Rick Stone has been a journalist in Florida for most of his career. He's worked in newspapers and television but believes that nothing works as well as public radio. He and his wife, Mary Jane Stone, live in Broward County.
With two weeks to go in the lawmaking session, open government and ethics measures favored by watchdog groups are stalled in the Florida Legislature. There is a two-part concern about citizen access to public records.
The first worry is about the number of public-record exemptions that are pending this year. Barbara Petersen of the First Amendment Foundation says it's a dozen.
"It will be a record number of new exemptions and push the total number of exemptions to both the public records law and the open meetings law close to 1,100," Petersen said.
There was an odd moment at the Solar Uprising rally at the state capitol on Thursday, which Charlie Crist attended to be seen championing solar energy for our state.
It was provided by a woman named Debbie Dooley, who addressed the crowd a few minutes before Crist took the stage. What she said was this: "I know I'm unique in this crowd because I like Gov. Scott. But he's wrong on the issue of solar."
In Tallahassee, legislative Democrats are facing a time of store brands and junk food -- or so they say -- as they begin a week of subsisting on the state's $7.93 minimum wage. It's all in support of an effort to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. But the bill that would do that is stalled in the Legislature and it's very unlikely to pass this year.
Dramatic increases in state incentives to lure film and entertainment production to Florida may be on the way. But this time, local governments would have to pay to play. A bill approved in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee would charge counties where the productions take place 10 percent of the face amount of the producers' tax incentives.
The Florida Senate's Select Committee on Gaming makes its last stand in Tallahassee this week with a couple of bills that could end greyhound racing in the Sunshine State. It's the only gambling issue that still remains within the committee's grasp.
On the day his successor takes power, a defeated or departing Florida governor would be allowed to appoint replacements for state Supreme Court justices whose terms expire on the same day. That's in a controversial bill the state Senate passed on Thursday. And that governor could be Rick Scott four years from now, when the court's liberal majority face mandatory retirement all at once.
The campaign to expand Medicaid for Florida's uninsured poor continued in Tallahassee last week with a mass lobby conducted by doctors and nurses from Miami's Jackson Hospital. They went from office to office in the Capitol seeking legislative support, but got basically nowhere.
This story originally ran on March 17, 2014. This week, we'll dedicate an hour on-air during the Florida Roundup to the Innocents Lost investigation. Tune in Friday, March 28 at noon.
Last week, the Miami Herald launched a series on a history of failures at DCF -- Florida's Department of Children and Families. But these are failures with a body count: Over six years, nearly 500 children died after DCF had been warned, sometimes repeatedly, that they or their siblings could be in danger. There were many missed opportunities for the state to protect the children.
A state Senate committee agrees that one of the keys to fixing persistent child welfare problems at Florida's Department of Children and Families is more and better-trained caseworkers. The panel has passed a group of bills with a package of solutions for a very troubled system.
Bills to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Florida have been filed for this session of the Legislature. So far, sponsors have little to show for their work -- except they've now been accused of jeopardizing the cause of medical marijuana, which will be on the ballot in November for Florida voters.
Gov. Rick Scott presented his record on job creation and economic growth in his fourth State of the State message to a joint session of the Legislature on Tuesday, March 4. It was partly a personal speech about his early life in poverty. But it seemed mostly focused on making sure he doesn’t lose a second term to former Governor Charlie Crist.
Miami-Dade County is the nation's seventh-largest county. It has an international profile; a hot real estate market and a thriving arts, sports and entertainment culture. And all of that, Mayor Gimenez said in his address, enables his government to serve the people through the lens of economic opportunity.
One of the latest villains in the rogues' gallery of human rights is the Dominican Republic because of a decision handed down by the country's highest constitutional court late last year.
Reaching back decades into its shared but troubled history with Haiti, the nation with which it shares the island of Hispaniola, it ruled that ethnic Haitians living in the D.R., some of them since 1929, are not eligible for citizenship because of the "in transit" status of their parents.