Ethics committee releases details of Buchanan financial disclosure investigation

The details of an ethics investigation into discrepancies on the 2008-2011 financial disclosures of Sarasota Republican Vern Buchanan were made public today. According to its report, the board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the Committee on Ethics further review the allegations after finding substantial reason to believe that Representative Buchanan violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law during the course of its investigation.

Jacksonville Publix distribution facility cited for safety violations

Publix Supermarkets has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 16 safety and health violations that occurred at its Jacksonville distribution facility. OSHA looked into the facility after receiving a complaint in September that a worker’s hand had been amputated while cleaning conveyor equipment. Proposed penalties for the violations total $182,000.

Florida water rules delayed

On Monday, only hours before they were slated to go into effect, a federal judge postponed the implementation of a portion of a set of federally-mandated water rules. Those rules, which should have gone into effect today, have been delayed until July.

Business groups continue to urge EPA to implement state-drafted water pollution rules

A slew of national organizations and businesses are continuing to join together in urging EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to approve a set of Florida-specific water pollution standards drafted by the state, rather than set of rules promulgated by the federal government. In a letter sent to Jackson earlier this month, groups including The Fertilizer Institute argue that the state Department of Environmental Protection has worked tirelessly to develop its own water quality standards.

CREW releases report detailing how members of Congress abuse positions to benefit family members

Political watchdog group CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) has released a report detailing how members of the House of Representatives use their positions to financially benefit their families. In its report, entitled Family Affair, CREW found that 248 House members had used their positions to financially benefit themselves or family members. Among those are at least 18 representatives from Florida.

Former Buchanan business partner files suit

Sam Kazran, a former business partner of Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, is filing suit against the lawmaker, alleging the congressman defrauded him and abused the offices of the court to silence Kazran regarding numerous election laws which were knowingly violated by Buchanan during his run for public office.

Planned Parenthood worries Personhood Mississippi could spark ‘national movement’

On Wednesday, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards sent out an email imploring supporters to pay careful attention to the so-called Personhood movement, which has gained considerable support in Mississippi. “This ballot initiative is about more than just one state, writes Richards. Anti-choice activists hope that a win in Mississippi will lead to a national movement.”

Liberty Counsel founder flip-flops on school prayer bill

Mat Staver, the founder of a Christian legal group known as the Liberty Counsel, has switched his position on a bill currently making its way to the governor's desk. The bill, which is sponsored by state Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, would allow state school boards to adopt policies allowing K-12 students to give inspirational messages, including prayers, at any school event.