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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. FPL offers to zero $22 million nuke fee for a year but still wants $1.33 billion rate increase

    Blog

    With its future nuclear construction plans on hold, and plans to seek a major rate increase, Florida Power & Light has asked to take a break from charging customers for nuclear plant development next year.

    In documents filed with the Public Service Commission on June 17, FPL said it is “willing to defer consideration” of its request to charge customers $22 million in 2017 and instead will take a one-year break from collecting the “nuclear cost recovery" fee until 2018. If approved, the change could save customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours a month 34 cents on their monthly bill in 2017....

  2. Andrew Korge switches Florida Senate races in Miami-Dade

    Blog

    In a major shake-up for two of Miami-Dade’s closely watched state Senate races, Democrat Andrew Korge is once again switching which public office he wants voters to elect him to in November.

    Instead of challenging Republican state Sen. Anitere Flores in District 39, Korge will now run for the District 40 seat, he told the Herald/Times, confirming rumors that have swirled in South Florida political circles for the past couple weeks....

    Democrat Andrew Korge will now run in state Senate District 40, instead of District 39, creating a major shake-up in Miami-Dade’s closely watched state Senate races.
  3. Florida gets failing grade for gender and ethnic diversity among its judges

    Blog

    Florida is one of 26 states to receive a failing grade for its gender and racial diversity, according to the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, progressive legal organization. Florida ranked 29 out of 51 state court jurisdictions in the country because it's judiciaries are 45% less diverse than the state population.

    The findings echo some of the research done by the Herald/Times in 2014, which found that Gov. Rick Scott appointed only nine black attorneys to judgeships in his first four years. ...

  4. Orlando shootings: Where is the line between empathy, political exploitation?

    State Roundup

    ORLANDO — The mass shooting that pierced Orlando's summer calm and stunned the nation also became a high-profile, and risky, platform for the state's ambitious politicians.

    For days, Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi joined Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer as regular fixtures before the banks of television cameras in the media village that emerged in the police periphery outside of the Orlando nightclub. ...

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott greets President Barack Obama after he, Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., front, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., right, arrived on Air Force One in Orlando Thursday. Obama came to pay respects to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting and meet with families of victims of the attack.
[Associated Press]
  5. Obama to Orlando: 'Our hearts are broken, too'

    Nation

    ORLANDO — President Barack Obama came to a city in mourning Thursday afternoon to console the grieving families of the nation's deadliest mass shooting and tell them "our hearts are broken, too."

    Accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, the president met with survivors in wheelchairs and on hospital gurneys. He hugged the parents, siblings and partners of the victims, held hands with their friends, thanked the first responders, paramedics and hospital surgeons, and then, after a pilgrimage to a makeshift memorial to the victims, Obama turned to the cameras for yet another call to action against "weapons of war."...

    Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer presents President Barack Obama a #OrlandoUnited T-shirt Thursday at Orlando International Airport as Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio greet each other. Gov. Rick Scott, right, also met Obama at the airport when Air Force One arrived.
  6. Pressure mounts for narrowly-drawn plan to ban suspected terrorists from obtaining guns

    State Roundup

    ORLANDO — In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history this week, pressure is mounting from members of both parties to pass legislation that would make it harder for suspected terrorists to obtain firearms by passing the "no fly, no buy" legislation in Congress and the Florida Legislature.

    Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee who has been endorsed by the NRA, suggested Wednesday he might be ready to distance himself from the powerful gun lobby and announced on Twitter that he would be meeting with the NRA to discuss "not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns."...

    Presumed GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, shown at a rally Wednesday in Atlanta, plans to meet with NRA officials.
  7. Mayors say healing from shooting has led to 'more understanding' and transformation

    State Roundup

    ORLANDO — Orlando's mayors said Wednesday that the community response to the shooting has been transformational — not only pulling the community together with support and resources but also leading people to what they say is a better acceptance of the LGBT community.

    "It's hard to say we might find a silver lining in this thing but the way our community has come together and stood united and started thinking about different ways to approach each other,'' said Mayor Buddy Dyer at a press conference on Wednesday....

  8. Another piece to Rubio puzzle falls into place: Lopez-Cantera says he should run

    State Roundup

    The last piece in the puzzling picture of whether Marco Rubio will seek re-election to the U.S. Senate may have fallen into place Wednesday when his friend, and chosen successor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, said he thinks Rubio should run.

    Lopez-Cantera, the lieutenant governor from Miami, told Politico that he encouraged Rubio to run as they sat in Rubio's pickup truck in Orlando Sunday evening....

    U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio talks to the media in Tampa in March.
[OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  9. Barack Obama to attend vigil for Orlando victims Thursday

    Blog

    President Barack Obama will attend a vigil at the Amway Center in Orlando Thursday as part of his trip to pay respects to the victims of Sunday's nightclub shooting and to stand in solidarity with the community, Orlando officials told the Herald/Times.

    The White House has not provided details about the trip yet but the president is expected to also visit other venues before he leaves as scheduled at 5:30 p.m., one source said....

  10. Mayors say healing from shooting has led to 'more understanding' and transformation

    Blog

    Orlando's mayors said Wednesday that the community response to the shooting has been transformational — not only pulling the community together with support and resources but also leading people to what they say is a better acceptance of the LGBT community. 

    "It's hard to say we might find a silver lining in this thing but the way our community has come together and stood united and starteed thinking about different ways to approach each other,'' said Mayor Buddy Dyer at a press conference on Wednesday....

  11. Gov. Rick Scott on weapons: What's changed is we have radical Islam

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott made the rounds of the national television cameras Tuesday in the make-shift village of satellite trucks and pop-up tents that have been erected just blocks away from the site of the Orlando massacre.

    But as the debate continues over how to prevent another mass shooting -- and whether laws need to change to keep assault weapons out of the hands of the deranged -- Scott directed the blame at ''radical Islam" and deflected questions about tightening weapons laws....

  12. Florida inmates bust through brick wall in late-night riot

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Inmates jumped a corrections officer and took over two dorms for several hours during a late-night riot at Franklin Correctional Institution in North Florida on Thursday, the third disturbance at the prison since January.

    About 300 inmates stormed two housing dorms, using makeshift tools to drill through a concrete and brick wall, and smash bathroom fixtures, televisions, ceiling fans, toilets and sprinkler systems, destroying nearly everything in the dorms, officials with the Florida Department of Corrections and sources confirmed....

    Julie Jones, Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, answers questions in January from members of the Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee. She has acknowledged that prisons are understaffed. 
[SCOTT KEELER    |  TIMES]

  13. Riot at North Florida prison causes extensive damage, no injuries

    Blog

    Inmates drilled through a dorm wall to get into a canteen, tore out toilets and "destroyed everything that could be destroyed" during a late-night riot at Franklin Correctional Institution in North Florida Thursday that resulted in extensive damage but no injuries, sources have told the Herald/Times.

    The riot involved an estimated 300 inmates, resulted in extensive damage to the prison, left two dorms uninhabitable but resulted in no injuries, prison officials confirmed....

  14. Dems: Scott and Bondi should 'rescind' endorsements until Trump apologizes

    Blog

    Democratic activists on Thursday blasted Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi Thursday for failing to condemn Donald Trump for what they consider "racist" comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel and urged them to refrain from using taxpayer dollars to travel to Tampa to appear on stage with the presumptive Republican nominee on Saturday....

  15. Failed fuel hedging program cost Florida utility customers $6.6 billion

    Blog

    Under fire for overcharging Florida customers $6.6 billion in fuel costs since 2002, Florida's largest utilities agreed to reduce their fuel hedging program Thursday for the first time since the program began. 

    The decision by the Florida Public Service Commission allows the company to reduce the program that allows them to lock in fuel prices in advance by 25 percent but regulators rejected calls to eliminate the failed program....