Sarah Mueller

Sarah Mueller is the first recipient of the WFSU Media Capitol Reporting Fellowship. She’ll be covering the 2017 Florida legislative session and recently earned her master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois Springfield. Sarah was part of the Illinois Statehouse press corps as an intern for NPR Illinois in 2016. When not working, she enjoys playing her yellow lab, watching documentaries and reading memoirs.

Gov. Rick Scott has about 10 days to sign legislation appropriating money to counties hit by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A settlement deal gives the state about $2 billion over several years.

The Florida legislature directed funding toward water projects instead of land conservation this year. But environmental groups complain that the state has still not fully implemented the land conservation constitutional amendment passed in 2014.

Florida Republican members of Congress are calling for former FBI director James Comey to testify about alleged White House interference into its Russia investigation. But Sen. Marco Rubio said people shouldn’t rush to judgment on media reports.

Florida hospitals are intently watching the negotiations between the state and federal government over health care funding. The state has been talking to the federal government about renewing a wavier for health care services for low-income Floridians.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum said he’ll pass legislation to strengthen health insurance provisions if he’s elected governor. Gillum says his proposed legislation was prompted by the U.S. House vote repealing the Affordable Care Act last week.

The Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is now in the U.S. Senate. The legislation cuts state funding for the medical care of low-income people. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, said he doesn’t support the proposal.

Florida lawmakers are cracking down on the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Legislation punishing its possession is heading to the governor.

Poor Floridians may see less access to medical care. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, said the state is turning down billions of dollars in federal funding for health care this year because it is not expanding Medicaid. Florida lawmakers are also planning to cut Medicaid and hospital funding.

The Florida legislature is weighing a transportation related measure in the final days of session. Lawmakers are considering revising laws related to self-driving cars, driving under the influence and specialty license plates.

Local control advocates said the Florida legislature has taken preempting home rule to a new level this session. The legislature wants to extend property tax breaks, regulate vacation rentals and community redevelopment agencies.

The Florida Senate is considering more juvenile justice legislation. It’s looking at measures classifying certain kids as prolific offenders and changing sentencing for juveniles who commit felonies.

Legislation banning so called sanctuary policies has passed the Florida House. But it’s unclear whether the Senate will advance the bill in the final week of session.

Governor Rick Scott is defending his decision to remove State Attorney Aramis Ayala from death penalty cases. Attorneys for Scott argue the Florida Supreme Court should dismiss Ayala’s claims that the governor unlawfully moved the cases to another prosecutor.

Advocates are hopeful they’ll see legislation implementing tax breaks on solar energy pass the legislature this session. But they’re not happy with different parts of the House and Senate bills.

Rep. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, has revamped his legislation on the state’s trauma centers. It’s not clear whether the House bill will make it through the Senate because the Senate’s legislation on trauma centers is already dead.

Florida Governor Rick Scott says Republicans should start chipping away at eliminating the Affordable Care Act. He spoke to Fox News after attending a White House bill signing.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has about a month to prove to a Tallahassee judge she didn’t improperly order businesses to pay millions to unregistered charities. Bondi denies any wrongdoing.

Legislation making it easier to set up new trauma centers is moving in the Florida House. The measure removing a statewide cap passed its final committee.

Florida Sen. Jack Latvala says he’s not ready to give up politics after he’s term limited in the Senate next year. But he won’t say what he’s eyeing next. Latvala spoke at the Tiger Bay Club in Tallahassee.

Florida gets a lot of federal funding for refugees, including people entering the state from Cuba and Haiti. But that money could go away if legislation passes pulling the state out of the federal refugee resettlement program.

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