State Capitol Briefs
The News Service of Florida
SCHOLARSHIPS TO HELP NURSING AND FIRST GENERATION STUDENTS
Private scholarship money is going to the state’s college system to help relieve a shortage of nurses, and also to boost the number of first-generation college students. Money from the endowments of the Helios Education Foundation, Florida Blue, and Bank of America is awarded annually by the Florida College System Foundation to all 28 colleges in the system for Florida nursing students and first generation students in any field. Florida College System Chancellor Randy Hanna on Thursday announced this year’s award of $825,000.
COMPANY WILL FUND FORECLOSURE LEGAL AID TO SETTLE CHARGES
A company accused of improperly serving papers in foreclosure cases will not only change its practices but pay $462,500 to the Florida Bar Foundation for a legal aid program that helps low-in-come families facing foreclosure. Attorney General Pam Bondi, who investigated the company, ProVest, LLC, announced the settlement Friday. ProVest is one of Florida’s largest process server firms. “This settlement is another important step in ensuring the integrity of the mortgage foreclosure process in Florida,” Bondi said in a statement. “This agreement will help ensure the fair administration of foreclosure cases filed in our state.” ProVest cooperated with the Attorney General’s Office and has agreed to improve training and conduct audits to detect irregularities in the process.
SUPREME COURT TO HEAR LESBIAN IN-VITRO CASE IN OCTOBER
The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments Oct. 2 in a possibly first-of-its-kind case pitting two lesbian partners who used in-vitro fertilization to have a child but later ended their relationship. The case could be unprecedented in Florida because the fertilized egg of one woman was implanted in her then-partner, who gave birth. A legal battle over parental rights began when the woman who gave birth stopped allowing her former partner to have contact with the child — at one point even taking the child to Australia. The 5th District Court of Appeal last year ruled that the woman who provided the fertilized egg should have parental rights, which led to the dispute going to the Supreme Court. The case has drawn attention from groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal, which have submitted briefs urging justices to uphold the appeals-court ruling.
LAWSUITS TO BE FILED OVER I-75 PILE-UP
More than a dozen lawsuits are in the process of being filed over a massive crash on Interstate 75 at Paynes Prairie this past January, in which the highway was opened despite heavy smoke from a nearby wildfire. Eleven were killed and more than 20 injured in the Jan. 29 crash. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has received 13 notices of intent to sue over the crashes, and Julie Jones, the agency’s executive director, told the Cabinet this week that a Highway Patrol report on the incident would be released this week.
BOOMERS WORRY THEY WON’T BE ABLE TO RETIRE
About half of all Florida voters aged 50-64 say they fear they’ll never be able to retire, and large majorities say they’ll have to rely more heavily on Social Security and Medicare than they expected, according to a new survey by AARP released Wednesday. Most Florida voters in that age range also say the presidential candidates have done a poor job explaining what they plan to do in terms of Social Security and Medicare spending. “They’re worried about their future, and they want to know what the candidates would do to alleviate their worries,” said Jeff Johnson, AARP’s Florida state director. The poll also creates a new AARP “Anxiety Index,” measuring the degree to which people over 50 worry about various things. The biggest anxiety they have right now, according to the poll, is prices rising faster than incomes, which 70 percent of those surveyed say they worry about “somewhat or very often.” Non-retired boomer voters in Florida are pessimistic about retirement. Nearly 70 percent said they believe they will have to delay retirement, the same percentage are somewhat or very worried they won’t have enough money in retirement, and 51 percent worry they will never be able to retire.