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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. Florida Channel says it agreed to mute name of inmate during Senate hearing

    Blog

    The Florida ChannelThe state-run public television channel agreed to remove the name of an inmate from the audio file of a Senate hearing in which a Department of Corrections whistle-blower alleged that potential criminal activity was ignored or cover-up at the agency, the executive director of The Florida Channel told the Herald/Times....

  2. Private prison services could face new scrutiny under oversight plan

    Blog

    Looming in the background in the legislative debate over prison reform is a question that could come into new focus: How productive was the move to privatize prisons and inmate health care and how much farther should it go?

    Florida legislative leaders last week tentatively agreed to the creation of a joint legislative oversight board with the power to investigate and monitor the performance of Florida’s troubled Department of Corrections. It’s goal is to secure the safety of inmates in the face of mounting reports of suspicious inmate deaths, excessive use of force and allegations of cover-ups at the agency that houses more than 101,000 prisoners, said sponsors of the measure, Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, and Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami....

  3. Private prison vendors could face new scrutiny in Florida

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Looming in the background in the legislative debate over prison reform is a question that could come into new focus: How productive was the move to privatize prisons and inmate health care and how much farther should it go?

    Florida legislative leaders last week tentatively agreed to the creation of a joint legislative oversight board with the power to investigate and monitor the performance of Florida's troubled Department of Corrections. Its goal is to secure the safety of inmates in the face of mounting reports of suspicious inmate deaths, excessive use of force and allegations of coverups at the agency that houses more than 101,000 prisoners, said sponsors of the measure, Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, and Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami. ...

  4. DOC says whiste-blower testimony was erased because it allegedly violated HIPAA

    Blog

    Doug GlissonThe Department of Corrections concluded that the name of an inmate should be erased from the video testimony of an whistle-blower at a Senate committee because of federal HIPAA privacy laws, an agency spokesman told the Herald/Times....

  5. DOC investigates whistle-blowers, has audio scrubbed of testimony under oath

    Blog


    Doug GlissonOne month after the Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones told the Senate Appropriations Committee that she had asked the governor's chief investigator to look into the claims the whistle-blowers that DOC Inspector General Jeffery Beasley impeded their investigations into suspicious inmate deaths,  three of the officers have not been interviewed by anyone looking into the matter, according to the attorney for the three....

  6. 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....

  7. 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....

  8. 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....

  9. 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....

  10. 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....

  11. 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?"...

  12. 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....

  13. 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....

  14. 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....

  15. 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....