Fla. Gov. Scott starts running re-election TV ads
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida Gov. Rick Scott is launching a $2.2 million television ad buy for his re-election that aims to reintroduce the Republican incumbent to the state's voters.
Scott's 30-second ad features the governor mentioning his poor upbringing and how his dad's car was once repossessed.
The themes of the ad mirror Scott's recent speeches, including his State of the State address last week before the Florida Legislature.
Scott narrowly won the governor's election in 2010, and he is trailing in recent polls to former Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist is seeking his old job as a Democrat.
Sen. John Thrasher, chairman of Scott's re-election campaign, said the ad is intended to tell voters "who this man really is."
But Florida Democrats called the ad an attempt to mislead voters about his record.
Bieber gets May 5 trial date in Florida case
MIAMI (AP) - A May 5 trial date has been set for Justin Bieber in the Florida case charging him with driving under the influence, resisting arrest and possessing an invalid driver's license.
Prosecutors also said at a Tuesday hearing that no plea offer has been made for the 20-year-old pop singer. He has pleaded not guilty.
The first trial date was postponed while attorneys for news organizations and Bieber wrestled with release of police videos of him giving a urine sample for a drug test.
Bieber and R&B singer Khalil Amir Sharieff were arrested Jan. 23 in Miami Beach after what police called an illegal drag race with high-end sports cars. Breath tests showed Bieber's blood-alcohol content was below the 0.02 limit for underage drivers. Other tests detected marijuana and Xanax.
FLORIDA SPECIAL ELECTION
All eyes on special congressional election in Fla.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The replacement to fill the late Bill Young's seat in Congress will be chosen after a special election in Pinellas County.
Polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday and will close at 7 p.m.
The race for the 13th congressional district seat has garnered national attention and nearly $9 million in outside money. The district is considered a tossup, and ads for Democrat Alex Sink and Republican David Jolly have inmailboxes and airwaves in recent weeks. A third candidate, Libertarian Lucas Overby, is also running.
Voters in this stretch of beach towns and retirement communities provide the first 2014 campaign test of whether Democrats can counter GOP attacks on the president's health care overhaul.
Young died in October after serving in Congress for more than 40 years.
HOSPITAL WHISTLE-BLOWER SETTLEMENT
Florida hospital settles Medicare lawsuit
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A Florida hospital has agreed to pay $85 million to settle a Medicare fraud whistle-blower lawsuit.
Halifax Hospital Medical Center of the Daytona Beach area reached the agreement with federal authorities Monday.
The hospital's director of physician services filed a whistle-blower lawsuit in 2009, accusing the facility of filing false Medicare claims and paying doctors improperly. The Justice Department intervened on some allegations two years later.
Under the terms of the settlement, Halifax Hospital isn't admitting liability. It admits that it violated a law prohibiting physicians from making referrals for health services if they have a financial interest.
The whistle-blower in the case will receive just under a quarter of the settlement amount, or about $20.8 million.
The hospital also is entering into a corporate-integrity agreement with the federal government.
FLA OCEAN RESCUE
Injunction for husband of woman who drove in ocean
(Information in the following story is from: Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal, http://www.news-journalonline.com)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A judge has issued a temporary injunction ordering the husband of the woman accused of trying to kill her three children by driving into the ocean to stay away from some family members.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that a circuit judge issued the injunction Monday against Lutful Ronjon, husband of Ebony Wilkerson of North Charleston, S.C.
In court documents, Wilkerson's sister Jessica Harrell says Ronjon threatened to kill her and her sister if she tried to help the woman escape his abuse.
Records show the injunction against Ronjon is in effect until March 20, when a hearing is scheduled.
The injunction orders Ronjon to stay away from Harrell, her house, her child's school and a residence where the family is staying.
Wilkerson is in jail in Florida on attempted murder and other charges.
BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING-FLORIDA
Muslim group: 3 Russians unlawfully kept out of US
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A Muslim rights organization is asking Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene and allow three permanent residents of Florida to return to the United States from Russia.
The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations sent a letter to Kerry on Monday accusing the United States of unlawfully preventing three Russians - Umar Taramov (Ooo-Mahr Tahr-uh-mawv), Khusen Taramov (Coo-sihn Tahr-uh-mawv), and Khasan Taramov (Kuh-sahn Tahr-uh-mawv) - from boarding a flight in Moscow.
Khusen Taramov was one of the last people to see Chechen immigrant Ibragim Todashev (IH'-bruh-heem TOH'-duh-shehv) alive before he was shot to death in May during an interview with the FBI and others in central Florida.
Officials say Todashev turned violent while being questioned about his ties to one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. The state attorney is continuing to investigate the incident.
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