State News

In this Wednesday, July 24, 2019 photo, the container ship Hansa Augsburg is shown docked at PortMiami in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee / AP Photo

Florida’s top economists are anticipating an economic slowdown in 2020, but that doesn't mean a recession is on the horizon.

AR-15's on a wall rack.
Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

A proposed assault weapons ban would prohibit all semi-automatic shotguns and rifles that are capable of holding more than 10 rounds. State economists say that would affect around 71 percent of rifles and half of shotguns. Charlie Strickland, CEO of Talon Training Group, says it’d be a big hit to his business.

A man in a brown suit speaks at a podium. In back of him is a colorful wall.
FEA / twitter.com

Fed Ingram is President of the state’s largest teachers union, the Florida Education Association. Doug Tuthill is President of the biggest corporate tax scholarship program, Step Up For Students. For people usually on different sides of education policy, both are deeply invested in promoting equity in public education. But what does equity look like?  

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Some board members of the Florida Defense Alliance are irked they can’t get any face time with Governor Ron DeSantis. The issue came to a head during a Thursday conference call held by the group.

Steve Cannon / AP Photo

Attorney General Ashley Moody is challenging a proposed 2020 amendment that would legalize marijuana for adults over the age of 21.

A physics teacher writes on his chalkboard in a classroom.
Photo by Tra Nguyen / UnSplash

Florida’s largest and oldest tax credit scholarship funding organization is on track to top $1 billion soon. Step Up For Students has 200,000 applications for scholarships from families looking to send their kids to private schools. The organization has been at the forefront of Florida’s efforts to diversify school options, often putting it at odds with critics who see it as a drain on traditional public schools. It's undergone a big expansion in the past few years, and that's come with some growing pains. But the group's President, Doug Tuthill, says choice isn't going anywhere.

Cover of Reggie Garcia's book How To Leave Prison Early
Reggie Garcia

In Florida prisons, anything from cigarettes to cellphones can be contraband. But, a few things on the list might be surprising -- like books. Some 20,000 of them are banned by the Florida Department of Corrections. Tallahassee Clemency lawyer Reggie Garcia’s book “How to Leave Prison Early” is one of them.

State Economist Amy Baker(center) listening to testimony on assault weapons.
Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

The state could see a $30 million drop in sales tax revenue if an amendment banning assault weapons in Florida is passed. 

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Florida State University is now ranked 18th in the nation among public universities. The school has jumped 25 spots in the U.S. News and World Report rankings over the past five years.

arial photo looking down street toward FSU
Erich Martin

As mass shootings continue to rock the country, Florida lawmakers say more needs to be done to ensure students are safe. For some that means allowing more guns on college campuses. But for many students at Florida State University that proposal leads to more feelings of fear than safety.

Weather Map
Petrovich12 / Adobe Stock

Floridians are no strangers to hurricanes. But for nearly a decade the state saw no direct landfall from a tropical cyclone. Now after consecutive years of major hurricanes, some citizens seem to have a kneejerk reaction when a storm system nears. That, added to the intensity of recent storms, has some questioning the accuracy of storm path projections. Meanwhile, meteorologists say their technology is working better than ever.

This photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a satellite view of Hurricane Dorian taken at 10:00 p.m. EDT, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019.
NOAA / AP

Going into last weekend Floridians looking at the cone of uncertainty for Hurricane Dorian were unsure if it’d impact Jacksonville or Pensacola. By Tuesday it was evident it would never make landfall in the state. Ryan Truchelut Chief Meteorologist at Weather Tiger explains why this is.

Wakulla Superintendent Bobby Pearce seemed to have some harsh words for Florida’s top education officials this week. WFSU has since reached out to Pearce to get clarification on what he meant.

Wilfredo Lee / AP Photo

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the constitutionality of a law that allows certain felons to vote but requires them to pay any fees associated with their sentence first. Critics call the new rule a poll tax. But the bill’s author argues he simply followed the language voters approved in a 2018 amendment. Now the Judge presiding over the case is questioning whether the amendment itself violates the constitution. I spoke with ACLU lawyer Julie Ebenstein to get the groups' view.

American Public Power Association

A proposed amendment to Florida’s constitution would deregulate and open up competition for investor-owned utility companies. This week, attorneys for the amendment’s backers faced tough questions from the Florida Supreme Court about its ballot language.

Florida Supreme Court
Nick Evans / WFSU News

The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to answer Governor Ron DeSantis’s question about whether the state can make felons pay restitution, fines, and fees before allowing them to register to vote.

Opioid painkillers layed out on a table.
irissca / Adobe Stock

In Florida, an estimated 17 people die every day from opioid abuse. To combat the issue, Attorney General Ashely Moody and Governor Ron DeSantis have created a new statewide task force. The group is charged with developing best practices for opioid abuse prevention through education, treatment, and law enforcement. Two recently appointed board members spoke about how they hope to help.

Dorian Strengthening North of Puerto Rico

Aug 29, 2019

Hurricane Dorian has strengthened late Wednesday night. As of 5 am, The National Hurricane Center says Dorian is about 150 miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico and has top sustained winds near 85 mph. It is moving toward the northwest at about 13 mph.

Multiple reports of hurricane-force winds occurred near St. Thomas, as Dorian crossed the Virgin Islands Wednesday afternoon.

Florida Channel

The Florida Supreme Court is weighing approval of ballot language for a proposed amendment that would deregulate and open up competition for investor-owned utility companies. Justices heard oral arguments Wednesday.

Dorian Strengthening, Threat to Florida Increasing

Aug 28, 2019

Update at 11:15 am Wednesday: Tropical Storm Dorian has strengthened and has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, which is just shy of the 74 mph threshold for a hurricane. The National Hurricane Center says Dorian is forecast to become a hurricane soon, perhaps as early as this evening. 

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Florida’s Supreme Court on Wednesday will weigh approval of ballot language for a proposed amendment to deregulate investor-owned utilities. Should the proposed amendment ultimately pass, customers would be able to choose their own provider, but one group says it would jack up rates.

Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

Tuesday the Federal Emergency Management Agency gave more than $6 million to cities in the Florida panhandle to reimburse them for debris removal and repairing public utilities after Hurricane Michael. Congressman Neal Dunn spoke to entrepreneurs in Tallahassee about his plan to help with the recovery.

From the left Appropriations Chairs Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Lutz, and Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, begin the compromise process as full conference committee met June 11, 2015, while finalizing key portions of the state's budget within Criminal and Civil Just
Mark Foley / Florida House of Representatives

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran isn’t shy about his support for charter schools and the state’s private school voucher program. He championed school choice policies during his stint in the legislature. But his placement as chief of the state’s education system, is beginning to worry public school leaders. Recent comments about the future of public education has raised alarm bells for supporters of traditional public schools. 

Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

Monday makes it 99 years since congress cemented the right for women to vote was amended into the U.S. Constitution. Women across the nation used the day to push for another amendment the Equal Rights Amendment to be ratified.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

University of South Florida anthropologists are planning to take another look at the grounds of the infamous Dozier School for Boys. The move comes after a search for “anomalies” on the property turned up mostly tree roots.

Pages