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]

Youth climate-change lawsuit: We have a right to grow to adulthood safely

By: - January 3, 2020

Eight Florida teenagers and children are suing the state of Florida for protection against climate change, saying they have a fundamental right to grow up in a healthy atmosphere. Motions in the case will be heard in court Wednesday in Tallahassee, more than a year and a half after the youths filed the lawsuit in […]

solar rooftop

Harnessing sun power: Florida and California taking different paths to solar

By: - January 2, 2020

On opposite coasts, Florida and California are both famous for sunshine. But their approaches to harnessing sunshine for power are as disparate as their coastlines. Starting Jan. 1, California building codes now require that new homes be built to run on solar power, affecting an estimated 100,000 new homes per year. The standards contained in […]

CDC: Amid vaping epidemic and marketing push, states underfund anti-tobacco programs

By: - December 30, 2019

State spending on programs to prevent tobacco use in Florida amounts to one-third of what the Centers for Disease Control recommends, while the tobacco industry spends eight times that much marketing its products here, according to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. In its “Broken Promises” analysis, the Cancer Action Network, a non-profit advocacy […]

A new kind of prosecutor helps overturn wrongful convictions

By: - December 20, 2019

Seventy-two people who have collectively served hundreds of years behind bars in Florida for crimes such as sexual assault and murder have something vitally important in common. They didn’t do it. They include 29 who languished on Death Row, sentenced to execution for murders they did not commit. Twenty of the 72 were exonerated by […]

Amid climate crisis, budget deal short on clean-energy funding

By: - December 18, 2019

Despite dire warnings that there is little time left to prevent catastrophic climate change, the U.S. House adopted a $1.4 trillion spending bill Tuesday that does little to curb the burning of fossil fuels causing the worst of the damage. However, it did sustain funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency despite White House efforts […]

Team GOP: FL’s Matt Gaetz concedes impeachment assured but insists: ‘We have won the argument’

By: - December 18, 2019

Update: Greg Steube, who represents a sprawling district along the southwest coast, said the grounds for impeachment are unsound. “Unlike presidents Nixon and Clinton, who were tried for actual crimes, this president is being impeached on vague phrases that appear nowhere in our Constitution,” Steube said. “The only abuse of power here is the Democratic-led […]

Policy analysis: FL ranks low on infant health, especially among minorities

By: - December 17, 2019

Florida ranks poorly among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in infant health, especially among African Americans and native Americans, and it underutilizes programs that could help more children, according to an Early Childhood Policy analysis by the Center for American Progress. For infants born at low birth weight – a key risk […]

Coalition says Florida Forever should be top funding priority

By: - December 16, 2019

Sensitive lands throughout Florida, including natural springs, prairies and the iconic Florida Everglades, deserve greater funding, say conservation leaders and business people who held seven public events over the weekend to underscore their ongoing efforts. Florida Forever Days of Action events were coordinated in Fort Myers, Gainesville, St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, Fort Walton, Gulf Breeze […]

Reducing reliance on foreign oil: State lawmakers promote electric vehicle options in FL

By: - December 13, 2019

Predicting a surge in the use of electric vehicles in the Sunshine State, Florida lawmakers are sponsoring various bills to promote transportation technologies and specifically electric vehicle charging stations. “Experts believe that by 2030 up to a third of new cars sold will be electric,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Pinellas County Republican. He announced […]

Astronaut to UN climate conference: I see the damage from space

By: - December 13, 2019

Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano and American actor Harrison Ford added their voices this week to calls for emergency international action to slow the alarming pace of climate degradation. “I have seen with my own eyes the terrible effects of climate change,” Parmitano told conferees at the United Nations climate conference in Madrid, speaking from the […]

‘Shock wave’ engulfs hemp hopes; FL senators ask, ‘What went wrong?’

By: - December 11, 2019

Tough federal rules limiting the intoxicating ingredient in hemp crops have sent a “shock wave” through the budding hemp industry among growers. That’s because they’re worried they can’t meet the low threshold to legally sell what they grow. That means hemp would be destroyed. “The USDA rules sent a shock wave through the industry,” said […]

Rescue mission for Florida’s dying corals — a national treasure vanishing before our eyes

By: - December 10, 2019

Scientists, conservationists and divers are launching an ambitious mission to rescue Florida’s dying coral reefs system. “It’s a national treasure that is vanishing before our eyes,” said Allison Delashmit, who represents the Sarasota-based Mote Marine Lab. She was part of a televised panel Monday in Key Largo, in the Florida Keys, to announce the launch […]