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

Thediamondguest/flickr

Final invoices are going out this week to SunPass customers who got caught in a billing backlog.

The problem began with a trouble-plagued update to the state’s toll road system, and issues that have bedeviled a SunPass contractor since last June still haven’t been completely worked out.

As the last invoices were being readied, the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee got an update on the Sunpass debacle.

Roman Boed/flickr

The Florida Supreme Court has reversed course on a case regarding a minimum wage ordinance in Miami Beach.

Last year, the high court agreed to consider whether the city should be allowed to set its own minimum wage. Now, with three new justices on the bench, the court has decided not to hear the case. That means the lower court ruling against the city stands.

A man in a brown suit speaks at a podium. In back of him is a colorful wall.
FEA / twitter.com

Governor Ron DeSantis says he wants to get rid of all remnants of Common Core standards in Florida’s public schools.

At a high school in Cape Coral Thursday, DeSantis gave his newly appointed education commissioner some marching orders.

“We are doing an executive order that is going to instruct Commissioner Corcoran to get to work and come up with good standards for the state of Florida which will include eliminating Common Core and the vestiges of Common Core,” DeSantis said.

Common Core standards provide benchmarks for what students should learn in math and English by the end of each grade. Five years ago, Republican leaders made some changes to the benchmarks and dumped the name Common Core, opting instead for Florida Standards.

Telogia Creek/flickr

Police have made an arrest in two murders on Tallahassee’s south side. The latest victim was found last Saturday.

The suspect made his first court appearance Tuesday morning. 54-year-old Philip Ford is being held without bond.

Matthew Jones/flickr

Lawmakers are being asked to consider two competing proposals surrounding access to dental care. One would allow mid-level practitioners to be licensed, while the other would provide incentives to would-be dentists.

A coalition called Floridians for Dental Access wants the Florida Legislature to allow licenses for dental therapists.

Therapists have more training than a dental hygienist and less training than a dentist. They can perform services like filling cavities and pulling teeth.

Hard Quotes/flickr

Florida’s Bright Futures scholarship program may be getting a $25-million boost. Lawmakers will consider a request next week by the Department of Education to increase funding due to higher-than-expected student participation.

The News Service of Florida reports the program got $520-million this year for merit-based scholarships to high school students who attend a Florida college or university.  

The requested increase comes as student loan debt has jumped in Florida in recent years. Orlando, Tampa, and Miami are among the top cities nationally that had the biggest jumps.

Dorioneill/flickr

A law that went into effect last July requires medical providers to check a statewide database before prescribing opioids for patients. Now, lawmakers are being asked to consider an exemption for doctors whose patients are terminally ill.

The law, known as House Bill 21 (HB21), targets controlled substances that are labeled as Schedule II or higher. That includes painkillers like OxyContin and codeine. These drugs are classified as having a high potential for abuse.

anu.edu.au

Governor-elect Ron DeSantis officially takes office on Tuesday.

The former Congressman stuck with Fox News as his media outlet of choice during the campaign, and he largely stayed quiet during the election recount.

Since then, his transition teams have been crafting policy plans.

edr.state.fl.us

Last week, a Florida Senate committee heard that a potential surplus of more than $220-million had likely disappeared for next year’s state budget because of Hurricane Michael.

This week, the outlook turned more positive, with analysts projecting a significant increase in state revenue over two years.

Budget analysts periodically meet inside a building next to the Capitol for what’s known as the Revenue Estimating Conference.


CareerSource Capital Region

It’s a job seeker’s market. The tri-county region of Leon, Gadsden, and Wakulla has an unemployment rate of 2.9 percent. Help wanted signs are common, and it’s even worse for businesses that need extra help over the holidays.

CareerSource Capital Region CEO Jim McShane says his staff continues the push to match companies with workers who have the needed skills.

FilmFlorida.org

Florida’s share of film and television productions is waning as the state no longer offers tax credits for the industry. A new analysis finds Florida lawmakers may have good reason to reconsider those incentives.

The HBO series “Ballers” starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was filmed in South Florida for its first two seasons. Then it moved to California – after Florida’s film tax credit program ended in 2016. The show is still going strong, now working on its fifth season.

Florida Legislature

The Florida Legislature convened in Tallahassee before the Thanksgiving holiday for an organizational session. New lawmakers were sworn in, and new leaders were installed.

Chief Justice Charles Canady administered the oath of office to senators in groups of five. Then,  Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) was nominated unopposed to be the 88th Florida Senate President. Galvano was elected to the chamber in 2012 and previously served in the Florida House. 

IEM

Weeks after Category 4 Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Panhandle, some displaced residents say FEMA has been slow to respond.

So, we asked former Florida Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon to explain the process of local, state, and government response.

Koon was a Governor Rick Scott appointee who may be best known for the controversy surrounding the Scott administration’s unofficial edict banning the term “climate change” from official communications.

The Florida Channel

Fundraising began this week for a state-sanctioned scholarship program that helps victims of bullying and other mistreatment at school.

The Hope Scholarship program for K – 12 students is part of a sweeping education law passed by the Florida Legislature last March and signed by Governor Rick Scott.

When the legislative session opened in January, House Speaker Richard Corcoran gave an impassioned speech about education.

Aglez the city guy/flickr

A minimum wage case before the Florida Supreme Court will determine whether Miami Beach can move ahead with an ordinance passed by the city commission in 2016.

The issue is whether a 2003 state law stopping local governments from setting their own minimum wage supersedes a 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment.

Miami Beach city commissioners voted to phase in a higher minimum wage that would reach $13.31 an hour by 2021. That would be about $5 more an hour than the state’s minimum wage.

www.miamibeachchamber.com

The City of Miami Beach is in a battle with the state that could impact hundreds of Florida municipalities. It’s about home rule and the city’s ability to set its own policy when it comes to wages.

Florida’s minimum wage is $8.25 an hour. The amount may go up each year based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.

Miami Beach leaders voted two years ago to approve a higher minimum wage than the state.

Man who yelled, threated FAMU students with gun at Stadium Centre apartments in Tallahassee is being investigated for aggravated assault.
youtube.com`

Tallahassee police are getting calls and emails from around the world after a cellphone video taken at the Stadium Centre Apartments on Gaines Street went viral.

A man whose name hasn’t been released is seen confronting a group of FAMU students trying to get into the building last weekend. 

The video contains graphic language.

Twitter

Florida voters have clear choices among the major party candidates for governor.

Conservative Republican Ron DeSantis and progressive Democrat Andrew Gillum couldn’t be more different in their ideologies, and that could leave a large swath of voters scratching their heads in November.

Maks Brankovic/flickr

Florida is $21 billion in debt.

State leaders were actually happy to hear that number at the most recent Florida Cabinet meeting.

The amount of money owed on initiatives like transportation and environmental projects has fallen in recent years, bolstered in part by low interest rates and the economy.

Gina Jordan/WFSU

The Consolidated Dispatch Agency (CDA) is on an uphill climb as it works to overcome a series of tragic errors and fill vacant positions.

The agency ran into trouble soon after it was created in 2013. It endured some high profile technical problems that were blamed, in part, for the shooting death of Leon County deputy Chris Smith as he responded to a house fire.

The CDA was also blamed for bumbled responses in the Betton Hills murder of a Florida State University law professor and a shooting at FSU’s Strozier Library.

Now, a new interim director is at the helm. Steve Harrelson has soent nearly 30 years with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. He’s also the CDA’s fourth director in five years. He says his priorities include fully staffing the dispatch floor – where 500,000 calls are answered annually - and boosting morale.

LockwoodLawFirm.com

Several legal actions happened this week involving medical marijuana in Florida.

One ruling found that the state can’t limit the number of medical marijuana treatment centers, known as MMTC’s. In other words, that means no caps on the number of dispensaries.

talgov.com

Millions of dollars in renovations are underway at the Tallahassee International Airport as more travelers are staying in town to catch their flights.

June’s passenger count was more than 12 percent higher than traffic a year ago. Airport leaders credit the city’s non-stop service to Washington, DC and the economy for the increase.

Florida Chamber of Commerce

Business owners in Florida are worried about the quality of the state’s workforce.

A survey by the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council shows an ongoing trend of employers being concerned about finding enough skilled and educated workers.

sunpass.com

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) began upgrading its Sunpass toll system on June 1st. Since then, Sunpass users have been racking up charges but not getting the bill.

The Maryland-based company Conduent State & Local Solutions was scheduled to finish work on the system by June 11th. Yet more than a month later, it still isn’t fully operational.

Bill Hollimon, P.A.

Former Tallahassee City Manager Rick Fernandez was forced to resign in January, and the fallout from the ethics case against him is spreading.

Fernandez is accused of ethical violations involving the acceptance of free FSU football tickets and a big catering discount from the city-backed Edison restaurant.

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