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

The Florida Senate is saying goodbye to some long-time lawmakers. Regan McCarthy reports term limits will keep about a dozen lawmakers from returning to the chamber in the next regular legislative session.

After about 18 years spent working as a lawmaker in Tallahassee Senator Larcenia Bullard, a Democrat from Miami, is bidding the legislature goodbye. In a more than an hour-long speech, Bullard talks about the many years she has spent as a public servant.

Several high profile claims bills have moved a step closer to passing. Regan McCarthy reports a House Committee considered a total of 16 claims measures including the Brody bill and another measure that, if passed, would be one of the highest claims bills in the state’s history.

The Florida Senate passed a 71.2 billion dollar budget today. It’s about 2-billion dollars higher than the House Proposal. But Regan McCarthy reports lawmakers are concerned concerns about cuts to higher education, health and human services and the criminal justice budget.

Senate Budget Committee Chair J.D. Alexander says this year’s budget makes some difficult cuts, but he says economic forecasts for the coming years are looking up.

Florida lawmakers are driving ahead with a plan to make auto racing the official state sport. Two lawmakers from the Daytona area say it an historic activity in Florida, but Regan McCarthy reports not all lawmakers are ready to wave the green flag for the plan.

Representative Dorothy Hukill says auto racing got its start in Florida.

Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would let certain groups represent teachers without registering as a teacher’s union as long as they don’t participate in collective bargaining.  Some say the move would give teachers more options, but Regan McCarthy reports others call it union busting.

Representative Jeff Brandes says his bill will protect teachers and give them more options for legal representation.

Florida Power and Light officials say a new 1,277 megawatt power plant at Port Everglades in Broward County will save customers money and be better for the environment, but Regan McCarthy reports some argue the company is paying more attention to the needs of Wall Street than to rate payers.

Lawmakers in a House committee have given the okay to a number of claims bills. Regan McCarthy reports among the measures now moving through the house are two proposals the Senate President calls priorities.

Florida lawmakers are working to pick the state’s sinking housing market back up. One proposal to do that would speed up the judicial process of foreclosures, but Regan McCarthy reports some worry a move like that could strip homeowners of their rights.

Lawmakers in the Florida House are looking into legislation that would give tax breaks to businesses in the state. Regan McCarthy reports legislators are considering a measure that combines several of Governor Rick Scott’s business tax initiatives like doubling the corporate income tax exemption. It’s a move that would let thousands of businesses skip the tax and that Scott says will grow jobs.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says she feels like she’s in the movie Ground Hog Day. Last year, Bondi successfully fought synthetic drugs, but this year, she is once again pushing to outlaw the substances. Regan McCarthy reports chemists have found loopholes to get the drugs back on the shelf, now lawmakers are working to fix the problem.

Lawmakers are looking into a measure that could help the state partner up with private companies to explore and drill for oil or natural gas on state lands. Regan McCarthy reports some say the state has plenty of oil; it just doesn’t have the money to look for it. 

Senator Greg Evers says there could be oil just waiting to be discovered under Florida’s forests and public lands, but he says the state needs a little help finding it.

“The state doesn’t have money to do exploration of oil and gas because it’s very expensive."

A group of Florida lawmakers say students who have gone to high school in the state should be allowed to go to college without paying out-of-state tuition – regardless of their immigration status. But Regan McCarthy reports a bill that would make that happen, faces an uphill battle.

Evelyn Rivera says she’s lived in Florida for almost as long as she can remember...

“I’m from Orlando Florida, but I’m originally from Columbia. I came to the United States with my family when I was about 3 years old, and I’ve been living in the central Florida area for about 20 years now.”

Florida’s Supreme Court Justices are hearing oral arguments against a Florida law that limits how loudly car stereos can legally be played. Regan McCarthy reports some say the rule is unconstitutional.

Florida lawmakers are looking into what the state’s energy future should hold. Experts agree the state should have a diverse energy portfolio, but Regan McCarthy reports some disagree on how quickly the state should start shifting more of its energy dependence on to renewable sources.

Focusing the state’s energy efforts on renewable energy is a matter of national security—that’s according to Reamonn Soto, a marine serving in the reserves.

Lawmakers say requiring hospitals to perform a simple test could save the lives of hundreds of newborns in the state. Regan McCarthy reports legislators are considering a bill to require hospitals to test all new babies for congenital heart disease.

Senator Jeremy Ring says the U.S. Department of Health and Human services reports congenital heart disease is the number one killer of babies born with birth defects, but he says about half the cases go undiagnosed.

“It’s amazing to me that we have 34 protocols and one of them to test is not congenital heart condition.”

A group of Florida lawmakers say a number of bills moving through the legislature are “attacking” women and children.  Regan McCarthy reports members of the Democratic Women’s Club are urging citizens to push back.

A number of abortion related bills are moving through the legislature this session and Representative Scott Randolph says those bills “attack” women’s rights to choose, but he says abortion isn’t the only issue he and other lawmakers are concerned about. Randolph says House Bill 7091 by John Wood, a Republican from Winter Haven, targets children.

Lawmakers killed a proposal to amend the state constitution to cut property taxes. Regan McCarthy reports legislators say property tax reform is warranted, but worry about the impact the proposal could have had on local governments.

Representative Jason Brodeur, a Republican from Sanford, says his bill was intended to cut down on the inequities in the state’s property taxes—It’s a move Representative Charles Van Zant, a Keystone Heights Republican, says is sorely needed.

Some of Florida’s Senators are calling for a comprehensive tax overhaul in the state. Regan McCarthy reports lawmakers say it’s time to stop piecing tax rules together bill by bill.

Right now local governments are required to let their citizenry know  when they’re going to hold a public meeting, but Florida law doesn’t require the agencies to let members of the public speak during those meetings. Regan McCarthy reports lawmakers are looking into a bill that gives Floridians a right to be heard.

Many people think the right to have their voices heard at a public meeting is a given, but Representative Martin Kiar says at some of Florida’s local government meetings, that’s not the case.

Florida lawmakers are looking into a number of bills aimed at collecting a sales tax for goods brought over the internet. Some estimate the state is losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in uncollected taxes, but Regan McCarthy reports lawmakers say they’re more interested in trying to level the playing field for local businesses than making that money up.

Redistricting is headed for final action in the Republican controlled Florida Legislature. James Call reports, the House began floor debate Thursday with a final vote expected Friday.

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill aimed at local governments that have been declared to be in a state of financial emergency. The bill would let the governor boot local government leaders who fail to fix the situation. The measure passed the Senate, but Regan McCarthy reports its moving difficulty through the House.

Florida lawmakers are considering a measure that would help police to crack down on repeat drug offenders. Regan McCarthy reports the measure would expand the definition of a “public nuisance.”

Representative Jim Frische says Florida’s drug dealers are getting smarter.                                                                 

They’ve figured out that if you just step off property onto a city sidewalk the criminal event doesn’t happen on property so it’s not included in any nuisance abatement ordinances.”

Florida lawmakers are proposing several new constitutional amendments that would give some Florida residents a break on their property taxes. Regan McCarthy reports one measure would freeze the property taxes of low income seniors.

After complaints about toxic algae in Florida’s water bodies, and an attempt at imposing Federal water quality standards, the Environmental Protection Agency is giving the state a chance to make its own rules. Regan McCarthy reports U.S. Representative Steve Southerland came to Florida Monday to tout the state’s proposed water quality standards.

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