Ashley Lopez

Ashley Lopez

Ashley Lopez is a reporter for WLRN-Miami Herald News. She also splits her time as a reporter/blogger for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and as a local print reporter for The Miami Herald. Previously, Lopez was a reporter/blogger for The Florida Independent — a nonprofit news blog that covered Florida politics and public policy. A native Miamian, Lopez graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree. She also interned for Talking Points Memo and an NPR affiliate in Durham, North Carolina.

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Taxes
6:23 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

How Strict New Tax Rules Could Affect Florida

Opponents of Amendment 3 say restricting how much money the state can bring in will hurt Floridians.
401(K) 2012/ Flickr

Amendment 3 on Florida’s ballot this year, if passed, will change how the state figures out how much money it can collect in taxes.

Opponents all over the state, however, say this one change could lead to massive cuts in state services such as health care and education.

How Amendment Three Works

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The Florida Supreme Court
5:34 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Debate: Will Amendment 5 Politicize Florida's Highest Court?

Some say Amendment 5 will make the Florida Supreme Court less impartial.
Fammy/ Flickr

In 2011, the Florida Legislature set out to restructure the Florida Supreme Court.

Even though that effort failed, Republican Lawmakers did get a proposal for big changes onto this year’s ballot.

However, some say this effort could politicize and change the face of Florida’s highest court.

Will New Rules Make Florida's Highest Court Less Impartial?

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Campaign Money
5:17 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Allen West Is Still Raising More Money Than Anyone Else In The House

Allen West is raising more money than anyone else in the House.
Gage Skidmore/ Flickr

U.S. Rep. Allen West, who is famous for his confrontational Tea Party politics, has been dominating this year in terms of fundraising.

He is not only out raising his opponent, Patrick Murphy, by leaps and bounds-- but he is raising more money than anyone else running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Washington Post recently profiled Romney's biggest company donor, which is a Philadelphia-based orthopedic clinic. They also included some of the big money raisers in the country right now. At the top of that list happens to West.

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Bill Nelson
3:34 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Bill Nelson: I Am Still 'Petrified' Of Florida's New Voting Law

Bill Nelson says he is still concerned about Florida's voting law.
nasa hq photo/ Flickr

This year's presidential election is getting closer and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., still doesn't feel too good about the state's new voting law.

He stopped by the Miami Herald today to talk about his debate against his opponent, Connie Mack, last night. He talked about immigration and the Space Coast, among other things, but he also voiced how he feels about Florida's new voting law.

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Political Fundraising
11:26 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Host Of Romney's '47-Percent' Fundraiser Is Set To Host Paul Ryan

A host of one of Romney's controversial fundraising dinners is going to host another event in Boca Raton for the campaign.
Talk Radio News Service/ Flickr

Boca Raton's Marc Leder, who is best known for hosting a dinner earlier this year in which presidential candidate Mitt Romney said 47 percent of people will vote for Obama because they are "dependent upon government," is going to hold yet another event this Friday at a country club in Boca Raton.

This fundraiser, however, will feature Romney's Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan.

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Ballot Measures
5:22 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Amendment 6: Right To Privacy Or Parental Rights?

The Archdiocese of Miami is funding a campaign to pass Amendment 6, because they say they want to store parental rights in abortion matters.
Ashley Lopez WLRN

One of the constitutional amendments on the ballot this November takes on the controversial and politically charged issue of abortion.

Amendment 6, if passed, would prohibit public funding for abortions in the state, but it would also take away a right to privacy explicitly contained in Florida’s Constitution.

This has women’s rights activists in the state up in arms over concerns that this could be the beginning of greater abortion restrictions.

A Right To Privacy

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Mosquito Birth Control
5:06 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Key West Gets A Step Closer To Genetically-Modified Mosquitoes Experiment

The FDA has signed on to partner a study that would introduce genetically modified mosquitoes in Key West.
Eli Christman/ Flickr

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has agreed to work with a British company looking to test out genetically-modified mosquitoes in the U.S.

British biotechnology company Oxitec Ltd has been waiting for a U.S. federal agency to sign on as a partner so they could test out these altered mosquitoes in Key West.

In the past few years, Key West has had a problem with mosquitoes in the area spreading Dengue-- but Oxitec thinks they can kill off a large part of this mosquito population with their altered mosquitoes.

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Television
5:13 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Sabado Gigante Turns 50

Don Francisco's hit show, Sabado Gigante, turns 50 years old this month.
panamamusiccorporation/ Flickr

Sabado Gigante, one of the most famous TV shows among the Hispanic community here in Miami, is also the longest running variety show in television history. It turns 50 this month.

Gigante has been recorded here in Miami at Univision since 1986.

The show has been hosted by Don Francisco, whose real name is Mario Kreutzberger, since it got its start on Chile television. 

According to Media Moves:

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Ballot Measures
4:56 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

What Religious Leaders Think About Florida's 'Religious Freedom' Amendment

Pastor Guillermo Marquez Sterling in Coral Gables is afraid Amendment 8 will hurt religious freedom in the state.
Ashley Lopez/ WLRN

In November, Floridians will decide whether or not to remove a state ban that prohibits the use of tax money for the funding of religious groups.

While the Catholic Church in the state remains one of the biggest proponents of this so-called “Religious Freedom” amendment, some religious leaders are weary of the measure.

Guillermo Marquez-Sterling, a pastor at the United Church of Christ in Coral Gables, says he’s concerned that, if Amendment 8 passes, if tax money could fund religious organizations, religious institutions like his will actually lose some of their freedom.

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Cuba
2:55 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Cuba Softens Travel Restrictions With A Big Catch

Raul Castro has promised to ease Cuba's travel restrictions for some.
Fotos Gov/Ba/ Flickr

Today the Cuban government announced that Cubans will no longer need an exit visa from the state in order to leave the country for travel, etc. However, the government simultaneously cracked down on travel for high skilled workers.

As of January 14, 2012, Cubans will only need a visa from the country they are traveling to in order to leave the country. 

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Constitutional Amendments
5:54 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Where Florida's 11 Ballot Measures Came From

Florida's ballot this year contains proposed changes to the state's Constitution that only come from Tallahassee.
immortalpoet/ Flickr

This year, every proposed change to our state's Constitution placed on the ballot came from the state Legislature.

Experts and activists say that this is because getting an amendment on the ballot in Florida is harder than ever before for citizens, yet significantly easier for state lawmakers.

What Happened to Citizen-led Petitions?

Robin Rorapaugh of Hollywood is the president of a political consulting company that helps groups who want to get an issue on a ballot.

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Jeb Bush
4:15 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

'Subtle, Subtle' Racism: Why Jeb Bush Moved To Miami

World Affairs Council of Philadelphia/Flickr

New York Magazine published a great profile of Florida's former governor and current Miamian Jeb Bush this week.

The profile tackled some pretty big topics about Bush, who has stayed mostly out of the limelight since he finished his term as Florida's governor in 2007. The article mentioned how Jeb's connections to the Hispanic community might make him the greatest hope for the future of the GOP and why he didn't run in 2012.

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Fidel Castro
5:59 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Fidel Castro Death Rumors Are A Familiar Story

Rumors are circulating that Fidel Castro has died, which is all too familiar.
Globovisión/Flickr

Social media has been abuzz today with rumors that Fidel Castro might be dead. As The Miami Herald reports:

Rumors of the retired leader’s alleged passing had been circulating online since Sunday, when Castro did not congratulate Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez on winning reelection.

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Campaign Money
3:31 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Obama And Romney's Big South Florida Donors

Marc Anthony and fellow South Floridians are some of the big donors to the Obama and Romney campaign.
Facundo Gaisler/Flickr

Not only are South Florida's votes key to the upcoming presidential election, but its residents are some big donors to the presidential campaigns, as well.

South Florida Business Journal rounded up some of the biggest donors in the region to both President Obama and Mitt Romney's campaigns. 

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Secret Service Scandal
2:38 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Secret Service Agent Found Passed Out On Sidewalk In Miami

A Secret Service agent was found passed out drunk this morning in Miami.
Ricardo Liberato/Flickr

A U.S. Secret Service agent enjoyed Miami a little too much last night.

Aaron Francis Engler, a Secret Service agent, was found passed out drunk on a sidewalk near Brickell Avenue and 7th in Miami today.

Engler was in Miami because President Obama was in town for the campaign. He gave a big speech at the University of Miami and help a fundraiser at the J.W. Marriott.

CBS 4 reports,

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