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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. Challengers ask court to take over Florida's redistricting

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Equating the Legislature's redistricting failure to a strikeout, the challengers to the state's congressional map on Thursday called on the Florida Supreme Court to redraw the districts it invalidated and reject the Legislature's call for more time.

    "Faced with the Legislature's disregard of its mandate, this Court should promptly adopt a remedial plan," wrote the lawyers for the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and a coalition of Democrat-leaning voters in a motion filed Thursday. "... the unique circumstances of the crisis created by the Legislature — hitting foul balls in its first two attempts and now striking out without a swing when given a third opportunity to draw constitutional districts — warrants the remedy requested."...

  2. Plaintiffs say Florida Supreme Court should redraw congressional districts

    Blog

    Equating the Legislature's redistricting failure to a strike out, the coalition of voting groups that successfully challenged the state's congressional redistricting map on Thursday called on the Florida Supreme Court to draw the map and reject the Legislature's call for more time. 

    "Faced with the Legislature’s disregard of its mandate, this Court should promptly adopt a remedial plan,'' wrote the lawyers for the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and a coalition of Democrat-leaning voters in a motion filed Thursday.  Download Filed_08-27-2015_Coalition_Response...

  3. Galvano offers up new plan to shake up congressional map

    Blog

    Galvano planBy Mary Ellen Klas and Jeremy Wallace...

  4. Trial judge asks Florida Supreme Court for guidance in resolving redistricting dispute

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court will now decide the best way to resolve the impasse over Florida's redistricting maps after a trial judge said Tuesday he "has no authority" to resolve the dispute between the House and Senate.

    Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis held a six-minute hearing in his Tallahassee courtroom and told lawyers that the Supreme Court "didn't give me a lot of discretion" when it ordered him to review a map passed by lawmakers in a special session....

  5. House dashes hopes for another congressional redistricting session

    Blog

    Senate Redistricting Chairman Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, held a ray of hope that the comments of House attorney George Meros in court today were a signal that the House was prepared to return in special session to resolve the redistricting impasse....

  6. Judge says he needs guidance on redistricting standoff

    Blog

    The Florida Supreme Court will now decide the best way to resolve the impasse over Florida's redistricting maps, after a trial judge said Tuesday he "has no authority" to resolve the dispute between the House and Senate.

    Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis held a six-minute hearing in his Tallahassee courtroom and told lawyers that the Supreme Court "didn't give me a lot of discretion" when it ordered him to review a map passed by lawmakers in special session....

  7. Is redistricting divide more about building foundation for October?

    Blog

    Maybe it's all about October?

    The ideological divide that has led to stalemate over the congressional redistricting map, Republican leaders in the House have argued that the Senate map lacks "consistency."

    The proposed Senate plan no longer divides Hillsborough and Sarasota counties, but it creates a new division by shifting the Orlando-based district, now held by U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, into Lake County....

  8. Senate asks court to deny House move to let trial court mediate map dispute

    Blog

    Maybe it's all about October?

    In the ideological divide that has led to stalemate over the congressional redistricting map, Republican leaders in the House have argued that the Senate map lacks "consistency."

    The proposed Senate plan no longer divides Hillsborough and Sarasota counties, but it creates a new division by shifting the Orlando-based district, now held by U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, into Lake County....

  9. Florida House asks court to mediate redistricting; Senate objects

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The intraparty feuding that led to a legislative stalemate on congressional redistricting continued Monday as Republican House leaders split from the Senate and asked the Florida Supreme Court to allow a trial court judge to mediate their dispute.

    "We are in an unprecedented and unique time, and every action we take is charting new territory," acknowledged House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, in a letter to House members after House lawyers filed a motion asking the Florida Supreme Court to relinquish jurisdiction of the redistricting case for 60 days....

  10. House asks court for more time, wants Lewis to mediate map dispute with Senate

    Blog

    The intra-party feuding that led to a legislative stalemate on congressional redistricting continued Monday as Republican House leaders split from the Senate and asked the Florida Supreme Court to allow a trial court judge to mediate their dispute.

    "We are in an unprecedented and unique time, and every action we take is charting new territory,'' acknowledged House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, in a letter to House members after House lawyers filed a motion asking the Florida Supreme Court to relinquish jurisdiction of the redistricting case for 60 days....

  11. Judge sets redistricting conference for Tuesday but questions loom

    Blog

    Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis on Monday ordered a scheduling conference for Tuesday after 3 p.m. to receive updates on the status of the congressional redistricting plan that lawmakers failed to complete last week. But the question of the day is: what options does he have?...

  12. Move to let court draw maps could reshape Florida politics — again

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — As Florida legislators dissolved their two-week redistricting session Friday without agreement on a congressional map, they acknowledged they were ready to repeat something they had done only once before in state history — turning over the complicated task of drawing maps to the courts.

    The year was 1992, when Bill Clinton and Ross Perot dominated national politics, Florida voters imposed term limits on politicians and Hurricane Andrew devastated Miami-Dade County....

    Circuit Judge Terry Lewis must rule on a map by Oct. 17.
  13. Court's redistricting has been catalyst in reshaping Florida's political landscape

    Blog

    Crisafulli end of redistrictingAs Florida legislators dissolved their two-week redistricting session Friday without agreement on a congressional map, they acknowledged they were ready to repeat something they had done only once before in state history — turning over the complicated task of drawing maps to the courts....

  14. Crisafulli sends final word: no malice to Senate but your map is 'flawed'

    Blog

    House Speaker Steve Crisafulli sent the following message to House members, expressing disappointment for the collapse of the session and reinforcing his opposition to the Senate map:

    Members: 

    Thank you, once again, for coming to Tallahassee to give your best effort to produce a compliant remedial Congressional map. I am deeply disappointed that we could not reach an agreement with the Florida Senate....

  15. Crisafulli: No malice to Senate but their map is 'flawed'

    Blog

    House Speaker Steve Crisafulli sent the following message to House members, expressing disappointment for the collapse of the session and reinforcing his opposition to the Senate map:

    Members:

    Thank you, once again, for coming to Tallahassee to give your best effort to produce a compliant remedial Congressional map. I am deeply disappointed that we could not reach an agreement with the Florida Senate.

    Though we failed to pass a map agreed to by both Chambers, I am confident that the bipartisan map we passed out of the House – a map that was produced with input from both the House and the Senate (HB 1B) - was a map that gave the Legislature the best chance to complete the remedial process successfully.

    It is without malice toward the Florida Senate that I say I believe their map was flawed.  As Chair Oliva stated perfectly, the Legislature is not the judge of intent. Unfortunately, when the Legislature uses inconsistent methodology or principles that afford benefits to some regions to the detriment of others, we open ourselves up to the exact type of criticism and adverse decisions that we have received in the past from the Florida Supreme Court.

    Plainly stated, the final version of HB 1B that we returned to the Senate was the best map before the Legislature on both Tier 1 and Tier 2 standards. The Senate never questioned the constitutional validity of the House Bill.

    This Special Session was not about pushing limits but about how well we could fulfill our duty, and thus preserve the Legislature’s constitutional authority over redistricting. I am extremely proud of the manner by which the House conducted itself during Special Session, and I again wish to commend Chair Oliva for his outstanding service.

    Over the next few days, I will be consulting with our House Counsel to determine our best course of action. Your votes in committee and on the House floor will be at the forefront of my mind as I make these decisions.

    I apologize for the uncertainty that we are faced with and commit to providing you with more information in a timely manner.

    Once again, thank you for working so hard to fulfill your responsibilities. The last chapter has not yet been written....