Tallahassee

Labor
8:00 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Critics Say Sick Leave Law Good For Corporations, Bad For Families

Under a law that takes effect next month, local governments no longer have the option of passing a paid sick leave ordinance.
Credit marin/freedigitalphotos.net

Gov. Rick Scott has signed a bill that prohibits local governments from crafting their own sick leave policies for private employers.

Supporters say the new law will prevent an array of ordinances that could be confusing for businesses.

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Education
6:37 am
Mon June 10, 2013

WLRN Teams Up With FIU To Tell Radio Stories In A Digital Age

FIU students work with WLRN staff to produce their own radio reports.
Credit Photo by Doug Garland

The class is gathered around a conference table in the newsroom shared by the Miami Herald and WLRN public radio. On the screen in front of them is a reporter, John O’Connor, connected via Skype. This class often covers how multimedia platforms are taking over newsrooms, so it makes sense that today’s speaker is streaming live from the Internet.

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Politics
6:00 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Why A New Gun Bill Ticks Off Mental Health Advocates

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Credit faxpilot/flickr

The Florida Legislature passed a gun control measure this year that would prevent more people with mental illness from buying guns. 

It essentially closes a loophole that enables people who seek mental health treatment to buy guns.

The bipartisan bill even got strong support from the National Rifle Association.

But some critics think it may do more harm than good.

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Politics
2:59 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Gov. Scott Signs Florida Budget; Explains Vetoes

Gov. Rick Scott signs the 2013-14 state budget. He told reporters he vetoed a tuition hike because it will help Florida families.
Credit Tom Urban/News Service of Florida

Gov. Rick Scott signed the 2013-14 state budget into law today.

He also sent a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner explaining his decision to veto a tuition hike. “We are also holding the line on tuition by vetoing the Legislature’s recommended 3 percent tuition increase on our college and university students,” the governor wrote.

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Education
1:06 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

FAU President Resigns After 'Significant Controversies'

FAU President Mary Jane Saunders resigned effective immediately from her top post at the university. She'll stay on as a member of the faculty.
Credit fau.edu

Mary Jane Saunders has quit.

The president of Florida Atlantic University says bad publicity splashed across national headlines was too much.

Next month would have been Saunders’ three-year anniversary as president.

While the university is showcasing her string of accomplishments, there was no way to get around a spate of missteps in recent months.

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Florida Legislature
7:00 am
Thu May 2, 2013

It's All About 'Mary' The Auto Reader In Tallahassee

'Mary' was introduced in the House this week. The-auto reader has its own Twitter account with hundreds of followers.
Credit Twitter

Speaker Will Weatherford introduced a new member of the Florida House this week.

“Members, we have an auto-reader. We had it in the closet just in case we ever had to actually read the bills,” Weatherford said amid laughs from the chamber. “It may be a little bit faster than normal.”

Weatherford's communications director announced on Twitter that the auto-reader's name is Mary.

Within an hour of her debut, Mary had her own Twitter handle - @HouseAutoReader. Some of her tweets include “I'm so bored” and “Anybody have a cure for the hiccups?”

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Education
3:03 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Lawmakers Urge Better Reporting On Treatment Of ESE Students

Sunrise Rep. Katie Edwards sponsored a bill that would have eliminated seclusion rooms in schools and issued guidelines for use of restraint.
Credit Mark Foley/myfloridahouse.gov

With just a few days left of the legislative session, we're working to get as many answers as possible to questions posed during our last WLRN-Miami Herald Town Hall meeting in February.

This question comes from Steve Moyer of Cooper City:

"I have a disabled child that attends public school and feel the education provided to most ESE (Exceptional Student Education) students in Broward County as well as other districts is inadequate.

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Ethics Game
10:00 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Are You A Dirty Politican? Play Our Ethics Game

Are you squeaky clean or Tallanasty?
Credit Martin Tews / Creative Commons/Flickr

Everyone loves to complain about political corruption.  But would you do any better?  Play our interactive game, Tallanasty, and find out if you would be a cleaner Florida politician.

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Politics
9:00 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Miami Sex Abuse Victim Finishes Fourth Walk Across Florida

Lauren Book, flanked by media near the Capitol, completes her fourth walk across Florida.
Credit Jordan Michael/WLRN

Around this time of year, a lot of people walk to achieve the highly coveted yellow-polka-dot-bikini body.

Lauren Book walks to help mend lives.

Book ended her fourth annual trek on Tuesday, walking 1,500 miles from Key West to Tallahassee.

She was joined on the last mile of the trip by an army of supporters in blue shirts adorned with footprints and the words “Walk In My Shoes 2013.”

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Schools
8:05 am
Wed April 17, 2013

WLRN Town Hall: How Can We Increase Parent Participation In Schools?

The WLRN-Miami Herald Town Hall meeting in February yielded hundreds of questions from listeners on a range of topics, including education.
Credit Gina Jordan/WLRN

Education was a hot topic at the WLRN-Miami Herald Town Hall meeting in February.

Only a small portion of the questions that came in were asked during the panel discussion. But we're working to get as many answered as possible.

Deborah Nix from Delray Beach wanted to know:

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Education
11:50 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Lawmaker Warns Parent Trigger Bill Confuses Empowerment With Involvement

Sen. Bill Montford wants to see more parents involved in their children's schools. He says the parent trigger bill isn't needed because they are already empowered.
Credit billmontford.com

Sen. Bill Montford, a Democrat from North Florida, doesn't like the Parent Empowerment in Education bill. It's much better known as the parent trigger bill.

“We know overall that the majority of students that are successful have parents that are involved,” Montford said. “It's critical to have parent support and involvement in the schools.”

Montford is CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents.

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Politics
6:00 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Hey, Everybody! Florida Is Looking At A Budget Surplus Next Year

Tax revenues are up, enabling Florida lawmakers to spend $4 billion more than last year.
Credit athrasher/flickr

Florida lawmakers are doing something they haven't done in years: adding money to state programs.

The recession sent the state into multi-billion-dollar budget shortfalls that led to big cuts in education and state government payrolls.

But this year, lawmakers have money to play with. Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a budget of more than $74 billion for the fiscal year that starts in July. That's about a $4-billion increase in spending over the current year.

So where did the extra money come from?

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Politics
2:00 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Springtime Makes Grand Entrance In Tallahassee

Springtime Belles and Gents -- These high school students perform community service and are trained in poise and etiquette.
Gina Jordan/WLRN

Saturday morning temperatures in the low 40's gave way to an afternoon in the low 80's as 100,000 people packed downtown Tallahassee for the Springtime Tallahassee parade and festival.

 

The annual event celebrates the city's history and culture.

 

The parade features antebellum floats, belles and gents, horse drawn carriages and the obligatory high school marching bands.

 

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Politics
9:00 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Chewing Gum, Sweat-Free Suits, And More: 5 Observations From The Capitol

The Florida Senate meets in an organizational session. This same group was recently caught doing the Harlem Shake in Senate Chambers.
Credit flsenate.gov

We're nearly halfway through the legislative session, and your roving Capitol bureau reporters are ready for a nap.

We'll need one, since the busiest days are still weeks away.

It was quiet at the Capitol in the days before Easter. So this seemed like a good time to share some observations made while covering the Florida Legislature.

Everybody chews gum. Lawmakers and lobbyists in particular can, in fact, walk and chew gum at the same time.

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Politics
10:00 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Senior Arcades Targeted In Internet Cafe Ban

Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, was one of just six members of the House to vote against the ban on Internet cafes. Senior arcades would be affected, too.
Credit Meredith Geddings/myfloridahouse.gov

The Florida House last week voted to ban Internet cafes and similar businesses. The Senate is expected to do the same.

This is happening very quickly after Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll’s resignation. A client of her former public relations firm is facing criminal charges relating to Internet cafes.

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