One of the key components to the health of a community is the transparency, accountability and responsiveness of its government.

We believe one of the ways to measure this is voter turnout. Increasing the number of people who participate in their democracy means making sure voters are informed. To do that, we will place news events in context to give voters understanding of what the actions of their public officials really mean.

It means looking at the public safety services local governments provide their citizens. It means making sure that when a public official says he or she will do something, someone follows through checks to see if he or she did it. It means looking at the way public dollars are spent and what they are spent on.

It also means making sure that there is follow-up in the public dialogue once headline-grabbing issues and initiatives fall out of the daily news cycle. For example, when a public discussion about incentives that governments offer economic development projects came to the forefront, we researched which companies received these incentives in the past, how much tax money they remove from public coffers and when they are set to expire.


University of West Florida Haas Center to study election process

The UWF Haas Center will survey voters this election season to track satisfaction with the availability of voting options in the county. Read full story


State education bill allows “open enrollment”

Provision allows students to transfer across county lines

A provision to allow students to transfer across county lines one of many measures that lawmakers OK'd on the last day of the legislative session. Read full story


Talks on education budget break down

Education budget talks broke down late Sunday after a day in which negotiations on the overall state spending plan seemed to slow on several fronts Read full story


Budget outline slashes Scott priorities

House and Senate leaders agreed Friday to a budget outline that severely curtailed both of Gov. Rick Scott’s priorities for the coming year, slashing Scott’s tax cut plan and wiping out a business-incentives package. Read full story


Civil citation proposal hits opposition

Civil citation diverts nonviolent young offenders, but changes moving through the legislative session have law enforcement wanting to save officer discretion. Read full story


House tax faces trim in Senate

Florida House's tax cut package include reducing a tax paid on commercial leases, permanently eliminating a tax on manufacturing equipment and holding several types of sales-tax "holidays" for consumers. Read full story


City hall perfect place for DIB

With all the good things going on in downtown Pensacola these days, City Hall leasing space to the Downtown Improvement Board would be another positive step in the right direction. Read full story


Senate approaches tax cuts one piece at a time

Credits for renewable energy production, lowering tax on aviation fuel among proposals in the Florida Senate's tax cut proposal. Read full story


Telehealth, transparency move forward in House

Bills aimed at increasing the use of "telehealth" to remotely provide medical services and at offering greater transparency in health-care costs are moving forward in Tallahassee. Read full story

Public safety

Red-light camera ban inches forward

State lawmakers are inching a bill forward that would limit cities use of red-light cameras, measures that have been used in Gulf Breeze and Milton. Read full story


House, Senate committees OK budget plans

Florida House and Senate committees have OK'd their versions of a state budget. Read full story


Tax cuts advance as democrats take a walk

A nearly $1 billion tax-cut package is ready to go to the House floor after getting backed Wednesday — without Democrats voting — by a key committee. Read full story