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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 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.

A discussion to extend the state’s gaming agreement with the Seminole Indian tribe for another year got weighed down by a gaming amendment pile on during its first committee hearing Wednesday. But despite the heavy load, the measure made it through the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

Deciding who is owed what after a divorce can be chaotic. But lawmakers want to bring order to the process through math. The Senate’s alimony reform bill uses a formula to decide how much a person should pay in alimony and for how long.

Many contact lens manufacturers are imposing what’s called a Unilateral Pricing Policy on contact retailers.  It lets manufacturers set a minimum price for their product. If retailers drop below that price, they risk losing the ability to continue selling that company’s contacts. Sen. Tom Lee (R-Brandon) says there are other products that fall under similar pricing agreements, but none quite like contacts.

The sight of a dog lying under the table in an upscale restaurant might result in a double take. Onlookers might scan the animal’s human companion for signs a disability. And it’s when those disabilities aren’t readily apparent that trouble can sometimes arise. A bill moving through the Florida House seeks to protect those with invisible disabilities.

Florida prisons are getting a shake down after reports of corruption and prisoner abuse. Now Senators are asking those with an inside view to help give them a better understanding of what’s happening in Florida’s prisons.

Utilities won’t be able to up a customer’s rates because of how they read meters if a bill sponsored by  Sen. Charlie Dean (R--Ocala)  becomes law. Dean says some of his constituents saw higher bills after a utility in his area extended its meter reading period. The longer time bumped customers' usage up into a more costly pay bracket. Dean says his bill would prevent that.

Ted Murphy

Odds are good for a gaming shake up this session. The first bill has passed out of the Senate. It’s a measure relating to greyhound racing. Meanwhile, lawmakers are considering a massive gaming overhaul bill in the House.

A portion of the state’s gaming agreement with the Seminole Indians granting them exclusive rights to card games like blackjack is set to expire. And House Majority leader Dana Young (R-Tampa) says she wants to be sure lawmakers have alternatives to consider while deciding whether to renew that part of the compact.

For the first time in two decades, Florida officials have scheduled a bear hunting season. It's a response to a rise in bear attacks — but it has some environmentalists upset.

Experts say there's plenty of room for humans and black bears to co-exist, but the smell of food is pulling the animals out of the woods and into neighborhoods.

If you want to understand the situation, take a trip to Franklin County, in the pandhandle. A few months ago, a bear attacked a teenager there while she walked her dog near a convenience store.

  The Public Service Commission is the subject of a number of bills expected to come up next legislative session, including one filed by Sen. John Legg (R-Lutz) 

Recent shootings around the country have left many reexamining police departments and policies. But they've also led to a renewed focus on personal protection with increased gun sales and a legislative proposal to allow guns on college campuses.

    

Florida State University students are back in class after a shooting at the campus library injured three people. The tragedy has raised the same question asked after any school shooting – how could this happen? But  at Florida State, It’s also raised a stronger feeling of community and support. 

Democrat Gwen Graham has ousted Republican incumbent Steve Southerland in one of the most contentious congressional races North Florida has seen in years.  Graham won by about 2,000 votes.

Graham spent election night in Tallahassee with supporters and her family – including her father, former Florida Governor Bob Graham.

Two of the most prominent candidates hoping to lead Florida State University, state Sen. John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine) and FSU Interim President Garnett Stokes took their turns in front of the presidential search committee Tuesday. But one of them hasn’t made it to the final list.

Citizens Property Insurance CEO Barry Gilway is grounded. Gilway got a scolding from members of the Florida cabinet Tuesday who say the state-backed insurance company is spending too much money on overseas travel.

Gilway says he understands the state’s largest property insurer suffers from a damaged reputation. But he says since he came on board he’s turned things around.

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