Lynn Hatter

News Director

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has been a member of the WFSU news team since 2007 focusing on education and health care. She's an an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiatives.  When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.

This building is surrounded by the type of barbed wire that makes it difficult to climb over a fence. (Undated image)
Hédi Benyounes / UnSplash

Complaints about incarcerated women being denied basic hygiene products like pads and tampons has caught the attention of state lawmakers. Now Florida is poised to approve a bill making those products and others available to women at no cost.

View of downtown Tallahassee (undated)
Leon County Tourism/Visit Tallahassee / Visit Tallahassee

The City of Tallahassee is set to close on its purchase of the old Northwood Mall around May 20th. That $7.1 million purchase also includes the land the Hooters restaurant sits on, as well as one of the locations for Enterprise car rentals and three restaurants.  The city is also considering 68 proposed sites for a new Tallahassee Police Department location.

The St. Johns River
FL Division of Tourism via Florida Memory / Florida Memory

Tourism is Florida’s largest industry yet the agency that markets the state could soon be going away. As lawmakers hammer out details of a roughly $90 billion  spending plan, Visit Florida could find itself left out.

The March For Our Lives protest in Parkland, Florida, on March 24, 2018.
Casey Chapter / WFSU

An effort to let school districts choose whether to allow more classroom teachers to carry guns, has cleared the Senate. The broader bill incorporates recommendations from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission, which was tasked with examining the response and lead up to last year's Valentine’s Day School shooting in Parkland. 

A sign bearing the names of the 17 people killed during the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. (3/24/2018)
Lydell Rawls / WFSU News

Florida lawmakers are responding to a report on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland with a measure that addresses concerns raised in the 480-plus page report. Lawmakers say it’s "a good bill, but"—noting a divide over one portion that gives districts the option to allow classroom teachers to carry guns. The measure is now going before the full Senate amid controversy over the issue.

Visit Florida's budget has grown since 2004. So has the state's tourism numbers.
Visit Florida

Florida’s tourism and marketing agency could be going away if the Florida House has its way. It comes as tourism remains the state’s dominant industry, and the state continues recovering from toxic algae blooms and hurricanes. 

A classroom of empty desks
Pexels

Florida lawmakers hope to fill a teaching shortage by making it easier for people to become teachers. Rep. Ralph Massulo (R- Lecanto) notes in recent years school districts and administrators have raised concerns over the difficulty of finding, and keeping teachers in the classroom.

An infographic showing the number of active wildfires in the state
Florida Forest Service

North Florida is facing an increased risk of wildfires after Hurricane Michael, and the first major one has broken out in Bay County.  The fire is 50 percent contained, but officials worry with all the downed trees on the ground, more frequent and severe wildfires could be on the way.

The irony, says Bay County Incident Commander Bryce Thomas, is that most of the debris on the ground will be gotten rid of through burning, "but it’s got to be burned correctly by professionals…people need to be so, so careful right now.” 

AP Photo / John Raoux

Florida lawmakers approved a series of new laws last year cracking down on telemarketers. Those laws went into effect last summer, and addressed everything from unwanted voicemails to allowing phone companies to pre-emptively block robocalls. And yet, the bad calls are still happening.

Florida lawmakers say they want to crack down on human trafficking—specifically sex trafficking. And the legislature is considering increasing penalties on those who solicit for prostitution. Bills on the move would tackle the issue simultaneously.

The 2018 Florida Constitution Revision Commission. Group photo.
Constitution Revision Commission

State lawmakers appear heading toward abolishing the state’s Constitution Revision Commission. This after the latest incarnation of the group was roundly criticized for being overtly political.  The effort has generated a rare point of bipartisanship between lawmakers and advocacy groups who don’t normally agree on anything.

It’s been months since Hurricane Michael struck the Panhandle, carving a swath of damage from the Gulf to the Georgia state line. Recovery is expected to take years, even a decade or more and schools are feeling the pressure. Bay County Superintendent Bill Husfelt recently spoke before the State Board of Education, outlining some of the problems that have cropped up in the wake of the storm.

Jefferson Somerset's football team takes a knee ahead of a game. (undated photo).
Jefferson Somerset Academy / Jefferson County Schools

All 12 seniors on Jefferson County’s football team have been signed to college scholarships. It comes amid the district’s second year as the state’s first and only charter school district, and on the heels of a consolidation of schools into one facility. 

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Several controversial measures related to education are moving forward in Florida’s House and Senate.

View of downtown Tallahassee (undated)
Leon County Tourism/Visit Tallahassee / Visit Tallahassee

Tallahassee is being rated as one of the South’s Best cities, according to the lifestyle magazine Southern Living. It’s the first time the city has gotten the nod.

"Soul Train" was a fixture on FAMU's campus for nearly 30 years. He could be found on the school's "set" selling students snacks for a$1.
@marlonwalker / twitter.com

A Florida A&M University institution has passed away. News of “Soul Train’s” death began circulating Monday on social media.

peoriapublicradio.org

The Florida House and Senate are at odds over how to make good on Governor Ron DeSantis’s promise to eliminate a 13,000 student wait list for private school scholarships. 

Amid protestors stands a Milo supporter near the Union Green (2016).
Catherine Buckler / WFSU News

Are Florida’s public universities promoting intellectual freedom? Some state lawmakers don’t think so, and they want to survey schools on the issue. It’s part of a broader bill aimed at tweaking the way the schools are run and funded.

Savannah Parvu endured more than a decade of sexual abuse starting from when she was a child. Today, she's an advocate for survivors
Savanna Parvu / pintrist

Florida ranks among the top states for human trafficking and while there are no accurate figures as to the number of people involved in sex trafficking, experts say the state has a problem. But there are ways to mitigate it and the legislature appears keep on enacting most of them.

The 2017 death of a Florida State University fraternity pledge is prompting lawmakers to consider a change in the state’s hazing law. Spearheading the effort are the parents of Andrew Coffey along with Democratic State Senator Lauren Book. 

Former Tallahassee City Manager Rick Fernandez will be fined $6,000 by the Florida Ethics Commission. That settles a two-year ethics case over Fernandez’s acceptance of Florida State University football tickets.

hemp florida
Don Ryan / AP

Hemp is gaining inroads in Florida following national decriminalization. Now Florida A&M University is trying to get ahead of the burgeoning market.

In this Oct. 23, 2018 photo, Mark Ward surveys the destruction of his neighbor's mobile home in Bay County, Fla. Ward and his neighbors say that the rural parts of the county have seen little help since Hurricane Michael.
AP Photo / Tamara Lush

North Florida lawmakers are pushing a $315 million  Hurricane Michael recovery package. That’s in addition to the millions more in proposed recovery projects scattered across the counties hit by the storm. 

hospital building with many windows
Tom Flanigan

The Florida House is moving forward with a big healthcare agenda at the direction of Speaker Jose Oliva. But  that agenda clashes with healthcare providers who say it could lead to worse, not better care.

A woman sits at a wooden bench outdoors. She's holding a tablet in her hands (undated)
@rawpixel / Unsplash

The city of Tallahassee will explore the idea of creating another utility to offer internet services. But members of the commission are split on whether it’s a good idea. 

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