Kate Payne

Multimedia Reporter

As a Tallahassee native, Kate Payne grew up listening to WFSU. She loves being part of a station that had such an impact on her. Kate is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts. With a background in documentary and narrative filmmaking, Kate has a broad range of multimedia experience. When she’s not working, you can find her rock climbing, cooking or hanging out with her cat.

Sen. Jeremy Ring (D-Margate)
The Florida Channel

A Democratic former lawmaker is officially running to be the state’s next chief financial officer.

Kate Payne via WFSU

Construction for Tallahassee’s first solar power plant is underway. Not everyone in Tallahassee can install their own rooftop solar panels, whether they want to or not. But Mayor Andrew Gillum says residents will soon have another option, because of the city’s new 20 megawatt community solar farm.

Nick Evans

A dire lack of funding for low cost legal services in Florida is spurring one man to run six marathons, back to back. Attorney Michael Freed is raising funds and awareness for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid. He says since the Great Recession, the need for assistance has risen while funding continues to slip.

United Nations Photo via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/un_photo/31569587301/

Florida’s Haitian immigrants are getting a six month reprieve on deportation orders. Advocates are claiming a small victory, but the timeline falls short of what many hoped for. Some are worried the community’s special status may be coming to an end.

Frenchtown Redevelopment Partners, LLC. / http://www.boarddocs.com/fla/talgov/Board.nsf/files/AMAP2C60F6FE/$file/Attachment%202.pdf

Local officials are moving forward with a plan to redesign the site that once held Tallahassee’s old homeless shelter. But there are concerns about whether the area can sustain more retail and private homes.

Tom Anderson via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/twic/

Hopes of restarting passenger rail service in North Florida could be doomed under the Trump Administration’s proposed budget. The plan would eliminate federal funding for Amtrak in the state. That’s a blow to local officials wanting to bring the service back to the Panhandle.

United Nations Development Programme via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/unitednationsdevelopmentprogramme/

A Florida lawmaker is criticizing the federal government’s temporary extension of special status for Haitian immigrants. After the 2010 earthquake, the federal government allowed thousands of Haitians to take refuge in the U.S. This week President Donald Trump extended those protections again, but by six months, not the eighteen months advocates hoped for.

Olly Newport via Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nyllo/

After a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community worked to translate grief into political action. Even though attempts to pass civil rights protections in the statehouse failed again this year, LGBTQ activists are claiming a victory.

The Accent via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/theaccent/4030077886/

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is filing suit against a ban on panhandling in downtown Pensacola. The organization argues the rule is a threat to first amendment free speech.

The Village Square / http://tlh.villagesquare.us/

Tallahassee’s mayor has lost the endorsement of some of his colleagues in his race to be the state’s next governor. Leon County Commissioners John Dailey and Kristin Dozier are endorsing Democrat Gwen Graham for governor.

Frenchtown Redevelopment Partners, LLC.

After years of making do, Frenchtown residents could one day have a neighborhood grocery store. That’s part of a early-stage plan to redevelop a key downtown block. But some residents are concerned the history of the area could get lost in the process.

Tom Flanigan via WFSU

A plan to redevelop the site of the old shelter on Tennessee Street will get a hearing tonight. The proposal could transform an entire city block that has struggled for years.

U.S. Department of Agriculture via flickr

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, more than half of Florida’s public school students are eligible for free or reduced priced meals during the academic year. Yet during summer vacation, the need for healthy, fresh foods can actually increase. But some local community groups are teaming up to try and fill in the gap.

An attempt to restore felons’ voting rights in Florida is getting a national boost this week. Comedian Samantha Bee of the TBS show Full Frontal sat down with Desmond Meade of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. Meade is behind a proposed ballot initiative that would automatically restore civil rights to felons. Here’s a portion of Bee’s segment.

melystu via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/melystu/

The City of Tallahassee is beginning budget talks for the coming fiscal year. Commissioners want to contrast their spending process with that of state lawmakers, which primarily took place behind closed doors. The board wants to continue investing in infrastructure and public safety. Mayor Andrew Gillum says that could come in the form of social services.

Trulieve / http://trulieve.com/

Florida’s Senate President is considering bringing lawmakers back to Tallahassee to strike a deal on medical marijuana. A plan to roll out the state’s new rules unraveled at the end of session.

Florida Public Employees Partnership. / http://floridapublicemployees.com/april-20-2015-legislative-calendar-florida-senate-and-house-of-representatives/

Florida lawmakers are on track to vote on the budget Monday. That makes Friday the last chance for them to get the remaining bills passed. Here's a rundown of some of the Senate’s 11th hour deliberations.

College of the Mainland Library / https://www.flickr.com/photos/comlibrary/

Florida lawmakers want to make it easier for parents and residents to challenge school textbooks. Depending on who you ask, the bill is a slippery slope towards book burning, or a step towards community control. But with just days left in the Session, lawmakers face a tight deadline to pass the measure. At the time of publishing, the Senate was scheduled to consider the measure, but had not yet taken it up.

Tonichi Costas via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nichpics/8306111016/

After years of debate, the legislature is on the brink of deregulating a slate of professions. Cosmetologists to geologists to boxing announcers could have a better shot at starting a business. But some of those same workers have doubts about the reforms.

State Bar of Wisconsin / http://www.wisbar.org/NewsPublications/WisconsinLawyer/Pages/Article.aspx?Volume=86&Issue=3&ArticleID=10692

According to state law and conventional wisdom, sunshine is the best disinfectant for political corruption. Florida lawmakers agreed Tuesday. The House blocked a plan to let local officials keep some of their meetings in the dark.

Joe Gratz via Flickr

Florida lawmakers are considering letting local officials meet one on one, outside of the public eye. But a first amendment advocate says the change could encourage corruption.

smarterparenting.com / http://www.smarterparenting.com/blog/single/5-dos-and-donts-for-grieving-parents

Florida lawmakers want to issue special certificates to families who experience miscarriages. Supporters say the bill is meant to comfort grieving parents. But there are concerns the bill could affect access to abortions.

Michael via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/lostinangeles/

The Florida House has voted to tear down the so-called liquor wall by a razor-thin margin. It’s a rare issue that doesn’t fall along party lines, giving a brief glimpse into lawmakers’ individual beliefs.

Ep Jhu via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/ep_jhu/

A bill aimed at criminalizing the deadly drug fentanyl is heading to the Senate floor. The measure comes as the Legislature is struggling to respond to the state’s opioid crisis. But the plan has lawmakers questioning whether they should combat addiction with punishment or treatment.

Jonathan Kos-Read via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathankosread/

Florida lawmakers want to preempt local ordinances for projects that get mostly state funding. Despite a litany of complaints from cities and counties, the bill is now heading to the Senate floor.

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