Monday, February 28, 2011

Manatee County Commission to vote on prescription drug resolution

The Manatee County Commission last year passed local measures designed to at least slow the abuse of prescription drug abuse in the region, including new rules governing the operation of so-called "pain management clinics."

So perhaps it is no surprise that the commission is about to let the state knows where it stands on a proposal from Gov. Rick Scott to repeal a new law that would set up a statewide prescription drug monitoring program.

"The Board of County Commissioners supports the continued implementation of the prescription drug monitoring program and the associated database," reads a proposed resolution that commissioners will consider on Tuesday.

The proposed resolution lists several "whereases" to help make the county's case, including:

  • 60 people in Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties died from Oxycodone overdoses in the first six months of 2010, and 55 died from Xanax overdoses during the same period.
  • The estimated cost of a drug monitoring program is $500,000, or less than one-thousandth of 1 percent of the overall state budget.
  • A monitoring program would provide a tool for doctors and pharmacists to determine if a patient is "doctor shopping" or has purchased an excessive amount of drugs.
  • Florida is the largest population state without some type of prescription drug monitoring program.
  • "Nationally, Florida is perceived in a negative light for its proliferation of pill mills and out-of-state users flocking to Florida for drugs."
The commission will vote Thursday on the resolution.
    Cross-posted at Crime Watch.

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Buchanan slams Obama budget proposal

    U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, is no fan of  the budget proposal put forward by President Barack Obama on Monday.

    Here's Buchanan's statement, released earlier this afternoon:
    “With 14 million Americans out of work, and Florida’s unemployment higher than the national average, we need to do everything possible to reduce spending and grow the economy,” Buchanan said. “Unfortunately, the President’s bloated budget proposal falls far short by spending too much, taxing too much and grows the debt instead of the economy.”

    “At a time when we should be encouraging job growth and entrepreneurship, the President’s budget imposes a $1.6 trillion tax hike on families and small businesses,” Buchanan said.

    “It does this all while adding $8.7 trillion in new spending over the next 10 years, increasing the national debt from $14 trillion to $26.3 trillion,” Buchanan said. “This is unacceptable.”

    Buchanan also stressed the importance of reining in runaway spending, noting that we are currently borrowing 40 cents for every dollar we spend.

    “We have to put an end to the irresponsible spending policies that have created a mountain of debt for our children and grandchildren,” Buchanan said.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Florida's senators respond to events in Egypt

    Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, the first member of the U.S. Senate to publicly call for Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to step down, said today's events in Cairo were "monumental."

    "President Mubarak rightly honored the Egyptian people’s calls for freedom," said Nelson, D-Fla., a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. "All nations must now support an orderly, peaceful transition to democracy."

    "We hope the first steps of the new government will be to guarantee free and fair elections as soon as possible, while also keeping the peace with all of Egypt’s neighbors, including Israel," Nelson saidn in an e-mailed statement.

    In a Feb. 1 interview with FOX News, Nelson said Mubarak should step down "because the people are demanding it."

    Florida's junior senator, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., didn't mention Cuba by name, but he alluded to notion that perhaps the events in Egypt could be replicated "in our own hemisphere."

    "This is an historic moment for Egypt and the Middle East," said Rubio, whose parents came to the U.S. from Cuba as refugees. "For perhaps the first time in its long history, Egypt’s government has listened to and heeded its people’s legitimate demands for greater freedoms and an end to corruption. This is an opportunity for the Egyptian people to chart a new, more hopeful and democratic future. Today’s events should hearten those struggling for greater freedom and respect for human rights in our own Hemisphere."

    "Egypt is a key US partner and we must give our full support to ensure an irreversible and nonviolent transition to genuine democracy. It is imperative that a new Egypt continues to honor its commitment to regional peace and security in the Middle East, especially to its neighbor Israel."

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Manatee Commissioner Donna Hayes announces re-election bid


    Donna Hayes, one of the more conservative voices on the Manatee County commission, has announced that she will seek re-election next year.

    Hayes, a Republican first elected in 2004 from District 5, made the announcement today in an e-mail to supporters:
    I wanted you to be among the first to know that have announced my intention to run for re-election to the Manatee County Commission in 2012. It is important to have your support just as you’ve offered your support as in years past because you are an important part of this community and an integral part of my campaign.

    As your voice on the Commission, I’ve been a budget hawk searching for wasteful expenditure and fighting any suggestions of new tax increases. During my tenure, the millage rate has never increased. You and I understand that the last thing Manatee County businesses need are higher taxes and more burdens from government. That is why I did not support the gas tax and the occupational business tax.

    Our local economy needs to be free of excessive regulation so business owners can create new jobs. I am reaching out to you because you understand and believe in this important fact. To reduce regulations, I supported the removal of 200 pages in the county code. Additionally, I support the business incentive program which allows new businesses the opportunity to locate in Manatee County by providing a tax reduction. As a result of this incentive program, over 2,800 jobs have been created in Manatee County since 2009. The average of these new jobs is $48,278 which is over 40% higher than the current average income.
    District 5 covers East Manatee, including Lakewood Ranch.

    The announcement included a solicitation from Hayes for financial contributions to her campaign.