Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 9, Issue 8 • March 25, 2011

Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of when President Obama signed the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, infringing upon states' and individuals' rights and liberties. Within hours, Florida and 12 other states contested the constitutionality of the Act by filing a lawsuit in federal court. One year later, a federal judge has struck down the health care law in its entirety, ruling it unconstitutional, and the case is on track to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Today, Florida, joined by 25 other states and the National Federation of Independent Business, awaits an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and is on a fast track to the U.S. Supreme Court. In order to expedite the case, we have requested a hearing "en banc," or full court, in order to be heard by all judges rather than a three-judge panel. We will receive a response soon, and if it is favorable, the case will be heard during the first week of June. It is my hope that the request is granted and we can bring the case before the U.S. Supreme Court by fall.

The health care lawsuit is about protecting individual liberty and preserving the Constitution's limits on federal power. It is paramount to keeping the federal government from encroaching on our fundamental right, rights that are the foundation of our nation.


Protecting Floridians
Attorney General Bondi Settles Investigation Against One of Florida’s Largest Foreclosure Firms

Today Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced a first-of-its-kind settlement against attorney Marshall C. Watson and his law firm, one of the largest foreclosure firms in Florida, for alleged improprieties in the prosecution of foreclosure cases throughout Florida. This settlement, which calls for a $2 million payment and imposition of certain requirements to conduct business, is the first stemming from numerous investigations into Florida foreclosure law firms.
Upholding the Constitution

Legislative Session Update
Tuesday was an important day in the Legislature as many significant bills moved forward. Senate Bill 818, sponsored by Senator Fasano, passed unanimously in the Criminal Justice Committee. The bill increases criminal penalties and enhances administrative and civil enforcement against doctors and pill mills. The bill also includes requirements for the prescription drug monitoring program.

House Bill 1039, sponsored by Representatives Patronis and Van Zant, passed unanimously in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee. The bill makes "bath salts" illegal by including the hallucinogenic substance on the list of controlled substances in Schedule I. This legislation is key, as the Attorney General executed an emergency rule banning bath salts temporarily and this bill would make the substance illegal permanently.

House Bill 1193, sponsored by Representative Hudson, declares that no Floridian should be compelled to purchase health insurance, and it passed its first committee stop in the House of Representatives.


Events
Women's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Attorney General Bondi joined Governor Rick Scott Tuesday as he inducted two outstanding Florida women into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame in the Capitol Courtyard. The winners, Mary Brennan Karl and Anna I. Rodriguez, were chosen from a list of 10 distinguished nominees selected by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women for making significant contributions to the improvement of life for women and all citizens of Florida. Karl was a pioneer for education and the founder of Daytona Beach Community College. Rodriguez is an international force in the fight against human trafficking.

Associated Builders and Contractors Meeting

Tuesday afternoon, Attorney General Bondi spoke at the Associated Builders and Contractors meeting, thanking them for their hard work and dedication. Florida has been hit hard by the housing crisis, and now more than ever, it is imperative that our state supports the construction industry.

"Spanish for Attorneys" Law School Class

Attorney General Pam Bondi visited with the "Spanish for Attorneys" class from Florida State University Law School on Monday. The class presented Attorney General Bondi with a Spanish version of the United States Constitution, a project the class completed this semester.



Girl Scout Pinning Ceremony

On Monday, Attorney General Bondi attended the Girl Scout Pinning Ceremony with Lt. Governor Carroll and members of the Florida Legislature. Girl Scouts from around Florida were present, and Attorney General Bondi received the Girl Scout pin.

Other Topics of Interest
World Down Syndrome Day

Florida Attorney General Bondi and the Florida Cabinet recognized March 21 as "World Down Syndrome Day." The Florida Cabinet approved the resolution sponsored by Attorney General Bondi at a Cabinet meeting earlier this month. Down syndrome affects persons regardless of race, religion, socio-economic status or geography. One in every 733 children is born with Down syndrome, representing approximately 5,600 births per year and approximately 400,000 individuals in the United States. Recent research has shown that early intervention, education, inclusion in the community, and social support improves an individual’s likelihood of living an independent, productive and satisfying life.