D.A. Robin

FM Intern

State lawmakers pushed through six claims bill on Monday.  The 2015 session could be one of the few times the state pays claimants in two years.

A Senate committee is sending more than two dozen bills to the full chamber. The 2015 Legislative Session is nearing an end, and lawmakers are looking to shoe horn their proposals through.

Tallahassee officials are considering whether to keep smokers out of city jobs. The City Commission will be deciding whether to have these bans put in place. 

Commissioner Nancy Miller is proposing new rules that she says would foster healthier civil servants and save the city money. Miller says smokers are more expensive to insure.

“Right now, folks that smoke are contributing a larger percentage of drain on the health care system provisions,” Miller says.

Scott headshot
Governor Scott's Office

Florida Gov. Rick Scott doesn’t win many popularity polls, but he still wins on Election Day. A recent Quinnipiac University poll shows Floridians still don’t like their governor.

Pollsters from Quinnipiac University asked Floridians how they felt about their state’s top executive. The result is a resounding thumbs down for Republican Gov.  Scott. But Assistant Director of Quinnipiac Peter Brown says Scott shows he can win when he needs to.

D.A. Robin / WFSU News

City leaders are asking Tallahassee residents to weigh in on possible improvements to the city’s Southside. And while many remain hopeful, residents still feel largely pessimistic that change is coming.

visitpanamacitybeach.com

Bay County officials are considering changes to the rules for drinking and partying in Panama City Beach in response to rampant crime there. The crackdown comes as Spring Break partying reaches new levels.

State lawmakers are considering bills to criminalize online sexual harassment and crack down on sexting. 

Florida State University student Carly Helstrom says a brief fling several years ago led to months of embarrassment when nude photos of her ended up online. She says her former partner was intentionally trying to hurt her when he posted sexually explicit photos of her.

flbog.edu / Florida Board of Governors

The Florida Board of Governors plans to take a harder look at whether schools are earning their bonuses.

Florida offers its public universities a choice: improve areas such as graduation rates and job placement or lose funding. And the State University System’s Board of Governors wants to ensure the schools are providing accurate information before funding decisions are made.

A picture of Curtis Richardson
www.myfloridahouse.gov

The Tallahassee Commission is considering plans to replace City Manager Anita Favors-Thompson when she retires.

Tallahassee Commissioner Curtis Richardson says he wants to add a transition discussion to next week’s city commission meeting agenda for City Manager Anita Favors-Thompson’s eventual departure. He says local government should know how to replace appointed officials who leave office.

Florida lawmakers are looking into making the state’s roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians. A bill before the legislature would increase fines for at-fault drivers for hitting “vulnerable road users.”

Naples resident Tish Kelly says her husband was badly injured last year after a driver hit him while he and others were riding their bicycles. She says she hopes a bill under consideration this session forces drivers to be more responsible on the road.

Rene Garcia
Florida Senate / FLSenate.gov

Twin bills floating through Florida’s legislature would make it easier for immigrant children to receive health care. Expanding KidCare for Florida children would cost just under five million dollars.

Leroy Carter is a recent immigrant to the U.S. About a month ago, he tried and failed to get health insurance for his child who is here. Carter says he makes too much as a part-time worker to qualify for some care. But his problem is also that he just arrived.

  A measure basing which bathroom a person is allowed to use on biology has cleared its first hurdle in the House. The Civil Justice Subcommittee heard more than one dozen testimonies Wednesday for and against the bill, which makes entering a bathroom designated for another sex illegal.

The state should ensure women and girls can feel safe in possibly vulnerable places—such as restrooms and other facilities. That’s Miami Republican Representative Frank Artilles’ argument.

The Shelter

City leaders say they hope to reinvigorate the Frenchtown community. The planned relocation of the city’s main homeless refuge to West Pensacola Street could be their chance to bring Frenchtown back.

http://eideard.wordpress.com/2008/07/02/homeless-veterans-face-new-battle-for-survival/

Tallahassee’s homeless population can expect more space, more help and better accommodations when a new shelter opens in April. A new facility on West Pensacola Street is a major improvement over the city’s main homeless refuge.

FAMU

Leon County is encouraging residents to get their hands dirty and grow their own food. The seed  cache at Leon County libraries is a budding addition for residents who want to learn their way around soil and trowels.  

It’s nearly eight p.m., and the program room of Leroy Collins Public Library is packed. It’s hard to miss brown envelopes with seeds swinging from the ceiling and large green buckets filled with soil on tables. In front of the room, Trevor Hylton shares tips with the mostly first-time farmers.   

Rene Garcia
Florida Senate / FLSenate.gov

  Florida’s public schools could get a break on the fines they pay to the state. A bill in the Senate would give schools more flexibility when it comes to the number of kids who can be in a classroom.

A state lawmaker is trying to improve the situation by recalculating how penalties are assessed. The bill would determine average enrollment by using entire schools for averages rather than individual classrooms. This could lessen the burden School Board Chairman Gary Chartrand says is unduly placed on schools.

  A transparency advocate is calling for an investigation into the forced resignation of the former head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Florida’s First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Peterson is asking the attorney general to investigate her own cabinet. 

Barbara Petersen insists the state owes citizens answers about allegations of Sunshine Law violations. In a letter to Pam Bondi, Petersen called for a quote “independent state attorney from outside Leon County” to investigate the ouster of former FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey.

Florida Governor Rick Scott left raises for state workers out of this year’s budget. But State Representative Mark Pafford (D-Palm Beach) says he thinks those workers deserve to be better paid.

Governor Rick Scott presented this year’s budget on Wednesday. Absent was a pay increase for state employees. Scott had considered giving bonuses for good work last year. He blames lawmakers refusal to approve that money last year for omitting pay raises this year.

A former head football coach for Florida A&M University is suing FAMU for wrongful termination. 

Earl Holmes says he wants what he believes is owed to him.

FAMU fired Holmes in October just days before the annual homecoming football game, following a string of losses. Now Holmes’ attorney, Tim Jansen, says the university owes his client for terminating Holmes’ contract early. Jansen blames former Athletic Director Kellen Winslow.

State of Florida / myflorida.com

Florida cabinet members continue to distance themselves from Governor Rick Scott over the removal of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner.

  Atwater, Bondi and Putnam to Revisit Bailey Ouster

The Shelter

The National Weather Service says Wednesday’s low of 22 degrees will be the lowest temperature point this week.  And the city of Tallahassee and other groups will be helping the city’s homeless population manage the chilly weather. 

The city is hosting a temporary cold night shelter at Jacob Chapel Baptist Church until Friday. The church will provide more space for people who need warm rooms for the freezing nights. City spokeswoman Lizzy Kelley says several organizations will be helping to provide this much-needed service.