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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. Capitol Buzz: Things to watch today in Tallahassee

    Blog

    Silence is golden on the legislative front on Friday as feuding legislators retreat to their respective corners and schedule no public, or official, meetings. With no end in sight over the festering health insurance policy battle, however, there are a couple of other issues to watch. They are:

    * The Florida Ethics Commission takes up the case of former state lawmaker and Congressman David Rivera who is being ordered by a judge to pay nearly $58,000 in fines and restitution for violating state ethics laws relating to his travel reimbursements and financial disclosures. The hearing takes place at 8:30 a.m. at the 1st District Court of Appeal building....

  2. Blaise Ingoglia and continued GOP infighting in the Fla House

    Blog

    Imagine electing one of the three most powerful people in the state based on a resume, a handshake and promise.

    There’s no audition for the job. You don’t get a chance to see how the prospective leader performs under stress, how he resolves conflicts, or even how he feels about many issues. But you do know his political pedigree and which lobbyists and fundraisers back him.

    That’s how Florida legislators designate their House speaker – six years before they take the official vote. It’s a precarious way to run a democracy and that’s part of the reason why Rep. Eric Eisnaugle and Rep. Blaise Ingoglia are scrambling for cover this week....

  3. Prison reform compromise reached in concept

    Blog

    A panel of legislators would be empowered to investigate and subpoena staff at the Department of Corrections in an effort to provide aggressive oversight and demand reform at the troubled agency, under a compromise prison reform plan being floated by top negotiators for the House and Senate.

    The tentative deal was hatched Thursday between Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, and Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, as they huddled together in the House chamber during the morning legislative session....

  4. Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch today in Tallahassee

    Blog

    With the official acknowledgement that the legislative session will be heading into overtime because of the stalemate over health care policy, the campaigning on the issue heats up Thursday. Meanwhile, the House meets in an all-day floor session while the Senate Appropriations Committee meets in a marathon hearing to take up 40 bills.

    Here are five things to watch:

    * Healthcare professionals from Jackson Health System, the Miami-based non-profit that serves the largest number of uninsured in the state will arrive in Tallahassee to make their case for Medicaid expansion. Press conference is at 12 p.m....

  5. Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch today in Tallahassee

    Blog

    Tensions remain high in Tallahassee as the verbal arrows fly over the fate of the state's handling of health insurance for the uninsured. Meanwhile, the House will meet in a full session Wednesday but much of the action will be in the Senate.

    Here are five things to watch:

    * Expect a testy exchange between the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and the Secretary for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, Liz Dudek, at her confirmation hearing at 1:30 p.m. Dudek's agency has been the state's lead negotiator with the federal government over the future of the federal health insurance program known as the Low Income Pool....

  6. Legislators want chief prison investigator fired

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A House committee took aim at the state's chief prison inspector Tuesday, first accusing Jeffery Beasley of failing to properly investigate suspicious inmate deaths, then approving a plan to make it easier for the Department of Corrections' secretary to fire him and his staff.

    "We have inmates that are being scalded to death in Miami-Dade County; inmates that are being pepper-sprayed and murdered, and nothing is being done about it,'' said Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, referring to a series of reports in the Miami Herald at a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. "Ask yourself, why is this happening?"...

  7. Legislators want prison inspector general dismissed

    Blog

    A House committee took aim at the state’s chief prison inspector Tuesday, first accusing Jeffery Beasley of failing to properly investigate suspicious inmate deaths, then approving a plan to make it easier for the Department of Correction’s secretary to fire him and his staff.

    "We have inmates that are being scalded to death in Miami Dade County; inmates that are being pepper-sprayed and murdered, and nothing is being done about it,’’ said Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, referring to a series of reports in the Miami Herald, at a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. "Ask yourself, why is this happening?"

    But DOC Secretary Julie Jones, who has been defending Beasley for months, continued to support her top investigator but acknowledged he should leave the job....

  8. House launches plan to increase prison oversight

    Blog

    The chief inspector general of the prison system and most of his top staff would be replaced, prison guards would wear body cameras, a hotline would log abuse claims and five regional oversight boards would conduct unannounced prison inspections under a massive rewrite of the House prison reform bill.

    The proposal will be offered Tuesday by House Criminal Justice Committee Chairman Carlos Trujillo as an amendment to HB 7131, in an attempt to bridge the gap between a comprehensive Senate bill and the weaker House version. Both bills are a response to allegations of abuse and corruption in Florida’s prison system....

  9. Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch today in Tallahassee

    Blog


    It's Children's Week in the Florida Capitol when kiddie hand prints stream down the rotunda and child advocates fill the halls. But it is also do-or-die week for the budget, as legislators must either make progress or accept the stalemate will send them into overtime. Among the things to watch Tuesday:

     

    * Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet vote on whether or not to approve the sale of 82 acres of state-owned land for a mega mall in Miami....

  10. Rewritten House bill would create greater prison oversight

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The chief inspector general of the prison system and most of his top staff would be replaced, prison guards would wear body cameras, a hotline would log abuse claims and five regional oversight boards would conduct unannounced prison inspections under a massive rewrite of the House prison reform bill.

    The proposal will be offered today by House Criminal Justice Committee Chairman Carlos Trujillo as an amendment to HB 7131, in an attempt to bridge the gap between a comprehensive Senate bill and the weaker House version. Both bills are a response to allegations of abuse and corruption in Florida's prison system....

  11. Capitol Buzz: Three things to watch today in Tallahassee

    Blog

    National eyes will be on Miami as Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio announces his plans to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016. But in Tallahassee, with three weeks left in the legislative session, the focus will be on the budget standoff....

  12. Q1 campaign cash is in: RPOF raises $5.5 m, Dems raise $2.7 m, Scott collects $1.5 m

    Blog

    Cash APIt’s been a lucrative first quarter for Florida’s political parties in the ramp up to the legislative session as health care, gaming and a quiet fight over limiting the liability of Big Tobacco earned the parties big checks....

  13. Students march on Capitol protesting KKK and 'racism' in prisons

    Blog

    RallyShouting "DOC, KKK, how many people have you killed today," a group of about 100 students marched on the Capitol late Thursday protesting racism in Florida and it's prison system. ...

  14. Lawmakers offer to expand gambling, but hurdles remain

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida legislators moved closer to ending the five-year stalemate over gambling this week as House and Senate committees approved legislation to end the requirement that greyhound tracks race dogs, and opened the door to the expansion of slot machines in Palm Beach and Lee counties.

    The House on Thursday moved the debate even farther when the GOP-dominate Regulated Industries Committee also voted to require Miami-Dade and Broward counties to determine by a local vote whether legislators should authorize destination resort casinos there. ...

  15. Florida's double-team player votes on same bill, two chambers

    Blog

    Travis HutsonReal baseball fans have heard about Joel Youngblood, the only player in history to get hits for two different teams in two different cities on the same day. The Florida Legislature's double-team player is Travis Hutson, re- elected to the Florida House in November and elected to the Florida Senate on Tuesday. ...