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 – Florida's unemployment rate has inched up yet again. It's now back to 12 percent. High unemployment and the state's economy have more people depending on the kindness of others, and on state assistance. Lynn Hatter takes a look some of the people behind the numbers.

"We have 10 cases of water...oh, and all this has to go all this. This and that over there these saltines..."

Tallahassee, FL – It's been said that Florida would be nothing without water. Not only is the state surrounded by salt water on three sides, it also sits atop trillions of gallons of fresh water. There's so much of it, you'd think there would be plenty to go around without dispute. Tom Flanigan reports you'd be wrong.

Tallahassee, FL – The Arizona law targeting illegal immigrants will likely be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but that hasn't stopped one Florida lawmaker from drafting a similar measure. Gina Jordan reports the state Legislature will take up the proposal during the regular session that begins in March.

Tallahassee, FL – Thousands of jobless Floridians are not eligible for unemployment compensation because of the way the state calculates benefits. Critics say simple changes to the system will bring in millions of dollars from the federal government and help more families. Gina Jordan tells us community organizations held a rally at the Capitol asking the Governor to do something about it.

Tallahassee, FL – Out of the nine Amendments slated for the November ballot, seven of them are facing legal challenges. As Lynn Hatter reports, most of the challenged amendments were written by the Florida Legislature. Others include a controversial citizen's initiative now facing an ethics complaint.

Only six amendments remain on the November ballot after Leon County Circuit Judge James Shelfer threw out Amendment Nine.

Tallahassee, FL – Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Capitol before the July 20 special session, calling for a constitutional amendment banning oil drilling. Now, after the Legislature refused to consider it, more Floridians are concluding they must respond to the oil spill themselves, in their own communities. Margie Menzel reports.

"Let the people vote! Let the people vote!"

Tallahassee, FL – Republican leaders in the Legislature say they have taken up the complicated task of delivering economic relief to the western Panhandle. The Florida House quickly ended a session called by the governor to place an oil drilling ban on the November ballot. Instead, James Call reports lawmakers created working groups that will propose legislation for a possible September session.

Tallahassee, FL – Between five-hundred and seven-hundred turtle nests across the Northwest Gulf coast are being dug up and moved in an effort to protect baby sea turtles in the path of the oil spill. Though the leaking well has been plugged, there is still a lot of crude floating and coming ashore. Lynn Hatter went to St. George Island, where one such relocation took place earlier in the week.

Tallahassee, FL – Democrats knew what they were up against going into the special session. House members held a news conference hours before the opening gavel laying out the reasons why a vote on the proposal was necessary. Even Senate Republicans had concerns about the potential for a fruitless trip to Tallahassee and tried in vain to include other business alongside the proposed amendment. Gina Jordan reports.

Tallahassee, FL – Lawton "Bud" Chiles III -- son of the late Democratic icon -- says he jumped into the governor's race because none of the other candidates was saying what he wanted to hear. But as Margie Menzel reports, his run may be a gift to state Republicans grappling with their party's ongoing financial scandal.

Tallahassee, FL – Two veteran lawmakers say the Legislature needs to take another look at the state budget. The $70-billion plan pays for schools, law enforcement and public health programs, among other things. It went into effect Thursday, but James Call reports it may already be in trouble.

Hialeah Senator Rudy Garcia leads the Joint Legislative Budget Commission, which keeps the state budget balanced.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida's coastal businesses have been battling a public relations nightmare as pictures of oil in the Gulf make headlines around the world. P-R professionals gathered in Tallahassee last week to talk about how the crisis is being handled in the media and what's being done to get the correct information to travelers.

Over lunch, they heard from some of those on the front lines, like Chris Thompson. He heads up Visit Florida, the state's tourism marketing agency.

Tallahassee, FL – The prosecutor said it was theft. The politician said it served the public interest. If Tallahassee State Attorney Willie Meggs is ever going to prosecute his case against former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom, James Call reports Meggs must get a circuit judge to stop allowing the defense to file motions to dismiss charges in a case tied to a project for a panhandle college.

Tallahassee, FL – A task force created by Governor Charlie Crist in response to the Gulf oil spill met for the first time last week. Gina Jordan tells us some members are concerned about whether BP will be able to fulfill its financial responsibility to Florida and other Gulf coast states.

The Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force is made up of twenty-eight lawmakers, state agency heads, and business and tourism leaders from Northwest Florida. Governor Crist gave them their marching orders.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Charlie Crist has delivered the latest in a string of controversial vetoes, striking a bill that would have required women to have and pay for ultrasounds before undergoing an abortion. Letters, phone calls and e-mails poured into the Governor's Office from both supporters and opponents. As Lynn Hatter reports, a day before the veto, a group of women walked to the Capitol to hand deliver petitions in support of the legislation.

Tallahassee, FL – Hurricane season begins June first, and there are questions about whether insurers will be able to pay if a big storm hits Florida. James Call reports failing insurance companies have state officials waving red flags.

Tallahassee, FL – Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Brandon, is horrified by accounts of children in state custody who died on psychotropic drugs that hadn't been vetted in accordance with the law. As Margie Menzel reports, the measure still hasn't been heard in the House - but Storms isn't ready to concede.

Tallahassee, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum, the front-runner in the GOP primary for governor, has said all along that his lawsuit to block the new federal health-care-reform measure isn't driven by politics. But as Margie Menzel reports, the suit is reaping political repercussions nonetheless.

Tallahassee, FL – As lawmakers start their budget negotiations, critics say the health of Florida's children is poor and getting worse. But as Margie Menzel reports, some of the budget items on the table could make a big difference.

Tallahassee, FL – A bill that would have required Florida's eight independent Children's Services Councils to go back before the voters died in a House committee Thursday. As Margie Menzel reports, the measure's supporters argued for accountability - but opponents wondered why the CSCs were being singled out.

Tallahassee, FL – There was emotional testimony before the Public Safety and Domestic Security Policy Committee Monday, as members took up bills relating to public records, vehicle crashes and child abductions. Gina Jordan has more about some proposals approved by the committee.

Tallahassee, FL – An economic development proposal, also known as the Jobs for Florida bill, was taken up by the Policy and Steering Committee on Ways and Means Thursday. Gina Jordan tells us the measure won't be cheap, but supporters say it will cost the state a lot more if lawmakers do nothing to lure businesses and boost job creation.

Tallahassee, FL – The value of private school vouchers for low income children would go up under a bill that's advancing in the Florida Senate. This year the increase would be small, boosting each voucher by a couple hundred dollars. But James Call reports the proposal includes annual increases that could grow the voucher to at least 55-hundred dollars in three years.

Tallahassee, FL – Members of the Senate Judiciary committee took up a resolution and a bill this week calling for a balanced federal budget. But Gina Jordan tells us a vocal member of the committee said supporters are just playing politics.

Tallahassee, FL – The House PreK-12 Policy Committee took up bills relating to suicide and classroom technology on Wednesday. Gina Jordan tells us one of them passed easily.

The Suicide Prevention Education bill was brought by Representative Bill Heller, Democrat of St. Petersburg. It requires school boards to provide teachers and school administrators with access to resources and offer a suicide prevention course as part of a professional development plan.