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).

Capital Report: 03-24-2017

Mar 24, 2017

The rate of overdose deaths from opioids went up 75 percent between 2014 and 2015. And it continues to climb. Florida isn’t alone—opioid addition is ravaging parts of the U.S. The situation is critical in South Florida, where WLRN’s Peter Hayden brings us this report. A note to our listeners, some parts of this story may be disturbing.

Capital Report: 03-23-2017

Mar 23, 2017

The abuse of both prescription and illegal Opioids are driving a national spike in overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control, these substances were involved in more than 33-thousand deaths across the country in 2015. Florida has seen a dramatic increase in opioid-driven overdoses, up more than 20 percent.  Now as Lynn Hatter reports, state lawmakers are grappling with how to stop the tragedy.

While the U.S. House of Representatives was voting down the Republican replacement for Obamacare today, the Florida Legislature had health care reform on its mind, too.

Capital Report: 03-22-2017

Mar 22, 2017

Environmental activists flooded the Capitol on Wednesday to support a handful of bills and oppose others. But as Jim Ash reports, one of their biggest goals is a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing.

Florida lawmakers are voting on legislation that would allow more religious expression in public schools. Bill sponsors say not allowing students and school employees to talk about their religions violates the First Amendment. But critics say these bills force Christian believes on others. Sarah Mueller reports. 

Capital Report: 03-21-2017

Mar 21, 2017

The Florida House is promising some big cuts to higher education funding.  And it has a few more changes in mind for the state’s colleges and universities.  Lynn Hatter reports those revelations came this week in response to one of Senate President Joe Negron’s top priorities.

The Florida House is considering legislation that would strip hundreds of thousands of Florida children from the public assistance rolls.  But critics say lawmakers focused on punishing the poor when they should be trying to create high-wage jobs.  More from Sarah Mueller.

Capital Report: 03-20-2017

Mar 20, 2017

Supporters of a 2.4 billion-dollar reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee are enlisting CEO’s from the outdoor recreational industry, and tourism officials, to win over fiscal conservatives. But as Jim Ash reports, only time will tell if Senate President Joe Negron’s plan will fly.

This week lawmakers begin untangling their ideas for medical cannabis.  Nick Evans reports state senators have proposed five different measures.

Capital Report: 03-17-2017

Mar 17, 2017

Governor Rick Scott is pushing back against a House plan that would drastically cut one of his signature agencies: Visit Florida. And industry officials say cutting that agency is a bad move for an industry that makes up about a third of the state’s economy. Lynn Hatter spoke with the U.S. Travel Association’s Michael Jacobsen about the latest in the fight between Scott and the House over the future of Visit Florida.

Capital Report correspondents Sarah Mueller, Nick Evans and Jim Ash talk about some of the week’s major stories from Tallahassee.

Capital Report: 03-16-2017

Mar 16, 2017

House budget subcommittees are unveiling their ideas for spending cuts.  Nick Evans reports House leaders ordered each panel develop a list of potential reductions in light of a grim budget outlook.

After the overhead costs to run a state sanctioned employee charity rose to take up nearly half the contributions made, Florida workers and lawmakers became frustrated—even outraged. Regan McCarthy reports officials are now considering a plan to shut the fund down.

Capital Report: 03-15-2017

Mar 15, 2017

A Stand Your Ground-related bill passed the Florida Senate Wednesday, but not without some opposition. Sascha Cordner reports.

Florida House members debated whether legislation stiffening penalties for certain offenses committed by illegal immigrants was constitutional. Critics say it's unconstitutional. But as Sarah Mueller reports… lawmakers are moving it forward

Capital Report: 03-14-2017

Mar 14, 2017

In 2011… the Florida legislature passed a measure to convert Medicaid insurance into a managed care system. But Republican lawmakers now want to take the program away from what they call “big businesses” and change it into a block grant system. But as Sarah Mueller reports… Medicaid providers say if that happens, low income families will lose access to health care.

Capital Report: 03-13-2017

Mar 13, 2017

The Florida House seems intent on bringing the state supreme court down a few pegs after a series of stinging courtroom defeats.  Nick Evans reports the saber-rattling intensified last week as lawmakers approved new reporting requirements. 

A panel of Florida lawmakers is advancing a plan that would require certain food stamp recipients to get tested for drugs. Regan McCarthy reports the move comes years after a federal court struck down a similar law for violating peoples’ right to unreasonable searches.

Capital Report: 03-10-2017

Mar 10, 2017

House Speaker Richard Corcoran got his bills, and he got enough Democrats to build a veto-proof majority.  Nick Evans reports the lower chamber has approved legislation to scale back Visit Florida and eliminate Enterprise Florida.

Capital Report: 03-09-2017

Mar 9, 2017

The Florida Senate has approved wide-ranging changes to the state’s higher education system. Lynn Hatter reports it’s a top priority of Senate President Joe Negron.

It’s not only higher education that has the senate president’s heart.  Joe Negron has also pledged to reduce the toxic algae blooms trigged by polluted runoff.  He insists the answer is a reservoir to intercept and mitigate that runoff.  But as Amy Green with member station WMFE in Orlando discovered, it may take more than one reservoir to do the trick and where to put them is a very sticky issue.

Capital Report: 03-08-2017

Mar 8, 2017

One of the most controversial spending programs of this year’s session passed its second committee stop Wednesday.  Nick Evans reports the reservoir project championed by Senate President Joe Negron raises conflicting concerns with supporters and opponents. 

The Senate is moving ahead with a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing, despite industry threats of a blizzard of lawsuits. But as Jim Ash reports, the House remains a big question mark.

Capital Report: 03-07-2017

Mar 7, 2017

Tom Flanigan hits the highlights of Governor Rick Scott’s State of the State address.

Florida Governor Rick Scott touted new jobs, a growing economy and tax cuts in his State of the State speech Tuesday. But Democratic lawmakers say Scott’s policies are benefitting corporations at the expense of Floridians. Sarah Mueller reports.

While Governor Rick Scott was outlining his priorities in the State of the State address, Awake the State, the progressive advocacy group, was offering a much different take.

Capital Report: 03-03-2017

Mar 3, 2017

Florida lawmakers will debate education issues that include big changes to higher education and k-through 12 schools in this year’s legislative session.  Recess could become mandatory, tuition less expensive and Bright Futures access expanded under proposals in both the House and Senate as we hear from Lynn Hatter.

One of the big debates taking shape this legislative session is about state involvement in economic development. The capitol’s powerbrokers are picking sides in the battle, which threatens to derail session before it even begins. Kate Payne reports.

Capital Report: 02-24-2017

Feb 27, 2017

Florida’s Governor and House leaders are at each other’s throats over funding for Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.  Nick Evans reports murmurs are growing louder lawmakers will need a special session to agree on a budget.  Both sides are digging in, and the battle lines are becoming clear in a recent letter. 
The Florida House and Senate have dueling gambling plans, but Regan McCarthy reports leaders insist there’s time for the two chambers to come together.

Capital Report: 02-17-2017

Feb 17, 2017

Florida lawmakers seem likely to approve unanimous jury sentences for death penalty cases in the opening weeks of this year’s legislative session.  But Nick Evans reports some warn there could be another crisis around the corner.

In the midst of perennial debates over abortion and gun control, Florida lawmakers paused briefly this week to contemplate a nearly utopian future…one where cars drive themselves and the mighty Gulf Stream provides most of our energy needs.  Jim Ash has the look ahead.

Capital Report: 02-10-2017

Feb 10, 2017

During a week when President Donald Trump was tweeting unprecedented personal attacks on federal judges, the Florida courts were coming under some fire of their own.  Some conservative House members want to term-limit Supreme Court justices and Chief Justice Jorge Labarga (George La-BAR-guh) made a rare public response to the onslaught as we hear from Jim Ash.

Capital Report: 02-03-2017

Feb 3, 2017

The Trump administration is driving thousands of Floridians into protest marches and lawmakers’ offices, some for the first time. But will that anger and energy translate into a real impact? Kate Payne reports.

Fear has only grown in the week since President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning entry into the U-S for refugees and travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries. Now other refugees and legal residents say there are worries they will be the next to lose their chance at the American Dream.  Sarah Mueller has more.

Capital Report: 01-27-2017

Jan 27, 2017

Add fracking to the list of high profile issues that threaten to derail the Legislative Session, which begins March 7th.  Powerful Senate Republicans are calling for a ban on the controversial drilling method.  But as Jim Ash reports, the more conservative, free-market House is in no mood to go along.

Florida Senators showed their hand Wednesday when the chamber’s regulated industry panel approved a comprehensive gaming overhaul. Regan McCarthy has more…

Capital Report: 01-20-2017

Jan 20, 2017

President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Education is a conservative fundraiser and vocal critic of traditional public schools. While Betsy DeVos’ nomination could mean drastic change for some states, Kate Payne reports she has already made her mark on Florida’s education system.

The Florida Department of Health and a Republican state senator are offering drastically different visions for the future of medical cannabis in the state.  Nick Evans reports it could set the stage for a contentious rollout of last year’s amendment two.

Capital Report: 01-13-2017

Jan 13, 2017

The Florida Legislature faces the difficult task of funding the country’s third largest state on a shoestring.  Nick Evans reports lawmakers are putting their noses to the grindstone.

The future could get a bit brighter for some Florida college students.  There’s a growing consensus to increase awards for some of the state’s highest academic performers.  Lynn Hatter reports legislative and state leaders seem to be of the same mind when it comes to lowering the cost of higher education.

Capital Report: 01-06-2017

Jan 6, 2017

Alarmed by a massive spill from a fertilizer plant and sewage dumps into Tampa Bay, Florida lawmakers want to force polluters to warn the public about toxic releases.  And as Jim Ash reports, the same business interests that killed an emergency rule are watching closely.

Capital Report: 12-30-2016

Dec 30, 2016

It seems just about everyone knew this year’s election was going to be one for the history books.  But what remains poorly understood, even by many political experts, is just how important the placement of election district lines is when it comes to who wins and who loses elections.  In the run-up to the 2016 balloting, Florida Public Radio’s Kate Payne and Nick Evans teamed up to literally walk the line of one newly redrawn voting district in Florida’s Capital City.  Here’s their story, which originally aired before the November election, followed by Kate and Nick’s postscript.

Capital Report: 12-23-2016

Dec 23, 2016

The vitriol surrounding November’s election didn’t dissipate after the votes came in. If anything, it grew stronger. But… as Sarah Mueller reports…some of the focus turned from the presidential candidates to the members of the Electoral College. 

The Florida Democratic Party is scrambling to find a new leader in the wake of the 2016 elections. After some last-minute maneuvering, a group of contenders is emerging. Kate Payne reports.