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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

Florida Governor Rick Scott is urging the state’s business leaders to let their legislators know incentive and marketing programs such as those provided by Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida are important.

On the heels of the 2016 presidential election lawmakers are reviewing what went well while looking toward some changes.

An attempt to create a new gambling agreement between the state and Seminole Indian Tribe failed last legislative session, but Florida’s legislative leaders say they’d like to see a compact pass this time around.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio has been leading in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, but new polls show the race may now be too close to call.

Fire arms purchases are growing. That’s according to a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Adam Putnam says he expects to see that trend continue. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has completed a years-long count of the state’s black bear population. Director of Habitat and Species Conservation, Thomas Eason says the population has grown by about 60-percent state-wide since the agency’s last estimates.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed a controversial bill dubbed the Pastor Protection Act. The measure would protect pastors and churches from lawsuits if they decline to participate in marriages that violate their beliefs.

Despite a request from Gov. Rick Scott for $250 million  this year, there’s not much money showing up in the Enterprise Florida Budget.

The so called Pastor Protection Act is poised for hearings on the floor of both the Florida House and Senate. The measure aims to protect churches and clergy from lawsuits if they decline to participate in a marriage ceremony that violates their religious beliefs. But gay rights activists say the bill unfairly targets same sex couples.

The Senate took its turn talking gaming Wednesday. Lawmakers in the Senate Regulated industries committee passed a measure that would ratify a gambling agreement between Florida and the Seminole Indian tribe along with a larger gaming measure.

A proposed gaming agreement between Florida and the Seminole Indiana tribe is moving forward, but legislative leaders don’t expect discussions surrounding the bill to end soon.

While Florida lawmakers are preparing to put together a budget for the coming fiscal year, some are wondering how a proposed $3-billion gaming agreement might fit in.

Florida lawmakers want to put the brakes on what some call a thinly veiled money maker for municipal governments. A House panel greenlighted a plan Thursday to ban red light cameras.

When it comes to gambling this year, lawmakers will likely have to lay their cards on the table.

As lawmakers prepare to tackle gaming legislation in Florida, some question how fantasy sports might fit in. 

A bill passed by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee Wednesday could open the door in Florida for smaller scale cosmetic companies.

Florida lawmakers are looking into a plan that would expand automated lottery sales. Legislators say it’s one way to raise more money for schools. 

A bill that would amend the state’s constitution to give tax breaks to people who install renewable energy devices on their properties passed its first committee Tuesday with no complaints and no debate. The bill is sponsored by St. Petersburg Republican Senator Jeff Brandes

“Occasionally a proposal comes along that both the Baptists and the Bootleggers can agree on and this just happens to be one of those proposals,” Brandes says.

Florida is expecting a budget surplus this year. Legislative leaders have suggested that money should be earmarked for education or handed back to Floridians in the form of tax breaks. But the state’s attorney general is hoping some of that money will be used to support the testing of what she estimates are thousands of untested DNA samples stacking up in crime labs.

Budget negotiations are now up to Florida Budget chairs--Sen. Tom Lee (R-Brandon) and Rep. Richard Corcoran (R-Land O'Lakes).  And Regan McCarthy reports legislative leaders expect talks to move quickly.

Since the start of session lawmakers have been using the state’s utility regulators, the Public Service Commission as something of a whipping boy. A measure billed as a PSC crackdown has passed the House and is waiting for approval in the Senate.

Florida Seniors are sending a clear message – hands off my Bingo. Lawmakers working to balance that while trying to fix a bill that created a grey area for arcade games without reopening a loophole that allowed gambling through internet cafes.

  Forecasters from Colorado State University say warmer than normal water will likely mean a less active Atlantic Hurricane season this year. Phil Klotzbach is the university’s lead author on seasonal forecasts.

A discussion to extend the state’s gaming agreement with the Seminole Indian tribe for another year got weighed down by a gaming amendment pile on during its first committee hearing Wednesday. But despite the heavy load, the measure made it through the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

Deciding who is owed what after a divorce can be chaotic. But lawmakers want to bring order to the process through math. The Senate’s alimony reform bill uses a formula to decide how much a person should pay in alimony and for how long.

Many contact lens manufacturers are imposing what’s called a Unilateral Pricing Policy on contact retailers.  It lets manufacturers set a minimum price for their product. If retailers drop below that price, they risk losing the ability to continue selling that company’s contacts. Sen. Tom Lee (R-Brandon) says there are other products that fall under similar pricing agreements, but none quite like contacts.

The sight of a dog lying under the table in an upscale restaurant might result in a double take. Onlookers might scan the animal’s human companion for signs a disability. And it’s when those disabilities aren’t readily apparent that trouble can sometimes arise. A bill moving through the Florida House seeks to protect those with invisible disabilities.

Florida prisons are getting a shake down after reports of corruption and prisoner abuse. Now Senators are asking those with an inside view to help give them a better understanding of what’s happening in Florida’s prisons.

Utilities won’t be able to up a customer’s rates because of how they read meters if a bill sponsored by  Sen. Charlie Dean (R--Ocala)  becomes law. Dean says some of his constituents saw higher bills after a utility in his area extended its meter reading period. The longer time bumped customers' usage up into a more costly pay bracket. Dean says his bill would prevent that.

Ted Murphy

Odds are good for a gaming shake up this session. The first bill has passed out of the Senate. It’s a measure relating to greyhound racing. Meanwhile, lawmakers are considering a massive gaming overhaul bill in the House.

A portion of the state’s gaming agreement with the Seminole Indians granting them exclusive rights to card games like blackjack is set to expire. And House Majority leader Dana Young (R-Tampa) says she wants to be sure lawmakers have alternatives to consider while deciding whether to renew that part of the compact.

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