Capital Report

Fridays, 6:30 pm ET & 9:00 pm ET

WFSU/Florida Public Radio reporters, as well as reporters from public radio stations across the state, bring you timely news and information from around Florida. Whether it's legislative maneuvers between legislative sessions, the economy, environmental issues, tourism, business or the arts, Capital Report gives information on issues that affect the lives of everyday Floridians.

Capital Report is broadcast each Friday at 6:30 pm and 9:00pm ET on 88.9FM - WFSU Tallahassee, 5:30 pm CT on 89.1FM -WFSW Panama City and on public radio stations across the state (check local listings).

During Florida Legislative Session: Weekdays 6:30 pm & 9:00 pm ET - 88.9FM WFSU Tallahassee & Weekdays 5:30 pm CT - 89.1FM WFSW Panama City and on public radio stations across the state (check local listings).

Tallahassee, FL – It's often said that law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day. Now the numbers are out for the first half of this year and Tom Flanigan reports it's been an especially deadly six months for officers in Florida.

Tallahassee, FL – In today's world, no college or university can exist without outside donors. But how much influence should those donors exercise over the operation of the school in exchange? That issue recently hit a major Florida university and Tom Flanigan reports that school is now taking steps to build more of a firewall between itself and its contributors.

Tallahassee, FL – The push to repeal Florida's 125 year old ban on taxpayer funding for religious organizations began in earnest this year when the legislature adopted a proposal to kick the language out of the state's constitution. Now a legal fight is brewing to keep the wording intact, and Lynn Hatter reports, the debate has big consequences for the way the state funds schools, and social programs.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida's unemployment rate fell in May to about 10.5-percent from 12-percent about four months ago. Some said the downward trend meant the state was headed for economic recovery, but Regan McCarthy reports after the state delivered pink slips to more than 1-thousand employees at the beginning of the month, the tone changed. Workers now face a new wave of competition in the job seeker's market. Meanwhile a new law presents greater challenges for those seeking unemployment benefits.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Rick Scott says he is looking very closely at a proposal to allow private companies operate camping facilities at state parks. James Call reports, the Governor removed Honeymoon Island in Pinellas County from the proposed list when widespread opposition emerged.

Tallahassee, FL – Jennifer Carroll, an immigrant from the Caribbean, has made a name for herself as a Navy Veteran, a Florida lawmaker, and has made history with her role as Florida's first African American Lieutenant Governor. While Governor Rick Scott is usually in the spotlight, Carroll has managed to stay off the radar thus far. As Sascha Cordner reports, some say she's doing a good job by taking a more supportive role to the Governor.

Tallahassee, FL – Hundreds of thousands of spectators jammed Cape Canaveral and surrounding towns to witness the historic liftoff of NASA's last space shuttle launch. Trimmel Gomes reports on the last of the 30-year-old American shuttle program.

Tallahassee, FL – The deadline for Congress to raise the federal debt limit or risk a default is drawing closer and programs that have been sacred in the past are on the chopping block. Medicaid and Medicare are among them. The health insurance programs for the poor and elderly have been targeted for billions in federal cuts. Lynn Hatter reports a coalition of groups is building to stop what they say are potentially harmful cuts in programs that a large amount of Floridians depend on.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida is one of several states that struck down a measure that would verify the legal status of all new hires during the past legislative session. Now, Congress has its own legislation that would make it mandatory in all 50 states. As Sascha Cordner reports, proponents say it would protect American jobs, while opponents say it would destroy many key industries in the state.

Tallahssee, FL – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Department of Health and the Attorney General joined forces to eradicate illicit prescription pills, quarantining drugs from the 24 pain management clinics in the state with the highest drug ordering rate. Regan McCarthy reports .

Tallahassee, FL – Florida's overall population isn't growing as fast as it did a few years ago. But the number of older Floridians keeps going up. Tom Flanigan reports that fact is changing the way the state thinks about transportation.

Every seven seconds, another American hits the age of sixty-five. Dr. Susan Nayfield with the University of Florida's Institute on Aging says there's a good chance that American lives in Florida.

Tallahassee, FL – Friday nearly 200 measures passed by the legislature become law with the start of the new fiscal year. And because ignorance is not accepted as an excuse for breaking a law it may behoove the citizenry to brush up on the changes. Regan McCarthy has more.

Tallahssee, FL – Leon County Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford has ruled against the Florida Education Association's request to steer state-mandated pension contributions into a separate fund. Thursday's arguments centered around where an estimated 800-million dollars a year in contributions would go until the larger case is decided. The teacher's union is challenging the new pension law, saying it is unconstitutional, and as Lynn Hatter reports Thursday's hearing was also a prelude for things to come.

Tallahassee, FL – A shrunken state budget went into effect Friday. It eliminated more than 4,000 government jobs and spending cuts are expected to force the layoff of thousands of school teachers in the fall. However, James Call reports a Republican led Legislature and Governor Rick Scott say the new spending plan will grow Florida's economy and create private sector jobs.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Rick Scott's so-called "letters to the editor" recently gained national attention, when well-known comedian Stephen Colbert highlighted it on his show earlier on in the week. The letters are part of the effort to help the Governor's image, due to his low poll numbers. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, some say it may not be helping.

Tallahassee, FL – The final U.S. Space Shuttle flight is next month. But that will not mean the end of the Kennedy Space Center. The designation of the American part of the International Space Station as a national laboratory could mean more space craft taking off from Florida. Meanwhile, Tom Flanigan reports there's a new NASA launch vehicle for manned flight under development and a push to attract more private space business to the center.

Tallahassee, FL – Following low poll numbers Florida's governor is revamping his inner circle. The governor has selected a new chief of staff and will be forced to replace his policy advisor. Many speculate the shake-up means trouble in the governor's office, but Regan McCarthy reports political experts say the changes are par for the course.

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Education Association filed a lawsuit earlier this week in protest of several provisions in a new pension law requiring public workers to contribute three-percent of their pay to their retirement. As Sascha Cordner reports, the suit has expanded into a class action lawsuit with participants saying they are angry with state officials who enacted and endorsed what they are calling "unconstitutional legislation."

Executive Office of the Governor

Tallahassee, FL – After a months-long search, Florida now has a new Commissioner of Education. Gerard Robinson is stepping down from his position as Virginia's Secretary of Education and stepping up to become Florida's new Education Commissioner. He was chosen from a field of 26 applicants. And as Lynn Hatter reports, he's got a lot of work to do before he gets here.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida's newest agency was born this week when Governor Rick Scott signed a government -reorganization bill that creates the position of Commerce secretary. Lynn Hatter reports, this has some seeing opportunities to lure more business into the state.

Governor Rick Scott is playing up the possibilities of the new Department of Economic Opportunity to bring more jobs to Florida.

Tallahassee, FL – Voters are telling pollsters they are unhappy with cuts to the state budget and the direction they think the state is headed. A Quinnipiac Poll last month indicated 54 percent of voters say the state budget which goes into effect in July is unfair to people like them. James Call reports some groups are using people's frustration with a down economy and high unemployment as an organizing tool for next year's election.

"Well, we can't vote them out until 2012, in November."

Tallahassee, FL – Fair District Amendments 5 and 6 are two voter-approved amendments that aim to redraw the congressional and legislative districts in a way that is "fair," but the amendments are a cause of controversy from both sides. As Sascha Cordner reports, Proponents say the Amendments aim to stop politicians from drawing their own district lines for their own interests, while opponents question the constitutionality of the amendments.

Tallahassee, FL – Most Americans today agree with Mark Twain when he said we have the best government money can buy. James Call reports a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey found two-thirds of respondents say elections are usually for sale to the candidate who can raise the most money.

Tallahassee, FL – The search for a new education commissioner is ongoing, following the resignation of current Commissioner Eric Smith. Smith's last day in office was Friday. But as Lynn Hatter reports, the search for his replacement hasn't been easy. In fact, it's been downright hard, surprising many who thought it would be a simple task to attract top talent to the state.

Tallahassee, FL –
Oral arguments for Florida's lawsuit against the Federal Health Care act begin next week. The case is one of several efforts to protect Floridians from a law some say is unconstitutional, but Regan McCarthy reports finding a way to avoid the law is not so simple.

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