Ashley Lopez

Ashley Lopez is a reporter for WGCU News. A native of Miami, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree. 

Previously, Lopez was a reporter for Miami's NPR member station, 

WLRN-Miami Herald News. Before that, she was a reporter at The Florida Independent. She also interned for Talking Points Memo in New York City and WUNC in Durham, North Carolina. She also freelances as a reporter/blogger for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.

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Environmental and political groups want the Florida Legislature to tackle oil and gas laws this year. The League of Women Voters of Collier County held a luncheon on Monday aimed at getting their members educated on the future of oil exploration in Florida.

The country’s new surgeon general stopped in Fort Myers Friday.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has been on the job for about two months and he’s been touring the country listening to local health officials talk about issues facing their communities.

There’s a new study out of the University of Miami that’s being put into practice at yoga studios in Naples.

The study quantifies the health benefits of yoga for aging populations—particularly the way some poses can help the elderly avoid harmful falls.

Citrus producers might have another tool for their fight against citrus greening.

Newspaper editors and open records advocates are taking Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet to court over the alleged ousting of former Florida Department of Law Enforcement Chief Gerald Bailey.

Gov. Rick Scott toured the state this week touting his newly proposed budget. His plan includes tax cuts, which are partially offset by cuts to more than a thousand state employee positions.

Gov. Rick Scott stopped by Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers Friday. He announced new proposals aimed at making college more affordable.

Term Limits

Jan 27, 2015

It’s been more than two decades since voters approved a ballot measure instituting term limits in the Florida Legislature. Since then, state lawmakers have had a hard cap of eight years in either the Florida House or Florida Senate.

The campaign to bring term limits to Florida promised more competitive and diverse elections. Proponents also said term limits would foster a citizen Legislature that was more representative government in the Sunshine State.

However, a new book from the University Press of Florida entitled, “The Failure of Term Limits in Florida,” makes the case that term limits haven’t actually accomplished everything proponents promised.

In fact, author and Florida International University Professor Kathryn DePalo writes that term limits have had a lot of negative consequences for elections and policymaking in state.

Florida is gaining wetlands thanks to a mitigation bank project now in the works. Ground crews are currently restoring about 1,200 acres of land in the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

Federal officials were in Sarasota County this week helping residents get ready for new flood maps. It’s part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA nationwide initiative to update the country’s flood maps.

Some homeowners in Sarasota County might have to purchase flood insurance for the first time or pay to elevate their property sometime next year. County officials are updating flood maps, which could shift more than 42,000 properties into high risk zones.

Water quality and K-12 testing are among the biggest concerns for Lee County groups and residents as the county’s delegation met on Tuesday to discuss the area’s needs ahead of the Legislation session.

State officials approved two land conservation deals for Southwest Florida Tuesday.

The Florida Cabinet voted in favor of a $9.7 million dollar land deal in Collier County.

The 620 acres of land in the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed connects a lot of already protected conservation land. That’s why Eric Draper with Audubon Florida said the purchase was a great decision.

Almost immediately after opening its doors the morning after Florida’s gay marriage ban was lifted, the Lee County clerk’s office began handing out its first same sex marriage licenses Tuesday.

Advocates for a project that could connect the entire state via bike trails hope to get a chunk of new dedicated funding from Amendment One.

Despite a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, gay marriage may not be a done deal in Florida. That’s because county officials in charge of issuing marriage licenses are dealing with conflicting legal opinions.

The state’s utilities regulator signed-off on a plan that allows FPL to charge its customers for a $190 million investment into a fracking project in Oklahoma. FPL’s representatives said this will save Floridians money in the long-run, but others have warned this decision sets a bad precedent.

Environmentalists are concerned Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts to save taxpayer money might hinder land conversation efforts in the state.

A federal appeals court has denied the state’s motion to keep Florida’s gay marriage ban in place. This means gay marriages might start taking place in the Sunshine State as soon as early January.

A panel of judges at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s motion Wednesday asking a court to keep the state’s gay marriage ban in place.

Gov. Rick Scott is touring the state following his re-election last month.  He made a stop in Naples Tuesday night to talk about his priorities for his second term in office.

State Sens. Darren Soto and Dwight Bullard filed legislation Tuesday banning fracking in Florida in an effort to protect the state’s water supply and economy. 

There are several weeks left in this year and Florida has already tied its all-time record of panthers killed by cars. Nineteen endangered Florida panthers have died after being struck by vehicles this year.

A new book published by the University Press of Florida entitled, “Going Ape: Florida’s Battles over Evolution in the Classroom” looks at Florida’s place in a long-fought cultural battle over whether schools should be teaching Evolution as fact—and whether Creationism should also have a place in the state’s textbooks.

Brandon Haught is the author of “Going Ape.” Haught is a former Marine Corps combat correspondent and current public information officer with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. He’s also a founding board member and volunteer communications director for Florida Citizens for Science—a group that describes its work as “rooting out attempts to undermine our state's future, such as the blatant promotion of anti-scientific ideas, Intelligent Design/Creationism.”

With campaigning already underway for this this fall’s mid-term elections, we take a look back to the tumultuous 2000 presidential election between President George W. Bush and Al Gore.  Florida’s 27 electoral votes lay at the center of that contest amid narrow vote margins, conflicting statutes, political disputes and uncounted ballots due to the ‘hanging chad’ issue. 

Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Wells shares insights from his experience during that debacle in his book titled, “Inside Bush v. Gore.” 

A gay rights organization ranking shows Cape Coral has the least inclusive local policies in Florida for the LGBT community.