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Regan McCarthy

Phone: (850) 487-3086  x374

Regan McCarthy is the Assignment Editor and Senior News Producer for WFSU News/ Florida Public Radio. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories. She has also worked for the London Business Matters Magazine and the Rochester Sentinel, a daily local newspaper. She is the recipient of six professional broadcast awards including first-place Best Radio Feature from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.  When she isn’t tracking leading newsmakers she spends her time knitting, reading, strolling through the woods and brunching at new restaurants.  Follow Regan McCarthy on Twitter: @Regan_McCarthy

As Floridians stay home to avoid the spread of the coronavirus some worry about another potential threat—the increased risk of domestic violence.

For weeks, after the spread of the coronavirus began, Gov. Ron DeSantis resisted calls to implement a state-wide stay-at-home order. DeSantis worried about the impact the order would have on domestic violence and abuse across the state. He also worries about the mental health impact the stress related to coronavirus is having on all Floridians.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says he hopes to have a plan by next week to start what he calls “phase two” of the state’s coronavirus response. He says it could include changes in rules about restaurants, large events and testing for the virus. DeSantis says there are more options than just keeping everyone home or taking no action against the virus at all—he says another option is more testing and isolating people who’ve come in contact with a coronavirus patient.

Florida is applying for a federal waiver that will let people who receive SNAP benefits, commonly known as food stamps, order their groceries online.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says he wants to look into removing some of the requirements for collecting unemployment benefits as layoffs pile up in response to concerns about the coronavirus.

News about the coronavirus loomed large as Florida senators debated the confirmation of Scott Rivkees as the state’s surgeon general.  Rivkees has been acting as surgeon general since Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed him last year, but lawmakers didn’t make it official until now.

Fines could soon be doubled for people who drive around, or fail to stop for school buses with their stop arms out. A bill moving through the House has just one committee left to go.

Florida lawmakers seem agree—something needs to be done about the state’s Constitution Revision Commission. But they’re not on the same page yet about what should happen.

St. Petersburg's assistant police chief is returning home to lead the police department in Tallahassee.

Antonio Gilliam, 41, was chosen among three finalists Wednesday and named Tallahassee’s new chief of police.

A U.S. Supreme Court appointed special master is considering whether Florida should get a larger share of the water flowing down the Apalachicola River. Judge Paul Kelly Jr. heard arguments in the case Thursday.

A vote to create a new marijuana civil citation program in Leon County failed in a tie Tuesday. One of the commissioners dialed into the meeting and local rules say a caller can’t break a tied vote.

Officials estimate there are still years of recovery left after Hurricane Michael slammed into the Panhandle 12 months ago.  But for many who are living in tents, or doubled up in homes still in disrepair, that’s too long, and insurance companies are bearing part of the blame for what some see as a slow recovery.

Last year, after Hurricane Michael wrought havoc in the Panhandle, school officials began raising concerns about an emergent mental health crisis among students. Bay County Superintendent Bill Hussfelt said in the first four months following the storm, 70 kids had been involuntarily held for mental health treatment through the Baker Act. But in the first two months of this school year, 50 students have already been institutionally committed. 

As mass shootings continue to rock the country, Florida lawmakers say more needs to be done to ensure students are safe. For some that means allowing more guns on college campuses. But for many students at Florida State University that proposal leads to more feelings of fear than safety.

State Attorney Jack Campbell says a focus on restorative justice may be one way to empower victims of crime. Campbell says restorative justice focuses on helping those who’ve committed crimes face the consequences of their actions—often by meeting and speaking with their targets. And he adds the process can also be therapeutic for victims.

A controversial bill that bans local governments from adopting or practicing sanctuary city policies is moving forward, but it comes with some new amendments.

Some Florida lawmakers say it’s too easy to change the state’s constitution. They want to raise the bar in an effort to keep what they say are policy changes out of document that lays the ground work for Florida’s government.

Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) is behind the bill (SB 0232.)

“This resolution provides that to amend the state constitution, this is recommending an increase in the percentage to a 2/3rds majority, or 66 2/3 percent,” Baxley says.

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano is the driving force behind a new transportation plan coming up for another committee discussion in the Senate Tuesday. But the measure could face a bumpy road in the House.

A number of bills that would make changes to Florida’s alcohol rules are moving through the legislature. But many of them make exceptions to the state’s three tier system that separates manufactures, distributors and vendors.

While cities say they’re excited about new transportation options associated with so called “micro-mobility devices,” some are worried the state is trying to scoot by with yet another home rule exemption.

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano is paving the way for a new transportation plan as the legislative session kicks into gear. But a bumpy road could lie ahead.

The Florida Commission on Ethics has released a report and materials relating to complaints made against former Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum.

A Tallahassee judge has ordered three proposed constitutional amendments be stricken from the Florida ballot. Judge Karen Grievers says because the proposals contain several issues bundled into one, voters would not be able to answer with a simple yes or no.

Many of the proposed constitutional amendments heading for the Florida ballot this November are facing at least one challenge.  Tallahassee judge Karen Gievers heard arguments Wednesday about whether proposals bundled by the Constitution Revision Commission should go before voters.

With the state’s energy portfolio surpassing 60 percent natural gas, Florida’s utility regulators are pushing for greater diversity.

A tax cut package moving through the House is facing pushback from animal rights activists, educators and working people. But the proposal does include more tax free holidays and a break for nursing homes adding generators.

Florida lawmakers are once again looking for ways to help the sunshine state reclaim its title as the Hollywood of the South. 

Would raising the age to buy tobacco products lower the cost of healthcare in Florida? One lawmaker thinks so.

Florida lawmakers are continuing a push to get gambling legislation passed this legislative session.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran defended their positions in a debate Tuesday on sanctuary cities.

The Florida House and Senate have both passed their versions of next year’s budget. Both proposals spend about $87-billion, but the two plans remain for apart when it comes to how much of that money is put toward issues like healthcare and education.

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