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
4:41 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Gov. Rick Scott Faces New Complaint After Release Of Private Emails

Gov. Rick Scott waves to supporters during a campaign stop last month in Lakeland.
Credit Scott For Florida

Gov. Rick Scott could face sanctions over his use of a private email account now that a judge in Tallahassee has given the okay for an additional complaint against Scott relating to public records. 

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Politics
4:52 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Satanic Temple's Display At Florida Capitol Gets Approved

The Satanic Temple plans this display for the first floor of the Florida Capitol. The group's application for the same display last year was denied.
Credit News Service of Florida

We told you the Satanic Temple was preparing to file a lawsuit this week against the state of Florida. Now, those plans have been dropped because the temple is being allowed to put up a holiday display inside the Capitol. 

The display depicts an angel falling into a pit of fire. It’s scheduled to go up on December 22. It includes a banner with the words "Happy holidays from the Satanic Temple.”

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Politics
12:32 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Business Coalition Seeks Anti-Discrimination Policy For LGBT Community

Key Largo Rep. Holly Raschein debates during a Florida House session last April.
Credit myfloridahouse.gov

A bill to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation is back in Tallahassee.

Florida law prohibits discrimination based on everything from race to religion. But the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community doesn't have that protection.

The Florida Competitive Workforce Act would change that, banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations.

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Education
11:06 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

Anti-Testing Groups Help Students Opt Out Of Standardized Assessments

The Florida Standards Assessment replaces the FCAT. Students will take the test online.
Credit Pearson K-12 Technology/flickr

“Opt Out” groups are pushing back against what they say is too much standardized testing in Florida. The tests are changing as the state transitions to Florida Standards - an offshoot of the Common Core standards being implemented around the country.

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Democratic Party
6:26 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Florida Democrats Form Task Force To Analyze Disappointing Election

Allison Tant is midway through a four-year term as head of the Florida Democratic Party.
Credit Florida Democratic Party

Allison Tant sent a pained letter to the Democratic Party faithful after last week’s election that saw Democrats lose more seats than they gained statewide and around the country.

“While last night's results weren’t what we’d hoped for, I want you to hear directly from me: we will never stop fighting for the people of Florida,” Tant wrote.

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The Gorvernor's Race
12:46 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Analysis: What Florida's Republican-Controlled Legislature Might Look Like Under Scott Or Crist

A poll released by Quinnipiac University the day before Election Day gives Charlie Crist a one-point advantage over Rick Scott. Pollsters say that makes the race too close to call.
Credit Dr sanjeevkumar SinghEr/flickr

What will the Florida Legislature look like with Republican Rick Scott or Democrat Charlie Crist as governor? A lot depends on whether Republicans not only retain control of the Legislature, but regain a super majority -- making their policy decisions veto-proof.

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News
9:42 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Municipalities Pass Local Ordinances In Case Voters Approve Medical Marijuana

Key West, Boca Raton, and Plantation are among the municipalities around the state that are discussing or taking preemptive action against medical marijuana - just in case voters approve Amendment 2.
Credit BoQunabo/flickr

Local governments are taking preemptive action in case voters approve Amendment Two, legalizing medical marijuana.

Municipalities around Florida have passed their own regulations before the Legislature can enact statewide rules.

City leaders in Naples voted to ban the sale and growth of medical marijuana. But if Amendment Two passes, the Legislature may overrule that decision.

If that happens, Naples Mayor John Sorey says another ordinance will keep the sale of the drug in a small medical zoning area.

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Amendment One
6:21 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

On Environmental Funding In Florida's Constitution, Support Not Partisan

Amendment One is officially known as the Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative. Environmental preservation under the amendment would be funded for the next 20 years by 33 percent of the revenue from a real estate transaction fee known as a doc stamp.
Credit Emma_L_M/flickr

Florida voters will decide whether environmental preservation becomes part of the state Constitution. Amendment 1 is a citizens’ initiative born from nearly a million petition signatures.

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Politics
4:09 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Dream Defenders Get Attention With Bulletproof Vest Campaign

The #VestOrVote campaign features a billboard of a child wearing a bulletproof vest. The ad says the "Dream Vest" can be purchased by calling a toll-free number or visiting DreamDefenders.org. The vest isn't really for sale. Callers and web visitors are given more information about the Dream Defenders.
Credit DreamDefenders.org

The activist group Dream Defenders was founded in Florida two and a half years ago after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford.

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Education
4:00 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Florida Will Fight U.S. Education Department Over English Learners

Althea Valle teaches a class of ELL's. She says of the new federal requirement, "I think it’s going to put a lot of pressure on the schools to get these kids where we think they should be."
Credit Gina Jordan/StateImpact Florida

A 10th grader born in Haiti struggles to read in his class at Godby High School in Tallahassee. The student is more comfortable with Haitian Creole than English. Teacher Althea Valle has students of various nationalities trying to master the language.

“It’s a challenge,” Valle says. “There’s a lot of gesturing, and you know sometimes I feel like I’m onstage and sometimes I have to be onstage to make myself understood.”

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Politics
12:37 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

How Campaign Finance Laws Make Florida Governor's Race Unique

Expect airwaves to be flooded with campaign ads in the final weeks leading up to Election Day.
Credit fotographic1980/freedigitalphotos.net

Florida’s campaign finance laws make for a unique governor’s race. In an analysis of television advertising through late September, the Rick Scott and Charlie Crist campaigns hadn’t spent much on TV advertising. Political parties and political action committees known as PACs have done most of the spending.

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News
7:23 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

SCOTUS Won't Take Up Gay Marriage Appeals

Attorney General Pam Bondi was hoping for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. Instead, justices refused to hear cases in 5 other states, leaving the appeals up to lower courts.
Credit Rick Scott/flickr

The Supreme Court’s refusal to consider gay marriage cases in five other states may soon impact Florida, now that a federal judge is being asked to clear the way for same-sex marriage in the Sunshine State.

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StateImpact Florida
8:38 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Why The ACLU Is Challenging Single-Gender Classes In Florida Schools

The ACLU is worried single-gender classes might reinforce stereotypes of the 1950s.
Credit Gardiner & James Families / Wikimedia Commons

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed federal complaints against school districts in Broward, Hernando, Hillsborough and Volusia counties over the use of all-girls or all-boys classes. The ACLU wants the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to investigate the programs.

StateImpact Florida’s Gina Jordan spoke with Galen Sherwin, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, about the complaints.

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Politics
6:02 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Adrian Wyllie: I'm More Than A Spoiler In Governor's Race

44-year-old small business owner Adrian Wyllie is making his first run for governor.
Credit wyllieforgovernor.com

The Libertarian candidate for governor of Florida is getting some attention in a race where there's little excitement about the front-runners. 

Adrian Wyllie is former chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida and a former syndicated radio host. Aside from campaigning, he owns an IT consulting firm.

Wyllie may not get a lot of votes, but he might impact the race. The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows incumbent Republican Gov. Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Democrat, are virtually tied. Wyllie is getting about 8 percent of voter support.

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News
11:23 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Wooden Ark Tours Florida To Promote Threat Of Climate Change

This 22-foot-long ark belongs to NextGen Climate, a political committee founded by California investor Tom Steyer.
Credit NextGen Climate

Scientists say much of Florida will be underwater within a century if nothing is done about climate change. Now, a wooden ark is taking that message on a tour around the state.

The ark is 22 feet long and 8.5 feet tall. It belongs to NextGen Climate, a political action committee taking aim at Gov. Rick Scott for not taking action against climate change. 

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