Obama administration gives religious groups one year extension for birth control mandate

The Obama administration announced today that it is standing by its decision to require that insurance providers — with the exception of religious employers — cover birth control as a preventive service. Instead of giving in to requests that all objectors be able to opt out, the feds have instead given religious groups a one-year extension to meet the mandate.

New higher ed appointee’s company donated big to Republicans last year

Gov. Rick Scott yesterday announced the reappointment of Ava Parker and the appointments of Joseph Caruncho and Thomas Kuntz to the State University System's Board of Governors. Caruncho, a Palmetto Bay native, is the co-founder and COO of Preferred Care Partners Inc., and previously worked as a corporate health care attorney. As we've previously reported, Preferred Care poured money into Republican Party coffers last year, donating at least $190,000.

Orange County the latest to sue EPA over water quality rules

Orange County is the latest Florida municipality to sue the EPA over its proposed implementation of a set of numeric nutrient criteria that will limit the amount of waste allowed to be dumped in state waterways. The county will join the Florida Water Environment Utility Council to fight the standards in one of several lawsuits already filed against the EPA.

Georgetown report: Florida Medicaid pilot program still shows no proof of saving money

Georgetown University released a report today indicating that Florida's Medicaid managed-care Reform Pilot program has not shown any clear signs of saving money. Nevertheless, the state Senate Health and Human Services committee will vote tomorrow on S.B. 1972, which establishes the Medicaid managed care program as the statewide, integrated managed care program for medical assistance and long-term care services.

Lowe’s protest draws more than 100, including Michigan representative

A Saturday demonstration outside of a Lowe's home improvement store in a Detroit suburb brought out more than 150 local residents and religious leaders and even one state representative — all of whom were protesting the chain's decision to pull its ads from the TLC reality show All-American Muslim after receiving numerous calls to do so by the Florida Family Association.

Florida group at the center of Lowe’s, All-American Muslim controversy

Home improvement chain Lowe's has found itself on the receiving end of a hefty amount of backlash, following its decision to pull ads from TLC's All-American Muslim, a reality show centering on the lives of Muslims living in a Detroit suburb. Though reps for Lowe's have said that the company pulled the ads due to strong political and societal views from many individuals, a conservative, Florida-based group is at the center of the backlash.

People for the American Way calls for Lowe’s boycott over All-American Muslim ad pull

Responding to the news that home improvement giant Lowe's pulled its advertising from the TLC reality series All-American Muslim, People for the American Way today called on Americans to boycott hate and stop shopping at Lowe's. The group is also speaking out against the Florida Family Association, the Tampa organization that played a large part in the ad pulls.

Planned Parenthood affiliate loses thousands for teen sex health programs

Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast has lost thousands of dollars for teen sexual health programs servicing young people in Palm Beach County this year. About 200 fewer teens will be served in the region if the organization does not receive enough outside donations to recoup this year's losses. The programs include one-on-one sex education, birth control services and STD testing and treatment for teens.

Sierra Club files suit against University of Florida over public records

The Sierra Club has filed suit against the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (aka IFAS) over what it says are violations of public records laws. The lawsuit, which was filed yesterday, comes as a result of years of refusal by IFAS to respond to legitimate questions asked by the Sierra Club and local governments with regard to contradictory messaging about urban fertilizer management.

Sarasota GOP defends Buchanan

Despite reports that the Federal Election Commission had doubts about the credibility of Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, during its investigation into campaign finance violation allegations against him, the Republican Party of Sarasota County is standing behind him.