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Mary Ellen Klas, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Mary Ellen Klas

Mary Ellen Klas is capital bureau chief for the Miami Herald and co-bureau chief of the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and a graduate of the University of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn. Before she became bureau chief for the Herald in 2004, Mary Ellen was Tallahassee bureau chief for Florida Trend magazine and also served as a senior writer for the Palm Beach Post. She was bureau chief for the Palm Beach Post from 1990-94, after which she worked part time for 10 years while her daughters were young. She is married to John Kennedy, senior writer for the Palm Beach Post's Tallahassee bureau. They have two daughters.

Phone: 850-222-3095

Email: meklas@miamiherald.com

Twitter: @MaryEllenKlas

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  1. Are Florida and nation trashing another tradition: the political party

    Blog

    This summer may be remembered not only for a blue moon and the welcome end to a bitter presidential primary, it may also mark the time America’s century-old political parties went on life support.

    At the top of the ticket, both the Florida Democratic Party and the Republican Party of Florida have anointed presidential frontrunners who are seen by most voters more negatively than positively. Corporate donors, the bread and butter of the party diet, are circumventing the parties in large numbers by contributing directly to candidates’ committees....

  2. Judge orders agency to give prison whistleblower a hearing

    Blog

    A Tallahassee judge has ruled that the Florida Department of Corrections violated the due process rights of an agency whistleblower and ordered it to conduct a special hearing to review claims of retaliation against him after he accused the chief inspector general of cover-ups.

    Circuit Court Judge Charles Dodson gave the agency 30 days to hold a “compliance hearing” to allow investigator Doug Glisson to demonstrate how he believes his rights under the Police Officers Bill of Rights were violated....

  3. Judge orders prison agency to hear whistleblower's complaints

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A Tallahassee judge has ruled that the Florida Department of Corrections violated the due process rights of an agency whistleblower and ordered it to conduct a special hearing to review claims of retaliation against him after he accused the chief inspector general of cover-ups.

    Circuit Judge Charles Dodson gave the agency 30 days to hold a "compliance hearing" to allow investigator Doug Glisson to demonstrate how he believes his rights under the Police Officers Bill of Rights were violated....

  4. Regulators reject request from more time for public's lawyers in FPL rate case

    Blog

    The Florida Public Service Commission offered a glimpse into how bitter, and potentially personal, the high stakes debate over Florida Power & Light's request to raise its rates $1.3 billion may become later this summer.

    On Monday, the PSC voted unanimously to reject a request from the Office of Public Counsel, the lawyers who represent the public before regulators, who want more time to prepare their case....

  5. Kathleen Peters' fracking vote draws protests

    Blog

    Rep. Kathleen Peters, the former Republican mayor of the tiny seaside town of South Pasadena in Pinellas County, has found what it's like to be hit by the anti-fracking wave.

    Peters is seeking a third term is a Republican and faces Democrat Jennifer Webb, an administrator at the University of South Florida. She plans to attend the annual Hands Across the Sands event tomorrow in which state and local leaders declare their abiding opposition to oil drilling off Florida's coasts....

     Facing Old Tampa Bay, on the south side of the Gandy Bridge, about 30 people formed a human chain in this 2012 photo, holding hands for 15 minutes to demonstrate their objection to offshore drilling and to call for a renewable energy.
  6. FPL parent company rejects demand for a report on impact of sea level rise to nuclear plants

    Blog

    In a swift 17-minute meeting held in a Oklahoma City hotel Thursday, NextEra Energy successfully won shareholder approval of a $31 million compensation package for its five top executives, and defeated two proposals aimed at increasing transparency over how the company is handling sea level rise and political contributions.

    "The company you own had a very strong 2015,'' declared NextEra president and CEO Jim Robo as he called the quick meeting to order at the Embassy Suites hotel in downtown Oklahoma city....

  7. Florida Supreme Court rejects FPL attempt to have customers pay for risky investment

    Blog

    In a rebuke to Florida Power & Light, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that state regulators exceeded their authority when they allowed the company to charge customers for its speculative investment into an Oklahoma-based fracking company.

    In June of last year, the Public Service Commission rejected its staff recommendation and unanimously approved guidelines that gave FPL the right to charge its customers up to $750 million a year for speculative natural gas fracking activities without oversight from regulators for the next five years....

  8. FPL parent company asked to report on cost of sea level risk

    Business

    TALLAHASSEE — Shareholders at NextEra Energy's annual meeting in Oklahoma City on Thursday will be asked to vote on two issues that the parent company of Florida Power & Light and its board don't support: a mandate that the company annually report on the risks and costs of sea level rise and another that it disclose all campaign contributions made to candidates, campaigns and nonprofits.

    Coral Gables activist and NextEra shareholder Alan Farago successfully petitioned federal regulators to require the company to have shareholders vote on a motion to require the company to report annually on the risks and costs of sea level rise at its operations. And the comptroller of the State of New York, Thomas P. DiNapoli — on behalf of the New York pension fund — is asking the shareholders to vote on the campaign contributions disclosure....

  9. Report ranks Florida low on debt load; does that mean it's time to invest?

    Blog

    Florida taxpayers today are on the hook for less unpaid state debt than taxpayers in a majority of other states, according to a new report by the Pew Charitable Trust.

    The report on state debt and unfunded retirement costs, released Tuesday, measures the state’s total outstanding debt between 2003 and 2013, including its health care and pension obligations to retirees. According to data provided the Times/Herald, Florida ranks ninth best in the nation in total outstanding bills and debt as a share of personal income is 7.2 percent, compared to the national average of 14.8 percent....

  10. Good news, Floridians: State has low debt burden

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida taxpayers today are on the hook for less unpaid state debt than taxpayers in a majority of other states, according to a new report by the Pew Charitable Trust.

    The report on state debt and unfunded retirement costs, released Tuesday, measures the state's total outstanding debt between 2003 and 2013, including its health care and pension obligations to retirees. According to data provided to the Times/Herald, Florida ranks ninth best in the nation in total outstanding bills, and debt as a share of personal income is 7.2 percent, compared to the national average of 14.8 percent. ...

    Newsart graphic:
  11. Florida's growth of 'dark money' political groups follows national trend

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Political groups that have formed new "dark money" organizations in Florida to shield political spending from public view include nursing home operators, marijuana promoters, tea party affiliates, former U.S. Rep. Allen West and a host of secretive groups, according to a new analysis from MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization.

    The Florida data, obtained by the Times/Herald, reveals that the number of tax-exempt political players has more than doubled, to 155 from 67, since the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 ruling on Citizens United. Together, these politically potent nonprofits raised more than $13 million in Florida from unidentified sources in their last reported tax year....

  12. The rise of 'dark money' groups in Florida tracks national trend

    Blog

    Political groups that have formed new “dark money” organizations in Florida to shield political spending from public view include nursing home operators, marijuana promoters, Tea Party affiliates, former Congressman Allen West and a host of secretive groups, according to a new analysis from MapLight, a non-partisan research organization.

    The Florida data, obtained by the Herald/Times, reveals that the number of tax-exempt political players has more than doubled, to 155 from 67, since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling on Citizens United. Together, these politically potent nonprofits raised more than $13 million in Florida from unidentified sources in their last reported tax year....

  13. Politico publishes 'trade secret' details so Seminole Tribe calls off emergency hearing

    Blog

    After waiting three days and drawing a lawsuit from the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Politico of Florida on Friday published profit details from the transcript of Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen, prompting the Tribe to declare its request for an emergency hearing "moot." ...

  14. Group launches web site to help voters ask legislators: Do you back Trump?

    Blog

    The weaving and dodging of some elected officials over whether or not to endorse the presumptive Republican nominee has prompted the left-leaning advocacy group, Florida Strong, to unveil a new web site,  www.WhoBacksTrump.com.

    The site urges voters to find out where their Republican legislators are when it comes to Donald Trump and ists the GOP lawmakers in the state House and state Senate. If voters don't know who their legislators are, the site provides a handy link to the interactive finder on the House and Senate sites.  ...

  15. Seminole Tribe wants court to order reporter to return public record

    Blog

    The Seminole Tribe of Florida is seeking an emergency hearing in federal court Friday to force Politico, the online news site, to seal a copy of a deposition given by Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen until it can redact the annual gaming revenue that was released by the state as part of a public records request.

    The tribe sued the State of Florida last October for allegedly breaching its gambling compact and for failing to negotiate in good faith. Allen was deposed as part of the lawsuit last month and, the tribe argues, the state agreed not to release the transcripts of any depositions without prior review from the tribe....