Gina Jordan http://blog.wlrn.org en Plastic Bags Survive Another Year In Florida http://blog.wlrn.org/post/plastic-bags-survive-another-year-florida <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"Paper or plastic?" is a question you’ll hear at grocery stores for at least another year because a South Florida lawmaker was unsuccessful in his attempt to help cities cut down on plastic bags.</span></p><p>A bill would prevent places like Publix and Walmart from using plastic carryout bags if local governments wanted to ban them. It would also require stores to provide customers with reusable bags.</p> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 16:10:13 +0000 Gina Jordan 30622 at http://blog.wlrn.org Plastic Bags Survive Another Year In Florida Florida Legislature Wants To Avoid Controversy In This Election Year http://blog.wlrn.org/post/florida-legislature-wants-avoid-controversy-election-year <p>The legislative session is slightly more than halfway over.</p><p></p><p>So what have lawmakers been doing in the first five weeks and what’s next?</p><p></p><p>We checked with <em>Miami Herald</em> Tallahassee bureau chief Mary Ellen Klas.</p><p></p><p><strong>Q: Would you explain the process that happens in the first half of the session? For people who don’t understand what goes on at the Capitol this time of year, what should they know?</strong></p><p></p> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 03:10:05 +0000 Gina Jordan 30417 at http://blog.wlrn.org Florida Legislature Wants To Avoid Controversy In This Election Year Lawmakers Want To Change The Way MDX Does Business http://blog.wlrn.org/post/lawmakers-want-change-way-mdx-does-business <p></p><p>An effort to increase the state’s oversight of&nbsp;MDX&nbsp;-&nbsp;<a href="http://mdxway.com/" target="_blank">the Miami Dade Expressway Authority</a>&nbsp;- barely passed the Senate Transportation Committee Thursday.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The bill was weakened significantly.</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A plan to cut the number of board members from 13 to 9 was thrown out. So was a provision that would have required the county commission to approve toll increases.</span></p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 02:01:14 +0000 Gina Jordan 30274 at http://blog.wlrn.org Lawmakers Want To Change The Way MDX Does Business Online Medical Checkups And Other Telemedicine Services Moving Through Legislature http://blog.wlrn.org/post/online-medical-checkups-and-other-telemedicine-services-moving-through-legislature <p>Your next check up may be done in the comfort of your living room.</p><p>A bill to enable more doctors to offer their services via the Internet or other technology passed a Senate committee Tuesday.</p><p>In addition to doctors, the bill now includes as those who can practice telemedicine physician assistants, advanced registered nurse practitioners, and pharmacists.</p><p>Even doctors who aren’t licensed to practice in Florida can provide remote services. They just have to be affiliated with a Florida hospital or health care plan.</p><p>Listen to the story:</p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 23:25:12 +0000 Gina Jordan 30144 at http://blog.wlrn.org Online Medical Checkups And Other Telemedicine Services Moving Through Legislature Report Examines Political Power Of Florida Utility Companies http://blog.wlrn.org/post/report-examines-political-power-florida-utility-companies <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A report by government watchdog Integrity Florida examines how the state's four largest utility companies are able to yield considerable political power.&nbsp;</span></p><p><a href="http://www.integrityflorida.org/powerplay/" target="_blank">The findings conclude that the Florida Legislature</a> sets its agenda and policy outcomes based on the needs of large political donors rather than the public interest. In the last five elections, the report says Florida utility companies were among the largest donors to state-level campaigns.</p> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 23:11:17 +0000 Gina Jordan 30067 at http://blog.wlrn.org Report Examines Political Power Of Florida Utility Companies Red-Light Camera Ban Creeps To A Halt In The Florida Legislature http://blog.wlrn.org/post/red-light-camera-ban-creeps-halt-florida-legislature <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Red-light cameras appear to be safe for another year in Florida. </span><a href="http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2014/0144" style="line-height: 1.5;" target="_blank">A bid to get rid of them</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> crept to a halt this week in the Florida Legislature.</span></p> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 20:08:06 +0000 Gina Jordan 29884 at http://blog.wlrn.org Red-Light Camera Ban Creeps To A Halt In The Florida Legislature Florida Senate Approves Private Flood-Insurance Market http://blog.wlrn.org/post/florida-senate-approves-private-flood-insurance-market <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">More than a third of the policies in the National Flood Insurance Program are held by Floridians. But Florida accounts for just a small percentage of the claims that are paid.</span></p><p>Now the national program is <a href="http://wlrn.org/post/federal-flood-insurance-program-drowning-debt-who-will-pay" target="_blank">billions of dollars in debt</a> because it hasn’t been charging premiums that match the risk.</p> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 21:18:05 +0000 Gina Jordan 29826 at http://blog.wlrn.org Florida Senate Approves Private Flood-Insurance Market Miami Herald Series Prompts Changes To Florida Child-Welfare Legislation http://blog.wlrn.org/post/miami-herald-series-prompts-changes-florida-child-welfare-legislation <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Miami Herald series </span><a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/projects/2014/innocents-lost/stories/overview/" style="line-height: 1.5;" target="_blank">“Innocents Lost” may lead to more changes at DCF</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> – Florida’s Department of Children and Families.</span></p><p>The Herald investigation chronicles the deaths of hundreds of children under DCF’s watch.</p><p>Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, is one of the state leaders charged with overseeing DCF as chair of the Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee.</p> Mon, 24 Mar 2014 22:32:12 +0000 Gina Jordan 29730 at http://blog.wlrn.org Miami Herald Series Prompts Changes To Florida Child-Welfare Legislation Florida Legislature Considers Beer Growlers, In-Store Tastings http://blog.wlrn.org/post/florida-legislature-considers-beer-growlers-store-tastings <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Half a dozen bills about beer have been filed in the Florida Legislature.</span></p><p>The proposals would essentially do two things: allow certain stores to offer beer tastings - like many already do with wine – and legalize 64-ounce containers of beer.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Florida’s weird packaging laws allow 32-ounce and gallon-sized containers, known as growlers. But 64-ounce growlers are illegal. The law dates back to the prohibition era.</span></p> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 18:13:21 +0000 Gina Jordan 29460 at http://blog.wlrn.org Florida Legislature Considers Beer Growlers, In-Store Tastings Lawmakers Consider Bills To Allow Guns On School Campuses http://blog.wlrn.org/post/lawmakers-consider-bills-allow-guns-school-campuses <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">An effort to </span><a href="http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=51873" style="line-height: 1.5;" target="_blank">bring guns to school campuses</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> is moving through the Florida Legislature.</span></p><p>The bill sponsors say this isn’t such a far-fetched idea - eight states allow people with concealed-carry permits to bring guns to school.</p> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 21:40:10 +0000 Gina Jordan 29351 at http://blog.wlrn.org Lawmakers Consider Bills To Allow Guns On School Campuses Session Update: Election Law Changes, Guns In Schools, Gov. Askew Dies http://blog.wlrn.org/post/session-update-election-law-changes-guns-schools-gov-askew-dies <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Lawmakers altered their session schedules this week to say goodbye to former </span>Gov<span style="line-height: 1.5;">. </span>Reubin<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Askew. He died Thursday at age 85. Flags are flying at half-staff at local and state buildings.</span></p> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 21:34:32 +0000 Gina Jordan 29370 at http://blog.wlrn.org Session Update: Election Law Changes, Guns In Schools, Gov. Askew Dies Bill To Grant Cheaper Tuition For Undocumented Students Struggles In Senate http://blog.wlrn.org/post/bill-grant-cheaper-tuition-undocumented-students-struggles-senate <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">High school senior Diego Ramirez from Florida City told lawmakers he’s in the top 10 percent of his class. He’s lived in Florida four years and is undocumented.</span></p><p>“I’ve always wanted to go to college [and] become a businessman because that’s my dream,” Ramirez said.</p><p>Undocumented students in Florida have to pay out-of-state rate for college, which is three times more expensive.</p><p>Now, a bill to grant cheaper, in-state college tuition to undocumented students may be in trouble.</p> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 21:25:07 +0000 Gina Jordan 29424 at http://blog.wlrn.org Bill To Grant Cheaper Tuition For Undocumented Students Struggles In Senate Why Freedom Of The Press Should Matter To You, And Other Tenets Of The First Amendment Foundation http://blog.wlrn.org/post/why-freedom-press-should-matter-you-and-other-tenets-first-amendment-foundation <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When Florida media groups are concerned about freedom of the press and open government, they turn to the </span><a href="http://floridafaf.org/" style="line-height: 1.5;" target="_blank">First Amendment Foundation</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> for help.</span></p><p>Pete Weitzel, former senior editor of the Miami Herald, founded the non-profit 30 years ago.</p> Tue, 11 Mar 2014 04:55:04 +0000 Gina Jordan 29007 at http://blog.wlrn.org Why Freedom Of The Press Should Matter To You, And Other Tenets Of The First Amendment Foundation Lawmakers Join Forces For Protection Of Florida Springs http://blog.wlrn.org/post/lawmakers-join-forces-protection-florida-springs <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Attorney David Guest is not on the fence about the protection of springs.</span></p><p>“They’re acting as if this renewable resource is something you can simply mine and when it’s gone, it’s gone,” said Guest, head of the <a href="http://earthjustice.org/about/offices/florida" target="_blank">Florida office of Earthjustice</a>.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">“It’s been there for thousands of years, and only recently have we had this attitude that you just take it and the future generations just don’t get anything anymore.”</span></p> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 23:01:34 +0000 Gina Jordan 28879 at http://blog.wlrn.org Lawmakers Join Forces For Protection Of Florida Springs Session Preview: Tax Cuts And Rosy Budget Outlook In An Election Year http://blog.wlrn.org/post/session-preview-tax-cuts-and-rosy-budget-outlook-election-year <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">March 4</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;marks the start of the </span><a href="https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Calendar/2014/Session_Dates_2013-07-01_154802.PDF" style="line-height: 1.5;" target="_blank">2014 Florida Legislative session</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> at the Capitol. It runs through May </span>2<span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p>For two months, lawmakers will consider proposed legislation on everything from marijuana to red-light cameras.</p> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 00:00:41 +0000 Gina Jordan 28681 at http://blog.wlrn.org Session Preview: Tax Cuts And Rosy Budget Outlook In An Election Year