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 – 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.

Tallahassee, FL – Democrats knew what they were up against going into the special session. House members held a news conference hours before the opening gavel laying out the reasons why a vote on the proposal was necessary. Even Senate Republicans had concerns about the potential for a fruitless trip to Tallahassee and tried in vain to include other business alongside the proposed amendment. Gina Jordan reports.

Tallahassee, FL – Lawton "Bud" Chiles III -- son of the late Democratic icon -- says he jumped into the governor's race because none of the other candidates was saying what he wanted to hear. But as Margie Menzel reports, his run may be a gift to state Republicans grappling with their party's ongoing financial scandal.

Tallahassee, FL – Two veteran lawmakers say the Legislature needs to take another look at the state budget. The $70-billion plan pays for schools, law enforcement and public health programs, among other things. It went into effect Thursday, but James Call reports it may already be in trouble.

Hialeah Senator Rudy Garcia leads the Joint Legislative Budget Commission, which keeps the state budget balanced.

Tallahassee, FL – Florida's coastal businesses have been battling a public relations nightmare as pictures of oil in the Gulf make headlines around the world. P-R professionals gathered in Tallahassee last week to talk about how the crisis is being handled in the media and what's being done to get the correct information to travelers.

Over lunch, they heard from some of those on the front lines, like Chris Thompson. He heads up Visit Florida, the state's tourism marketing agency.

Tallahassee, FL – The prosecutor said it was theft. The politician said it served the public interest. If Tallahassee State Attorney Willie Meggs is ever going to prosecute his case against former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom, James Call reports Meggs must get a circuit judge to stop allowing the defense to file motions to dismiss charges in a case tied to a project for a panhandle college.

Tallahassee, FL – A task force created by Governor Charlie Crist in response to the Gulf oil spill met for the first time last week. Gina Jordan tells us some members are concerned about whether BP will be able to fulfill its financial responsibility to Florida and other Gulf coast states.

The Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force is made up of twenty-eight lawmakers, state agency heads, and business and tourism leaders from Northwest Florida. Governor Crist gave them their marching orders.

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Charlie Crist has delivered the latest in a string of controversial vetoes, striking a bill that would have required women to have and pay for ultrasounds before undergoing an abortion. Letters, phone calls and e-mails poured into the Governor's Office from both supporters and opponents. As Lynn Hatter reports, a day before the veto, a group of women walked to the Capitol to hand deliver petitions in support of the legislation.

Tallahassee, FL – Hurricane season begins June first, and there are questions about whether insurers will be able to pay if a big storm hits Florida. James Call reports failing insurance companies have state officials waving red flags.

Tallahassee, FL – Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Brandon, is horrified by accounts of children in state custody who died on psychotropic drugs that hadn't been vetted in accordance with the law. As Margie Menzel reports, the measure still hasn't been heard in the House - but Storms isn't ready to concede.

Tallahassee, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum, the front-runner in the GOP primary for governor, has said all along that his lawsuit to block the new federal health-care-reform measure isn't driven by politics. But as Margie Menzel reports, the suit is reaping political repercussions nonetheless.