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Kristen M. Clark, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Kristen M. Clark

Kristen Clark covers the Florida Legislature and state government in the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee bureau. A Michigan State graduate, Kristen previously covered community news for the Palm Beach Post, Michigan state government for the Lansing State Journal and local and federal politics for the Forum in Fargo, N.D. She is married to Ryan S. Clark, a sports journalist who covers Florida State athletics for Warchant.com.

Email: kclark@miamiherald.com

Twitter: @ByKristenMClark

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  1. 'Schools of hope' compromise all-but finalized -- in secret

    Blog

    Lawmakers secretly struck a tentative compromise Thursday on one of the most consequential education reforms of the 2017 session — a $200 million program to help students who attend perpetually failing K-12 public schools in Florida.

    Specifics of the proposed deal were not released, as some of it was still being finalized, House and Senate pre-K-12 education budget chairmen said late Thursday. But the general description of the agreement was enough to earn initial support from some House Democrats, who had — until very recently — staunchly opposed the concept....

  2. House considers letting elected officials have secret meetings

    Blog

    The Florida Constitution and the state’s famed Sunshine Law give residents the right to know about and observe meetings held by the elected officials who represent them and make decisions on their behalf.

    But a bill going to the state House floor on Friday would effectively thwart significant aspects of that constitutional guarantee and potentially render it meaningless by allowing local elected officials — from city and county commissioners to school board members — to meet behind closed doors and discuss public matters in secret....

  3. Bill proposes to cloud Sunshine Law by letting elected officials meet privately

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Constitution and the state's famed Sunshine Law give residents the right to observe meetings held by their elected officials.

    But a bill going to the state House floor today would render significant aspects of that constitutional guarantee meaningless by allowing local elected officials — from city and county commissioners to school board members — to meet behind closed doors and discuss public matters in secret....

    If a House measure passes the Legislature this year that allows two members of a public board, are meetings like this 2015 St. Petersburg City Council workshop going to be rendered moot? [MONICA HERNDON | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. College, university emergency response plans will be out of Sunshine

    Blog

    The substance of plans Florida’s public college and universities have for responding to campus emergencies or threats will soon be kept secret, under a proposed law that is on its way to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk.

    The measure creates an exemption in Florida’s public records law that shields from disclosure such materials as photographs, presentations, sheltering arrangements, training manuals and equipment and supplies related to emergency response strategies....

  5. Senate's vetting of 'schools of hope' has been vastly limited compared to House

    Blog

    Nine minutes.

    That’s how long senators on the Appropriations Committee spent this week to hurriedly describe, amend and approve their version of one of the most high-profile, substantial and costly education policy changes the Legislature will enact this year affecting K-12 public schools.

    Senators did not even debate their pair of bills Tuesday that counter a House Republican-approved $200 million “schools of hope” incentive for specialized charter schools. The one person from the public who wanted to weigh in was cut off after 56 seconds....

    Stuart Republican and Senate President Joe Negron, left, and Senate Appropriations chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, talk with reporters during a press conference in early April.
  6. House Speaker said horse-trading yields 'bad policy.' Now, it's OK - sometimes.

    Blog

    When Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and House Speaker Richard Corcoran were asked two months ago if their legislative priorities in higher education and K-12 public schools, respectively, would end up becoming bargaining chips this session, Negron wouldn’t rule it out....

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes
  7. House says applicants for college, university presidencies should be a secret

    Blog

    Floridians would have no way to know everyone who applies to be the next president or other top administrator of a public college or university, under a proposed exemption in the state’s public records law that passed the House on Wednesday.

    Lawmakers voted 103-11 to approve the carve-out, which was sought after a former Republican lawmaker unsuccessfully applied to be Florida Gulf Coast University’s next president this year....

    Rep. Bob Rommel, R-Naples
  8. Gun bill affecting Florida courthouses passes final committee, goes to Senate floor

    Blog

    A proposed law that would let 1.7 million conceal-carry permit-holders temporarily store their guns with security while visiting Florida's courthouses is on its way to the Senate floor.

    SB 616 from Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube passed its final committee Tuesday afternoon. Members of the Rules Committee endorsed the relatively non-controversial measure -- with at least a couple Democrats opposed -- after offering no discussion or debate....

    Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube
  9. 'The House is prepared to walk away,' K-12 education budget chairman says

    Blog

    If House Republicans follow through this week on plans to vote on a budget for 2017-18 that simply mirrors this year's, they will have to scrap a slew of top education priorities they had sought this year and worked for months to craft -- including their $200 million "schools of hope" plan to provide incentives for specialized, high-performing charter schools to set up in predominantly low-income areas....

    Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, addresses a luncheon audience at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, Fla. on Jan. 26, 2017 with Miami Republican Rep. Michael Bileca, left.
  10. House's testing bill set to expand, setting up negotiations with Senate

    Blog

    Lawmakers in the Florida House plan to take a priority proposal aimed at reforming the standardized testing schedule in K-12 public schools and transform it into a broader education policy bill — a move intended to set up negotiations with the Senate with less than two weeks left in the 2017 session....

    Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah
  11. Replacing Artiles: Who's in and who's out (so far)

    Blog

    Miami politics went into overdrive Friday following state Sen. Frank Artiles' resignation, as elected officials and their political consultants scrambled to figure out who might run in a yet-to-be-scheduled special election to replace the freshman Miami Republican.

    Political insiders in Miami and Tallahassee had begun whispering about Artiles' potential successor even before he stepped down. District 40 in Southwest Miami-Dade County is a competitive, Democratic-leaning and overwhelmingly Hispanic seat....

  12. Politicians react to Frank Artiles' resignation over racist, profane remarks

    Blog

    Since embattled Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles resigned earlier today, Florida politicians have begun to react on social media.

    Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon, of Miami Gardens 

    Former Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami
  13. Controversy over Miami lawmaker's racial slur engulfs Florida Legislature

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Controversy raged in the Florida Capitol for a second day over Sen. Frank Artiles' racist and sexist tirade, distracting and slowing down the Legislature on Thursday, just two weeks before the end of the annual lawmaking session and building pressure on the Miami Republican to resign — or risk the potential career-ending condemnation of the Senate.

    The Senate abruptly canceled formal meetings Thursday afternoon as leaders scrambled to find a quick resolution to Artiles' political future. As a Senate lawyer began taking sworn statements about Artiles' Monday-night verbal assault on two black colleagues at a bar near the Capitol, the senator hired a defense attorney who argued Artiles' use of the n-word and other insults are constitutionally protected free speech....

    Republican state Sen. Frank Artiles denied none of the language when he apologized Wednesday on the Senate floor.
  14. Speaker Corcoran's message to parents wanting school recess: Be patient

    Blog

    Speaker Richard Corcoran told reporters Thursday that there’s plenty of time in the final two weeks of the 2017 session for the Florida House to vote on a bill that would require more time for recess in public elementary schools, but he would not commit to holding a floor vote as parents demand....

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes
  15. Artiles' remarks were "reprehensible," fellow Miami senator says

    Blog

    Senate President Pro Tempore Anitere Flores -- the No. 2 senator behind President Joe Negron, R-Stuart -- is among those appalled by the crude, racist and sexist words her fellow Miami Republican colleague, Sen. Frank Artiles, used earlier this week when speaking to two black lawmakers....

    Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami