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Tallahassee Takeover

Local governments in Florida are losing control of their own cities, towns, counties and schools. More and more, they’re losing that power to the state government. Every year, Florida lawmakers gather in Tallahassee, Florida’s capital, to propose and pass new laws. Tallahassee Takeover is a podcast from WLRN News looking at how the state government is increasingly reaching into city halls, classrooms and neighborhoods, from Key West to Pensacola.

Latest Episodes
  • For a long time, big decisions that affected the health of Floridians came from county-run health departments. Aiming for more equity, Democrats funneled that power to the state, and somewhere along the way, Republicans embraced big government.
  • Two proposed state laws would allow businesses to sue and block local rules that hurt their profits. Local government officials say that's interfering with what people want in their own neighborhoods — and putting local taxpayers on the hook for damages.
  • With Florida on the frontlines of sea level rise and the impacts of climate change, a lot of local governments are stepping up and trying to reduce carbon emissions on their own. But what happens when the state government has other ideas?
  • The coming increase in Florida's minimum wage is a story of unintended consequences, or perhaps, the story of political backlash that should be expected when the state passes laws that overly restrict local governments from making their own decisions.
  • To mask or not to mask in Florida's public schools? Who gets to decide that is shaping up to be the biggest political battle in Florida this year. It's also the latest fight between state leaders and local school officials.
  • Local officials don't have any say in changing gun laws in Florida. Why? The history goes back to the 1980s and involves pro-gun advocates, hefty fines from the state and a “chilling effect” that limits local control.
  • For politicians who want centralized power, local governments can be an obstacle. In Venezuela, state and city governments run by the opposition have faced unrelenting attacks and have had their power stripped away. Now, many fear Florida is heading down a similar path – with a new law that punishes protesters and limits the power of local officials to rethink police funding.
  • More Floridians will soon be able to open businesses from inside their homes. Is that a good thing?
  • Key West voted to cut down on cruise ship traffic and ban the sale of certain sunscreens. In both cases, the Florida Legislature stepped in to overturn the island's precedent-setting moves before they could take effect.