Regan McCarthy

Senior Producer/Assignment Editor

Regan McCarthy is the Assignment Editor and Senior News Producer for WFSU News/ Florida Public Radio. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories. She has also worked for the London Business Matters Magazine and the Rochester Sentinel, a daily local newspaper. She is the recipient of six professional broadcast awards including first-place Best Radio Feature from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.  When she isn’t tracking leading newsmakers she spends her time knitting, reading, strolling through the woods and brunching at new restaurants.  Follow Regan McCarthy on Twitter: @Regan_McCarthy

A group of four lawmakers have joined a lawsuit against the state’s nuclear cost recovery program. Regan McCarthy reports the bi-partisan group says the state’s law let’s utilities charge customers for nuclear power plants that might never get built.

It’s now up to the Florida Supreme court to decide whether undocumented immigrants are allowed to be lawyers in the state. Regan McCarthy reports the Florida Board of Bar Examiners is asking the Court for its opinion.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is traveling the state to promote a number of bills he’s signed that are part of his jobs and economic growth package, but Regan McCarthy reports some experts question whether the governor’s policies will help Floridians get back to work.

Senator Mike Fasano is announcing plans for run for the Florida House. Regan McCarthy reports Fasano is eyeing a Pasco County seat.

After serving in the Florida Senate for 10 years, Senator Mike Fasano, a Republican from New Port Richey, says he wants to return to the Florida House. Fasano served as a representative previously from 1994 to 2002. He says he’s looking forward to getting back to his roots.

“The Florida House of Representatives is probably, along with the Senate, as close to the people back in our districts as any other elected official if not more.”

Florida’s unemployment rate is trending down. Regan McCarthy reports it’s 9.4-percent for the month of February, the lowest rate the state has seen in three years.

Florida’s chief economist Rebecca Rust says a lot of the reason for the state’s decreasing unemployment rates can be attributed to job growth in the state.

Most of it now is due to people getting jobs because we see that the employment numbers are gaining more than the drops in the labor force when you look at it over the year.”

Florida’s Medicaid plan is wrapped up in a lawsuit alleging the state doesn’t provide adequate dental and medical care for children. Regan McCarthy reports experts say that’s because Florida’s physician reimbursement rates are so low.

With permission from their school boards, a bill passed this session would give students the option of asking to lead prayer or deliver an inspirational message during school events. But, Regan McCarthy reports the proposal  is expected to face legal challenges.

Harold Brockus worked as a Protestant minister in Pinellas County for 32 years and says he’s active in his church still today. He’s also the president of his county’s chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. And he says his group is already considering filing a lawsuit against the measure.

The conservation group Audubon Florida is asking Governor Rick Scott to veto a bill that would let exotic animals live on state land. Regan McCarthy reports environmentalists warn the proposal could hurt native wildlife.

Julie Wraithmell is the Director of Wildlife conservation for the Audubon of Florida. She says a measure passed by lawmakers that would let organizations like zoos lease state lands for exotic birds and hoofed animals, like zebras, takes that land away from native species.

The Florida cabinet has approved the purchase of two lots that are next to an historic property called The Grove.  Regan McCarthy reports officials say the purchase opens up the potential of turning the property into a museum or welcome center.

State officials would pay about 580-thousand dollars for the lots. Right now, The Grove, which is adjacent to the Governor’s mansion, is only accessible by a road that runs by mansion, but Secretary of State Ken Detzner says purchasing the plots would create new avenues for accessing the property.

A Columbia County Correctional officer has died. Regan McCarthy reports the officer was allegedly stabbed to death by an inmate while on duty at the Columbia Correctional Facility.

Convicted murderer Richard Franklin is accused of killing an officer who was working on duty as a prison guard at the Columbia Correctional Institution Annex. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jo Ellyn Rackleff says witnesses say Franklin stabbed 24-year old Sergeant Ruben Thomas in the neck with a “handmade weapon.” She says another officer, William Brewer, was also hurt in the incident.

Environmental activists say this isn’t the worst legislative session the state’s ecosystem has seen but it’s certainly not the best either. Regan McCarthy reports environmentalists are raising concerns about a number of measures headed for the governor’s desk.

So how did the environment fair this legislative session?

A number of city commissioners say Tallahassee should do what it can to settle a small-claims case that city lawyers say boils down to a locked gate. Regan McCarthy has more.

The regular legislative session ended last week, but Regan McCarthy reports lawmakers left town without confirming a number of the governor’s state appointments.

Lawmakers are back at the capital just days after the close of the regular session. Regan McCarthy reports legislators are starting an extraordinary session to re-draw the state’s senate voting district maps.

The Florida Supreme court ruled the senate voting district maps are unconstitutional, but the house maps are okay. That’s why House Redistricting Chairman Will Weatherford says the House will largely follow the Senate’s lead in the re-work.

Members of the Government Efficiency Taskforce on Health and Human services are setting an agenda for trimming the fat in the coming year. Regan McCarthy has more….

The Government Efficiency Taskforce on Health and Human services is looking for cost savings in areas like state employee health care. The group will compare Florida’s plans with other states and the private sector. And task force Staff Director Jeffery Woodburn says the group will also consider several criminal justice issues.

The Florida Supreme Court says the Senate’s new voting district maps are unconstitutional. Regan McCarthy reports today marks the last constitutionally required day of Florida’s 60-day regular legislative session, but the Supreme court’s ruling means lawmakers will have to come back to Tallahassee for a special session to sort out the maps.

Lawmakers are considering a tax package that would grant almost $120 million  each year in tax breaks to businesses and consumers in the state. Regan McCarthy reports the Senate Budget Committee approved the measure Wednesday in an unusual late-late session committee meeting.

Senate Budget Chairman JD Alexander says House leaders have already agreed on the measure, which would grant millions of dollars in tax breaks, mostly for businesses.

“This represents a compromise between the House and the Senate on what the tax package would look like.”

A measure that would let the state’s governor remove a majority of the members of Florida’s judicial nominating commission has passed in the Senate—that’s the commission that helps pick  judges  like the state’s supreme court justices. But Regan McCarthy reports some lawmakers are raising concerns that the proposal could give the governor too much power – letting him ensure the state’s bench is made up of people who “think like him.”

A bill to crack down on the sale of synthetic drugs is moving through the legislature. Regan McCarthy reports the measure would add a number of chemicals to the state’s list of “controlled substances.”

Last year lawmakers passed a measure to outlaw the sale of synthetic drugs like bath salts or spice, but a similar bill is up again this year. Lawmakers say that’s because the drug makers have changed the chemical formula for the drugs making them legal again. Now Senator Greg Evers, a Republican from Pensacola says his proposal will take them back off the shelves.

Members of the Florida House marked the end of Speaker Dean Cannon’s leadership by unveiling a portrait of him, which will hang in the House. Regan McCarthy reports Cannon says seeing the painting is a little surreal.

House Speaker Dean Cannon says he associates portraits with “antiquity,” and often, people who are dead.

“It’s a little sobering to see an unmistakable symbol that my time in the House has come to the end.

Florida’s senior citizens are protesting in the capital. A group of senior activists say they’re worried about the way the state’s budget is shaping up. Regan McCarthy reports seniors say their biggest concerns are decreasing funding for senior programs and the position the state’s budget leaders are taking on accepting money from the Federal Affordable Care Act.

Next time you visit the dentist it could be the dental hygienist who numbs your gums. Regan McCarthy reports that’s one rule relating to dentistry that a measure moving through the legislature could change.

Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff says her bill would let dental hygienist administer local anesthesia. But Bogdanoff, a Republican from Fort Lauderdale, says that’s only under the direct supervision of a dentist and after the hygienist has demonstrated the skill on a live patient.

“That would be Senator Gibson.”

Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed off on a measure to compensate a man who wrongfully spent 27 years in a Florida prison.  Regan McCarthy reports the governor signed bill just hours after it passed out of the Senate. 

 William Dillon spent almost three decades in a Florida prison for a murder he didn’t commit before he was exonerated by DNA evidence. Now he’s a singer song writer. He’s just released his first full length CD Black Robes and Lawyers.

Florida’s Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the state’s new voting district plans Wednesday . Regan McCarthy reports the justices grilled supporters and opponents of the maps giving no clear indication of how they might rule. 

House lawmakers are considering a measure that would make a number of revisions in the state’s healthcare laws, but Regan McCarthy reports, after a long debate, Representatives are taking out one of the most controversial provisions in the bill—a proposal to get rid of the state’s limits on  trauma centers.

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