The Sunshine Edition

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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Sunshine Edition
6:30 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Beckham Stadium Sparks Debate From PortMiami Protectors

A rendering of the interior bowl of the proposed soccer stadium at PortMiami.
Credit ARQUITECTONICA, 360 ARCHITECTURE AND VISUAL HOUSE

The gloves came off Wednesday morning in a debate on whether the Beckham soccer stadium should be built at PortMiami. One takeaway was just how complicated this issue has become.

With ads against the stadium filling the airwaves; it seems as though getting the port location won't be as simple as Beckham and his team originally anticipated. 

The ads, along with other opposition, come from the Miami Seaport Alliance. The alliance is a group of companies that believe the stadium will interfere with their business.

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Sunshine Edition
6:12 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

How Florida's In-State Tuition Bill Would Change The Life Of A Homestead Student

Mayra used to work on her father's farm when she couldn't afford to be a college student. Now that she attends Miami-Dade College, she still offers to lend a hand at the fruit stand her father manages.
Credit Mayra Rubio

Mayra Rubio was 3 months-old when she moved to Homestead with her brother and parents from Guadalajara, Mexico.

After she graduated from South Dade Senior High, she realized she could not afford the out-of-state tuition for public colleges and universities. Undocumented students do not get the opportunity to pay in-state tuition rates.

So instead, Mayra worked with her father in the fields and groves of South Miami-Dade County. She picked and packed avocados and mangos.

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Sunshine Edition
3:20 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Self-Medicating Floridians Call For Legal Medical Marijuana

Credit Talia / Flickr CC

A bill was passed by the state Senate this week that would OK a very limited strain of medical marijuana.

The cannabis extract is known as Charlotte's Web, which is geared to help neurological conditions for a limited amount of epilepsy patients.

Dahlia Barnhart was 2 years old and living in Tampa when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. Her mom Moriah moved the family to Memphis so Dahlia could get treatment at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

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The Sunshine Edition
9:57 am
Thu May 1, 2014

In-State Tuition For Undocumented Students Likely To Pass

The effort to allow undocumented students to pay in-state rates at Florida schools has been a top Republican priority for this law writing session.
Credit Judy Baxter / Flickr/Creative Commons

Homestead resident Mayra Rubio was in the audience during President Obama's 2014 State of the Union address and was hoping to hear about reforms that could change her life. She was an undocumented immigrant, though she is now a recipient of deferred action from U.S. authorities. While the president's speech said little about immigration, the state legislature is poised to pass a bill that will allow state colleges and universities to treat undocumented immigrants similar to in-state students and pay a lower tuition rate.

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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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The Sunshine Edition
11:59 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Confederate Flags On Display At Florida's Capitol

A Confederate flag used to fly over the Capitol from 1978 to 2001, until then-governor Jeb Bush had it taken down.
Credit hculligan / flickr

Last week, Florida's Capitol hosted confederate flags in its rotunda. 

The Sons of Confederate Veterans group got clearance to display the flags in commemoration of their ancestors, who died during the Civil War. April 26 was Confederate Memorial Day, an official state holiday since 1895.

Kelly Crocker is one of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who put up the display. 

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The Sunshine Edition
7:29 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Mike Carroll Is Named Interim Head Of The Department Of Children and Families

On Monday, Governor Rick Scott announced Mike Carroll as his nominee to be the next interim Secretary of the Department of Children and Families. The state senate must approve his nomination.
Credit Department of Children and Families

Florida’s child protective agency’s new designated leader comes from within the troubled agency. Mike Carroll currently runs the Department of Children and Families operations in Tampa and Southwest Florida. What does his nomination mean about the direction of the agency? We speak with Carroll and the Miami Herald's Carol Marbin Miller.  

Florida parents, school kids and teachers await to see what next school year’s assessment test focused on Common Core State Standards will be. While they wait, they’re watching New York state parents opting out of Common Core testing.

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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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