Florida: 5 Things To Know For July 31st

Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

CHARGE DROPPED AGAINST STATE OFFICIAL

Prosecutors in Orlando have dropped a misdemeanor charge of violating public meeting law against a former official with the Florida Department of Transportation. Prosecutors said Wednesday they have dropped the charge against former public affairs worker Rebekah Hammond, and she will now be available to testify against the two remaining defendants.

INSURERS: 2015 EXCHANGE RATES LIKELY TO SPIKE

State insurance officials are preparing to release figures next week on how much health plans will cost under the Affordable Care Act for 2015, and rate increases seem inevitable as insurers say their new consumers are older and sicker than anticipated. Critics of so-called “Obamacare” warned of huge rate increases to signal the law isn’t working. But rates have risen as much as 20 or 30 percent in recent years.

FLORIDA MOM CHARGED AFTER BABY LEFT IN MINIVAN

A Florida mother is facing a felony charge after leaving her 2-month-old baby in a hot minivan parked outside a doctor’s office for about an hour. Orange County Sheriff’s Office officials said Wednesday that the woman is charged with child neglect. No other details, including the woman’s name, were released.

MAN DIES AFTER DIVING FOR LOBSTER OFF SOUTH FLORIDA

Authorities say a man has died after diving for lobsters in the waters off South Florida. Pompano Beach Fire Rescue spokeswoman Sandra King says the 22-year-old man was on a professional dive boat Wednesday morning, diving for lobster in 40 feet of water. Wednesday is the first day of the two-day lobster mini-season for recreational fishermen.

1 DEAD, 1 SICKENED FROM FLESH-EATING BACTERIA IN SARASOTA COUNTY

Sarasota County health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after one person died and another was sickened by a flesh-eating bacteria. Officials said Tuesday that 11 cases were reported statewide in 2014 and 41 cases in 2013. The two Sarasota people who contracted vibrio vulnificus were middle-aged and had medically compromising conditions.

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