Online chat Tuesday to lead up to town hall on legislative session

Tallahassee is 480 miles away, and for many in South Florida it might as well be on another continent.

To bring the issues home, WLRN and The Miami Herald will host a town hall meeting featuring legislative leaders during a free, live event next month in Fort Lauderdale. The event is sponsored by Global Integrity, a think-tank based in Washington, D.C., that promotes government accountability and transparency.

To kickstart the town hall project, WLRN and The Herald will host the first of three online chats at 4 p.m. Tuesday. It poses the question: Who runs Tallahassee?

The Herald’s Tallahassee bureau chief, Mary Ellen Klas, will answer questions about how Tallahassee works (or doesn’t work). What happens behind closed doors? How do budget provisions slip through without public debate?

Klas will be joined by Dan Krassner, executive director of Integrity Florida, an ethics advocacy group.

Join the conversation at wlrn.org or on Twitter @WLRN, #FL2013.

The next two online chats will focus on education and property insurance.

The online discussions will culminate with the live town hall at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.

Issues expected to be discussed include the reform of Citizens Property Insurance, implementing the Affordable Care Act, school achievement and election reform. Participants will include Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, and Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, chairman of the Ethics and Elections Committee.