Politics

Politics
10:00 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Who Controls Water Standard Levels In Florida?

The Environmental Protection Agency reached an agreement with the state Department of Environmental Protection Friday to turn over most of its control of water standard levels. The Florida Legislature will have to approve the plan by Dec. 1, 2014 for it to go into effect.
Credit Bogeskov / Flickr

Behind a Florida waterway, a seemingly untroubled scene – behind the turtle sunbathing atop the limestone rock, the water control structure and layers of sawgrass – there’s a political backstage.

The actors: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which currently holds control over water standard levels in Florida, and the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which wants it.

As of Friday, it seems that the two are one step closer to making the swap, which would afford the state jurisdiction over 98.9 percent of the water bodies in Florida.

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Sequester And Florida Air Travel
8:00 am
Fri March 22, 2013

How The Sequester Will Impact South Florida's Small Airports

Air traffic controller Ron Wooldridge looks out over the runway of Boca Raton Airport.
Credit Christine DiMattei

On any given day, 53-year-old Ron Wooldridge guides dozens of flights in and out of Boca Raton Airport, just east of I-95. But early next month, instead of manning the airport's control tower, he could be standing on the unemployment line.

"I find it a little ridiculous,” says Wooldridge. “They're not thinking of the safety of the aircraft.  Or how it's going to affect the rest of the city itself."

Automatic federal budget cuts that took effect this month could force the Federal Aviation Administration to close control towers at least 170 small airports nationwide.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Gov. Scott Takes Left Turn As Approval Ratings Flounder

Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll at a news conference in Fort Lauderdale two days before they were elected.
Credit Gov. Rick Scott/flickr

Gov. Rick Scott seems to be trying to appeal to a broader base. He’s done some things lately that suggest he’s willing to turn left a little bit.

Scott thrilled Democrats and irked his fellow Republicans when he suddenly changed his position on the Medicaid expansion in Florida.

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Community Contributor
2:02 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Floridians Would Get Right To Speak Before Public Boards Under Proposed Legislation

Floridians would have the right to speak at public meetings under proposed laws.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Citizens do not have the right to speak before a public board or commission takes official action, according to Florida’s Constitution. Though Florida citizens have a right to access public records and meetings, they do not have a right to be heard before governmental bodies take official action any given proposal.  This means that city council members, county commissioners and other officials could vote on issues without letting citizens have their say.  

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Politics
1:30 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Capitol Visitors Get Up Close With Humvee And Military Chopper

Kid plays with the machine gun mounted on a Vietnam War era helicopter.
Jordan Michael/WLRN

Tuesday was Military Appreciation Day at the Capitol.

National Guard equipment from around the state was parked in the courtyard – the space between the old and new Capitol buildings.

“We have over 12,000 airmen and soldiers in the state of Florida,” said Major Blake Heidelberg, logistics officer with the Florida Army National Guard’s 83rd Troop Command.

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Community Contributor
2:02 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

A Victim Of Gun Violence On Gun Control

The FBI says a few dealers sell a disproportionate number of firearms.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

On June 22, 2004 I was shot point blank with a .45-caliber gun as I entered a subway station in Astoria Queens. The bullet entered my back and rattled around, destroying my hip. It had just enough inertia to come to a stop after puncturing the femoral artery. Nobody was ever prosecuted for my shooting. Meanwhile, I suffered for six years before being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

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Medicaid Expansion
1:00 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Florida Republican Leaders Under Fire For Rejecting Medicaid Expansion Plan

After rejecting Gov. Rick Scott's plan to expand Medicaid in both the Florida House and Senate this month, Republican legislative leaders were hit with criticism from their Democratic counterparts.
Credit Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

When they voted on Medicaid expansion in Florida this month, Florida legislative leaders mostly organized along party lines. Now, the Republicans are getting heat from their Democratic counterparts in the House.

According to the News Service of Florida,

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Transportation
10:00 am
Tue March 19, 2013

How Much Time Do You Spend In Transit? An Interactive Map Of South Florida

From the interactive map found below. Big thanks to our friends at WNYC and Transportation Nation for this

There is a lot of discontent among South Florida residents when it comes to our transit system-- both among drivers and public transit commuters. But according to data from the Census, it could be a lot worse.

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Questions From Town Hall
8:00 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Campaign Contributions Bill Touches A Nerve That Lawmakers Are Already Addressing

THE PROBLEM: This is what worries some of WLRN-Miami Herald News audience -- money and its effect on politics and legislation.
Credit gnerk on Flickr

  TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida House and Senate are taking ethics and elections seriously this year. Bills to widen voting opportunities by restoring pre-2011 early voting days and hours are making their way through both chambers.

But there's a bill in the House that would originally have increased campaign contribution limits from their current $500 to $10,000.

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Ethics And Politics
6:05 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Ethics Reform In Florida Called 'A Mixed Bag'

The Senate convenes on the opening day of the legislative session to pass an ethics reform bill. Some say the bill actually weakens ethics rules.
Credit LaCrai Mitchell/WLRN-Miami Herald News

At the WLRN Miami Herald Town Hall meeting last month, Barbara Ricano from Sunrise wanted to know:

“After so many ethics violations and repeated ethical issues involving campaigns and elected officials, why are the consequences so minor? Why is there no real teeth to any of the penalties?”

Members of the ethics commission have complained that while they have the ability to fine office holders who commit violations, they don’t have the authority to collect those fines.

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz wants to change that.

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Session 2013
10:00 am
Mon March 18, 2013

The Best App To Keep Tabs On Your State Legislators

It would be nice to know more about state politics.  But who can keep track of all those committees and subcommittees, you say.  And all the House and Senate bills with long names and random numbers – and who is my legislator anyway?

You could go to the official state websites to find your legislators and proposed laws

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Politics
1:00 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Capitol Press Corps Lampoons Lawmakers For A Good Cause

Tallahassee Bureau Chiefs Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times and Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald as "Eyewitless News" anchors
Margie Menzel/News Service of Florida

The 58th (Sometimes) Annual Capitol Press Corps Skits took the stage at The Moon nightclub in Tallahassee this week.

Members of the media lampooned lawmakers - and themselves – while raising money for the Barbara Frye Scholarship fund.

The crowd was treated to skits with titles like “Ethics Reform School,” “Jenny Wants Respect” (poking fun at Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, whose resignation was announced the next day), and “Rick Should Retire.”

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Gambling
12:42 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

House Panel Votes To Outlaw Internet Cafes

Reacting to an Internet gambling scandal that forced Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll to resign this week, the Florida House gambling committee today (Friday 3/15) approved a bill that outlaws gambling machines commonly used in strip mall Internet cafes and adult arcades.

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The Florida Roundup
12:00 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

A New Pope And Allied Veterans: What You Should Know From This Week's News

Jennifer Carroll resigned from her post as lieutenant governor after an investigation uncovered that a charity she had worked for had defrauded the public and government agencies.
Credit Gage Skidmore

On the week's The Florida Roundup:

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Politics
2:37 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Rep. Fasano: Medicaid Expansion 'Would Save Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars'

Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, says the Florida Legislature had two years to craft an alternative plan for Medicaid expansion and chose not to.
Credit myfloridahouse.gov

Now that legislative committees have voted not to expand Medicaid, House and Senate leaders want to look at alternatives that might still utilize federal funds.

New Port Richey Republican Rep. Mike Fasano is not towing the party line.

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