Blaise Gainey

Blaise Gainey is a Multimedia Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Fla. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formely worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter. Follow Blaise Gainey on Twitter: @BlaiseGainey

Most of the discussion about a recently passed elections bill has focused on 2018’s Amendment 4. It restored the right for certain felons to vote. But the bill does many more things aimed at fixing issues within Florida’s elections system.

Governor Ron DeSantis says voter data was stolen in 2016 when election systems in two Florida counties were hacked. Previous reporters had identified only one county, but DeSantis says  the breach didn’t impact voting.

The Florida Legislature passed a bill that makes changes to the elections system in the state. It extends the time voters can request a vote-by-mail ballot from 5 days to 10 days. The hope is that it will prevent ballots from being mailed in at the last minute. Former Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho doesn’t think the change will have much of an effect.

The Democratic field for the 2020 presidential nomination is crowded with names like Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and former Vice President Joe Biden. With more than 20 confirmed candidates it can be easy for some to go unnoticed. I spoke with a Florida candidate who says he’s still working to get more recognition. Mayor of Miramar Wayne Messam put his name in the hat back in March.

President Donald Trump flew into Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City Wednesday to tour the base and check in on the recovery process ahead of a campaign rally in Panama City Beach.  Officials on the base and the community spoke about what it means to have the President pay them a visit.

Tyndall Air Force Base is still recovering from Hurricane Michael. Currently though as construction still takes place no new projects can be started until they receive more funds from the Congress. 

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is slated to get nearly 4 million dollars from the federal government to help cover costs of debris removal following Hurricane Michael.

Leon Circuit Judge James Hankinson is expected to make a decision this week on whether to postpone the joint trial for the Dan Markel murder case.

The United States Committee on House Administration held a field hearing Monday to examine voting rights and elections systems in Florida.

Florida lawmakers have passed a bill that details how a felon would go about getting their voting rights restored. It comes on the final day of the regular legislative session and  after 5.1 million Floridians voted in November to give felons who’ve completed their sentence and did not commit a felony sexual assault or murder their voting rights back.

Since January 8, felons have been registering to vote as long as they’ve completed their sentence, and did not commit a felony sexual offense or murder. But all session long the legislature has been trying to determine exactly who that excludes. The current bill includes attempted murder, and also makes a felon have to pay off any outstanding civil liens or obligations to the court as a result of their case.

North Florida hasn’t gotten much help from outside sources following October's Category 5 Hurricane Michael. Keiser University made donations to the panhandle area, State and local officials used an event marking a $50,000 donation from Keiser University to continue drawing attention to the area's need for more financial assistance.

It’s a known fact that smoking tobacco isn’t good for your heart, lung, and can cause cancer. But the leading groups on those very things are opposed to a bill that would raise the age of sale for tobacco products to 21. WFSU’s Blaise Gainey speaks with American Heart Association’s Government Relations Director Mark Landreth about why they oppose the proposed legislation.

Tyndall Air Force Base will host its second Industry Day Thursday to give updates on it recovery efforts. The base was damaged during Hurricane Michael, which has since been upgraded to a Category 5 storm.

An effort to raise the smoking age to 21 is moving forward. The bill’s sponsor hopes the deal will be enough to satisfy opponents and pave the way for greater restrictions on tobacco use.

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