Florida’s traditional pension plan for state workers, teachers, firefighters and other public employees would end for new hires next January under a proposed bill. The new workers would be moved into a 401(k)-type plan after next Jan. 1, Government Operations Chairman Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, said. Read more from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel and the Times/Herald.
Nearly two-thirds of the state’s mentally ill go untreated. The lifespan of those with mental illnesses is 25 years shorter than those without psychiatric problems. And, adjusted for inflation and population, the state spends less now on mental health services than it did three decades ago. More from the Palm Beach Post and the News Service of Florida.
Consumers will pay twice as much for tomatoes if the Obama administration ends a pricing accord with Mexico, according to a study from an American importers group. U.S. growers led by the Florida Tomato Exchange have said the pricing agreement is outdated and ineffective, and ending it will create a free market for trade in tomatoes. More from Bloomberg and Reuters.
The Florida Supreme Court says defendants in contracting cases cannot claim plaintiffs are equal wrongdoers as a common law defense. It was a victory for T&G Corp., a general contractor. T&G and Earth Trades Inc., an unlicensed subcontractor, sued each other for breach of contract in connection with a parking garage project. [Source: AP]
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Engineering, medicine and technology are coming together to create advances in medical care, from real-time imaging of tumors in the operating room to a hydrogel used to repair knees, a panel of Johns Hopkins Medicine faculty said Thursday. [Source: Palm Beach Post]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Jaguars owner Shad Khan pledges up to $1 million at One Spark festival [Florida Times-Union]
Khan is pledging up to $1 million in capital investment for the “creators” who present their technological innovations and artistic works at the upcoming One Spark festival in downtown Jacksonville.
» High hopes for Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan
» Northeast Florida Newsmakers of the Year
› South Florida hotels finish year with strong December [Miami Herald]
Hotels in South Florida reported strong occupancy and rates in December, closing out a year of continued gains. In Miami-Dade, hotels were about 75 percent full in December, an increase of nearly 6 percentage points compared to the previous year.
› Applicants beating down Hillsborough tourism agency's door for top job [Tampa Bay Times]
The search for a new CEO to lead Hillsborough County's tourism agency is only a few days old, but Tampa Bay & Co. said Thursday that it's already received 55 applicants for the top job.
› Cupcake endeavors prove to be fulfilling in Brevard [Florida Today]
They derive their name from the cups or ramekins in which they were baked before the advent of the cupcake (or muffin) tin and their reputation as good business sense from a trend that started in the 1990s and shows no sign of abating.
Go to page 2 for more stories ...
› Transit hub and affordable homes to revitalize Miami’s Liberty City [Miami Herald]
Rocked by scandal and delayed for more than a decade, the construction of a long-sought Liberty City transit hub that will also offer shopping and affordable housing is finally under way.
› Osceola schools tout $10 million in energy-cost savings [Orlando Sentinel]
Osceola County schools say they've saved more than $10 million in energy costs since starting a districtwide conservation effort three years ago.
› Bondi urges Floridians to seek mortgage deal cash, despite passed deadline [Palm Beach Post]
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Thursday urged Floridians who believe they are eligible for a portion of the National Mortgage Settlement to continue to apply even though the deadline expired Friday
› Florida cracking down on food stamp fraud [AP]
Florida officials are cracking down on fraud in the food stamp program through a new system that verifies client's identities before an application is processed.