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]

FL Democrats call on DeSantis to declare emergency over affordable housing

By: - December 17, 2021

Rising costs of rental housing and even price-gouging are driving Floridians from their homes in numbers that constitute a state of emergency, say 14 Democratic state lawmakers calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to take emergency action on housing. “In Central Florida, rents have increased by 20 percent since January, in South Florida, rents have risen […]

Dems, Chamber of Commerce and engineers celebrate historic investment in infrastructure and jobs

By: - December 17, 2021

The federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law approved by Congress promises to deliver more than $20 billion in federal funding to Florida over the next five years to upgrade roads, bridges, airports, seaports and water systems. The funds also would expand availability of high-speed internet and electric-vehicle charging stations. Florida Democrats are celebrating passage of the infrastructure […]

CDC advisory panel advises against use of J&J vaccines and boosters

By: - December 16, 2021

Update: CDC Director Rochelle Walensky late Thursday adopted the recommendation of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to express “clinical preference” for Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines and boosters over Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine and booster. The J&J vaccine, despite a rare but serious side effect, will remain available for people who would […]

Forever chemicals: FL Senate panel proposes to tackle PFAS contamination

By: - December 14, 2021

Florida’s Senate Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources plans to address PFAS, a class of man-made compounds referred to as “forever chemicals” that may pose public health or ecological risks, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The proposed committee bill would create a 16-member task force by next fall to determine how to identify […]

Gambling wars: Pro-casino group pauses lawsuit alleging interference by Seminole Tribe

By: - December 13, 2021

A pro-casino group backed by Las Vegas Sands has dropped its emergency effort to shut down an “obstruction” campaign it alleges is underway by groups backed by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The fight is over voter signatures for a Constitutional amendment drive. In Florida’s gambling wars, it appears that all new gambling initiatives are […]

Trial judge keeps feud between competing gambling efforts alive

By: - December 10, 2021

In an emergency hearing Friday regarding a campaign to amend Florida’s Constitution, advocates asked Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey to decide whether attempted sabotage of their efforts constitutes unlawful interference or just hard-ball competition. She declined to do so, denying an emergency motion to dismiss allegations that entities working for the Seminole Tribe of […]

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 […]