Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn for 2.10.17 — New Fla. Retail Fed. prez; Bill Nelson primaried? Jeff Atwater’s win; Rick Kearney antes up

in Peter/Top Headlines by

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.

FIRST IN SUNBURN – SCOTT SHALLEY TO BE NAMED NEW PRESIDENT/CEO OF FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION – Look for the Florida Retail Federation to announce the hire of Scott Shalley to replace Randy Miller, who is retiring. Miller will continue to consult with FRF on issues as needed going forward. Shalley becomes only the 6th person to serve as both president and CEO in the 80 year history of the FRF. Shalley comes to the FRF from the Florida Association of Counties, where he served as Executive Director since 2015.

BILL NELSON COULD FACE PRIMARY CHALLENGE IN STATE SEN. RANDOLPH BRACY via Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union – Nelson, 74, is the only Democrat in Florida elected to statewide office and is expected to run for another six-year term in 2018 … Bracy, 39, was elected to the state Senate last year after serving four years in the Florida House. He currently serves as chairman of the Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee, hand-picked by Republican Senate President Joe Negron to carry out his aggressive platform of juvenile justice reforms. Bracy is a consultant by trade, a former teacher and has been active in politics for years, mostly in his hometown of Orlando.

NELSON BLASTS TOM PRICE’S MEDICARE RECORD via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Price‘s views on Medicare vouchers and eligibility would be bad for senior citizens … Nelson vowed to vote against affirming his nomination to be Donald Trump‘s secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Nelson charged that Price’s support for a Medicare voucher system would lead to increased out-of-pocket costs for seniors’ medical bills and his support to raise the eligibility age to 67 would break promises to people paying into the system. “Our country deserves an HHS secretary who will uphold those promises, not inflict deep cuts that alter the financial security Medicare provides Americans in their later years,” Nelson stated … “And so for these reasons and others, sometime in this next 11 and a half hours when we vote, I’m going to vote no on this nominee. There’s too much at stake for our seniors to give this nominee the control over these programs.”

MARCO RUBIO RE-SHARPENS CONDEMNATION OF PUTIN AND ANY U.S.-RUSSIA DEALS via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing entitled, “The United States, The Russian Federation and the Challenges Ahead,” Florida’s Republican senator condemned prospects of a grand deal between the Trump administration and Putin involving ISIS, sanctions over Russian hacking, and Ukraine, calling it “a really stupid deal” that would have no chance of forwarding American interests. “I think this whole notion of a grand bargain, where they are going to help us kill terrorists and fight ISIS in exchange for lifting sanctions, is a fantasy,” Rubio said in response to comment from two witnesses, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Philip Breedlove, USAF (Ret), and Julianne Smith, senior fellow at the Center for New American Strategy.

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DONALD TRUMP RAGES IN ALL CAPS AFTER APPEALS COURT RULES AGAINST HIM via William Cummings of USA TODAY – Trump wasted no time in responding to a federal appeals court decision rejecting the Justice Department’s effort to reinstate his executive order barring immigration from seven Muslim nations. “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” Trump tweeted. Either the president’s caps-lock button is stuck, or he is one angry commander in chief. According to netlingo.com, “When someone is TYPING AN ENTIRE SENTENCE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, that person is SHOUTING. It is not proper netiquette to TYPE IN ALL CAPS, especially in email.” Stephen Colbert responded to the president’s tweet, taking issue with the grammar rather the substance of Trump’s social media scream: “Sir, this is two sentences. It shouldn’t be a comma. It should be a period. #GrammarNeoNazi”

TRUMP TO ARRIVE IN PALM BEACH COUNTY DURING RUSH HOUR TODAY via Kristina Webb of the Palm Beach Post – According to a temporary flight restriction by the Federal Aviation Administration, Trump will fly into PBIA sometime close to 5:15 p.m. Friday. The restrictions expire at 10 p.m. Sunday, indicating a late return to Washington, D.C. Trump is traveling to his Mar-a-Lago Club this weekend — his second weekend visit in a row — as he hosts Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

TAMPA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT’S CEO MEETS WITH TRUMP via Francis McMorris of the Tampa Bay Business Journal – Joe Lopano flew to Washington, D.C. and was among several airport and airline leaders to meet with Trump … as the new administration turned its sights to improving the aviation industry … Trump has vowed to focus on U.S. infrastructure projects and has called some U.S. airports “obsolete.” Lopano, speaking as he was boarding a plane back to Tampa, said the main topic of discussion was the customer experience. “That encompasses infrastructure on the ground,” he said. “We had a great discussion on how we can improve that.”

HOW TO BUILD AN AUTOCRACY via David Frum for The Atlantic – If this were happening in Honduras, we’d know what to call it. It’s happening here instead, and so we are baffled … The United States may be a nation of laws, but the proper functioning of the law depends upon the competence and integrity of those charged with executing it. A president determined to thwart the law in order to protect himself and those in his circle has many means to do so … liberty is actually threatened in a modern bureaucratic state … not by diktat and violence, but by the slow, demoralizing process of corruption and deceit. And the way that liberty must be defended is … with an unwearying insistence upon the honesty, integrity, and professionalism of American institutions and those who lead them. We are living through the most dangerous challenge to the free government of the United States that anyone alive has encountered.

WE ARE NOT THE SAME; THE IMMORAL EQUIVALENCY OF PRESIDENT TRUMP via Darryl Paulson of Florida Politics – President Trump turned in one of the most disgusting performances of any American president when he placed America and the Soviets on the same moral plateau. In a Fox News interview with Bill O’Reilly before the Super Bowl, Trump defended Putin against O’Reilly’s charge that “Putin’s a killer.” Trump responded that “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?” If Obama had made that statement, Republicans would be calling for his impeachment. But, weak-kneed Republicans, who have no problem praising Trump, have a far more difficult time criticizing him when he becomes ill with “foot and mouth” disease. In their silence, supporters of Trump are neither doing him, or the nation, favors anyway. Do you remember when one of our political leaders ordered the assassination of a political opponent?  Neither do I. But, Putin did that to Boris Nemtsov in 2015.

MATT GAETZ: DISSENTERS WELCOME AT ‘OPEN GAETZ DAY’ via Joseph Baucum of the Pensacola News-Journal – In the run-up to Gaetz’s all-day visit to Northwest Florida Feb. 23, the Fort Walton Beach Republican has urged all with input to partake in the day’s organized events, even those critical of his recent performance on Capitol Hill. “I encourage anyone to show up and participate who’s willing to be peaceful and nondisruptive,” he said. “It’s ‘Open Gaetz Day.’ The point is to get people’s ideas, suggestions and even criticism.” Several local groups aim to attend to voice their dissent to Gaetz’s recent policies. Those include members of the Escambia County Democratic Women’s Club … Their disapproval centers on the lawmaker’s recent drafting of a bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.

CHARLIE CRIST WANTS TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO LOOK INTO VOTER SUPPRESSION, DISENFRANCHISEMENT via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Crist and 75 other Democrats are signing on to a letter originally penned by Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, Alabama’s Terri Sewell and Washington’s Derek Kilmer calling for an evaluation of state voter restrictions in Wisconsin, North Carolina and Florida. Those states bar individuals with past felony convictions from voting unless they are able to meet a burdensome clemency requirement. This law has led to the disenfranchisement of an estimated 1.5 million Floridians. “Unsubstantiated voter fraud claims are being used as cover to enact policies aimed at disenfranchising certain voters — something Floridians are all too familiar with,” said Crist … “Voter suppression efforts are an attack on our democracy. I will fight to protect access to the voting booth, including for nonviolent former felons. It’s a matter of civil rights and fundamental fairness.”

DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ STAFFER UNDER INVESTIGATION, REPORT SAYS via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald – … for equipment and data theft …  Imran Awan has worked for various members of the House of Representatives since 2004. Multiple relatives of Awan who have also worked for House members are also part of the investigation. A spokesman for Wasserman Schultz, David Damron, didn’t respond to questions about Awan but sent a statement to the Miami Herald: “At this time we are continuing to gather information from House officials, and will determine the best approach to move forward once we have received a thorough review. We are consulting House counsel to ensure that due process is afforded to her employees before any action is taken.” A spokeswoman for U.S. Capital Police, Eva Malecki, sent a statement … “At the request of Members of Congress, the United States Capitol Police are investigating the actions of House IT support staff. No Members are being investigated. No arrests have been made. We have no further comment on the ongoing investigation at this time.”

FLORIDA ‘CROSSOVER’ CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS GIVE DEMOCRATS GLIMMER OF HOPE IN 2018 via Florida Politics – 2016 cycle’s “crossover” congressional seats – districts that voted for one party on the congressional level, and another for president … There were 26 such seats in the 2012 cycle, and 2016 saw an increase to 35. A dozen of the crossover seats sent a Democrat to Congress and backed Trump for president, while the remainder, including Florida’s 26th and 27th Congressional Districts, voted a Republican into Congress while backing Democrat Hillary Clinton for president. Despite the jump in crossover seats … the Clinton versus Trump election may not be an “accurate gauge” of these seats true partisan leans, and says most of the districts are “more competitive on paper than in practice” … the GOP has a much firmer grasp on their Congressional seats than Democrats did in 2010, when Republicans won the midterm election by a landslide. Democrats lost 48 House seats, and their majority, in that cycle.

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DAYS UNTIL: Pitchers & catchers report for Spring Training – 2; Valentine’s Day – 4; Start of 2017 Legislative Session – 25; Florida Capitol Press Corps Press Skits – 32; 2017 Legislative Session Sine Die – 84; FSU vs. Alabama – 204; Election Day 2017 – 269; Star Wars: Episode VIII/The Last Jedi opens – 307.

WHAT THE GOV’S OFFICE IS WATCHING:

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will hold a press conference at 9 a.m. to highlight proposed transportation investments at Southwest Florida International Airport, 11000 Terminal Access Road in Fort Myers. The event will be on the third floor of the airport.

JEFF ATWATER WINS FIRST ROUND OF $1 BILLION BONDS FIGHT WITH FEDS via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics– Atwater has scored a preliminary win in his fight against the federal government over U.S. savings bonds he holds as unclaimed property. The U.S. Treasury has agreed to redeem “just over 1,000 bonds, worth a little more than half a million dollars, excluding accrued interest,” Atwater spokeswoman Ashley Carr said … The total value of all the bonds in question is more than $1 billion. In November, Atwater sued the feds for that amount, saying they had refused to make good on matured U.S. savings bonds he holds as unclaimed property. The suit was filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which adjudicates demands for payment from the federal government.

HALSEY BESHEARS NOT A CANDIDATE FOR AG COMMISSIONER via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat – The three-term Republican represents nine north Florida counties and the southwest section of Leon including Woodville. He had expressed interest in a statewide run last month but indicated the urge has passed. “I’m thinking of a fourth Bird Legs Bicycles shop,” said Beshears, who operates a popular Tallahassee Trek specialty shop and recently opened two stores in Jacksonville Beach. Beshears has family ties to a huge Jefferson County farm and nursery.

ICYMI: BEN ALBRITTON LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN FOR DENISE GRIMSLEY’S SENATE SEAT via Florida Politics – Albritton, the Wauchula Republican who represents House District 56, filed for the Senate District 26 seat. SD 26 covers a wide swath of Central Florida from Charlotte and Glades counties through southern Polk County. Currently holding the seat is Denise Grimsley, the Lake Placid Republican who recently filed as a candidate for Agriculture Commissioner. “It has truly been an honor to serve Florida’s Heartland for the past seven years,” Albritton said in a statement. “If given the opportunity, I want to continue the fight for the conservative reforms that protect and grow jobs here at home, that make our communities safer, and that value the lives of all Floridians.”

HOUSE, SENATE TRYING TO AVOID BUDGET SHOWDOWN OVER RULES via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – The Florida Senate and House have agreed to work together on a joint rule to avoid a “who blinks first” approach to this year’s budget negotiations. Sen. Jack Latvala … who heads the Appropriations Committee … told the Rules Committee he was “pleased to report” House leaders had agreed to consider what’s known as a “joint rule” to streamline the process. The House now requires each request to be filed separately; those were due Tuesday. But the House’s method also required any senator’s project request to have its companion filed in the House or that chamber would not consider it. Latvala called that an “unprecedented situation” at the Rules Committee meeting … He said he consulted with Senate President Negron, who agreed the Senate “could either pass a budget and see who blinked first, or be proactive and try to resolve the situation.”

ANGRY RICHARD CORCORAN DARES SENATE TO SUE HIM; JOE NEGRON SAYS IT’S NOT HAPPENING via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Corcoran dared the Senate to make good on a threatened lawsuit challenging the House’s power to impose new budget-writing rules that affect how the Senate crafts a budget, but Senate President Negron responded by saying it’s not going to happen. “Legislative business should be resolved in the Capitol — not in the court system,” Negron told the Times/Herald. “I expect that to happen.”

JACK LATVALA SAYS EVIDENCE DOESN’T SUPPORT HOUSE ON JOB INCENTIVES via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – Visit Florida, for example, returns $3.20 cents for every dollar spent on advertising, according to figures from Amy Baker, state government’s top economist. Enterprise Florida’s international offices program, meanwhile, returns $4. And its export assistance program returns $1.90. That’s as measured in tax revenue. Not counting spending on beaches, transportation and aviation, five of the top programs in return on investment involve the sort of incentives that would be outlawed under a bill approved by the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee. “They all produce a net increase in tax revenue, over and above what we invest in them. And all five of them are included in the bill the House passed out of committee yesterday to abolish,” Latvala said during a meeting of his committee.

JOINT AUDITING COMMITTEE REVIEW HEARS MIXED REVIEW OF ENTERPRISE FLORIDA’S SUCCESS RATE OVER THE PAST DECADE via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Officials with the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) provided commentary on their recent audit of the private-public partnership before the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee … The appearance came a day after a House committee voted to kill Enterprise Florida, along with Visit Florida …  Dan Raulerson wanted to know if there was a way to compare how well Florida is doing in using tax incentives to recruit businesses compared to other states? “One of the analysis we did shows that Florida does not rank as favorably with respect to competitive states when you look at just the targeted industries,” said Laila Racevskis, a senior legislative analyst with OPPAGA. She added that her office also compared Florida on major economic indicators. The analyses included six qualified target industries—manufacturing; wholesale trade; information; finance and insurance; professional, scientific and technical services; and Management of Companies and Enterprises.

FLORIDA NONPROFIT HOSPITALS BRACE FOR LEGISLATIVE BATTLE via Alexandra Glorioso of the Naples Daily News – A growing number of Republican legislators are signing on to Gov. Scott’s call to deregulate the health care industry, a move that nonprofit hospitals fear could cripple their ability to care for the poor … The deregulation push gained steam with Sen. Rob Bradley‘s bill to repeal the law that determines how many hospitals, nursing homes and hospices can be in one area at a time based on demand for their services. Bradley called the bill a “vehicle” for the Senate to join the House and governor in a debate Senate leaders have avoided that dates back years regarding the repeal of what is known as the state’s certificate of need process. The arguments against the idea by the nonprofit hospital association have historically prevailed in the Senate, thus making repeal of the certificate-of-need regulatory process a perennial loser in the Legislature. Scott has defined the bill as one of his top priorities, and it has been pushed as a longtime priority of House Speaker  Corcoran … as well as his likely successor, Rep. Jose Oliva.

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STAND YOUR GROUND BURDEN OF PROOF BILL SHOOTS THROUGH FINAL SENATE COMMITTEE via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News – The Senate Rules Committee passed SB 128, sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley… by a vote of 8-4. The bill will now head to the Senate for debate and approval. If passed, the proposal would give defendants more protection from prosecution in “Stand Your Ground” cases by requiring prosecutors to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” whether a defendant is entitled to immunity at a pretrial hearing in order to disprove a claim of self-defense immunity. The legislation would flip the responsibility onto the prosecutor to prove why a defendant shouldn’t be allowed to use the Stand Your Ground defense in court. The bill has gathered significant attention around the state, particularly from those who say the bill is necessary to uphold Second Amendment freedoms.

TERM LIMITS FOR TOP FLORIDA JUDGES CLEARS FIRST HURDLE via The Associated Press – A divided House panel approved a measure (HJR 1) that would ask the state’s voters to approve a 12-year term limit for all Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges. If passed by the Florida Legislature, it would go before voters in 2018. Justices and appeals court judges currently must go before voters every six years for a merit retention vote. Supporters of the term limits proposal note that no judge has ever lost a merit retention vote. But opponents say the amendment would undercut the independence of the judicial branch and argued it would lead to less people seeking to become judges.

BRAD DRAKE, BLAISE INGOGLIA WANT LYING CANDIDATES PAY SOME TYPE OF PRICE via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Drake … At the House Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee … asked state election officials what recourse is there when a candidate is subjected to “malicious” comments from his opponent? Amy Toman, executive director of the Florida Elections Commission, said that a candidate can always file a complaint with her organization … Ingoglia said the real problem with such negative and false allegations is the extensive delays between reporting an elections violation and the time the commission addresses it. “If somebody is talking about peanut butter and veins, then they know that it is a political calculation, knowing that the time you all rule, the election is over,” said Ingoglia. He’d like a “fast-track process” where if a candidate sends out false information, the other candidate can file a complaint and get a response from the election commission within five business days. Ingoglia posited that “vile speech” is protected by the First Amendment, but said that “false speech should be protected at least by the courts.”

HOUSE PANEL HONES IN ON ATTORNEY FEES FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FIX via Florida Politics – The chairman of a key House subcommittee said this week that legislation to address rising worker’s compensation premiums will include curbs on attorney fees, “the biggest driver of the premiums.” Danny Burgess, chairman of the Insurance & Banking Subcommittee, spoke following a hearing into a raft of possible solutions to escalating worker’s compensation premiums. Also on Wednesday, the 1st District Court of Appeal scheduled oral argument for Feb. 22 in a challenge to a 14.5 percent rate increase that began to take effect in December. “There is no question that one of the more prominent focal points that need to be looked at very closely and addressed is the attorney-fee issue,” the Zephyrhills Republican said.

HOUSE MEMBERS MULL DETAILS OF HOW PANHANDLE OIL SPILL GROUP WILL OPERATE via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – Triumph Gulf Coast Inc. was established by the state to oversee spending of economic claims in eight Panhandle counties. The House select committee is considering draft legislation to establish processes for how the spending is administered. “We want this to be the most transparent procedure that we can have,” Rep. Jay Trumbull, a Republican from Panama City and chairman of the Select Committee on Triumph Gulf Coast, told committee members … His committee discussed an 18-page draft bill establishing procedures and another two-page bill that establishes the Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The bill requires that $299 million from the 2016 payment be transferred to the trust fund along with $1 million for administrative expenses to establish Triumph Gulf Coast.

HOUSE PANEL NARROWLY PASSES ABORTION TORT LEGISLATION via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – The bill, HB 19, creates a “cause of action” for a woman who is physically injured or suffers emotional harm due to an abortion if the doctor did not first get “informed consent,” which is when a doctor gets a patient’s permission before doing a medical procedure. Mark Delegal, a lobbyist representing The Doctors Company, said there is concern, if the bill becomes law, about increased insurance costs for physicians. “This is bigger than the abortion issue,” said Delegal, who called the bill shocking. It’s the same position taken by Equality Florida, the state’s largest LGBTQ organization. The bill was originally announced as defeated by the House Civil Justice and Claims Subcommittee, but passed after some confusion and a recount. There is not yet a companion bill in the Senate.

AARON BEAN FILES BILL FOCUSED ON NURSING HOME MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENT RATES via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – SB 712 transitions nursing homes that accept Medicaid payments to a prospective payment system. But LeadingAge Florida CEO Steve Bahmer said Bean’s bill “creates a better way to pay for care without devastating the highest quality” homes, unlike a model recently put forth by consultants. The Florida Legislature OK’d legislation in 2016 set aside $500,000 for a study to develop a proposal to convert Medicaid payments for nursing home services from a cost-based reimbursement to a prospective payment plan. The state hired Navigant Consulting to conduct the study, which included a series of public meetings across the state. Bahmer said a model developed by Navigant could shift “Medicaid funding from the highest quality nursing homes to the lowest quality nursing homes.” That model divides the state into two regions — the South region, which consists of Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, and the North region, which is the rest of the state.

JASON BRODEUR INTRODUCES AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE LEGISLATION IN FLORIDA HOUSE via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – HB 275 would streamline the process for use self-driving vehicles on public roads in Florida. “With more than 90 percent of crashes in 2015 being the result of human error, autonomous vehicles have the potential to eliminate this error and transform the way we travel,” Brodeur said … “I am proud to support HB 725 this session, as Florida is largely recognized as the nation’s leader in autonomous vehicle public policy. But in order to maintain this position and encourage companies to begin testing and deploying in the Sunshine State, we must address the current laws governing motor vehicle operation that never contemplated a driverless future.”

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Mayor Andrew Gillum will hold a press conference at 9:15 a.m. to condemn House Bill 17, which would take away from local governments, outside City Hill, 300 S. Adams Street in Tallahassee. Representatives from Equality Florida and Sierra Club are also expected to attend.

EDITORIAL: LET TRACKS DROP DOG AND HORSE RACES via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Sen. Bill Galvano … filed Senate Bill 8, which he describes as a “comprehensive, statewide approach to reforming current gaming laws.” The 120-page bill would … enable the owners of pari-mutuel tracks to drop increasingly unpopular dog and horse racing but maintain their card rooms … Galvano’s bill wisely “decouples” the racing requirement from the operation of card rooms that have cash pots. Requiring track owners to conduct greyhound or horse racing that the public – gamblers and non-gamblers alike – no longer supports doesn’t make sense. Eliminating the state mandate would acknowledge well-established trends in gaming, and help greyhounds and horses avoid fates they don’t deserve.

TALLAHASSEE ENTREPRENEUR RICK KEARNEY BOOSTS FLORIDA COMPETES CAMPAIGN WITH $100K via Florida Politics – Kearney gave $100,000 to Florida Competes, the coalition of businesses working to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act. Kearney’s check is the largest single donation to Florida Competes so far. Kearney, who serves as chairman and CEO of the Tallahassee-based Mainline Information Systems, said in a statement the donation represents a “longstanding commitment to LGBT equality” and is an investment in improving Florida’s reputation as a place of equality and inclusion. “I’m proud to stand with Florida’s business leaders to advocate for equality for all,” he said, “by adding these overdue protections to Florida’s civil rights statute.”

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MORE BAD NEWS AS FLORIDA ORANGE CROP DROPS AGAIN via Florida Politics – Florida’s grapefruit crop held steady at nine million boxes, but its orange crop went down slightly, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s February forecast. Thursday’s report projects a one million box reduction in the state’s orange crop to 70 million boxes. That’s after last month’s forecast also predicted a decrease.

ROBERT J. LUCK ELEVATED TO APPEALS COURT JUDGE via Florida Politics – Gov. Scott appointed Circuit Judge Luck to the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami. Luck, 37, of North Miami Beach, has served as a circuit judge for the 11th Judicial Circuit since 2013. He previously was an Assistant U.S. Attorney and Deputy Chief at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

NEW AND RENEWED LOBBY REGISTRATIONS

Slater BaylissChristopher Chaney, The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners: Alan Beckman LivaNova, PLC

Melanie Bostick, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee: Florida Justice Reform Institute

Melanie BrownJon Johnson, Johnson & Blanton: Selah Freedom

Bradley Burleson, Ballard Partners: DLRdmv, LLC

Edgar CastroNelson Diaz, Southern Strategy Group: Mark Anthony Brands, Inc.

Jennings Lawton DePriest, Strategos Public Affairs: Early Childhood Initiative

Pete DunbarMartha EdenfieldBrittany FinkbeinerCari Roth Dean Mead: Homestead Communications, Inc.

Candice Ericks, Ericks Advocacy Group: Handy, Inc.

Mercer FearingtonJerry McDanielClark Smith, Southern Strategy Group: RELX Inc.

Marnie GeorgeMichael HarrellPaul HawkesTimothy Stanfield, Buchanan Ingersolll & Rooney: National Strategies, LLC on behalf of American Kratom Association

Thomas GriffinLisa Hurley, Smith Bryan & Myers: Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc.; Summit Care, Inc.

Wayne Malaney, Wayne R. Malaney PA: Business Observer Florida

Charlotte Mather-Taylor, CMT Consulting: Envision

Kim McCray, McCray & Associates: Dosal Tobacco Corporation

Evan Power, Ramba Consulting Group: Building Officials Association of Florida

Christopher Snow, Snow Strategies: Pediatric Supplier

HAPPENING NEXT WEEK – FAPL HOSTS LAWMAKER RECEPTION — The Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists will host a “Welcome Back FAPLtini” at 5:30 p.m. at the Southern Public House, 224 E. College Ave in Tallahassee. The event is meant to welcome new and returning legislators to Tallahassee and is sponsored by Century Link and PIFF.

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DISNEY’S WONDERFUL WORLD MAY BE TOO GOOD TO LAST via The Associated Press – ESPN has been one of Disney’s crown jewels, but with cable viewership on the decline, its ratings have been under pressure … Disney has been working hard to adapt to the new realities of online TV watching. Its channels — ABC, The Disney Channel, ESPN and others — are all part of less expensive “skinny” channel bundles on streaming services such as Sling TV, Sony PlayStation Vue and DirecTV now. Disney also took a $1 billion stake in BAMTech , which provides streaming for Major League Baseball. Disney plans to use that technology for an ESPN streaming service, set to launch this year, which will offer live game streaming and programming not offered on regular ESPN. Disney might also one day offer a standalone streaming version of ESPN, much the way HBO has with its $15-a-month-service HBO Now.

JEFFREY LORIA HAS PRELIMINARY AGREEMENT TO SELL MARLINS via Steven Wine of The Associated Press– Loria has a preliminary agreement to sell the team to a New York businessman, but the deal could fall through because the final purchase price hasn’t been determined, a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations … the Marlins have not commented publicly on the negotiations. The preliminary agreement was for a purchase price of about $1.6 billion, the person said, but added that was before the prospective buyer did due diligence. The final offer by the potential buyer could be much lower, the person said. The person declined to identify the prospective buyer but said other parties are also interested in purchasing the team, and negotiations with them might eventually be reopened.

RIVERS OF LIGHT PREMIERS AT DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising – A nighttime show that celebrates the relationship between animals and nature will debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Feb. 17. Rivers of Light is set on the Discovery River and features special water effects, decorative floats, laser projections and a live storytelling performance. Animal Kingdom’s first nighttime show starts with an ancient lantern festival that draws out four animal spirit guides – an elephant, owl, tiger and turtle. The animals are lit with LED technology and take shape on lantern floats, some measuring 15-feet-tall and 30-feet-long. Video projections and choreographed laser animation combine to create the appearance of glowing fireflies that light up the sky.

STAR WARS LANDS TO OPEN AT HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS, DISNEYLAND IN 2019 via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising – … bringing the largest ever themed expansions to both parks. The 14-acre attractions are under construction at both parks and are expected to bring large crowds capitalizing on the success of the Star Wars series of films. Star Wars Episode IX opens in theaters the same year as the two lands are scheduled to debut. “Our intent is to make it feel as if you just walked into one of the movies…,” said Disney Imagineering executive Scott Trowbidge in a 2015 interview for the fan publication Disney twenty-three. “Bringing Star Wars to life in the physical world gives us the opportunity to play with a whole bunch of things we’ve never done before… to really engage all of the senses.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our friends Carrie Henriquez and Franco Ripple. Also celebrating today is Jamie Wilson.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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