Capital Report: 10-25-2019

Oct 25, 2019

Scott Israel’s lawyer argued against last minute introductions of new materials that show the Broward Sheriffs department lost its accreditation following Parkland, and that the department’s union voted no-confidence in Israel. Still, the former sheriff’s ouster may not be permanent. Israel has announced plans to run for re-election. And Gov. Ron DeSantis says if Israel wins, he won’t suspend him again.

Florida Public Media station WLRN has been closely following the case. The station’s Caitie Switalski and Christine DiMattei discuss the developments.

Under a potential law, teens in Florida would need consent from their parents to get an abortion. Abortion-rights advocates gave lawmakers an earful Tuesday. Robbie Gaffney has more.

For 25 years, Barbara Petersen has served as president of the First Amendment Foundation. She’s been on a continuous quest to keep government dealings in the sunshine and hold lawmakers accountable when they withhold records from the public.  She’s retiring from the job at the end of the year. Her replacement is Pamela Marsh, a former US Attorney in North Florida. Gina Jordan sat down with Barbara Petersen about what’s at stake as a new leader is ready to take up the cause.

Most Florida felons had their voting rights restored after the passage of 2018’s Amendment 4. Earlier this year the legislature put in place a law that tied rights restoration to repayment of all fines and fees. But, a ruling from U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle says the state can’t deny the right to vote based on a failure to pay, as long as a person genuinely can’t. WFSU’s Blaise Gainey spoke with Supervisor of Elections, and a Clerk of court to see how a felon would go about registering to vote.

With legislators back in Tallahassee for their respective committees, State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees has been giving updates on the health challenges facing Florida. Ryan Dailey reports Rivkees warns lawmakers that vaping-related illnesses in the Sunshine State are ticking up in number.

Housing remains a major issue in the Panhandle following Hurricane Michael. The storm destroyed many of the homes –leaving families doubled up in partially destroyed homes, living in camping trailers or in some cases, even tents. Repairs are moving slowly—partly because many of the homes in the area were not insured and saving up to rebuild takes time. But that’s not the only reason for the delay. Construction crews are overworked, and with no place to stay, new crews can’t come into the area. But, as Regan McCarthy reports a new infusion of cash is heading to the Panhandle specifically to help rebuild homes and rental properties for low income earners.

Finally tonight, We’ll stay in the Panhandle a little bit longer. Insurance fights, absentee ownership and a shortage of contract laborers have slowed recovery in the Panhandle. As W-F-S-U’s Valerie Crowder reports another reason some residents are still struggling to rebuild or repair their homes and businesses is because they lack proof of legal ownership to their properties...