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: 04-03-2019

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.

Capital Report: 03-21-2019

Mar 21, 2019

Just over a year since the Parkland school massacre, a comprehensive response on how to best prevent a future tragedy remains a work in progress, at least in the Florida Legislature.  Before a key committee today (Thursday) the question boiled down to this:  Would parents be comfortable with placing their children’s safety in the hands of an armed teacher with eight hours of active shooter training?  Although some insisted the answer to that question would most likely be “No!”, lawmakers kept moving in that direction as we hear from Blaise Gainey.

A bill (HB 1335) requiring minors to get a parent’s consent for abortions passed a House committee this week. The debate was mostly civil, but some audience members had to be escorted out.

Florida law says parents have to be notified when their daughters seek abortions. Under the proposal, parents would have to give their permission.

The House Health Quality Subcommittee heard from a string of women who’ve had abortions, but who have differing opinions about the bill.

Capital Report: 03-20-2019

Mar 20, 2019

A House proposal would fine local governments and law enforcement agencies for not cooperating with federal immigration enforcement. As Blaise Gainey reports immigrant advocates say the bill is overbearing and goes too far.

A bill moving through the Florida House would make changes to the work requirements for people who receive public assistance. The bill’s Republican sponsor says the goal is to ensure children aren’t punished for their parents’ actions. But Democrats say the devil is in the details. Regan McCarthy has more….

Governor's Press Office

Tuesday was Coding Day at the capitol as part of an initiative to promote computer science education.

Students, some in elementary school, are lined up at computers getting ready to show off their work to state leaders.

“We need more computer scientists. We need more data scientists, and in the state of Florida alone there are 8,000 computing jobs open, not necessarily all for computer scientists," says Mary Snapp, Corporate Vice President of Philanthropies for Microsoft. "Some of them are for individuals who might have a philosophy degree or a poetry degree and take a one-year certificate class.”

Capital Report: 03-19-2019

Mar 19, 2019

Public commenters gave lawmakers an earful today when the implementing bill for 2018’s Amendment 4 came up in a House committee meeting. The amendment allows certain felons to vote, but the argument has been which felons can’t vote. Blaise Gainey reports.

Florida lawmakers are considering a plan to deregulate a number of professions including barbers, nail specialists, geologist and interior designers. Regan McCarthy has more….

Capital Report: 03-18-2019

Mar 18, 2019

Stories of high-priced prescription drugs and mothers having to choose whether to buy medicine or food are staples of the prescription drug price debate. Governor Ron DeSantis is responding to those issues by proposing the state import medications from other countries. But as Blaise Gainey others aren’t on the same page.

The Florida House is tackling healthcare reform. Efforts in the past have yielded incremental results, but Lynn Hatter reports that’s not stopping House Speaker Jose Oliva, even as it sets up a potential clash with the Senate.

Capital Report: 03-15-2019

Mar 15, 2019

Smokeable medical marijuana and expanded private school vouchers.  Those were two of the more controversial measures that were fast-tracked by lawmakers during this second week of the 2019 lawmaking session.  Blaise Gainey and Lynn Hatter talk it over with Tom Flanigan at the Capital Reporters’ Roundtable.

Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez talks about her priorities and determination to be a very active and involved partner with Governor DeSantis.

Capital Report: 03-14-2019

Mar 14, 2019

Supporters and opponents of Republican Senator Dennis Baxley’s Fetal Heartbeat Bill had a showdown of sorts Thursday in the Capitol. Ryan Dailey reports Baxley wants an opportunity for the bill to get a committee hearing, and its detractors hope the measure never gets there.

Lawmakers are considering a plan to get rid of Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission.  That after some say the board is out of control. Blaise Gainey reports.

Capital Report: 03-13-2019

Mar 13, 2019

Two days ahead of the governor’s deadline, Blaise Gainey tells Tom Flanigan that the Florida House and Senate have agreed on medical marijuana legislation.      

Florida lawmakers are one step closer to adding a work requirement for Medicaid eligibility. Shawn Mulcahy has more.

Advocacy groups, formerly incarcerated people and those with family members who are serving time held a rally at the Capitol Wednesday. Ryan Dailey reports they came together to petition lawmakers for reforms to a criminal justice system they say is broken.

Capital Report: 03-11-2019

Mar 11, 2019

The 2017 death of a Florida State University fraternity pledge is prompting state lawmakers to consider a change in the state’s hazing law. Spearheading the effort are the parents of Andrew Coffee along with Democratic State Senator Lauren Book. Lynn Hatter has more.

A bill that looks to prevent the creation of sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants in Florida makes a key committee stop Tuesday. Ryan Dailey reports a coalition of House and Senate Democrats says they’ll fight ‘tooth and nail’ to stop it from passing.

Capital Report: 03-08-2019

Mar 11, 2019

The Capital Report reporters, Blaise Gainey, Lynn Hatter and Ryan Dailey, discuss some of the highlights of this week in the 2019 Florida Lawmaking Session.

Former North Florida Congresswoman Gwen Graham and former Florida Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon talk about Hurricane Michael recovery efforts in the Panhandle under the auspices of a partnership called “Rebuild850.”

Tom Flanigan reports state lawmakers are moving ahead with hurricane recovery funding in excess of $300 million.

Capital Report: 03-07-2019

Mar 7, 2019

The Florida House is moving forward with a big healthcare agenda at the direction of Speaker Jose Oliva. But as Lynn Hatter reports that agenda is setting up clashes with some healthcare providers who say it could lead to worse, not better care.

A bill that would create an elective Bible study course in public high schools has cleared the House Pre K-12 Quality Subcommittee. Ryan Dailey reports its sponsor is adamant her measure is constitutional.

Capital Report: 03-06-2019

Mar 6, 2019

The omnibus education bill aiming to create another state scholarship program got a green light from the Senate Education Committee. Ryan Dailey reports the measure got by on a party-line vote.

The Florida Supreme Court is weighing whether a 2017 change in the state’s Stand Your Ground law should apply retroactively. Lynn Hatter reports a woman claiming she shot a person at a Miami nightclub in 2015 in self-defense says the change should apply in her case.

Capital Report: 03-05-2019

Mar 5, 2019

Governor Ron DeSantis emphasized “bold action” during his first-ever State of the State address to the Legislature.  Tom Flanigan reports.

Florida’s House and Senate leaders set the tone for the 2019 Legislative Session Tuesday with their opening remarks. Ryan Dailey was on hand to hear how President Bill Galvano and Speaker Jose Oliva kicked things off.