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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Questions From Town Hall
8:00 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Campaign Contributions Bill Touches A Nerve That Lawmakers Are Already Addressing

THE PROBLEM: This is what worries some of WLRN-Miami Herald News audience -- money and its effect on politics and legislation.
Credit gnerk on Flickr

  TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida House and Senate are taking ethics and elections seriously this year. Bills to widen voting opportunities by restoring pre-2011 early voting days and hours are making their way through both chambers.

But there's a bill in the House that would originally have increased campaign contribution limits from their current $500 to $10,000.

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Gambling
12:42 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

House Panel Votes To Outlaw Internet Cafes

Reacting to an Internet gambling scandal that forced Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll to resign this week, the Florida House gambling committee today (Friday 3/15) approved a bill that outlaws gambling machines commonly used in strip mall Internet cafes and adult arcades.

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Jennifer Carroll
10:00 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Internet Cafe Gambling Scandal Overshadow Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll's Resignation

Jennifer Carroll has stepped down from her role as Lieutenant Governor in Florida.
Credit www.flgov.com/meet-the-lt-governor/

Jennifer Carroll's days as lieutenant governor and presumed running mate for Gov. Rick Scott's reelection campaign may already have been numbered when she resigned this week because of her connection to an Internet gambling scandal.

Meanwhile, the investigation of  a purported charity called Allied Veterans of the World promises to overshadow the political shakeup in Tallahassee and lead to a big change in Florida's gambling landscape.

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Medicaid Expansion
10:00 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Florida Hospital Association Won't Accept That Medicaid Will Not Be Expanded

CAREGIVERS: The delegation from Ocala's Munroe Regional Medical Center. Lynette Johnson is third from the left.
Credit Rick Stone

Burdened with the expense of medical care for more than a million uninsured Floridians, the Florida Hospital Association isn't ready to accept that Medicaid won't be expanded in Florida under Obamacare.

Scarcely a day after a Florida Senate Select Committee voted down the Medicaid plan, the association had mobilized healthcare providers and patients under the banner "The Florida Remedy" to make their case public.

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Florida Legislature
11:00 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Democrats In Tallahassee Less Outnumbered Than They Used To Be

REVIVAL: They still don't have a majority in the capitol but Democrats felt new confidence at their recent Awake the State rally.
Credit Rick Stone / WLRN

The election results and new leadership in the Florida legislature have made life a little easier for the state's elected Democrats.

Not that that there's been a substantial change in how the state's laws are made. The elections may have stripped House and Senate Republicans of their super-majorities, but Democrats remain profoundly outvoted and relatively powerless.

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Florida Politics
11:00 am
Thu February 14, 2013

As National Proxy, Florida's A State To Watch

WATCHING FLORIDA: Why? Because our personalities, trends and demographics so closely follow the country's.

Florida has always been a state to watch, if only as a guilty pleasure or perhaps in self-defense. But some major political stars are aligning and the pundits are beginning to agree, Florida will really be a State To Watch from now at least through the 2016 election.

The personalities-of-the moment are here. The game-changing demographics are here. And the Florida stage is set for epic -- and deeply symbolic -- political confrontations.

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Governor's Race
10:00 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Candidacies On Hold As Democrats Wonder: What Will Alex Sink Do? Or Charlie Crist?

AWAITING ALEX SINK'S DECISION: Nan Rich, Dan Gelber, Jack Seiler, Manny Diaz and Buddy Dyer.

Former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink now has what she desperately needed in 2012 when she ran for governor against Rick Scott and lost: name recognition.

And that may be why a handful of the state's top Democrats are waiting to see what Sink will do in 2014 before they decide to become candidates for governor. Sink didn't run an impressive campaign but she didn't lose by much and the thinking is that a little more name recognition might have made the difference.

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Zero Tolerance
6:00 am
Wed February 13, 2013

School Policies Send Students To Jail

Florida school systems have eased up on the "zero tolerance" behavior policies that sent so many students to jail for minor misconduct.

But vestiges of the old policies are still sending thousand of students to jail for conduct that once would have meant nothing more than a trip to the principal's office.

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Marco Rubio
10:00 am
Fri February 8, 2013

On Immigration, Rubio Surrendered To Win

Credit Time

How did Florida U. S. Sen. Marco Rubio seize the leadership of the Republican Party from Paul Ryan, the Minnesota congressman who ran for vice-president with Mitt Romney?

By leading the trend to the party's nose-holding surrender on the immigration issue, argues New York Magazine. Writer Jonathan Chait says Rubio has tapped into a new GOP school of thought, which is that Republicans have no other problems except for immigration.

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Session 2013
10:00 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Dolphins Stadium Plan's First Approval May Encourage Public Funding For Other Teams

RENOVATIONS: This is what the Dolphins might do with Sun Life Stadium if its funding bill gets passed. Other sports teams would also like tax funding for their own renovation plans.

A Florida Senate committee's smiling approval of the Miami Dolphin's request for stadium renovation money may have set off a flurry of similar campaigns by sports teams and enterprises around the state.

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved sales tax breaks that would help the Dolphins finance a $400-million renovation of Sun Life Stadium. The team is still hoping for a penny increase in the hotel bed tax for the rest of the public share of the bill, which it says will be less than half of the total cost.

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Energy
8:21 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Plug To Be Pulled On Stricken Florida Nuke

DOOMED PLANT: Crippled by poorly done repairs, Duke Energy's Crystal RIver nuclear plant will become the first in the southeastern U. S. to close.
Credit southernstudies.org

Disabled by bungled repair work more tan three years ago, Duke Energy's Crystal River nuclear power plant will not be reactivated, company officials have concluded.

The plant in Citrus County on Florida's west coast will become he first in the Southeastern U. S. to close.

Four coal-fired generators will remain in place at the Crystal River site and the company is considering whether to build a new natural gas generator to replace the energy that the 900-megawatt CR3 nuke has produced since it opened in 1977.

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Session 2013
9:00 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Two Years Later, State Voting Law Fixes Take Root Where The Problem Was Caused

In Tallahassee, a series of proposals to repair the state election system is finding broad support in the Legislature that many say broke the voting process two years ago.

A Senate bill instituting one of the reforms proposed by Secretary of State  Ken Detzner has already been filed and there are clear signals from a House elections subcommittee that it will prepare a bill to launch the rest of them.

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South Florida Traffic
8:00 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Study Makes It Clear: SoFla Traffic Is Terrible

TIME SUCK: South Floridians spent an average of 47 hours waiting in traffic in 2011, an hour more than the year before.

Researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute have quantified what most South Florida drivers already know deep in their guts: they are wasting more time, money and gasoline than ever sitting in worsening traffic.

The bottom line for the average commuter in 2011: 47 hours standing still behind the wheel, an increase of an hour over the previous year.

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Air Travel
10:00 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Down To One Runway, Ft. Lauderdale Airport Will Be Vulnerable To Mishaps And Delays

ONE: That's how many runways the airport will have while a runway expansion project is underway. Analysts say any runway mishap could close the airport down.
Credit Broward County Aviation

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International will increase its capacity for yearly takeoffs and landings by more than 50 percent once its new runway goes live 20 months from now.

But it's going to be tricky in the meantime. Building the new runway will require closing one of the airport's two existing runways and that will expose flights and travelers to the risk of unforeseen -- and possibly lengthy -- delays.

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Food Prices
8:30 am
Mon February 4, 2013

$5 A Pound? Tomato Price Threat Seen As Tactic In Trade Dispute With Mexico

EXTREME TOMATO: The price in Japan is nearly five dollars for a single tomato. In the U. S., a prediction of five-dollars-a-pound is being debunked as a scare tactic to preserve Mexican market share.
Credit www.omroundtheworld.com

Will stopping Mexican tomatoes at the border raise tomato prices prohibitively for American consumers?

An importers group predicted recently that if the 1996 tomato agreement with Mexico is terminated, tomatoes could rise to $5 a pound in American supermarkets. Florida growers now say that's a scare tactic by interest groups who favor Mexican imports. "Under no circumstances will this be true," said Edward Beckman, president of Certified Greenhouse Farmers.

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