The News Service of Florida

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The News Service of Florida

Democrat Patrick Murphy, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Allen West, said Monday he raised $508,000 in the second quarter. Murphy, a former Republican, ended June with just under $1.3 million in cash on hand. West ended the first quarter with more than $3.3 million on hand and has been one of the top congressional money raisers nationally. Quarterly filings were due to the Federal Election Commission on Sunday.

State Capitol Briefs
The Florida Department of State and the Attorney General’s Office have taken a first step toward appealing a judge’s ruling in a closely watched case about restrictions on voter-registration groups. Attorneys for the state filed a notice of appeal last week with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, records show. The move came little more than a month after U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction against parts of a 2011 law, such as blocking a requirement that voter-registration forms be returned to elections officials within 48 hours of being filled out. The League of Women Voters of Florida and other groups that register voters filed the lawsuit. Last week’s notice did not provide details about the potential grounds for an appeal. Also, the state and the law’s opponents said in late June they were trying to reach a settlement that would avert a continuing legal battle.

An administrative law judge has sided with a workers-compensation insurer in a battle with the state Office of Insurance Regulation about whether the company earned “excess” profits. The case, filed by Premier Group Insurance Co., centered on whether federal income taxes should be included as expenses in calculating excess profits. Workers-compensation insurers have been required to return excess profits to policyholders — though lawmakers this year made a change to end the requirement effective this month. Administrative Law Judge Lisa Shearer Nelson issued an order Thursday that said OIR had failed to approve a necessary rule to back its position that federal income taxes should be excluded from calculating excess profits. “First, the wisdom of the office’s position is not at issue here,’’ the order said. “What is at issue is the need to adopt the agency statement as a rule so that all those substantially affected by the agency policy have the opportunity for public input and participation in the rule-making process.” Premier filed the challenge after facing the possibility of being required to refund nearly $7.7 million from past years.

Florida will cash in on a record $3 billion national settlement with drug maker GlaxoSmithKline over charges the company unlawfully marketed and misrepresented some of its products. Florida was among a group of states that joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and went after the company in what is the largest such settlement on record. Specifically, the company allegedly misrepresented the efficacy of a handful of drugs, touted off-label uses, offered kickbacks to medical providers and improperly billed Medicaid. Florida’s cut will include $31.8 in federal monies and $24.9 million for the state’s Medicaid portion. “I am proud to say that this agreement makes Florida whole for the deceptive practices that misled consumers and defrauded the Medicaid program out of money,” Attorney General Pam Bond said in a statement.

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