Tallahassee

Politics
7:00 am
Tue April 14, 2015

How Big Energy Wields Its Power Over Solar In Florida

Utility companies say if lots of people suddenly start using solar panels on their roofs, it would cause a huge disruption to the electric system.
Credit Solar Energy Tampa Florida/flickr

A citizen-led effort seeks to put a solar power-expanding initiative on Florida’s 2016 ballot. It would allow entities other than utility companies to sell the solar power they generate. At the same time, legislation proposed in Tallahassee would keep Florida as one of only five states that prevent anyone other than utilities from selling solar power.

Read more
Education
6:28 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

House Passes Bill To Reduce Class Size Penalties

Voters approved the class size amendment in 2002. Florida lawmakers are charged with implementing - and funding - the amendment. It limits the number of students per class to 18 through 3rd grade, 22 in 4th - 8th grade, and 25 in high school.
Credit Pasco County Schools/flickr

School districts are likely to face fewer penalties for violating class-size requirements under a bill that passed the Florida House Friday on a vote of 107 - 3.

Read more
News
12:47 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Local Pension Overhaul Ready For Full Senate Vote

Lawmakers are working on legislation to bolster underfunded local pension plans for police and firefighters. Senate staffers say about 350 local government plans around Florida would be impacted.
Credit americanmag/flickr

An effort to overhaul police and firefighter pensions is ready for consideration by the full Senate.

The bill, SB 172, changes the way state insurance premium tax revenues are used to fund local pension plans. It essentially enables local governments to use the money as they wish.

The bill is sponsored by lawmakers from both parties, including Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island).

Read more
Politics
8:03 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Seminoles Release More Ads Pushing Gambling Negotiations

A proposed gambling bill in Tallahassee would conflict with the Seminole Gaming Compact. Part of the compact will expire in July unless state leaders negotiate a new deal.
Credit Thomas Davison/flickr

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has released another TV ad -- the third so far -- trying to convince state leaders to renew a portion of the Seminole Gaming Compact.

The portion that expires in July allows the Seminole tribe to exclusively offer games like blackjack at its casinos. In return, the tribe guarantees a billion dollars’ worth of payments to the state over five years.

Read more
News
2:45 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Hemp Farming Gets Thumbs Up From Florida Senate Committee

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill to let farmers grow hemp crops like these.
Credit Paul/Flickr

A product made from cannabis could become one of Florida’s top crops: A bill in Tallahassee would allow Florida farmers to grow hemp.

Robert Clayton finished construction last year on a house made of hemp in Tarpon Springs. It’s thought to be the first of its kind in Florida. He testified at a Senate hearing about his research for the Hemp Industries Association.

Read more
Politics
12:32 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Business Coalition Seeks Anti-Discrimination Policy For LGBT Community

Key Largo Rep. Holly Raschein debates during a Florida House session last April.
Credit myfloridahouse.gov

A bill to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation is back in Tallahassee.

Florida law prohibits discrimination based on everything from race to religion. But the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community doesn't have that protection.

The Florida Competitive Workforce Act would change that, banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Read more
News
2:56 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Pilot Program Gives Parents Tools For Coping With Kids

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey leads a question and answer session between inmates on the "chain gang" and parents.
Credit Brevard County Sheriff's Office

On their first full day as leaders of the Legislature, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner appeared at a news conference highlighting a pilot program they have thrown their weight behind.

The program, called "It's Time To Be A Parent Again," is already underway in Brevard County. But with support from Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, and Gardiner, R-Orlando --- both of whom represent parts of Brevard --- the program will now be piloted in Polk, Osceola and Seminole counties.

Read more
Politics
6:02 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Adrian Wyllie: I'm More Than A Spoiler In Governor's Race

44-year-old small business owner Adrian Wyllie is making his first run for governor.
Credit wyllieforgovernor.com

The Libertarian candidate for governor of Florida is getting some attention in a race where there's little excitement about the front-runners. 

Adrian Wyllie is former chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida and a former syndicated radio host. Aside from campaigning, he owns an IT consulting firm.

Wyllie may not get a lot of votes, but he might impact the race. The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows incumbent Republican Gov. Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Democrat, are virtually tied. Wyllie is getting about 8 percent of voter support.

Read more
News
11:23 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Wooden Ark Tours Florida To Promote Threat Of Climate Change

This 22-foot-long ark belongs to NextGen Climate, a political committee founded by California investor Tom Steyer.
Credit NextGen Climate

Scientists say much of Florida will be underwater within a century if nothing is done about climate change. Now, a wooden ark is taking that message on a tour around the state.

The ark is 22 feet long and 8.5 feet tall. It belongs to NextGen Climate, a political action committee taking aim at Gov. Rick Scott for not taking action against climate change. 

Read more
Politics
9:33 pm
Sun August 10, 2014

House Speaker: We'll "Get It Right" On Redistricting

The special session will continue until August 15th. It may end earlier if lawmakers approve a new congressional map.
Credit Gina Jordan/WLRN

The Florida Legislature met for less than 15 minutes on the first day of the special session on redistricting. Lawmakers are back in Tallahassee after a circuit judge tossed out the map they drew two years ago of Florida’s 27 congressional districts.

Read more
Politics
5:54 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Frontrunners For Governor Reveal Finances And Seek More Transparency

18 candidates have filed to run for governor of Florida. The winner will live in this mansion on a hill in Tallahassee.
Credit Jimmy Emerson, DVM/flickr

Now that Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist have released details about their finances, the front runners in what is expected to be a very close governor's race are goading each other to be more transparent.

Governor Rick Scott's net worth is well over $100 million. The businessman and former health care executive does not accept a salary as governor.

Read more
Politics
2:54 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

How South Florida Voters Are Changing Political Culture

The almanac includes insider information, like why so many domestic and foreign affairs are negotiated in Coral Gables.
Credit News Service of Florida

The Political Almanac of Florida 2014 gives us a detailed look at the state’s House districts -- all 120 of them.

Read more
News
3:24 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Judge Says Florida Teacher Evaluations Are Unfair, But Constitutional

Florida teachers are being evaluated on the performance of students in other classrooms.
Credit cooldesign/freedigitaldownloads.net

Florida teachers and education groups sued over a change in state law that enables districts to tie evaluations to student performance. A federal judge says the state’s way of evaluating teachers is constitutional.

The law was passed in 2011. It allows some teachers to be evaluated based on test scores of students who aren’t in their class.  They can also be judged based on test results in subject areas they don't even teach.

Starting next year, their pay will be impacted.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more

Pages