Lynn Hatter

Lynn Hatter is a  Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative.  When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.

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A former Florida A&M University band member has been sentenced to jail for the 2011 death of a drum major.

In all 13 people were charged in the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion. Six have received probation but no jail or prison sentences.

Friday, Jessie Baskin became the first person to receive a jail sentence in the case. Baskin  received a year behind bars, along with five years of probation and 300 hours of community service for his role in the hazing ritual aboard a bus in Orlando that led to Champion’s death.

A spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year is coming into view as both chambers of the Legislature finalize their respective budget proposals. Wednesday the House Appropriations Committee signed off on that chamber’s $75 billion spending plan.

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More students could get scholarships to go to private school next year under a planned expansion of the state’s corporate tax scholarship program. But those students may also be subjected to state exams.

Quietly and without much fanfare, Florida’s health insurance marketplace made its debut earlier this week, but it should not to be confused with the federal health insurance exchanges and Obamacare.

“We’re not in competition with the federal exchange. We’re not offering subsidies—those can only come from the federal exchange," says Florida Health Choices Director Rose Naff, who  is quick to point out the differences between the program she’s running—and that of the federal government.

Florida State University’s provost will become the school’s interim president. Garnett Stokes takes the helm of Florida State as current university President Eric Barron departs for Penn state.

Barron was appointed Penn State University’s new university president last month. Florida State University Trustees named Stokes to the interim position as the school begins a national presidential search.

South Florida's Assisted Living Facilities were the subject of a series of 2011 Miami Herald reports alleging lax oversight and abuse of residents in several South Florida facilities. Now, years later, Florida lawmakers are inching closer on bills cracking down on the industry.

This year Florida’s colleges are trying to get in on the state’s performance funding scheme for higher education.

The colleges want Florida lawmakers to award them additional funds based upon how well they do in terms of graduation rates and other metrics: similar to how universities now get extra dollars. Florida College System Chancellor Randy Hanna says what the colleges will be evaluated on is still under consideration:

A bill by Ocala Republican State Representative Dennis Baxley would stop schools from referring kids to the department of juvenile justice for minor offenses such as wearing t-shirts or accessories with guns on them.

Baxley says schools are overreacting when it comes to student discipline.

“Obviously, we don’t want firearms brought to school in a backpack, but we got into a lot of simulated behavior and overreacted—clothing issues, accessories. So this just tones down some of those cases and makes a common sense application.” 

What was supposed to be a simple hearing on a legislative clean-up bill Wednesday became the latest debate over Common Core learning standards in Florida.

Lake City Republican Representative Elizabeth Porter is carrying a House Education Committee bill that would delete old references and language from Florida’s statutes.

Florida legislative leaders are pushing a big education agenda this year that features revamped higher education funding proposals and an overhaul to the state’s embattled school grading formula.

Top Republicans in the Florida Legislature have shown little interest in expanding Medicaid in the state. Despite that, Democrats say they’ll keep pushing for the expansion. Now a Senate Republican has re-filed a failed 2013 proposal to expand the program to more low-income Floridians.

What happens when it rains nearly every day for more than a month during the hot, summer months?

Last July in Central Florida it meant an overflowing Lake Okeechobee and the dumping of millions of gallons of polluted freshwater into the region’s rivers and estuaries. The rain also helped spark toxic algae blooms that have some calling for a $220 million water conservation and clean-up plan Florida lawmakers could take up next session.

What Happens In 'Lake-O' Doesn't Stay In 'Lake-O'

More than 100 years ago, Florida’s Everglades covered the southern tip of the state, starting at Lake Okeechobee. Today, most of the system has been carved away to make room for growth in the Orlando and Miami markets.  One of the biggest plugs in the system is the Tamiami Trail, a road that acts as a dam, and cuts diagonally across the Everglades from Tampa to Miami. Efforts are now underway to make part of the trail a series of bridges, a project South Florida Water Management Assistant Director Ernie Barnett says would, in his words, “pull the plug in the bathtub”. 

The Florida Board of Governors has officially designated Marshall Criser to head the state’s public university system. Criser’s appointment comes after a committee of the board recommended him for the job last week.

“One candidate rose to the top as the person who could best be able to articulate this board’s priorities and understand the specific challenges the system faces. That person is Marshall Criser," said Board member Mori Housseini, who oversaw the search process.

Thirty or so attendees at St. Mary Primitive Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., gathered on a recent evening to hear a presentation by the Obamacare Enrollment Team on their options to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

"If anybody is interested in getting enrolled, we can get you enrolled tonight," they were told.

Signs outside the church looked official: A familiar, large "O" with a blue outline, white center and three red stripes.