Politics

The Sunshine Edition
1:06 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Session 2014: The Sunshine Edition - The Winners And Losers

Credit MIAMI HERALD STAFF

In our final installment of Session 2014: The Sunshine Edition, we highlight the big events from this legislative season.

Stand Your Ground reform did not get far, but bills to allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities and to legalize a form of medical marijuana made it through the Republican-controlled legislature, and Governor Rick Scott says he will sign them. 

WLRN-Miami Herald News' Gina Jordan walks us through hallways of the Capitol in the remaining hours of the session.

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Latin America
10:49 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Panama Election: Is President Martinelli Pulling A Fast One?

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli
Credit Edgar Alberto Dominguez / World Economic Forum

The Panama Canal is expanding, but is Panama's democracy shrinking? The country is holding a presidential election on Sunday, May 4 -- and there are growing concerns that right-wing President Martinelli is trying an end run around the constitution.

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Session 2014
4:02 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Palm Beach County Is Slot Out Of Luck

Greyhound dogs racing at the Palm Beach Kennel Club
Credit Lisann Ramos

This legislative session  has toyed with the hearts of gaming aficionados who want more gambling, especially in Palm Beach County. 

Giants like Genting are pushing for casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward, but Palm Beach doesn't seem to be getting the same amount of love. 

Because of a vote that took place 10 years ago, Palm Beach doesn't allow slot machines in the county. 

This leaves gamblers there with no other option but to go south for slots. Elizabeth Paquette of West Palm Beach is one of those gamblers.

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The Sunshine Edition
1:56 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Why Florida Lawmakers Can Negotiate The State Budget In Private

Florida House of Representatives
Credit Steve/flickr

The Florida Legislature will pass a flurry of bills this week. But the only thing they’re constitutionally required to do is pass a state budget.

Lawmakers settled on a budget worth slightly more than $77 billion – the largest in state history. They’ll vote on the spending plan Friday night to close out the legislative session.

In spite of Florida’s laws regarding open government, much of the budget negotiations have taken place in private.

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The Sunshine Edition
1:48 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

LISTEN: Rep. Gaetz On Marijuana, His Mugshot, And Political Culture In Tallahassee

Rep. Matt Gaetz goes over notes before his next meeting at the Capitol.
Credit Gina Jordan/WLRN

Ft. Walton Beach Republican Representative Matt Gaetz is helping carry on the family name in politics.

One week shy of 32 years old, he’s one of the state’s youngest lawmakers. He’s now running for the state Senate. His dad is Senate President Don Gaetz, also a Panhandle Republican.

But Matt Gaetz is an attorney who is not just sitting in his dad’s shadow.

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The Sunshine Edition
8:43 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Could Marijuana Determine Florida Governor's Race?

This fall, when Florida voters consider legalizing medical marijuana, what can they learn from other states that already have it?
Credit James Perkins / Flickr/Creative Commons

 

 

Medical marijuana. Same-sex marriage. These used to be taboo political subjects but no more.

Almost half of Florida voters support gay marriage. 70 percent are okay with legalizing medical marijuana. Those are significant swings of support from just a few years ago. How are Floridan attitudes toward cultural issues changing? What’s the political impact at the ballot box in this gubernatorial election year? Former governor Bob Graham and George LeMieux, who spearheaded Charlie Crist's gubernatorial campaign, give us their take.

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Cuba
11:15 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

#CubaNow Policy Group Highlights Key Generational Shift

One of the #CubaNow ads placed in Washington D.C. metro stations this week.
Credit #CubaNow

This year has seen a growing chorus of polls, studies and statements calling for an overhaul of U.S. policy on communist Cuba. On Monday a new group called #CubaNow added its voice -- and signaled the growing generational shift among Cuban-Americans.

#CubaNow, based in Miami and Washington, D.C., is comprised mostly of younger Cuban-Americans who feel that a half-century of isolating Cuba has failed. They favor more open economic engagement as a way to help democratize the island.

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Local Politics
11:07 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Doral Council Fires City Manager Joe Carrollo

Former Doral City Manager Joe Carollo leaves the city council meeting after been fired on Monday, April 28, 2014.
Credit Hector Gabino / El Nuevo Herald

As television cameras, heckling residents and bickering council members packed Doral City Hall on Monday, Joe Carollo sat quietly on the dais in the city manager’s seat.

On Friday, he had predicted he would lose his job.

Thirty minutes later, his prediction came true.

Council members voted 3-2 to fire the outspoken manager, during a meeting that erupted at times into shouting, name-calling, spontaneous boos and applause. Carollo had been on the job for 15 months.

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Session 2014
4:19 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

A Day In The Life Of A Tallahassee Lobbyist

Jack Cory waits outside the House chambers on the 4th floor of the Capitol. Lawmakers often come out for brief chats with lobbyists during the final days of the session.
Credit Jack Cory / WLRN

Tallahassee is full of lobbyists, and they’re in high gear at the Capitol for the final week of the legislative session.

A lobbyist is someone who is hired by a company or organization to convince lawmakers to pass legislation benefiting their clients.

Long-time lobbyist Jack Cory doesn’t stop moving much during the session. His firm’s two-dozen clients include the Florida Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs, Florida Citrus Sports, and the Florida and National Greyhound Associations.

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The Sunshine Edition
11:36 pm
Sun April 27, 2014

Session 2014: The Sunshine Edition - The Business Of Politics

In a re-election year for Governor Rick Scott, the Republican-controlled legislature has mostly tried to avoid controversial issues.
Credit Meredyth Hope Hall / Courtesy of the Florida Governor's Office

 

 

For two months each year,160 men and women elected by Florida voters gather in Tallahassee to make state policies. Everyday during this final week of the legislative session, WLRN-Miami Herald News will be reporting and examining what Florida lawmakers have accomplished, what’s been ignored, and how it will affect you for our special Session 2014: The Sunshine Edition.

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The Florida Roundup
11:29 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Education Bills Highlight Differences Among Republican Leadership

House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel), left, shakes hands with Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville).
Credit Florida House of Representatives

State Senate President Don Gaetz likes to introduce House Speaker Will Weatherford as the “taller, smarter, better-looking version of the Weatherford-Gaetz” duo. Their alliance has led to the quick passage of legislation like last year's ethics reform package and this year's sex offender bills. But on several education bills, the two diverge.

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Politics
12:01 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Florida Lawmakers Ready To Strike Popular Energy Rebate Program From The Books

Homes and businesses using solar panels like these were eligible for rebates under a state program that ended in 2010.
Credit lkarrowhead26/flickr

An energy bill that is nearing passage in the Florida Legislature would strike an old solar rebate program from the books.

The program was more popular than expected, and when it ended in 2010, thousands of rebate holders hadn’t received all of the money they were due.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has recommended that lawmakers clean up state statutes by eliminating the rebate program. Since the program has ended, he says it's no longer needed on the books.

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Politics
6:10 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

What We Learned From Our Innocents Lost Town Hall On The Child Welfare System

Democratic Sen. Eleanor Sobel and Republican Rep. Erik Fresen spoke at the WLRN and Miami Herald town hall on the child welfare system.
Credit HECTOR GABINO / EL NUEVO HERALD

For more than a year, the Miami Herald dug through Department of Children & Families records and police reports to find out how and why nearly 500 children died over the past six years after falling through the Florida Department of Children & Families’ protective net.  

The investigative series, Innocents Lost, uncovered the disturbing stories and found that the agency had embraced a family preservation philosophy without ensuring all the necessary social services were in place to keep children safe in troubled homes.  

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Legalizing
9:21 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Why Rep. Katie Edwards Supports Medical Marjiuana

Rep. Katie Edwards supports the research of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Credit TheNewsHerald/Flickr

Before there was a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana in Florida on this coming November ballot, there was West Broward Representative Katie Edwards.

She represents parts of Davie, Plantation and Sunrise.

A democrat from District 98 with a background in agriculture and applied economics -- along with a law degree -- Edwards first made a legislative effort to address the possibility of medical marijuana in 2013.

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Gabriel García Márquez
12:59 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Gabo And Gringos: Did Magical Realism Bridge Or Divide The Americas?

Gabriel García Marquez, 1927-2014
Credit Ricardo Timão / Flickr

Gabriel García Márquez, who died Thursday at age 87, provided one of the eerier moments of my journalism career.

In 1996, a colleague and I had been conducting a series of interviews with the Colombian Nobel laureate about his newest book, called “News of a Kidnapping.” It was a nonfiction work on his country’s violent drug-crime culture. Shortly after García Márquez sent the final proofs to his publisher, I called him at his Mexico City home and he sounded shaken.

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