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. Scott listens but won't commit to climate change appeal by scientists

    Blog

    Scott and climate changeGov. Rick Scott listened to five of Florida’s top climate scientists Tuesday as they urged him to show leadership and develop policies to offset the impact of human-induced climate change to the state....

  2. Gov. Rick Scott meets with scientists but remains silent on climate change

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott listened to five of Florida's top climate scientists Tuesday as they urged him to show leadership and develop policies to offset the impact of human-induced climate change to the state.

    But the governor whose campaign strategy has been to say nothing on the issue except that he is "not a scientist," stayed true to his plan. He would not comment, question or commit to whether or not he believes the warnings by the experts deserve his attention....

    Eckerd College marine science professor David Hastings, left, speaks to Gov. Scott, right, and his aide, Noah Valenstein, about why Florida should act to offset the impact of climate change.
  3. South Florida newest casino wants to close for a year

    Blog

    Six months after opening, Dania Casino and Jai-Alai announced late Friday that it will close for a year starting in October, putting an estimated 300 people out of work.

    Company officials say closing the brand new casino is necessary to expedite the company’s $50 million in renovations needed to help Broward’s newest casino compete in the rigorous South Florida gaming market. But the move also comes after the company’s revenue performance was the worst in the region, and its owners were forced to write a check to the state for nearly $400,000 after it under-reported its taxes for three months because of an alleged software glitch....

  4. Voters groups ask judge to redraw congressional maps, reject legislative attempt

    Blog

     RedistrictOldNewArguing that a newly drawn District 5 will establish a benchmark district "further entrenching the Republican Party in its position of power" the voters groups that brought the lawsuit against the Legislature are asking a judge to draw new congressional districts that would take effect this elections cycle in documents filed today....

  5. Crist blasts Scott on lottery plan to select marijuana producers

    State Roundup

    The growing tensions between prospective producers of medical marijuana and state regulators have now become political fodder as former Gov. Charlie Crist on Friday blasted Gov. Rick Scott's administration for a plan to use a lottery to select the companies that will develop legalized pot in Florida.

    Speaking to reporters in Miami on Friday, Crist said he believes the system should be based on merit, similar to one endorsed by nurseries, investors and families of people suffering from the ailments the low-THC marijuana will be used to treat....

  6. Supervisors tell court earliest date for Florida redistricting election is March

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's congressional districts won't change by November and new elections can't be held until next year, the state's top elections officials told a circuit court judge Friday.

    Responding to a court order to have a proposal in place by noon Friday, the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, in conjunction with the Florida secretary of state, concluded that the earliest date they could conduct a special election in the 25 counties affected by the new congressional districts would be in March 17, with a general election to follow May 26....

  7. Crist blasts Scott adminstration for relying on lottery to pick pot producers

    Blog

    The growing tensions between prospective producers of medical marijuana and state regulators have now become political fodder as former Gov. Charlie Crist on Friday blasted the Gov. Rick Scott for a plan to use a lottery to select the companies that will develop legalized pot in Florida.

    Speaking to reporters in Miami on Friday, Crist said he believes the system should be based on a merit-selection system, similar to one endorsed by nurseries, investors and families of people suffering from the ailments the low-THC marijuana will be used to treat....

  8. Supervisors tell court earliest date for redistricting election is March

    Blog

    Florida's congressional districts won't change by November and new elections can't be held until next year, the state's top elections officials told a circuit court judge on Friday.

    Responding to a court order to have a proposal in place by noon today, the Florida Association of Supervisors of Elections, in conjunction with the Florida Secretary of State, concluded that the earliest date they could conduct a special election in the 25 counties affected by the new congressional districts would be in March 17, with a general election to follow on May 26.  Download Response.Sec.of.State...

  9. Supervisors tell court earliest date for special redistricting election is March

    Blog

    Florida's congressional districts won't change by November and new elections can't be held until next year, the state's top elections officials told a circuit court judge on Friday.

    Responding to a court order to have a proposal in place by noon today, the Florida Associations of Supervisors of Elections, in conjunction with the Florida Secretary of State, concluded that the earliest date they could conduct a special election for the new congressional districts would be in March 17, with a general election to follow on May 26....

  10. Jeb's opposition to marijuana provokes ACLU criticism

    Blog

    Former Gov. Jeb Bush came out in opposition to Amendment 2 today and his suggestion that people should vote against the amendment to legalize marijuana provoked some harsh criticism from the ACLU of Florida.  

    Bush joined the Florida Chamber of Commerce and other business groups to denounce the proposed amendment on the November ballot that will allow patients with a list of debilitating conditions to get a doctor's permission to treat the condition with marijuana. ...

  11. Elections officials on track to meet Friday deadline for congressional plan

    Blog

    Florida’s top elections official said Thursday he is prepared to meet the noon deadline Friday to present a proposed special election schedule for the new congressional districts passed by the Florida Legislature this week. 

    Secretary of State Ken Detzner told supervisors of elections on a conference call Thursday that he was preparing “to give the court our definition of what it would take to run an election with regard the new maps.”...

  12. Agency sticks to lottery for medical pot, rejects arguments in new rule

    Blog

    The Florida Department of Health has rejected requests to find an alternative to a lottery system for selecting the companies that will grow and dispense low-THC marijuana for medical purposes in its proposed final rule released today. The agency also announced a public hearing to hear more feedback on Sept. 5.

     

    Patients, growers, investors and marijuana entrepreneurs all appealed to the department during two public hearings this summer asking the agency to reconsider choosing the five dispensaries by lottery. The rule is being developed to implement a law passed by the Legislature this spring, authorizing one nursery in five regions of the state to be licensed to cultivate and distribute the low-THC marijuana intended to help people with severe epilepsy, muscle spasms and cancer. ...

  13. Miami court rules workers comp law is unconstitutional, cheats workers

    Blog

    Miami judge declared Florida’s long-controversial workers’ compensation law unconstitutional Wednesday, saying successive state legislatures had so diminished medical care and wage-loss benefits for injured workers that the statute now violates employees’ “fundamental” rights.

    In a case involving a Miami-Dade County government office worker, Circuit Judge Jorge E. Cueto said the nearly 80-year-old law forces injured workers into a legal system that is so flawed it does not provide adequate medical care or dollars to replace lost wages. Under Florida law, workers have no choice but to seek benefits under the workers’ comp system. Except under rare circumstances, they cannot sue their employers....

  14. Judge allows probe to continue into governor's use of private email for state business

    Blog

    Project SunburstInternet giants Google and Yahoo must disclose who established several email accounts held by Gov. Rick Scott and his current and former employees as part of a lawsuit pending in Tallahassee that claims the governor routinely circumvented the state’s open records law, a court ruled Wednesday.
     
    Tallahassee Circuit Court Judge Charles A. Francis ordered the companies to respond to a limited request by lawyer Steven R. Andrews to explain who created the Gmail and Yahoo accounts and when they were established.
     
    The governor’s lawyers did not deny the existence of the accounts but called the exercise a “fishing expedition” because the email accounts used by senior staff and the governor are private and not used for public business. 
     
    Andrews argued that there is no way to verify whether the email accounts did not contain government business unless the court knows who created them and the owners of the accounts are put under oath. Andrews is suing is Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi over whether they hid records related to a dispute between him and the governor's office over property the governor wanted to buy to create a legacy park.

    Andrews has produced evidence that Scott and his staff have used the Google and Yahoo accounts to conduct some government business but, when asked to produce the documents, the governor’s office replied that "no responsive records were located." Florida law requires emails used for state business to be retained and not destroyed....