Michael Van Sickler, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Michael Van Sickler

Michael has been with the Tampa Bay Times since 2003. A Cleveland, Ohio, native, he graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., and got his master's degree at the University of Florida. He has worked at the Ledger and the Palm Beach Post. For the Times, he has covered everything from mortgage fraud, growth and development in Tampa Bay, and St. Petersburg City Hall. He now covers state politics and government as part of the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau.

Phone: (850) 224-7263.

Email: mvansickler@tampabay.com

Twitter: @MikeVanSickler

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  1. AG Pam Bondi joins court fights in faraway places as part of Republican Attorneys General Association

    Blog

    Earlier this year, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi opposed a ban on certain kinds of semiautomatic weapons.

    In Connecticut.

    The ban was that state's response to the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. Bondi and 21 other attorneys general, most of them Republican, filed a brief that argued the ban was unconstitutional.

    Bondi's office didn't explain the brief. No news conferences. No press release. Nor did she draw attention to signing briefs challenging other gun measures, including a similar ban on semiautomatic weapons in New York, a federal ban on "straw" purchases of guns and a federal law restricting handgun purchases for those between 18 and 21....

    Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Sam Olens, Georgia Attorney General, walk out on stage during the 2012 Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa.
  2. Pam Bondi, with Republican attorney general coalition, involves herself in faraway court fights

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Earlier this year, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi opposed a ban on certain kinds of semiautomatic weapons.

    In Connecticut.

    The ban was that state's response to the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. Bondi and 21 other attorneys general, most of them Republican, filed a brief that argued the ban was unconstitutional....

    Pam Bondi and Sam Olens, Georgia attorney general, walk out on stage during the 2012 Republican National Convention.
  3. FanGate does full Ginsburg on late night comedy shows

    Blog

    Florida, you did it again.

    Just when we thought you had maxed out on becoming a national punchline, you do something like Wednesday’s gubernatorial debate at Broward College in Davie.

    Now known as FanGate, the legendary moment in Florida political history did the full Ginsburg on Thursday night’s late night comedy shows.

    First up in its 11 p.m. time slot, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart played the escapade for some startling “can they say that on pay cable?” low brow laughs....

  4. Times/Bay News 9/Graham Center Poll: Pam Bondi is cruising toward re-election in attorney general race

    Blog

    From her unwavering defense of Florida's ban on gay marriage to her outspoken opposition to the Affordable Care Act, Attorney General Pam Bondi is known for setting off critics.

    Throw in last year's postponement of an execution so she could host a fundraiser, and an election upset of Bondi seemed possible to some.

    But a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll shows the 48-year-old Republican incumbent cruising to re-election with a solid lead over Democrat George Sheldon and Libertarian nominee Bill Wohlsifer. The telephone survey of likely voters shows 41 percent supporting Bondi, 31 percent supporting Sheldon, 6 percent supporting Wohlsifer and 16 percent undecided....

  5. Times poll: Attorney General Pam Bondi leads George Sheldon, 41 percent to 31 percent

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — From her unwavering defense of Florida's ban on gay marriage to her outspoken opposition to the Affordable Care Act, Attorney General Pam Bondi is known for setting off critics.

    Throw in last year's postponement of an execution so she could host a fundraiser, and an election upset of Bondi seemed possible to some.

    But a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll shows the 48-year-old Republican incumbent cruising to re-election with a solid lead over Democrat George Sheldon and Libertarian nominee Bill Wohlsifer. The telephone survey of likely voters shows 41 percent supporting Bondi, 31 percent supporting Sheldon, 6 percent supporting Wohlsifer and 16 percent undecided....

    In the Florida attorney general race, a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll shows Republican incumbent Pam Bondi cruising to re-election with a solid lead over Democrat George Sheldon and Libertarian nominee Bill Wohlsifer (not shown).
  6. Attorney general

    Kyc

    Attorney general

    It's a race that pits Pam Bondi, the state's most vocal opponent of Obamacare, against George Sheldon, who last year left the federal agency responsible for implementing the Affordable Care Act. Bondi is the latest in a 12-year string of Republican attorneys general in Florida, while Sheldon served as deputy attorney general for the last Democratic attorney general. Bondi continues the Republican tradition of a tough-on-crime approach to the job. Sheldon wants to return the office to more aggressively policing white-collar crime and corporate fraud. With a large financial advantage, Bondi is considered the favorite. But Libertarian Bill Wohlsifer could steal votes from Bondi. By Michael Van Sickler, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau...

    Bondi
  7. The Money Race: Scott and Crist spending neck-and-neck

    Blog

    As polls show Charlie Crist building a slight lead in the gubernatorial race, his campaign is burning through more cash than ever.

    During the latest round of campaign reporting, for the period between Sept. 27 and Oct. 3, Crist’s campaign spent nearly twice as much as it raised, $3.4 million to $1.9 million....

  8. Did Panuccio keep his promise about CONNECT?

    Blog

    Jesse Panuccio sure did a bang-up job of keeping his job.

    In March, the 33-year-old executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity needed to convince state senators to confirm him so he could keep the $144,000 job that Gov. Rick Scott appointed him to.

    Unfortunately for Panuccio, his confirmation hearings came at the same time that one of the projects he oversaw, the online unemployement filing system CONNECT, was in disarray. Claimants couldn't get their money and they flooded the offices of senators with complaints....

    Jesse Panuccio
  9. As anniversary of Florida unemployment site approaches, benefits still lag

    Gubernatorial

    TALLAHASSEE — Despite promises from Gov. Rick Scott's administration that the state's new online unemployment system is fixed, unpaid claims keep mounting and Florida now ranks last in the nation at providing timely relief for jobless workers.

    The lag is squeezing financially strapped workers like Gregory Benn, who lost his Sears maintenance job in late August. The 61-year-old Jacksonville resident and his wife say the online system is to blame for not paying him the unemployment compensation he is due....

    MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 26:  Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks during an event at the Latin Builders Association as they announced their endorsement of the Governor for re-election on September 26, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Governor Scott is in a race against former Florida Governor Charlie Crist in the November 4, 2014 governors race.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) 515240377
  10. ACLU asks judge to end Florida's gay marriage ban

    Gubernatorial

    TALLAHASSEE — Wasting little time after the U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to take up a gay marriage case, the ACLU of Florida asked a federal judge Tuesday to end Florida's ban on same-sex marriage.

    The five-page motion asks U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Tallahassee to lift the stay he put in place Aug. 21 after ruling Florida's gay marriage ban was unconstitutional. ...

    Rob MacPherson, right, and his husband, Steven Stolen, hug during a news conference at the ACLU in Indianapolis on Monday, as the U.S. Supreme Court turned away appeals from Indiana and four other states seeking to prohibit same-sex marriages, paving the way for an immediate expansion of gay and lesbian unions.
  11. ACLU to Rick Scott: Do what Scott Walker just did on gay marriage ban

    Blog

    A day after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear any cases on same-sex marriage from lower courts, the ACLU of Florida asked U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Tallahassee to lift a stay he put in place Aug. 21, when he ruled Florida’s gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.

    “In light of yesterday’s pathbreaking development, (we) respectfully submit that the Court should lift the stay immediately,” states the five-page motion filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday afternoon. If granted, it would in effect legalize gay marriage in Florida....

  12. Bondi airs second TV spot and, again, it's all about law and order

    Blog

    In her first TV spot, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi took to the streets in touting her record on cracking down on pill mills.

    In her second TV spot, which debuted Monday, Bondi, a former Hillsborough County state prosecutor, returns to the courtroom to promote her record in combatting human trafficking....

  13. Hill + Knowlton hires Weatherford spokesman Ryan Duffy

    Blog

    Ryan Duffy, who served as the communications director for Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford the last two years, is joining the Tallahassee public relations firm Hill + Knowlton Strategies.

    Known for his calm, self-effacing manner, Duffy, 30, will serve as vice president, the company announced Monday. Duffy has also served a press secretary for the Florida House Leadership Team under then-House Speaker Dean Cannon. He also served as spokesman for Bill McCollum's gubernatorial campaign in 2010. From 2007 to 2010 he served as speechwriter for U.S. Senators Mel Martinez and George LeMieux. He started his career as speechwriter to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush....

  14. The Money Race: Crist gains ground, but gap with Scott remains

    Blog

    Heading into the final month of Florida’s gubernatorial race, Charlie Crist gained a wee bit of ground in campaign contributions on Gov. Rick Scott with the help of his political action committee.

    During the latest round of campaign finance reporting, which covers Sept. 13 to Sept. 19, “Charlie Crist for Governor”, raised $2.3 million. That's more than the $84,461 that Scott’s committee, “Let’s Get to Work”, managed to raise during the same period....

  15. Florida LGBT leaders push for marital equality four years after gay adoption became legal

    Politics

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's ban on adoption by same-sex couples stood for 33 years before the 3rd District Court of Appeal overturned it as unconstitutional four years ago.

    But rather than celebrate that anniversary, gay rights groups Monday called for the same recognition of same-sex marriage in dual news conferences in Tallahassee and Miami. Despite a recent spate of court rulings overturning the ban on same-sex marriage, Attorney General Pam Bondi, with Gov. Rick Scott's support, has filed appeals upholding the ban....