Blaise Gainey

Blaise Gainey is a Multimedia Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly 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 

Email Blaise Gainey at blgainey@fsu.edu

In hopes of meeting Governor Ron Desantis’s March 15th deadline to repeal a ban on smoking medical marijuana, lawmakers in the senate have sent their bill to the Florida House. Bu not without making a few changes first. 

Last year lawmakers made it legal for doctors and patients to enter into a contract agreement directly for certain primary care services. It worked so well that this year legislators want to expand direct care to other physicians.

North Florida’s timber industry suffered a more than one-billion-dollar loss in result of Hurricane Michael. To replace the loss many have proposed hemp farming. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has been an advocate of hemp but understands getting North Florida ready to accept it is a process.

Hialeah Representative Bryan Avila filed a bill for the second year in a row that would repeal the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, reorganize the local Transportation Planning Organization, and require all toll revenue collected in the county to be spent in the county.

It could become even tougher for Florida students to get bright futures scholarships. A senate proposal would match the state score requirements for the SAT and ACT tests to match the national percentile rankings.

Last year a pilot-program established a court aimed at handling child welfare cases involving zero to three year olds. Today a bill took the next step to expand the program statewide.

Local governments would no longer be able to prevent residents from growing vegetable gardens in their front yard if a senate proposal becomes law.

Senate President Bill Galvano’s transportation bill passed its first committee today but not without debate from those who are opposed to the proposal. And they’re not the only ones who don’t see eye to eye with Galvano, Governor Ron DeSantis is also opposed to a plan that would more toll roads to be built in Florida.

City Commissioner Curtis Richardson and other officials unveiled the last marker designating a stretch of Orange Avenue as C.K. Steele Memorial Highway.

The Florida Panhandle is having a rough time recovering from Hurricane Michael, and an even harder time finding ways to fund reconstruction. 

A group aimed at keeping reliable energy affordable has launched efforts to try and get ahead of what they believe is a bad idea.

The deadline is nearing for the Florida Legislature to put a bill allowing patients to smoke medical marijuana on the Governor’s desk. Both chambers have been moving quickly to finish in time, but still are not in agreement with one another. Now both sides are expecting to file other bills to address the things they can’t come to agreement on before time runs out.

Community members made arguments Monday for and against a new police headquarters on Tallahassee’s Southside. The plan to build a new public safety campus has garnered discussions about food deserts, community police relations, and the best use of public funds. But, the core of the argument for those on both sides of the issue seems to focus on one thing—safety.

As Florida lawmakers grapple with changes to the state’s medical marijuana rules, others are questioning how hemp fits into the picture. Hemp is a marijuana plant, but is low in THC—meaning it doesn’t get people high. Instead, people say the CBD from the plant can have significant health benefits. But the two products come plants that look and smell the same—making regulation and enforcement difficult and leaving hemp use and sales in something of a legal grey area.

Listen below as cannabis legal expert Michael Minardi and Alex Petrick who manages Natural Life, a shop in Tallahassee that sells CBD products speak on the subject.

A non-euphoric strain of cannabis is being sold in stores across Florida. It’s available as oils, edibles, and even flower. But as questions about the legality of it linger, CBD remains in limbo.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is tapping Nashville hemp consultant Holly Bell for the department’s cannabis director. Bell was instrumental in getting Tennessee’s hemp industry off the ground, and Fried hopes Bell can do the same in Florida.

“The economic impact for our state is enormous. [The] medical marijuana industry alone is projected to have a $1.6 billion economics, creating more jobs in manufacturing by 2020. Hemp can be a multi-billion-dollar industry here in the state,” said Fried.

A bill implementing a constitutional amendment that bans vaping in businesses passed its first committee Tuesday. But as Blaise Gainey reports, legislators, advocates and critics must now answer the question – What is vaping?

Hurricane Michael caused lots of destruction to Florida's gulf coast. Till this day trees are left uprooted and snapped in half, buildings totaled or covered in tarp, and some houses flattened.

Business owner David Smith who owns Smith Motorworks whose building survived in Panama City told his story.

Mexico Beach will be receiving hurricane recovery money soon. Blaise Gainey reports that announcement came Monday at the summit for a Resilient North Florida.

Officials in charge of getting Tyndall Air Force Base back up and running gave an overview Thursday of where they are now and where they hope to be in the future. The base hosted it's first "Industry Day" since Hurricane Michael severely damaged it in October. 

Leaders in state government gathered Wednesday as they do every year for the Associated Press’ Legislative Planning Session. Each came to voice priorities for the coming session and field questions from the Capital press corps. From education to medical marijuana to infrastructure, WFSU was on hand to catch it all. The following is an overview of what speakers, including the entire Florida Cabinet, brought to the table:

The Assignment of Benefits issue that has been plaguing the property insurance industry for a few years may finally be changed. During Wednesdays Associated Press Legislative Planning Session Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis blamed bad actors who he says are twisting the law.

The Florida Department of Revenue is getting a new Executive Director. The cabinet named Jim Zingale the new Executive Director of the Department of Revenue Tuesday.

Zingale served in the position for 7 years during former governor Jeb Bush’s tenure. He’s also served as a Research Director for the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida.

The cabinet unanimously chose Zingale to lead the state’s Department of Revenue, taking over the job of now former director Leon Biegalski who was handpicked by former Governor Rick Scott in 2016.

Hurricane Michael was more than 100 days ago, but it’s still fresh on the mind of North Florida residents. House District 8’s Democratic Representative Ramon Alexander says that’s most of what he’s been hearing when he speaks to his constituents. Blaise Gainey sat down with the representative following a Gadsden County meeting.

Former Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Allison Tant is kicking off her political campaign for 2020 February 5th at Food Glorious Food.

"I am running for House District 9. That is the seat that Representative Lorraine Ausley currently holds. She’s running for senator montfords seat in 2020 he’s termed out," Tant said.

She announced the event Monday at the Democratic Club of North Florida in Tallahassee.

Tant is known for her nonprofit that focuses on housing for people with developmental disabilities.

Where to place a memorial recognizing the four, Jim Crow-era, Leon County lynching victims? That’s under consideration by a group calling itself the Community Remembrance Project Task Force.

Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet approved Danny Burgess Jr. Thursday as the Department of Veterans' Affairs Director. Burgess is a former Pasco County Republican Representative who in November defeated his opponent by a nearly 2-1 margin. 

A new Secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation was selected today. A week after being recommended to Governor Ron DeSantis, Kevin Thibault has been chosen to lead the Florida Department of Transportation. The Governor made the decision today in a press release calling Thibault, "a proven leader in state government and the private sector.”

Hurricane Michael tore apart Northwest Florida in October leaving more than 20 million cubic square yards of debris. Moves were made at both the state and federal levels to try and help recovery efforts.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is expediting money for debris removal in communities impacted by Hurricane Michael. DeSantis also wants the U.S. government to take on a bigger share of the recovery costs.

Pages