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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

A bill to ban red-light cameras passed the Florida House Thursday.

After the overhead costs to run a state sanctioned employee charity rose to take up about half the contributions made, Florida workers and lawmakers became frustrated—even outraged. Officials are now considering a plan to shut the fund down.

A bill moving through the Florida House would preempt local governments from passing ordinances pertaining specifically to vacation rentals. Rep. Mike La Rosa (R-St. Cloud) says local governments are passing rules so stringent some people may be forced to stop renting their homes.

Florida lawmakers say the future is right around the corner and now is the time to get prepared. This legislative session lawmakers are talking autonomous vehicles and personal delivery devices.

Florida schools should teach their students how to save, invest, and otherwise understand personal finances. That’s according to members of the Florida Financial Literacy summit. Now lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it a graduation requirement. Mark Anderson is with the Florida council on economic education.

The Florida House unveiled its version of a gambling overhaul bill Thursday. What’s inside came as a surprise to lawmakers like Sarasota Republican Rep. Alex Miller (R-Sarasota).

"Decoupling would eventually in my estimation eliminate the cruelest form of entertainment we have here in Florida and as a freshman I was excited to be put on this committee to decouple. And instead I’m put on this committee with the idea that we won’t be able to do anything for 20 years. So it’s personally disappointing for me,” Miller said.

Florida lawmakers have another way to honor military members on Veterans Day. A bill from Rep. Mel Ponder (R-Fort Walton) would offer them a sales tax break.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is urging the state’s business leaders to let their legislators know incentive and marketing programs such as those provided by Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida are important.

On the heels of the 2016 presidential election lawmakers are reviewing what went well while looking toward some changes.

An attempt to create a new gambling agreement between the state and Seminole Indian Tribe failed last legislative session, but Florida’s legislative leaders say they’d like to see a compact pass this time around.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio has been leading in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, but new polls show the race may now be too close to call.

Fire arms purchases are growing. That’s according to a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Adam Putnam says he expects to see that trend continue. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has completed a years-long count of the state’s black bear population. Director of Habitat and Species Conservation, Thomas Eason says the population has grown by about 60-percent state-wide since the agency’s last estimates.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed a controversial bill dubbed the Pastor Protection Act. The measure would protect pastors and churches from lawsuits if they decline to participate in marriages that violate their beliefs.

Despite a request from Gov. Rick Scott for $250 million  this year, there’s not much money showing up in the Enterprise Florida Budget.

The so called Pastor Protection Act is poised for hearings on the floor of both the Florida House and Senate. The measure aims to protect churches and clergy from lawsuits if they decline to participate in a marriage ceremony that violates their religious beliefs. But gay rights activists say the bill unfairly targets same sex couples.

The Senate took its turn talking gaming Wednesday. Lawmakers in the Senate Regulated industries committee passed a measure that would ratify a gambling agreement between Florida and the Seminole Indian tribe along with a larger gaming measure.

A proposed gaming agreement between Florida and the Seminole Indiana tribe is moving forward, but legislative leaders don’t expect discussions surrounding the bill to end soon.

While Florida lawmakers are preparing to put together a budget for the coming fiscal year, some are wondering how a proposed $3-billion gaming agreement might fit in.

Florida lawmakers want to put the brakes on what some call a thinly veiled money maker for municipal governments. A House panel greenlighted a plan Thursday to ban red light cameras.

When it comes to gambling this year, lawmakers will likely have to lay their cards on the table.

As lawmakers prepare to tackle gaming legislation in Florida, some question how fantasy sports might fit in. 

A bill passed by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee Wednesday could open the door in Florida for smaller scale cosmetic companies.

Florida lawmakers are looking into a plan that would expand automated lottery sales. Legislators say it’s one way to raise more money for schools. 

A bill that would amend the state’s constitution to give tax breaks to people who install renewable energy devices on their properties passed its first committee Tuesday with no complaints and no debate. The bill is sponsored by St. Petersburg Republican Senator Jeff Brandes

“Occasionally a proposal comes along that both the Baptists and the Bootleggers can agree on and this just happens to be one of those proposals,” Brandes says.

Florida is expecting a budget surplus this year. Legislative leaders have suggested that money should be earmarked for education or handed back to Floridians in the form of tax breaks. But the state’s attorney general is hoping some of that money will be used to support the testing of what she estimates are thousands of untested DNA samples stacking up in crime labs.

Budget negotiations are now up to Florida Budget chairs--Sen. Tom Lee (R-Brandon) and Rep. Richard Corcoran (R-Land O'Lakes).  And Regan McCarthy reports legislative leaders expect talks to move quickly.

Since the start of session lawmakers have been using the state’s utility regulators, the Public Service Commission as something of a whipping boy. A measure billed as a PSC crackdown has passed the House and is waiting for approval in the Senate.

Florida Seniors are sending a clear message – hands off my Bingo. Lawmakers working to balance that while trying to fix a bill that created a grey area for arcade games without reopening a loophole that allowed gambling through internet cafes.

  Forecasters from Colorado State University say warmer than normal water will likely mean a less active Atlantic Hurricane season this year. Phil Klotzbach is the university’s lead author on seasonal forecasts.

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