Author

Laura Cassels

Laura Cassels

Laura Cassels is a reporter, former statehouse bureau chief, and former city editor. She is a classical pianist, a Florida State University graduate and proud alum of the Florida Flambeau, an independent college newspaper. Contact her at [email protected]

Citrus greening, killing groves in Central and South Florida, found in North Florida

By: - December 8, 2021

Citrus greening, a disease ravaging citrus groves in central and south Florida, has been detected for the first time in north Florida, according to agriculture researchers. A tree confirmed to be infected with the disease was discovered in late November in a Leon County homeowner’s backyard, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food […]

Avoiding words ‘climate change,’ DeSantis says global-warming concerns involve ‘left-wing stuff’

By: - December 7, 2021

At an event Tuesday in Pinellas County about defending cities from sea levels rising around Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis answered a reporter’s question about climate change by talking about “left-wing stuff” and people posing as environmental advocates in order to “smuggle in their ideology.” DeSantis did not answer the reporter’s question about what his administration […]

Southern Poverty Law Center triples funding for voting rights projects, including in FL

By: - December 6, 2021

The Southern Poverty Law Center has more than tripled its financial commitment to promote voting rights through organizations in Florida and four Deep South states that conduct non-partisan voter outreach, advocate for democracy and promote civic engagement, especially in underrepresented communities. The center announced Monday it will invest $100 million over the decade on “Vote […]

Court denies stay; Seminole Tribe suspends sports betting in FL

By: - December 4, 2021

The Seminole Tribe of Florida suspended its new sports-betting operation Saturday following a federal appellate court decision late Friday that did not go the tribe’s way. The tribe had asked for a stay of a federal circuit court ruling that struck down the tribe’s gambling compact with the state of Florida as a violation of […]

Chairman blasts ‘political rhetoric’ about FL House panel’s congressional district ‘workshop maps’

By: - December 2, 2021

Florida’s redistricting efforts in the Legislature have become heated, at least in the state House. Without naming names, Florida Rep. Tyler Sirois, chairing the House subcommittee on congressional redistricting, complained Thursday about “political rhetoric that’s being caustically tossed around in the media” since subcommittee staff released its first two draft maps on Monday. “As you […]

Poker chips

No Casinos and anti-gambling businesses join fight to keep gambling compact locked down

By: - December 1, 2021

No Casinos and a group of south Florida businessmen have joined the legal fight to defend a district court ruling striking down the 30-year gambling compact between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the State of Florida. The Seminole Tribe is appealing the ruling and seeks an immediate stay, which would allow it to legally […]

As Seminole Tribe tries to rebound from defeat of gambling compact, feds offer little help

By: - November 30, 2021

New court filings Tuesday from Florida pari-mutuel facilities and federal Indian gaming regulators suggest the Seminole Tribe of Florida may face an uphill battle to resurrect its gambling compact with the State of Florida. A U.S. district judge struck down the compact in a ruling last week. The tribe, which launched Florida’s first statewide sports […]

Cash bail: Lawsuits target practice that leaves poor people jailed while others walk

By: - November 23, 2021

George Whitfield, arrested for possessing drugs and paraphernalia, has been held in the Sarasota jail awaiting trial since Aug. 4. Meanwhile, he’s lost his job. Why? He couldn’t afford the bail amount of $2,000. Linda Sue Reed of Sarasota was arrested Sept. 8 on a charge of selling cocaine within 1,000 feet of a public […]

FL Senate’s draft voting maps faring well in public opinion so far

By: - November 16, 2021

Early reviews of the Florida Senate’s eight proposed maps redrawing state Senate and congressional voting districts are favorable, drawing a stark contrast between this redistricting cycle and the one 10 years ago. “These maps are impressive,” said Sen. Jennifer Bradley, a central-west Florida Republican who chairs the Senate subcommittee on congressional reapportionment. We have come […]

The Everglades

DeSantis announces plans for a massive FL environmental budget in a one-page handout

By: - November 16, 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis touted his proposed budget for environmental funding in 2022-23 but did not release the budget itself. The governor’s staff supplied only a one-page handout in connection with his press conference in Naples Tuesday morning. “With our recommendations … we will not only have kept the promises and met the standards that we […]

Climate change: Women and families in poor countries most feel the brunt

By: - November 12, 2021

The two-week climate conference in Glasgow, concluding today, shone a spotlight on the harm climate change inflicts on women and families in the world’s most vulnerable countries. Women, who often hold lead roles in providing food and health care for their families, are on the front lines, according to advocates participating in panel discussions during […]

FL Senate unveils draft maps proposing new districts for Congress, Legislature

By: - November 10, 2021

First drafts of redrawn voting districts were unveiled Wednesday afternoon by the Florida Senate Committee on Reapportionment, setting in motion a whirlwind of analysis, scrutiny, and debate that will shape Florida’s legislative and congressional races for a decade to come. The eight maps, proposing new boundaries for Senate and congressional electoral districts, can be viewed […]