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 lawmakers assembled in Tallahassee Tuesday for this year's spring Legislative Session. James Call reports the Senate President told lawmakers to expect a difficult time trying to balance a state budget while facing a multi-billion dollar shortfall in tax collections. James Call reports Senator Mike Haridopolos' 15-minute speech quoted Matthew, Edmund Burke and Winston Churchill but featured few applause lines.

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida House convened this morning with a speech by the new Speaker. Gina Jordan reports Dean Cannon used much of his time at the dais lashing out at the federal government.

"A quorum being present, the House of Representatives is declared officially in session for the 113th regular session of the Legislature since statehood in 1845."

Tallahassee, FL – A federal judge in Pensacola wants a legal challenge to the massive healthcare law put on a fast track to the nation's highest court. In late January, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson struck down the reform package as unconstitutional. It took more than two weeks for the Obama administration to file a motion asking the judge to clarify whether states could continue to implement the law. On Thursday, they got their answer. Gina Jordan reports.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida is once again looking at an early presidential primary. Proponents for the date say the state deserves to be at the front because it's a must-win for Republicans and, because it has the fourth-largest population in the nation. But two years ago, that early primary cost both parties, Democrats more so than Republicans. This year, the roles are switched, with Republicans having more to lose. As Lynn Hatter reports, that party's leadership is split on the issue.

Tallahassee, FL – The Speaker of the Florida House and the Senate President are seeing their time in office being defined by a budget crisis. When the Florida Legislature begins its 2011 session Tuesday, Dean Cannon and Mike Haridopolos will have super majorities to enact their agenda, but little money to spend. And James Call reports, that seems to fit their political philosophy just fine.

Tallahassee, FL – By and large, Floridians have a great deal of regard for those who serve in the U.S. military. But a new study suggests there's less tangible support for those programs and services that help today's veterans return to civilian life. Tom Flanigan reports that both the public and private sectors need to do more.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida's new Corrections chief is finally getting settled in Tallahassee. Edwin Buss moved from Indiana this/last week, where he led that state's Corrections Department. Shortly after his arrival, Gina Jordan tells us he was quizzed by a House justice committee on prison closures, inmate population and diversion programs.

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Senate wants to save money in the Medicaid program by moving millions of patients into managed care programs. The proposal is in a comprehensive reform plan that divides the state into 19 regions and invites private companies to bid on serving patients in the region.

Tallahassee, FL – When politicians talk about education, it's often public school teachers that come in for the most criticism. How can teachers become better and more effective? Tom Flanigan discovered there's been a quiet effort all over Florida in recent months to find out how to do exactly that.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida is fighting the federal healthcare law in the courts but the state still has to comply with what's already in the law. Several major provisions of the healthcare reform act have to be in place by 2014, and as Lynn Hatter reports, the state is looking at ways to get started.

Tallahassee, FL – As the Senate Reapportionment Committee met this week to discuss the legalities involved in drawing legislative and congressional districts, critics were lashing out at a move by Governor Rick Scott that could delay implementation of amendments five and six, known as fair districts. Gina Jordan reports.

Tallahassee, FL – A week of legislative committee meetings revealed that Florida's budget shortfall continues to grow. James Call reports, as Lawmakers began a search for savings, a Senate leader said he wants to cut spending even more to build up cash reserves to protect the state's credit rating.

Governor Rick Scott had a winning message on the campaign trail. He told voters he believed the government spends too much money and if elected he would begin deflating what he called a bloated budget.

Tallahassee, FL – In 1845, William Dunn Mosely became the first governor of the new state of Florida. He gave his inaugural speech on the east steps of the Old Capitol Building in Tallahassee. This past Tuesday, that same location was the scene of the inaugural speech by Florida's 45th governor, Rick Scott. Tom Flanigan asked an expert to help determine how the new governor did in his first major public address.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Scott's first official act in office which came immediately after he was sworn in. He signed four executive orders, saying his goal is to transform Florida's government and make this the most business friendly environment in the country. Gina Jordan reports the new governor is taking action on ethics, undocumented workers, and discrimination.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Rick Scott is moving private sector people into public sector jobs. Of the six agency heads that he's named, three come from the business industry, and as Lynn Hatter reports, two of them are giving public interest groups heartburn.

Tallahassee, FL – Advisers to Gov. Rick Scott have called for sweeping overhauls to Florida's corrections and juvenile justice systems. While they've targeted detention facilities and state jobs for cuts or elimination, they've also criticized lawmakers for being "tough on crime, but fiscally short-sighted." As Margie Menzel reports, the governor's advisers reflect a right-left consensus that's pushing for a more pragmatic, outcome-driven approach to justice.

Tallahassee, FL – Crisis counselors from New Orleans to Tallahassee report finding significant depression and anxiety and even failed marriages linked to the summer-long oil spill in the Gulf. As James Call reports, help may be just a phone call away. Part of the Obama administration's long-term recovery plan is an Oil Spill Distress Helpline, connecting callers to local health care service providers.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida's unemployment rate has inched up yet again. It's now back to 12 percent. High unemployment and the state's economy have more people depending on the kindness of others, and on state assistance. Lynn Hatter takes a look some of the people behind the numbers.

"We have 10 cases of water...oh, and all this has to go all this. This and that over there these saltines..."

Tallahassee, FL – It's been said that Florida would be nothing without water. Not only is the state surrounded by salt water on three sides, it also sits atop trillions of gallons of fresh water. There's so much of it, you'd think there would be plenty to go around without dispute. Tom Flanigan reports you'd be wrong.

Tallahassee, FL – The Arizona law targeting illegal immigrants will likely be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but that hasn't stopped one Florida lawmaker from drafting a similar measure. Gina Jordan reports the state Legislature will take up the proposal during the regular session that begins in March.

Tallahassee, FL – Thousands of jobless Floridians are not eligible for unemployment compensation because of the way the state calculates benefits. Critics say simple changes to the system will bring in millions of dollars from the federal government and help more families. Gina Jordan tells us community organizations held a rally at the Capitol asking the Governor to do something about it.

Tallahassee, FL – Out of the nine Amendments slated for the November ballot, seven of them are facing legal challenges. As Lynn Hatter reports, most of the challenged amendments were written by the Florida Legislature. Others include a controversial citizen's initiative now facing an ethics complaint.

Only six amendments remain on the November ballot after Leon County Circuit Judge James Shelfer threw out Amendment Nine.

Tallahassee, FL – Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Capitol before the July 20 special session, calling for a constitutional amendment banning oil drilling. Now, after the Legislature refused to consider it, more Floridians are concluding they must respond to the oil spill themselves, in their own communities. Margie Menzel reports.

"Let the people vote! Let the people vote!"

Tallahassee, FL – Republican leaders in the Legislature say they have taken up the complicated task of delivering economic relief to the western Panhandle. The Florida House quickly ended a session called by the governor to place an oil drilling ban on the November ballot. Instead, James Call reports lawmakers created working groups that will propose legislation for a possible September session.

Tallahassee, FL – Between five-hundred and seven-hundred turtle nests across the Northwest Gulf coast are being dug up and moved in an effort to protect baby sea turtles in the path of the oil spill. Though the leaking well has been plugged, there is still a lot of crude floating and coming ashore. Lynn Hatter went to St. George Island, where one such relocation took place earlier in the week.