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 – 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.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida lawmakers have spent the past two months struggling to cut about four billion dollars from the next state budget. Wednesday an expert on balancing even bigger budgets was in Tallahassee. Tom Flanigan reports former U-S Comptroller General David Walker was preaching the gospel of fiscal restraint to a receptive audience.

Tallahassee, FL – The complicated process of redrawing Florida's political map is underway at the state capitol. Thursday the House concluded two days of briefing for its Redistricting committees. James Call tells us, Democrats want to know why one of their members wasn't given a seat at the table.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida's leading advocacy organization for the at risk youths say they're against giving sovereign immunity to private companies who contract disability services. As Sascha Cordner reports, Florida's Children First held a press conference today Monday to oppose several bills that they say would serve the purpose of private companies' over the needs of children.

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida House of Representatives has approved a proposal by a vote of 80 to 39 to tie teacher pay to student test scores. It's similar to one passed last year that was vetoed by former Governor Charlie Crist. Opponents like Democrat Franklin Sands of Broward, say it means educational Armageddon for Florida. But Governor Rick Scott supports the bill and he says he'll sign it when it gets to his desk.

Tallahassee, FL – Call it consumer backlash if you will. A few pro-business bills now working their way through the Florida Legislature are drawing fire from groups such as A-A-R-P. Tom Flanigan reports that organization has released a survey of older Floridians that suggests many of the state's seniors are already stretched to their financial limit.

The question posed to just over four-hundred Floridians fifty-years-old and up was simple and to the point.

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Senate has revised an immigration bill to among other things make it easier for employers to qualify immigrants for work. James Call reports the proposal was released in the morning and drew numerous speakers during an afternoon hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Tallahassee, FL – Palm Beach County is calling on the Florida legislature to outlaw the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, like the ones used in the January 8th Tucson Arizona shooting involving US Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Trimmel Gomes reports

 

Tallahassee, FL – The House is ready to hold final debate on a measure that makes changes to unemployment compensation in Florida. Gina Jordan reports Republican lawmakers say it will help businesses create jobs, but critics want a complete overhaul of what they say is an antiquated system.

Tallahassee, FL – Reaction to Governor Rick Scott's first State of the State Address hasn't been limited to the official Democratic responses that followed the speech. Tom Flanigan found some of the governor's main talking points are still drawing cheers and criticism from other lawmakers.

If Rick Scott was nervous as he prepared to give his first-ever State of the State speech, he sure didn't show it.

"Thank you very much. Please be seated." (audible sigh) "Gosh, this is great!"

Tallahassee, FL – The "Son of Six" or, known by its formal name, Senate Bill 736, is a repeat of last year's controversial merit pay bill that was vetoed by former Governor Charlie Christ. Before a full Senate, bill sponsor Steven Wise, a Republican of Niceville, gave an overview of the bill and opened the door to a conversation on teacher tenure.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Rick Scott and the Cabinet sitting as the Clemency Board voted to require many ex felons to wait five years before they can seek restoration of their civil rights. James Call reports the move repeals the automatic restoration of rights adopted four years ago by former Governor Charlie Crist and a different Cabinet.

Tallahassee, FL – There are lots of new faces around the Florida Capitol these days. There is a new governor and cabinet. There are the dozens of newly-elected lawmakers who will be considering hundreds of bills over the next couple of months. As Tom Flanigan reports, there are also a slew of new state agency heads who are tasked with trying to carry out the wishes of the lawmakers as well as the governor who appointed them.

Tallahassee, FL – Supporters of the state's environmental programs came out to the Capital on the first day of session to draw attention to several land use bills making their way through the legislature. As Lynn Hatter reports the groups are for some of them, and against others.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida lawmakers assembled in Tallahassee Tuesday for this year's spring Legislative Session. James Call reports the Senate President told lawmakers to expect a difficult time trying to balance a state budget while facing a multi-billion dollar shortfall in tax collections. James Call reports Senator Mike Haridopolos' 15-minute speech quoted Matthew, Edmund Burke and Winston Churchill but featured few applause lines.

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida House convened this morning with a speech by the new Speaker. Gina Jordan reports Dean Cannon used much of his time at the dais lashing out at the federal government.

"A quorum being present, the House of Representatives is declared officially in session for the 113th regular session of the Legislature since statehood in 1845."

Tallahassee, FL – A federal judge in Pensacola wants a legal challenge to the massive healthcare law put on a fast track to the nation's highest court. In late January, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson struck down the reform package as unconstitutional. It took more than two weeks for the Obama administration to file a motion asking the judge to clarify whether states could continue to implement the law. On Thursday, they got their answer. Gina Jordan reports.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida is once again looking at an early presidential primary. Proponents for the date say the state deserves to be at the front because it's a must-win for Republicans and, because it has the fourth-largest population in the nation. But two years ago, that early primary cost both parties, Democrats more so than Republicans. This year, the roles are switched, with Republicans having more to lose. As Lynn Hatter reports, that party's leadership is split on the issue.

Tallahassee, FL – The Speaker of the Florida House and the Senate President are seeing their time in office being defined by a budget crisis. When the Florida Legislature begins its 2011 session Tuesday, Dean Cannon and Mike Haridopolos will have super majorities to enact their agenda, but little money to spend. And James Call reports, that seems to fit their political philosophy just fine.

Tallahassee, FL – By and large, Floridians have a great deal of regard for those who serve in the U.S. military. But a new study suggests there's less tangible support for those programs and services that help today's veterans return to civilian life. Tom Flanigan reports that both the public and private sectors need to do more.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida's new Corrections chief is finally getting settled in Tallahassee. Edwin Buss moved from Indiana this/last week, where he led that state's Corrections Department. Shortly after his arrival, Gina Jordan tells us he was quizzed by a House justice committee on prison closures, inmate population and diversion programs.

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