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]

Gambling: Feds’ silence signals green light on compact between FL and Seminole Tribe

By: - August 6, 2021

Florida’s 30-year, multibillion-dollar gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe appears to have passed its federal review by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. Friday marks Day 46 since the compact was submitted by the Tribe for a 45-day review period. Philip Bristol with federal Office of Indian Gaming told the Phoenix on […]

FL has more new COVID-19 cases and deaths than any state or territory in the USA

By: - August 5, 2021

Florida leads the nation in new COVID-19 cases and in new COVID deaths, according to data released Thursday afternoon by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida reported 20,133 new cases overnight and 84 new deaths – far and away the highest numbers for COVID illness and death among states and U.S. territories, […]

As COVID hospitalizations rise, Ag Commissioner Fried calls on Gov. DeSantis to accept federal help

By: - August 5, 2021

Florida has set another new record for the number of COVID-sick people in hospitals, according to federal health data announced Thursday by Florida Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Nikki Fried. The data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported 12,888 hospitalizations Wednesday, up from 12,408 on Tuesday and 11,515 on Monday. Florida’s […]

DeSantis to Biden: “If you are trying to lock people down, I am standing in your way”

By: - August 4, 2021

In a war of words between the president and some state governors, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday blasted President Joe Biden over the COVID-19 crisis. “Why don’t you do your job? Why don’t you get this border secure, and until you do that, I don’t want to hear a blip about COVID from you,” […]

Clock is running down on federal decision about multibillion FL/Seminole Tribe gambling compact

By: - August 4, 2021

While Gov. Ron DeSantis and Seminole Tribe Chairman Marcellus Osceola signed an expansive gambling agreement last spring with great fanfare, the final word on the multibillion-dollar deal could be delivered in silence. Thursday marks the end of the 45-day review period during which the U.S. Department of Interior, and specifically its Bureau of Indian Affairs, […]

Top FL hospital exec confirms COVID hospitalizations are at a new peak

By: - August 2, 2021

Florida’s leading hospital executive confirmed Monday that Florida now has more COVID-19 related hospitalizations than ever before in the pandemic. Mary Mayhew, president of the Florida Hospital Association and former secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the number of hospitalizations exceeds the former record set in […]

DeSantis vows to let parents ignore local school board decisions on masks

By: - July 30, 2021

Update: Around 4:30 p.m., Gov. Ron DeSantis issued the executive order he had described earlier Friday. It threatens to withhold state-controlled funding from school districts that do not comply. The order calls for health and education rules for “controlling the spread of COVID-19 in schools” that maintain Floridians’ constitutional freedoms, maintain parents’ rights under state […]

Court throws out wrongful conviction of Duval man imprisoned 7 years

By: - July 29, 2021

A Duval County man wrongfully convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for a 2013 armed robbery must get a new trial, an appellate court has ruled. Dustin Duty, a client of the Innocence Project of Florida and Miami Law Innocence Clinic, has been in prison for seven years. He is incarcerated at Marion […]

Sales-tax holiday on back-to-school purchases starts Saturday

By: - July 28, 2021

A Florida sales-tax holiday on back-to-school supplies begins Saturday and ends 10 days later, on Monday, Aug. 9. Consumers will be exempt from paying Florida’s 6 percent sales tax and local-option sales taxes on clothing costing up to $60 per item, school supplies costing up to $15 per item, and up to $1,000 in value […]

Florida environmentalists seek legal rights for water and wildlife through constitutional amendments

By: - July 20, 2021

A network of environmentalist underdogs who proved last year they could beat the system at the local level is taking its pro-nature campaign in Florida to voters statewide for 2022. The network, through a political action committee called, is petitioning to have five proposed constitutional amendments placed on the 2022 general ballot. Four of […]

FL and other states are set to rake in new gambling revenue; who will benefit?

By: - July 20, 2021

The American king and queen of gambling destinations are Las Vegas and Atlantic City, which rake in nearly $10 billion a year in gross gaming revenue, according to the American Gaming Association. But gambling wealth does not necessarily translate into prosperity for all. Gambling activities and public education funding are often linked — an ideal […]

Poker chips

Gambling gold rush: FL OKs two more constitutional amendment drives for 2022 ballot

By: - July 16, 2021

Florida’s race to cash in on gambling super-heated this week, with two more constitutional amendment campaigns now officially proposed for the 2022 general ballot — bankrolled by millions in out-of-state campaign donations. The proposed amendments, both aiming to establish new casinos, are titled “Authorizes a Limited Number of New Casinos” and “Limited Authorization of Casino […]