-percent increase from the year before and a whopping 249-percent increase from 2005.

Vinyard shows ‘willingness to work’ with St. Johns Riverkeeper on Georgia-Pacific pipeline

Nearly five months ago, the St. Johns Riverkeeper first launched its campaign against a pipeline that will reroute much of the waste from Georgia-Pacific's Palatka paper mill into the St. Johns River, a project the Riverkeeper says is a disaster waiting to happen. Though the Riverkeeper has received no response from Gov. Rick Scott (despite a massive email campaign and the collection of thousands of signatures against the pipeline), there may be hope for their cause yet, from the Scott-appointed head of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Top Gingrich staffers resign

The top aides to Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign have resigned en masse, according to the Associated Press. The list of those leaving includes two former key staffers for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Effects of Ryan Medicare plan could vary across Florida

A guest column published by Kaiser Health News points out an interesting (and largely undiscussed) feature of Congressman Paul Ryan's hot-button Medicare plan: It ignores differences in Medicare costs between regions, and as a result it could expose the egregious amount of money Medicare wastes in many parts of the country.

Green groups, GOP hopefuls oppose corn-based ethanol subsidies

Much of the attention on corn-based ethanol has focused on the role that this supposedly renewable fuel is playing in driving up global food prices. Now environmental groups and some conservative politicians are pointing out another problem — corn-based ethanol consumes the bulk of federal funding on renewable energy and the big oil companies that blend the ethanol into gasoline are collecting subsidies to the tune of about $6 billion a year.
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New project draws water from the St. Johns, could worsen algal bloom: News. Politics. Media

The St. Johns River has been surrounded by its fair share of controversy as of late, and a recently begun Seminole County construction project is only adding to it. Though many initially disapproved of the Water Management District’s approval of a permit that allowed for the removal of 5.5 million gallons of water a day from the St. Johns, the project’s latest steps have gone largely unnoticed in the local media. Much to the dismay of the St. Johns Riverkeeper, the project has been steadily moving along.