state news

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Steven Bittell has resigned following a Politico Florida story containing allegations of “creepy” behavior toward women. Six anonymous women accuse Bittell of leering, making suggestive comments and creating an uncomfortable working climate.

Capital Report

Feb 20, 2013

Capital Report is the longest-lived, most comprehensive radio coverage of the Florida Legislature in existence.

Fire Marshal: No Investigation into Fla. Capitol Fire

Jul 16, 2012

The Florida Fire Marshal will not investigate a fire that happened last year at the Florida Capitol. The Fire Marshal director announced his decision on Monday in a letter responding to a request from the lawyer of a former staffer in Fla. Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll’s office.

Florida Governor Rick Scott says he was once mistaken for a dead person and taken off the state’s voter rolls.

Scott, who’s name is Richard Lynn Scott, had been confused with a Richard E. Scott. The two share the same birthday. Scott and says he presented his ID to elections officials to prove he was still alive.

Over a month after Governor Rick Scott approved a bill creating Florida’s twelfth university, the plan is moving forward. But Florida Polytechnic University isn’t out of the woods yet.

During the Florida Board of Governors’ meeting Friday, members discussed the progress of the new school. Board member Morteza Hosseini says new concerns have arisen about the transfer of the school’s property from the University of South Florida.

The state teacher’s union says the Florida Department of Education and State Board of Education exceeded their authority in setting out rules for districts to follow in crafting new teacher evaluations used to determine who gets merit pay bonuses.The union took its case to an administrative law judge Wednesday.

“The challenge is that they have exceeded the authority they were delegated," said attorney Tony Demma, who represents the Florida Education Association and two teachers in the case.

A panel created by Governor Rick Scott to conduct a review of Florida’s public universities met for the first time Wednesday to start reviewing the university system’s governance model and the relationship between the Board of Governors and the universities.  Scott created the panel after vetoing a bill that would have let Florida State and the University of Florida charge higher tuition rates than the other state schools.

Leon County School Officials say the steep decline in scores on the FCAT Writing test will have an impact on school grades. But they don’t know how big that impact will be. Lynn Hatter reports, this year nearly 75-percent of all students taking the writing exam failed it, prompting the state board of education to hold an emergency hearing Tuesday to reduce the passing score from a 4 to a three.

Governor Rick Scott has created a panel to examine Florida’s public universities.

The move comes after Scott vetoed a piece of legislation that would have allowed Florida State University and the University of Florida to charge higher tuition rates than other state universities. The measure also laid out a set of benchmarks for all schools to meet if they wanted the extra tuition authority.

The state’s university system saw its budget reduced by $300 million dollars this year, even as the state created a 12th public university.

The state University System of Florida is looking for 13 people to head the state’s newest public university. The Florida Board of Governor’s announced Tuesday that it is now accepting applications for members to be appointed to the board that will govern Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland.

Here’s part of what the Board of Governor’s is saying about its search process:

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would require the state attorney general’s office to defend teachers in certain legal cases. But, Regan McCarthy reports not all teachers are behind the move.

A bill that claims to be aimed at protecting teachers made its first committee stop today. The bill, sponsored by Representative Jeffery Brandes, a Republican from St. Petersburg would require the attorney general to defend a teacher in certain legal cases.

Lawmakers are continuing their review of higher education and talking with more of the state university presidents. The talks are happening in the House Higher Education Committee, where, as Lynn Hatter reports, differences between the schools are starting to emerge, especially when it comes to issues like tuition increases for STEM degrees. 

Florida’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten and School Readiness programs are designed to help children get ready for kindergarten.  In order to give them an educational jump-start, the state spends more than a billion dollars a year to educate them using private providers. But a recent audit reveals the state may be losing millions to potential fraud.  Lynn Hatter reports a House education committee heard a damaging audit report from state officials that includes charges of financial mismanagement and poor oversight.

While Florida prides itself on student progress on the FCAT, when it comes to national reports, educational achievement is stagnant. Lynn Hatter reports that's one of the reasons why Ed Week Magazine dropped the state to 11th in terms of education quality. That's seven spots down from its record fifth place finish last year. The report also cites a drop in state education spending.