Capital Report: 08-23-2019

Aug 26, 2019

Florida lawmakers have until Tuesday (Aug. 27) to say whether they support a special session on firearms legislation. Democrats have called for the move, but 60 percent of the lawmakers in both chambers would have to back it—an unlikely outcome in the state’s GOP controlled legislature. Regan McCarthy has more….

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran isn’t shy about his support for charter schools and the state’s private school voucher program. He championed school choice policies during his stint in the legislature. But his placement as chief of the state’s education system, is beginning to worry public school leaders. Recent comments about the future of public education has raised alarm bells for supporters of traditional public schools. Lynn Hatter reports.

Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing some felons to regain the right to vote. Early estimates predicted nearly 1.5 million felons would qualify. A new law regarding the amendment cuts that figure by half. Both the amendment and the law say felons should repay court-ordered restitution, fines and fees before they can register to vote. The American Civil Liberties Union has sued, claiming the requirements are a poll tax—something banned under the U.S. Constitution. Now, a judge is asking, if that’s the case, whether the amendment itself could be unconstitutional.  Capital Reporter Blaise Gainey caught up with Tampa Republican Representative Jamie Grant who drafted the enabling bill for the amendment, to get his thoughts.

Former Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox has been removed from that office by Governor Ron DeSantis. Maddox pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges. But the one-time state Democratic Party chair remains an active candidate for a state senator seat. Ryan Dailey spoke with several elections experts about what would bar candidates from getting onto a ballot.

Numerous films and TV shows have been filmed in Florida through the years, from Burn Notice and Miami Vice to The Truman Show and Scarface.   The state used to entice producers with financial incentives. But that program ended a few years ago, and many productions set in Florida have moved elsewhere.   But some of the state's largest counties are now offering their own incentives, as Bradley George reports.

What makes a musical instrument priceless? Some might say it’s a combination of age and craftsmanship. People who have spent their lives making music might think differently. WLRN’s Christine DiMattei brings us the story of two South Florida musicians born more than seven decades apart – but bound by a shared love of one special instrument.