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.

scales of justice
Blogtrepreneur / http://www.blogtrepreneur.com/media-justice/

Once every twenty years, Floridians have the opportunity to propose changes to the state’s most important document. But some are worried political divides could pull the Constitution Revision Commission off course.

tomato
Sean Hickin via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/sean_hickin/

Scientists have unlocked the secret to why so many supermarket tomatoes are tasteless. The findings mean there’s hope for delicious, marketable and affordable tomatoes. The miracles of modern agriculture mean tomatoes are available nearly year round. But ever wonder why those supermarket tomatoes turn out mushy and flavorless? That’s because growers favor bulky tomatoes with high yields and long shelf lives, and flavor got lost along the way.

liquor
Thomas Hawk via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/

An effort to allow liquor sales in grocery stores cleared its first committee Thursday. Lawmakers are one step closer to tearing down the wall that separates liquor stores from other retailers. For many Florida shops, that’s a literal wall, because of a Prohibition-era law that prevents grocers from selling liquor alongside beer and wine.

Kate Payne

Lawmakers are once again trying to combat Florida’s escalating opioid crisis. Across the country, patients with chronic pain are turning to heroin, or deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl. A scarcity of prescription drugs, after lawmakers cracked down and pill mills, combined with cheap street drugs, is a proving deadly combination.

subdivision development
Carlton Ward Jr. via National Geographic / http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2015/01/11/2015-expedition-launches-in-everglades-headwaters/

In 2011, Florida made sweeping changes to the laws regulating new development. Now legislators are re-examining how the state is juggling the needs of a growing population. At the time, lawmakers characterized state oversight of development as bad for business, and said rolling back the regulations would boost job creation. Cutting growth management was also a campaign push for then candidate Rick Scott.

Civil rights protections for the LGBT community will have to wait until at least next year.
Ted Eytan via Flickr

An openly gay lawmaker is once again trying to put an end to conversion therapy in Florida. For years, Representative David Richardson, a Miami Beach Democrat, has been trying to pass a ban on conversion therapy. That’s the practice of attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / flickr.com/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Education is a conservative fundraiser and vocal critic of traditional public schools. While Betsy DeVos’ nomination could mean drastic change for some states, she has already made her mark on Florida’s education system.

Myers Park
Kate Payne

The joint Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department is keeping all options open as it considers redeveloping part of the historic Myers Park neighborhood. But some residents are still anxious about the proposal.

Consolidated Dispatch Agency
Kate Payne/ WFSU

The Consolidated Dispatch Agency is agreeing to pay $950,000 to the estate of a slain sheriff’s officer. The family of Deputy Chris Smith sued the CDA and local governments after he was ambushed and killed in the line of duty in 2014.

David Richardson / http://www.davidforflorida.com

An openly gay Florida lawmaker is advocating for a new strategy to pass legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in the state. Under Florida law, LGBTQ people can legally be denied employment, housing and public accommodations. For years Miami Beach Democratic Representative David Richardson has been trying to pass a comprehensive bill to change that, but he believes lawmakers should take a new approach.

Suwannee River
Lee Reed

After years of debate, state regulators have approved a water sharing plan for the Suwannee and St Johns River basins. But conservationists argue the deal doesn’t do enough to protect Florida’s natural resources.

Destin
Phil Horton via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/plh9026/

A philosophical debate is taking shape in the Florida Capitol about what role the government should play in the economy. How lawmakers come down on economic development programs could have real consequences for Governor Rick Scott’s top priorities.

Jaro Larnos via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jlarnos/

On paper, Florida’s economy has recovered since the great recession. But that progress isn’t obvious looking at the state’s public assistance enrollment.

citrus growing
Boston Organics / http://bostonorganics.com/

Despite a decade of bad harvests, a Florida lawmaker says the state’s signature industry is recovering. Growers are optimistic new genetically engineered trees will survive the deadly citrus greening disease.

Visit Florida / http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us.html

The state’s publicly funded tourism agency has a new director. The leadership change comes as state lawmakers begin debating whether Visit Florida, and similar agencies, should exist at all.

Tony Vincelli via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/42957538@N03/

After experiencing the death of his grandparents, a South Florida lawmaker wants to the change how patients are treated at the end of life. 

Florida State University Office of the President / http://president.fsu.edu/

A two year lobbying ban on Florida State University President John Thrasher is up, freeing him to capitalize on his political ties, meaning university priorities could get special attention this legislative session.

Al Lawson via facebook / https://www.facebook.com/AlLawsonJr/

The 115th Congress took their oaths Tuesday, becoming the most diverse class of lawmakers yet. The cohort includes North Florida’s brand new delegation: Republicans Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach, Neal Dunn of Panama City, and Democrat Al Lawson of Tallahassee. All are freshmen members of Congress, though Gaetz and Lawson both served in the Florida Legislature. Paul Ryan, the newly re-elected Speaker of the House, swore in the representatives together.

EndlessStudio via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/endlessstudio/

With the new year comes a new increase to Florida’s gas tax. But it’s unlikely consumers will even notice the rate hike: it amounts to one tenth of one cent. 

Wikipedia / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmett_Till

This week President Obama signed into law the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016, which expands the ability of federal investigators to re-open the cases of decades-old hate crimes. The law could open up a new line of research opportunities for students at Florida State University.

Spectra Energy Corp and NextEra Energy, Inc.

Some Florida environmental activists are hoping to channel public interest from one pipeline to another, by organizing a series of protests across the state. This year Native American leaders, activists and celebrities staged a months-long protest at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline, spurring the Obama Administration to ultimately halt the project. Some Florida environmentalists are taking inspiration from the Dakota Access protests in their own fight against the Sabal Trail Pipeline

Turkle Tom via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/turkletom/

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are granting a team of Florida researchers $10 million to research Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases. University of Florida scientists will lead the regional research center, in collaboration with teams from the University of Miami, Florida International University, and the University of South Florida. 

BISNOW / https://www.bisnow.com/archives/newsletter/local-real-estate/miami/7732-the-developer-whos-about-to-transform-lincoln-road

The Florida Democratic Party is scrambling to find a new leader in the wake of the 2016 elections. After some last-minute maneuvering, a group of contenders is emerging.

Cap City Video Lounge / https://www.facebook.com/capcityvideolounge/

After the loss of the Miracle 5 theatre and Video 21, local film buffs have a reason to celebrate this holiday season. Tallahassee is once again home to a video rental store.

Georgia Democrats via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/59795954@N07/

Former State Senator Dwight Bullard will not be able to run for chair of the Florida Democratic Party. Bullard’s failed bid for Miami-Dade Committeeman is a blow to progressives across the state.

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