State News

Trees are broken and crumbled onto a house in a Panama City neighborhood after Hurricane Michael.
Briney King

One year after Category 5 Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, children and adults are still struggling with the catastrophe and the changes. Homes and schools were damaged, livelihoods were destroyed, and recovery has been slow.

Michael was Tanner Livingston’s first hurricane. “When they still talk about hurricanes, I’m still afraid of them,” he says during an open house at Deer Point Elementary, where he’s a kindergartner.

The family’s Lynn Haven home in Bay County was damaged, and Tanner recounts in detail what happened after they hid in his mom’s closet.

Steve Cannon / AP Photo

Following California’s lead, Florida recently became the second state to introduce legislation pushing to allow collegiate athletes to profit from their name and likeness. Ryan Dailey spoke with House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee, who filed a bill to do just that – and it’s got the attention of much of the sports world.

Steve Cannon / AP Photo

Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried has announced new rules for prescribed burns. She says some rules are being changed for the first time in three decades.

Leon County Courthouse
Tom Flanigan / WFSU-FM

The trial for the slaying of Florida State University Law Professor Dan Markel is underway. Here's a primer on what the case is about, and what to expect when lawyers and defendants return to the courtroom Tuesday. 

Wendi Adelson, Dan Markel's ex-wife, takes the stand during the murder trial to for Markel's death.
Alicia Devine, Pool / Tallahassee Democrat

The second day of testimony in the murder trial of Florida State University Professor Dan Markel featured Wendi Adelson, his ex-wife. She confirms the two were entangled in a custody battle over their two children prior to Markel’s death.

Brynn Anderson / AP Photo

A special session has been called for the Florida Senate, to weigh the reinstatement or permanent removal of suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. A senate special master is recommending Israel’s reinstatement amid Governor Ron DeSantis’ ongoing push to oust him.

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

Could Florida teachers get a long awaited raise this year? Governor Ron DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, and Senate Budget Chief Rob Bradley have all discussed it, and the state’s largest teacher’s union is calling for it. But there are plenty of questions about how and whether teachers will get anything.

FSU College of Law

After days of narrowing down jurors from roughly 200 down to 12, opening statements began Thursday in the murder trial of Florida State University professor Dan Markel. 

Gov. Rick Scott, Broward Superintendent Rob Runcie and Broward Sheriff Scott Israel discuss Parkland school shooting.
PBS NewsHour screenshot

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis maintains suspended Broward Sheriff Scott Israel failed in his department’s response to the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This, despite a recent ruling by a special master that says DeSantis didn’t prove Israel’s policies and training were inconsistent with state law enforcement standards.

Brynn Anderson / AP Photo

Florida Senate special master Dudley Goodlette is recommending suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel be reinstated. That’s after Israel appealed his suspension by Governor Ron DeSantis in June during a two-day hearing.

Tom Flanigan

New statewide data shows many young girls in Florida do not have happy lives. The findings, compiled by the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center and the Children’s Campaign, were presented at a Tallahassee news conference on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

blonde woman in front of grey background blowing vapor out of her mouth
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

As vaping makes national headlines, Florida lawmakers are bringing their agenda and policies to the forefront.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

The Florida Blockchain Task Force held its inaugural meeting Monday. Blockchain technology is a means of recordkeeping for online transactions through distributed record sharing. That makes the transactions more impervious to tampering.

Man rests elbows on window panel and he looks out
Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

The Florida Legislature has wrapped up its first week of meetings ahead of the regular session that begins in January. Lawmakers took time during their first Committee Week to consider the causes of mass violence and how mental illness could play a part. Those discussions came amid a request for more mental health funding for schools.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

AR-15 style rifles were used in many recent, high profile mass shootings. The gunmen at the Vegas Harvest music festival shooting, the Sandy Hook school shooting and Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting used AR-15 style rifles. That gun has taken much of the blame for lost lives and is being targeted in gun bans across America.

Three children stand together. The middle child is yelling into a megaphone and the other two are holding climate change-related signs.
Robbie Gaffney / WFSU

Florida Republicans are beginning to lend their voice to traditionally liberal issues like climate change and LGBTQ rights.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says its done processing more than 8,000 untested rape kits. The announcement comes three years after a state assessment first revealed the backlog. 

Ted Warren / AP Photo

The Florida Department of Agriculture’s chief attorney says CBD vape products are completely unregulated in the state, causing concern at the agency. Steven Hall, the agency’s general counsel, says that concern has been amplified by recent nationwide headlines reporting health problems linked to vaping.

House Insurance Security Property Protection Concept / Adobe Stock

Citizens Property Insurance says the number of cases involving AOB or assignment of benefits is down. The company credits the decrease to changes made by lawmakers last session.

Cannabis farm

The rise of CBD has taken the state by storm. It’s being advertised on storefronts, billboards, and online, in lotions, drinks, and candies. It comes from Hemp, which was made legal in Florida with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

A bill to put Florida on a path toward 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 has again been filed for the coming session. Though the measure died last year, its sponsors are hopeful a “shift in tone” by Republicans is a good sign for its chances in the 2020 legislative session.

Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo speaking against Attorney General Ashley Moody's attempt to block the assault weapons ban.
Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

Attorney General Ashley Moody is asking the Florida Supreme Court to block a proposed assault weapons ban from going in front of voters. Moody claims the proposed constitutional amendment is misleading and deceitful. Now Democrats are pushing back.

A sign inside a shop says "Come in, we're open."
Richard Balog/Unsplash

Florida is among the worst states for companies being sued, according to a new Harris Poll.

The 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey ranks the states on how business executives feel about the fairness of state court systems – and Florida ranks 46th.

The 2018 Florida Constitution Revision Commission. Group photo.
Constitution Revision Commission

Currently, there are four ways Florida’s constitution can be changed. One method is through the Constitution Revision Commission or CRC. The group meets every twenty years to propose changes or additions to the constitution – giving voters the final say.

The last CRC met in 2018 and caused controversy by bundling several unrelated ideas. Now some lawmakers want the group dissolved for good. 

Gillian Flaccus / AP Photo

Florida’s Cannabis Director Holly Bell says permits for growing hemp could be issued at the start of the coming year.