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).

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.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Rick Scott recently signed a bill that would allocate 25-million dollars towards Biomedical and cancer research across the state. As Sascha Cordner reports, there are mixed emotions to the bill, after it cut the amount of funds available for biomedical and cancer research in half from 50-million dollars to 25-million.

Scott signed Republican Representative Matt Hudson's bill on Tuesday that dealt with biomedical and cancer research funding in the state of Florida.

Tallahassee, FL – With the exception of five counties that need federal permission before their election rules can be changed, a new voting law is now in effect in Florida. But Tom Flanigan reports that very fact has sparked a lawsuit that aims to have the new law overturned.

Tallahassee, Fl – Lawmakers have at least one major achievement they can put in the history books- approving the most sweeping change to the state's Medicaid program since it began in the 1970's. Lynn Hatter reports the new law would steer about three million Floridians on Medicaid into managed care networks. Florida is looking to save money and mitigate future costs, but plenty of doubts remain about what will happen to the people who use those services.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Rick Scott will launch an inquiry into why a sheriff's deputy removed some people from the crowd when he signed the state budget at a retirement community in Central Florida. The event was more than a week ago and the governor said he is not exactly sure what happened. James Call reports the controversy illustrates why some are saying Rick Scott is either having problems communicating with the people of Florida, or folks don't like the job he's doing.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida drivers beware. Red light cameras are in use around the state despite a concerted effort from the House legislation to bar the devices. But, Regan McCarthy reports, there's still a chance they could be declared illegal.


Tallahassee, FL – Governor Rick Scott signed Florida's budget on the road this week, making it a campaign-style event before a friendly crowd in a Republican and Tea Party dominated part of the state. Lynn Hatter reports, before a mostly white and retired crowd in the Villages, Scott made a show of vetoing more than 600-million dollars worth of spending items, angering many lawmakers who called that number, and the governor's intent, into question.

Tallahassee, FL – The Department of Children and Families are cutting about 500 jobs to save the state about 48-million dollars. As Sascha Cordner reports, several people from across the state are weighing in on the layoffs at a time when Scott says he is creating jobs.

About two months ago, public employees descended on Governor Rick Scott's office to give him hundreds of pink slips for a job, "not well done" and asked a simple, yet complex question...

Tallahassee, FL – The budget Governor Rick Scott signed into law eliminates the Department of Community Affairs. State planners in Tallahassee will no longer, in most cases, regulate when and how city and counties make changes to their growth plans. James Call reports , although environmental and other citizen groups protested the dismantling of the agency, business groups say the change sets the stage for economic growth.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Rick Scott is calling into question the 137-million lawmakers appropriated for state colleges and university building projects. As Sascha Cordner reports, universities from across the state say they hope the Governor does not take away the money.

Recently in a Cabinet meeting, Governor Rick Scott started questioning the state's director of bond finance Ben Watkins about the PECO fund, or the Public Education Capital Outlay fund.

Tallahassee, FL – Pick up a copy of the state's constitution and chances are it'll be out-dated. Florida's constitution has a reputation as one that's frequently amended, And Regan McCarthy reports legislators are asking voters to okay seven new changes with the possibility of more on the way.

Florida's state constitution is arguably the easiest of the 50 states' to amend or at least that's what Florida State University law professor Sandy D'Alemberte says.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Rick Scott says he is reading line by line the proposed state budget with a focus on economic development. Scott has until June first to sign it and issue vetoes. The Legislature for the most part followed his suggestion to attract new businesses to Florida by reducing the size of government.

Tallahassee, FL – Right now, different advocacy groups are looking at bills passed during the legislative session, and in many cases, hoping the governor vetoes them. But if he doesn't, several of those groups are busy hiring lawyers to take their battles to the state's courtrooms. Lynn Hatter reports among the potential legal challenges is a controversial elections bill and the annual battle about public school class sizes.