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. Miami grower sues over agency's proposed 'lottery' for marijuana

    Blog

    The Florida Department of Health says it wanted to use a lottery to select the companies that will dispense low-THC cannabis in Florida to avoid lawsuits, but on Monday the agency in charge of writing the medical marijuana rules drew its first lawsuit -- because of the lottery.

    One of the state's largest farming operations filed an administrative complaint against the Department of Health Monday, alleging that it is violating the law authoritizing the selection of five companies to dispense low-THC cannabis by requiring they be selected through a lottery system....

  2. Report: Rick Scott's fast-track plan to convert freeways to tollways, bypasses public, local input

    Blog

    Scott and PrasadThe Florida Center for Investigative Reporting shines a light on Gov. Rick Scott's little-discussed move to a driver-tax, exposing the administration's elaborate plan to install tolls on most major highways in Florida. The plans, conceived initially by the libertarian think tank the Reason Foundation, are now underway and have been executed quickly and with little local input, the report by Eric Barton shows. Here's an excerpt:...

  3. Girls dies after regulators rack up 140 abuse claims at Lake County home for disabled

    Blog

    Paige Lunsford tombstoneFor five days and five nights, Paige Elizabeth Lunsford — a severely disabled teen — retched “like a waterfall,” could not eat and thrashed about in an “educational center” staffed with teachers, nurses and a doctor....

  4. Legislators demand answers in lax enforcement of greyhound abuse

    Blog

    Saying that's Florida's delayed prosecution of greyhound abuse laws is unacceptable, three Florida lawmakers have ordered state regulators to provide them detailed answers to questions involving animal cruelty and abuse allegations.  

    In a letter to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Division of Parimutuel Wagering, state Reps. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, and John Wood, R-Winter Haven, cited an investigation by the Miami Herald and ordered the agency to respond to a lengthy list of questions. They gave the agency ten days to respond....

  5. Lawsuit alleges prison system ignored inmates abuse for years

    Blog

    The Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews, and Wexford Health Systems ignored the widespread torture and abuse that mentally ill inmates have suffered for years at Dade Correctional Institution, a civil lawsuit alleges.

    Disability Rights Florida, a nonprofit mental health advocacy group, is seeking an injunction to force immediate reforms and investigations into some of the more egregious complaints that it says Crews and others have ignored for more than three years....

  6. The Money Race: Crist leaves primary with big checks from educators, governors

    Blog

    Cash APDemocrat Charlie Crist left the primary gate boosted by a $1.5 million cash haul in late August as the National Education Association and the Democratic Governor’s Association each gave his “Charlie Crist for Florida” committee hefty checks for $500,000....

  7. State's lax regulations allow greyhound operators to delay punishment

    Blog

    GreyhoundsWhen Saul Mays applied for a license to own and train greyhounds in 2002, his rap sheet signaled he was not a model citizen....

  8. Lax enforcement stretches out investigations in greyhound racing

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — When Saul Mays applied for a license to own and train greyhounds in 2002, his rap sheet signaled he was not a model citizen.

    Convicted of kidnapping his estranged wife at gunpoint in 1988, after taking her into the woods and sexually assaulting her, he had served three years in prison. The staff at the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering recommended Mays' application to race dogs be denied, but Mays appealed and was granted a license....

    There are only 21 dog tracks left in the United States. Thirteen of those are in Florida, including Derby Lane in St. Petersburg, above, which opened on Jan. 3, 1925.
  9. Judge rejects governor's efforts to fight subpoena for records

    Blog

    A Tallahassee judge this week ordered Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi to stop fighting attempts to allow Google to turn over basic information about the private email accounts used by the governor and his staff to conduct state business.

    Circuit Court Judge Charles A. Francis last month ordered the company to disclose when the email accounts held by the governor and his staff were established and by whom. The action is part of a pending public records lawsuit filed against Scott and Bondi by Tallahassee attorney Steven R. Andrews....

  10. Judge orders Scott to stop fighting request for email records

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A Tallahassee judge this week ordered Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi to stop fighting attempts to allow Google to turn over basic information about the private email accounts used by the governor and his staff to conduct state business.

    Circuit Court Judge Charles A. Francis ordered the company last month to disclose when the email accounts held by the governor and his staff were established and by whom. The action is part of a public records lawsuit filed against Scott and Bondi by Tallahassee lawyer Steven R. Andrews....

    Gov. Rick Scott has acknowledged using a private email account.
  11. State approves Citizens rate drop for inland policies, rate hike for coastal accounts

    Blog

    State regulators have approved lower rates for most homeowners covered by Citizens Property Insurance, the first widespread rate cut by the state-run insurer in years.

    Citizens, which insures those who cannot find coverage in the open market, is the largest property insurer in Florida with more than 933,000 policies as of July 31.

    The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation on Friday said the average Citizens' homeowners rate will fall by 3.7 percent, slightly better than the 3.4 percent decrease sought by the insurer in its June filing. Rates will be cut 4.6 percent, on average, for mobile home owners with multi-peril coverage. Nearly all of the rate reduction is for inland properties and those with multi-peril coverages while nearly all coastal accounts for wind-only coverage will get hit with another rate increase.  ...

  12. Fl Supreme Court sends gay marriage case to appeals court

    Blog

    Florida's Supreme Court on Friday said it would not hear a lesbian divorce case in Tampa until after a state appeals court makes a ruling.

    "We decline at this time to accept jurisdiction of the appeal," said the Supreme Court, in response to a recent request from the Florida Second District Court of Appeal,

    Last month, the Second DCA in Central Florida asked the Florida Supreme Court to hear the case of Mariama Monique Changamire Shaw and Keiba Lynn Shaw, a lesbian couple married in Massachusetts in 2010, who are now seeking a divorce in Tampa....

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  15. More Citizens policyholders could be dropped into private market

    Blog

    From the News Service of Florida:

    The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation announced Thursday that more than 425,000 customers of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. could be shifted in November to 16 private carriers.

    But don't count on all of the policies landing in the private market.

    The targeted accounts, nearly double the number of policies previously approved this year to be taken out by private firms, are comprised of 425,357 personal-residential and 2,227 commercial-residential polices. However, past takeout efforts have shown that private companies cherry-pick the least-risky policies and that companies often go after many of the same policies....