Capital Report: 05-30-2014

May 30, 2014

As voting rights groups wrapped up their case in Florida’s redistricting trial this week, a picture emerged of GOP operatives working behind the scenes to get their maps submitted to the Legislature. As Jessica Palombo reports, questions centered on exactly how a Republican-generated map got submitted under the name of an FSU student.

As Florida State University continues its search for a new president, many of the school’s faculty and observers are crying foul over the selection process.  Lynn Hatter reports the front-runner for the job is a powerful political figure who admits his academic credentials aren’t spectacular.  That has a number of critics crying that the search process would appear to be rigged in his favor.

A U.S. Supreme court ruling will change the way Florida evaluates whether a death row inmate should be exempt from execution. Regan McCarthy reports Florida is one of a handful of states that basis whether an inmate is intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for execution on a hard line test score.

In a month, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters will be retiring from her role. As the agency’s first female head, she’s also one of the longest serving agency heads under Governor Rick Scott. She’s been responsible for a number of innovations, including a civil citation program that has helped reduce the overall juvenile crime-rate. Sascha Cordner recently sat down with the outgoing Secretary to talk about her stepping down from her role and what may lie ahead for her.

Next week, Governor Rick Scott will have the final say on the nearly eighty-billion dollar state budget passed by the legislature earlier this month.  Now a quarter of a million dollars doesn’t seem like much in the midst of that veritable ocean of spending.  But, as Ryan Benk reports, officials at one particular environmental school have their fingers crossed, hoping the governor approves their relatively miniscule appropriation.  Those officials say that small investment could help save a seventy-one million dollar Florida industry.

The Florida Legislature was back in session this week.  It just wasn’t the legislature most Floridians are familiar with.  As Caitie Switalski reports, the Florida Model Legislature came to argue bills just like real senators and representatives who sat in the same chambers only weeks before.