Florida Matters

Florida Matters tackles tough issues, highlights little-known stories from our part of the world, and provides a greater perspective of what it means to live in the Sunshine State. Join us each week as we journey across the state to explore the issues important to Floridians and cover the challenges facing our community and our state.

This week on Florida Matters, our ongoing "Newsmaker" series features Dr. Susan MacManus.

It’s that time of year again, the Atlantic hurricane season is upon us. This week on Florida Matters we’re taking a look at how various areas of the state are preparing for hurricane season, and at some new changes in storm response efforts.


Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

After more than two decades, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Hunter planes have a new home. Construction crews are scrambling to get it ready for this week's start of hurricane season.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF

It costs a lot of money to keep Florida’s beaches “postcard ready.” How much sand is on your favorite beach? In some cases, not quite enough.


Marc Haze / WUSF News

It's that time of year to hit the beach and soak up some rays, but in some areas erosion means there's not a lot of places to build a sand castle.

A bill awaiting Gov. Scott's signature - or possible veto - would mean $50 million for beach renourishment. This week on Florida Matters we'll talk about whether that funding is enough to tackle the issue of beach erosion across the state.


Florida Forest Service

State officials say Florida is having one of its worst wildfire seasons in years. This week on Florida Matters we're talking about the impact these fires have on the state's environment and economy, and whether there's an end in sight for this dry season.


Florida Forest Service

Florida is alight with wildfires right now, with over 125 burning across the state. This week on Florida Matters we’re talking about the impact these wildfires have on the state’s environment and economy, and whether there’s an end in sight to this dry season.


It took them three days longer than it was supposed to, but Florida lawmakers have finally passed a new state budget.

This week on Florida Matters we’ll take a look at what’s in the $83 billion spending plan along with a few other issues decided during the 60-day session.

Our guests include:

The Associated Press

State lawmakers finally signed off on a new state budget Monday night after a bit of a delay.

This week on Florida Matters we’ll take a look at what’s in the $82.4 billion spending plan along with a few other issues decided during the 60-day session.


There was a time when the only place to get a book was to buy it from a store or borrow it from a library. 

USF Libraries

These days it seems like we get most of our information from computers and mobile devices. Are libraries becoming obsolete?

This week on Florida Matters we’re talking to people who work in libraries about what might be in store for the future.


The Trump administration says bathroom use policies regarding gender are best left at the local level, while state lawmakers are considering new workplace protections aimed at the LGBT community.

This week on Florida Matters we’re talking about the latest policy debates surrounding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in Florida.

This week on Florida Matters, we’re looking at the latest policy debates surrounding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.


Daylina Miller/WikiMedia Commons

Polk County is a place of so many contradictions. It's the home of beautiful lakes, charming downtowns and historic landmarks. But this birthplace of several of Florida's governors, was also named by one recent study as having the country's second largest percentage of people struggling to avoid hunger.


Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Polk County is consistently ranked as having among the highest rates of suburban poverty in the country. And one recent study put it second in the nation for the number of people struggling to avoid hunger. The beautiful lakes and historic downtowns form a stark contrast to the sobering statistics.

Florida Matters hosted a town hall discussion on these issues Monday night in Lakeland, at Florida Southern College’s Annie Pfeiffer Chapel.

You can be a part of our audience for a special Florida Matters town hall featuring a panel discussion on food insecurity in Polk County.

JDC Phosphate

Phosphate mining and production takes a heavy toll on the state's environment. But the industry also plays a key role in Florida's economy. This week on Florida Matters we’re exploring what phosphate contributes to the state, and at what price.


Stephanie Colombini/WUSF / WUSF

The phosphate industry contributes a great deal to Florida's economy, but at what cost?

This week on Florida Matters, we’re exploring how the phosphate industry impacts the state.

  

Self-driving cars – are they the road to the future or pie in the sky? This week on Florida Matters we’re revisiting a discussion about the promise and the perils of automated vehicles.


Robin Sussingham

This week on Florida Matters we're revisiting our discussion about autonomous vehicles. 

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