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.

Two bald men in dark suits pose side-by-side in a wood paneled office
Governor's Press Office

A member of Florida’s public school oversight board is taking a stand against arming teachers. In Wednesday’s State Board of Education meeting Michael Olenick called the move “wrong”. 

D'alemberte
Shawn Mulcahy / WFSU

Sandy D'Alemberte wore many hats during his life. The 85-year-old was an attorney, legal scholar, politician, university president and head of the American Bar Association. 

Cars on a road during Sunset
Xiaolong Wong / Unsplash

Governor Ron DeSantis has approved a measure that could pave the way for the state’s first major highway expansion in decades. The effort has been led by state Senate President Bill Galvano who pushed the roads as a way to aid in evacuations, promote growth in rural parts of the state and help transport an ever growing population. But environmentalists argue the idea could be a disaster for fragile ecosystems. 

Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna speaking with Bond Elementary school students during lunch.
Leon County Schools twitter

Florida lawmakers changed the way the state awards bonuses to high performing teachers and the way school district's receive money for safety and hardening upgrades. It's part of a new budget the legisalture recently approved that's set to roll out for the upcoming fiscal year.

Lake City ARNP Matthew Melvin is facing multiple felony charges for soliciting a minor and sexual assault. He's been booked into the Columbia County Jail (5/14/19)
Columbia County Jail / Columbia County Sheriffs Department

A Lake City Nurse Practitioner has been arrested for solicitation of a minor. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says Matthew Melvin has been booked into the Columbia County Jail.

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The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says Melvin worked as an advanced practice registered nurse at a Lake City clinic. The Department began investigating him on May 9TH after it received allegations Melvin sexually assaulted a male patient, who is a minor. Investigators say he touched the child and began sending sexual messages to the victim via Snapchat.

mounds of broken trees line streets as utility trucks and workers work to restore power.
Gulf Power

Florida’s utility regulator has approved rate increases for Gulf Power customers. The money will go to reimburse the company for power restoration efforts following Hurricane Michael. 

Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez is getting an office away from Tallahassee. Florida lawmakers are allowing Nunez to work remotely from South Florida. Nunez sees the move as a practical way to address the difficulty of travel to Tallahassee.

What remains of this home is a lonely, cream colored chair amid skeleton walls.
Robbie Gaffney / WFSU TV

A housing crisis has emerged in the wake of Hurricane Michael. Now state and federal money is on the way to address it as local residents and leaders are growing anxious and frustrated. 

Andrew Gillum, Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Florida, speaks during a campaign rally attended by Former President Barack Obama, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, in Miami.
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum says John Morgan should put his money where his mouth is. Morgan recently called out Gillum for keeping some $3 million in his campaign account -- money Morgan says Gillum should use to pay the restitution fees for former felons to help them regain their right to vote.

A group of people gather around a podium at a church
Governor's Press Office / Executive Office of the Governor

Governor Ron DeSantis has signed off two major pieces of education legislation this week. They include giving more teachers the option of carrying guns, and creating a new voucher program.

Tallahassee businessman J.T. Burnette has been indicted in an FBI probe into public corruption in the City of Tallahassee.

Former City Commissioner Scott Maddox and his former aide Paige Carter-Smith are already facing dozens of charges stemming from the inquiry. They’re accused of accepting bribes in exchange for votes and the FBI alleges Burnette was part of the scheme. 

People gathered on a tarmac in front of a plane, with it's stairs down.
Blaise Gainey / WFSU News

President Donald Trump came to Panama City Beach Wednesday. In his campaign rally he promised $448 million in housing funds for the area, which continues struggling seven months after Hurricane Michael hit North Florida.

mail-in ballots at the Leon County Supervisors of Elections office wait to go out (2018)
Tom Flanigan

A key elections bill backed by the state’s supervisors heading for final votes. The measure is meant to address issues stemming from the 2018 election but Democrats say it doesn’t do enough.

President Donald Trump’s is planning a campaign visit to Panama City. The Panama City News Herald reports emails show the city recently signed off on the event.  It will be the President’s first time in the area following a tour of the damage after Hurricane Michael. 

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.

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