It's About Florida

It's About Florida is a half-hour discussion program focusing on topical issues in the state, from roundtable discussions with news trackers to one-on-one discussions with leading newsmakers. It's About Florida captures the headlines and goes behind the issues with in-depth discussions on diverse topics such as immigration, the environment, and the economy, just to name a few.

It's About Florida will be broadcast monthly on Thursdays at 6:30 pm ET on 88.9 WFSU-FM & 5:30 pm CT on 89.1 WFSW-FM.

Listeners can email comments or questions about the program to wfsufm@wfsu.org.

It’s About Florida: Visit Florida

Mar 17, 2017

Welcome to It’s About Florida. A weekly discussion program tackling the key topics of interest to our state. I’m Lynn Hatter. Members of the Florida House of Representatives are pushing ahead with an effort to kill Governor Rick Scott’s favorite agencies, Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. The two agencies have been underfire by House Speaker Richard Corcoran and his leadership team. They say the tourism and business recruitment arms aren’t doing a very good job and recruiting jobs. But Scott is fighting to keep them intact.

For months, state lawmakers have been pouring over proposals ahead of the 2017 legislative session and already there’s plenty of conflict to go around. At the center of it is House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who has focused his efforts on making government more transparent. Corcoran likens the state’s economic development agencies, Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida to “cockroaches” and is blasting what he sees as the cozy relationship between lawmakers and lobbyists.. Corcoran laid out his

It’s About Florida: Gambling

Jan 20, 2017

Florida lawmakers will take another shot at getting a gambling infrastructure in place. Parts of the original deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida have expired. That, coupled with several pending lawsuits over local gaming referendums, has created a bit of a quagmire that the legislature has to find its way out of. But that’s proving to be a hard task. And for the third year in a row, the state’s gambling interests will face off in the annual lawmaking session. That’s ahead on It’s About Florida.

Host: Lynn Hatter

Guest: Jones-Walker Attorney Marc Dunbar

It’s About Florida: 2016 Year in Review

Dec 16, 2016

2016 was a big year in news: a new President was elected, and the black lives matter movement gained steam due to an increased focus on police shootings. There were protests: political and environmental, and then there were the mass shootings which claimed the lives of thousands. Tonight, we take a look back at the news that shaped Florida in 2016, recapping our top three stories of the year. That’s ahead on It’s About Florida.

It's been about week since Americans chose a new leader. President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January. That's got a lot of people on the left and the right trying to guess at how he'll govern and what he'll do on important issues like the economy and healthcare. What would a Trump administration mean for the Sunshine State? That's ahead on It's About Florida.

Host: Lynn Hatter
Guests: James Madison Institute President Bob McClure and Progress Florida's Damien Filer

It’s About Florida: Amendment One

Oct 12, 2016

During the Primary, Florida Voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment for tax breaks on solar amendment. Solar is popular in the Sunshine State. So much so, there’s a second amendment question on the November ballot. But environmentalists and clean energy advocates are urging voters to say NO on this one. They call it a deception on behalf of utilities, and argue that just because it sounds good, doesn’t mean it is. Amendment One: what it is, what it means, and the latest controversy clouding its future. That’s coming up on It’s About Florida.

It’s About Florida: Florida Politics

Sep 15, 2016

A big shakeup in Florida’s public university system as Florida A&M University parts ways with its president, and reintroduces an old name. That comes with a political upset for a powerful former state Senate President was passed over for the top job at the University of West Florida. And State Attorney General Pam Bondi continues to weather a political storm over a campaign donation from Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump that just won’t go away. It’s been a raucous few weeks in Florida politics. These stories coming up on It’s About Florida.

It’s About Florida: US Senate Race

Aug 8, 2016

Five people are vying for a shot at incumbent Senator Marco Rubio’s job. The race at first appeared to be wide open when Rubio was running for President—but after he failed to make a showing the Republican Presidential primary, the junior Senator from Florida decided to stay in his current job. True to fashion, most of Rubio’s Republican challengers dropped out—except for one. But Democrats see Rubio’s chair as one that needs a new host: And they’ve got their own roster, including two sitting  congressmen, vying to fill it. We’ll take a look at the candidates running for U.S. Senator.

It’s About Florida: Presidential Polling

Jul 21, 2016

What makes a good poll? In the past few weeks, there’s been conflicting information put out on the state of the Presidential Race in Florida. Some surveys have Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump ahead by several points, while others have Democratic Presidential Nominee Hilary Clinton up in the state. Even the same polling companies are releasing conflicting surveys one after the other. So can these polls be trusted? And what do they really tell us about how the American electorate is feeling? That’s ahead on It’s About Florida.

It’s About Florida: Aftermath of Orlando

Jun 17, 2016

Terrorism came to Florida this week in the form of a massacre at an Orlando area gay nightclub. At least 49 people are dead, some are still fighting for their lives in hospitals. More than 50 others were wounded, and we’ll hear some of their stories this evening. We’ll also hear about some of the reaction to the shooting. That conversation ahead on It’s About Florida.

Host: Lynn Hatter

Guest: WMFE Reporter Brendan Byrne

The Florida Education Association has spearheaded a years-long fight against the state’s corporate tax scholarship program. The system lets businesses earn a tax credit in exchange for donating money to send low and middle income kids to private schools. The teacher’s union argues that is an unconstitutional diversion of would-be public dollars to private entities. Last year, a judge tossed out the suit—ruling the union didn’t have standing. But recently, the union was back in court. A judge is now deliberating on whether the union’s lawsuit can go forward.

It’s About Florida: Zika Virus

Apr 22, 2016
Oxitec

The mosquito-born Zika virus has been in the news lately. Scientists now say there’s a definitive link between the virus and birth defects in children. South America has become the epicenter of the outbreak,

Florida’s 2016 legislative session has come to a close. Lawmakers adjourned Sine Die last week after passing an $82-billion budget. Last year the House left the session early and lawmakers were forced to return to Tallahassee for a special session to complete the budget. In contrast, many would say this year’s session went off without a hitch—though probably not the governor. While House and Senate leaders saw some of their priorities pass early in the session, many of Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s priorities, including $250-million in economic incentives, didn’t pass the legislature.

It’s About Florida: 2016 Legislative Session

Jan 22, 2016

The Florida legislature is officially back in Tallahassee though for many watchers, it’s as if they never left. Last year the annual legislative session imploded due to a fight over whether to expand Medicaid under the affordable care act. That hurt relationships between the House and Senate as they returned to hammer out a state budget, and had to do two special sessions to redraw Senate and Congressional district maps. Now House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner are working to make peace and pass policy.

It’s About Florida: Gambling

Dec 17, 2015

Gambling is illegal in Florida. Or, is it? Florida is one of the largest states for gaming in the nation. But its patchwork regulatory structure has left many lawmakers, lobbyists, and government officials frustrated. Attempts to bring order to the gambling industry have failed time and time again. And that’s led new and dubious types of gaming to set up shop in the state. Meanwhile, Governor Rick Scott has signed a $3 billion dollar extension of a gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. But state lawmakers aren’t impressed.

It’s About Florida: Education

Oct 15, 2015

Florida lawmakers will head back to the drawing board when they return to the Capital in January. They’ll have to address ongoing problems with the state’s standardized testing system, and growing backlash against the use of the exams when it comes to students and teachers. They’ll also revive a massive charter school reform bill, and further plans to grow the state’s school choice system.

Guest: Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee/ Florida Association of District School Superintendents

It’s About Florida: Awesome Foundation

Sep 15, 2015

Six years ago, a group of friends in Massachusetts had an idea. According to the Boston Globe, they used the MacArthur foundation as a model for it. The MacArthur Genius Grant gives $500,000 to individuals to use however they choose—but, for a group of folks just starting out—that’s money they didn’t have. So they took the MacArthur Genius award and shrunk it down, to the micro level. And that’s how the Awesome Foundation got started.

It’s About Florida: Redistricting

Aug 20, 2015

Welcome to It’s About Florida. A monthly discussion program tackling the key topics of interest to our state. I’m Lynn Hatter. The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled against state lawmakers in the Congressional map, ordering the legislature to redraw 8 districts which they say favor a political party or the incumbent. Lawmakers are doing so, but they’re not doing it quietly. The proposals include splitting up old districts and overhauling one North Florida district that’s long been considered gerrymandered.

It’s About Florida: Redistricting

Jul 16, 2015

Welcome to It’s About Florida. A monthly discussion program tackling the key topics of interest to our state. I’m Lynn Hatter. Four years ago, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment attempting to stop political influence in the once-a-decade redistricting process. But since lawmakers drew new maps in 2012, they’ve been mired in lawsuits. The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled against state lawmakers in the Congressional map, ordering the legislature to redraw eight districts which they say favor a political party or the incumbent.

It’s About Florida: Amendment One

Jun 18, 2015

Nearly 75 percent of Florida voters approved a water and land conservation Amendment last November. Amendment One was hailed as a sound source of funding for environmental issues the ballot proposal’s supports felt had been under-funded for years. Now Florida lawmakers have prepared a state spending plan, divvying up more than $750 million generated by the Amendment. But backers of Amendment say the environment is being shortchanged yet again. Tonight, we’ll explore the legislative conversation around environmental spending, and try to answer the question: where did the money go?

It’s About Florida: Special Session Preview

May 21, 2015

Today we’re speaking with reporters Tia Mitchell and Matt Dixon. Tia is the Capital Bureau Chief of the Florida Times Union and Matt is the statehouse bureau chief of the Journal Media Group—which includes the Naples Daily News and Treasure Coast newspapers. Our conversation comes two weeks before the legislature reconvenes in Tallahassee to get a budget in place, after a contentious and abrupt end to the regular legislative session. That end resulted in a lawsuit against the House—which departed early.

It’s About Florida: Session Roundup Part 2

Apr 18, 2015

Guests: Gray Rohrer, Kathleen McGrory and Tia Mitchell. We’re at the halfway point of the 2015 legislative session. Gray is a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel’s Tallahassee Bureau. Kathleen McGrory covers state government and politics for the Miami Herald, and Tia Mitchell is the statehouse bureau chief for the Florida Times Union.  We’ll talk about the ongoing dispute over healthcare funding, and what it means for the rest of the legislative session.

Guests: Orlando Sentinel Reporter Gray Rohrer

Miami Herald Reporter Kathleen McGrory

It’s About Florida: Session Roundup Part 1

Mar 19, 2015

Today we’re speaking with Reporters Gray Rohrer and Kathleen McGrory at week three of the 2015 lawmaking session. Gray Rohrer is a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel’s Tallahassee Bureau and has reported for other publications like the Florida Current covering the Legislature and state government for the last four years. Kathleen McGrory covers state government and politics for The Miami Herald. Her previous beats include breaking news, the Miami-Dade school district and Miami City Hall.

Guests: Orlando Sentinel Reporter Gray Rohrer

Miami Herald Reporter Kathleen McGrory

It’s About Florida: Legislative Preview

Feb 19, 2015

Today we’re speaking House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner. Our conversation comes two weeks before the start of the annual lawmaking session, and there are already bills moving through both chambers. Lawmakers will have to decide whether to accept billions in federal funding to insure more Floridians, and whether to renew a deal on gambling with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.  Our conversation with the state’s top legislative leaders, coming up on It’s About Florida.

Guest: House Speaker Steve Crisafulli

Senate President Andy Gardiner

It’s About Florida: Senator John Legg

Jan 15, 2015

Parents are protesting. School Districts are petitioning. Teachers are frustrated and now the state legislature is getting involved. The issue: the state of Florida’s school accountability and testing infrastructure. A model put in place 15 years ago has been experiencing frequent change during the past several years, and now lawmakers, and the Department of Education are asking the same question: which tests are really necessary?

Pages