Paramedics, EMTs Could Get Public-Records Exemption

Jan 19, 2016

Florida senators this week could approve a bill that would create a public-records exemption for information about paramedics and emergency-medical technicians.

The Senate on Friday took up the bill (SB 320), filed by Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, and could vote on it during a floor session Thursday. The bill would prevent the release of records that include personal information, such as home addresses, telephone numbers and photographs, of current and former paramedics and emergency-medical technicians.

Federal health advisers recommended approval Tuesday for an experimental implant designed to treat patients recovering from heroin and painkiller addiction.

Negron Questions FDLE On Backlog Of Rape Kits

Jan 14, 2016

The powerful chairman of a Senate committee that oversees the criminal-justice budget said Wednesday that Florida's backlog of thousands of untested rape kits is one of his top priorities.

One of the most contentious environmental issues facing state lawmakers in the upcoming session is what to do with Amendment 1. That mandated a large pot of tax money be used to buy and protect environmentally-sensitive land. But just how that money should be used is muddying the political waters.

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.


Eliza Brown/ Flickr

A state Senate redistricting plan favored by voting-rights organizations was approved Wednesday by a Leon County judge in a move that could shake the Republican Party's grip on power in the Capitol.

In choosing the new map, Circuit Judge George Reynolds also rejected a plan put forward by Senate Republican leaders as the best configuration of the chamber's 40 seats. The proposal chosen by Reynolds would lead to a roughly even number of districts favoring each party.

New Water Policy Expected To Flow In Session

Dec 30, 2015
Earl Leatherberry/flickr

A statewide water-policy proposal is poised for the House and Senate floors early in the upcoming legislative session.

It would set water-flow levels for the state's natural springs and guidelines for the Central Florida Water Initiative, a regional water-supply planning effort.

The plan is a top priority of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, and is expected to quickly pass both chambers.

But Putnam hasn't forgotten that last session, the House and Senate passed water-policy bills yet couldn't come to terms.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images via Miami Herald

Drunk driving might come with bigger repercussions if a bill filed Monday goes through the Florida Legislature.

A Republican senator is seeking to toughen laws for drivers who refuse to take DUI tests.

Senate Rules Chairman David Simmons, from Altamonte Springs, filed a bill that targets drivers who refuse breath, blood or urine tests.

Currently, people could have their drivers license suspended for refusing a DUI test. Under Simmons’ bill, first-time refusals could lead to fines of at least $500 and six-months probation.

Lightblb on Flickr

Hundreds of thousands of registered voters in Florida are being asked to update their signatures.

If the signature on an absentee ballot doesn’t match what the elections office has on file, the vote can be tossed out.

Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley sent letters to nearly 200,000 voters who have previously requested ballots by mail.

Steve Bousquet in the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau says absentee voting has become so popular that an effort is underway to re-name it.

Supreme Court Rejects Workers-Comp Challenge

Dec 28, 2015

The Florida Supreme Court has turned down a lawsuit that questioned the constitutionality of the state's workers-compensation insurance system -- though the system continues to face three other closely watched challenges at the high court.

Justices last week declined to take up a Miami-Dade County case that threatened the longstanding concept that disputes involving injured workers should be handled through the workers-compensation system instead of through civil lawsuits.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department / lacounty.gov

  In a key step for supporters of legalizing medical marijuana, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would go on the November 2016 ballot.

Justices said the proposal, spearheaded by the group People United for Medical Marijuana, meets legal tests that include dealing with a single subject and having a clearly worded ballot title and summary. The Supreme Court does not consider the merits of proposed constitutional amendments but reviews them, in part, to make sure voters would not be misled.

Fish swimming in Miami? And hundreds of thousands of Americans on the FBI's terrorist watch list? To get to the bottom of these allegations, WUSF talks with Katie Sanders from PolitiFact Florida.

The warnings about climate change have been getting a good airing at the Paris talks on global warming, and in this country, Florida has been singled out as potentially the biggest victim from rising sea levels. President Obama went so far as to point out that low-lying Miami is at particular risk.

There are a lot of surprising things about Donald Trump's campaign. He has been atop polls almost constantly for nearly five months. Contrast that to GOP primaries of recent past, in which a series of "front-runners" have come and gone before a nominee was chosen.

Likewise, he seems not only immune to fact checks but is helped when he is perceived to be a victim of media targeting — even when he has made blatantly untrue claims and refused to back down.

President Obama is telling global leaders that the U.S. is taking the lead on combating climate change. But Congress would have to approve any money for the effort and Republicans are dead set against it. South Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart says the president knows he's deceiving world leaders.

“This is a president who seems to be, every day, more and more out of touch with the reality of the world. And so, you know, would it surprise me if the president went and promised things he couldn’t deliver? It wouldn’t surprise me,” Diaz-Balart says.