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

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.

Earlier this week legislators on the House floor spent nearly two hours debating a bill that would allow certain felons to vote. This is in response to over 5 million citizens agreeing that they should be allowed to do so. Majority of the debate was focused on when a felon would have their voting right restored.

Florida’s firefighters are a step closer to gaining cancer coverage. Blaise Gainey reports it’s the culmination of a 16-year-effort.

Tuesday, lawmakers took a big step in addressing what property insurance companies have called fraud for nearly a decade. It’s called assignment of benefits. The fix makes several changes that lawmakers believe will help lower the cost of homeowner’s insurance.

Voters across Florida will likely have a chance to raise the minimum wage during the 2020 election if a constitutional amendment petition gains enough signatures. Florida’s Financial Impact Estimating Conference met today to find out what impact it would have on the state.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is throwing his weight behind the firefighter cancer relief bill, one of the main priorities this session.One part of the bill gives a one-time cash payout of $25,000 to firefighters upon their initial cancer diagnosis.

Blaise Gainey talks with the CFO what the bill means for the state’s first responders.

A bill would allow prescription drugs from Canada to be purchased by the Agency for Health Care Administration and imported for use. The hope is that importing the inexpensive drugs will cut down cost for patients.

A bill that would set a cap on toll roads in Miami-Dade County has passed the full House. Bill sponsor Hialeah Republican Representative Bryan Avila says what the Expressway Authority is not doing its job. 

 

According to a study by the Institute of Medicine published in 2015, paid for by the United States Food and Drug Administration, raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 would reduce the number of lung cancer related deaths by 50,000.

The Florida legislature is now trying to raise the minimum age with hopes of seeing those results.

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