Capital Report: 08-03-2012

Aug 6, 2012

Florida Education Chief Gerard Robinson has become the latest agency head to resign. Robinson had been on the job for only a year. He’s been under fire for his handling of changes to the state’s FCAT test that resulted in lower grades for students and schools. But his decision to step aside at the end of August is also raising questions about the state’s leadership under Governor Rick Scott—and why more than 10 agency heads have left their jobs.

Gambling in Florida takes many forms, whether it’s the state lottery, dog tracks with poker rooms or full-scale resort-casinos. This year, lawmakers tried to create a state gaming commission to regulate all the various options in a more uniform way. At the same time, they tried to invite huge new casinos to Miami. Those measures died, but as Jessica Palombo reports, some policy makers are already planning on how to attack the contentious issue of gambling again, even though the next legislative session is more than half-a-year away.

A Florida man who was exonerated of rape after spending 25 years in prison is behind bars once again….this time on charges of attempted murder. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, those who have gotten to know Alan Crotzer, who has become a champion for wrongly convicted prisoners, say the allegations against the former inmate seem out of character.

Florida’s more than 13 million dollar honeybee industry is being impacted by a new state law that’s taken effect this summer.  The measure dissolves local government bans on beekeeping, and puts apiary regulation entirely in the hands of state government.  As John Davis from member station WGCU in Fort Myers reports the move has been opposed by home-rule advocates, but it’s being celebrated by Florida’s growing number of backyard beekeepers.

Early voting kicked off for five Florida Counties on Monday. It starts for the rest of the state Saturday. Some worry it’s causing confusion for voters. And Regan McCarthy reports that’s the basis behind a lawsuit alleging Florida’s uneven application of a new voting law violates the state’s constitution.

Many Florida stores and malls will be busier than usual this weekend.  Tom Flanigan reports shoppers will be taking advantage of the state’s very popular sales tax holiday, a holiday that almost didn’t happen this year…