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Sascha Cordner

Phone: (850) 487-3086  x404

Sascha Cordner worked at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both TV and radio, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications.  She has received several  Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Awards with one of her award-winning stories titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink."  Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU.  Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Florida State University President John Thrasher says his position has not changed since the recent filing of a bill allowing people to open carry on public college and university campuses. It’s the same bill Thrasher helped defeat in 2011 when he was a state senator.

In 2011, the testimony of Dr. Robert Cowie, a friend of Thrasher, also helped derail the bill. Just weeks before, Cowie’s daughter, FSU Student Ashley, had been accidentally shot by a rifle and killed at a frat house.

Governor Rick Scott has chosen a new permanent leader for the Florida Department of Corrections. And, some are calling Scott’s fourth pick for prison chief “a good fit.”

On Wednesday, Scott announced Julie Jones, the former head of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, will lead the state’s troubled prison system.

Governor Rick Scott has officially named a new leader of Florida’s child welfare agency. It’s the third DCF chief Scott has appointed since taking office.

Should the Florida Supreme Court or the state Legislature have the power to shift the burden of proof to a defendant or the state prosecutor in a Stand Your Ground case? That question was recently before the high court as well as the Legislature earlier this year. So, could that come back into play again next legislative session?

The Case Before The Court

A Florida lawmaker has filed a bill requiring law enforcement officers to wear body cameras while out on patrol.

It’s not a coincidence Rep. Shevrin Jones’ (D-West Park) bill was filed after the nationwide debate began over police officers’ use of force, sparked by the fatal incidents in New York and Missouri.

“I know there’s a lot going on as it pertains to Eric Garner, I know the Ferguson situation is going on, a lot is going on, but those incidents’ were not the entire impetus behind the filing of the bill,” said Jones.

Governor Rick Scott kicked off his “Jobs Jamboree” tour in Miami Monday, in lieu of traditional inaugural events.

Instead of an inaugural ball or parade, Scott decided to hold a series of informal barbecues and prayer breakfasts across the state, and he launched the tour Monday—also his 62nd birthday. In a video posted by the Florida GOP, Scott talks, of course, about jobs—a premiere point in his campaign.

Bringing stability and consistency to the troubled Florida Department of Corrections is at the forefront of several lawmakers’ and prison reform stakeholders’ minds as the 2015 legislative session draws near. And, the discussion may start at the top.

That’s especially after Governor Rick Scott still has to name a permanent head to lead the troubled agency—after Scott’s third Florida Department of Corrections’ Secretary recently resigned.

Pension reform will be coming back up in the 2015 legislative session. But, the question some stakeholders are asking is whether a local pension effort will be tied to a controversial  state pension reform plan again, which caused both issues to die earlier this year.

November is National Adoption Month, and as part of the month, the Florida Department of Children and Families is highlighting a service it offers to help certain adopted individuals find their birth families.

The goal behind Florida’s Adoption Reunion Registry is to reunite adopted adults with their birth families, which can include parents, grandparents, and siblings. DCF spokeswoman Alexis Lambert says it’s the only program of its kind in Florida that doesn’t require either party to take any court action.

AP Photo/Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement

A Florida man is scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday, and he’ll be the nineteenth inmate put to death during Governor Rick Scott’s first term.

Scott is close to meeting the all-time record of 21 executions set by former Governor Jeb Bush’s during his two terms.

Scott has also signed more death warrants than any other modern day Florida Governor in one term.

Following Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, Scott said it’s his duty.

Florida’s 2014 election cycle ended with disappointment for Democrats and many victories for Republicans.

Florida GOP wins include the gubernatorial race, the Cabinet—particularly the Attorney General’s race—and gaining a supermajority in the Florida House after several Democrats lost some seats.

“Well, obviously we got beat,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant. “We got beat across the nation. We got beat in Florida.”

She says the party is now looking to move forward to do better in future races.

Florida’s prison system has been in the news a lot lately, between suspicious prison deaths, allegations of inmate abuse, and new reforms meant to address such abuses. But, some say the reforms are not enough and a change in leadership should be in store.

A recent inmate death at a North Florida Correctional facility has some calling for federal officials to step in and address what they call a “culture of inmate abuse” within the Florida prison system.

Latandra Ellington was an inmate at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, serving about two years in prison for fraud. Weeks ago, Tallahassee Attorney Darryl Parks says the 36-year-old sent two letters to her aunt, saying she felt threatened by guards. So, he says Ellington’s aunt called the facility and left a message.

The three candidates in Florida’s Attorney General race debated Monday in what is expected to be the only event with all three for this election cycle. Among the topics was a discussion over an amendment that could legalize medical marijuana in the state.

AG Debate: Constitutional Amendment #2

Governor Rick Scott is weighing in on the troubles surrounding the state’s prison system. The Florida Department of Corrections has been in the news lately for prison firings, allegations of inmate abuse, and the latest: threatening to cancel their contract with private inmate health care provider.

During a recent stop in Jacksonville, Scott told reporters he’s aware of the problems in the system and he says Corrections’ Secretary Mike Crews is taking care of it.

Former Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer says writing an autobiography on her life leading up to the events of her resignation was both therapeutic and a source of healing. She’s now promoting her book, “When You Get There,” which was released last month.

State child welfare officials are looking into what went wrong in their handling of an investigation of a Florida man who shot himself and his family in North Florida. The Florida Department of Children and Families say they were actually investigating the man weeks before the mass shooting in Bell. So, in the wake of the deadly rampage, could lawmakers be considering another DCF legislative fix?

About a week ago, Don Spirit shot his 28-year-old daughter Sarah and her six kids ranging in age from about three months old baby to 11-years-old.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist says the black vote is crucial to winning the upcoming general election against Republican Governor Rick Scott. On Tuesday, Crist made those remarks in Tallahassee at the historically black university, Florida A and M.

During a campaign event touting higher education, Crist said the turnout in the African American community is very critical, and encouraged FAMU students to help get others to the polls.

Florida is ranked number three in the U.S. for the number of calls received at the nation’s human trafficking hotline. To curb that trend, state and local officials have worked with lawmakers over the years to put new laws in place. And, a newly-formed council is hatching plans to build on the state’s past progress and propose new legislation for next year.

Attorney General Pam Bondi hopes to build on past anti-trafficking efforts with her new Statewide Council on Human Trafficking. She led the panel’s first meeting Monday in Tallahassee.

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, Florida is ranked third in the nation for the number of calls received by the center’s human trafficking hotline.

Since 2009, Florida has seen a steady increase in the number of visitors to the Sunshine State, and has had record tourism numbers. A new study by a non-partisan watchdog group shows Florida may now also be on track to meeting a big milestone: attracting 100 million visitors by 2015.

Will Seccombe is the head of Florida’s tourism agency, Visit Florida. He says there’s no question in his mind that the industry is on a steady upswing—as outlined in a report by Florida TaxWatch.

Governor Rick Scott has about two weeks to act on more than a 100 bills delivered to his desk Thursday. They include a bill granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants as well as a bill legalizing a mild strain of marijuana for medical purposes—a couple controversial measures Scott has already said he’ll sign.

Charlotte's Web

The president of the Florida Sheriff’s Association says he’s offended by comments made by the National Rifle Association’s Marion Hammer over a gun bill that died this legislative Session. It’s a measure that would have allowed people to legally carry a firearm without a concealed weapons permit during a mandatory evacuation.

The Florida House passed a bill Friday that merges two pension reform proposals: one dealing with local pensions and another dealing with the state’s pension system. But, it’s unclear what will happen in the other chamber now that the combined bill is still two separate proposals in the Senate.

Rep. Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) is one of the sponsors of the merged House proposal. He contributed the part of the proposal that deals with overhauling the Florida Retirement System.

A bill allowing tax collectors to help Florida meet a rising demand for concealed weapon permit applications passed the full Senate Friday and is now heading to the Governor.

“This bill allows county tax collectors the ability to apply to the Agriculture Commissioner and request that the Commissioner appoint them, so they can accept applications for concealed weapons license,” said Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby), the bill's sponsor.

And, Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith says this is a gun-related measure that he can get behind.

A passionately-debated effort to overhaul the Florida Retirement System has now been merged with a widely-supported effort to fix local government pensions.  It’s part of an ongoing push by House Speaker Will Weatherford to get his state pension reform effort over the finish line. But, many spoke out against the now-merged House proposal Monday.

Is a measure aiming to tweak Florida’s Stand Your Ground law dead this year? While some believe that effort is over, others—including the law’s main author—don’t seem to think so.

Last month, a proposal aimed at tweaking the controversial law began to move again, when it passed the Senate Criminal Justice Committee—the bill’s second stop.

A pension reform proposal is now heading to the House floor, while its Senate companion just cleared its first official committee. While both now scaled-back bills have their differences, they have an equal amount of opposition from public employees and most Democrats stacked against them.

Trilby Republican Senator Wilton Simpson’s bill has gone through several changes, and Thursday, during the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee, it was no different.

A group of Florida lawmakers passed a slew of measures Tuesday, including a controversial abortion bill. They also moved a series of gun-related measures to the Senate floor, including the so-called ‘Pop Tart’ bill.

Late-Term Abortion Bill

The measure essentially banning late-term abortion is already heading for a floor vote in the House, and now has one more committee stop in the Senate, after it passed the Senate Judiciary Tuesday.

A Senate proposal to overhaul the Florida Retirement System could have its first official committee hearing later this week. But, The recently scaled-back proposal—already starting to move in the House—could still be in trouble in the Senate.

Last week, the House State Affairs Committee agreed to advance a measure aimed at overhauling the state’s retirement system.

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