Nick Evans

Nick Evans is a masters student in communications at Florida State University.  Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years.  He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan.  When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.

A Leon County circuit judge ruled Thursday the plaintiffs in Florida’s redistricting lawsuit can recover some of their legal costs, but not attorney’s fees.  The voting-rights activists are looking to a legal concept known as the “private attorney general” to make their request.

The Florida Cabinet’s clemency hearing Tuesday brought out a group called Faith in Florida.  The group’s Live Free campaign aims to restore the voting rights of former prisoners.

In the Capitol courtyard Tuesday, men and women wearing shirts or holding signs with the slogan ‘Let My People Vote’ signed their names to large cardboard letters made out to the state’s cabinet members.  The Live Free campaign’s state director Desmond Meade says helping former convicts reintegrate in society isn’t just the right thing to do – it lowers recidivism, and helps people get back to work.

The nonprofit government watchdog group Florida TaxWatch released its voter’s guide Wednesday detailing proposed state constitutional amendments. 

Unlike some other issuers of voting guides, fiscally conservative TaxWatch doesn’t take a yes-or-no stance on the initiatives.  Instead, it offers a take on the pros and cons of enacting the amendments.    

Dominic Calabro, head of the organization, says it’s important to exercise caution when changing the state constitution.

Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature has passed new congressional maps largely along party lines.    If Gov. Rick Scott approves them, the new districts will then return to the court where the originals were found unconstitutional.

In just three days, Florida’s special legislative session has come to an end. The Legislature voted Monday to revise the state’s congressional map; the new borders will change seven of the state’s districts.  Leon County circuit judge Terry Lewis ruled two of the previous districts unconstitutional. 

This week voting rights groups presented their case for redrawing Florida’s unconstitutional electoral map immediately rather than waiting until after this year’s election.  But officials charged with conducting elections are doubtful the plan could work.  

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed four sex offender bills into law Tuesday during a public ceremony at the Capitol.  The event brought together a number of Republican lawmakers to show off the first bills passed by the Legislature.

Flanked by lawmakers, sheriffs and victims’ advocates, Scott said the package of bills will make the state safer.

Federal law bans discrimination based on pregnancy, but Florida law is less clear.  But the state Senate appears set to grant civil rights protection to pregnant Floridians.

Three Florida district court cases have wrangled with pregnancy discrimination.  In two, the courts found Florida law provides protection.  But in the most recent case, the court said pregnancy is not protected because it is not explicitly referenced in state statute.  Senator Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando) says her bill puts the matter to rest by adding pregnancy to the list of protections.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced a plan this week to reduce the military’s size and budget. Closing or restructuring domestic bases is part of that plan.  The next round of Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, is slated for 2017 if Congress approves it. 

The Florida Defense Alliance - part of Enterprise Florida - works to ensure the state is an attractive site for bases, and they don't think closures are an immediate threat.  Vice President Rocky McPherson says Hagel's budget is only an initial proposal, and it will face an uphill climb in Washington.