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.

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.

While the "warning shot" bill got teed up for a vote in the Senate, a couple of gun-related measures have already passed the full House as of Thursday. But after a dust-up between lawmakers, a revived attempt to repeal Florida’s Stand Your Ground law failed again.

NRA's Busy Week

State Attorneys say they’re against Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.  At least one of those prosecutors says he’s also dead set against the so-called bipartisan tweak bill now moving in the Senate.

Tallahassee State Attorney Willie Meggs is railing against an NRA-backed provision in the bill that he insists would “make a bad policy a lot worse.” He says he opposes Stand Your Ground because Florida residents no longer feel they have the duty to retreat in a situation that could call for it.

A bill allowing someone to threaten to use force in a situation where they feel threatened without fear of prosecution is expected to be discussed on the Senate Floor this week.  And, the so-called “warning shot” bill that was modified at each committee stop may go through another change on the floor.

WFSU

A bill aimed at allowing someone to show a gun or fire a warning shot in self-defense without fear of prosecution is now heading to the House floor. It’s a bill inspired by Marisa Alexander, the Jacksonville woman who fired a warning shot in an alleged domestic violence dispute and received a lengthy prison term.

A bipartisan package of sex predator bills is now heading for a floor vote in both the House and Senate.

The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday banning sex offenders from owning pornography. They also approved a measure that cracks down on repeat offenders who expose themselves in a vulgar way in public. Stuart Republican Representative Gayle Harrell is a sponsor of that bill.

MGN Online

Bills aimed at enhancing the penalties if an insurer discriminates against a gun owner are moving through both chambers of the Florida Legislature. But, some are raising concerns about the reasoning behind the measure, saying there’s not enough evidence to support it.

Florida now has its 19th Lieutenant Governor. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, also the first Hispanic to hold the post, was sworn in during a private ceremony Monday morning surrounded by his family. Following the ceremony, Lopez-Cantera and Governor Rick Scott described themselves as excited to be working together.

“The governor has been doing a good job. I just look forward to being a part of the team and helping him in any way I can," said Lopez-Cantera.

Pages