Capital Report

Fridays, 6:30 pm ET & 9:00 pm ET

WFSU/Florida Public Radio reporters, as well as reporters from public radio stations across the state, bring you timely news and information from around Florida. Whether it's legislative maneuvers between legislative sessions, the economy, environmental issues, tourism, business or the arts, Capital Report gives information on issues that affect the lives of everyday Floridians.

Capital Report is broadcast each Friday at 6:30 pm and 9:00pm ET on 88.9FM - WFSU Tallahassee, 5:30 pm CT on 89.1FM -WFSW Panama City and on public radio stations across the state (check local listings).

During Florida Legislative Session: Weekdays 6:30 pm & 9:00 pm ET - 88.9FM WFSU Tallahassee & Weekdays 5:30 pm CT - 89.1FM WFSW Panama City and on public radio stations across the state (check local listings).

Capital Report: 04-22-2019

Apr 22, 2019

A bill that opens the door for industrial hemp farming in Florida is ready for the floor in both the House and Senate. Regan McCarthy has more....

Gummy Bears, Oils, cocktails and icecream. Products with CBD in them have become ubiquitous in the Sunshine State. The Chemical CBD comes from the cannibus plant, and as WLRN’s Danny Rivero reports, that’s leaving South Florida business owners to operate in a gray area.

Environmental groups gathered at the Capitol Monday, to suggest ideas on how Governor Ron DeSantis can advance clean energy. Gabrielle Bolden reports.

Capital Report: 04-19-2019

Apr 19, 2019

Governor Ron DeSantis has reached his 100 days in office. And for the most part, he’s getting good marks from the public. The new governor promised sweeping changes in the way the state addresses the environment education and, as Lynn Hatter reports, some of those promises require state lawmakers to back him up.

The Florida Senate is moving forward with certificate of need repeal. But some call the move a dramatic shift that overturns weeks of work. Shawn Mulcahy reports the plan to scrap hospital regulations points to a bigger picture about the legislative process.

Capital Report: 04-18-2019

Apr 18, 2019

Republican State representative Jaimie Grant says there’s too much room in the state’s rules regarding petition drives. He wants to close what he says are loopholes. But others see the effort as a way to restrict citizen-driven changes to the state’s governing document. And as Lynn Hatter reports, those warring views clashed Thursday in a Florida house hearing.

Ryan Dailey has been following the many changes that took place in a Senate committee today in a sweeping education reform bill and talks over the highlights with Tom Flanigan.

Capital Report: 04-17-2019

Apr 17, 2019

Residents of Panama City and other areas of the Florida Panhandle that were walloped by Hurricane Michael came to legislators’ doorstep to make some noise Tuesday. Ryan Dailey reports half a year after the storm, the area is desperate for funding to help schools, debris removal and housing.

Shawn Mulcahy has been following the efforts of the Legislature to phase out the Community Redevelopment agencies used by local governments to battle blight in specific areas of their jurisdictions.  He provides the whys and wherefores to Tom Flanigan.

Capital Report: 04-16-2019

Apr 16, 2019

Two large criminal justice reform bills are moving through the Florida Legislature. Ryan Dailey reports backers of the similar bills in both chambers are going through negotiations down the stretch to position a final measure for passage.

Women should have better access to long-acting contraceptive—that’s according to Boynton Beach Democratic Senator Lori Berman who is sponsoring a bill moving through the Florida legislature. Regan McCarthy has more.

Capital Report: 04-15-2019

Apr 15, 2019

Panhandle leaders are growing frustrated at the slow pace of recovery from Hurricane Michael. They say residents of the storm-battered region are becoming disenchanted, both from inaction at the federal level, and now, from the state. And as Lynn Hatter reports, they’re calling for someone—anyone, to step in.

Capital Report: 04-12-2019

Apr 12, 2019

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano wants to see three major highways extended to more rural areas of the state in an effort to drive investment into those areas, but as the plan gains traction it’s unclear whether those roads will ever be built. Lynn Hatter has more.


The legislature is working to implement a constitutional amendment that bans vaping in indoor workplaces. But another vaping proposal appears dead for this session.

A House committee this week shot down a bill that would have changed the definition of “tobacco products” to include nicotine products and devices that dispense them.

“In the last few years according to the FDA, electronic nicotine delivery systems has become an epidemic with youth," bill sponsor Rep. Mike Hill (R-Pensacola) told the committee. "One in 4 seniors in high school have been using it, and one in 10 youth in middle school have been using it.”

Capital Report: 04-11-2019

Apr 11, 2019

Florida lawmakers are responding to a report on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting with a measure that addresses concerns raised in its 480-plus pages. 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. Lynn Hatter reports, the measure is now going before the Full Senate amid controversy over the issue.

Capital Report: 04-10-2019

Apr 10, 2019

It was a vote heard ‘round the legislature this week, when the Senate Minority Leader voted down on a bill looking to add protections from anti-Semitism discrimination in public schools. Ryan Dailey reports Senator Audrey Gibson is now walking back comments made in committee.

The Senate Industry, Innovation and Technology Committee approved a measure clearing the way for legal hemp…again. Shawn Mulcahy reports a similar bill creating a state hemp program has one more stop before the floor.

Capital Report: 04-09-2019

Apr 9, 2019

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. Lynn Hatter has more.

A Florida House bill that looks to crack down on human trafficking may be getting some changes before its next committee stop. Ryan Dailey reports Representative Heather Fitzenhagen’s bill passed the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday.         

Capital Report: 04-08-2019

Apr 8, 2019

A bill requiring minors to receive parental consent before having an abortion cleared its first Senate Committee Monday. Shawn Mulcahy reports the House version has one more stop before the floor.

New Agency for Health Care Administration secretary Mary Mayhew got her second positive vote of confirmation from a Senate committee today. Ryan Dailey reports Mayhew faced another tough line of questioning, but won over a previously 'no' Democratic vote.

Capital Report: 04-05-2019

Apr 5, 2019

Housing is scarce and evictions in the Panhandle are on the rise, leaving many with nowhere to go. Robbie Gaffney visited one of the hardest-hit areas.

When Hurricane Michael swept through North Florida and the Panhandle, it took out more than just buildings and utilities. The region’s healthcare system was nearly crippled. Lynn Hatter speaks with Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center CEO Brad Griffin about weathering the storm—and coming up with contingency plans.

That was Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center CEO Brad Griffin.  He was interviewed by Lynn Hatter.

Capital Report: 04-04-2019

Apr 4, 2019

Governor Ron DeSantis’ pick to head the Agency for Healthcare Administration, Mary Mayhew, passed her first Senate confirmation hearing Thursday. Ryan Dailey reports Mayhew briefly oversaw Medicaid for the Trump administration, and was over the program in Maine for seven years prior. Some Senators grilled Mayhew on her noted opposition to Medicaid.

Capital Report: 04-03-2019

Apr 3, 2019

A measure that would require minors to receive parental consent before getting an abortion cleared its second House committee Wednesday [today]. Shawn Mulcahy has the story.

Florida’s elections once again made headlines last year amid several hotly-contested races. Now the state house and senate are pushing bills to change the process for the future.  Blaise Gainey has more.

Mental health has been a frequent topic at the Capitol following more tragic news from Parkland. Two students who survived last year's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre took their own lives last month. 

The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald bureau reports that while the Legislature allocated $69 million for student mental health after the tragedy, almost none of it went to suicide prevention. But some lawmakers have begun to study prevention programs.

Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-Estero) chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee. He's troubled by a recent report of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. In mid-February as his panel heard a presentation on suicide, he pointed to data showing Americans' life expectancy had dropped for the third year in a row.

Capital Report: 04-02-2019

Apr 2, 2019

The Senate Education Committee advanced a has advanced a bill to explore what it calls “intellectual freedom” on college campuses, drawing the most debate of any item at its meeting. Ryan Dailey reports other measures had an easier time being pushed through the committee Tuesday.

It seems education wasn’t the only priority on the minds of Florida’s state senators today.

Capital Report: 04-01-2019

Apr 1, 2019

For Bay County in Northwest Florida, the week got off to not-such-a-great start over the weekend.  As Lynn Hatter reports, a wildfire, accelerated by thousands of tons of trees downed by Hurricane Michael back in October, scorched more than six-hundred acres. And far worse may be on the way.

Governor Ron DeSantis is tapping a doctor from the University of Florida to lead the state Department of Health. Shawn Mulcahy reports DeSantis is looking to continue the fight against opioid addiction.

Capital Report: 03-29-2019

Mar 29, 2019

A measure moving through Florida’s House and Senate looks to add student immunization records to the Department of Health’s existing database. Ryan Dailey reports amendments to the bill would let parents opt out of being listed on the registry, but critics are still skeptical on whether their privacy is protected.

Margie Menzel/WFSU

The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program represents abused, abandoned, and neglected children in the state's dependency courts. Minority children are disproportionately represented there. So the program is turning to Florida A&M University's School of Journalism and Graphic Communications for help in recruiting volunteers who are male, young, or members of minority groups.

Last year, Guardian ad Litem (GAL) represented more than 39,000 children with about 13,000 volunteers. The average volunteer tends to be older, female, and white.

Capital Report: 03-28-2019

Mar 28, 2019

Legislators want to close a loophole they say bad actors are exploiting, ultimately leading to insurance rates increasing across the state. A bill heading to the House floor would address the issue. Blaise Gainey reports, lawmakers and the Chief Financial Officer of Florida are now focused on stopping those so-called bad actors.

Capital Report: 03-27-2019

Mar 27, 2019

A bill exempting recordings of mass shootings from the public record cleared the Senate Wednesday [today]. Shawn Mulcahy reports the House version is headed to that chamber’s floor.

The Florida League of mayors brought municipality heads to the Capitol Wednesday to oppose preemption bills this legislative session. Ryan Dailey reports about 30 mayors also met with Attorney General Ashley Moody to discuss Florida’s mental health system.

Capital Report: 03-26-2019

Mar 26, 2019

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. Lynn Hatter reports bills now on the move would tackle both issues simultaneously.

Capital Report: 03-25-2019

Mar 25, 2019

Lawmakers in the Senate today (Monday) passed a bill that would implement Amendment 4, which allows certain felons to vote. But as Blaise Gainey reports proponents of the amendment argue it’s self-enacting and the bill that passed not only isn’t needed but also may not meet constitutional muster.

Some Florida lawmakers say it’s too easy to change the state’s constitution. They want to raise the bar in an effort to keep what they say are policy changes out of document that lays the ground work for Florida’s government. Regan McCarthy has more….

Capital Report: 03-22-2019

Mar 22, 2019

In the shattered remnants of the old Florida Department of Commerce came a number of public-private partnerships back in the mid-1990s.  One of them, the tourism marketing corporation called Visit Florida.  In recent years, that organization has attracted more and more general revenue help from the Florida Legislature.  But now there’s a possibility both that money and the organization itself could be coming to an end.  Unless, as Blaise Gainey tells us, the Florida House and Senate can reach some agreement to keep the corporation in business beyond its sunset date in October.