Gina Jordan

Tallahassee reporter

Gina Jordan reports from Tallahassee for WUSF and WLRN about how state policy affects your life.

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Politics
7:15 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Next In The Gay-Marriage Debate: Religious Liberty

A federal judge's ruling opened the door for same sex weddings in Florida, like this one at St. Petersburg City Hall on January 6th, 2015.
Credit City of St Pete/flickr

Same-sex marriage is now legal in three dozen states, including Florida. The U.S. Supreme Court may issue a landmark ruling soon that will impact the rest of the country.

Florida’s voter-approved 2008 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was struck down by federal Judge Robert Hinkle as unconstitutional.

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Politics
7:42 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Q&A: What's Next In Same Sex Marriage Cases

FSU law professor Courtney Cahill writes extensively about legal issues surrounding sexuality.
Credit law.fsu.edu

Florida’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was passed by 62 percent of voters in 2008. But various lower court rulings last year found the ban to be unconstitutional, and federal judge Robert Hinkle agreed.

Now, same sex couples can marry in Florida, but four states have gay marriage cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Politics
9:55 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Calls Escalate For Outside Investigation Into FDLE Chief's Departure

Happier times: Gov. Rick Scott seems relaxed on a visit to FDLE as Commissioner Gerald Bailey laughs in the background.
Credit Rick Scott/flickr

Watchdog groups want an outside investigation into the apparent ousting of well respected Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey, and now a private citizen is asking the FBI to investigate claims that Gov. Rick Scott tried to meddle in the affairs of the state’s top law enforcement agency.

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News
1:35 am
Thu January 15, 2015

New Push To Repeal Florida's Foreign Landowner Ban

Florida is the only state that hasn't repealed its law relating to foreign land owners.
Credit Jarek Radimersky/flickr

A new push is underway to get some anti-immigrant language out of the Florida Constitution. The law relates to foreign property owners.

People who aren’t eligible for American citizenship can't own property in Florida. It’s written in Article 1 of the state Constitution.

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Environment
7:00 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Supporters Want Solar Choice On 2016 Ballot

Solar energy supporters are trying to get a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot. If they succeed, they’ll need at least 60 percent of the vote for it to pass.
Credit Mike Ray/flickr

A petition drive now underway in Florida would get a solar power amendment on the ballot in 2016. If voters approve the proposal, individuals who use the sun to generate electricity would be able to sell that electricity.

For now, only Florida’s utility companies can do that.

Supporters must collect 683,149 signatures to get the proposal before voters. At least 60 percent of voters must approve the amendment for it to be placed in the Constitution.

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Environment
1:46 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Florida Lawmakers Seek Public Input On Conservation Amendment

Weeki Wachee Springs, FL
Credit George/flickr

Florida voters passed the Water and Land Conservation Amendment in November. It requires one third of documentary stamp revenue – a tax on real estate transactions - to go toward environmental initiatives.

The Florida Legislature must spend a portion of the documentary stamp money on environmental programs, like buying land and preserving springs.

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Education
11:37 am
Fri January 9, 2015

New Teachers Would Earn $50K Under Proposal In Tallahassee

Starting teacher salaries would automatically adjust for inflation each year under a bill proposed in Tallahassee.
Credit Dondu.Small/flickr

Beginning teachers would earn a minimum $50,000 salary starting next school year under a bill proposed this week in Tallahassee.

Sen. Darren Soto (D-Orlando) filed the bill, which cites a need for the state to attract and retain teachers. It seeks to increase their pay without affecting other personnel and programs.

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News
1:47 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

After Alcohol Incidents, Broward Judge Resigns From The Bench

Broward County Judge Gisele Pollack was suspended without pay last May.
Credit floridacountyjudges.com

A Broward County judge with a history of alcohol problems is being recommended for removal from the bench. Judge Gisele Pollack has been a judge since 2004, overseeing low-level cases in the county's misdemeanor drug court.

Pollack admitted being drunk in the courtroom in December 2013. She agreed to stop drinking alcohol altogether, but the same thing happened a few months later.

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Education
3:57 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Report Says Small Schools Trump Small Classes In Academic Outcomes

Maureen Yoder addresses students at the School of Arts and Sciences in Tallahassee.
Credit Gina Jordan/StateImpact Florida

The School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) in Tallahassee has just over 300 students, and the waiting list to get in is much longer.

Maureen Yoder is one of the founders of the 15-year-old K-8 charter school.

“We started this school with the intent of keeping it small because we want to create a school family,” Yoder says. “We believe that the relationship between the teacher and the students is the primary reason students succeed – besides a good home base.”

This is sixth grader Mary Stafford’s first year.

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Politics
11:52 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Competing Greyhound-Racing Bills Filed In Tallahassee

Florida is among a handful of states that still allow greyhound racing.
Credit B Breland Photograhy/flickr

The first bill expected to pass quickly when the Legislature opens in March would force dog tracks to report greyhound injuries within seven days.

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News
11:29 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Florida Economy Gets A Boost From College Football

Florida is the top bowl game host state of this college football season.
Credit @brickellinfo/flickr

Florida is hosting eight of the 38 postseason games in college football – more than any other state. 

This season’s games will bring football fans from 15 out-of-state schools. State and local governments will get an economic boost as those fans flood theme parks, beaches and other attractions.

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Education
7:35 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Florida Senate President Expects Legislative Hearings Into School Testing

Students are taking a lot of practice tests on paper, but Florida's new standardized assessments will be online.
Credit Ryan McGilchrist/flickr

Teacher and parent groups say Florida public school students are spending too much time taking – and getting ready for - assessments.

Now, Senate President Andy Gardiner says lawmakers will likely hold hearings to review the amount of testing being done.

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Politics
7:18 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Proposed Law Would Further Limit Drone Surveillance

Lawmakers are preparing legislation to address the potential abuse of surveillance technology. Sen. Dorothy Hukill says the technology for drones and tracking devices is becoming more affordable and easy for anyone to obtain.
Credit David Rodriguez Martin/flickr

The Florida Legislature passed a bill in 2013 that limits the government’s ability to use drones for unwarranted surveillance. Now, a new proposal would give people greater privacy rights on their own property.

The proposed legislation would take surveillance restrictions on drones a step further than last year’s law.

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News
5:45 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Cannon From Miami Dredge Being Restored In Tallahassee

An early 18th century cannon was discovered during work on the Miami Harbor Deepening Project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers delivered the cannon to the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research in Tallahassee.
Credit Grady Caulk, USACE

A cannon believed to be from the early 18th century was uncovered during work on the Miami Harbor Deepening Project last August.  Now, it's being readied to go on display as an artifact of the state.

We don’t know much about this cannon. But there’s a record of salvaged cannons being used as anchors near the Port of Miami.

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Politics
4:24 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Jobs, Education, Tax Cuts Top Priorities In Gov. Rick Scott's Second Term

Gov. Rick Scott greets supporters at a campaign event at Orlando Harley-Davidson in November.
Credit Scott For Florida

Gov. Rick Scott’s inauguration is less than a month away. Scott is only the second Republican governor in Florida history to win reelection. Jeb Bush was the first.

Scott told reporters at the Capitol this week he'll focus on education and tax cuts, as well as growing jobs during his second term. 

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