The Florida Roundup

Fridays at noon on WLRN 91.3FM

Each week a panel of journalists from South Florida and around the state discuss the week in news. 

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Courtesy of Portman Holdings

Voters in Miami Beach are deciding more who may run for the White House.

They also will decide if a new hotel should be built next to a renovated convention center.

The hotel would serve as headquarters for conventions. Supporters say it would bring more dollars to the city but opponents believe it would further overcrowd the city.

Plans for the hotel boast a modern 288-foot tall, 800-room building.

If voters approve the plan on March 15, the land would be leased to Portman Holdings. The developer says it will privately finance the $400 million project.

Ramon Espinosa / Associated Press

This week, the White House announced President Obama and the First Lady will visit Cuba.

The trip will include meetings with a Castro as well as with Cuban entrepreneurs.

The decision for a presidential trip to Cuba comes with all the historic overtones that have accompanied the changing relationship between America and Cuba since late 2014 when the president announced a new strategy of engagement. It also came with the familiar criticism of the efforts.  We discuss the history and controversy surrounding the trip.

Linnette Vasquez/flickr

It's a Valentine’s Day edition of the Florida Roundup featuring husband-and-wife media teams.

The Florida legislative session is at its midpoint. The death penalty remains on the agenda. The House and Senate are split over whether juries should agree unanimously in capital punishment cases.


The Florida Roundup looks at the death penalty, heavy rains, fracking and more this week.

The Florida Supreme Court stopped one execution as questions continue around the process of how Florida decides the death penalty. Dozens of inmates on death row could challenge their sentences.

South Florida is being drenched by historic rains in the midst of what is supposed to be the dry season. Lake Okeechobee is swollen, sending dirty water into rivers and raising worries about pollution.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

This week, a group of 15 South Florida mayors, from West Palm Beach south to Cutler Bay signed a letter sent to Senator Rubio calling on him to "acknowledge the reality and urgency of climate change."

The mayors want Senator Rubio to address a federal plan regarding climate change and, specifically, the threat of rising sea level in South Florida.

For almost two years, Uber and and Lyft have all but ignored the rules regulating the taxi industry and operated anyway.

Last year, Palm Beach and Broward counties okayed a set of rules making transportation network companies -- as they call themselves --- legal. This week, Miami-Dade took the first step toward doing the same.

It's actually the second time the Miami-Dade commission has moved toward allowing Uber and others to operate legally. The first effort was successfully stopped by the taxi industry.

The U.S. Supreme Court says Florida’s practice of deciding if someone gets the death penalty is unconstitutional. What does this mean for the almost 400 people on Florida’s death row? Will the legislature try to change the process?

The first flight of Cuban migrants stuck in Costa Rica landed in El Salvador this week … as they hope to come to the U.S. In Washington, Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio filed legislation to change the benefits Cuban immigrants get when they make it to the U.S.

Florida Roundup: Florida Politics In 2016

Jan 8, 2016
flguardian2 / Flickr Creative Commons

An election year like this year means Florida’s politics will be on the national stage -- from our pivotal role in choosing the next president, to the balance of power in the United States Congress, to policy fights in the state Legislature.

All this political intrigue leads back to Florida voters.

The Florida Roundup: Police Behavior Scrutiny In 2015

Jan 4, 2016
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

The Florida Roundup looks back on police behavior under scrutiny in 2015.


WLRN’s Tom Hudson talked with Miami Herald senior crime and cops reporter Chuck Rabin and WLRN’s Nadege Green about police-involved shootings and the public’s growing skeptical view on the investigations.


Ramon Espinosa / Associated Press

“The year 2015 has seen more firsts than in 50 years,” says Tom Hudson, WLRN’s Florida Roundup host.


He spoke with WLRN’s Tim Padgett and Fusion’s Latin America editor Tim Rogers to discuss the pathway to normalizing U.S.-Cuba relations, the migrant crisis in Central America and Venezuela’s crumbling economy.

The Florida Roundup: Politics In 2015

Dec 30, 2015
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Before ringing in the New Year, we take a look back at 2015 national politics and politics in the Sunshine State.


It was a critical year for Democrats and Republicans running in the presidential race. From spring through summer, more than 20 major party candidates started campaigning as presidential hopefuls. Four of them have personal connections to Florida: Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson.


“Hello there” - the email started. “There is something you should know about, taking place tomorrow of 12-17-15 - Thursday.”

That was the email message received by the Houston Independent School District. A similar email came into the inboxes of school officials here in South Florida.

The emails threatened to blow up school buildings with pressure cookers bombs.

Florida Roundup: Property Claims In Cuba And U.S.

Dec 11, 2015
Ramon Espinosa / AP

The U.S. and Cuba may have embassies in each other’s countries, but relations are far from normal. Human rights, basic freedoms and an open economy continue to be major areas of friction between the two.

For the first time, negotiators tackled the contentious issue of reparations this week. American companies and Cubans in America want billions for property confiscated two generations ago when Fidel Castro and the communists seized power. Homes, businesses, shops, factories, farms -- they were all just taken by the revolution.

Jim Wyss / Miami Herald

In response to the Paris attacks one week ago, Florida Gov. Rick Scott joined more than half of the nations governors who called for "extensive" screening of Syrian migrants entering the United States.

One of the attackers who carried out the terrorist attacks in Paris that left more than 120 people dead appeared to be using a fake Syrian passport.

Courtesy All Aboard Florida

All Aboard Florida officially revealed models of its trains, with a new name: Brightline.

Those models are expected to become life-size and run from Miami to West Palm Beach in mid-2017 and farther north to Orlando later that year.

Brightline's yellow-streaked cars will offer food and drinks, facilities to transport pets, free wi-fi and power outlets at every seat.

But not everyone is on board with the rail link.