Rick Stone

Reporter

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.

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Florida's Environment
7:48 pm
Sun April 26, 2015

Legislators 'Thwarted The Will Of The Voters' On Amendment 1, Backers Say

WHEN HOPES WERE HIGHER Pop singer Jimmy Buffett, center, headlined an Amendment 1 rally at the state capitol complex on April 7.
Credit Rick Stone

For a lot of Florida voters and a lot of environmentalists, one of the big disappointments of this chaotic legislative session is the apparent fate of Amendment 1. That's the ballot initiative that makes three-quarters of a billion dollars available every year to buy and protect sensitive lands. But it's a shopping trip the Legislature doesn't feel like making.

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Expanding Medicaid
6:41 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

State Economist Warns 'We Will Feel It' If Medicaid-Related Hospital Funds Are Lost

Photo illustration of Medicaid card.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons

  TALLAHASSEE -- State House Republicans emerged from a closed-door meeting on Tuesday apparently still resolved to oppose expanding Medicaid for 800,000 low-income Floridians.

Meanwhile, the Senate, in an unusual workshop session to hash out the Medicaid problem and its implications for Florida's hospitals and its economy, was hearing from the state's chief economist that the House position threatens an economic catastrophe that begins with Florida's safety net hospitals.

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Malls
5:38 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Florida Cabinet Approves Land Sale For Nation's Biggest Mall

Developer Triple Five plans to call its newest mall American Dream Miami.
Credit Triple Five

Miami-Dade County is about to acquire 82 acres of state land that could one day be the site of the largest mall in America. 

The vacant land is just west of Miami Lakes in an area surrounded by the Florida Turnpike, Interstate 75 and Northwest 170 Street. That’s where development company Triple Five wants to build a combination shopping mall and entertainment complex that would supplant its other big property, the Mall of America in Minneapolis, as the largest mall in the nation.

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The Legislature
7:06 am
Tue April 14, 2015

Florida Legislators Keep Priorities Straight By Balancing Local And State Issues

Credit Rick Stone

Every county in South Florida has big problems for the Legislature to solve this year. Some of them you may know about, some are pretty obscure. But all found their way on to lists of legislative priorities that the various county delegations brought with them this year to Tallahassee.

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Politics
9:08 am
Tue April 7, 2015

U.S. Senate Candidate Murphy Faces Opposition From Inside Democratic Party

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy
Credit Murphy For Florida

There's only one declared candidate so far for the Marco Rubio U.S. Senate seat. And he's already earned a vote of "no confidence" from a wing of his own party. 

Patrick Murphy is a former Republican who switched parties in 2012 and defeated arch conservative Allen West for South Florida's northernmost congressional seat.

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Capital Punishment
12:41 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Low Bar For Florida Death Penalty Juries Triggers High Court Review

Lethal injection illustration by Lee Hulteng.
Credit Miami Herald

  The Supreme Court will examine Florida's capital punishment system in its next term, and legal experts believe Florida's death penalty itself may be in danger.

A solution could be in a legislative fix now moving slowly through the Capitol in Tallahassee. It's been passed by one Senate committee but the House is showing little interest in the companion bill.

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Health Care
11:31 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Florida Senate Bill Would Allow Non-Doctors To Prescribe "Controlled Substances"

THE NURSE PRACTITIONER WILL SEE YOU NOW NPs and physician assistants may soon have the same prescribing authority as doctors.
Credit Doug McIntosh/Flickr

Florida legislators this year may expand the prescribing authority of physician assistants and nurse practitioners to include controlled substances. The move responds to Florida's reported doctor shortage and its developing flood of patients with new Obamacare health policies.

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Florida Legislature
5:17 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Expanded Medicaid's Time May Have Come At Last, Miami-Dade Legisators Say

GOLDEN CARD About a million Floridians who are too poor and too well off at the same time may qualify for one of these after the next legislative session.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons

The stars seem to be aligning for Medicaid expansion in the Florida Legislature this year.  After two years of blunt refusals to even consider it, some top Republicans, like Miami State Sen. Anitere Flores are saying the time has come.

"And what's interesting," Flores said after a Monday  interview with the Miami Herald editorial board, "is that you have the buy-in from the business community, from the private sector, from your nontraditional supporters of government funding."

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Spring Training
1:41 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

West Palm Beach Mayor Vows Clean Water Will Come Before Baseball Complex

OPENING DAY A photographer made this panorama from 81 separate frames as the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals opened the 2009 Spring Training season at the Astro's facility in Kissimmee. The two teams now want to build a new stadium in West Palm Beach.
Credit Andrew T. Sullivan / Flickr Creative Commons

Local leaders in West Palm Beach are looking forward to hundreds of jobs and a fatter economy from a proposed $135 million spring training baseball stadium that's nearing approval on a couple of fronts.

But, they say, they'll give it up in a minute if scientists find it’s a threat to their drinking water.

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Health Care
6:34 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Billions Of Dollars At Stake In Medicaid Expansion Choice

TO EXPAND OR NOT Florida and the individual counties would suffer or prosper, according to the decision. For Florida, the difference between the two is $7 billion.
Credit Florida Legal Services

State health policy experts said Thursday prospects for expanding Medicaid in the Legislature this year remain dim because of unwillingness in the leadership and possibly fatal flaws in the two leading proposals. And those experts warn another refusal could come with a stunning economic cost for Florida.

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Education
4:55 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Democrats' Free Tuition Strategy: Unleash Eager Parents Against Reluctant GOP

THEY WANT TUITION BREAKS South Florida Democratic State Representatives Jose Javier Rodriguez, left, and David Richardson sound out Miami Dade College students.
Credit Rick Stone

President Obama's America's College Promise would provide free community college tuition for two years to students who keep their grades up, stay in school and show progress toward graduation.

As he introduced it this month, the president presented it as a logical extension of the nation's free public school system, updated for the education requirements of the modern economy.

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Feature
1:09 am
Fri January 9, 2015

LISTEN: Florida's First 15 Hours Of Same-Sex Marriage

Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, the first same sex couple to be wed in Key West, show off their wedding bands.
Credit Mark Hedden / WLRN

Just after midnight on Tuesday morning, gay marriage became legal in Florida. But the first marriages started in Miami-Dade County about twelve hours earlier.

It was about 11:30 in the morning. Judge Sarah Zabel held a hearing and decided there was no need to wait. She lifted the stay on her ruling declaring Florida's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

And gay couples could start getting married right away.

Our reporter John O'Connor was at the courthouse. And we had people at courthouses in Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, too.

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News
9:23 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Same-Sex Weddings At Broward Group Ceremony, But Not Marriage Equality

Clerk of Courts Howard Forman officiates at a mass same-sex marriage ceremony at the Broward County courthouse. About 40 of the approximately 100 couples who got marriage licenses stayed to take their vows.
Credit Rick Stone / WLRN

  In Fort Lauderdale, about 100 couples were issued legal marriage licenses starting at a minute after midnight. Some will have to endure the state's three-day waiting period before they can marry. But 30 or 40 same-sex pairs who qualified for waivers stayed behind to take their vows in a mass ceremony.

The first couple in line was the first to be married. Melissa Keller and Joanne Stiger got the special treatment of a ceremony in the court clerk's chapel with County Judge Kathleen McHugh officiating.

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Gay Marriage
7:10 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Mass Gay Marriage Wedding Won't Discriminate: Straights Welcome, Too

Credit Peetje2 / Creative Commons/Flickr

If you were to pick the most likely city for a gay marriage celebration, it might very well be Fort Lauderdale, which has been attracting lesbian and gay tourism for decades.

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