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Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – September 17

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

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Mitch Perry, Ryan Ray, and Jim Rosica.

DONALD UNDERWHELMS, WHILE CARLY SHINES

Republican voters fed up with Washington and anyone with a background in politics have cheered billionaire businessman Donald Trump as the ultimate 2016 outsider, making him the front-runner for the GOP nomination.

But Trump’s lack of experience with public policy was exposed throughout the second GOP presidential debate on Wednesday, a three-hour marathon that delved deep into complicated issues at home and abroad.

It was a night that allowed others to shine, however briefly, as they showed off their command of issues and talked with precision about what they’d do if elected president.

After dominating the first debate a month ago, Trump faced fierce criticism from his Republican rivals from the outset of the debate at the Reagan Presidential Library outside Los Angeles. He disappeared for long stretches and even acknowledged at one point that he has a lot yet to learn about global affairs.

The former reality television star avoided any major gaffes, yet delivered an underwhelming performance by the conventional standards of presidential politics. “He had his tail between his legs tonight,” said Republican strategist Kevin Madden.

It may be some time before anyone knows if that will have any effect on Trump’s place in the field — his supporters have so far embraced his decidedly unconventional approach to presidential politics.

Another outsider, former technology executive Carly Fiorina, may have helped herself the most Wednesday night. Seizing her debut moment on the main debate stage, she attacked Trump as “an entertainer,” offered a passionate case against Planned Parenthood and spoke in specifics when talking about foreign affairs.

She delivered one of the debate’s most memorable moments when responding to a derogatory comment Trump made in a recent interview about her looks. Fiorina said simply, “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said,” winning the first ovation of the night from the live audience.

Trump responded, “I think she’s got a beautiful face, and I think she’s a beautiful woman” — a line that won few cheers, if any at all.

The third Republican outsider, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, maintained a positive outlook throughout the night in keeping with his image as the GOP’s most likable candidate. Having surged in recent polls, he earned far more air time during the crowded debate than he did in the first event last month, but when given the opportunity, he offered few specifics on major issues such as immigration and national security.

“Real leadership is what I would hopefully bring to America,” Carson said in a tentative closing statement.

Wednesday’s focus on substance played to the strengths of a handful of candidates, among them former Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Marco Rubio.

“You should ask him questions in detail about the foreign policy issues our president will confront, because you had better be able to lead our country on the first day,” Rubio charged when asked about Trump’s recent struggle to answer questions about world leaders.

“I will know more about the problems of this world by the time I sit (in the White House,)” Trump said, noting that he didn’t know as much about international affairs because he doesn’t have the experience that Rubio does as a member of the Senate.

Christie, mired at the bottom of the preference polls used to select which candidates get to take part in the GOP’s debates, made waves by making the case to Trump and Fiorina alike that voters don’t much care about their resumes.

“While I’m as entertained as anyone by this personal back-and-forth about the history of Donald and Carly’s career,” he said, “for the 55-year-old construction worker out in that audience tonight who doesn’t have a job, who can’t fund his child’s education — I gotta tell you the truth — they could care less about your careers.”

Bush flashed a clear knowledge of the issues — and his lack of smoothness as a speaker. But confronted with what some consider to be his greatest political liability, his last name, the son of one president and brother of another scored points with the crowd after Trump said, “Your brother’s administration gave us Barack Obama.”

Clearly prepared for the attack, Bush shot back, “As it relates to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure: He kept us safe,” Bush said as the crowd erupted in applause.

The exchange was just one example in which Trump, usually a master in the spotlight, failed to score a clear victory.

A TRUMP LIE: HE DID TRY TO EXPAND GAMBLING IN FLORIDA via Ben Schrekeinger of POLITICO

Bush said Trump gave him money in the form of political donations and then tried to get him to expand casino gambling in Florida.

Trump denied it — “I promise you, if I wanted it, I would’ve gotten it,” he said — but it’s true.

In 1998, when Bush was waging his second gubernatorial campaign, Trump held a fundraiser for him at Trump Tower in Manhattan. “I had a fundraiser and raised about $1 million, which in those days was a lot of money,” Trump told the Washington Post last month. “In fact, I remember [Bush] saying, ‘It was the most successful fundraiser I’ve ever had.’ ”

At the time, Trump was working with the Seminole tribe to expand its gambling operations, which state law limited to bingo-style games, to a full range of table games.

Bush strongly opposed the expansion of gambling in the state — and stood his ground in office. Trump abandoned his plans with the Seminoles.

BUSH TEAM LAUGHS ABOUT TRUMP SMACK via TIME Magazine

When Trump put out his hand for a low-five from Bush, the former Florida Governor took his shot to strike the antagonistic billionaire.

Even on television, it was clear Wednesday night’s hand slap came with a windup. It has been percolating for weeks, as Trump tweaked Bush for having “low-energy,” a slight that has gotten under Bush’s skin.

Asked what his Secret Service code name would be, Bush turned to his codename he earned as Florida Governor from the state emergency management agency. “Eveready,” Bush said, borrowing the name of a battery brand. “It’s very high-energy, Donald.”

The audience ate it up. Trump extended his left hand to Bush, who was standing beside him, to acknowledge Bush had won that moment. Video shows Bush biting his lip and going for it, hard.

“That might leave a mark,” laughed Bush chief strategist David Kochel. “I watched it and thought, you know, he got a good laugh out of the crowd. He got a laugh out of The Donald. He showed his sense of humor. He closed strong. It’s what we wanted to happen.”

TWEET, TWEET: @JebBush: Sorry Mom. (Bush admitted on stage that he smoked pot 40 years ago).

ASSIGNMENT EDITORSBush will be in Las Vegas for a 3:45 p.m. (PDT) campaign rally at the Veterans Memorial Leisure Center, 101 Pavilion Center Drive in Las Vegas. Doors will open at 2:45 p.m.

SPOTTED at the debate: Bush supporter/Trump lobbyist Brian Ballard, the Florida Medical Association’s Chris Clark, and billionaire philanthropist Mike Fernandez.

MEANWHILE … HILLARY CLINTON LET’S JIMMY KIMMEL TOUCH HER HAIR via Beth Harpaz of the Associated Press

Clinton is one “tough mother,” says talk-show host Jimmy Fallon. He should know — he pulled her hair.

To be fair, Clinton asked for it. When she appeared Wednesday on Fallon’s “Tonight Show,” the Democratic front-runner asked Fallon if he’d ever touched Republican rival Donald Trump’s hair. For years The Donald’s coiffure has been the subject of speculation and wisecracks.

“You wanna touch mine?” Clinton asked.

Fallon tugged her hair and declared, “It’s real!”

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FLA GOP: NO WE’RE NOT EXTORTING PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES, JUST PRESSURING THEM via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

Here’s the nifty idea state GOP leaders have come up with to ensure every presidential candidate shows up to the state party’s Nov. 13-14″Sunshine Summit” cattle call: If any candidate fails to show up, then their name will be excluded the ballot for Florida’s primary … if, say, Trump or Bush or Carson or whoever fails to speak in person to 2,500 party insiders at the summit organized by Florida GOP Chairman Blaise Ingoglia, then more than 4-million registered Republicans won’t have an opportunity to vote for that candidate in Florida’s March 15 presidential primary.

“I would not say this is blackmail,” said Brad Herold, executive director of the state party. “We want everyone to be in the ballot, but if a candidate is not willing to come and meet with the most influential activists and donors in the state for one day we should really question your commitment to running in Florida.”

THE LATEST PPP POLL OF FLORIDA…

… DAVID JOLLY 18%, RON DESANTIS 15%, CLC 14%

On the GOP side none of the 3 major hopefuls who have declared their candidacies so far have even 40% name recognition. David Jolly and Ron DeSantis each have 37% name recognition, and for Carlos Lopez-Cantera it’s even lower at 31%. 52% of voters say they’re undecided about who they’d want their candidate to be given those choices, with Jolly at 18%, DeSantis at 15%, and Lopez-Cantera at 14%. It’s going to be a while before this race really develops and there’s definitely still room in the field for others to join.

… ALAN GRAYSON 33%, PATRICK MURPHY 27%

It’s a similar story on the Democratic side – a 39% plurality of voters are undecided, with Alan Grayson getting 33% to Patrick Murphy‘s 27%, thanks largely to a 44/21 advantage with voters who describe themselves as ‘very liberal.’ The Democratic hopefuls are better known than the Republicans, but Murphy still has only 48% name recognition and despite his high national profile even Grayson is only familiar to 55% of primary voters.

… BUT MURPHY BEATS GOP OPPONENTS, WHILE GRAYSON TRAILS THEM

The general elections match ups lean slightly Democratic at this point, with Murphy generally faring better in them than Grayson. Murphy leads all the Republicans- it’s 40/35 over both DeSantis and Jolly, and 41/35 over Lopez-Cantera. Grayson slightly trails both Jolly (39/36) and DeSantis (37/36), but does lead Lopez-Cantera 41/34.

BOTH MURPHY AND GRAYSON WOULD BEAT RUBIO

One thing that could put a wrench in the whole Senate race is if Rubio makes a late pivot to run for reelection as his Presidential campaign struggles. He would start out with pretty decent sized leads over both Murphy (46/40) and Grayson (48/38) if he ended up making that change in plans.

2018 WATCH — BILL NELSON 46%, RICK SCOTT 42%

Voters are nearly evenly divided on Rick Scott with 43% of voters approving of him to 45% who disapprove. Those are about the best numbers we’ve found for him in the whole five years that he’s been in office. Nevertheless he would trail Bill Nelson 46/42 in a hypothetical 2018 Senate contest. Nelson keeps a lower profile than Scott but has a similar approval rating to the Governor (42%) while having a considerably lower disapproval (34%).

SOUR GRAPES: GRAYSON CALLS SYRIA INTEL “FAKED” BECAUSE HOUSE DIDN’T TRUST HIM ENOUGH TO SEE IT via Florida Politics

The latest example of an extreme lack of self-awareness comes from … an undercover video of Alan Grayson’s appearance at a private California fundraiser … mocking the “stupid” intelligence community in the Obama Administration over classified intelligence reports about Syria … why would a sitting member of Congress accuse the president … of “faking” intelligence … One answer came about two years ago when the House Intelligence Committee denied Grayson access to classified reports on Syria — because they simply don’t trust him with it … so – in an epic fit of sour grapes – he accuses the Obama Administration of faking intel he wasn’t permitted to see.

BID TO HAVE TOP-TWO PRIMARY VOTING SYSTEM ON 2016 FLORIDA BALLOT GOING SLOW via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

The fastest growing numbers of new voters in Florida aren’t registering as Republican or Democratic, but are independents who choose no party affiliation … The problem within Florida … independents voters can’t participate in primary elections.

All Voters Vote amendment … is planning to get a constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot that would implement a nonpartisan, top-two open primary similar to the systems in California and Washington state for congressional races. All voters and candidates, regardless of party affiliation, would participate on a single ballot and the top two vote-getters would move on to the general election … Whether Floridians get the opportunity to vote on the matter in 2016, however, looks questionable at best … the effort remains in “fundraising mode” right now, as they hope to have enough funds to then retain a signature gathering firm to collect the more than 683,000 signatures by next February to get on the ballot.

MY TAKEAFTER NEW FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE, ANNETTE TADDEO’S “MIDDLE-CLASS” CLAIM IS EVEN MORE TENUOUS via Florida Politics

Annette Taddeo still clings to the impression that she is “middle class” … that claim is becoming more tenuous with each passing day … running … for Florida’s 26th Congressional District … Taddeo was required to file financial discourses with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, which she submitted Aug. 13

… The eight-page document indicates Taddeo owns more than 50 trust funds, a number of tax-deferred IRAs and wealth management accounts, each valued between $1,000 and $250,000. Taddeo’s portfolio … clearly does not accurately demonstrate the lifestyle she claims. Even calling assets like hers “upper” middle class would be a stretch … it is certainly not the image she presents on MSNBC, or to voters. While there is nothing wrong with being wealthy in America … claiming (relative) poverty for political gain is nothing less than disingenuous.

PERSONNEL NOTE — FLA. DEMS TAP SHEYLA ASENCIOS AS NEW DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR via Florida Politics

Sheyla Asencios has been hired as the Florida Democratic Party’s deputy political director in charge of Hispanic outreach … replaces the departing Jeff Branch, who was in a similar capacity until this month but primarily working on outreach to African-American communities. Branch was tapped to be political director of U.S. Rep. Murphy’s campaign … Asencios comes to the new position by way of the campaigns of former Gov. Charlie Crist and Taddeo … She ran Hispanic-oriented voter outreach and media relation operations for the Democrats at both posts.

***On September 17-18, Florida CHAIN will host its 1st Annual Conference, Moving Forward Together in a New Era of Health Care. It’s an opportunity to join national experts, advocates, consumers, navigators, health care providers, policy makers, and other stakeholders to learn about pressing health policy topics, acquire new skills, and network with other participants dedicated to improving the health of all Floridians. In addition to two plenary sessions, a keynote address, engaging workshops, and interactive trainings, an exciting awards dinner will be held the evening of September 17th. Learn more and register today at www.MovingForwardFlorida.org.***

STAT OF THE DAY – RATE OF UNINSURED DROPS TO 16.6 PERCENT IN FLORIDA via Mike Schneider of the Associated Press

The rate of Floridians without health insurance dropped to 16.6 percent last year … a drop of 3.4 percentage points from a rate of 20 percent in 2013 … still had the third highest rate of residents without health insurance. The national rate was 10.4 percent.

A PUBLIC APOLOGY FROM RICK SCOTT’S JOB RECRUITING CHIEF via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott’s top job recruiting chief publicly apologized to key members of the Florida Senate … for his role in adding to an acrimonious summer with the Legislature over the governor’s signature campaign issue.

“I do know that some of my comments have offended,” Enterprise Florida President Bill Johnson said. “And I apologize for that.”

His apology came after State Sen. Jack Latvala … told him that the tension around the topic of economic development traces back to earlier in the summer when Johnson publicly called the Legislature’s proposed budget for a specific job creation program “shameful” … Legislature refused to give Scott the $85 million he requested for a “quick action closing fund” … Instead, the Legislature cut that amount in half, reasoning that past money allocated for the same fund had still not be given out. Scott later publicly warned that Florida may not be able to get deals done going forward.

Latvala has bristled as the “sky is falling scenarios” that Scott and Johnson have been expressing.

TWEET, TWEET: @Fineout: Sen. Nancy Detert tells EFI chief Bill Johnson the Senate are not such “prima donnas” that he needs permission from them to speak to press … But @JackLatvala growls back after Detert’s comments: “Speak for yourself.”

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam is the 9:15 a.m. keynote speaker at the Third Annual Florida Hunger-Relief Forum, and joins the Future Farmers of America for a service opportunity at 9:45 a.m. Media availability will follow. Event runs 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Bradenton Convention Center, 1 Haben Boulevard in Palmetto.

CORRECTIONS CHIEF PAINTS GRIM PICTURE OF FLORIDA’S PRISON SYSTEM via Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida

Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones laid out a grim view of the current state of Florida’s prisons in a report to the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee … “We have inmates and officers in facilities that are close to being not habitable” …  DOC is asking the Legislature for more than $35 million for facilities … More than $5 million of that is to repair tornado damage at one particular prison, and the rest is mainly for roofs and security fences.

Jones also told the panel that staffing is a critical problem, particularly because money is spent training guards who are then hired by other agencies after only a couple years. Almost 70 percent of the corrections officers at the Miami-Dade Correctional Institution have been working for fewer than two years. The department has hired almost 2,200 new employees since February, with a net gain of about 800 corrections officers.

“We lose about a hundred a month, and we hire maybe 50 or 75,” Jones said. “It’s a continuous churn.”

FLORIDA AUTHORITIES END INVESTIGATION INTO CYBERATTACK ON SCHOOL TESTING via the Associated Press

Florida authorities … closed a six-month investigation into a cyberattack that created delays and widespread problems for students trying to take the state’s high-stakes standardized tests … Florida Department of Law Enforcement said its probe did not uncover a motive or even find any suspects behind the incident. Education Commissioner Pam Stewart … noted that hackers did not access any student information or the test itself known as the Florida Standards Assessment. She also said that Florida was working with the private vendor that administers the test to “provide for a smooth testing experience this year.”

TOP COMMUNICATIONS AIDE DEPARTS HEALTH CARE AGENCY via Christine Sexton of POLITICO

The communications director for Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration has left the agency for “new pastures,” according to a letter of resignation … Katherine Riviere notified the agency’s chief of staff that she would leave the agency, as her husband pursues business opportunities in another city … Riviere’s last day of work was Sept. 11. Mallory Deason will serve as the new communications director, said Jackie Schultz … Scott’s communications director.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Jamestown Associates, one of the most successful political and public affairs consulting firms in Florida and the nation. Jamestown produces victories for our clients by creating TV, radio, mail and digital advertising that gets the voters’ attention and their votes. Persuasive ads. Personalized attention. Detailed review of demographics, past election results and history. Understanding the client. Understanding Florida. Single-minded focus on winning. Jamestown’s work has been recognized with 50 Pollie and Reed awards. See how we can help you win. Visit JamestownAssociates.com***

IN DESIGNATION SPEECH, RICHARD CORCORAN CALLS FOR MAJOR LOBBYING REFORMS via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics

Florida House Speaker-Designate Richard Corcoran is determined to rein in lobbyist influence on lawmakers, as evidenced by his speech to fellow legislators at his Wednesday designation ceremony.

Corcoran, a Land O’Lakes Republican and current House budget chief, was formally selected to be the House of Representatives leader for 2016-18.

“We must close the revolving door between the Legislature and the lobby corps,” Corcoran said. “We need to restore the distance between those who seek to influence the laws and those of us who make the laws.”

Corcoran, whose brother Michael is a prominent state lobbyist, called for a constitutional amendment banning “any state elected official from lobbying the legislative or executive branch for a period of six years.”

Corcoran singled out healthcare lobbyists in Tallahassee during his closing remarks on the budget this Aprilcalling them “Gucci-loafing, shoe-wearing special interest powers.”

Corcoran also wants to toughen lobbyist registration rules by requiring lobbyists to specifically “disclose which bills, which amendments and which appropriations they are trying to influence.”

“Other states require such disclosure,” he said. “It’s time Florida does too.”

He said he will also push legislation “banning elected officials from taking jobs in government, unless elected by the people, for a period of six years after they leave office” and forbidding lawmakers from taking a “a job while in office with any company or group that receives any funding from the state, directly or indirectly.”

In his remarks, Corcoran took on the judicial branch, pushing a proposal for 12-year term limits for all judges.

The Republican-controlled Legislature has long battled with the state Supreme Court over what they perceive to be the overly-liberal interpretations of law by most of its justices.

“No public office – be it state representative, Governor or judge – should be for life,” Corcoran said in the speech.

TWEET, TWEET: @JimmyPatronis: AttaBoy @richardcorcoran for closing with the Honorable Jack Mashburn in your Designation Speech

HOW CORCORAN’S DESIGNATION SPEECH PLAYED

Miami HeraldCorcoran wants to lead House to era of reform – “… lived up to his promise to call for controversial reforms aimed at ‘cleaning up our own house’ and policies such as universal school vouchers.” WFSURichard Corcoran’s Priority List: Universal School Choice, Judicial Term Limits, More Lobbying Bans – “… the chamber will be doing business a lot differently when he’s leader.” Palm Beach PostCorcoran designated as next House Speaker, promises to loosen special interest hold on Capitol – “… outlined an ambitious agenda apparently aimed at halting the revolving door which has long existed in Florida between elected office and the lucrative lobbying trade.” Tallahassee DemocratSpeaker Corcoran’s reform redux – “… part lofty idealism, part Pogo … the enemy of good government is not the special-interest lobbyists … not the Capitol press corps in the gallery overhead, nor ‘any of that stuff’ legislators deal with every day … ‘The enemy has always been and always will be … us!’” Orlando Sentinel, Rep. Richard Corcoran formally named House Speaker-designate – “The great news is this: We’re the ones in control of the enemy. We can shun self-interest. We can lead from principles. We can forge and fight for our philosophy.” Tampa Bay TimesThe ‘enemy is us’ in the Florida House – “There are many reasons why the Florida Legislature is the Best Little Whorehouse in Tallahassee … Think of the speaker as the Miss Kitty of Robert’s Rules of Order.”

READ HERE WITHOUT DOWNLOADING: RICHARD CORCORAN’S “MANIFESTO” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics

An 86-page policy paper from … Speaker-Designate Richard Corcoran … calls for a new “legislative culture of purpose” that includes, among other things, a more transparent budget process … Many of the reforms proposed by Corcoran … are also in the manifesto, which has a working title of “Blueprint Florida” … include an extension of the ban on lobbying by former lawmakers … proposed five years instead of the current two; Corcoran called for six years … It also calls for members seeking leadership positions to pledge not to seek them until they serve two legislative sessions … creating a “Policy Appeals Council” for House members who can’t get their bill heard by a committee …  speed up the procedure to discuss and vote on a bill on the floor.

— “Richard Corcoran promises ‘controversy’ as Speaker” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics

— “Rick Scott ‘gaggles’ with reporters after designation ceremony” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics

BILL TO REPEAL BAN ON SHACKING UP TAKES FIRST STEP via Joe Reedy of the Associated Press

The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted 10-3 … to approve a bill to repeal the prohibition on cohabitation, which has been on the books since 1868. It is a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail if a man and woman are living together. Florida, Michigan and Mississippi are the only states that still have a law on the books that makes cohabitation illegal. According to 2010 census data, there are nearly 549,000 unmarried couples among the state’s 7.4 million households.

GUN BILLS MOVE FORWARD IN EARLY COMMITTEE ACTION via Florida Politics

In its first meeting in preparation of the 2016 regular legislative Session, a Senate committee pulled the trigger on two bills to alter Florida’s state gun statutes … a so-called “campus carry” bill to allow concealed weapons into higher education facilities, a House panel shortly followed suit.

First up was SB 130, sponsored by Sen. Garrett Richter … to prevent residents of densely populated neighborhoods from discharging their guns at homemade gun ranges … faced some opposition from gun rights groups last year but National Rifle Association past president and Capitol stalwart Marion Hammer said outstanding issues has been worked out.

More controversial was committee chair Sen. Greg Evers’ SB 68, the so-called “campus carry” bill … Opposition from gun control quarters and urban Democrats is expected to be stiff … SB 68 moves onto the Senate Higher Education committee.

TWEET, TWEET: @NeilCombee: Great point by a speaker..if you are scared 2 b around folks carrying a firearm, stay away from grocery stores…& main street. #CampusCarry

MATT GAETZ FILES – THEN DELETES – UBER PREEMPTION BILL via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics

Gaetz … filed – then speedily withdrew – a bill that would reserve regulation of Uber and other hired-car services to the state … submitted his bill (HB 175) at 8:53 a.m., then withdrew it at 10:30 a.m. … the Fort Walton Beach Republican said it was simply a false start. “I was a little ahead of myself,” he said, adding that he had not gotten all the feedback on the bill from other members that he wanted. He promised to file a Uber-related bill this year, but said “the mechanics of that bill may be a little different” than the one filed.

SENATORS TACKLE ‘CRUEL, RELENTLESS’ DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

The Florida Senate began a lengthy review … of an epidemic in Florida in which more than 1.5 million people have had their driver’s licenses suspended for non-driving-related infractions … The cost of a license reinstatement is $60, and a collection agency can charge a fee of up to 40 percent to get that fee. Courts can impose a $25 delinquency fee if a driver fails to show up in court, and there’s an $18 fee for failure to complete traffic school … 29 percent of all drivers in the county had their licenses suspended, many of them the working poor who can’t pay the high fees to get reinstated.

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Jeff Brandes … invited public defenders and court clerks to testify on a problem he called “cruel and relentless” and to suggest solutions … said a solution will be difficult, in part because the staggering fee structure has become a necessary component of budgets for clerks and the courts. “This has festered for more than 20 years,” Brandes said.

DEMOCRATS GO AFTER AG ON MINIMUM WAGE ENFORCEMENT via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times

(Two) members of the minority party said … Attorney General Pam Bondi ought to do more to ensure minimum wage earners at least earn as much as they’ve been promised.

“The attorney general’s office is simply not enforcing the minimum wage in the way that other states do,” said Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez … The problem arises when employers pay people for few hours than they actually worked or pay out a daily or weekly salary that equates to less than the minimum wage. That can be a huge deal for a family with low earnings, said Rodriguez and Sen. Dwight Bullard.

Often, people don’t know that there are ways to force their employers to pay up … when they do call Bondi’s office for assistance, Rodriguez said it’s rare that the state will sue on workers’ behalf.

DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES BUDGET REQUESTS via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles requested the Legislature allocate $465.1 million to the agency for the upcoming 2016-17 fiscal year … a $7 million (1.5 percent) increase compared to the current year … Requested $35 million for nine new projects, largely aimed at improving information technology like computer hardware and software, but also for purposes like replacing old highway patrol vehicles … Roughly 60 percent of the budget supports the Florida Highway Patrol, 27 percent goes to motorists services and the remaining 13 percent is spent on administrative services and information technology services.

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE AGENDA HIGHLIGHTS via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools

AGRICULTURE BUDGET REQUESTS

The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee will consider Legislative Budget Requests for associated agencies for the 2016-217 fiscal year. Meeting begins 12:30 p.m. in Room 102 of the House building.

GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS BUDGET REQUESTS

The House Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee will consider Legislative Budget Requests for associated agencies for the 2016-217 fiscal year. Meeting starts 3 p.m. in Room 17 of the House building.

HEALTH BUDGET REQUESTS

The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will consider Legislative Budget Requests for health care agencies – including the large Agency for Health Care Administration — for the 2016-217 fiscal year. Meeting starts 3 p.m. in Room 212 of the Knott Building.

FLORIDA CHAIN HOSTS HEALTH POLICY CONFERENCE

Florida CHAIN hosts its first-ever Annual Conference, Moving Forward Together in a New Era of Health Care at the Wyndham Resort, 8001 International Drive in Orlando. Registration begins 12:30 p.m.

LIKE AARON BEAN, AUDREY GIBSON IS DANCING WITH THE STARS via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Bean isn’t the only member of the Duval Delegation who has caught a case of Saturday Night Fever … Senator Audrey Gibson is also slated to participate in the (Dancing with the Stars) event … This will be her first time in the First Coast Dancing with the Stars. However, she adds, “a few years ago I participated in a similar event for Volunteers in Medicine.”

***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.***

HAPPENING TODAY: Republican state Reps. Elizabeth PorterLarry Metz, and Ben Albritton will be fundraising in the Governors Club at 4:30 p.m. At the same time is a joint fundraiser for state Reps. Cyndi StevensonRene Plasencia, and Mike Miller also beginning 4:30 p.m. in the Governors Club Boardroom. Over in the Governors Club Library is a fundraiser for state Reps. Jason Brodeaur and Frank Artiles, which starts at 6:30 p.m. All three events, organized by House Majority 2016, are at 202 1/2 South Adams Street in Tallahassee. In addition, state Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. will host a fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. in the Beer Industry of Florida offices, 110 S. Monroe Street, Suite B in Tallahassee.

NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS

Shawn Foster, Sunrise Consulting Group; Pamela Burch Fort, The Commerce Group: Florida Blueberry Growers Association

Rudy Garcia, Florida Governmental Affairs: United Home Care

Nicholas Matthews, Unconventional Strategies: Presidio Networked Solutions

Michael Peter McKee: Florida Gateway College

Larry Overton, Larry J. Overton & Associates: Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers

Monte Stevens, Southern Strategy Group: MCNA Dental Plans; Ultimate Health Plans

Mac StipanovichBrett BacotDouglas BellJim DeBeaugrineMarnie GeorgeKimberly McGlynn, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney: Florida Police Chiefs Association

Stephen “Pepper” Uchino, Anfield Consulting: Broward County; Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund; Florida Crystals Corporation; Indian River County Board of County Commissioners; Parsons Brinckerhoff; Polk County Board of County Commissioners; WaterSmart Software

PERSONNEL NOTE — STATE TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION SELECTS NEW LEADER via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics

The body that oversees the state’s Department of Transportation has picked a new leader … Brad Swanson will be the Florida Transportation Commission’s new executive director, replacing Bob Romig. Romig heads back to the private sector after 35 years in state government.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to top photographer Mary Beth Tyson, St. Petersburg City Councilman Charlie Gerdes and Tampa Bay Times reporter Charlie Frago.

WHAT STEVE SCHALE IS UP TO

“To the people who would actually think I would actually tease an announcement for the sitting Vice President of the United States on my own Facebook page, well wow. But I am pretty excited about this news.

“At the end of October, I am escorting an American Council of Young Political Leaders delegation to Botswana and Namibia.  This is the first time this group has ever gone to Botswana and only second visit to Namibia. I was a delegate on an ACYPL trip to the Philippines and Malaysia in 2013, and I hosted an ACYPL delegation from Pakistan and India in 2014.

“There are a bunch of Florida folks who are ACYPL alums, including Rep Pepe Diaz, and Senators Bullard, Flores and Garcia.”

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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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