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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. Bullard fined again for failing to file timely campaign reports

    Blog

    The Florida Elections Commission has fined Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, for the second time this year for failing to properly amend his campaign treasurer's reports with the Florida Division of Elections. 

    The commission fined Bullard $2,000 for two counts of filing incomplete reports in 2013 and 2014 after the Division of Elections sent him at least six letters asking him to update his reports. Bullard's reports claimed he raised no money for his re-election campaign and he filed the form without a signature. The commission concluded that his actions were a "willful violation" and unanimously agreed to assess the fines....

  2. Water regulators attack Audubon of Florida over tax talk

    Blog

    In a press release proclaiming that South Florida residents should "Get the Facts," the South Florida Water Management District moved from neutral regulator to attack dog Monday using a press release to criticize Audubon of Florida for disagreeing with the district's decision to rollback property taxes instead of paying for invasive species control in the Arthur Marshall National Wildlife Refuge....

  3. Bondi, Putnam, Atwater support some reform of felons voting; Scott disagrees

    Blog

    Restrictions on felons voting is one of the two ways Florida legally disenfranchises voters.

    One way, the write-in law, which allows a write-in candidate to close a primary to all voters, is intended to undercut the constitutional provision that allows all voters to vote in a primary election....

  4. Rubio: Negron's plan to buy sugar land for water storage should wait

    Blog

    U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said Saturday that he is not prepared to support a proposal unveiled this week by incoming Senate President Joe Negron to spend $2.4 billion in state and federal money to buy sugar land south of Lake Okeechobee to store water in an attempt to minimize the polluted discharges that have spawned toxic algae blooms in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries....

  5. Florida leads the nation in disenfranchising former felons

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — For the more than 1.5 million Floridians prohibited from voting because they were convicted of a felony, election season reinforces how the state's voting laws don't apply equally to all.

    "If I don't pay taxes, guess what? They're coming after me," says Pastor Greg James of Life Church International Center in Tallahassee. "But I can't vote, so it's taxation without representation."...

    Niki Johnson, 35, a St. Pete College student and ex offender in her St. Petersburg apartment, Friday, Aug. 5, next to the St. Pete College Associate of Arts diploma she earned in May. She is continuing at St. Pete College to work toward a BA in Public Policy Administration and in October she is applying to have her rights restored. In 2013 she started Project Felons, an outreach program for felons. (CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times)
  6. Florida's legacy: leading the nation in disenfranchising people from voting

    Blog

    For the more than 1.5 million Floridians prohibited from voting because they were convicted of a felony, election season reinforces how the state’s voting laws don’t apply equally to all.

    “If I don’t pay taxes, guess what? They’re coming after me,” says Pastor Greg James of Life Church International Center in Tallahassee. “But I can’t vote, so it’s taxation without representation.”...

  7. Seminole Tribe challenges toxin rule, prompting delay

    Blog

    Florida environmentalists are hoping that a legal challenge by the Seminole Tribe of Florida will provide the catalyst needed to force state regulators to redo a controversial rule that raises some of the legal toxin levels allowed to be dumped into Florida's drinking waters.

    The Seminole Tribe filed its lawsuit Monday with the state Division of Administrative Hearings, arguing that the new Human Health Toxics Criteria Rule, which was narrowly approved by the Environmental Regulation Commission July 26, could endanger the health of the tribe's members....

  8. Negron announces $2.4 billion 'priority' to buy key sugar land for Everglades clean-up

    Blog

    In what environmentalists are calling a significant breakthrough in Everglades restoration efforts, incoming Senate President Joe Negron leapfrogged over agricultural industry opposition and on Tuesday called for a massive $2.4 billion state and federal land-buying program to buy sugar land to store water south of Lake Okeechobee and repair the fragile Everglades ecosystem.

    The idea — to store and clean phosphorus-laden water before releasing it into Everglades National Park — has been demanded by environmentalists for the past 16 years, but efforts to buy the land needed for the project have been sidelined in the face of agriculture and sugar-industry opposition. Instead, lawmakers and water management district officials have pursued clean-up projects on the periphery of the Everglades Agricultural Area, not in the heart of the region, which could displace working farmland....

  9. GOP lawmaker calls for buying up sugar land to clean Everglades

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — In what environmentalists are calling a breakthrough in Everglades restoration efforts, incoming Senate President Joe Negron leapfrogged over agricultural industry opposition and on Tuesday called for $2.4 billion in state and federal spending to buy sugar land to store water south of Lake Okeechobee and repair the fragile Everglades ecosystem.

    For the past 16 years, environmentalists have pursued the idea to store and clean phosphorus-laden water before releasing it into Everglades National Park, but efforts to buy the land needed for the storage have been sidelined in the face of agriculture and sugar-industry opposition. ...

    State Sen. Joe Negron’s proposal was praised as a break?through, but will Big Sugar go along?
  10. Private prison company invests big in Negron family fortunes

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — In very organized fashion, the nation's second-largest private prison company has steered at least $288,000 to the political enterprises of Rebecca and Joe Negron, the Stuart Republicans hoping to become Florida's most powerful political couple.

    The Geo Group contributed $43,000 to the congressional campaign of Rebecca Negron on two separate days in 2015 and 2016, and gave another $50,000 on June 22 to the super PAC that is supporting her, Conservative Congress Now!, according to federal campaign finance reports....

    Sen. Joe Negron, R- Stuart, Senate President Elect. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  11. Private prison vendor makes big investment in Joe and Rebecca Negron

    Blog

    In very organized fashion, the nation's second largest private-prison company has steered at least $288,000 to the political enterprises of Rebecca and Joe Negron, the Stuart Republicans hoping to become Florida's most powerful political couple.

    The Geo Group contributed $43,000 to the congressional campaign of Rebecca Negron on two separate days in 2015 and 2016, and gave another $50,000 on June 22 to the super PAC that is supporting her, Conservative Congress Now!, according to federal campaign finance reports....

  12. What the governor isn't saying about economy: Florida GDP falling farther behind

    Blog

    A news release out today from Gov. Rick Scott touts Florida's as "beating the national GDP growth rate of 1.2 percent" and outpacing the nation "in economic growth." 

    Indeed the state's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 2.1 percent annualized in the first quarter of 2016, compared to the nation's which is at 1.9 percent.

    But what the governor is not saying: the reason the fast-growth numbers are even happening is because Florida has so far to go to catch up to the national average. ...

  13. Poll: Clinton has 48 percent more support among Hispanic voters than Trump

    Blog

    A new poll out from Florida Atlantic University shows that Hillary Clinton has doubled her support among Hispanic voters throughout the nation, now with a 48 percent lead over Donald Trump. The poll also shows that Hispanics continue to view Clinton as better than Trump for the economy overall (62.5 to 23 percent) and keeping them safe from terrorism (56.2 percent to 22.9 percent)....

  14. Corrections chief of staff leaves to go lobby

    Blog

    After 23 years in state government, Stacy Arias is trading in her state job to move into lobbying at the Tallahassee-based firm, Southern Strategy Group.

    Arias joins what the firm calls its "Jedis of Government" a group of "highly successful former public officials drawn from the top ranks of government."

    The growing lobbying firm has expanded by snatching up former government officials in five Florida cities -- often to handle vendors whose contracts they previously managed -- but it has turned the transactional value of relationship-building into a sales pitch....

  15. Last day to register to vote? Not for the 1.5 million citizens who are barred from voting

    Blog

    Monday was the last day to register to vote in Florida for the Aug. 30 primary, but for an estimated 1.5 million Florida citizens who are barred from voting because they served time in jail, it was also a day to send a message.

    "Register, new voters, because your voice matters,'' said Gregory James, pastor of the Life Church International Center in Tallahassee. "There are 1.5 million still without a voice."...