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Lynn Hatter

Lynn Hatter is a  Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative.  When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.

Phone: (850) 487-3086

  • Conversations and training in schools and businesses around race and gender issues could become severely curtailed under a proposal advancing in the Florida House. House Bill 7 is part of several different efforts along the same lines that are advancing simultaneously in the legislature. The bill sponsor claims the effort isn’t racist—that it’s meant to encourage open dialogue, but Democrats and minority groups are not buying the justification.
  • Housing and rental prices continue to soar in Florida and wages are struggling to keep up. There are fewer and fewer options for affordable housing in the state. Groups like the Florida Housing Coalition are hoping lawmakers continue to put money designated for affordable housing into affordable housing. Yet legislative efforts around the issue are a mixed bag.
  • Local school boards have been under fire, most recently, over backlash to efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, many boards were facing criticism on policies regarding LGBTQ students, transgender bathrooms, and the classic textbook battles. Now, an effort to return those school board elections to partisan races is back—with a powerful sponsor.
  • Florida’s GOP-led legislature is trying to curb vaccine and mask mandates as Gov. Ron DeSantis escalates his fight with the federal government over the issues.
  • Democrats are urging the Florida Senate to reject Joseph Ladapo’s appointment as State Surgeon General. Ladapo was appointed to the job last month. He replaced Scott Rivkees, who resigned. But since coming on board—Ladapo's positions on issues like vaccines and mask mandates have riled Democrats. And a run-in with a Democratic state senator earned a rebuke from the Senate’s top Republican.
  • A plea for help by the National School Boards Association is having a ripple effect in politics—riling local school board members, already-angry parents, and causing the Florida Association of School Boards to distance itself from its national arm. In Leon County, angry parents blasted their local school board after the national association likened certain threats to domestic terrorism.
  • The federal government recently announced it would investigate threats against local school board members. The announcement comes amid growing acrimony between parental groups and public school leaders over issues like face masks and critical race theory. Yet, where some see a threat—others see an exercise of free speech.
  • There is no mistaking where Dr. Joseph Ladapo stands when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic. As one of his first official acts as Florida’s new Surgeon General Ladapo signed off on a Department of Health Rule change—that effectively nullified mask mandate lawsuits filed by several school districts.
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis says school districts that choose mask mandates could see their school board and superintendent’s salaries cut. a group of parents have filed suit over DeSantis’ executive order in Leon County Court, and a second mask lawsuit has been filed in South Florida. Democratic Senators have pledged to create a GoFundMe campaign to help repay any school leaders who lose their salaries by trying to put a student mask requirement in place.The ongoing surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations has resulted in an exponential increase in pediatric patients requiring treatment and hospitalization in Lee Health’s Golisano Children’s Hospital in Fort Myers. The start of a new school year, with mask wearing optional, is alarming local healthcare professionals, who shared their experiences treating children sick with COVID during a news conference, Tuesday.Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Lee Health both reported record-high number of COVID -19 patients admitted to their hospitals with 201 and 455 patients, respectively.Florida health officials and the administration of Governor Ron DeSantis said late Monday that the number of new COVID-19 infections reported publicly by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was wrong. Finger pointing over the data comes as the numbers of hospitalizations for patients with COVID-19 increases.The Celebrity Cruise Line plans to sail and comply with a state order barring businesses from requiring proof of vaccination status by placing several restrictions on passengers who refuse to provide proof of vaccination when asked.
  • Over the weekend, the nationwide COVID-19 surge surpassed 100,000 new confirmed daily infections. The AP reports, that milestone was last exceeded during the surge this past winter. The current resurgence is being driven by the more transmissible Delta variant and lower vaccination rates in Florida and other Southern states. Florida accounts for one in five new COVID-19 infections nationwide, which is more than any other state. The Tallahassee Democrat reports, the state broke another record for most reported new cases in a single day with 23,903 cases reported Friday, according to the CDC.The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported, Saturday, that there were 13,750 COVID-19 patients in Florida hospitals, marking another record high.Florida’s State Board of Education approved two emergency rules related to the ongoing pandemic, further riling up worried parents who are preparing to send their kids back to school classrooms this month. The first rule involves how students will be counted for attendance: kids who must quarantine due to coronavirus exposure or infection will be counted present if they have to learn at home. The second rule now in effect would allow students who are bullied over COVID to transfer to other schools using the state’s HOPE scholarship voucherStudents in K-12 schools throughout Southwest Florida return to the classroom Tuesday, Aug. 10, including in the Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota County school districts. In Lee County, officials announced over the weekend that there will be a mask mandate. Parents who want to opt their kids out of mask wearing can do so by filling out a form that the district said it will make available by Monday evening.Private Catholic school students within the Diocese of Venice in Southwest Florida return to the classroom Monday, Aug. 9, and many parents are expressing anger over a last-minute decision to impose a mandatory mask policyA federal judge, Sunday night, granted the Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line's request to temporarily block a Florida law that bars businesses and government entities from requiring proof of vaccination status.The AP reports, the judge granted a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by Norwegian, as the company seeks to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination status of passengers before they board a ship.Florida hospital leaders and Gov. Ron DeSantis are urging more people to take advantage of monoclonal antibodies, a COVID-19 treatment that is proving to be very effective at preventing serious illness.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently expanded its emergency use authorization for the therapy.