Regan McCarthy

Phone: (850) 487-3086  x374

Regan McCarthy is the Assignment Editor and Senior News Producer for WFSU News/ Florida Public Radio. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories. She has also worked for the London Business Matters Magazine and the Rochester Sentinel, a daily local newspaper. She is the recipient of six professional broadcast awards including first-place Best Radio Feature from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.  When she isn’t tracking leading newsmakers she spends her time knitting, reading, strolling through the woods and brunching at new restaurants.  Follow Regan McCarthy on Twitter: @Regan_McCarthy

Officials estimate there are still years of recovery left after Hurricane Michael slammed into the panhandle this time last year.  But for many who are living in tents or doubled up in homes still in disrepair, that’s too long, and insurance companies are bearing part of the blame for what some see as a slow recovery.

Last year, after Hurricane Michael wrought havoc in the Panhandle, school officials began raising concerns about an emergent mental health crisis among students. Bay County Superintendent Bill Hussfelt said in the first four months following the storm, 70 kids had been involuntarily held for mental health treatment through the Baker Act. But in the first two months of this school year, 50 students have already been institutionally committed. 

Next time you get gas you might notice a new sticker on the pump featuring state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s face in front of a background of bright yellow, green and blue blocks. Fried’s staff says the new sticker is intended to attract attention and raise awareness about fraud and the use of gas pump skimmers. But the new design doesn’t seem to be popular with the legislature.

A number of bills that would make changes to Florida’s alcohol rules are moving through the legislature. But many of them make exceptions to the state’s three tier system that separates manufactures, distributors and vendors.

Does Florida’s medical marijuana amendment give people the right grow their own plants? That question is now before the First District Court of Appeal.

Equality Florida wants protection from discrimination for LGBT state workers. The organization’s executive director, Nadine Smith, claims Governor Rick Scott said he would consider an executive order protecting such workers following the Pulse night club shooting. But she says that never happened.

An average of fourteen people die every day from opioid related abuse. That’s according to Stuart Republican Representative Gayle Harrell.

She’s glad to see a measure moving through the legislature that aims to curb opioid abuse. The House version ensures doctors and pharmacies use the PDMP or Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database before prescribing or dispensing an opioid. It also allows Florida to share its information across state lines to help cut down on so called doctor shopping. Rep. Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) says another provision limits the number of pills a doctor can prescribe.

A measure that would expand Florida’s rules on issuing threats is moving forward. Officials are pointing to the many copycat threats made following the school shooting in Parkland as a reason for why the change is needed. 

Florida lawmakers are considering legislation that would create a uniform framework for bike sharing companies in the state of Florida. Tampa Republican Senator Dana Young said her bill addresses preemption and enforcement. 

Take a look at the last receipt you got from a hotel stay in Florida. You’ll likely notice a number of taxes and fees. Some of that money goes toward what’s called a tourism development tax and is meant to be used for a tourism-related projects. Now state lawmakers are digging into what exactly counts as tourism related.

Florida Senators have approved a measure closing a loophole that allows child marriage. The bill is being called historic. If the proposal passes the full legislature, the group, Human Rights Watch, says it will be the first of its kind in the country.

In the final part of our series on historically black colleges and universities, we take a look at the state’s Southern-most HBCU, Florida Memorial University

A proposal moving through the Florida Constitution Revision Commission—a body that meets one every two decades to bring proposed constitutional changes directly to voters—would give more duties to the state’s Lieutenant Governor.

Lawmakers are once again working to assure the 3-million Floridians who play fantasy sports with friends that they’re not breaking the law. A measure from Tampa Republican Senator Dana Young would clarify that playing fantasy sports does not constitute gambling. The Seminole Tribe of Florida has raised concerns about the legislation violating the tribe’s gambling exclusivity agreement with the state. But Young says she’s not worried.

You may not use much of that German you took in high school, or perhaps not even that U.S. History. But lawmakers are pushing a class Fort Myers Republican Representative Heather Fitzenhagen says most people will use.

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