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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 prison chief makes top brass reapply for jobs

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — In a move that has the potential to either shake up the Department of Corrections or validate the status quo, prisons chief Julie Jones has asked for the 12 top officials in charge of prisons and probation to reapply for their jobs by Tuesday as part of a major realignment designed to centralize power at the agency.

    The officials, each of them high-ranking officers who have spent most of their career rising through the ranks of the department, may seek their old job or apply for any of the openings in one of the three existing regions or seek the open posts at a newly added fourth region. ...

  2. Miami Lakes legislator rises swiftly, holds fast to 'free market' ideals

    State Roundup

    Rep. Jose Oliva kept an icy cool as he verbally sparred with his Senate counterpart Bill Galvano over the redistricting map that would force the Legislature's special session to end in stalemate.

    As the meeting adjourned Oliva, a Miami Lakes Republican, suggested they might do better to take the meeting to his house, where they could light up a cigar.

    "As long as they are Oliva cigars," mused Galvano, R-Bradenton, a reference to the Nicaraguan tobacco cultivated and sold by Oliva's family. ...

    At right, Rep. Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, huddles on the floor of the Florida House with Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, before the House left early April 28, 2015, for the 2015 session.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  3. Miami Rep. Jose Oliva rose rapidly touting 'free market' ideals

    Blog

    Rep. Jose Oliva kept an icy cool as he verbally sparred with Senate counterpart Bill Galvanno over the redistricting map that would force the Legislature's special session to end in stalemate.

    As the meeting adjourned Oliva, a Miami Lakes Republican, suggested they might do better to take the meeting to his house, where they could light up a cigar.

    The 42-year-old CEO of Miami Lakes-basedOliva Cigar has made ample use of his namesake product as he climbed the political ladder in Tallahassee. He makes his cigars available for fundraisers — like Galvano’s annual charity golf tournament. He uses them to open doors, as he did when he campaigned. And he uses them to build relationships, as he does when he invites legislators to his rented house just blocks from the Capitol in Tallahassee to eat dinner, mingle on the porch, and choose a cigar kept fresh in the humidor....

    Rep. Jose Oliva of Miami Lakes, right, and Rep. Richard Corcoran of Land O’Lakes, huddle on the floor of the Florida House before the end of the regular session but after it was clear that no budget agreement was going to be reached. They are the future leadership of House Republicans.
  4. Coalition files suit to invalidate redistricting law in Florida

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A bipartisan group of voters added to the list of redistricting lawsuits this week, filing a case in federal court challenging the Fair Districts amendments of the Florida Constitution as unconstitutional.

    The group, which includes some Alachua-based Republicans who call themselves the "Conservative Coalition for Free Speech and Association," is suing Secretary of State Ken Detzner in an attempt to invalidate the anti-gerrymandering amendments approved by voters in 2010. ...

    State Sen. Bill Galvano hopes the court gives lawmakers another try at drawing the districts.
  5. Galvano: Counting on Supreme Court to give lawmakers time to reconvene for redistricting

    Blog

    Bill GalvanoAs the afternoon fades on this Friday in August, the Florida Supreme Court has not yet issued a ruling as to how it wants to proceed in the redistricting impasse over the congressional maps....

  6. Operatives file federal lawsuit seeking to invalidate Fair Districts

    Blog

    A group of Alachua-based Republicans calling themselves the "Conservative Coalition for Free Speech and Association" filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday challenging the Fair Districts amendments of the Florida Constitution as unconstitutional.

    The group is suing Secretary of State Ken Detzner in an attempt to invalidate the anti-gerrymandering amendments approved by voters in 2010. Several members of the group have fought the release of their private emails in pending redistricting lawsuits, claiming it violates their First Amendment right to free speech and association....

  7. 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."...

  8. 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...

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

    Blog

    Galvano planBy Mary Ellen Klas and Jeremy Wallace...

  10. 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....

  11. 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....

  12. 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....

  13. 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....

  14. 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....

  15. 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....