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Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – 12.5.16

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

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


Jeb Bush is bringing his star power to the Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in what is being described as a strategic affiliation through his firm Jeb Bush & Associates.

The two-term Florida governor and former presidential candidate will offer his decades of expertise as a consultant, executive and thought leader, according to a statement by the firm first shared with Florida Politics.

“There are very few people that have the breadth of experience that Governor Bush has both in the public and private sector,” said Buchanan CEO Joseph Dougherty. “We believe his insight will be a tremendous asset to our attorneys and clients.”

“We live in a complex business and political environment,” Bush said. “I believe that putting my knowledge and experience together with Buchanan’s professional acumen will help Buchanan’s clients grow and prosper.”

In his new role, Bush – who will not be lobbying — will focus primarily on guidance for issues concerning Florida, the state he led as governor from 1999 to 2007.

“Those of us who have had the pleasure of working with the Governor in the past now have the opportunity to do so again,” said longtime Bush friend and adviser Mac Stipanovich, who chairs Buchanan’s Florida Government Relations practice. “Those who haven’t can look forward to a truly rewarding experience.

“This is an exciting development for the firm and for our clients,” he added.

In a way, the new partnership is somewhat of a homecoming for Bush.

Bush was a key surrogate when Stipanovich served as Florida’s executive director for the Reagan-Bush 1984 campaign. He was also Secretary of Commerce when Stipanovich was working as Chief of Staff. In a friendship that spans more than 30 years, Stipanovich served as a senior advisor during Bush’s unsuccessful 1994 gubernatorial bid.

Buchanan principal Mike Harrell was Bush’s regular golf partner while he was governor and was behind the initiative to bring the two firms together. Kim McGlynn is another Bush alum; she was on staff in the campaign headquarters for both 1990 and 1994. Jim Magill also was on staff for two sessions in Bush’s second term, after having done advance work on all three campaigns.

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TODAY IS #LOVEMYNEWSPAPER DAY – And while we haven’t killed as many trees as traditional newspapers, we do rely on, read, and subscribe to some fantastic journalism supplied by newspapers. So, I’ll be joining in on #LoveMyNewspaper Day this morning by posting a Tweet and Facebook about why I #LoveMyNewspaper. You should, too. It’s a thing.


NEW LAWMAKERS: THE PRESS IS NOT YOUR FRIEND OR FOE via Bill Cotterell of the Tallahassee Democrat — A lot has changed since I covered my first session, in 1970. That tall white tower with the twin domes, for instance, wasn’t there then. But unlike most grumpy old guys, I think this generation does it better than we did. I have seen an awful lot of legislators come and go. While their success hasn’t depended on press relations, their dealings with the folks in the glass boxes above the House and Senate chambers are important.

DAYS UNTIL: Premiere of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 10; Inauguration Day – 45; Pitchers & catchers start reporting for Spring Training – 71; Start of 2017 Legislative Session – 102: Election Day 2017 – 337: Election Day 2018 – 700.


Richard Corcoran: In the House, ‘We are very, very conservative’” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics

Richard Corcoran right to look at tourism marketing cash” via the Pensacola News-Journal

Tallahassee knocks lobbyists down a peg” via Michael Joe Murphy of the Orlando Sentinel

LOBBYISTS GET WITH THE PROGRAM — According to the Florida House, 255 individual lobbyists submitted at least one form representing 67 lobbying firms in the first full week of the new House Rules being in effect. Lobbyists have disclosed issues and bills for 788 different principals. The most common issue category as of Saturday morning was the budget at 613 times, followed by health at 434 times and insurance at 256 times. The House reported the 255 registered lobbyists have filed 1,528 separate issue description disclosures and 23 bill disclosures. The House reported 4,123 individual issue or bill records had been filed as of Saturday. Under new House rules, lobbyists are required to file an electronic notice of appearance that identifies the issues and principals represented.

LOOKS LIKE SCOTT MAXWELL’S CRIBBIN’ FROM THE CAPITOLIST – Shot: “Three Volunteer As Tribute For Richard Corcoran’s Hunger Games” via The Capitolist on June 14, 2016. Chaser: “New Speaker vows to make Legislature’s ‘Hunger Games’ ethical, virtuous” on Dec, 2, 2016.

JEFF CLEMENS PROPOSES AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION BILL via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Clemens filed legislation … (SB 72) that would automatically register Floridians to vote when they apply for or renew their driver’s license. “The reason is pretty simple – nobody should have to jump through an extra hoop to exercise their constitutional rights,” says Clemens, who edged out Irv Slosberg in a fiercely combative primary in the Democratic-leaning Senate District 31 in August. Clemens says this is either the third or fourth time he’s proposed such a bill, and he says that his fellow Republicans should embrace it. “There’s been an initial skepticism, as if there’s some sort of Democratic plot,” he says. “As we’ve seen in other states, whatever ratio that the people are registering in that state, that’s the same ratio as we increase registration. We have to alleviate the fears that this is some sort of partisan plot.” If passed, Florida would join Oregon and California in passing such legislation.

DANA YOUNG’S ANTI-FRACKING BILL HOLDS PROMISE via Joe Henderson of the Tampa Bay Times –The campaign to represent District 18 in the Florida Senate was nasty, with charges and counter-charges flying to the point where voters might have been tempted to hide under the covers. One of the more virulent exchanges came on the issue of hydraulic fracking … That was the issue opponents tried to stick on Republican Young, and it caused her a lot of problems in the campaign. She was called out in attack ads for her votes as a member of the Florida House that supported fracking, even though she continually said she was against it. It did seem to be quite a contradiction and Young struggled at times to explain it, but she won the race anyway. She now has the chance to prove she was serious with what she said about fracking, and took a first step by promising to introduce a bill when the Legislature opens in 2017 to outlaw that practice throughout the state. This is a big deal. As if we needed another reason to be skittish about the potential for major damage to our water supply, look at recent events in Polk County and the giant Mosaic fertilizer company. A humongous sinkhole opened under a gypsum stack on company property and dumped more than 215 million gallons of tainted water into the aquifer.

UCF STUDENT, 21, WILL JUGGLE LAWMAKING WITH CLASSES via Gabrielle Russon of the Orlando Sentinel – Amber Mariano knows how to juggle. The full-time UCF student ran a campaign on weekends to narrowly defeat an incumbent in her home county north of Tampa last month, becoming the youngest person elected to the Florida House of Representatives. “It was tough … It was a lot of driving,” 21-year-old Mariano said. “I’m really good at handling stress in my life. I just kind of focus on what I have to do that day.” The second juggling act begins next year when committees meetings start up in January and the legislative session convenes in March. Mariano, a senior studying political science at the University of Central Florida, says she will keep pursing her bachelor’s degree by taking online classes while working in Tallahassee. “I’m lucky,” Mariano said. “I only have four classes left.” Politics is in the family as her father, Jack Mariano, has served on the Pasco County Commission for 12 years. Even though her opponent Amanda Murphy — a Democrat who raised $198,000 for the campaign compared with Mariano’s $47,000 — Mariano’s father said he believed in her chances. “I’d tell her … ‘We’re running to win. We’re expecting to win,'” her father said.

PATRICK HENRY’S SON INJURED AFTER SHOOTING, BEATING IN DAYTONA BEACH via Christal Hayes of the Orlando Sentinel –Witnesses saw Henry’s son, whose name is also Patrick Henry, being chased down by a gold Nissan Altima about 10:14 a.m. They stopped near Henry’s home on Thunderbird Drive in Daytona Beach and heard gunshots, police said. A man got out of the car and started to punch and pistol whip Henry in the face, officers said. The man then threw him against a tree in the yard and continued shoving and hitting him, an incident report states. The attacker called for a woman in the car to grab him “big guns,” according to the report. The woman got a second gun and gave it to suspect. He fired about five times at Henry and drove off, authorities said. It’s unclear whether Henry was shot but he had a cut on the side of his face. Police said he went to the hospital on his own.

— “Jayer Williamson learns the ropes in Tallahassee” via Anne Delaney of the Pensacola News-Journal

— “New lawmaker driven by Pulse tragedy” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel

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ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will highlight his proposal for a 5 percent pay raise for all state law enforcement officers at a 9:30 a.m. news conference at the Florida Highway Patrol station, 11305 N. McKinley Drive in Tampa.

FLORIDA SUPREME COURT REJECTS SHIFT IN INSURANCE CLAIMS LAW via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – The Florida Supreme Court has overturned a lower-court ruling that would have made it harder for policyholders to collect on insurance policies when there is more than one cause for their losses. At issue in Sebo v. American Home Assurance Co. was competing doctrines for resolving claims under all-risk policies in those circumstances. Under the so-called “efficient proximate cause” theory, if the first cause of any damage — say, construction defects — isn’t explicitly covered, nothing else is. Under the “concurrent law doctrine,” however, a homeowner can collect if any of the damage is covered. “We conclude that when independent perils converge and no single cause can be considered the sole or proximate cause, it is appropriate to apply the concurring cause doctrine,” Justice James E.C. Perry Thursday wrote for a 5-2 majority. That’s been the law in Florida for 30 years, said Richard Hugh Lumpkin of Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin in Miami, who filed an amicus brief on behalf of United Policyholders, a consumer group. Still, the 2nd District Court of Appeal applied the stricter policy in ruling on the case. Other states, including California, use that standard.

PRISON OFFICIAL KEEPS HIGH-PAID JOB EVEN AS STATE SETTLES LAWSUIT AGAINST HIM via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – The state takes no blame for what former Florida Department of Corrections inspector general Jeffery Beasley has done, but it is paying $800,00 to end a retaliation lawsuit brought by his former employees and is keeping him in a newly created job that pays $116,500 annually. As “director of intelligence” at the state’s prison agency, Beasley admits that his position was created after the whistleblowers filed their lawsuits and he left the inspector general’s post last fall, according to his deposition in another pending retaliation lawsuit … He is in charge of the department’s K-9 unit and the security threat group, among other things. He draws “special risk” designation as a law enforcement officer, allowing him to collect a higher pension when he retires. His replacement as inspector general, Lester Fernandez, makes $115,000. Meanwhile, the three former inspectors, Doug GlissonJohn Ulm and Aubrey Land who left FDC this week after it agreed to pay them each $133,000 to resolve their claims against Beasley, are forming their own consulting business, “Capitol Connections Consultants.” They will offer to serve as expert witnesses in future lawsuits against the state and advise other law enforcement officers when their employer has violated the Officers’ Bill of Rights. “We will be a thorn in their side,” said Glisson … “We’re not here to protect dirty officers, but if you have someone like us who was getting nailed, we can help. It’s not going to be a full-time job.”

PAYROLL DATA SHOW GULF IN PAY BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN AT UF via The Associated Press – New payroll data show that only eight women are among the top 100 highest-paid faculty members at the University of Florida … the top woman earner at Florida earned $524,450 and the top male $984,759. Of the top 20 highest paid faculty, one is a woman. Dr. Shahla Masood, a professor at the College of Medicine, is the fourth-highest paid female faculty member. She told the paper that several factors contribute, including that some female faculty members are fearful of speaking up and being ignored, criticized or retaliated against. Florida State University in Tallahassee did better, boasting 26 women in the top 100 earners there.

FLORIDA-GEORGIA WATER FIGHT NOW IN HANDS OF SPECIAL MASTER via The Associated Press – A monthlong trial aimed at settling a high-stakes water dispute between Georgia and Florida ended … with a special master imploring both sides to negotiate a settlement. Special master Ralph Lancaster reminded both parties that there’s much to be lost by booming metropolitan Atlanta or by residents of tiny Apalachicola, Florida. “Please settle this blasted thing,” Lancaster said. “I can guarantee you that at least one of you is going to be unhappy with my recommendation – and perhaps both of you.” Florida blames the booming Atlanta metropolitan area and agriculture in Georgia for causing low river flows that have imperiled fisheries in Apalachicola Bay … Lancaster was appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court to make a recommendation to resolve the matter. The Supreme Court will have the final say in the coming year. The dispute focuses on a watershed in western Georgia, eastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The Chattahoochee and Flint rivers flow through Georgia and meet at the Florida border to form the Apalachicola River, which flows into the Apalachicola Bay. Florida contends Georgia us siphoning away more than its fair share, causing the fresh water flow to dry up, killing endangered mussels, harming tupelo and cypress trees and increasing the salinity of the Apalachicola Bay, causing a die-off of oysters. Georgia contends that it consumes only a small portion of the water and that there’s no clear and convincing evidence to support restrictions that would imperil its economy and drinking water with the goal of helping a much smaller number of residents in Florida.

IS THIS THE FINAL BURN FOR FLORIDA’S ‘CIGAR CITY’? via Abha Bhattarai of The Washington Post – The last standing cigar factory here, in what was once dubbed “Cigar City,” has survived two world wars, the Great Depression, smoking bans and a Cuban trade embargo that wiped out much of its tobacco supply. The death of Fidel Castro — the most iconic of cigar smokers — marks yet another milestone for the region. Many here wonder whether the once-booming cigar industry may be on its way out as well. Among those most worried: Eric Newman, whose family has been making 31 brands of cigars, including Cuesta-Rey, Diamond Crown and La Unica, for three generations. For 121 years, the J.C. Newman Cigar Co. has churned out millions of cigars and shipped them worldwide — even as, one by one, 149 surrounding factories shuttered their doors, many moving their operations overseas. But now Newman, who owns the company with his brother, Bobby, says cigar manufacturers and retailers in this stretch of town known as Ybor City face hurdles that could deal a final blow to an industry that has, until now, gone largely unregulated. The Food and Drug Administration this year introduced new guidelines that will require cigar manufacturers to get approval for new products, pay increased fees and add prominent warning labels. The FDA says the measures, which will be phased in over three years, are a matter of public safety and are meant to curb underage tobacco use.

Before August, no federal law prohibited the sale of cigars, ­e-cigarettes or hookah tobacco to children under 18. “For years, the unregulated marketplace was like the Wild, Wild West,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. The new rules, Zeller says, will help bring order to a corner of the tobacco industry that has long operated without oversight. Newman, though, says the regulations represent millions of dollars in new costs and increased uncertainty for his factory, which last year had sales of $10 million. On top of that, he says, the Obama administration in October loosened its ban on Cuban cigars, allowing Americans to bring back as many cigars as they like for personal use. Newman says the move, part of the thawing of relations between the nations, introduces another layer of competition at a critical time. “What we’re dealing with right now is the worst it’s ever been,” said Newman, whose grandfather started the business at age 20 in a family barn. “On the one hand, the government is saying, ‘smoking is bad’ and making us jump through all these new hoops. On the other, they’re welcoming Cuban cigars — which haven’t been tested, which aren’t taxed — into the country. They’ve got this backwards.”

SLOW PROGRESS DESPITE EFFORTS TO FIX ORANGE LAKE POLLUTION via Fred Hiers of The Associated Press –The popular fishing and recreational lake is impaired. Florida environmental agencies officially designated it so nearly 15 years ago. Its main problem: high concentrations of polluting nutrients that have flowed in from the watershed and from neighboring waterways. The main culprit is phosphorus, much of it coming from residential and agricultural fertilizers. The pollutants also come from Newnans Lake, making their way to the Orange through River Styx, Prairie Creek and Camps Canal; and from Lochloosa Lake by way of Cross Creek, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. In 2003 the FDEP set a total maximum daily load for phosphorus entering Orange Lake. In 2007 it created the Orange Creek Basin Management Action Plan (known as a BMAP, for short,) which covers Orange Lake and its neighboring water bodies. The BMAP is a blueprint to manage and improve the basin’s lakes, including a nutrient-reduction effort for Orange Lake. The Orange Creek Basin covers Orange Lake, Newnans Lake, Lake Wauberg, Hogtown Creek, Sweetwater Branch, Tumblin Creek and Alachua Sink. The FDEP continued and updated the plan in 2015, took stock of its progress, and created new restoration projects. The plans call for a total phosphorus level of 0.031 milligrams per liter (mg/l,) in Orange Lake. That’s equivalent to a 45 percent reduction of the nutrient currently present in the lake. The strategies focus on improving stormwater treatment and control programs; identifying the sources of nutrient discharges and then working to reduce them; and educating the public. But despite the FDEP’s efforts for the past several years to make the lake healthier for the fish and wildlife that depend on it, progress has been incremental at best: Phosphorus levels have remained the same some years and even gotten worse in others. “Water quality in Orange Lake has been declining since 1985,” according to the FDEP. “Annual average (total phosphorus) and (total nitrogen) concentrations have increased between the 1993-2000 total daily maximum daily load data period and the post-BMAP period of 2008-2013.” Area environmentalists, residents and scientists say the state’s efforts are not enough. FDEP’s own data show its efforts don’t appear to be panning out.

STATE WORKER CHARITY CAMPAIGN NOSE-DIVES via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat –Florida’s annual state worker charity drive, which came under fire last year for exorbitant overhead, finished its worst campaign last week in its 36-year history. And once again, the New Jersey company that serves as the campaign’s fiscal agent, Solix, Inc., is set to get most of the money. The Florida State Employees’ Charitable Campaign, which ran Sept. 1 through Nov. 10, raised only $282,092 in pledges, according to the Department of Management Services. Solix, under its contract with the state, would get $180,000, or nearly 64 percent. The rest — only about $102,000 — would go to charities. “This is another casualty of outsourcing and privatization,” said state Rep. Loranne Ausley … “This is a company outside the state of Florida that has pretty much driven the campaign into the ground.” The FSECC was created by the Florida Cabinet in 1980 and put in statutes the following year as the state workforce’s only official charity drive. In its heyday, when it was overseen by the United Way, it raised nearly $5 million a year from state employees.

NEXT STOP FOR IRV SLOSBERG: TALLAHASSEE OFFICE FOR SLOSBERG FOUNDATION via Kristina Webb of the Palm Beach Post – Slosberg … will go to Florida’s Capitol to represent the Dori Slosberg Foundation — a nonprofit he founded after his daughter was killed in a violent car crash in Boca Raton 20 years ago — before the state Legislature. Florida state law bans former legislators from representing another person, organization or business for compensation for two years following their departure from office. But Slosberg says he’s received the thumbs-up from the Florida Commission on Ethics, which can make exceptions to the law on a case-by-case basis. … Slosberg said working with the foundation in Tallahassee will allow him to continue working to improve traffic safety in Florida. “We’re ready to fight, because unfortunately that’s what this takes,” he said. The foundation’s new office will open Jan. 1 on Monroe Street in Tallahassee, giving the foundation “headquarters both in Boca Raton and Tallahassee,” Slosberg noted.

CHALLENGING AIRBNB – THE NEXT UBER? via William March of the Tampa Bay Times – Airbnb … could turn into the next Uber/Lyft-style fracas in the Florida Legislature over how government should regulate emerging online industries. Hillsborough County, as in the Uber battle, may be in the thick of it. County Tax Collector Doug Belden is asking local legislators — including state Sens. Jeff Brandes and Tom Lee — to pass legislation over collecting tourist taxes on rentals by Airbnb and other online, short-term rental services. Belden’s office has been negotiating with Airbnb since March, but he refused conditions sought by the company that he says other counties have agreed to — some of which, he said, would violate state open government laws. The company has sought to keep parts of its agreements with them secret. Belden said that would violate state public records law. He said the company also wants a waiver on collecting back taxes, and wants to avoid providing the names of its renters. That would make it impossible for the tax collector to do audits, as it does on other hospitality businesses, to ensure they’re accurately reporting rental income. Pinellas County, on the other hand, already has signed an agreement with Airbnb and is getting some $63,000 per month in tourist taxes … In that agreement, Airbnb agreed to compromise on the issues that Belden objected to.

SANFORD BURNHAM DOUBLES DOWN AGAINST STATE EFFORTS TO RECOUP INCENTIVE MONEY via William Patrick of – Ten years to create 303 jobs. That straight-forward commitment was a core aspect of an agreement that allowed a California-based biotech nonprofit to secure $350 million in state and Orlando-area taxpayer support. It didn’t happen. Penned in 2006, time has now run out on Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute’s deal with the state. It’s 66 jobs short, according to state records. But rather than pay back some of the money, the research institute is doubling down on its refusal to comply with the state’s accountability efforts – even goading state officials “to help preserve and create more jobs.” In a letter to the Department of Economic Opportunity dated Nov. 23, the day before Thanksgiving, Sanford Burnham’s senior legal counsel said he was “surprised” that the state had sent the organization a notice of default requesting returned incentive funds. “Sanford Burnham is not in material default of any obligation in the agreement,” he said. “Please regard this letter as Sanford Burnham’s rejection of all the allegations, claims, and demands contained in your Oct. 28 (Notice of Default) letter.” It was the second such correspondence in a month.

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JEFF MILLER, RELENTLESS VA CRITIC, COULD BE TAPPED TO RUN AGENCY via Ledyard King of USA TODAY – Now that the Northwest Florida Republican is leaving Congress — and his post as chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs — some agency officials might be thinking they will be able to breathe easier. Until they consider their fiercest critic on Capitol Hill might soon be tapped to lead Veterans Affairs under a president-elect who’s determined to shake up the way Washington works. Miller has been mentioned as a favorite for the post but said he hasn’t heard directly from Donald Trump’s transition team about any official interest. He says only that he “would seriously consider serving” as Veterans Affairs secretary, calling it “a noble mission.” … Miller, 57, has a disadvantage: He’s not a military veteran as past secretaries have been. But few are as familiar with the challenges facing the second-largest federal agency (behind Defense) that employs some 350,000 and has a budget of roughly $182 billion. Miller has also been frustrated that the Obama administration hasn’t moved quickly to implement VA whistleblower protections mandated in legislation passed this year. He referenced a Nov. 18 missing letter from VA Chief of Staff Robert Snyder informing Miller the agency wouldn’t meet a 60-day deadline spelled out in the bill due to notification and negotiation requirements in labor contracts with agency employees. It’s why he wants to work for the new commander-in-chief.

DISNEY’S BOB IGER TO JOIN PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP’S ADVISORY GROUP via Sandra Pedicini of the Orlando Sentinel – A group of CEO advisers that President-elect Trump has established will include Iger, chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Co. The President’s Strategic and Policy Forum … will meet with Trump “frequently” starting in February. The 16-member forum will be chaired by Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone, which has been a major SeaWorld Entertainment investor. Other members include General Motors’ Mary Barra, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon, and Wal-Mart Stores’ Doug McMillon.

IN A GOP YEAR, STEPHANIE MURPHY VOWS BIPARTISANSHIP via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel – Murphy, a 37-year-old former strategy consultant with a background in the U.S. Department of Defense, had never run for political office before, but the Democrats’ gamble paid off. Her victory over [JohnMica on Election Day was bright spot for a Democratic Party reeling from defeats elsewhere. Now, Murphy — a former refugee, and the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress — is preparing to head to Washington as a rising Democratic star in a capital about to become entirely controlled by Republicans. “It’s awe-inspiring and humbling,” Murphy said. “But I’m also excited for the opportunity to serve this district. … My voice and my experience will be one that will be heard in Washington.” … But she’s entering a federal government firmly in the control of Republicans, especially after Donald Trump’s presidential victory — one that came using rhetoric and advancing policies that are concerning many groups nationwide, including Muslims and Hispanics. “You can be sure that if we see President-elect Trump heading in a direction that seeks to isolate and discriminate against some groups of Americans that I will be a vocal opponent of that,” Murphy said. “But again, we haven’t taken our oaths of office yet, and a lot of this remains to be seen. Murphy remains “open-minded,” she said, “and I’m hopeful that we will find our government is willing to work together, regardless of partisanship or party affiliation, in order to advance the needs of the American people. Because I think that is the message that came across loud and strong in this election, that the American people don’t feel like they’re being served by their government anymore.”

— “If walls could talk: Orlando’s new Congress members pick their offices” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

ALAN GRAYSON SAYS GOODBYE TO ORANGE COUNTY DEMOCRATS, FOR NOW via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising – Grayson … made what’s likely to be his swan song appearance for now before Orange County Democrats … thanking them for backing him so he could “do so much good for so many people.” … “It’s hard to believe I stand before you as the only Orange County Democrat to represent downtown Orlando in the last 42 years. But that changes … when we have three, count them, three, Orange County Democrats in Congress,” Grayson said. “And I want to give credit where credit is due, and that is you all. We have gone through a very difficult time, wandering for 40 years through the desert here. But now we’ve reached the point with organization, teamwork, registrations, absentee ballot requests, and the legwork we all do … have led to the point where we finally are fully represented in the House of Representatives by Democrats.” … “But now we’ve reached the point with organization, teamwork, registrations, absentee ballot requests, and the legwork we all do … have led to the point where we finally are fully represented in the House of Representatives by Democrats.” Despite his loss – and his wife Dena Grayson‘s loss to [DarrenSoto in the CD 9 Democratic primary, he has not ruled out a return to politics, and his appearance Saturday included no suggestion that he was going away. “It turns out you can shame them into any good idea you want when you have might and right on your side,” he said.

SPOTTED strolling along downtown St. Petersburg’s waterfront: former George W. Bush administration spokesman Ari Fleischer.


Slater Bayliss, Chris Chaney, The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Parters: Bruce Peters

Ron Pierce, Ed Briggs, Natalie King, Terry Lewis, RSA Consulting: Lutz Preparatory School

Leslie Dughi, Greenberg Traurig: Zenith Insurance Company

Robert Hosay, Fred Karlinsky, Foley & Lardner: National Strategies

Matt Jordan: American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Natalie Kato, Lewis Longman & Walker: Fellere Water Control District

Greg Parks, Parks Advocacy Group: COPsync, Inc.

Amy Young, Ballard Partners: Women’s Care Florida

THE MAYERNICK GROUP LANDS KUSH LOBBYING GIG via Brian Burgess of The Capitolist – Ben Pollara spent his time interviewing top lobbying firms in Tallahassee about representing Florida for Care, the 501(c)(4) advocacy arm of the medical marijuana campaign … Tracy and Frank Mayernick submitted their lobbyist registration on behalf of Florida for Care. “Voters delivered a mandate on the expansion of medical marijuana in Florida and we will work with the legislature to fulfill that mandate with implementing legislation this session,” said Pollara. “Florida for Care intends to be a reasonable actor this spring, while the members of the six-family cartel and lobbyist employment center ‘Dispensing Organizations’ hunker down and try to block true enactment of Amendment 2.” Pollara has hinted that another big name Republican lobbyist will also join the Florida for Care team within the next few days, firepower he’s going to need if he wants to successfully challenge Florida’s new marijuana oligarchy. Pollara knows the “cartel” won’t go down without a fight. His own lobbying budget for this year is nearly a quarter of a million dollars. But it’s going to be an all-out war, and the fighting will be savage. Rumors abound that some lobbyists who represent the six dispensing organizations don’t just have contracts to lobby, they also have equity stakes in the growing operations and stand to reap substantial sums of money by restricting access to the market.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY from the weekend to Sen. Keith Perry, Canaan McCaslin, the great Carrie O’Rourke, Bruce Ritchie, and Jason Rodriguez. Celebrating today is The Edwards Group’s Beth Herendeen.



Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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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