Sarah Mueller

Reporter

skmueller@fsu.edu

Sarah Mueller is the first recipient of the WFSU Media Capitol Reporting Fellowship. She’ll be covering the 2017 Florida legislative session and recently earned her master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois Springfield. Sarah was part of the Illinois Statehouse press corps as an intern for NPR Illinois in 2016. When not working, she enjoys playing her yellow lab, watching documentaries and reading memoirs.

The Florida House and Senate are planning big cuts to Florida hospitals and those groups say it will hurt medical care access for the poor and disabled.

Clyde Robinson via Flickr

Florida currently requires auto drivers to carry personal injury protection of at least $10,000 in medical benefits. But critics say that isn’t enough to cover health care costs when there’s an accident. Lawmakers are considering changing up the insurance coverage drivers must have.

Mayor Andrew Gillum
Nick Evans

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum says Gov. Rick Scott should be careful asking the federal government for Medicaid block grants. The gubernatorial candidate said the city helps support local hospitals and Leon County helps fund local public health services.

A map representing the 13 regions for Medicaid Managed Care
Agency For Healthcare Administration

Florida is asking for extraordinary power to revamp its Medicaid program. It’s prompting alarms from health advocacy organizations and policy analysts because it could cut off access to health care for millions of Floridians. They also complain it’s being done without stakeholder input.

Nick Evans / WFSU News

Florida lawmakers are voting on legislation Thursday that would allow more religious expression in public schools. Bill sponsors said not allowing students and school employees to talk about their religions violates the First Amendment. But critics say these bills force Christian beliefs on others.

Florida is asking the federal government to cap its funding to the state’s Medicaid program. Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Republican lawmakers say that will mean more flexibility to provide quality healthcare at an affordable cost. But critics point to welfare reform and say fewer people will get health care.

WFSU News

Fewer felons are getting their voting rights restored under Governor Rick Scott than in the past two administrations. Attorney Brittnie Baker said Scott has denied her clients the right to once again vote because of traffic violations or admitting they drank or used drugs.

Sen. Bill Montford,D-Tallahassee, is flanked by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, and local school district officials as he unveils a testing overhaul bill (3/8/17).
The Florida Channel

Senate lawmakers say Florida’s prison system is in a crisis. That’s the consensus after a presentation by Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones. She said she’s having problems recruiting guards. Jones is pushing legislators for pay bumps.

The Florida House preparing to begin its floor session.
The Florida Channel

It’s not a criminal violation to be in the U.S. illegally. That’s why undocumented immigrants are deported rather than jailed.

In 2011, the Florida legislature passed a measure to convert Medicaid insurance into a managed care system. But Republican lawmakers now want to take the program away from “big businesses” and change it into a block grant system. But Medicaid providers said if that happens low income families will lose access to health care.

Florida Memory / https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/254907

Legislation banning sanctuary city policies is moving through Florida House committees. The proposal requires cities fully cooperate with federal immigration officers or face penalties.

Florida Capitol
Nick Evans / WFSU News

Saint Petersburg Rep. Kathleen Peters has filed legislation to increase mental health treatment. It adds certain mental health and substance abuse services to the state’s Medicaid program through a safety network.

Rep. Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah)
Florida Channel

Legislation extending the Best and Brightest scholarship program for teachers and principals is on the move in the Florida House. The measure allows more educators to qualify as highly effective.

Rene Garcia
Florida Senate / FLSenate.gov

Florida families are calling on the state to fully fund mental health services. Social service agencies say the lack of funding for mental health care and substance abuse means more people incarcerated or living on the streets.

Florida Supreme Court
Urban Tallahassee

House lawmakers got an earful this week on proposed workers' compensation measures. Business groups and health care advocates complain the draft legislation doesn’t do enough to address attorney fees, premium costs, physician fees and patient choice.

Governor Rick Scott speaking to the Enterprise Florida board.
The Florida Channel

Florida Governor Rick Scott touted new jobs, a growing economy and tax cuts in his State of the State speech Tuesday. But Democratic lawmakers say Scott’s policies are benefitting corporations at the expense of Floridians.

The Florida Supreme Court
Nick Evans

Florida Supreme Court justices are considering allowing hundreds of thousands of ex-felons to vote. They heard arguments from Floridians For a Fair Democracy on a ballot initiative that would restore voting rights for residents who have completed their sentences.

Sarah Mueller

Dozens of people rallied in Tallahassee Saturday in support of President Donald Trump. 

Florida Republican lawmakers are pushing punitive immigrant and refugee legislation once again this session. Similar proposals died last year. But the 2016 campaign season may be stimulating an appetite for change.

Gov. Scott is planning audits for some hospitals and insurers in Medicaid managed care.
Nick Evans

Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida members are worried federal and state lawmakers will reduce health care funding for low income Floridians.

The Oz Blog / http://blog.doctoroz.com/oz-experts/myths-lies-and-hysterectomy

President Donald Trump wants to streamline the U.S. Food and Drug Administration so people with rare diseases can get medication faster. But one Florida resident says the state's government needs to make improvements too.

Scott headshot
Governor Scott's Office

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has been talking up the Republican Congress’ plans for the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare. But while he’s in Washington D.C. meeting with President Donald Trump’s administration, his public comments are being criticized at home.

Rep. Randy Fine (R-Brevard Co.) reading his letter to Governor Rick Scott.
Nick Evans

Republican state lawmakers want a say over local business regulations across the state. Legislation

preempting local power is moving through the legislature.

An endangered species of Magnolia is the Garden Club of America’s 2017 plant of the year. Researchers at the University of Florida are studying why it’s become rare.

Kaiser Family Foundation / kff.org

Top Florida Republican lawmakers are heading to Washington D.C. soon to discuss potential healthcare changes with their Congressional counterparts. They want President Donald Trump’s administration to blockgrant Medicaid funding. But some Floridians worry the sick and the poor will lose their health insurance.

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