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Daily News Summary

An electronic digest of media coverage of interest to members of The Florida Bar compiled each workday by the Public Information and Bar Services Department. Electronic links are only active in today's edition. For information on previous articles, please contact the publishing newspaper directly.

January 18, 2013

--Judiciary--

FLORIDA SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS LAW REQUIRING STATE WORKERS TO CONTRIBUTE 3 PERCENT OF PAY TO STATE PENSION PLAN -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Jan. 18, 2013. [Also: HIGH COURT UPHOLDS REQUIRED PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS FROM PUBLIC EMPLOYEES -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Jan. 18. 2013; EDITORIAL: FLORIDA LUCKY THAT PENSION CASE WASN'T DECIDED ON FAIRNESS -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, Jan. 18, 2013; OUR TAKE: A RIGHT RULING ON PENSIONS -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Jan. 18, 2013].
In a major victory for the state, the Florida Supreme Court ruled against state workers and allowed the state to retain the 3 percent levy on worker salaries to offset the state's investment into the Florida Retirement System. The ruling allows lawmakers to avoid another $2 billion budget hole next year, while state employees will see their salary cuts retained indefinitely. The lawsuit, Scott v. Williams, was filed by the Florida Education Association. Lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott had approved the new law over pension fund contributions in 2011. It affected the salaries of 623,000 public employees, including teachers, state, county and some city workers.

RETIRED JUDGE ROSENBERG: FLA. JUDICIARY NEEDS BETTER FUNDING -- South Florida Business Journal (requires subscription), http://www.bizjournals.com, Jan. 18, 2013.
In an interview, the Business Journal asked retired Broward County Circuit Judge Robert Rosenberg about his perspective on the judiciary and his plans. A judge for 14 years, his career included serving in that capacity during ballot recounts for the 2000 presidential election.

--Legal Profession--

MEXICAN IMMIGRANT MEETS FEDERAL STANDARDS FOR LAW LICENSE -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Jan. 18, 2013 [Also: FLA. IMMIGRANT SEEKING LAW LICENSE HAS WORK PERMIT -- Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, Jan. 18, 2013].
An attorney for a law school graduate asking to be admitted to The Florida Bar as an undocumented immigrant told the state Supreme Court that his federal application for legal residency has been approved. Citing a policy change announced by President Barack Obama for the children of undocumented immigrants during the presidential campaign, Jose Godinez-Samperio, through his attorney, said he has obtained a work visa, Social Security number and Florida driver's license. The high court is considering whether to admit him to The Florida Bar after hearing oral argument in October. Some justices then had suggested holding off a decision until the federal government acted on his application for deferral and a work permit.

--Legislature--

FLORIDA LAWMAKERS APPROVE FIRST SPENDING FROM $334M MORTGAGE SETTLEMENT -- Jacksonville Business Journal (requires subscription), http://www.bizjournals.com, Jan. 18, 2013 [Also: ATTORNEY GENERAL BONDI ANNOUNCES THAT $60 MILLION OF THE NATIONAL SETTLEMENT FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE FOR ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE TO FLORIDIANS -- Bay County Press, http://www.baycountypress.com, Jan. 18, 2013].
The Legislative Budget Commission approved nearly two dozen amendments to the state budget Thursday [Jan. 17], officially untangling some long-standing disputes with unanimous votes and minimal discussion. Lawmakers approved the first spending from $334 million Florida received as part of a national mortgage settlement with bankers. The amendments voted on Thursday will divvy up $60 million in funding, including $35 million for down-payment assistance, $10 million for housing counseling, $5 million for legal aid and $5 million each for state courts and the office of Attorney General Pam Bondi to deal with legal and foreclosure costs.

SENATE STARTS OVER IN QUEST TO BUILD A TRANSPARENT WEBSITE -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Jan. 18, 2013.
Determined to prove that legislators are committed to government transparency, a Senate committee convened Thursday [Jan. 17] to explore ways to give the public more details about the state’s $70 billion dollar budget. Dan Krassner, executive director of Integrity Florida, an independent ethics watchdog group, told the committee that even with numerous web sites there are elements of the budget that remain off limits to the public.

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[Revised: 01-22-2013]