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.

A bill allowing young sexual abuse victims to secretly record their attackers to use as evidence in court cleared its first Senate hearing Monday.

As Florida lawmakers continue to delve into making changes to the state’s troubled prison system, some want to hear from the employees affected by the changes. But, several correctional officers say they’re afraid of retaliation from the prison agency due to a new policy some are calling a “gag order.”

A group of Florida lawmakers is looking into the mental health issues of inmates in the state’s criminal justice system, and some legislation could be in store based on ideas from different law agencies and the courts.

For Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, he says it’s important all law enforcement agencies get some type of training to account for people with mental health issues called Crisis Intervention Team, or CIT training.

“You see, we’ve got 27 Sheriffs offices that aren’t doing CIT at all; I think we need 100 percent,” said Gualtieri.

A bill that would help identify guardians and guardian advocates for children with developmental disabilities aging out of foster care passed its first committees this week.

Gerry Glynn is the Chief Legal Officer for Community Based Care of North Florida. But, before that, he worked as a law professor and child advocate in 2009. In that role, Glynn says he chaired a committee reviewing the tragic death of a young man by the name of Regis Little.

While the Senate has said it won’t start any talks to reform Florida’s Retirement System this year, a House panel is moving forward.

During Wednesday’s presentation, House State Affairs Committee members heard that Florida’s Retirement System is funded at 86.6 percent—a percentage proponents of the system say means it’s, “actuarially sound.”

A panel of Florida lawmakers got an update Tuesday on a report, detailing what led to the tragic death of a little girl last month.

In early January, Phoebe Jonchuck’s father allegedly threw her from a bridge during what appears to be a psychotic episode. A detailed report shows the state’s abuse hotline missed two opportunities, warning of Phoebe’s father mental state. And, Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll says he’s now looking into a number of areas to improve—like tracking the number of screened out calls.

A bill that previously mandated law enforcement wear body cameras, which passed its first Senate panel Monday, has a new change. It’s a measure that now allows law enforcement agencies to decide whether to use the cameras and puts forth standard guidelines.

The newest change to Sen. Chris Smith’s (D-Fort Lauderdale) bill—made Monday—is aimed at addressing residents’ privacy concerns.  

A Senate panel unanimously passed an omnibus package aimed at reforming Florida’s troubled prison system Monday. It includes creating a nine-member oversight board that can do surprise inspections, convene public hearings, and conduct independent investigations of correctional facilities. That part is authored by Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island).

A controversial gun bill is turning out to be not so controversial anymore, after it got the approval of its main opponent—the Florida Sheriffs Association—Monday.

Last year, the NRA-backed measure allowing people to carry guns without a license during a state mandatory evacuation failed, after the Florida Sheriffs criticized the bill for being too loose. This year, bill sponsor  Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) is working to address that with a new change.

Two Florida lawmakers are hoping to revive a bill that failed during the past legislative session repealing Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. But, some say the law should remain intact and see it as a waste of time.

It was in late 2013 when Rep. Alan Williams’ (R-Tallahassee) got a five hour hearing for his bill to repeal Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

Florida is one of seven states with greyhound racing. Many tracks are struggling to meet costs, but continue because a law requires them to hold races in order to keep their card races. But, a group of lawmakers is pushing for “decoupling” the tracks and the cardrooms, some are not too happy about the idea.

“Florida is the leading state for Greyhound racing. We have more tracks, more races than any other state remaining in the country,” said Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Coral Springs).

In the coming weeks, a Senate panel is slated to take up a comprehensive prison reform proposal aimed at fixing Florida’s troubled prison system.

It’s been months since Senate President Andy Gardiner tasked Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker)—the Senate Criminal Justice Committee chairman—with writing a comprehensive prison reform package to help fix a system plagued by inmate deaths and inmate abuse allegations. Gardiner says these are serious issues.  

A panel of Senators got a series of updates on Florida’s troubled prison system, including the status of use-of-force incidences within the correctional facilities and the inmate health care.

During her presentation to the Senate Criminal justice Committee, newly named Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones detailed some areas she says need improvement.

Two Democratic lawmakers have filed a bill to make it easier for minors to have their records expunged.

Rep. Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville) says getting a record expunged is particularly problematic for African American youth who want to do things, like get a job, go to school, or join the army—but can’t because of mistakes made when they were younger.

“It puts them in a situation where they become the marketplace for recidivism. And, we want to be able to help to clear their records once they become 18 as opposed to waiting until they’re mid-to-late 20s.”

The two high profile death incidents that occurred in recent months has already spurred a number of changes to Florida’s child welfare agency. That was part of an update two panels in the House and Senate received Thursday as part of a presentation looking at a new law overhauling the agency.

Prison privatization has been a contentious issue in Florida—even costing one Florida Department of Corrections’ Secretary his job. But, after the latest DOC head made some candid remarks on the topic, could she now be backtracking?

The two criminal justice panels of the Florida Legislature are slated to meet Tuesday to take up a number of issues from the state’s troubled prison agency to a gun bill allowing guns on campus.

Newly appointed Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julies Jones is expected to brief the Senate Criminal Justice Committee members about areas where the department is lacking and trying to improve.

As the Florida Legislature returns next week, a bipartisan duo of lawmakers could be looking at making some more changes on top of a new law overhauling Florida’s child welfare agency. It could include changes to the state’s abuse hotline, after the recent tragic death of a five-year-old girl whose father is accused of throwing her over a bridge.

“She was my world. I truly, truly loved her,” said a tearful Michele Jonchuck. “She was an angel. She loved school. She loved to crack jokes. She liked to be helpful to the other children at school.”

Swoope To Depart Enterprise Florida Next Month

Jan 15, 2015

Florida’s top jobs recruiter is stepping down from his post.

At the end of February, Gray Swoope will resign.  He’s the state’s Secretary of Commerce as well as the head of Enterprise Florida, the state’s lead economic development agency.

Swoope was one of the few top officials who served during Governor Rick Scott’s entire first term.

In a statement following Swoope’s announced departure, Scott hailed Swoope for creating “a jobs legacy” and for making “major economic deals” happen for the state.

Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner is asking for close to $20 million in this year’s budget to combat citrus greening. This comes as the most recent forecast is showing a further citrus crop decline.

Following Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting,  says citrus growers have it hard.

“We’re in the fight for the industry’s life,” said State Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam, following Tuesday's Cabinet meeting. “Florida’s signature crop continues to decline, continues to feel the effects as a result of the spread of citrus greening.”

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