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 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.

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.”