The Florida Roundup

Fridays at 12 PM

Listen to a panel of journalists and newsmakers discuss every week with hosts Melissa Ross and Tom Hudson the issues that define the Sunshine State. 

This show is co-produced with WJCT in Jacksonville. 

Daniel Rivero / WLRN

Felons in Florida would have to settle pending fines and fees before having their voting rights restored, according to a proposal currently making its way through the legislature. Critics say that flies directly in the face of Amendment 4, the constitutional amendment passed in November, and amounts to a modern day “poll tax.”

The bill has ignited a debate about what it means to “complete a sentence” in Florida, and it’s put a spotlight on the unique way the state uses fines and fees as revenue to fund the court system.

Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who narrowly lost his bid in the gubernatorial race last year, has launched a push to register 1 million Florida residents to vote before the 2020 presidential election.

Steven Senne / AP

After dozens were charged in a wide-ranging college admissions cheating and bribery scandal last week, the former President of the University of North Florida said Friday on The Florida Roundup that he wasn’t entirely surprised by some of the tactics used in the scam  but was “stunned” by the scope and that it went on as long as it did.

DAVE DOEBLER

Beach-goers across the state of Florida largely agree that there’s far too much plastic in the waterways.

So why would the state want to pass legislation to stop local authorities from banning plastic straws?

Samantha Padgett, an attorney for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, said Friday on The Florida Roundup that local bans burden consumers and the hospitality industry and are “not a long-term sustainable solution.”

On today’s program, we looked at the environmental battle over single-use plastics in the Sunshine State with Holly Parker Curry, Florida regional manager with the Surfrider Foundation, and Samantha Padgett, general counsel with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

We also got an update on Hurricane Michael recovery efforts as the Panhandle prepares for spring break from Jessica Foster with WJHG-TV in Panama City.

This week, we took a closer look at human trafficking in Florida. We discussed the issue, and efforts to combat it with:

Florida Sets Its Sights On A New Era In Space

Feb 24, 2019
SPACEX via WMFE

Could Florida be the base for a new branch of the military to handle threats in space?

Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis asked President Trump to place the headquarters for the new Space Force Combatant Command in Cape Canaveral, tweeting that it would be “a logical fit” for the state.

WMFE’s Space Reporter Brendan Byrne said Friday on The Florida Roundup that having Space Command headquarters in the state would indeed be a natural progression for a fast growing space industry in Florida.

This week, we devoted the full program to the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

AMY BETH BENNETT / South Florida Sun Sentinel via Miami Herald

On Thursday, Feb. 14, Gail Schwartz drove to the Star of David Memorial Gardens Cemetery in North Lauderdale to visit the grave of her nephew, Alex Schachter.

Schachter was one of the 17 people killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School one year ago. He was 14 years old.

The Future Of Prison Reform In Florida

Feb 10, 2019
Darrin Klimek/Getty Images

Attempts to reform the way criminals are sentenced and how much time they spend behind bars have made little headway in the Florida legislature in recent years.

But following the passage of federal criminal justice reform in December, it seems state legislators from both parties may be ready to take a new look at reforming the state’s prison system.

Almost 100,000 people are serving time behind bars in Florida state prisons, where there’s a shortage of guards and healthcare costs are expensive. We took a closer look at the state’s attempts to address its overcrowded and underfunded prisons with Health News Florida’s Julio Ochoa and John Kennedy, capitol reporter for GateHouse Media.

Airbnb

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Governor Ron DeSantis turned his attention to education last week, announcing that he is ordering the state’s Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to come up with new education standards and erase the “vestiges” of current standards, commonly known as Common Core.

On The Florida Roundup this week, we began with a look at the predicament of the state’s so-called “Forgotten Coast.” 

IStock

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced last week that he has asked the Legislature to change Florida law to allow smokable medical marijuana. He also wants to reduce restrictions on who can grow and sell cannabis products. And the new Agriculture Commissioner has plans to create a Director of Cannabis position.

So far, it appears that newly sworn in Florida lawmakers are taking a sharp turn from former Gov. Rick Scott’s approach to try to limit access to medical cannabis in Florida.

JACQUELYN MARTIN / AP

With six weeks until the start of the Legislative session, a Republican state representative from Pensacola introduced a bill last week that would ban abortions if a doctor detects a fetal heartbeat. That usually happens about six weeks into a pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she is pregnant.

Reproductive rights activists have denounced the law, calling it the latest in a series of assaults on a woman’s right to choose. Others point out its unconstitutionality.

Pages