Gina Jordan

Morning Edition Host

Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. She left after a few years to spend more time with her son, working part-time as the capital reporter/producer for WLRN Public Media in Miami and as a drama teacher at Young Actors Theatre. She also blogged and reported for StateImpact Florida, an NPR education project, and produced podcasts and articles for AVISIAN Publishing. Gina has won awards for features, breaking news coverage, and newscasts from contests including the Associated Press, Green Eyeshade, and Murrow Awards. Gina is on the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Board of Directors. Gina is thrilled to be back at WFSU! In her free time, she likes to read, travel, and watch her son play football. Follow Gina Jordan on Twitter: @hearyourthought

Scott Mazur is sitting and looking to the side as people are at tables behind him
Leon Classroom Teachers Association

The Leon Classroom Teachers Association (LCTA) met with Leon County school leaders this week to resume salary negotiations for the current school year and next year.

Negotiations stalled after Governor Ron DeSantis announced a desire to increase the pay of starting teachers to $47,500.

Rebekka Behr and Robert Latham stand back to back with their arms crossed inside the Capitol. The space behind them has colorful decorations for Children's Week.
Robert Latham

A series of bills about the foster care system is moving through the Florida Legislature.

Rebekka Behr is focused on the Foster Youth Bill of Rights, which she says will take “all the rights that are already in law and (place) them into one document so that it makes it easier for youth to understand what their rights are as well as those in their case plan.”

It’s important for Behr, who aged out of Florida’s foster care system. She’s now 21-years-old and serves as the fundraising chair for Florida Youth Shine (FYS), a youth-led advocacy group working to improve the child welfare system.

LinkedIn

Update: 

In a statement issued Wednesday night, Keith Powell withdrew from the position of Independent Ethics Officer. 

“I am sorry if my past comments offended members of this community. This was never my intent,” he said. “For 32 years, I have had the honor to serve as an investigator with the Florida Commission on Ethics, and I have always done so with impartiality and professionalism. In this role, I have never been concerned with issues related to right versus left, but merely those involving right versus wrong.”

Sign with the words "now hiring" stands in the grass near a street.
Free To Use Sounds/Unsplash

Update: 

Sen. Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) and Rep. Cord Byrd (R-Jacksonville Beach) have filed compromise bills that would require public employers - not private - to use E-Verify for potential hires.

Original Story: 

Florida lawmakers banned sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants last year. Now, Governor Ron DeSantis wants all employers to use the federal E-Verify system to make sure their workers are legally eligible to work in the United States.

Previous efforts requiring private employers to use E-Verify have failed in Florida, and Republican lawmakers are trying again.

First Amendment Foundation

The Tallahassee-based First Amendment Foundation has a new leader. Pamela Marsh took over this month from the retiring Barbara Petersen, who will stick around for a while as a consultant.

Marsh is the former U-S Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. She has more than 20 years of legal experience and is a shareholder at the Ausley McMullen law firm in Tallahassee.

Person wearing white doctor's coat stands with arms crossed holding a stethoscope.
Online Marketing/Unsplash

For years, Florida’s Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) have tried to convince lawmakers to let them set up offices independent of physicians. Doctor groups have largely opposed the move, but a lawmaker who happens to be an emergency medicine physician isn’t giving up.

Nikki Fried poses for a picture at her desk flanked by state and national flags
fdacs.gov / FL Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) has been without a commissioner since last spring.  This week, the Florida Cabinet voted to change that with the appointment of Russell Weigel, a securities lawyer from Coral Gables.  One Cabinet member withheld her vote, however, questioning whether the decision was made according to Florida’s open government Sunshine Law.

Trey Price sits at a table with a notebook and microphone in front of him. He heads the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. It was created by the state Legislature more than 30 years ago to help provide affordable housing opportunities.
Florida Housing

Governor Ron DeSantis’ proposed state budget would fully fund Florida’s two affordable housing programs. He is recommending that all $387 million be used for housing needs.

The Florida Legislature created the affordable housing programs in 1992 by raising the documentary stamp tax on real estate transactions.

The money is supposed to be split between two programs, but it often gets sent elsewhere.

Old houses sit with Apalachee Parkway in the background, circa 1960's
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

As an old neighborhood in Tallahassee is being demolished to extend a new road called FAMU Way, some call the changes progress. It’s the latest effort to make improvements to a poor area of the city near the historically black Florida A&M University. Others use the word gentrification, and it’s a move we’ve seen before.

NPR’s Shankar Vedantam sits on a stage laughing with another man in an interview setting.
NPR

NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast recently celebrated its fourth anniversary, and the radio show is now two years old. We regularly hear the host, Shankar Vedantam, on Morning Edition as NPR's social science correspondent.

Vedantam also wrote the book, The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives.

We recently spoke with him about his work.

Florida Gov. Ron Desantis gives his state of the state address on the first day of legislative session, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Steve Cannon / AP Photo

We now know why the Republican Party of Florida suddenly postponed its biggest fundraiser of the year yesterday.

The Statesman's Dinner was supposed to happen in less than two weeks in Orlando, but the party said in a tweet that the event will take place later this year.

FAF President Barbara Petersen stands behind a podium with a microphone as she addresses the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters awards gala in Orlando on April 13, 2019.
www.floridaapawards.org / Florida Associated Press Broadcasters

For 25 years, Barbara Petersen has served as president of the Tallahassee-based First Amendment Foundation (FAF). She’s been on a continuous quest to keep government dealings in the sunshine and hold lawmakers accountable when they withhold records from the public.

She’s retiring from the job at the end of the year. Her replacement is Pamela Marsh, a former US Attorney in North Florida.

We recently spoke with Petersen about what’s at stake as a new leader is ready to take up the cause.

This is a stretch of Fort Lauderdale beach with water, sand, chairs with umbrellas, palm trees, and a road nearby with motorists. This beach may look very different in the coming year due to sea level rise.
Lance Asper/Unsplash

More evidence of a shift in thinking arose this week among Florida’s Republican leaders when it comes to climate change.

A Senate committee held a panel discussion focused on climate change forecasts and how state agencies should prepare.

Three words that were largely kept under wraps by legislative leadership before the last election quickly emerged during the meeting: sea level rise.

Katherine Magbanua speaking to her attorney Tara Kawass Thursday, Sept. 27, 2019, in Tallahassee, Florida, during the murder trial for Markel's death.
Alicia Devine, Pool / Tallahassee Democrat

Closing arguments are being heard in the Dan Markel murder trial.

The FSU law professor was shot to death in the garage of his midtown Tallahassee home five years ago.

Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman spent the morning laying out a case against Markel’s former in-laws and their connection to the defendants, Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua.

“It’s relevant for you to understand the role all these people played, the motive for this crime, in order for make a determination about the guilt of the two folks who are on trial here today," she told jurors.

Trees are broken and crumbled onto a house in a Panama City neighborhood after Hurricane Michael.
Briney King

One year after Category 5 Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, children and adults are still struggling with the catastrophe and the changes. Homes and schools were damaged, livelihoods were destroyed, and recovery has been slow.

Michael was Tanner Livingston’s first hurricane. “When they still talk about hurricanes, I’m still afraid of them,” he says during an open house at Deer Point Elementary, where he’s a kindergartner.

The family’s Lynn Haven home in Bay County was damaged, and Tanner recounts in detail what happened after they hid in his mom’s closet.

Progressive Pediatric students Roderick Branch and Walker Johnson are standing behind large trays of food during a field trip at the Maclay School dining hall.
Beth Spear/Progressive Pediatric

There’s a vision of a place in Tallahassee where kids and adults with disabilities can learn and work. Plans are underway to make Lifetown a reality, and two fundraisers this month will help.

Man rests elbows on window panel and he looks out
Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

The Florida Legislature has wrapped up its first week of meetings ahead of the regular session that begins in January. Lawmakers took time during their first Committee Week to consider the causes of mass violence and how mental illness could play a part. Those discussions came amid a request for more mental health funding for schools.

A sign inside a shop says "Come in, we're open."
Richard Balog/Unsplash

Florida is among the worst states for companies being sued, according to a new Harris Poll.

The 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey ranks the states on how business executives feel about the fairness of state court systems – and Florida ranks 46th.

The words "it's no joke" are printed over newspaper clipping about arrests being made for school threats.
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice

The state wants kids to understand the trouble they can get into by making school threats. So, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has launched an awareness campaign called “It’s No Joke.”

Nearly 800 Florida kids were charged with offenses related to school threats in the last fiscal year.

Christina and Brian Stanton pose on their Manhattan terrace with the Twin Towers in the background.
Provided by Christina Ray Stanton

As we come upon the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, many young adults don’t know much about the attacks or how the culture in America changed afterward.

Tallahassee native Christina Ray Stanton has been a resident of New York City for more than 25 years. She recently published a book about her experience on 9/11 and how it transformed her life. 

Actor Tony Hale and Young Actors Theatre founder Tina Williams smile for the camera. They are formally dressed at a fundraiser Hale hosted for the theatre in February.
Sally Sox Photography

Full disclosure: The reporter is among Tony's old friends from YAT and Leon High School.

Emmy-winning actor and Tallahassee native Tony Hale (Arrested Development, Veep) is debuting a series on September 6th on Netflix. He stars and executive produces "Archibald’s Next Big Thing," which is based on a children’s book he wrote five years ago.

The story is about a chicken whose insecurities and hopes for the future cause him to miss out on wonderful events happening right in front of him.

Inside of a mall with very few shoppers.
Marcin Kempa/Unsplash

Analysts say chances are increasing that Florida will enter a recession soon.

“Currently, Florida’s probability of being in a recession in the next 9 months is 34.2%,” says Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Jerry Parrish.

The number is from The Florida Scorecard, the chamber foundation’s online tool that identifies and tracks key metrics important to Florida’s economy.

Three buses are parked in a row.
Tom Chamberlain on Unsplash

The Leon County School Board had questions last night for a representative from the company hired to create safer and more efficient bus routes.

School buses are parked in a row, ready for drivers.
Steve Harvey / Unsplash

The first day of school in Leon County was a transportation nightmare for district buses.

A new program for planning school bus routes turned out to be a ‘colossal failure’ according to Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna.

Leon Superintendent Rocky Hanna stands at a podium on the Florida Capitol steps with fist raised. He is flanked by protesters with signs protesting gun violence.
Bob Howard/flickr

School districts are working to make sure students and educators have a safe learning environment when classes begin.  Districts have to comply with school safety laws enacted after the mass shooting in Parkland. Requirements include having armed guards on campus.

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