Sarah Mueller

Sarah Mueller is the first recipient of the WFSU Media Capitol Reporting Fellowship. She’ll be covering the 2017 Florida legislative session and recently earned her master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois Springfield. Sarah was part of the Illinois Statehouse press corps as an intern for NPR Illinois in 2016. When not working, she enjoys playing her yellow lab, watching documentaries and reading memoirs.

Fewer felons are getting their voting rights restored under Governor Rick Scott than in the past two administrations. Attorney Brittnie Baker said Scott has denied her clients the right to once again vote because of traffic violations or admitting they drank or used drugs.

Senate lawmakers say Florida’s prison system is in a crisis. That’s the consensus after a presentation by Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones. She said she’s having problems recruiting guards. Jones is pushing legislators for pay bumps.

Legislation banning sanctuary city policies is moving through Florida House committees. The proposal requires cities fully cooperate with federal immigration officers or face penalties.

President Donald Trump wants to streamline the U.S. Food and Drug Administration so people with rare diseases can get medication faster. But one Florida resident says the state's government needs to make improvements too.

Republican state lawmakers want a say over local business regulations across the state. Legislation

preempting local power is moving through the legislature.

Florida parents could see cheaper diapers through legislation being considered by lawmakers. The measure by Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, exempts diapers and incontinence products from sales tax.

Torrie Jasuwan, founder of BabyCycle Diaper Bank in Saint Petersburg, said one in three Florida moms can’t afford diapers. She says not having clean diapers can result in staph and urinary tract infections.

The Florida House is moving forward with a plan to pull out of the refugee resettlement program.

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran recently told a Miami television show there’s a “tremendous potential likelihood” some refugees from the Middle East living in Florida are terrorists.

Insurance companies in Florida and home contractors expect to battle over changes to assignment of benefits laws again this session. The rise of lawsuits where contractors are suing insurance companies to get paid and cover attorney fees has both sides arguing they are the only ones who are protecting the homeowner’s interests.

A Florida Republican lawmaker wants to create more incentives for people who get welfare to look for work. The legislation passed a House committee Thursday.

Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier said insurance companies shouldn’t have to pay attorney fees when contractors sue them over property damage claims. He warned lawmakers this week that if the state doesn’t change its insurance rules, insurance companies will leave the market or raise rates.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is suing President Donald Trump over his travel ban. The ban restricts refugees and travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries.

Florida House Democrats protested Republican Speaker Richard Corcoran’s decision to give a platform to a man they said is a racist.

A coalition calling itself Stand Up North Florida went public Monday. It says it wants more state water conservation money to go to North and Central Florida. Representing the group were local and state politicians and business leaders. Environmentalists were notably absent.

Creative Commons

Most states tax feminine hygiene products as “luxury items.” But state lawmakers across the U.S., including in Florida, are introducing so-called “tampon tax” legislation to exempt these items from sales tax. 

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