Sascha Cordner

All Things Considered Host/Reporter

Sascha Cordner worked at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both TV and radio, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications.  She has received several  Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Awards with one of her award-winning stories titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink."  Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU.  Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

The Florida Senate recently approved a bill that would allow students to lead prayer at any school assembly without any monitoring from teachers and school administrators. But, As Sascha Cordner reports, though it received widespread support among Republicans, Senate Democrats say the legislation is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Commonly referred to as the “School prayer bill,” Senate Bill 98 authorizes, but does not require, a school board to adopt policies that allow inspirational messages to be given by students at a student assembly.

The latest in a controversial debate over a prison privatization plan has two Senate leaders butting heads. As Sascha Cordner reports, the spat is over a comment that the potential cost savings from privatizing about 30 South Florida prisons could lead to hundreds of jobs for teachers.

During a recent Senate Floor session, Republican Senator John Thrasher outlined why privatizing prisons could be a good thing:

Does a bill to privatize about 30 South Florida prisons have enough traction in the Florida Senate? As Sascha Cordner reports, several senators weighed in on the future of the legislation.

Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich is among the opponents of the prison privatization bill that was expected to be taken up on the Senate Floor Wednesday.

“My understanding is the votes are not there and that’s why the bill is not upon the floor.”

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos has stripped a veteran Republican lawmaker of his position on two budget panels. As Sascha Cordner reports, many believe the removal had something to do with his opposition to a prison privatization plan.

While Senate President Haridopolos is a huge supporter of privatizing about 30 south Florida prisons, Senator Mike Fasano has been an outspoken opponent.

A bill aiming to crackdown on child pornographers is now heading to the House floor. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, there was much debate at its last committee stop that even surprised the bill’s sponsor.

Video voyeurism is the practice of spying on someone engaged in a number of things ranging from undressing to sexual activity.

Republican Representative Eric Eisnaugle of Orlando says his bill would crack down on the activity.

WFSU

The polls are open, and Florida voters are casting ballots in about 67-hundred voting precincts across the state for the Republican Presidential Primary. As Sascha Cordner reports, despite a small setback in Orlando, the state’s election’s chief says everything is going according to plan.

As Florida voters go to the polls for the state’s Republican primary, Florida’s Secretary of State Kurt Browning says everything is going smoothly so far. But, there was a slight hiccup in Orlando when a polling place opened late:

WFSU

The question as to whether to privatize about 30 South Florida prisons took center stage in and outside the Florida Senate Tuesday. As Sascha Cordner reports, in a last ditch effort to stall the effort, several Democrats, Republicans, and state employees joined together to talk about the overall impact the move will have on the state.

“Our Government is not for sale and neither are our prisoners for sale. We all stand together.”

A bill that would revamp the way Florida public hospitals are sold or leased is facing some opposition from hospitals. As Sascha Cordner reports, while the measure seeks to put more oversight in place over the sale of a hospital, some argue the bill is not needed because hospitals already have enough procedures in place.

Senate President Designate Don Gaetz says all his bill does is make the process of selling or leasing a hospital more public and more transparent by putting a few new rules in place:

A union that represents thousands of nurses and other health care workers in Florida is suing to stop the privatization of Florida’s prison health care services. Sascha Cordner has more...

There’s a shake up in the state’s newest agency. As Sascha Cordner reports, Doug Darling, the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity’s executive director, announced he’s stepping down.

Darling says his last day on the job is Tuesday.

In his resignation letter to Governor Rick Scott, Darling said he originally planned to stay through the Legislative Session, but he can’t due to personal reasons.

A 2007 Florida Senate report concluded that too many doctors are refusing emergency room on-call duty, due to increased exposure to lawsuits and higher medical malpractice insurance costs. So, as Sascha Cordner reports, one Florida lawmaker is hoping to alleviate those concerns by granting emergency room doctors immunity from medical malpractice lawsuits.

A bill that several lawmakers say would end tuition discrimination in Florida could help one young man fulfill his goal. As Sascha Cordner reports, the bill’s sponsors are using that young man as an example to show that all residents, regardless of their background, should have the right to pay in-state tuition.

18-year-old Renato Lherisson, the son of undocumented immigrants, is a native of Miami.

Some lawmakers are raising concerns about the Department of Corrections closure of prisons, two facilities in particular. As Sascha Cordner reports, while some argued about the closing of a women’s faith-based prison, others wonder if the department is taking into account the impact of shutting down prisons in small communities. 

A massive prison privatization effort is causing quite a stir among Florida lawmakers. That’s due to a move by Senate President Mike Haridopolos to vet a pair of prison privatization bills through two committees that are not prison-related. As Sascha Cordner reports, the bills now move on to one last committee stop, despite objection from some who feel the process is a sham.

By early June, 11 Florida correctional facilities are expected to close, but one county is not taking that sitting down. As Sascha Cordner reports, the Jefferson County Commission declared an economic emergency Thursday night, and hired two lobbyists to fight the prison closure in their area.

To privatize or not to privatize, that’s the question up for discussion in the Florida Legislature this week.  And it will continue in the coming weeks. The Senate has already filed a couple of bills, and as Sascha Cordner reports, a House Budget committee is now looking into the feasibility of the massive prison privatization effort.

About 25-hundred Floridians die from secondhand smoke each year, and a bill to further cut down on that is moving forward in the Florida Legislature. As Sascha Cordner reports, one Florida lawmaker is trying give local governments more room to further ban outdoor smoking on their properties, but some lawmakers worry about the unintended consequences of the proposal.

Republican Senator Alan Hays of Umatilla says if cities and counties want to ban smoking in AND around their buildings, they ought to have that right:

A massive effort to privatize about 30 South Florida correctional facilities is making its way through the Florida Legislature again. As Sascha Cordner reports, a Senate panel agreed Wednesday to move a pair of bills forward that would privatize the prisons AND change the way the privatization plan needs to be vetted.

Last year, the controversial issue of prison privatization caused quite a raucous in the Florida Legislature, especially the Senate.

Governor Rick Scott has chosen Florida’s new elections chief. As Sascha Cordner reports, Scott tapped Tallahassee insider Ken Detzner to replace retiring Secretary of State Kurt Browning.

Scott says he has every bit of confidence in Ken Detzner, a man who’s already had a short stint as a former Secretary of State under former Governor Jeb Bush.

There’s a bill that would increase the penalties for people involved in high speed car chases with police, that result in serious bodily injury or death of another. As Sascha Cordner reports, one lawmaker says it’s necessary because in the case of a Hernando County deputy who was killed last year during a high speed chase, the man responsible could get sentenced to a minimum of three years in prison.

“The impact was so severe that he was killed almost instantly. And, after, you’re kind of in shock, we were together almost 18 years and we have two amazing kids.”

 

There’s a Florida law that’s setup to clamp down on health care fraud. But, it’s causing one woman to put her dream to be a nurse on hold. As Sascha Cordner reports, one lawmaker has filed a new bill that if passed, could give the woman a second chance at her dream.

It began as a comprehensive law to fight health care fraud. But, Democratic Senator Arthenia Joyner of Tampa says that legislation passed two years ago has unintended consequences. That’s why she filed a bill to help those who want to become licensed health care professionals, but have a felony record.

In a budget saving effort, 11 correctional facilities in Florida are expected to close. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, while some say the move is unavoidable, others say it will hurt hundreds of correctional officers who will lose their jobs and the communities that depend on them.

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker says Governor Rick Scott tasked him with finding a way to reduce the overall cost of the state’s corrections’ budget.

A Florida Senator thought his bill to save the lives of stray animals as well as taxpayer dollars would sail right through its first committee stop. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, it drew angry opposition from animal lovers.

Republican State Senator Mike Bennett of Bradenton insists he’s an animal lover too.

Florida’s Secretary of State who’s been vigorously defending the state’s controversial new election law officially resigning Wednesday. As Sascha Cordner reports, this is actually Kurt Browning’s second time leaving the post. He originally left the position when serving under Governor Charlie Crist.

Following a meeting with Governor Rick Scott, Browning confirmed he was stepping down as Florida’s elections chief. Browning was adamant that Scott did not force his resignation and says he told the Governor he wanted to leave to be with his family in Pasco County.

Lawmakers are trying to fix a loophole in the state’s current gun law. For instance, though someone can’t carry a gun into a government meeting, they can carry a gun into the building where that meeting is held. But, now as Sascha Cordner reports, there’s a new bill that would change all that.

Under Florida’s current gun law, cities and counties within the state must repeal their local gun ordinance laws or face a penalty of about $5,000.

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