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).

Tallahassee, FL – Florida's newest agency was born this week when Governor Rick Scott signed a government -reorganization bill that creates the position of Commerce secretary. Lynn Hatter reports, this has some seeing opportunities to lure more business into the state.

Governor Rick Scott is playing up the possibilities of the new Department of Economic Opportunity to bring more jobs to Florida.

Tallahassee, FL – Voters are telling pollsters they are unhappy with cuts to the state budget and the direction they think the state is headed. A Quinnipiac Poll last month indicated 54 percent of voters say the state budget which goes into effect in July is unfair to people like them. James Call reports some groups are using people's frustration with a down economy and high unemployment as an organizing tool for next year's election.

"Well, we can't vote them out until 2012, in November."

Tallahassee, FL – Fair District Amendments 5 and 6 are two voter-approved amendments that aim to redraw the congressional and legislative districts in a way that is "fair," but the amendments are a cause of controversy from both sides. As Sascha Cordner reports, Proponents say the Amendments aim to stop politicians from drawing their own district lines for their own interests, while opponents question the constitutionality of the amendments.

Tallahassee, FL – Most Americans today agree with Mark Twain when he said we have the best government money can buy. James Call reports a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey found two-thirds of respondents say elections are usually for sale to the candidate who can raise the most money.

Tallahassee, FL – The search for a new education commissioner is ongoing, following the resignation of current Commissioner Eric Smith. Smith's last day in office was Friday. But as Lynn Hatter reports, the search for his replacement hasn't been easy. In fact, it's been downright hard, surprising many who thought it would be a simple task to attract top talent to the state.

Tallahassee, FL –
Oral arguments for Florida's lawsuit against the Federal Health Care act begin next week. The case is one of several efforts to protect Floridians from a law some say is unconstitutional, but Regan McCarthy reports finding a way to avoid the law is not so simple.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Rick Scott recently signed a bill that would allocate 25-million dollars towards Biomedical and cancer research across the state. As Sascha Cordner reports, there are mixed emotions to the bill, after it cut the amount of funds available for biomedical and cancer research in half from 50-million dollars to 25-million.

Scott signed Republican Representative Matt Hudson's bill on Tuesday that dealt with biomedical and cancer research funding in the state of Florida.

Tallahassee, FL – With the exception of five counties that need federal permission before their election rules can be changed, a new voting law is now in effect in Florida. But Tom Flanigan reports that very fact has sparked a lawsuit that aims to have the new law overturned.

Tallahassee, Fl – Lawmakers have at least one major achievement they can put in the history books- approving the most sweeping change to the state's Medicaid program since it began in the 1970's. Lynn Hatter reports the new law would steer about three million Floridians on Medicaid into managed care networks. Florida is looking to save money and mitigate future costs, but plenty of doubts remain about what will happen to the people who use those services.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Rick Scott will launch an inquiry into why a sheriff's deputy removed some people from the crowd when he signed the state budget at a retirement community in Central Florida. The event was more than a week ago and the governor said he is not exactly sure what happened. James Call reports the controversy illustrates why some are saying Rick Scott is either having problems communicating with the people of Florida, or folks don't like the job he's doing.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida drivers beware. Red light cameras are in use around the state despite a concerted effort from the House legislation to bar the devices. But, Regan McCarthy reports, there's still a chance they could be declared illegal.

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Tallahassee, FL – Governor Rick Scott signed Florida's budget on the road this week, making it a campaign-style event before a friendly crowd in a Republican and Tea Party dominated part of the state. Lynn Hatter reports, before a mostly white and retired crowd in the Villages, Scott made a show of vetoing more than 600-million dollars worth of spending items, angering many lawmakers who called that number, and the governor's intent, into question.

Tallahassee, FL – The Department of Children and Families are cutting about 500 jobs to save the state about 48-million dollars. As Sascha Cordner reports, several people from across the state are weighing in on the layoffs at a time when Scott says he is creating jobs.

About two months ago, public employees descended on Governor Rick Scott's office to give him hundreds of pink slips for a job, "not well done" and asked a simple, yet complex question...

Tallahassee, FL – The budget Governor Rick Scott signed into law eliminates the Department of Community Affairs. State planners in Tallahassee will no longer, in most cases, regulate when and how city and counties make changes to their growth plans. James Call reports , although environmental and other citizen groups protested the dismantling of the agency, business groups say the change sets the stage for economic growth.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Rick Scott is calling into question the 137-million lawmakers appropriated for state colleges and university building projects. As Sascha Cordner reports, universities from across the state say they hope the Governor does not take away the money.

Recently in a Cabinet meeting, Governor Rick Scott started questioning the state's director of bond finance Ben Watkins about the PECO fund, or the Public Education Capital Outlay fund.

Tallahassee, FL – Pick up a copy of the state's constitution and chances are it'll be out-dated. Florida's constitution has a reputation as one that's frequently amended, And Regan McCarthy reports legislators are asking voters to okay seven new changes with the possibility of more on the way.

Florida's state constitution is arguably the easiest of the 50 states' to amend or at least that's what Florida State University law professor Sandy D'Alemberte says.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Rick Scott says he is reading line by line the proposed state budget with a focus on economic development. Scott has until June first to sign it and issue vetoes. The Legislature for the most part followed his suggestion to attract new businesses to Florida by reducing the size of government.

Tallahassee, FL – Right now, different advocacy groups are looking at bills passed during the legislative session, and in many cases, hoping the governor vetoes them. But if he doesn't, several of those groups are busy hiring lawyers to take their battles to the state's courtrooms. Lynn Hatter reports among the potential legal challenges is a controversial elections bill and the annual battle about public school class sizes.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida lawmakers have spent the past two months struggling to cut about four billion dollars from the next state budget. Wednesday an expert on balancing even bigger budgets was in Tallahassee. Tom Flanigan reports former U-S Comptroller General David Walker was preaching the gospel of fiscal restraint to a receptive audience.

Tallahassee, FL – The complicated process of redrawing Florida's political map is underway at the state capitol. Thursday the House concluded two days of briefing for its Redistricting committees. James Call tells us, Democrats want to know why one of their members wasn't given a seat at the table.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida's leading advocacy organization for the at risk youths say they're against giving sovereign immunity to private companies who contract disability services. As Sascha Cordner reports, Florida's Children First held a press conference today Monday to oppose several bills that they say would serve the purpose of private companies' over the needs of children.

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida House of Representatives has approved a proposal by a vote of 80 to 39 to tie teacher pay to student test scores. It's similar to one passed last year that was vetoed by former Governor Charlie Crist. Opponents like Democrat Franklin Sands of Broward, say it means educational Armageddon for Florida. But Governor Rick Scott supports the bill and he says he'll sign it when it gets to his desk.

Tallahassee, FL – Call it consumer backlash if you will. A few pro-business bills now working their way through the Florida Legislature are drawing fire from groups such as A-A-R-P. Tom Flanigan reports that organization has released a survey of older Floridians that suggests many of the state's seniors are already stretched to their financial limit.

The question posed to just over four-hundred Floridians fifty-years-old and up was simple and to the point.

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Senate has revised an immigration bill to among other things make it easier for employers to qualify immigrants for work. James Call reports the proposal was released in the morning and drew numerous speakers during an afternoon hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Tallahassee, FL – Palm Beach County is calling on the Florida legislature to outlaw the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, like the ones used in the January 8th Tucson Arizona shooting involving US Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Trimmel Gomes reports

 

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