Jessica Palombo

News Director

News Director Jessica Palombo came to WJCT after years of reporting on state government for Florida Public Radio in Tallahassee. Among her accolades are a statewide Society of Professional Journalists award for Best Government Reporting and a regional Edward R. Murrow award for Best Continuing Coverage.

Jessica is no stranger to the River City or WJCT: She grew up in Jacksonville and freelanced at the station as a legislative reporter before going to Tallahassee. She also interned at NPR's "Weekends at All Things Considered" in Washington, D.C., working with then host Guy Raz and his brilliant staff to help produce two hours of national news features each week.

Jessica has a master's degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University's Newhouse School and a bachelor's in journalism from the University of Florida. Her writing has appeared in publications including The Gainesville Sun, Skirt! Magazine and Jacksonville Magazine.

Jessica lives in Jacksonville with her husband and son.

Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter (@JessicaPubRadioand Facebook

A Tallahassee lawmaker and a South Florida mayor are planning to ask Florida Gov. Rick Scott to stop the expansion of a Miami nuclear power plant. Scott and his cabinet will hear from Florida Power and Light Tuesday about its plans to add reactors to its Turkey Point plant.

Florida’s craft beer brewers have been pushing for years to remove a law keeping them from selling containers of a certain size. But a Senate bill that does away with that restriction also adds a different rule brewers say would hurt their booming business.

Following a national trend, the number of craft breweries in Tallahassee is expected to double in the near future. In a warehouse six blocks from the Florida Capitol, Gabe Grass is about to open the third microbrewery within a mile radius.

The Florida Senate narrowly passed a bill Friday giving school districts sole control over selecting textbooks and curricula and taking that power away from the state education department. The local-selection option has been available to school districts since last year, but none of them has chosen it so far.

The Senate passed the bill 21- 19, with five Republicans siding with Democrats in voting no. Sen. Alan Hays (R- Umatilla) says his bill is for parents.

As Senate President Don Gaetz had promised, his chamber passed several bills on the first day of session aimed at denying convicted sex offenders the chance to hurt children. But critics of the crackdown say it does nothing to prevent first-time offenses, which they say make up the majority of crimes against kids.

For Diena Thompson, the sex predator legislation is personal. The mother from the Jacksonville suburb of Orange Park said she was at the Capitol Tuesday because of her daughter Somer.

The Florida Supreme Court has canceled oral arguments that were scheduled this month in a capital punishment case challenging the state’s three-drug execution protocol. The lawyer for the condemned man says she does not believe the court has enough evidence to rule on whether the drugs cause extreme pain.

Death-row inmate Askari Muhammad is appealing his death sentence based in part on the state’s new execution drug, midazolam. His lawyer, Linda McDermott, argues it can cause extreme pain—that’s the same argument made in pending death row cases across the state.

There's a brand-new holiday display at Florida's state Capitol in Tallahassee: a pole celebrating the fake holiday Festivus from the TV show Seinfeld.

It's the latest protest exhibit after a Nativity scene was set up in the rotunda last week.

Fewer Floridians died from drug overdose last year than the year before—and the number dying from the prescription painkiller oxycodone dropped by 41 percent. But at the same time, heroin overdose deaths nearly doubled—and people who work with drug addicts say they’re not at all surprised by the trend.

Since 2010, Florida lawmakers and law enforcement officers have cracked down on so-called pill mills—those doctors’ offices prescribing such large amounts of painkillers they’d been labeled “drug pushers in lab coats.”

Food containing genetically modified ingredients would have to be labeled as such if a bill filed this month passes the Florida Legislature. The bill’s sponsor says people should have the right to refuse genetically modified foods. But food biotechnologists say supporters of the bill overstate the dangers of genetic engineering.

Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (D-Tallahassee) is sponsoring the food-labeling bill. Sitting on her front porch, she says she grew up in a farming community and she’s always felt close to the land.

At a public workshop Wednesday evening in Tallahassee, environmentalists expressed serious doubts about a list of conservation lands the state of Florida proposes to sell. The state is seeking public input as it looks to unload up to $50 million dollars’ worth of land.

The U.S. Justice Department is suing the state of Florida over hundreds of medically fragile children living in nursing homes. In the suit filed on Monday, the feds are calling for Florida to make sweeping changes to how it cares for the children, and to treat them at home whenever possible.

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