State News

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.

Florida Department of Education budget presentation 12/7/17.
Florida Department of Education

Florida’s largest teachers union is calling for a 10-year, $22 billion  investment into the state’s public schools. The Florida Education Association is calling its plan the "Decade of Progress."

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Former Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox has been removed from office by Governor Ron DeSantis. Maddox pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges. But the one-time state Democratic Party chair remains an active candidate for a state senator seat. WFSU spoke with several elections experts about what would bar candidates from getting onto a ballot.

Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, listens to the debate on his sponsored felon voting rights bill during session Wednesday April 24, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Steve Cannon / AP Photo

After a new law allowing some felons to regain the right to vote went into effect, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit calling the law unconstitutional. The group says the implementing bill doesn’t follow an amendment passed by voters. And argues the laws’ financial obligations create a poll tax and cut the number of eligible felons in half.

Inside of a mall with very few shoppers.
Marcin Kempa/Unsplash

Analysts say chances are increasing that Florida will enter a recession soon.

“Currently, Florida’s probability of being in a recession in the next 9 months is 34.2%,” says Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Jerry Parrish.

The number is from The Florida Scorecard, the chamber foundation’s online tool that identifies and tracks key metrics important to Florida’s economy.

The State Board of Education has approved a new rule, making schools accountable for providing substance abuse education. 

Governor Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that Florida will be joining an electronic network to help the state’s supervisors of elections make sure people aren’t registered in more than one state. Former Leon County Supervisor of Election Ion Sancho explains how the system works.

Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, answers questions during debate over his House Bill 7089 - Voting Rights Restoration,Tuesday April 23, 2019 in the Florida House of Representatives in Tallahassee, Fla.
Phil Sears / AP Photo

The constitutionality of a Florida 2018 amendment allowing certain felons to vote after paying back fines, fees, and restitution is now at question. That comes after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging the implementing bill.

A group of people hold signs at a gun safety rally. In the center is a woman holding a white posterboard with the words "Enough is Enough" written in black marker.
Lydell Rawls / WFSU

Rep. Mike Hill (R-Pensacola) wants to repeal gun safety legislation passed in Florida after the deadly Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting last year in Parkland. He says the measures, including a state ban on bump stocks, the so called red flag law and a provision raising the age to purchase a rifle violate the Second Amendment. He also says firearms aren’t the cause of mass shootings. Instead he points his finger at the use of psychotropic drugs, like Ritalin.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Last week, the U.S. Attorney for Florida’s Northern District said he’s willing to step in and prosecute marijuana offenses that the state attorney will not. On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Larry Keefe offered more specifics.

Handgun with rifle
Mariusz Blach / Adobe Stock

Earlier this month the state’s financial impact estimating group struggled to define certain portions of a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban assault weapons. Friday the group met again, and this time they invited the petition sponsor to help clarify portions of the proposal.  

During a hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle asked lawyers to weigh in on whether a 2018 amendment allowing certain felons to vote is constitutional.

John Raoux / AP Photo

State tourism wing Visit Florida is reporting record tourism numbers for the first half of 2019.

rocky hanna in a red shirt speaking at podium
Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

After a software error caused confusion and delays with bus routes, Leon County Schools is making changes.

ked in a New York restaurant. Maine is banning single-use food and drink containers made from polystyrene foam. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed the bill into law Tuesday, April 30, 2019; environmental advocates say that makes Maine the first state to b
Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

A Miami-Dade appeals court has blocked the city of Coral Gables’ attempt to ban Styrofoam food containers. They aren’t alone in their attempt to be more environmentally friendly.

Four men hold a massive brown and white snake
facebook / Big Cypress National Preserve

When Florida wildlife leaders effectively declared “open season” on iguanas, they called for the animals to be killed on private property. And just this week, they doubled down on python eradication. Both animals are considered invasive species in Florida, but recent and past issues with how the animals have been killed has led to accusations of animal cruelty. The state says all killings have to be done “humanely”. But, what does that actually mean? 

The paper mill is in the background of the image. Smoke rolls off the mill's tower toward a giant field in front of the plant.
Robie, Ray W. / Florida Memory Project

Big changes are coming to North Port St. Joe and not everyone is onboard.

Miami Downtown Florida road signs Key Biscayne
lunamarina / Adobe Stock

Leon County Circuit Court Judge John Cooper ruled Friday that a state law abolishing the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority known as MDX is unconstitutional. 

Valerie Crowder

As part of a statewide campaign to increase access to mental health services, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced on Thursday that K-12 students in every public school across six Northwest Florida counties can receive virtual counseling and psychiatric care without ever leaving campus.

 

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Currently, the state Department of Education does not keep a complete database of all substitute teachers in the state. But one violent tragedy in Tallahassee last year has raised concerns, and sparked a push for better record-keeping at the state level.

F-35B aircrafts fly over the Akrotiri Royal air forces base before landing.
Petros Karadjias, Pool / AP Photo

After Hurricane Michael ripped through the panhandle last year it left much of the area battered and beaten. One of the most impacted counties is Bay, where Tyndall Air Force Base is located. The base suffered nearly $5 billion in damage. But officials at the base used the disaster as a chance to rebuild for the future. Their hope was that the Air Force would bring in F35 fighter jets and that plan has now paid off.

male hands in handcuffs
BortN66 / Adobe Stock

Based on referrals from the Florida Department of Children and Families four arrests have been made in North Florida relation to exploiting seniors and disabled individuals.

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