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Proposed law would get DNA samples of all felony arrest suspects listen

04/07/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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This morning, a bill that would take the DNA of all people arrested for felonies in Florida won approval in committee, despite objections from the ACLU.

Currently, DNA is collected only of people convicted of felonies.

But Alachua County Republican Steve Oelrich, a retired sheriff, says his proposal would help protect Floridians from criminals who are repeat offenders.

And Oelrich said that his bill adds protections for the disclosures of DNA records and samples. Intentional disclo...

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Kendrick collects signatures to get on ballot listen

04/02/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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A day after Congressman Kendrick Meek announced that he has raised nearly $1.5 million in the early days of his campaign for the U.S. Senate, he announced today that he intends to qualify for the ballot by gathering signatures by petition.

Meek will have a year to collect the 112,000+ signatures he needs to qualify. Sometimes local candidates qualify for a ballot by gathering petitions, but it is nearly unprecedented for a candidate running statewide in Florida – home to approximately 1...

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Meek reports huge fundraising numbers listen

04/01/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Currently, there are three candidates running for the Democratic nomination: a state Sen. Kendrick Meek, former House Minority Leader Dan Gelber from Miami Beach, and North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns.

Meek is a former state legislator who was first elected to Congress in 2002, taking over the seat held for years by his mother, Carrie Meek. If Meek were to win, he would be the first black to hold statewide office in Florida.

Senior Strategist Steve Hildebrand says the new fundraising number...

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Senate Panel debates new clean energy regulations listen

03/31/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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In Tallahassee, a Senate panel today passed a bill sponsored by Republican Jim King that would require 20 percent of energy in Florida to come from renewable and "clean sources" by 2020; but its future looks extremely dubious.

Before the hearing, most of the controversy involved unhappiness among environmentalists who were upset because the bill had included nuclear as a clean energy source. But it later was almost derailed due to a penny gas tax.

Eric Draper with the Audubon of Florida...

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Castor hails stimulus funding for Tampa health clinic listen

03/30/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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Congresswoman Kathy Castor spoke in front of a community health clinic in North Tampa today, where she announced that new federal stimulus money will allow the center and its Hillsborough affiliates to hire 9 new employees, including two family practice doctors.

Two billion in grants from the stimulus bill was set aside for community health centers nationally. Approximately three-quarters of that is for construction, renovation and equipment, with the other $500 million to go directly to c...

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Gainesville voters keep gay rights protections listen

03/25/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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An initiative in Gainesville that would have repealed the city's decade-old gay protections ordinance has failed. Fifty-eight percent of citizens in the college town rejected the measure.

Gay rights opponents proposed eliminating the city's protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in January 2008 when city leaders added “gender identity” to the list of classes protected under the law in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations.

The measure als...

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Proposed growth management changes draw criticism listen

03/25/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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There are a number of proposals floating through the Florida Legislature this session that environmentalists say would gut laws designed to slow growth in the state.

Today in Tallahassee, the House Council on Economic Development and Community Affairs Policy voted unanimously in support of a bill that would revise growth management laws.

Tom Pelham, secretary for the Florida Department of Community Affairs, objected to a part of the bill that he said would reduce citizens attempts to ch...

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Progressives vow to 'dog the blue dogs' listen

03/24/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Last week, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh announced that he was part of a new "practicality caucus" of Senate moderate Democrats who will be questioning President Barack Obama on his budget proposals and other parts of his agenda.

But today, a coalition of progressive groups say they’ll fight against those moderates, or as they billed their conference call, a new campaign to “Dog the Blue Dogs.”

William McNeary is president of U.S. Action. The group has already targeted some House Moder...

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Obama canvass takes place in South Tampa listen

03/23/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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Following appearances on The Tonight Show and 60 Minutes in recent days, President Barack Obama will address the American public tomorrow night in prime time in his second scheduled news conference.

Obama’s mission on achieving some of his major goals took a hit last week – first with the outrage over bonuses given to executives at A.I.G., followed by the Congressional Budget Office announcing on Friday that the president’s budget could create record deficits in the years to come...

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House Bill 1121 pits Clerks against Courts listen

03/23/09 Lisa Marzilli
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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A bill currently making its way through the Florida Legislature has pit the court system against the state's 67 Clerks of Court. House Bill 1121 calls for a complete transfer of responsibilities from the clerks to the chief judges and court administrators within four years.

Legislators and judges say the bill would save the state millions and bring much needed budget accountability to the Clerks' offices. But the clerks see the bill as a money and power grab by an underfunded court syst...

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