Gina Jordan

Tallahassee reporter

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

Thomas Davison/flickr

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has released another TV ad -- the third so far -- trying to convince state leaders to renew a portion of the Seminole Gaming Compact.

The portion that expires in July allows the Seminole tribe to exclusively offer games like blackjack at its casinos. In return, the tribe guarantees a billion dollars’ worth of payments to the state over five years.


A product made from cannabis could become one of Florida’s top crops: A bill in Tallahassee would allow Florida farmers to grow hemp.

Robert Clayton finished construction last year on a house made of hemp in Tarpon Springs. It’s thought to be the first of its kind in Florida. He testified at a Senate hearing about his research for the Hemp Industries Association.

Tom Hagerty/flickr

This is Government in the Sunshine Week, a week celebrating the importance of open government and freedom of information.

The recent firing of Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey is an example of government leaders making decisions out of the public purview – violating the spirit of Sunshine Week and Florida’s Sunshine Law.

Scott Keeler/Tampa Bay Times

New Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, is using his power in the Florida Legislature to help individuals with disabilities - or "unique abilities" as he often says. He's pushing bills relating to education and overall economic independence for the disabled.

The bills would expand education options beyond high school, promote the adoption of kids with disabilities in foster care and provide incentives for businesses to hire disabled workers.

DOC NYC/flickr

In the early 1980s, a series of escapes earned Mark DeFriest the nickname Prison Houdini.

In 1979, DeFriest was a 19-year-old mechanic living in a rural area outside of Tallahassee. Then he was arrested for stealing his own tools -- the tools were inherited from his father, but DeFriest took them before his father’s will had gone through probate. His stepmother called the police, and DeFriest fled. That began his decades-long odyssey behind bars.

WMNF Community Radio/flickr

The rules surrounding alimony are back before the Florida Legislature. It’s been almost two years since Governor Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have stopped permanent spousal support and reopened divorce cases.

"What I was concerned about on that was the retroactive part of it, that we could go back and review prior agreements,” Scott told reporters after vetoing the bill passed by the Legislature in 2013.

Phil's 1stPix/flickr

Drivers spend more than half their time focused on something other than driving, according to a new survey that shows we know it’s bad to drive while distracted but do it anyway.

Drivers admit they regularly speed and use their smartphones. They also play with the radio, program the GPS and drive while sleepy.

NADA / Flickr

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is considering a run for the White House. So he released 250,000 emails this week from his time as governor.

But Bush’s desire to be transparent may cause trouble for some of his former constituents.

Social security numbers have turned up in some of the newly released documents. Bush told reporters in Tallahassee the state was supposed to cover up such personal information.

Christine Zenino/flickr

Warmer temperatures are causing glaciers to melt in places like Antarctica and Greenland. What’s in those glaciers may have a significant effect on ecosystems downstream. Those massive chunks of ice harbor a lot of organic carbon – like soot and byproducts from fossil fuel combustion.

All water, from tap water to the oceans, is full of organic carbon in varying forms and concentrations.

Performance funding in public higher education is a way for states to hold institutions accountable for certain outcomes. But new research shows it doesn’t do much to keep students enrolled or boost graduation rates.