State News

Each year legislative and business leaders gather to discuss the state of Florida's water. This year's Florida Water Forum drew some 200 leaders to Orlando for updates on the state's water and environmental policy. The keynote speaker was Florida agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam. He said the state faces a water shortage.

It’s Saturday morning and despite the rain, a handful of merchants chats and bobs to the music at the Frenchtown Heritage Market in Tallahassee. The market has a central location where people using food stamps, now called SNAP Benefits, can cash them in for brightly colored plastic tokens to spend on produce. Jim Bellamy heads up the market. He leads me to a central table where Darci Washington is wait with a silver cash box.

apartment building
Milestone Management via Flickr

For home renters without insurance, a fire or burst pipe can ruin everything they own. One Jacksonville lawmaker wants to require landlords to spell that out clearly in writing.

Sen. Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) wants to make it mandatory for leases to say renters’ insurance is required to protect your belongings—and for renters to check a box saying they understand.

Phillip Pessar via Flickr

Nassau, St. Johns and 15 other Florida counties will not be able to squeeze more tax money from online-travel companies. The state Supreme Court has declined to reconsider their ruling siding with the companies.

Depression can be a clear indication that bullying is taking place
Florida Department of Children and Families

Last week, lawmakers reviewed Florida's progress toward helping child victims of sex trafficking, as a 2014 law starts to yield more information about victims.

The House Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee heard presentations from state officials about the law, which made a wide range of changes to try to curb sex trafficking. That included creating a new screening system, which was rolled out in April, to better identify and serve sexually exploited children.

Pat Gaines via Flickr

With Florida black bear hunting season scheduled to start next month, a conservation group is asking a judge to block it. But a veteran wildlife lawyer says the group’s chance of success is slim.

Kyra Trahern / Facebook

The state's child-welfare chief said the recent death of a 4-year-old Palatka boy, allegedly strangled by an older child in his home, points to the challenges posed by families in which addiction, sexual abuse and domestic violence create a perilous environment.

In the case of 4-year-old Brayden Trahern, the boy's extended family had repeatedly been involved in beatings, molestations, incarceration, homelessness, prostitution and drug abuse going back years, Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll said in an interview this week.

Capital Report: 09-04-2015

Sep 4, 2015

Florida lawmakers will meet later this month to go over a report that is raising more questions than answers about the state’s new standardized test. Lynn Hatter reports teachers and local superintendents aren’t buying the results of the study, which found the Florida Standards Assessment Valid.

Solar power has always been popular in the Sunshine State and as the costs come down, interest in the clean energy alternative is heating up. And so is the political battle for control of the market. Jim Ash has more

bear sleeping
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via Flickr

A target was placed on at least 320 black bears Wednesday as the once-threatened species will be hunted across Florida next month for the first time in more than two decades.

Capital Report: 08-28-2015

Sep 1, 2015

Politicians and activists are taking the fight for Florida’s congressional borders to court.  Again.  Nick Evans reports the courts are weighing whether to take over or leave the next draft in the hands of lawmakers.

A recent federal court decision in Miami may help health care providers who are suing plans that have slashed Medicare Advantage payments, Modern Healthcare reports.


A recent AAA survey found that close to half of Florida residents are not prepared for a possible hurricane.

The news comes as the first named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season barrels toward the Caribbean.

Governor Rick Scott and the Cabinet voted Wednesday to appoint John Steverson as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. The move came despite protests over his support for logging, cattle grazing and hunting in state parks.

Mary McIntyre / WJCT News

The state of Florida’s unclaimed property auction held in Jacksonville over the weekend generated more than $1.5 million.

The News Service of Florida reports the most expensive item was a diamond ring that sold for $100,000.

The state picks a different city each year where it auctions off items found in abandoned safe deposit boxes. The items first go to a vault in Tallahassee for two years while the state tries to locate their owners.

Gov. Rick Scott ordered the state to immediately investigate all Florida Planned Parenthood offices that perform abortions on Wednesday.

The order comes after the release of secretly recorded videos. They show Planned Parenthood officials talking about tissue from aborted fetuses used for research.