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 … Madeira Beach. That’s right, after 26 days, we’re back home and likely not leaving again for a very long time. As wonderful as our adventure was, there truly is no place like home. Let’s begin this edition with a scoop from the campaign trail.
— GWEN GRAHAM TRUMPS CHRIS KING —
Gwen Graham has only officially been in the race for governor for about a month, but her campaign is reporting she has raised more than $2.25 million, surpassing the $2 million raised by rival Chris King.
According to her campaign, Graham raised $1.5 million in May — $430,000 to her official campaign account and more than $1 million toward Our Florida Political Committee, the political committee backing her 2018 run. The combined total raised between the campaign and political committee is now $2.25 million, according to her campaign.
“I’m humbled by the outpouring of support we’ve received from Floridians across our state. Florida families understand that after almost twenty years of Republican rule in Tallahassee, we’re running out of time. Too many families are struggling to get by, too many children are at risk of losing their future, and too much of our land and water is threatened,” she said in a statement. “As governor, I will renew our promise to public education, build an economy that works for every Floridian, and fight to protect our environment.”
The King campaign said Monday it had passed the $2 million mark in total contributions in May, and raised $212,000 during the one-month period, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
May fundraising numbers weren’t immediately available for Democrat Andrew Gillum.
Campaign finance reports covering the month of May are due to the Division of Elections by June 12.
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— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL —
“Libertarian candidate Joe Wendt entering 2018 U.S. Senate race” via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising — Wendt, 32, has claim to fame in the Libertarian Party of Florida, having finished second with 43 percent of the vote in a 2012 Soil and Water Conservation District race in Hillsborough County, one of the best showings ever for a Libertarian in any Florida election. This time he wants to shoot statewide, focusing on incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and his expected Republican opponent, Gov. Rick Scott in the 2018 election. “I’m realistic, but I think I can do well,” Wendt said. … He also may be looking at a potentially major candidate for a primary within the Libertarian Party: right-wing political fire-breather, consultant, and author Roger J. Stone Jr. The consultant to President Donald Trump’s campaign is a registered Libertarian, and he’s been subject to rumors this year, as well as in 2016, that he would seek office himself, in Florida. They’re rumors that Stone himself apparently likes to stoke, including in a Draft Roger Stone for Senate Facebook page that includes pictures of him in front of Roger Stone for Senate signs, and no one is quite certain if he’s serious.
Wendy Davis backs Graham for Governor — The former Texas state senator threw her support behind Graham during a Ruth’s List event in Orlando over the weekend. “She has shown compassion, grit, and a determination to work for all Floridians. I am proud to endorse Gwen Graham for Governor of Florida,” said Davis in a statement. “When I took to the floor of the Texas State Senate to filibuster a bill that would restrict vital women’s health care access, and then ran for Governor of Texas, I did so because someone had to take a stand. Now I’m proud to be standing with Gwen as we chart the future of values we care about.” Graham, a former U.S. representative, said as Florida’s first female governor she would make Florida “one that respects women and gives them the support they need to be successful.”
Assignment editors: Gillum will meet with the Puerto Rican Leadership Council at 9 a.m. at the Center for Peace Islamic Society of Central Florida, 1021 N. Goldenrod Road in Orlando. Gillum will then highlight protecting seniors’ healthcare and retirement benefits during remarks to the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans Annual Conference at 11 a.m. at the Florida Hotel & Conference Center, 1500 Sand Lake Road in Orlando.
“Pam Bondi to back Tampa’s Ashley Moody to succeed her as Attorney General” via Dan Sullivan of the Tampa Bay Times — Bondi said on Monday that Moody is her preferred successor, and the candidate she will support in the 2018 race. “I’ve known her most of her life,” Bondi said. “I don’t think there could be a more qualified candidate for attorney general in the entire state of Florida. I whole-heartedly support Ashley and I’m proud of her for wanting to sacrifice so much for our state.” … Moody served as a circuit judge in Hillsborough for 10 years before abruptly resigning in April. …. Last week, Moody filed to run for the office with the state Division of Elections. She is expected to officially announce her candidacy Tuesday. The other candidates are Republican State Representative Jay Fant of Jacksonville and Democrat Ryan Torrens of Tampa . “No one will outwork Ashley Moody in this race,” Bondi said.
“Mitch Berger may run for Attorney General if Jack Seiler doesn’t” via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald — Mitchell Berger, a prominent Democratic donor, says he will consider running for Florida Attorney General if Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler decides not to run. “If he says ‘no’ I will certainly think about it,” Berger said. “I’m trying to get Jack to do it. He would be the right person — he would have my support if he is going to do it.” Berger founded Berger Singerman law firm in 1985 and lives in Fort Lauderdale. He has hosted several fundraisers for national candidates including Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Happening Thursday — Annette Taddeo hosts fundraiser at The Biltmore Hotel — Taddeo’s campaign is hosting a fundraiser at 6 p.m. at The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. The event host committee, according to the campaign, features a “growing list of supporters who are excited about picking up a key state Senate seat in Miami-Dade and are enthusiastically behind Annette’s campaign.” The host committee, according to a copy of the invitation, includes Rep. Charlie Crist, David Geller, Chris Korge, and John Morgan. A few lawmakers who were expected to attend were taken off the invite because of the special session, said Christian Ulvert, Taddeo’s political consultant, in an email accompanying the invitation. Lawmakers can’t fundraise during session. Taddeo is one of three Democrats vying to replace Artiles, who resigned earlier this year amid scandal, in Senate District 40. Democrats Ana Rivas Logan and Steve Smith are also running for their party’s nomination. On the Republican side, Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz are running. The special primary is July 25, with the special general election on Sept. 26.
“Alex Diaz de la Portilla’s sole income source: Firm he founded, paid $900K for work on brother’s failed race” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — The Republican state Senate candidate made all his income last year through a political consulting firm he founded the same year it was paid nearly $1 million for work on his brother’s failed state Senate run. Díaz de la Portilla said his firm, First Stone Management, which he started in January 2016, earned income from other sources in addition to his brother’s campaign and committees associated with the race. He said that money was from private sources and would not discuss it further because it is “proprietary and confidential.” He would only say that his firm was paid from outside sources for things like advertising and mailers. … “Work was done for multiple clients,” he told POLITICO Florida. “90 percent was flow-through to everything from TV to US Post office. All the mediums used in political communication.”
“Bob Buckhorn crosses party lines to help Shawn Harrison’s bid for re-election” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – As Harrison already begins looking forward to getting re-elected next year, he’s getting assistance from one of the biggest Democrats in the region, Buckhorn. “I support people who support the City of Tampa and our legislative issues,” Buckhorn told FloridaPolitics.com in a text message. “He never forgot what it was like to be a local elected official and has been a voice of reason in a political party that has made local government a target. It seems to me that we are all better served when our elected officials care more about their community that their political issues.” Harrison has voted against the majority of his party in a few notable cases, such as when he supported a hybrid version of Medicaid expansion a few years ago. He also supported economic incentives for Enterprise Florida, a position Buckhorn backed and which earned him the public rebuke of Gov. Scott at an appearance at MOSI early this year.
Save the date: Shawn Harrison to host June 29 fundraiser — The Tampa Republican is kicking off his 2018 re-election campaign with a fundraiser at the Tampa Theatre. The event is hosted by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, Rep. Jose Oliva, and Rep. Chris Sprowls, according to a copy of the invitation.
More legislative hopefuls file to run in 2018 — LobbyTools’ Legislative IQ reports several candidates filed to run for legislative seats in 2018. Democrat Bob Doyel, a former circuit judge, has filed to run against Sen. Kelli Stargel in Senate District 22. Republican Michael Cantu has filed to run against Democratic Rep. Patrick Henry in House District 26. Cantu, who unsuccessfully ran in 2014 and 2016, is a former professional musician and a graduate of the University of Central Florida. Three Republicans have filed to replace House Speaker Richard Corcoran in House District 37. Bill Gunter, a pastor at Redeemer Community Church, has filed to run for the seat. Gunter won the GOP primary to replace Mike Fasano during a 2013 special election, but ultimately lost to Amanda Murphy. Elle Rudisill, an assistant state attorney for the 6th Judicial Circuit in Pinellas and Pasco counties, also announced she planned to run. George Agovino filed to run for the seat earlier this year. Corcoran can’t run for re-election because of term limits. Democrat Carmelo Garcia filed to run against Rep. Sam Killebrew, a Winter Haven republican, In House District 41. In 2016, he briefly ran in Florida’s 9th Congressional District. Democrat Tony Munnings has filed to run against Rep. Cary Pigman in House District 55. Munnings has previously filed to run for office, but failed to qualify in the last two election cycles. Democrat David Poulin droped out of the House District 56 race, leaving two Republicans — Melony Bell and Jeff Mann — vying to replace Rep. Ben Albritton, who can’t run again because of term limits. Democrat Jeffrey Solomon has filed to run in House District 115. Solomon, a South Florida chiropractor, has run in House District 115 three times before. He challenged Rep. Michael Bileca in 2012 and 2016, and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz in 2010.
— LAYING DOWN THE CRC LAW —
You could call it the wild west of the Florida Constitution.
The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has been operating without an agreed upon set of rules since March, when the uniquely Florida committee convened for the first time in 20 years.
Since then, the 37-member committee has been touring the state, hearing from Floridians interested in everything from restoring voting rights for non-violent felons to seceding from the union — plus plenty of people have been sounding off about the rules, or in this case the lack thereof.
That could all end today when the full commission meets at the University of Central Florida’s FAIRWINDS Alumni Center to consider — and likely vote on, the rules of the 2017-18 commission. But with dozens of amendments and substitute amendments on the agenda, don’t expect it to be a short and peaceful meeting.
Some background: Commission Chairman Carlos Beruff, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, has proposed rules that would, among other things, limit the full committee’s power to override committees; allow private meetings between committee members; and give Beruff the power to send proposals back to committees after another committee amends it.
Those rules have drawn the ire of watchdog groups, and even some of the members of the commission. While a working group was formed to offer up suggestions, members of the working group — including Sen. Tom Lee, appointed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, and former Sen. Don Gaetz, appointed by Senate President Joe Negron — have indicated they aren’t in favor of the rules as written.
Lee filed an amendment last week to adopt the 1997-98 commission rules. Gaetz and Rich Newsome, who was appointed by Corcoran, have co-sponsored the amendment.
Gaetz has filed several amendments, including one that would allow two or more commissioners to meet to discuss commission business, as long as the meeting is “publicly noticed by the Secretary of the Commission on the Commission’s website with at least three hours’ notice and is held in a meeting room in the Capitol Complex approved for such purpose.”
The full commission meets at 9 a.m. at the University of Central Florida’s FAIRWINDS Alumni Center, 12676 Gemini Blvd. N. in Orlando. The meeting is open to the public and will be live-streamed on www.TheFloridaChannel.org.
— CAPITOL INSIGHT —
“‘Progress’ on getting marijuana in Special Session but ‘no deal’ yet” via Florida Politics – Legislative leaders working behind the scenes are getting closer to putting medical cannabis implementation into the call of this week’s Special Session. One senator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “some progress” had been made but there was “no deal” as of Monday afternoon. When this week’s Wednesday-Friday Special Session was announced last Friday, it only included plans to fund education, tourism marketing and economic development. That’s despite dozens of lawmakers, including House Speaker Corcoran, who have said the Legislature needs to pass implementing legislation this year for the state’s constitutional amendment on medical marijuana.
“Bill filed detailing student funding for Special Session” via Jeffrey Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times – Many of the specific amounts that House PreK-12 Appropriations chairman Manny Diaz proposed remain the same from measure to measure. Those include spending levels for school recognition, exceptional student education, safe schools, supplemental academic instruction, instructional materials, classroom supplies, student transportation and digital classrooms. Under Diaz’s bill, the base student allocation would rise $43.24 over the fourth calculation from 2016-17, to $4,203.95. That amount is $70.31 higher than the BSA lawmakers initially adopted this spring. The Diaz proposal also would decrease school districts overall required local tax effort by more than $1.5 million from the original budget. Lawmakers passed a bill calling for $7,605,379,015. HB 3A would set the required local effort at $7,603,850,013.
“New economic development bill gives governor $85 million grant fund with few strings attached” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – The agreement, between House Speaker Corcoran and the governor, and signed off on by Senate President Negron last week, paved the way for Scott to sign the $83 billion budget … and call for a three-day special session … In calling back legislators, the governor directed them to add $215 million in K-12 funding to the budget, restore $75 million to the tourism marketing agency, Visit Florida and create an $85 million grant program within the Department of Economic Opportunity. If they pass the bills, many expect the governor to sign Corcoran’s priority legislation, HB 7069. The economic development bill proposed by the House, HB 1A, will regulate how taxpayer money is used for economic development. The bill says that DEO and Enterprise Florida will “identify projects, solicit proposals, and make funding recommendations to the Governor, who is authorized to approve” them.
“Rick Scott defends record-setting budget vetoes” via Gary Fineout of The Associated Press –Scott‘s veto total – which was about 14 percent of the entire $82.4 billion budget – included the main state account that goes to public schools. But the governor also vetoed roughly 400 projects worth nearly $410 million that were placed in the budget by Republicans and Democrats. Some counties that are home to top Republican legislators – including Miami-Dade, Pasco and Pinellas counties – had a long list of budget vetoes. Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, who had several projects vetoed, tweeted out that “we won’t stop fighting for the worthy projects Floridians need, want and deserve.” During a stop in Panama City, Scott maintained that his vetoes did not target any legislators who had upset him this year. “We look at every line to see whether it’s good for Florida families,” Scott said.
Bill watch – Gov. Scott was presented with 25 bills on Monday. He has until Tuesday, June 20 to act. As of Monday, 93 bills were on the Governor’s desk. Monday’s bills include SB 128, a procedural fix to the state’s “stand your ground” law; SB 436 on “religious expression in public schools,” and SB 494, which would allow more people wrongfully convicted and imprisoned in Florida to receive compensation for their time behind bars.
Assignment editors: Gov. Scott will highlight security funding for Jewish Day schools during a press conference at 9 a.m. at Brauser Maimonides Academy, 5300 SW 40th Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. He’ll then highlight the funding during a press conference at noon at Orlando Torah Academy, 8651 Commodity Circle in Orlando.
“Mike Dew named Secretary of Florida Department of Transportation” via Florida Politics – As expected, Gov. Scott named Dew, the Florida Department of Transportation‘s chief of staff, as its next Secretary, effective immediately … FloridaPolitics.com first told readers that Dew had received a call from the Governor’s Office telling him the job was his. Dew, who put in for the top spot the morning of the deadline to apply, was Scott‘s external affairs director in 2011-12. He bested the other finalists: Florida Transportation Commissioner Ron Howse and former FDOT assistant secretary Richard Biter. The position became open when former Secretary Jim Boxold resigned in January to join Tallahassee’s Capital City Consulting firm.
— Flashback to May 17 – “Mike Dew is a shoo-in for Transportation Dep’t’s top job” via Florida Politics
P.S. Look for Dave Mica, Jr. to be named interim Secretary of the Florida Lottery.
— STATEWIDE —
Assignment editors: First Lady Ann Scott will make her first stop on her 2017 Summer Literacy Adventure at 10 a.m. (CDT) at Eden Gardens State Park, 181 Eden Gardens Road in Santa Rosa Beach. Scott is expected to read to students from The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast during her visit.
Happening tonight – Marco Rubio, F. Rooney expected to join President Trump for dinner — President Donald Trump has invited a half dozen members of Congress to dinner at the White House, according to POLITICO. Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Francis Rooney, a Naples Republican and the former ambassador to the Holy See, are among those expected to attend the outreach dinner. Also on the invite list, according to POLITICO, Sens. Cory Gardner, Tom Cotton, and Todd Young, and Rep. Lee Zeldin.
“New deal? Gretna asks court to reconsider slots ruling” via Florida Politics – Lawyers for a North Florida racetrack have asked the state’s Supreme Court to rehear argument in a case over whether pari-mutuels can add slot machines in counties that passed referendums allowing them. Gretna Racing filed a motion for rehearing late Friday, court dockets show … Last month, the court unanimously ruled against the track, meaning that gambling facilities in Gadsden County’s Gretna and in seven other counties that passed referendums allowing slots cannot offer them … The track’s 12-page motion counters, in part, that the justices “misapprehended” case law on counties’ home rule authority.
“No Casinos responds to criticism it’s ‘misinformed’ about casino gambling” via Florida Politics – The state’s anti-gambling expansion group is pushing back against comments it’s “misinformed” about casino gambling not being a “meaningful attraction for Florida tourism.” Steven Norton, a longtime gambling executive and consultant, linked to Nick Sortal’s Friday column for the Miami Herald in Norton’s Monday email roundup of the gambling scene in the South … In his own commentary, Norton points to Las Vegas: “It’s not just the gaming, but the entire experience… you will find many potential visitors who will not vacation at a resort unless casino gaming is available.” … But Paul Seago, No Casinos’ executive director, pointed to a report commissioned by the Legislature in 2013 — the same one mentioned in the Herald column — concluding that “even if destination casinos were built, 95 percent of the revenue would be derived from locals.”
“Regulators reject Duke request to make customers pay more” via Florida Politics — State utility regulators refused to let Duke Energy Florida add $4.70 to customers’ bills effective July 1 to cover rising fuel costs. The Florida Public Service Commission, which regulates investor-owned utilities, voted instead to make the utility wait until this fall to propose a fuel-cost adjustment. Any increase would begin to take effect July 1 next year. That could mean a steeper increase next July 1, when a separate $4.25 boost tied to the coming online of a new natural gas-fired generating plant in Citrus County. The utility plans to retire one of its coal-burning generators. But it would allow a truer picture of Duke’s actual fuel costs for the year, the commissioner reasoned. “(Duke) wanted to smooth it out, and the commission said, No, we’d rather just look at it all in the upcoming hearing in the fall, and see it there are offsets. And maybe we can look at your projections and see whether you are projecting something wrong,” Deputy Public Charles Rehwinkel said.
“Cover-up at Port Richey P.D.?” via Noah Pransky of WTSP – Following a whistleblower’s tip, 10Investigates launched a four-month investigation into the Port Richey Police Department, where officers allegedly accessed personnel records to remove detrimental discipline and evaluations: an apparent violation of several Florida state criminal statutes. Research included numerous records requests and interviews with officers, former officers, and several with current police chief, Gerard DeCanio … not only had dozens of disciplinary documents gone missing from both police department and city HR records, but also a lack of appetite from DeCanio to launch an internal investigation or ask for outside help to get to the bottom of how the records – which are required to be retained by state law – disappeared. DeCanio insisted the problems happened before he re-joined the department October as chief.
— PRAYERS FOR ORLANDO —
“Sheriff: Fired worker kills 5, then self as sire approached” via Terrance Harris and Mike Schneider with the Associated Press — A lone gunman returned with a semi-automatic pistol to the Orlando awning factory where was fired in April and methodically killed five people on Monday, then killed himself at the sound of an approaching siren, the Orange County sheriff said. Sheriff Jerry Demings identified the shooter as John Robert Neumann Jr., a 45-year-old Army veteran who lived alone and did not appear to be a member of any type of subversive or terrorist organization. The shooting began at about 8 a.m. after Neuman slipped through a rear door into the cavernous factory, an area that stretches across more than two football fields where awnings are stitched together for recreational vehicles. “My experience tells me that this individual made deliberate thought to do what he did today. He had a plan of action,” the sheriff said. “We have information that at least one of (the victims), he had a negative relationship with. He was certainly singling out the individuals he shot.”
“Orlando shooter came in knowing who he wanted to kill, not to kill” via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising — Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said John Robert Neumann Jr., 45, whose hometown has not yet been disclosed, slipped in through a rear door of Fiamma and encountered a new employee, a temporary employee, who was not working there when Neumann was fired a few weeks ago in April. “He pointed a firearm at her and told her to get out of the business,” Demings said. … In a matter of a few minutes, Neumann had killed Robert Snyder, 59, Brenda Motanez-Crespo, 44, Kevin Clark, 53, Jeffrey Roberts, 57, and Kevin Lawson, 47, at the Fiamma facility on Forsyth Road, just north of the Hanging Moss Road intersection in east Orange County.
“Orlando shootings: WFTV anchor turns personal” via Hal Boedecker of the Orlando Sentinel — Coverage of the Orlando shootings Monday morning took an unusually personal turn for WFTV-Channel 9 anchor Nancy Alvarez. She relayed that she was hearing from a childhood friend — a pal who said that her father-in-law was among those shot. The WFTV anchor told her friend that she loved her but acknowledged that few details about what happened were then available. … As viewers waited for confirmation of what had happened, Alvarez also dropped the anchor veneer. She said she was sick of all the violence and cited an incident last week when a man brandished a fake gun at Orlando International Airport. “This isn’t Orlando,” she said. She said the community would come together.
— “Orlando shooter: Who is John Robert Neumann Jr.?” via Christal Hayes of the Orlando Sentinel
Florida leaders react to the Orlando shooting:
— U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson: “The city of Orlando, which is still healing from the Pulse massacre, has seen too much violence this past year. We must do more to address mental health issues in this country.”
— Gov. Scott: “Over the past year, the Orlando community has been challenged like never before. I have been briefed by our law enforcement officials on this tragic incident and Ann and I are praying for the families who lost loved ones today. I ask all Floridians to pray for the families impacted by this senseless act of violence. I will remain in contact with the Orlando law enforcement community throughout the day as more information is made available.”
— Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam: “In the wake of today’s shooting in Orange County, my prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, first responders and the entire the Central Florida community.”
— Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum: “My deepest sympathies go out to the victims’ families and friends after today’s tragedy in Winter Park. It has been a difficult year for the Orlando area – one punctuated by the worst mass shooting in American history and a tragedy where two law enforcement officers lost their lives. But the community has rallied together to stand united in love and solidarity, and in the wake of today’s mass shooting, I pray they find the strength to continue to do so. We must do more to stop Florida’s epidemic of gun violence – not simply send our thoughts and prayers in the wake of lost lives.”
— U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy: “I’m incredibly saddened by the news of this morning’s tragic shooting in Orlando. My heart breaks for the families and co-workers affected, and I join all Floridians in praying for a quick recovery for those injured and for the families who lost a loved one. The Orlando community is also grateful to our first responders for their speed, bravery, and professionalism, especially the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. I am incredibly thankful for their dedicated public service. “Orlando has endured far too much heartbreak over the past year, and it’s especially important we remain united and supportive of one another. This senseless act of violence happened just one week away from the anniversary of the Pulse attack, only adding to our community’s collective grief. In these difficult moments, we must continue to find strength in one another. We are Orlando strong and Orlando united.”
— U.S. Rep. Darren Soto: “Our thoughts & prayers are with the victims of #ForsythShooting. I encourage public to support law enforcement investigation.”
— Sen. Linda Stewart: “Orlando business shooting is not terrorist attack. Mental Health issues more likely, again a continued need for more help.”
— Rep. Jason Brodeur: “Hug your family. Be vigilant. Local Family Help Line: 407-679-0100. Ext. 3087.”
— Rep. Chris Sprowls: “My heartfelt prayers to the families & victims of the shooting in Orlando. A big thank you to first responders who contained the situation.”
— Rep. Jennifer Sullivan: “Praying for the families effected in the Orlando shooting. My heart is grieved at the thought of yet more loss.”
— Rep. Frank White: “Thoughts and prayers for those affected in today’s tragic shooting in Orlando.”
— State Attorney Aramis Ayala: “A sad day in Orlando. My most sincere condolences to the families impacted. Much respect and honor to Orange County Sheriff’s Office and first responders.”
— OPINIONS —
“Darryl Paulson: In defense of politics” via Florida Politics – How did politics fall from “the greatest and most honorable adventure,” to ranking below cockroaches? Polarization, hypocrisy and corruption are three primary factors associated with the decline of politics. Compromise is seen as weakness and an evil … Politics has made important contributions to our nation. In fact, our nation would not exist if it was not for the political efforts of those who opposed the tyranny of the Crown. Without politics, we would not have our constitution, over which they were great divisions. We would not have ended slavery and kept the nation united without politics. We would not have triumphed over the horrors of fascism in World War II or communism in the Cold War without a united political effort. Those who denigrate politics and politicians do so at their own peril.
“Joe Henderson: Tallahassee gets Special Session, the public gets the bill” via Florida Politics – Scott got what he wanted. Corcoran got what he wanted. What everyone else got was a take-it-or-leave-it deal that smacked of smoke-filled rooms and quid pro quos. Even Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, who chairs the Senate’s budget panel on tourism and economic development, was left out of the conversation. That led to this cynical tweet from Republican state Senator and possible gubernatorial candidate Jack Latvala: “It’s a shame the House wouldn’t negotiate during the regular session. Now we have to spend $60-70k a day on a special session.” Write that on the tombstone for this Legislative Session. Corcoran really, really wanted more money for those “Schools of Hope” charters that would otherwise have gone to public schools. Assuming lawmakers go along to get along, Corcoran wins. Scott wins. And what do we, the people, receive? As always, we get the bill.
— MOVEMENTS —
Appointed – Virginia Johns to the Governing Board of Suwannee River Water Management District; Clifford Newsome to the Calhoun County School Board; Jaime Weisinger and Brandon Tucker to the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District and John Henslick to the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
Appointed – Judge Eric Roberson to the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court; Gregory G. Groger to the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court and Thomas James Coleman to the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court.
“Personnel note: Rosanna Catalano joins Capitol Access” via Florida Politics – Attorney Catalano is joining Capitol Access, a government relations firm in Tallahassee. “We are excited about this new relationship,” said Jerry Paul, founder and managing member of the firm. “Ro’s experience, professionalism, and high-energy personality are a perfect fit for Capitol Access and the clients we serve.” Catalano has been executive director and chief administrative officer for the Florida Elections Commission, according to a press release. She also was assistant general counsel at the Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration.
New and renewed lobby registrations: Brett Heuchan, The Labrador Company: AltMed LLC; Richard Heffley, Kelly Horton, Heffley & Associates: FFT Technologies
On this week’s edition of The Rotunda — Trimmel Gomes’ latest episode of The Rotunda, features the Orlando Sentinel’s Gray Rohrer reporting on the art of the backroom deals leading to Governor Rick Scott’s official call for a special session. Plus, President Donald Trump finds an unlikely ally in a former Executive Director of the Florida Democratic Party. Gomes also interviews Barney Bishop who says many other Blue Dog Democrats are standing in support of Trump and his calls for Tax Reform.
— ALOE —
“Collector charged in theft of Star Wars items in California” via Kristen Bender of The Associated Press – Steve Sansweet, the owner of the largest privately owned collection of Star Wars memorabilia in the world, said he feels lucky he found out about the theft of $200,000 worth of prized vintage action figures from his California nonprofit museum before it was too late. About 120 pieces were stolen between 2015 and 2016 by a friend who stayed at the compound four times during that period, Sansweet said. The sprawling collections are set up on shelves and are not behind glass or under lock and key. About 100 of the stolen items have been recovered, he said. Police arrested Carl Edward Cunningham, 45, of Marietta, Georgia, and in March, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office charged him with felony grand theft.
Happy birthday to Reps. Charles McBurney and Jeanette Nunez.