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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. Lee says he wants 'honest answers' from regulators before hearing fracking bill

    Blog

    The Senate's budget chief, Sen. Tom Lee, said Wednesday he is putting the bill to prevent local governments from imposing regulations on fracking for oil and gas on hold until the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, which he believes has been absent form the contentious discussion, is prepared to provide some "honest answers."

    SB 318 allows the state to regulate and authorize the pumping of large volumes of water, sand and chemicals into the ground using high pressure to recover oil and gas deposits but allows the companies to shield from the public what chemicals are used by labeling them as "trade secrets." ...

    In this March 29, 2013 photo, workers tend to a well head during a hydraulic fracturing operation at an Encana Oil & Gas Inc. gas well outside Rifle, Colorado.
  2. Federal court orders rehearing in 'docs v. Glocks' case, putting law in limbo again

    Blog

    GlockAs the Florida House debated two measures to expand Florida's gun laws on Wednesday, a federal appeals court vacated a ruling that upheld a controversial 2011 Florida law restricting doctors from asking questions and recording information about patients’ gun ownership....

  3. Rep. Artiles announces run for state Senate; likely against Sen. Bullard

    Blog

    Frank ArtillesThe Senate shake-up continues as Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, told the Herald/Times Wednesday that he has decided to run for Senate District 40, the redrawn Miami-based district that now holds incumbent Sens. Dwight Bullard, D-Cutler Bay, and Anitere Flores, R-Miami, which leans Democratic....

  4. Florida Senate president: Gun bills are 'in trouble'

    Blog

    Although the Florida House is expected to pass two controversial gun bills this afternoon, the odds are continuing to diminish that they'll become law this session.

    Speaking to reporters today, Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, said the proposals are "in trouble," as far as the Senate is concerned. One of the bills allows concealed weapons permit-holders to carry openly and another lets them carry concealed on public college and university campuses....

    Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, speaks to reporters with the Times/Herald Tallahassee bureau during a pre-session interview late last year.
  5. House continues to move forward with three gambling bills that involve compact

    Blog

    As members of the Seminole Tribe arrive in Tallahassee today to continue to put pressure on lawmakers to approve the compact they've signed with the governor the posturing between the Legislature and the governor's office continues. 

    House Regulatory Affairs Committee Chairman Jose Felix Diaz told the Herald/Times that he is drafting three bill relating to gaming, including one that tracks the governor's proposed compact with the Seminole Tribe -- to be released no sooner than next week. One bill would establish the parameters of the compact, another would apply to other parimutuel facilities and the third would be a constitutional amendment....

  6. Legislators weigh whether change will gut Florida public records law or end abuses

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — In a debate that could reshape how the state handles its Sunshine laws, Florida lawmakers are swiftly advancing a bill that proponents say will crack down on "economic terrorists" that are abusing state law by extorting money from governments through frivolous and misleading public records requests.

    But opponents say the solution is an overreaction that will "gut" the state's open records laws and permanently cloud its Sunshine Law tradition. They warn that the bill removes the only tool the public has to seek redress when government officials violate the state's public records laws and have offered a compromise that is being rejected....

    Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, shown here during the 2014 legislative session, is pushing a bill that would remove the requirement that attorneys fees be paid when the public takes officials to court for violating the state's Sunshine law. [SCOTT KEELER   |  TIMES]
  7. Senate committees approves Jones as prisons secretary

    Blog

    A company that provides prison healthcare services in five other states, announced Monday that it has signed a contract with the Florida Department of Corrections to fill in the gap in coverage after Corizon Healthcare terminated its agreement with the state last fall.

    Centurion of Florida, LLC, a joint venture between Centene Corporation and MHM Services, Inc., announced it has signed a formal agreement to begin in April to replace Corizon Healthcare as the medical provider in Florida's prisons beginning in the second quarter....

  8. Seminole Tribe offers up Hard Rock expansion to entice support for compact

    Blog

    Scott and Tribe 2Gov. Rick Scott and the Seminole Tribe of Florida are betting the Florida Legislature will approve a compact between the state and the tribe, and they’re betting big — $1.8 billion guitar-shaped hotel big....

  9. Prison agency signs short-term contract for inmate health care

    Blog

    A company that provides prison healthcare services in five other states, announced Monday that it has signed a contract with the Florida Department of Corrections to fill in the gap in coverage after Corizon Healthcare terminated its agreement with the state.

    Centurion of Florida, LLC is a joint venture between Centene Corporation and MHM Services, Inc., announced it has signed a formal agreement to begin in April to replace Corizon Healthcare as the medical provider in Florida's prisons beginning in the second quarter....

  10. Both House and Senate budgets omit new staff for troubled prison agency

    Blog

    Julie JonesDespite reports by three independent auditors that turnover and understaffing at Florida's prison system has created a security risk throughout the state, neither the House nor Senate budget proposals give the governor his request to hire 734 additional corrections officers....

  11. House advances bill to give $200 million carve for Everglades repairs

    Blog

    SW Big Birding Day AdventurAfter Florida lawmakers drew two lawsuits and bad publicity last year for diverting Amendment 1 money to salaries and expenses instead of devoting it exclusively to land and water conservation, a House committee approved a measure Thursday that not only attempts to repair their record but aims to repair decades of damage to the Everglades....

  12. Lawmakers want up to $200 million annually for 20 years to clean Everglades

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — After Florida lawmakers drew two lawsuits and bad publicity last year for diverting Amendment 1 money to salaries and expenses instead of devoting it exclusively to land and water conservation, a House committee approved a measure Thursday that not only attempts to repair their record, but aims to repair decades of damage to the Everglades.

    The Legacy Florida Act, proposed by incoming Senate President Joe Negron and Rep. Gayle Harrell, requires the state to set aside 25 percent of Amendment 1 funds — up to $200 million a year — to fund Everglades restoration projects over the next 20 years....

    A flock of shore birds take flight off of a small key just west of Picnic Key in the Ten Thousand Islands region of Everglades National Park. Lawmakers are considering a bill requiring the state to set aside 25 percetn of all Amendment 1 funds each year to fund Everglades restoration projects over the next 20 years. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
  13. Bob Graham asks court to allow him to argue in key gambling case

    Blog

    The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday granted a request by former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham to present arguments in the high profile case over the future of slot machines in Florida. Download Supreme Court Order...

  14. Florida House approves bill to authorize, regulate fracking

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — After rejecting efforts to require the oil and gas industry to disclose carcinogens and monitor the effects of fracking on pregnant women and drinking water, the Florida House on Wednesday passed a bill to open the door to the high-pressure drilling technique.

    The measure, HB 191, allows the state to regulate and authorize the pumping of large volumes of water, sand and chemicals into the ground using high pressure to recover oil and gas deposits. It passed by a 73-45 vote with seven Republicans joining Democrats to oppose the measure....

  15. Florida moves to legalize fantasy sports but status of some poker games gets murky

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Legislature put its stamp on a plan to legalize daily fantasy sports games Wednesday as two key committees approved a plan to impose regulations on the sport that mirrors the way the state regulates arcade games.

    But as lawmakers attempted to clarify one gaming issue, the Scott administration sent shock waves through the poker industry by reversing course on five popular card games. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation sent seven race tracks letters Tuesday declaring games such as three-card poker and Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em illegal, even though the agency had approved the games last year. ...