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Sunburn for 5.19.17 – No slots for you! No money for you, elex supervisors! HD 44 spec. election heating up; Scott Plakon did what?

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.

Good morning from Cove Cafe on Deck 9 of the Disney Magic. The WiFi is strong here and so is the coffee, which is much needed after a late Pirate Night. Current location is 36.40.65 N, 31.30.78 W. Course is 80 degrees. The nearest land is Horta. The ship is 286 nautical miles from Ponta Delgado. It’s our sixth straight day at sea — the last before our first excursion.

— ‘YOU BLEW IT’ —

Senate leadership’s response to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Gretna racetrack slot machine case yesterday brings to mind a scene from the 1997 flick, “Cop Land.”

Poor Sheriff Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone) is practically begging NYPD internal affairs investigator Moe Tilden (Robert De Niro) to reopen the IA case into corrupt cops who control his sleepy New Jersey town just across the Hudson River.

De Niro’s character ain’t having it: “Listen … I offered you a chance when we could have done something, I offered you a chance to be a cop, and you blew it! You blew it.”

Lawmakers blew it this year when they missed an opportunity to finally wrap their arms around gambling in the state and pass a major overhaul.

But in the Bizarro World that is the Capitol, Senate President Joe Negron and Sen. Bill Galvano, the presumptive president for 2018-20, don’t see it that way.

Senate President Joe Negron confers with Sen. Bill Galvano during a budget conference in the Knott Building Friday, May 5, 2017 at the Capitol. Photo credit: Phil Sears.

Indeed, Thursday’s decision denying slots to Gadsden and other counties that passed local slots referendums “upheld the authority of the Legislature to determine the future of gaming in Florida,” their statement said.

Yes, the same Legislature that suffers from a history of fail when it comes to gambling. Every year, lawmakers tee up some gambling law overhaul, and every year it dies.

Including this year, when the Senate wouldn’t back down on its insistence that slots should be expanded to pari-mutuels in counties that approved them in referendum votes. The House, under the leadership of Speaker Richard Corcoran, opposed such a move.

The statement also took pains to pay homage to the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which has a gambling deal that could have allowed them to reduce or eliminate payments to the state if their exclusive right to offers slots outside South Florida was broken.

“The Legislature now has every opportunity to shape gaming policy for our state in a manner that respects both the authority of local referendums and the ongoing relationship with the Seminole Tribe, without the underlying concern that a court ruling could suddenly upend productive negotiations,” Negron said.

Added Galvano, also president of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States: “This confirmation of legislative authority removes a significant obstacle in our negotiations with the Seminole Tribe, providing clarity that as we move forward the Legislature, rather than the Courts, will determine what expansion looks like and where it takes place.”

That is, unless a proposed constitutional amendment gets on the ballot that would give voters exclusive control of gambling expansion in the future. But that’s another story.

For now, guys, you had the chance. You blew it.

“Florida Supreme Court rules against Gretna track, slots expansion” via Jim Rosica of Florida PoliticsA unanimous Florida Supreme Court ruled against a North Florida racetrack seeking to add slot machines. The 20-page decision, released Thursday, means that gambling facilities in Gadsden County’s Gretna and in seven other counties that passed local referendums allowing slots also will not be able to offer them. In doing so, the court upheld a decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal that agreed with state gambling regulators who denied the track a slots permit. In sum, the ruling comes as a loss for the state’s pari-mutuels and a win for gambling expansion opponents. If it had gone the other way, the decision might have led to the single biggest gambling expansion in the state.

Gretna considering its next move via Creek Entertainment spox Sarah Bascom: “We are disappointed the Florida Supreme Court did not agree with our interpretation of the law and because of this ruling, we are now unable to create new jobs. We are considering our options on how to proceed.”

No Casinos gets to crow via John Sowinski: “We scored a partial victory with this ruling today and intend to score a complete victory with the Voters in Charge initiative in 2018. The people of Florida should have the final say on whether or not to legalize casino-style gambling. Our state’s history shows that without this bright line, the result will be more of what we have been seeing in recent legislative sessions – gambling interests will continue spending unprecedented sums on lobbyists, lawyers and campaign contributions in an attempt to turn Florida into the next Atlantic City.”

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— CAPITOL INSIGHT —

Assignment editors: Gov. Scott will announce April job numbers and highlight job growth at 1 p.m. at LATAM Airlines, 6500 NW 22nd St. in Miami. Scott is then scheduled to present Cuban dissidents Sirley Avila Leon and Pedro Corzo with the “Governor’s Freedom Award” at 5:30 p.m. at The American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora, 1200 Coral Way in Miami.

Bill watch – Thirty-seven bills were sent Thursday to Gov. Scott, including HB 141 on craft distilleries, HB 299 on the Central Florida Expressway Authority, and HB 6515, a claim bill related to FSU football player Devaughn Darling, who died in 2001 during preseason training. The Governor now has till June 2 to sign or veto them, or let the bills become law without his signature. Counting Thursday’s measures, Scott now has 55 bills on his desk.

House Speaker hopes Governor won’t veto controversial education bill” via Martin Vassolo of the Miami Herald – Corcoran visited the Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation and said he was hopeful the bill will survive Scott’s veto pen. “I haven’t spoken to him, but I don’t know, there’s still a lot of time,” said Corcoran after a meeting at Florida International University. “Hopefully it’ll go well.” The massive K-12 public schools bill, which drew sharp criticism from the Florida Association of District School Superintendents … is part of the 2017-18 budget. It includes a $234 million bonus package for most teachers and some top principals and a $140 million “Schools of Hope” program to help struggling traditional public schools and bring in private charter schools to give parents in these areas an alternative. “I know a lot of these superintendents, they’re good guys, but I wish they would focus more on not building $20 and $40 million Taj Mahal buildings,” Corcoran said. “What’s more important than beautiful buildings is beautiful minds, and this bill is about building beautiful minds. And to the extent that they can cut those buildings down in size and take that money and pour it into the classroom, which is what this bill does, I would love to have their support.”

Richard Corcoran: Miami lawmaker ‘crashed against gates of hell’ by supporting schools bill” via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – Miami Democratic Rep. Roy Hardemon had an unlikely and influential ally showering him with praise in his legislative district: Speaker Corcoran. “He [Hardemon] doesn’t care who’s got power. He doesn’t care what the status quo is. He doesn’t care whether he gets elected,” Corcoran said in brief remarks onstage for the groundbreaking of the Liberty Square redevelopment project, with Hardemon at his side. Hardemon was the only Democrat in either the House or Senate to vote in favor of HB 7069. “He doesn’t fear. What he cares about is his community,” Corcoran said, before touting a key provision of HB 7069 that’s meant to help neighborhoods like Liberty City.

Talk about a nothing burger story – “Corcoran’s brother is lobbyist for marijuana grower opposing dispensary caps” via Michael Auslen and David Smiley of the Tampa Bay Times – Surterra, one of Florida’s largest medical marijuana growers, is banking on opening 55 dispensaries in the next five years as part of a plan to bring in more than $138 million in sales by 2021 … To push its agenda in Tallahassee, Surterra hired three lobbying firms this year. One of their lead lobbyists is Michael Corcoran, brother to House Speaker Corcoran …

— Corcoran says he was never once lobbied by his brother on the marijuana bill.

— Asked if he ever had a conversation with his brother about the caps, Corcoran was blunt: “No. Nope.”

Money quote from the Speaker: “Why don’t you write about how Richard killed the gaming bill and his brother has a gaming client? Why don’t you write about how Richard took it to the hospitals and his brother has a hospital client? … I don’t care who lobbies me. I’m going to always do the right thing and damn the consequences.”

Election experts begged lawmakers for new tool to fight voter fraud, but got nothing” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Ignoring pleas from county election experts across the state, lawmakers ended the 2017 session last week without passing a law that would improve the reliability of voter rolls by making it easier to find voters who are registered to vote in Florida and another state or who are registered in Florida and died in another state. “It’s a shame, with all of the concern about the accuracy of the voter rolls,” said Chris Chambless, supervisor of elections in Clay County and president of a statewide supervisors’ association. Their priority was a three-page bill to let Florida become the 21st state to join a national compact known as the Electronic Registration Information Center or ERIC. The bill breezed through the House without opposition, then stalled and died in the Senate.

Carlos Guillermo Smith, Amy Mercado say special session needed to end cannabis legal limbo” via Scott Powers via Orlando Rising – “We are here because 71 percent of Florida voters approved the constitutional right to medical canabis. But we also are here because unfortunately once again Tallahassee politicians have thwarted the will of the people and they have refused to implement Amendment 2, medical cannabis,” said Smith, of Orlando. “They should be ashamed … While the out-of-touch, old-fashioned, conservative majority in Tallahassee continues its hand-wringing over whether or not cannabis is actual medicine… or whether they can actually get over themselves and listen to the voters, qualified patients are dying, qualified patients are waiting,” he continued. “And there is no question that the governor, the Senate president of the senate and the speaker of the House need to be leaders and officially call for a special session and demand that the Legislature implement the will of the voters immediately.”

“Florida League of Cities slams telecom bill” via Florida PoliticsThe Florida League of Cities on Thursday asked Gov. Scott to veto a measure it says will “deprive cities of their authority to regulate the use of public rights of way.” The bill (HB 687), sponsored by St. Cloud Republican state Rep. Mike La Rosa, pre-empts to the state the regulation of telecommunications companies putting “small wireless facilities in rights of way.” Such equipment, including antennas and related equipment, can be as big as a kitchen refrigerator. “The bill may leave local governments minimal ability to control the aesthetics of their public rights of way, but it effectively hands significant control to the wireless industry,” League Executive Director Mike Sittig said in a press release.

Sean Shaw bill for 2018 would stop raiding of Sadowski Housing Trust Fund” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Shaw says he will file legislation … to block what has become an annual ritual of the Legislature, even if the likelihood of the bill’s passage is dubious. “I’m willing to dedicate one of my six slots to that, just to have the discussion,” he says, referring to the rule that House members can only file six bills in a legislative session. The Sadowski funds come from a locally collected doc stamp on real estate sales transactions that is sent to the state. Seventy percent of that is sent back via the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) to all 67 counties, based on population, to primarily aid low-to-moderate-income residents with buying a home. The other 30 percent goes to the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL), which the state uses as an incentive for developers to build affordable apartments. Last year, lawmakers took $200 million out of the trust, cutting Scott’s original proposal of almost $240 million. The year before, the Legislature allocated $175 million of the $255 million that should have been spent on affordable housing. “The Sadowski Fund isn’t the only one that gets swept,” Shaw said. “It’s the one that means the most to me, but there are tons of funds that get swept into general revenue that are taken for specific amounts of money.”

Polk County commissioners snub local legislators” via John Chambliss of the Lakeland Ledger – Who needs Tallahassee? In a slight directed at local legislators, Polk County commissioners voted 5-0 … to not have the annual Polk County Day in the Capitol. The proposal was made by County Commissioner Todd Dantzler, who added in the motion that county commissioners will not ask for a joint legislative-delegation meeting before the session begins. The vote comes after a session in which legislators supported a broader homestead exemption. It will give voters the opportunity to increase the property-tax exemption from $50,000 to $75,000. But if it passes, cities and counties may be forced to cut services, raise taxes or a combination of both.

— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL —

Here are the biggest financial backers of candidates running for Governor in 2018” via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times – Adam Putnam’s Top 5: $605,000 – The Voice of Florida Business; $587,060 – Florida Power & Light; $550,000 – Florida Jobs PAC, a committee run by the Florida Chamber of Commerce; $525,000 – Associated Industries of Florida PAC; $465,000 – U.S. Sugar Corporation and South Central Florida Express Inc. Chris King’s Top 5: 1,062,000 – Chris King; $179,000 – Paul Morgan, a principal with King-founded Elevation Financial Group; 166,000 – David King, Attorney and Chris King’s father; $47,000 – Thomas Beck, accountant from Winter Park; $25,000 – Debbie Lawton of Winter Park. Gwen Graham’s Top 5: $250,000 – Graham for Congress campaign account; $50,000 – James Finch, former NASCAR racing team owner and construction company owner; $50,000 – Michael Singer, founder of the Temple of the Universe, a yoga and meditation center outside of Gainesville; $50,000 – Wayne Hogan, Jacksonville attorney and 2002 candidate for Congress; $25,000 – Five donors gave this amount. Andrew Gillum’s Top 5: $100,000 – George Soros, billionaire financier; $50,000 – Norman Lear, television producer and writer; $50,000 – Alex Soros, philanthropist; $50,000 – Tarra Pressey, Palm Beach Gardens; $45,000 – Attorney Sean Pittman, his law firm and investment company he runs.

Joe Abruzzo backs Andrew Gillum for Governor — Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum announced Thursday scored the endorsement of former state senator and current Rep. Joseph Abruzzo in his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor. “Only a few times in a generation do we have the opportunity to elect a leader like Andrew Gillum. He brings the integrity, experience, and energy to ignite the Democratic base,” said Abruzzo, who serves as the House Democratic Whip, in a statement. As Democratic House Whip, I can attest that Andrew has worked with the Democratic Caucus and will be ready to lead as Governor from Day One. He is the Democrat in this race who can rebuild our economy so that it works better for everyone in Palm Beach County and the Sunshine State.”

Third Gainesville City Commissioner endorses Gillum — City Commissioner David Arreola has endorsed Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. Arreola joins Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe and Commissioners Adrian Hayes-Santos and Harvey Ward in backing Gillum. “I’m proud to add my voice to the growing chorus of local leaders in Gainesville and Florida who endorse Andrew Gillum for Governor,” said Arreola in a statement. “Mayor Gillum, a native of Gainesville, has shown us that fresh approaches to governing are just what Florida needs to move forward.”

Op-ed you won’t read in Sunburn –John Lewis endorses Gwen Graham, and that means what?” via Leslie Wimes for the Sunshine State News. Is Wimes’ job simply to dog the moderate, electable Democrat in any race where Republicans feel threatened?

— “Adam Putnam pitches ‘Florida exceptionalism’ in Jax Beach” via Florida Politics

On the road, Adam Putnam and his son, Hughes, stopped at Dreamette in Jacksonville for shakes and freezes.

Assignment editors: Putnam will continue his 10-day, 22-city bus tour with a small business roundtable at 9:50 a.m. (CST) at Dog House Deli, 30 South Palafox Place in Pensacola. He’ll then attend a meet-and-greet with supporters at noon (CST) at Brotula’s Seafood House and Steamer, 210 Harbor Boulevard in Destin. He’ll wrap up his day at 6 p.m. (CST) at the Jackson County Lincoln Day Dinner at the Graceville Civic Center, 5224 Brown Street in Graceville. Putnam will wrap up his 10-day bus tour on Saturday at noon at the Suwannee Valley Grassroots BBQ at Gaylard Family Farm, 7182 240th Street in O’Brien. Media interested in attending the BBQ should email amanda@adamputnam.com by 8:00 p.m., May 19.

Assignment editors: Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine will speak at noon at Tampa Bay Tiger Bay Club at the Chester H. Ferguson Law Center, 1610 N. Tampa Street in Tampa.

***Smith, Bryan & Myers is an all-inclusive governmental relations firm located in Tallahassee. For more than three decades, SBM has been working with our clients to deliver their priorities through strategic and effective government relations consulting that has led us to become one of Tallahassee’s premier governmental relations firms today.***

Matt Caldwell was in Kevin Sweeny’s territory on Friday:

Ryan Yadav mulling Democratic run for AG” via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising — The Winter Park attorney said this week he is contemplating a Democratic run for Florida attorney general. “I have recently been contacted by people throughout the State encouraging me to run for Attorney General in 2018. I am seriously considering the venture and will make a decision over the summer,” Yadav declared in a message to Orlando-Rising.com. “Based upon my qualifications, trial experience, and fire in the belly — If I run I will win!” Yadav ran unsuccessfully last year for the House District 30 seat. Republican state Rep. Bob Cortes won re-election, beating him, 53 to 47 percent.

Now we have a race – “Kissimmee chamber chief John Newstreet enters HD 44 contest” via Scott Powers of Orlando RisingNewstreet, chief executive officer of the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce and a former aide to U.S. Sens. Mel Martinez and Marco Rubio, announced he’s entering the House District 44 race going to a special election this summer. “I believe I’m prepared and qualified to successfully champion the conservative values that will grow our economy, strengthen our schools, keep our taxes low, cut job-killing regulations and protect our Second Amendment rights.” Newstreet enters a race in which former Winter Garden Commissioner Bobby Olszewski had established himself as the early front-runner, even before Republican state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle resigned early this month to take an appointment from Gov. Rick Scott as a judge on Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeals.

Legislative hopefuls eye 2018 — LobbyTools’ Legislative IQ reports several candidates have filed to run for state House and Senate races in 2018. Democrat Ryan Rossi has filed to replace Rep. Bill Hager in House District 89. Rossi is a sales associate with William Raveis Real Estate Mortgage & Insurance, and studied political science and international relations at Florida Atlantic University. Hager, a Republican, can’t run again because of term limits. Democrat Stephanie Myers has joined the race to replace Rep. George Moraitis in House District 93. Myers is the director of the Broward County ACLU and a member of the Broward Progressive Caucus. She joins Jonathon May, who has already announced a run. Moraitis can’t run again because of term limits. In House District 109, Democrat Cedric McMinn has thrown his hat in the race to replace Rep. Cynthia Stafford. McMinn is a former Miami-Dade Democratic Party official and worked as an outreach director for former Gov. Charlie Crist. McMinn joins former state Rep. James Bush III in the Democratic primary. Stafford can’t run again because of term limits. LobbyTools’ Legislative IQ also reports Libertarian Spenser Garber has dropped his bid for House District 3. Garber was challenging Rep. Jayer Williamson, who will still face Democrat Preston Bartholomew Anderson in 2018.

— STATEWIDE —

Scott doesn’t let politics get in way of investing in firm that believes in climate change” via Dan Christensen of the Florida Bulldog – When Scott ran for Governor in 2010, he told a reporter he wasn’t convinced that global warming was real. In 2015, the Scott administration was reported to have told state employees to lay off using ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ in official communications. Today, the governor’s office dodges questions about Scott’s position on the use of those terms, saying instead, “Governor Scott is focused on real solutions to protect our environment.” Still, the ultra-wealthy Scott hasn’t let his politics get in the way of making money. Through first lady Ann Scott, the governor has a substantial financial stake in a sizable mosquito control company that recently declared on its Facebook page that “mosquitos will only get worse thanks to #climatechange and ‘#globalwarming.”

Florida’s hurricane fund remains strong heading into season” via The Associated Press – Estimates prepared by Raymond James show the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund will have $17.6 billion available this year. This marks the second year in a row that the fund has more money than it would need to pay out if storms racked the state. The financial health of the fund is important because the state can impose a surcharge on most insurance policies to replenish it if the money runs out. Some critics have called the surcharge a “hurricane tax.” The fund has grown because Florida has avoided major hurricanes since 2005.

Citrus budget would restore tax cut” via Kevin Bouffard of the Lakeland Ledger –The first draft of the 2017-18 Florida Department of Citrus budget proposes eliminating a 3-cent tax abatement, getting a chilly reception from members of the Florida Citrus Commission. Executive Director Shannon Shepp told the commission, the department’s governing body, the 3-cent tax increase per box of juice oranges and grapefruit represented the end of a “tax abatement” commissioners agreed to a year ago. The First draft gave the commission a chance to discuss the budget in public. A final budget, which may or may not include the elimination of the abatement — what some see as a 43 percent tax increase — will be proposed in October.

Mute Constitution Revision Commissioners hear from Tampa Bay” via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – People asked for less gun control and more. Open primaries to empower nonpartisan voters. A change to the constitution’s privacy clause so that it no longer thwarts abortion restrictions, and no change to that clause. They asked for protections for black bears and protections for public schools against charter schools siphoning money away. They asked for more transparency from the CRC, which is still grappling with how much to embrace Florida’s Sunshine Laws, more solar power, and less opportunity for expanded gambling. The commissioners remained mostly mute throughout the evening, many of them quietly pecking away on their laptops and phones as the testimony continued. Chairman Carlos Beruff was particularly hostile to occasional applause from the audience at the start, so the crowd — seemingly dominated by progressive-leaning citizens — waved green cards when they heard something they liked and a red card for something they disliked.

Floridians make their voices heard at Hillsborough Community College’s (HCC) Dale Mabry Campus in Tampa.

— OPINIONS —

School choice will lift up black community” via T. Willard Fair for USA TODAY – We know that far too many black children are sitting in classrooms where they are not learning. We know their schools have fewer resources. We know their teachers, on average, are less qualified. We know expectations for these children are set lower than the expectations for students in more affluent suburban schools. This reality is what led me, along with other civil rights leaders, to go in a different direction — to advocate for giving parents the power to pursue better options for their children. I saw the devastating impact that powerlessness had on the black community in the 1950s and 60s. And I see that same dynamic at play for black parents today. Once we were told where we could live and work, play and pray, eat and gather. I find it no more acceptable that today we are told where our children can go to school. Give them the power, and give them options from every sector of education — be it public or private.

What Michael Van Sickler is reading –Editorial: Terrible budget for public education deserves Scott veto” via the Palm Beach Post – Scott should use his power. Because there’s plenty concerning education in the $82.4 billion budget to dislike.  The last time a budget offered so small an increase in overall funding for public schools (just 1.2 percent), it was 2011-2012 and the state was pulling out of the recession. Palm Beach County schools, like others in the state, is to get just one-third of 1 percent more in per-student funding. For another year, look for Florida near the bottom in state rankings. The budget also clips $25 million from the state colleges, like Palm Beach State College. That’s hardly wise at a time when more adults are heading to school for long-delayed degrees or job retraining. There’s more bad news in the accompanying “Schools of Hope” bill (HB 7069), mashed together behind closed doors … with no input from educators or the public. The measure, a Corcoranfavorite that barely passed the Senate, allocates $140 million to entice out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies to set up shop near struggling traditional public schools, theoretically to give kids a better chance to succeed — theoretically, that is, because the record on charter school performance is mixed.

— WE DIDN’T WANT THIS STORY TO GO VIRAL —

Scott Plakon shares Facebook post from neo-Nazi site, insists he had no idea what it was” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – The headline may have been funny, even in a bipartisan way: “Breaking: FBI Uncovers Evidence that 62 Million Trump Voters are All Russian Agents.” But the source and the link embedded in a Facebook post Plakon shared Wednesday night was neo-Nazi and white supremacist. When alerted that he shared a link to a notorious neo-Nazi site, Plakon expressed shock, immediately took down the post, and declared that he had no idea. He said never followed the link on his own Facebook post, and he said he had never looked at the site before he was alerted … “Wow,” he said after glancing at the site, dailystormer.com. “First, I apologize to those that were offended by my careless post. Second I detest and condemn the disgusting ideas that are represented by that site.” The site, run by Andrew Anglin, is universally described in mainstream media as a neo-Nazi, white-supremacist site that specializes in sending out memes and trolls throughout social media. Earlier this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center declared the site to be “the top hate site in America.” “I had no idea,” Plakon insisted.

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— MOVEMENTS —

Scoop from the decks of the Disney Magic –Office of Insurance Regulation veteran Belinda Miller announces retirement” via Florida Politics — Belinda Miller, a stalwart of Florida’s insurance regulation efforts since 1985, will retire on July 2, but plans to keep her hand in the industry via consulting work. “I’m going to retire from the state,” Miller said during a telephone interview Thursday. “It’s just time. I’ve been there a long time, so I’m going to play a little bit.” She expects to do some work for Celtic Global Consulting, the firm former Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty set up after he left office last year. …  She was a candidate to replace McCarty, but the job when to David Altmaier. …  Not getting the top job had nothing to do with her departure, Miller said. “I’m happy that David is the commissioner,” she said. “He is very good. I worked with David for maybe nine years now. We have a good team. I hate to leave that group of people. They’re wonderful.”

Top Latino political group hires former FDP political director” via Maxwell Tani of Business Insider – Latino Victory Project, a top Democratic group backing Latino candidates and progressives, is staffing up as it prepares for the 2018 midterm elections … the group announced it hired Mayra Macias, the former political director at the Florida Democratic Party, to head up the organization’s political operation as it begins launching affiliates in states like Georgia, New York, Arizona, and Florida, which have large Latino populations disproportionate to Latino representation in government. “This past election cycle showed the country the power of the Latino vote and the potential to grow this electorate,” Macias said in a statement. Founded in 2014 by actress Eva Longoriaand Democratic National Committee treasurer Henry Muñoz III, the group recently refocused as a progressive organization after initially casting itself as more middle-of-the-road, occasionally backing Republican candidates. But following the 2016 election, the group decided that the leaders of the Republican Party were openly hostile to policies that would benefit Latinos.

New and renewed lobby registrations

Jon Costello, Gary Rutledge, Rutledge Ecenia: 3M and Its Affiliates

Mercer Fearington, Clark Smith Southern Strategy Group: 3M and Its Affiliates

Rob Fields, Suskey Consulting: TmaxSoft

Rebecca Roman, Adams St. Advocates: DataLogic Software

— ALOE —

A history of Ringling Bros. circus, soon to close forever” via The Associated Press – The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is drawing to a close this weekend after 146 years of performances and travel that at times have been marred by tragedy and celebrated in film, but also constant. The circus has its roots in a spectacle that began two decades before the U.S. Civil War, equal parts freak show, zoo and museum. Traveling performances began in 1871, and 10 years later it officially became the circus that generations grew up watching. It has evolved over the years, most recently with its decision to retire its elephant acts.

What Twitter’s privacy changes mean to you” via The Associated Press – Twitter was already tracking users. For example, if you visited a webpage that had an embedded tweet or a button to share something on Twitter, you could be tracked and targeted. With the changes, Twitter expands the pool of people it can track and lets the company collect more data about those people when they are visiting sites around the web. In addition, Twitter will no longer honor the “Do Not Track” option that let people say no to being tracked by the likes of ad and social networks. Many such networks no longer honor that option anyway. Polonetsky said Twitter had been “one of the rare prominent brands that respected Do Not Track.”

Happy birthday to Sens. Daphne Campbell, Greg Steube, and Kathleen Passidomo.

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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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