Jim Rosica – Page 4 – Florida Politics

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

NRA appeals judge’s decision against pseudonyms in Parkland lawsuit

The National Rifle Association is appealing a federal judge’s ruling against shielding a plaintiff’s name in its litigation against the state’s new school safety and mental health law.

The NRA filed a notice of appeal Thursday to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, court dockets show.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker earlier this week turned down the association’s request to use a “Jane Doe” pseudonym for a 19-year-old Alachua County woman.

She’s been portrayed in court documents as seeking to remain anonymous due to fear that public exposure could result in “harassment, intimidation, and potentially even physical violence.”

In late April, the NRA filed a motion to add “Jane Doe” as a plaintiff to the lawsuit, which contends the age restriction in the new Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act “violates the fundamental rights of thousands of responsible, law-abiding adult Florida citizens and is thus invalid under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.”

The lawsuit, filed March 9 by the NRA, came just hours after Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a sweeping school-safety measure that included new gun-related restrictions.

The legislation was a rapid response to the Feb. 14 shooting at the Parkland, Broward County high school that left 17 students and faculty members dead and 17 others wounded.

The law raised from 18 to 21 the minimum age to purchase rifles and other long guns.

It also imposed a three-day waiting period on the sale of long guns, such as the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz last year legally purchased, without any waiting period, and is accused of using in the Valentine’s Day massacre at his former school.

While acknowledging that false names may sometimes be used in litigation, Walker cited federal court rules that complaints “must name all the parties,” and referred to case law that lawsuits are “public events” and that the public has a “legitimate interest in knowing all of the facts involved, including the identities of the parties.”

“The NRA must file its amended complaint—without pseudonyms—no later than May 21,” Walker ordered.

Attorney General Pam Bondi had opposed the move, saying the woman’s desire for anonymity was not justified. “The amended complaint also includes allegations about a 19-year-old male identified as John Doe,” Walker’s order notes.

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Background provided by The News Service of Florida. 

Greyhound owners sue over proposed dog racing ban

Photo above: Greyhounds racing on the track in Bonita Springs. Credit: Van Abernathy.

As promised, the group that represents Florida’s greyhound owners and breeders is suing to keep a proposed constitutional amendment to rid the state of dog racing off the November ballot.

But a top greyhound racing opponent quickly called the suit “dead on arrival.”

The Florida Greyhound Association and its president, James Blanchard, filed suit Thursday in Leon County Circuit Civil court against the Department of State, which include the Division of Elections, and Secretary of State Ken Detzner.

Among other claims, the suit says the ballot title and summary “… fail to inform voters that its passage would essentially expand gambling by allowing pari-mutuel facilities in Florida to convert to mini-casinos.” 

The amendment, one of eight by the Constitution Revision Commission, would allow other gambling activities such as card games to continue at tracks after dog racing ends.

The suit asks for a court order preventing the division “from placing Amendment No. 13 on the ballot for the November 2018 General Election.”

The group first raised the possibility of a legal challenge last month. In Florida, live dog racing is still conducted at 12 tracks.

In general, the complaint says the measure’s “ballot title and summary language are inaccurate, misleading, and fail to inform voters of the true effect of the proposed amendment.”

Amendment 13 “would not end dog racing,” according to the suit, but would rather only prohibit betting on dog races. “A voter might well be misled into approving Amendment 13 based on the belief that the effect of the amendment is to end all dog racing,” the complaint says.

The association also takes issue with the ballot summary’s saying the measure “phases out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020.”

First, the phrase ‘commercial dog racing’ is not defined, nor is the phrase contained anywhere in the text of the amendment,” the complaint says. 

“ ‘Commercial dog racing’ is far broader than the scope of the ballot title or the proposed amendment itself. This phrase is not only vague and ambiguous, but makes it impossible for voters to know exactly what they are voting on.”

And the proposal doesn’t make clear that it “does not prohibit persons in Florida from betting on dog races being conducted in other states.”

“Providing voters with false statements such as that the amendment ‘ENDS DOG RACING’ is the very essence of a misleading ballot summary,” the complaint says.

Kate MacFall, co-chair of the “Protect Dogs-Yes on 13 Campaign,” later Thursday called the suit “dead on arrival (and) a desperate attempt to prevent voters from having a voice on whether greyhound confinement and deaths should continue.”

MacFall, also the Florida State Director of The Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement the language doesn’t run afoul of a legal standard for removal of “clearly and conclusively defective.”

“Asking voters to approve a question entitled ‘Ends Greyhound Racing’ says what it does and does what it says,” MacFall said. “As the text reads, ‘The humane treatment of animals is a fundamental value of the people of Florida.’ If the members of the Florida Greyhound Association disagree with this premise, they are free to vote ‘no’ in November.”

John Morgan on Richard Corcoran: Don’t go to your own ‘ass kicking’

Orlando attorney John Morgan told reporters Wednesday that he supported the decision of his friend, outgoing House Speaker Richard Corcoran, to end his bid for the Governor’s Office before it even formally started.

Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican, last week endorsed Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam, currently term-limited as Commissioner of Agriculture.

Morgan, who aligns with Democrats, said he had told Corcoran several weeks ago he couldn’t catch up in the money game, having been already out-fundraised by Putnam and with GOP Congressman Ron DeSantis putting up a formidable challenge.

“I told him it’s all about money,” Morgan said in Tallahassee, before a trial in his lawsuit over the state’s medical marijuana smoking ban. “The question was answered for Richard Corcoran when the money froze up.

“You know, he was somebody I have helped,” added Morgan, who flirted with his own run for governor. “He’s a friend of mine. He’s someone I would have helped on the Republican side. He made the right decision … I think he knew he was gonna get beat.

“If I knew I was gonna get beat, I wouldn’t like to go to my own ass kicking,” he added.

Morgan also weighed in on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson‘s re-election chances against Gov. Rick Scott, the Naples Republican challenging him for the seat.

Nelson “is in for a dogfight,” he said. “He’s got to get busy. You cannot underestimate Rick Scott. He’s methodical, ever ready with money. He’s like a bald (Energizer) bunny. He never stops. He’s got the message. If I were Bill Nelson, I’d be worried.”

Smoke ’em? Judge will decide on puffing medical marijuana

It’s now up to a Tallahassee judge whether the Legislature overstepped when it outlawed the smoking of medical marijuana.

Attorneys for the state and patients who want to smoke the drug squared off in a Leon County courtroom Wednesday before Circuit Judge Karen Gievers. She didn’t immediately rule after the close of evidence, but could issue a decision as early as tonight, if previous experience holds.

The highlight was plaintiff Cathy Jordan, a Manatee County woman who has Lou Gehrig’s disease, uses a wheelchair and struggles to speak. She testified she’s been smoking marijuana since the late 1980s: “I figured, ‘what the heck, what’s it gonna do, kill me?’ “

The issue was whether lawmakers’ ban on smoking runs counter to the constitutional amendment on medicinal cannabis, spearheaded by Orlando attorney and entrepreneur John Morgan, that was approved by voters statewide in 2016. 

Morgan, who sat at counsel’s table but did not participate in the one-day trial, placed the blame solely on Gov. Rick Scott. He signed the medical marijuana implementing law that bans smoking.

He’s “the CEO of the state,” Morgan said after the trial. “Look, people are screaming for this, and he does nothing about it. I think there’s a whole story to be told here about (the state) trying to deny the will of the people.”

Plaintiffs’ attorney Jon Mills argued that the amendment’s use of the definition of the drug in a state law is key.

It says “cannabis” means “all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not (emphasis added); the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin.”

If the state can prohibit smoking, why not vaping, or edibles, or indeed, “why not just outlaw” medical marijuana itself, he asked.

Senior Deputy Solicitor General Rachel Nordby countered that the smoking ban is “entirely consistent” with the state’s role to regulate public health. She said the Department of Health, the named defendant, can address “reasonable health and safety concerns,” including smoking.

The state does allow ‘vaping’ as an alternative, she added, because of scientific evidence advising against smoking as an “inhaled method” of delivery.

But Jordan testified she must smoke marijuana because it helps dry up her saliva, which she otherwise chokes on. (Her husband, standing beside her at the witness stand, helped ‘translate’ some of her answers.) It relaxes her muscles, helps prevent further atrophy, and increases her appetite, she said: “It makes my life a lot more bearable.”

She added: “I was given three to five years to live. I’m still here … I’m amazed at my health.”

But Jordan also raised some eyebrows when co-counsel George Coe asked her if she would smoke marijuana legally. She at first suggested no, saying “I grow it in my yard.” Asked to clarify, she later said she would: “That’s why I joined this case.”

Another plaintiff – Diana Dodson, who has HIV and AIDS – testified she “would not be alive today without cannabis,” adding that “smoked cannabis works best for me.”

Dodson, who’s previously from California, said she could not currently afford to get a state medical marijuana patient ID card, however. Medical marijuana also is not covered by health insurance.

And Ben Pollara, head of the pro-medical marijuana Florida for Care organization, told the court smoking “is how most patients consume the medication.” The group claims 41,000 members.

He also referred to an “intent statement” for the amendment that says it “does not require that the smoking of medical marijuana be allowed in public.” Conversely, that means smoking is allowed in private, such as in one’s home, he said.

In an interview, Morgan also questioned whether the Health Department’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use, which regulates the drug, was “inept” or “malicious.”

Lawmakers have been upset for months, mainly over what they call the department’s slow-going in implementing medical marijuana under the amendment, which passed by 71 percent.

“You can’t be this bad,” Morgan said. “It’s like if you went to get to your driver’s license, and stood there all day, and didn’t get to take the test. ‘Sorry, couldn’t get to you, come back tomorrow’ … It becomes malicious. And the person controlling that is Gov. Scott.

“…You couldn’t f–k up this bad unless it’s intentional,” he added. “Enough is enough. Let’s stop the politics. Let’s let these people live.”

Update: Scott spokesman John Tupps responded later Wednesday to Morgan.

“It was the Legislature’s duty to outline how to implement Amendment 2 and the Department of Health has been working nonstop to implement the law that was passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority,” he said.

“Currently, there are more than 109,000 patients that have access to medical marijuana in Florida and DOH has certified nearly 1,400 doctors who can prescribe this treatment. Also, in addition to home delivery, there are 35 locations across Florida where patients have access. Implementing Amendment 2 has been delayed by the constant litigation filed by special interests.”

A thread of live tweets from the trial is here.

Spin ’em: Jacksonville race track appeals slot machine denial

In another gambling case that could reach the state Supreme Court, a Jacksonville casino is appealing the state’s ending of its quest for a slot machine license.

Jacksonville Kennel Club, which does business as bestbet, filed a notice of appeal to the 1st District Court of Appeal on Tuesday after the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) turned down its slots application last month. The department regulates gambling through its Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering.

Any addition of new slots is opposed by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which pays the state millions each year for the exclusive right to offer slots at its casinos outside South Florida.

Moreover, a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot this November would require the statewide approval of voters before any expansion of gambling — and its backers say the measure would have retroactive effect.

The crux of the Jacksonville appeal is last May’s unanimous Supreme Court decision denying slot machines to a track in Gretna, Gadsden County, and in other counties that passed local referendums authorizing slots. Duval was one such county, which passed a referendum by 54 percent in 2016; bestbet Jacksonville wants to add slots to its poker and simulcast wagering.

The opinion by Justice Charles Canady found that “nothing in (state gambling law) grants any authority to regulate slot machine gaming to any county.”

The opinion added, however, the “general power of non-charter counties to ‘carry on county government’ does not constitute authorization to conduct a referendum to approve slot machine gaming.” (“Charters are formal written documents that confer powers, duties, or privileges on the county,” according to the Florida Association of Counties.)

Duval is a charter county, and the Jacksonville track argues the Gretna decision doesn’t apply to charter counties.

DBPR counters that it does, and that Duval and other counties’ slots referendums weren’t allowed under a constitutional amendment narrowly passed by statewide voters in 2004.

It legalized slots at existing jai-alai frontons and horse and dog racetracks only in Broward and Miami-Dade counties and only if voters there OK’d it in referendums, which they did.

The track is represented by the Korn & Zehmer law firm of Jacksonville and the Lockwood Law Firm of Tallahassee.

A similar appeal is pending in the 4th District Court of Appeal by the company doing business as the Palm Beach Kennel Club. The Lockwood firm also is involved in that case. Palm Beach County passed a slots referendum in 2012.

Last week, that court decided to “dispense with oral argument,” meaning a three-judge panel of the court will decide the case solely on the filings.

Judge denies anonymity in NRA suit against gun law

A federal judge has denied the National Rifle Association‘s request to shield a plaintiff’s name in litigation against the state’s new school safety and mental health law.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker on Sunday turned down the NRA’s request to use a “Jane Doe” pseudonym for the 19-year-old Alachua County woman, portrayed in court documents as seeking to remain anonymous due to fear that public exposure could result in “harassment, intimidation, and potentially even physical violence.”

Attorney General Pam Bondi had opposed the move, saying the woman’s desire for anonymity was not justified. “The amended complaint also includes allegations about a 19-year-old male identified as John Doe,” Walker’s order notes.

While acknowledging that false names may sometimes be used in litigation, the judge cited federal court rules that complaints “must name all the parties,” and referred to case law that lawsuits are “public events” and that the public has a “legitimate interest in knowing all of the facts involved, including the identities of the parties.”

The NRA’s local attorney handling the case, former federal prosecutor Ken Sukhia, referred questions to David H. Thompson, managing partner for the Cooper & Kirk law firm in Washington, D.C. He was not available Monday morning.

Lawyers for the NRA late last month asked Walker to keep the woman’s identity secret, based in large part on a declaration filed by the gun-rights group’s Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer, who detailed threatening emails she had received featuring derogatory words for parts of the female anatomy.

Walker, however, suggested that were it “entirely” up to him, he would have granted the request.

“One need only look to the harassment suffered by some of the Parkland shooting survivors to appreciate the vitriol that has infected public discourse about the Second Amendment,” he wrote. “And this Court has no doubt that the harassment goes both ways; Hammer’s affidavit proves just that.

“People—especially teenagers—should not have to subject themselves to threats of violence, continued harassment, and a concerning amount of public scrutiny just to share their views about the Second Amendment (whatever those views may be).

“But it’s not entirely up to this Court.”

Here’s another excerpt:

The lawsuit, filed March 9 by the NRA, came just hours after Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a sweeping school-safety measure that included new gun-related restrictions. The legislation was a rapid response to the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 students and faculty members dead and 17 others wounded.

The law raised from 18 to 21 the minimum age to purchase rifles and other long guns. It also imposed a three-day waiting period on the sale of long guns, such as the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz last year legally purchased, without any waiting period, and is accused of using in the Valentine’s Day massacre at his former school in Parkland.

In late April, the NRA filed a motion to add “Jane Doe” as a plaintiff to the lawsuit, which contends the age restriction in the new law “violates the fundamental rights of thousands of responsible, law-abiding adult Florida citizens and is thus invalid under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.”

“The NRA must file its amended complaint—without pseudonyms—no later than May 21,” Walker ordered.

 

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Background provided by The News Service of Florida. 

Lawmakers’ hobbies amuse and confuse on social media

From karaoke to ballroom dancing to ice sculpting, the hobbies of Florida’s legislators are legion.

A Florida Politics reporter recently noticed and tweeted that Rep. Carlos G. Smith, an Orlando Democrat, listed but one “recreational interest,” karaoke, on his legislative info page.

That sparked a number of responses on social media last week.

TCPalm reporter Ali Schmitz noted that outgoing Senate President Joe Negron declares “courthouse architecture” as an interest. Must be all those columns.

Sun-Sentinel reporter Dan Sweeney chimed in: “You guys have cracked open a never-ending font of amazement. Reviewing the recreational interests of state reps is kind of a hobby of mine,” he tweeted.

“Along with the aforementioned, I’d also point you to the ballroom dancing of @ColleenLBurton and the ice sculpting of @JoeGruters.”

Burton soon defended her honor: “So you know, I competed in 2011. #notnicetohobbyshame

Lara Medley, Burton’s legislative assistant, also tweeted: “I would like a demonstration of Representative @JoeGruters hobby please.” Gruters liked that tweet but did not respond.

Sweeney added: “Not to mention the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu of @AmyMercado and the fact that @JamesGrantFL lists ‘the woods’ as a recreational interest without saying what it is he does there, which leaves a lot to the imagination.”

Undoubtedly after some #FlaPol Twitterati head scratching, Grant took to Twitter to explain: “Lest there be any confusion, bow & bird hunting.

“Fly rods on the water, my bow or Berettas in the woods, & a hockey stick on the ice are the 3 scenarios where I can truly get lost enough to make the world around me stop,” he added. “And no, I don’t get any of the 3 enough. #CarryOn …”

Even POLITICO Florida scribe Marc Caputo weighed in with a memory: The late “Sen. Larcenia Bullard had the best hobby in the clerk’s manual once: ‘collecting butterfly-shaped objects.’ I’m not making this up.”

Indeed, he was not. An old clerk’s manual confirmed that hobby, along with “skating,” “pinochle” and others. Bullard died in 2013 after serving 18 years in the Legislature. 

Outgoing House Speaker Richard Corcoran lists no hobbies. With six kids, he’s busy.

Lawsuit: You can’t use our radio towers, Harris Corp. tells state

Harris Corp., already fighting its loss of a more than half billion-dollar state radio contract, now is suing over allowing winning bidder Motorola to use its radio towers.

The Melbourne-based communications company filed suit Wednesday afternoon in Leon County Circuit Civil court against the Department of Management Services (DMS) and the Agency for State Technology — one day after its bid protest hearing started before an administrative law judge in Tallahassee.

Its filing — totaling 471 pages, including exhibits — says Harris bought radio towers from the state when it first got the contract to manage the state’s Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System, or SLERS, in September 2000.

SLERS is “a single, unified digital radio network that meets the radio voice communications needs of state law enforcement officers and other participating agencies throughout the state,” according to the DMS website. “The current system serves over 20,500 radios in patrol cars, boats, motorcycles and aircraft throughout the state.”

Even though the state kept a “limited right” to use the towers, the suit adds that it now can’t let Motorola Solutions use those same towers without Harris’ consent, which the suit explained the company isn’t willing to give.

The complaint seeks a court order against the state, forbidding it from allowing anyone but Harris to use the towers until June 2051, “or such earlier time as Harris elects to sell the towers (back) to the state.”

The latest lawsuit, assigned to Circuit Judge Karen Gievers, comes as attorneys for Harris, Motorola and the state are arguing and presenting witnesses this week before Administrative Law Judge J. Bruce Culpepper over the state’s decision to go with Motorola back in March.

On Tuesday, an attorney for Motorola told Culpepper that Harris, with 190 towers or sites, offered to charge the state $978 million, while Motorola bid $688 million and has 144 towers or sites. It wasn’t clear from the complaint whether those totals include the towers now being contested.

The bid protest hearing is scheduled through the end of this week.

Technology, towers at issue in state radio system bid protest

Motorola’s bid for a statewide law enforcement radio system is based on an “unknown design,” one that “no one knows what it’s going to look like” and that it “may never be able to deliver,” an attorney for Harris Corp. told an administrative law judge Tuesday.

Furthermore, the state’s decision to go with Motorola is “based on an unspecified and unknown true price,” Holland & Knight attorney Karen Walker said — referring to a deal worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Lawyers delivered opening statements in a bid protest before Administrative Law Judge J. Bruce Culpepper in Tallahassee.

The Melbourne-based Harris is challenging the Department of Management Services‘ (DMS) award to Motorola Solutions this March to take over the Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System, or SLERS, which Harris had since September 2000 and lost.

The awarding of the new contract concluded almost three years of bureaucratic and legislative infighting, with some lawmakers — often benefiting from political contributions — backing one side over the other.

“This is not just any type of procurement,” Walker said in her opening. “This is not a procurement for office supplies (or) contract management services (or) affordable housing … This is for a system that thousands of law enforcement officers throughout the entire state of Florida will use.”

SLERS is “a single, unified digital radio network that meets the radio voice communications needs of state law enforcement officers and other participating agencies throughout the state,” according to the DMS website. “The current system serves over 20,500 radios in patrol cars, boats, motorcycles and aircraft throughout the state.”

Walker also raised the issue of radio towers and how their quantity and quality of service is paramount to officer and public safety.

But Motorola attorney W. Robert Vezina III later told Culpepper that Motorola’s superiority in communications technology essentially means the company can do more with less.

At a courtroom whiteboard, Vezina sketched out the general terms of the bids: Harris, with 190 towers or sites, offered to charge the state $978 million, while Motorola bid $688 million and has 144 towers or sites.

“The state knows what it’s buying; the state knows what it’s paying,” said Vezina, of the law firm of Vezina, Lawrence & Piscitelli.

And Joseph Goldstein, an attorney with the Shutts & Bowen firm who represents DMS, told Culpepper that among “the handful of providers in this industry, DMS got this right.”

Goldstein also faulted Harris for “never once” during the “countless hours” of the bidding process saying they had concerns about  the DMS negotiators understanding the technical terms of the deal.

“To go through the whole process … when they were face-to-face with these people” means they shouldn’t have a valid case now, Goldstein said. “These were high-level people,” he added, referring to DMS staff.

Witnesses were expected before Culpepper Tuesday afternoon, with the proceeding scheduled through the end of the week.

Lawmakers fire another warning shot over medical marijuana rules

A legislative panel is again taking the state’s medical marijuana regulators to task, asking whether they are “refusing to modify the rules” governing the drug.

Kenneth Plante, coordinator of the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee (JAPC), fired off a letter Tuesday to Department of Health general counsel Nichole Geary.

In it, he said the department’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use had failed to address the committee’s prior objections in its proposed rules issued May 1.

“Was this an oversight, or is the Department now taking the position that it is refusing to modify the rules?” Plante wrote.    

Among other things, medicinal cannabis regulators didn’t respond to objections earlier this year over a $60,000 “nonrefundable application fee” to become a marijuana provider, and a provision for “contingent” licenses, saying they weren’t in state law.

“I think it is fair to say that the Department’s failure to address the Committee’s objections … is not indicative of a good faith effort” to work with lawmakers, Plante wrote.

The letter was copied to Sen. Kevin Rader, the Delray Beach Democrat who chairs the committee; Health Secretary and state Surgeon General Celeste Philip and Office of Medical Marijuana Use director Christian Bax.

“The department is reviewing the letter received today,” Health Department spokesman Devin Galetta said Tuesday. “We are committed to pushing forward with the additional licenses and look forward to working with JAPC to finalize these rules as quickly as possible in order to meet our goals.”

The committee, which ensures that agencies write rules that line up with statutes passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, has previously had problems with medical marijuana rulemaking.

Lawmakers have been upset for months, mainly over what they call the department’s slow-going in implementing medical marijuana under a 2016 constitutional amendment that voters passed by 71 percent.

Lawmakers later approved and Gov. Rick Scott signed an implementing bill, which gives guidance and instructions to state agencies on how to enforce state law.

At a meeting this February, the committee formally approved 17 individual objections, including the ones mentioned, and listed more than 40 distinct operations violations “with no standards or guidance … , thereby vesting unbridled discretion in the Department.”

The committee had also sent 15 letters to the department since October giving Health officials a heads-up as to concerns—to be met with no response.

“Our responses are a collaborative process between leadership, legal and policy,” Bax said at that meeting. “We think it’s appropriate to give these objections the time and consideration they’re due … We’ll respond in good time.”

The Legislature also included a provision in the 2018-19 state budget that freezes a portion of salaries and benefits for the department’s brass, including Philip and Bax, until they get a move on in writing new rules.

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