Tallahassee

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.

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.

Gov. Scott Signs Florida Budget; Explains Vetoes

May 20, 2013
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.

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.

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?”

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.

Are You A Dirty Politican? Play Our Ethics Game

Apr 26, 2013
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.

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.”

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:

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.

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?

Springtime Makes Grand Entrance In Tallahassee

Apr 8, 2013
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.

 

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.

Senior Arcades Targeted In Internet Cafe Ban

Mar 28, 2013
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.

How To Create A Specialty License Plate In Florida

Mar 27, 2013
www.flhsmv.gov/dmv

Have an idea for a specialty license plate in Florida?

You can create one by jumping through a few hoops, forking out some cash, and convincing the Legislature to approve it.

Just as lawmakers pass bills that Gov. Rick Scott signs into law, both the House and Senate have to vote for proposed specialty plates.

Take the proposed Sun, Sea, and Smiles specialty plate. For an additional $25 above the cost of a standard plate, drivers may soon be able to get a specialty plate that raises money for a half-dozen Caribbean-related charities.

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