OC Sheriff’s Office used secret files to lobby against gun bill

Records show Sheriff Jerry Demings' lobbyist handed out restricted photos of. bikers with concealed-weapon permits. By HARRY PIERSON CURTIS, Orlando Sentinel Florida law-enforcement officials dipped into secret intelligence files to lobby against legislation that would have allowed holders of concealed-weapons permits to carry their guns openly, newly released documents show. Leading the effort last spring was one of Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings' staff lobbyists, who gave lawmakers surveillance and state drivers license photos of eight concealed-weapons permit holders, despite a state law that makes the identities of the 800,000 permit holders confidential. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-sheriff-political-lobbying-secret-files-20110829-1,0,999625.story … [Read more...]

Study: Some oil spill dispersant chemicals linked to cancer

Written by BEAU ZIMMER, WTSP.com St. Petersburg, Florida - As the oil gushed during the weeks and months following the devastating BP Oil Spill, crews scrambled to head with one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. The use of dispersants, chemicals designed to break up the oil before it reaches shore, seemed to be key in containing the disaster but there were also concerns. "People immediately began raising questions," says Marianne Engelman Lado of environmental law firm Earthjustice. "People started feeling respiratory problems, getting rashes, some reported vomiting." http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/article/208046/8/Study-Some-oil-spill-dispersant-chemicals-linked-to-cancer … [Read more...]

Married couple killed in crash were heading home from birthday parties

Roberts was paralegal at King Law Firm By Karen Voyles Ocala.com Staff writer A husband and wife killed in a head-on crash Saturday night were on their way home after a day of attending two birthday parties, including that of the man's 6-year-old son. Shelley Mohan-Bell Roberts, 40, and Tracey Lee "Sharky" Roberts, 43, were both pronounced dead at the scene of the 11 p.m. crash near the intersection of U.S. 27 and Northwest 154th Avenue Road, according to Florida Highway Patrol reports. Leonel Hernandez-Ocampo, 35, of Williston, who was traveling north in the southbound lane of U.S. 27 in a 1998 Jeep, was arrested Monday and charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of driving without a driver's license. http://www.ocala.com/article/20110829/ARTICLES/110829704/1005/sports01?Title=Married-couple-killed-in-crash-were-heading-home-from-birthday-parties … [Read more...]

Drug Testing the Poor: Bad Policy, Even Worse Law

By ADAM COHEN, TIME.com Under a new Florida law, people applying for welfare have to take a drug test at their own expense. If they pass, they are eligible for benefits and the state reimburses them for the test. If they fail, they are denied welfare for a year, until they take another test. Mandatory drug testing for welfare applicants is becoming a popular idea across the U.S. Many states — including Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Louisiana — are considering adopting laws like Florida's. At the federal level, Senator David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, has introduced the Drug Free Families Act of 2011, which would require all 50 states to drug-test welfare applicants. Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2090871,00.html#ixzz1WVCqnxlJ … [Read more...]

Law firm hiring on the rise in S. Fla

By Marcia Heroux Pounds, Sun Sentinel From boutique offices to South Florida's top-name law firms, hiring at regional law firms is back. Law firms have been adding litigators and specialists in areas including corporate law, bankruptcy, employment law, and government regulation. Even real estate law is making a return. "We went from work buying and selling to doing workouts," said Aldolfo Jimenez, partner with Holland & Knight in Miami. The firm's land-use work continued despite the recession because the firm was involved in the new Marlins Ballpark, and projects such as hospitals and universities. Law firms are hiring lawyers who can bring their "book of business," said Matt Gorson, president of Greenberg Traurig, which has offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach. The firm has hired 20 lawyers so far this year, compared with 14 lawyers in … [Read more...]