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]

DeSantis calls for more election ‘guardrails’; Biden says it is voting rights that need protection

By: - January 12, 2022

With mid-term elections in sight, Gov. Ron DeSantis added his take on voting rights and election integrity to his State of the State address this week, intensifying a state and national fight over making it harder or easier for Americans to vote. While continuing to imply that elections are vulnerable to fraud, DeSantis failed to […]

FL House redistricting process draws fire from voting-rights groups, Dems

By: - January 10, 2022

Republicans in the Florida House of Representatives who control the process of drawing new congressional and legislative district boundaries are drawing fire from a voting-rights coalition and from top-ranking Democrats. The two groups of critics say they have been given too little information to evaluate draft maps presented by committee staff last fall. The 2022 […]

FL Democrats cite housing, voting rights, fair tax policy among 2022 priorities

By: - January 10, 2022

Protecting affordable housing, voting rights and Florida elders while fighting corporate “handouts” funded by taxpayers are among the top priorities of Florida Democrats as they head into another legislative session as the underdog minority party in both chambers. In a 2022 legislative online kick-off rally Monday, Democratic legislators pledged to support people-centered policies in the […]

Gov. procures doses of Regeneron therapy, which CDC warns is weak against omicron

By: - January 7, 2022

Thousands of doses of Regeneron brand monoclonal antibody therapy are headed to Florida for treating early cases of COVID-19, even though national health authorities don’t recommend it for fighting infections with the strain dominant in Florida: omicron. The monoclonal antibody therapy, or mAb, that does work well against early infections with omicron COVID is sotrovimab, […]

DeSantis and his surgeon general focus on COVID treatments, mum on vaccines

By: - January 7, 2022

In public remarks this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis and his surgeon general Joseph Ladapo have ignored COVID vaccinations, instead aggressively embracing post-infection treatments, including some not authorized by national health authorities. In press conferences, DeSantis and Ladapo promoted the use of monoclonal antibody therapies, newly approved antiviral pills, and experimental drugs in clinical trials for […]

DeSantis admits, up to 1 million COVID test kits DID expire in FL

By: - January 6, 2022

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Kevin Guthrie, director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, acknowledged Thursday that 800,000 to a million COVID tests had expired in a state stockpile, with the omicron variant spreading and residents facing long lines for testing. The acknowledgement came during a press conference Thursday, when reporters were asking the governor questions […]

House

Superspreader? Following DeSantis’ lead, FL Legislature to convene without COVID restrictions

By: - January 5, 2022

When Florida lawmakers and thousands of state employees, lobbyists and visitors convene next week for a two-month legislative session, more than bills, budgets and gossip will be passed. COVID-19 and its newest, highly transmissible omicron variant may prove to be a key influencer in the state Capitol complex, which will be open to all with […]

DeSantis: ‘Our schools will be open’ despite surge in COVID infections

By: - January 3, 2022

With nearly 3 million Florida public school students returning to in-person classes this week amid a record surge in COVID infections in the state, there will be no tightening of COVID protocols for students, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday at a press conference in Fort Lauderdale. “Our schools will be open in the state of […]

Essential workers in FL hope for relief in new year

By: - January 1, 2022

While Americans grew more divided over politics in 2021, frontline essential workers toiled on to hold the nation together. Lauded as heroes but often not treated as such, nurses, first responders, teachers, farm workers, commercial drivers, and other essential workers shouldered the load to keep goods, food, health care, and education available through both the […]

COMMENTARY

Year that began with partisan violence spawned culture wars and litigation in FL

By: - December 31, 2021

The hostile tone that branded 2021 set in early, when a mob in support of former President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to disrupt Congress’ transfer of power to incoming President Joe Biden. It cost Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, rioter Ashli Babbitt, and three other people their lives. Nearly 140 […]

Sports-betting campaign bets to win as deadline to gather signatures approaches

By: - December 29, 2021

The campaign to let voters decide next year whether to legalize sports betting statewide is on track, its proponents insist, notwithstanding appearances to the contrary. Florida’s Division of Elections reports the campaign to amend the Florida Constitution in 2022 has collected fewer than one-third of the 891,589 validated petition signatures it will need within the […]

Feds to send FL $86.9 million for school meals amid supply-chain challenges

By: - December 17, 2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is sending Florida $86.9 million to schools for food to help them cope with supply-chain challenges associated with the COVID pandemic. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Friday that is Florida’s share of $1.5 billion being provided to states to buy food for school meals, including $200 million to be used […]