florida politics Archives - Page 4 of 37 - SaintPetersBlog

Sunburn for 2.7.17 – Trump hearts Florida; First CRC picks; Dana Young is upset; New Starbucks!!!

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

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

DONALD TRUMP IN TAMPA: LET IN PEOPLE WHO WANT TO ‘LOVE OUR COUNTRY’ via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News –The visit was Trump’s first to the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base since he became president … The president addressed the energetic troops, vowing to put “America first” by focusing on the military. Trump told troops he would “load up” the Air Force base with new airplanes and equipment as president. National security, Trump said, is one of his top considerations — and keeping ill-intentioned people out of the country is part of the journey to keeping America safe. “We need strong programs … so that people that love us and want to love our country and will end up loving our country are allowed in … not people that want to destroy us and destroy our country,” Trump said.

TRUMP SAYS HE’LL BE ‘LOADING UP’ MACDILL WITH NEW PLANES via Howard Altman of the Tampa Bay Times – In his speech … Trump praised the leadership at MacDill Air Force Base, the troops and families there, and reiterated his support for the military. He said he will be “loading up” the base “with beautiful new planes” and equipment. He offered no specifics. MacDill, home to 16 K -135 aerial refueling tankers, is not on the short list to get the next wave of KC46 jets to replace the Eisenhower-era planes.

DURING TAMPA TRIP, RICK SCOTT AND TRUMP DISCUSS OBAMACARE, CUBA via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – During the stop, Trump met privately with Scott, who has been one of his most vocal supporters … the two discussed Cuba and the Affordable Care Act. “The governor reiterated he wanted to be helpful in any way he can in bringing democracy and freedom to Cuba,” said Jackie Schutz, Scott’s communications director. “America needs a better deal that does not coddle a dictatorship.” Scott has been vocally opposed to former President Obama’s push to normalize relations with the island nation. In his most recent comments on the issue last month, Scott warned state ports that he would push to cut funding if they began trading with Cuba.


TRUMP HEADED BACK TO FLORIDA TO GOLF WITH JAPANESE PM SHINZO ABE via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – First, Abe will meet with Trump in Washington Friday. “He’s coming to the White House and then he’d like to play golf, and we’re going to come down to Florida, Palm Beach, and we’re going to play golf,” Trump said … “We’re going to have a round of golf, which is a great thing. That’s the one thing about golf — you get to know somebody better on a golf course than you will over lunch.” No telling if Trump will play with the $3,700 driver Abe gifted him after the election.

— “The felonious Palm Beach socialite who partied with Donald Trump” via Jose Gambiet’s Gossip Extra

WHAT THE GOV’S OFFICE IS READING:  WHAT TRUMP CAN LEARN FROM FLORIDA’S JOB BOOM via Jared Meyer of Forbes – On Jan. 4, 2011, Scott was sworn in as Florida’s governor and immediately launched deregulation efforts by signing Executive Order 11-01, which he later reinforced with Executive Order 11-211. Since then, Florida has repealed over 4,700 individual rules and regulations that directly affected businesses—a reduction of more than 20 percent. First … it required all agencies under the direction of the governor to “immediately suspend all rulemaking” and requested the suspension of rulemaking by all other agencies. Second, it created the Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform (OFARR) to oversee the state’s deregulation efforts. Following these actions, Florida led the United States in job creation. Florida’s experience in reining in bureaucracy, cutting job-killing regulations, and unleashing over 1 million private-sector jobs provides a replicable strategy for promoting economic prosperity. Based on the state’s experience, here are three key things other governors can do to reverse the tide of regulatory overreach.

HOT TAKE – PRESIDENT CHAOS COLLIDES WITH REALITY via Rick Wilson for the Daily Beast – His leadership rests on showmanship over substance, fear of the “other” over faith in our fellow Americans, and a revanchist politics like that puts the bully in bully pulpit like we’ve rarely seen. That’s a problem; the world is coming at Trump‘s White House, and fast. For those who have opposed Trump from the start, or those on both the right and left who still find him ideologically, politically and morally repugnant, take heart. No Administration can run at this pace for long, and the Cat 5 Chaos Hurricane of the first two weeks is unsustainable … as President he faces something to which he’s never been accustomed to in his personal, business or political life; accountability. That accountability comes not only in the awesome power to send men and women into war, but to the promises he made, to the people he now leads, and to the oath he swore. We know he’s not good with promises, and we know he’s not good with commitments, but he’s not just Donald Trump, alleged-billionaire playboy and smack-talker. He’s now the President of the United States.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Spectrum Business. Bright House Networks Business Solutions is now Spectrum Business, and we are committed to delivering your business with superior business Internet, Phone, and TV services to help power your success. We offer the best value in business with the fastest Internet for the price, advanced phone with unlimited long distance, cloud-based Hosted Voice and reliable TV — all delivered over our reliable, state-of-the-art, fiber-rich network.  Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Spectrum Business. Learn more.***

DAYS UNTIL: The Batman Lego Movie opens – 3; Pitchers & catchers report for Spring Training – 5; Valentine’s Day – 7; Start of 2017 Legislative Session – 28; Florida Capitol Press Corps Press Skits – 35; 2017 Legislative Session Sine Die – 87; FSU vs. Alabama – 207; Election Day 2017 – 272; Star Wars: Episode VIII/The Last Jedi opens – 310.

ACTIVISTS MARCH AT MARCO RUBIO’S TAMPA OFFICE, CALLING TO REJECT BETSY DEVOS AS EDUCATION SECRETARY via Florida Politics –More than two dozen activists gathered in front of Rubio’s Tampa district office … urging him to reject DeVos as the next Secretary of Education when her name comes up for a vote … But they are not expecting him to do so. “Betsy DeVos is totally uneducated, and she’s totally biased,” said Sue Jenkins, a former Wisconsin schoolteacher who spends winters in Port Richey and summers back in the Midwest. She blasted DeVos for her dedication toward vouchers and privatizing education. “We privatize the schools; we pay them money. Somebody’s going to make a profit.” Many of those at the protest want Rubio to recuse himself from the vote because he received campaign contributions from DeVos. Then again, so have a lot of other Republicans in Washington.

JOHN MORGAN, CANDIDATE OR NOT, IS RESHAPING FLORIDA POLITICS via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Morgan … wasn’t joking when he said it’s a travesty that so many people make so little money in Florida, where the minimum wage just went up a nickel — to $8.10 an hour. He said he will consult with Jon Mills, the University of Florida law school professor and former House speaker, about crafting a ballot measure to give voters the chance in 2018 to put a higher minimum wage — at least $12 an hour — in the state constitution. That’s a potential political game-changer in Florida on at least three levels. First, if such a proposal reached the ballot, it could greatly increase voter turnout in a midterm election where Democrats have a dismal track record of getting their base out to vote. Second, as the ultimate pocketbook issue, a “living wage” campaign would force every candidate for every office to take a position that could cost them votes. Third, it would force the business community to spend millions of dollars on ads opposing Morgan’s crusade, and that’s money that otherwise would be lavished on pro-business candidates for statewide office and the Legislature.

JORGE LABARGA APPOINTS TO CRC THREE CANDIDATES WHO WILL WATCH THE COURT’S BACK via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – The chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court … named three people who value “judicial independence” to serve on the powerful panel to revise the Florida Constitution. Labarga appointed Miami lawyer Roberto Martinez, Jacksonville defense attorney Henry Coxe III and former Democratic leader of the Florida Senate Arthenia Joyner to serve as his appointees to the Constitution Revision Commission, the 37-member panel assembled every 20 years to review the constitution and put proposals directly before voters in 2018. They each were chosen because they value an independent judiciary, Labarga told reporters … “extremely qualified people who care about our state” and said he looked for candidates with “wide-ranging knowledge about our system and appreciation for separation of powers and the independence of the judicial branch of government.”

— “Arthenia Joyner truly honored to be named to Commission” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics


While speculation hums along on the membership on the Constitution Revision Commission, there’s been not much buzz on who will be its executive director.

But there’s been quite a bit of interest in the Capitol, at least on the south side of the Plaza level, to put it back in the hands of an old pro: Billy Buzzett, who had the job back in 1997-98.

Don’t ask why. Ask: Why not?

Most importantly, Gov. Rick Scott likes the guy. He tapped the now 58-year-old lawyer – a fifth-generation Floridian – back in 2011 to head the Department of Community Affairs, the state’s growth management agency, just before it was made defunct.

“Billy is focused on helping me make government smaller, less intrusive and consistent with efforts to increase investments in Florida and spur job creation,” Scott said in a press release upon his appointment.

High praise from this governor.

Buzzett graduated from Tulane University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and practiced for several years before getting his law degree from Florida State University, his bio says.

His other bona fides include being assistant general counsel to then-Gov. Bob Martinez, staff attorney to the House Judiciary Committee, an administrative law judge, and vice president of the St. Joe Co. He’s an FSU trustee, and liked and respected on both sides of the aisle.

“He’s a smooth operator, say both friends and enemies, totally unflappable,” the Tampa Bay Times wrote of him in 2011, quoting Manley Fuller of the Florida Wildlife Federation that Buzzett “could sell snow to the Eskimos.”

The commission’s E.D. job is part-dealmaker, part-peacemaker and full time on managing personalities and keeping the trains running on time.

All the more reason why Buzzett is – again – the right man for the job. And judging from the Capitol cognoscenti, it’s practically his to take or turn down.

***The Florida Health Care Association knows how legislators can save taxpayers $68.2 million per year in unnecessary spending, while safeguarding the highest level of care for Florida’s frailest residents. They’ll share the plan on Wednesday with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health & Human Services. Learn more at cqrcengage.com.***

GOV VISITS JAXPORT LOOKING FOR SUPPORT via Kent Justice of News4Jax – Scott gathered business and union leaders at the Jacksonville Port Authority Monday afternoon to talk about the $10 billion investment he proposes for transportation, including $178 million targeted for Florida’s 15 seaports … Calling this his “Fighting for Florida budget,” Scott told people that if they agreed with supporting the port, they should contact their state lawmakers.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE GRETNA RULING NOW THAT JUSTICE JAMES E.C. PERRY’S WORK IS DONE? via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – So now what happens to cases like the Gretna ruling on which the court, including Perry, hear oral arguments last June but which has not yet been released? The court must decide of the Florida Legislature intended to allow counties to expand slot machines anywhere in the state in 2010 when it modified a statute that was initially intended to allow Hialeah Park to operate slot machines. “I haven’t thought about that yet,” [Chief Justice JorgeLabarga said … “I’m pretty sure most of those questions are done and whatever he signed will be released soon. As far as new cases that are going to be heard — tomorrow and from here on, that will be Justice Lawson.” Labarga responded that there are “going to be some” cases from Perry “that he voted on — but I’m not sure.” If Perry has written his ruling but it is now being jettisoned because his retirement was cut short, what happens next? If Perry’s ruling had resulted in a 3-3 split, the court could ask [Justice C. AlanLawson to break the tie … As with any tie, the court could also call for a rehearing of the issue, or Lawson could review the arguments in the file and the videotape of the oral arguments and then render an opinion.

AFTER MASS SHOOTINGS, LITTLE CHANGES IN FLORIDA ON MENTAL ILLNESS AND ACCESS TO GUNS via Michael Auslen and Kristen Clark of the Tampa Bay Times – Despite years connecting mental illness and mass shootings, lawmakers in both parties have been reluctant to pass major legislation taking firearms out of the hands of people diagnosed with severe disorders … Gov. Scott showed how quickly politicians can retreat after a call to action. “One thing we have to think about is if someone is adjudicated mentally ill, it just doesn’t make any sense that they should have access to a gun,” he told reporters a week after the Fort Lauderdale shooting. Scott, who often lobbies the Legislature on priorities like tax cuts, could weigh in on guns if he wants, but he’s right that it’s ultimately up to lawmakers to act. And there’s much they can do.

DOH HOLDS FIRST MEDICINAL MARIJUANA WORKSHOP IN JACKSONVILLE via Drew Dixon of the Florida Times-Union – Many complained not only about limited access to the drug, but also criticized the state for limiting the number of state-licensed cultivation centers to only seven facilities in the state. Some speakers at the workshop said they’re concerned about what they see as a state-sanctioned monopoly that could become a “cannabis cartel in Florida.” There were also multiple medical professionals on hand during the workshop and they implored the state to take steps to lower the cost of the drug. The public meetings are designed to get feedback from residents “regarding the implementation of Amendment 2,” the referendum overwhelming approved by Florida voters Nov. 8 that legalized the use of medical cannabis.

INSURANCE OFFICE, NCCI REFUTE SUNSHINE LAW CLAIMS IN WORKERS’ COMP APPEAL via Florida Politics – The Office of Insurance Regulation and an organization that proposes workers’ compensation premium rates have filed legal briefs refuting arguments that they calculated Florida’s recent 14.5 percent rate hike in violation of the Sunshine Law. James Fee, a Miami workers’ compensation attorney fighting the increase, and a group of press and press freedom organizations, had argued … that the National Council on Compensation Insurance, or NCCI, was obliged to open its internal deliberations to public scrutiny. “Just because an entity can create a collegial body that would be subject to the Sunshine Law, does not mean an entity is required to create a collegial body that is subject to the Sunshine Law,” the council’s attorneys wrote.

LAWYERS MARRIED TO MILITARY COULD BYPASS BAR EXAM IN FLORIDA via Florida Politics –The Florida Bar wants lawyer-spouses of military members stationed in Florida to be able to practice law here without having to take the state bar exam. The Bar, which regulates the state’s 100,000-plus licensed attorneys, filed its request with the Florida Supreme Court last week. The change would require court approval. Twenty-three other states, including Texas and New York, “have adopted a military spouse rule,” the Bar’s petition says. “Due to the unique mobility requirements of military families, lawyers licensed in a jurisdiction other than Florida often have to relocate to Florida with their spouse who is in the military,” the petition explains. “Currently, that lawyer is unable to engage in the practice of law in Florida” without passing the state bar exam.

FGCU DECLINES TO INTERVIEW FORMER TALLAHASSEE LAWMAKER via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat – Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda won’t be interviewed for the vacant president position at Florida Gulf Coast University … [She] failed to garner 10 votes from a search committee reviewing 129 applications to replace Wilson Bradshaw, who is stepping down June 30 … Rehwinkel Vasilinda is an attorney and has been a professor of Legal Studies and Applied Ethics at Tallahassee Community College since 1989. She represented Tallahassee in the state house 2008 to 2016 as a Democrat but bucked her party with her support of a bill to allow guns on college campuses. Within the first hour of a meeting to select up to 10 candidates for further examination Rehwinkel Vasilinda and another former Florida House member, Fort Myers’ Keith Arnold, were eliminated from further consideration.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF). PIFF was formed in late 2010 with three charter members: Allstate and Castle Key Insurance Companies, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, and State Farm Insurance Companies, to create a dynamic, efficient, and competitive marketplace for personal insurance products for the benefit of all Floridians. PIFF charter members serve forty-five percent (45%) of the automobile insurance market and more than twenty percent (20%) of the homeowners’ property insurance market. The association is the leading voice for personal lines property and casualty insurers in Florida. Learn more.***

DANA YOUNG SAYS TALLAHASSEE’S ANGRY TONE DOESN’T HELP; OPPOSES KILLING ENTERPRISE FLORIDA, VISIT FLORIDA via Richard Danielson of the Tampa Bay Times – Florida’s constitution gives the Legislature one job — passing a balanced budget — so it shouldn’t be that hard, right? “Sounds pretty easy, but this year it doesn’t feel that way,” Young told about 70 people at Café con Tampa … “There is this angry, shrill tone tone coming out of Tallahassee and I truly don’t understand why, because I feel like we’re all on the same team and should be working together to get a budget passed. But this shrill screaming is discouraging.” Asked whether she supports the idea of killing Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, something the leadership in the House proposed this week, Young said no.

SENATE PANEL BEGINS WORK ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING PROBLEM via Florida Politics – A Senate committee got a preview of what a coordinated statewide campaign against human trafficking might look at Monday, when a prosecutor detailed Miami’s “victim-centered” attack on the scourge. Esther Jacobo, who runs the program for State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, said prosecutors … identify services gaps that make it more difficult to deliver children and young women and men from human traffickers. … The Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs gave her a sympathetic hearing. “At the end of the day, we know there’s a crisis in the state of Florida — not only here, but across the nation — when it comes to human trafficking,” said Rene Garcia, the Hialeah Republican who chairs the panel.

BILL ON UNANIMOUS JURY FOR DEATH SENTENCE CLEARS FIRST PANEL via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – The legislation (SB 280) was cleared unanimously by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. It’s sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Randolph Bracy of Ocoee, the panel’s chair … a staff analysis said death penalty cases in Florida “have essentially ground to a halt.” In 2016, the Legislature passed and Gov. Scott signed a bill requiring at least 10 of the 12 members of a jury to recommend the death penalty. But the Florida Supreme Court in October ruled 5-2 that jury recommendations must be unanimous for capital punishment to be imposed. Significantly, the court said the law can’t be applied to pending prosecutions.

SUGAR GROWERS PLAY HARD BALL: TELL LEGISLATORS THEY WON’T WILLINGLY SELL THEIR LAND via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – Sugar cane growers and other farmers who own some of the largest parcels of land in the Everglades Agricultural Area told the Florida Senate … they will not willingly sell their land to build a water-holding reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, setting up a possible standoff in the power struggle over the future of Everglades cleanup. The owners, which include sugar giants U.S. Sugar and Florida Crystals, said in a letter delivered to the Florida Legislature Tuesday, that they “do not support any governmental acquisition of additional farm lands south of Lake Okeechobee to solve issues that are being caused north of Lake Okeechobee and in Martin County. The letter is signed by 12 individuals representing 14 companies who farm in the EAA. Their argument: any attempt to buy land to store water south of Lake Okeechobee “simply cannot store enough water to stop the discharges from Lake Okeechobee when our region is inundated from heavy rains.”

REGGIE FULLWOOD FACES LIGHT SENTENCE, BUT WANTS TO AVOID PRISON via Florida Politics – In 2016, former Jacksonville state Rep. Fullwood was arrested and charged with using campaign funds for personal expenses: 10 counts of wire fraud and four counts of failure to file federal tax returns. He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of failure to file. Guidelines, assert Fullwood’s lawyer in a sentencing memorandum, call for a 15- to 21-month stretch. However, Fullwood seeks a “non-custodial” sentence in Tuesday’s sentencing hearing. Fullwood has suffered because of the trial, according to his lawyer. His wife is divorcing him. Despite this setback, and a family history of alcohol and drug abuse, Fullwood is back on the straight and narrow. If allowed to serve a non-custodial sentence, the former state representative would be installed as associate editor of the Jacksonville Free Press.

ST. PETE CHAMBER RELEASES LEGISLATIVE WISH LIST FOR 2017 SESSION via Florida Politics – Among the leading matters for the Chamber are transportation, the unification of PSTA-HART, tourism, and state regulation of vehicles for hire — including a bill (SB 340) from state Sen. Jeff Brandes setting rules to promote the growth of transportation network companies (TNC) such as Uber and Lyft. However, at the top of the wish list is a call for greater diversity, with the Chamber supporting the Florida Competitive Workforce Act … The Chamber also wants to keep Enterprise Florida – as is or with some modifications … As for education, the Chamber gives thumbs-up to several local proposals, including $10 million For the St. Petersburg College Student Success Center, and $2.5 million for “STEM academic programming” … The University of South Florida St. Petersburg gets a pair of requests, with $1.5 million for the USF College of Marine Science Coastal Ocean Initiative … There’s also $2 million for the USF College of Marine Science Biogeochemical Laboratory Renovation … The Chamber asks lawmakers to pass the funding request from Kathleen Peters (HB 2005) for $3 million to smoke test the city’s sewer pipes for leaks, remodel lateral clean-outs with removable plugs, and install and seal manholes. The Chamber also opposes any efforts to prohibit a professional sports franchise from leasing public land to build stadiums or renovate stadiums already on public lands.

TAMPA BAY PARTNERSHIP ASSERTS NEW LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES WITH A STRONG MESSAGE ON TRANSPORTATION via Janelle Irwin of the Tampa Bay Business Journal – The group’s 2017 policy agenda emphasizes regionalism as a key to connecting citizens and reducing traffic congestion. The Partnership is putting its corporate might behind creating a multicounty Metropolitan Planning Organization rather than the existing patchwork of individual county-based MPOs. “A regional MPO would make Tampa Bay more competitive in pursuing state and federal transportation funding, and facilitate in the process of making regional decisions about long-range transportation plans,” the group’s agenda explains in a recent white paper …The group also supports creating a regional structure for transit operations.

HAPPENING TODAY – COMMITTEE MEETINGS TO WATCH — The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will discuss direct primary care legislation at 10 a.m. in 110 Senate Office Building. At 2 p.m., the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee will discuss Sen. Rob Bradley’s bill to purchase land south of Lake Okeechobee in 412 Knott; while the Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee will discuss making texting while driving a primary offense for minors during its meeting at the same time in 301 Senate Office Building. Also happening at 2 p.m., the Senate Transportation Committee meets in 401 Senate Office Building to discuss red-light cameras. The House Appropriations Committee meets at 3 p.m. in 212 Knott to review the governor’s proposed 2017-18 budget. House members also have until 5 p.m. to submit appropriation project request forms.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Sen. Jack Latvala and Rep. Jason Brodeur will announce the introduction of the “Protect Florida Small Business Act,” which aims to protect small business owners who operate franchises in Florida, during a press conference at 10 a.m. on the 4th floor of the Capitol outside of the Senate Chambers.

ASSINGMENT EDITORS: The Florida Association of Community Health Centers will hold a press conference at 11:30 a.m. on the 4th floor of the Capitol to discuss the role its members serve in providing quality health care to local communities across the state. Participants will include FACHC President Andy Behrman, House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, and Sen. Aaron Bean.

ASSINGMENT EDITORS: Moffitt Cancer Center will hold a press conference at noon at the Florida capital, 400 S. Monroe Street in Tallahassee to announce expansion plans to help the cancer center better meet needs of its patients continue to make scientific advances in the fight against cancer. Dr. Tom Sellers, Moffitt EVP and center director; Jon Gruden, ESPN analyst and Moffitt supporter; Barbara Popoli, breast cancer patient; Rep. Jamie Grant, and Sen. Dana Young are expected to attend.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Florida leaders will detail their concerns with the legal record of Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee during a press conference at 12:15 p.m. the 4th floor of the Capitol.

HAPPENING WEDNESDAY – INDUSTRY LEADERS DISCUSS FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION — The Charles Koch Institute, The James Madison Institute and Lyft will host a discussion at 6 p.m. Wednesday at The James Madison Institute, 100 North Duval Street in Tallahassee, to discuss the future of transportation in Florida and around the country. Sen. Jeff Brandes is scheduled to give the keynote address. The event will also include a panel discussion moderated by Jesse Blumenthal, manager of technology and innovation at the Charles Koch Institute, and featuring panelists Eli Dourado, director of technology policy program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University; Rob Grant, the director of government relations at Lyft, and Adrian Moore, the vice president of policy at the Reason Foundation.

GOVERNORS CLUB TUESDAY BUFFET MENU – Tuesday’s Governors club buffet takes a delicious Southern turn with she crab soup; remoulade slaw; seasonal green salad; traditional potato salad with bacon; fried chicken with whiskey BBQ sauce; herb roasted pork loin macaroni & cheese; mashed potatoes; succotash; broccoli & cauliflower casserole and finished with a chef’s choice dessert.


DONKEY STATUE LEADS TO ALLEGED INJURY, LAWSUIT IN TALLAHASSEE via Florida Politics – A Tallahassee woman is suing a Mexican restaurant after she fell off its donkey statue and broke her back, according to a lawsuit. Kimberly Bonn‘s complaint, filed last week in Leon County Circuit Civil court, said she was having dinner at El Jalisco Southwood restaurant … Afterward, she got up on a “life-size statue of a donkey” … (but) where Bonn sat “was smooth and slick” and she slipped off. She fell “hard to the floor” and sustained a “fractured spine,” the suit said.

ON THIS WEEK’S EDITION OF THE ROTUNDA — On Trimmel Gomes’ latest episode of The Rotunda, a new bill sets up a major battle between Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida House over plans to kill Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida. Trump’s pick for Education Secretary is in jeopardy with a possible tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. Florida’s former Education Commissioner tells Gomes he believes Devos is the right person for the job and Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson should vote in favor. Also, Gomes looks back with Florida’s former jobs chief, Jesse Panuccio, as he joins the Trump administration to serve as Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General at the Department of Justice.

SPOTTED in downtown Tallahassee: Blogger and provocateur Jacob Engels.

***The 2017 Florida Blue Foundation Community Health Symposium and Sapphire Awards are coming to Kissimmee April 19-20 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. The two-day event — with the theme “Creating a Culture of Health” — will feature several Florida-based, regional and national health professionals. The symposium will give attendees an opportunity to learn more about health care culture, purpose built communities and communities of health. Discussions will center on health issues, policy, reform and engagement. Network with 400+ executives from a range of private sector, government, universities, nonprofit organizations and more. To view agenda and register, click here***

DESPITE THRILLING FINISH, SUPER BOWL OVERNIGHT RATING DOWN FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR via Joe DePaolo of Mediaite – Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons pulled down a 48.8 overnight rating and 72 share, down from the previous two editions of the big game. Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 between the Pats and the Seattle Seahawks notched a 49.7 overnight. While last year’s game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers got a 49.0 overnight. It is likely that the Falcons running out to a seemingly insurmountable 28-3 lead did not help the final numbers. Social media buzz certainly helped bring some people back to their sets for the game’s dramatic conclusion. But apparently, it was not enough to top the last two Super Bowls.

AIRBNB FOLLOWS SUPER BOWL AD WITH CALL TO HOUSE 100K IN NEED via The Associated Press – An announcement on the rental service’s website said it plans to start with refugees, disaster survivors and relief workers, but wants “to accommodate many more types of displaced people over time.” The company also said it will donate $4 million over four years to the International Rescue Committee. Airbnb also touched on discrimination experienced by some renters. The company said it’s looking to achieve “greater acceptance in our community.” Airbnb’s Super Bowl spot showed faces of people of different races and included the line, “the world is more beautiful the more you accept.”

TOM BRADY SUSPECTS SUPER BOWL JERSEY WAS STOLEN AFTER GAME via Martin Rogers of USA TODAY – Brady looked flustered as he searched his locker area at NRG Stadium but was unable to locate the game-worn jersey that he donned in leading the Patriots to a 34-28 overtime victory. “It was right here. I know exactly where I put it,” Brady said as he called the security staff and team equipment managers to assist in the search. Brady, who was named the Super Bowl MVP for the record fourth time in his career, frantically looked through several bags and told nearby players that the iconic No. 12 was missing. Backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo told other players to look for the jersey, but the longer he searched, the more Brady seemed to grow concerned it had been stolen. “This is not good,” he said. “It was right here and now I don’t have it. Not good.”

SUPER BOWL GENERATES MIXED RESULTS FOR ODDS MAKERS via Regina Garcia Cano of The Associated Press – Gamblers wagered a record $138.5 million at Nevada casinos on the big game, almost $6 million more than last year. The unaudited tallies released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board showed sports books made a profit of more than $10.9 million on the action, about $2.4 million less than in 2016 and a far cry from the $19.6 the casinos cleared in 2014. Caesars Palace sportsbook director Frank Kunovic said the hotel-casino raked in a decent amount of money from bettors, but would have had a much better day if the Patriots missed the two-point conversion that tied the game. The play resulted in a seven-figure swing for Caesars’ bottom line when MVP quarterback Tom Brady‘s favored Patriots went on to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28. Most bettors wagered for the Patriots to win by more than 3 points and the game’s total points to exceed 59. “Our saving grace was that we had a lot of people on the under,” Kunovic said, referring to the people who bet that the total points scored by the two teams would remain under 59.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Rep. Brad Drake and our friends Josh Burgin and Rachel Pienta.

GATORS REWARDED, SEMINOLES DISSED IN AP TOP 25 POLL via Bob Sparks of Florida Politics – The Gators had two huge wins over the week. A 39-point win over Missouri and a 22-point blowout of former No. 8 Kentucky facilitated Florida’s seven position climb in the poll. They are still two spots behind the Wildcats. Florida is on an incredible run of four straight wins of at least 22 points, three of which were by more than 30. They are playing like a strong NCAA Tournament contender. Florida State, on the other hand, was not rewarded for an impressive week. An 18-point blowout at Miami, followed by a nearly-perfect 48-point dismantling of Clemson, apparently made the voters yawn. Despite having a better conference record (8-3 versus 7-3), overall record (20-4 versus 19-5) and a victory over Louisville, the Seminoles are ranked 10 spots below the Cardinals! Despite having a better conference record (8-3 versus 7-3), overall record (20-4 versus 17-5) AND a victory at Virginia, the Seminoles are ranked two spots below the Cavaliers!

SPOTTED: Florida State fan Ron Sachs congratulates Florida State center Chatrice White (50), who had 19 points, after a game against Miami in Tallahassee Monday. Photo credit Phil Sears/AP.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Sunburn for 2.6.17 – Politics at the Super Bowl; Trump to MacDill; Jesse Panuccio to D.C.; Bentina Terry to Georgia

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

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

TOM BRADY LEADS BIGGEST COMEBACK, PATRIOTS WIN 34-28 IN OT via Barry Wilner of the Associated Press – Brady led one of the greatest comebacks in sports, let alone Super Bowl history, lifting New England from a 25-point hole to the Patriots’ fifth NFL championship in the game’s first overtime finish. The Patriots scored 19 points in the final quarter, including a pair of 2-point conversions, then marched relentlessly to James White‘s 2-yard touchdown run in overtime beating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 Sunday night.

Brady, the first quarterback with five Super Bowl rings, guided the Patriots (17-2) through a tiring Atlanta defense for fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 6-yard pass to Danny Amendola and a 1-yard run by White, which came with 57 seconds remaining in regulation. White ran for the first 2-pointer and Amendola did the deed with a reception on the second. Brady finished 43 for 62, the most attempts in Super Bowl history, for 466 yards and two touchdowns.


‘HAMILTON’ STARS TWEAK ‘AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL’ LYRICS TO INCLUDE WOMEN BEFORE SUPER BOWL via Greg Hadley of the Bradenton Herald – The Schuyler sisters have made their mark on the Super Bowl. Actresses Renne Elise GoldsberryJasmine Cephas Jones and Phillipa Soo, most known for their roles in the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” sang “America the Beautiful” before the Super Bowl in Houston … and they made a slight adjustment to the lyrics. In addition to the line, “and crown thy good with brotherhood,” the women added in “and sisterhood.”

GEORGE AND BARBARA BUSH’S EMOTIONAL COIN TOSS WAS THE PERFECT WAY TO START SUPER BOWL 51 via Adi Joseph of USA TODAY – George H. W. Bush, the oldest living president, was in the hospital a week ago in Houston. But he recovered from pneumonia and gave us the rare memorable Super Bowl coin toss. Bush was rolled out by a military member in a wheelchair while wife Barbara took a golf cart to center field. The beauty was the combination of unified appreciation from the fans — something so rare in politics these days — and the knowledge of everything it took for Bush to be out there at NRG Stadium for this moment. He’s 92 — a few months older than Jimmy Carter.

LADY GAGA PREACHES UNITY DURING HIGH-FLYING SUPER BOWL SET via Maeve McDermott of USA Today – After last year’s politically charged statement from Beyoncé during her cameo in Coldplay’s halftime show, where she performed Formation flanked by background dancers in Black Panther-referencing costumes, many predicted that Gaga would unleash a Trump statement during her show. But a political protest never arrived, as Gaga opted for patriotism and unity over making a divisive proclamation, which she hinted at during her pre-Super Bowl news conference Thursday.

THE 84 LUMBER SUPER BOWL AD’S CREATIVE DIRECTOR EXPLAINS THE THINKING BEHIND THE MEXICAN IMMIGRATION-THEMED SPOT via Lara O’Reilly of Business Insider – The 90-second ad that aired on TV during the Super Bowl depicted a Mexican a Mexican mother and daughter embarking on an arduous journey to leave their country of origin and find a better life in the U.S. The ad then invited viewers to watch the conclusion of the ad online. However, the dedicated website appeared to be down during the game with the rush of people looking to find out how the ad ends. Rob Schapiro, chief creative officer of 84 Lumber’s ad agency Brunner [said] the ad intended to make a “patriotic” statement as aimed to make the company a household name throughout the country as it expands and opens more stores in the U.S. The choice to depict Mexican characters was deliberate.

IN AIRBNB’S SUPER BOWL AD, IMPLIED CRITICISM OF TRAVEL BAN via Katie Benner of the New York Times – Airbnb, one of the most aggressive corporate critics of Trump’s policy, took its opposition to the Super Bowl. Airbnb created a Super Bowl advertisement showing a diverse group of people and text that read: “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.”

TWEET, TWEET: @Timodc: Weird that not one brand has tried to pander to Trump voter in commercials. Seems like a no brainer

TWEET, TWEET: @RealDonaldTrump: What an amazing comeback and win by the Patriots. Tom Brady, Bob Kraft and Coach B are total winners. Wow!

DONALD TRUMP TO VISIT MACDILL AFB TODAY – Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump will visit MacDill Air Force Base today. The president will visit U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill. Trump is expected to be briefed by military leaders during his visit. Spicer said the president will have lunch with enlisted troops and will also address the troops afterwards. General Dunford and Flynn are expected to attend as well.

TWEET, TWEET: @LearyReports: .@FLGovScott will be with @realDonaldTrump at MacDill AFB tomorrow.

APPEALS COURT DENIES TRUMP REQUEST TO IMMEDIATELY RESTORE TRAVEL BAN via The Associated Press – A federal appeals court denied early Sunday the Justice Department’s request for an immediate reinstatement of Trump’s ban on accepting certain travelers and all refugees. The Trump administration appealed a temporary order restraining the ban nationwide, saying late Saturday night that the federal judge in Seattle overreached by “second-guessing” the president on a matter of national security. Now the higher court’s denial of an immediate stay means the legal battles over the ban will continue for days at least. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco asked challengers of the ban respond to the appeal, and for the Justice Department to file a counter-response by Monday afternoon. Acting Solicitor General Noel Francisco forcefully argued Saturday night that the president alone has the power to decide who can enter or stay in the United States — an assertion that appeared to invoke the wider battle to come over illegal immigration.

— “The Trump travel ban as seen from abroad” via Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union

ANTI-TRUMP PROTESTS APLENTY IN SOUTH FLORIDA ON SATURDAY via Sergio Bustos of POLITICO – Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz [hosted] a rally in her South Florida district Saturday afternoon “to combat President Trump and the Republican-led Congress,” the same day a bigger protest is planned at the president’s “winter White House” in West Palm Beach. In West Palm Beach, Trump demonstrators [marched] in opposition to Trump’s executive order on immigrant vetting, just as Trump heads to the annual International Red Cross Ball at Mar-a-Lago. The organization is scrambling to help refugees that the president has temporarily banned from entering the United States.

ACTIVISTS: CHARITIES MUST MOVE GALAS FROM MAR-A-LAGO via Terry Spencer of The Associated Press – With Trump placing a moratorium on refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and his promises to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, activists are pressuring charities such as the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Cleveland Clinic to move or cancel their galas this month. As the American Red Cross held a gala fundraiser Saturday at Mar-a-Lago, about three thousand demonstrators marched nearby to protest Trump’s now-blocked executive order temporarily limiting immigration. The event ended peacefully, and there were no arrests. So far, no known Mar-a-Lago charity events have been moved or canceled. Both Dana-Farber and the Cleveland Clinic said they won’t move or cancel their events, but added that it doesn’t mean they support the president’s policies.

THERE’S A FLORIDA ANGLE TO THIS: BUZZFEED SUED OVER ITS PUBLICATION OF UNCORROBORATED TRUMP DOSSIER via Kevin Hall, David Goldstein and Greg Gordon of McClatchy – The lawsuits were brought by XBT Holdings, a Cyprus-based company owned by Russian tech magnate Aleksej Gubarev. Lawyers for his firm filed complaints in London against the former spy and his company, and against BuzzFeed and its editor-in-chief, Ben Smith, in Broward County Circuit Court in Fort Lauderdale … where XBT’s subsidiary Webzilla is headquartered. The Florida lawsuit says that neither defendant – BuzzFeed or Ben Smith – had contacted the plaintiffs to determine whether the allegations had “any basis in fact.” Nor have they since, it alleges.

TRUMP’S FACE PRINTED ON HEROIN PACKAGES IN FLORIDA BUST via Adrian Crawford of the Palm Beach Post – A Florida sheriff’s department that netted a record haul of heroin late last month found familiar faces emblazoned on the packages: drug lord El Chapo, infamous cocaine trafficker Pablo Escobar and Trump … the bust, which could be the largest in Hernando County history, saw sheriff’s deputies seize about 5,500 individual packets of the drug, including dozens with Trump’s likeness printed on them. The suspect, Kelvin Scott Johnson, faces multiple charges stemming from the bust, which came about when a Postal Service employee informed Hernando County authorities that a package containing heroin had been intercepted heading for an address in the area from the northeastern United States.

MUST-WATCH: MELISSA MCCARTHY SKEWERS SEAN SPCIER ON SNL via NBC News – In a surprise cameo, McCarthy mimicked Spicer’s famously combative first appearance with the White House press corps, where he angrily took issue with reports about the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration. …. McCarty screamed, poured an entire pot of gum down her throat, and literally used her lectern as a bully pulpit, pushing troublesome reporters back into their seats during the sketch.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Spectrum Business. Bright House Networks Business Solutions is now Spectrum Business, and we are committed to delivering your business with superior business Internet, Phone, and TV services to help power your success. We offer the best value in business with the fastest Internet for the price, advanced phone with unlimited long distance, cloud-based Hosted Voice and reliable TV — all delivered over our reliable, state-of-the-art, fiber-rich network.  Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Spectrum Business. Learn more.***

DAYS UNTIL: The Batman Lego Movie opens – 4; Pitchers & catchers report for Spring Training – 6; Valentine’s Day – 8; Start of 2017 Legislative Session – 29; Florida Capitol Press Corps Press Skits – 36; 2017 Legislative Session Sine Die – 88; FSU vs. Alabama – 208; Election Day 2017 – 273; Star Wars: Episode VIII/The Last Jedi opens – 311.

BILL NELSON DIDN’T OBJECT TO NEIL GORSUCH A DECADE AGO, BUT THIS MAY BE DIFFERENT via Ledyard King of USA TODAY – After a bland, non-committal statement Tuesday night minutes after Trump unveiled GorsuchNelson turned more negative on the Colorado judge Thursday. “Of course, I’m going to talk to him and listen to the Judiciary Committee hearing,” Nelson said in the more recent statement issued by his office. “But I have real concerns about what I believe are two of the most fundamental rights in our democracy: the right to vote and the right to know who you are voting for,” he continued. “And I specifically want to know how the judge feels about the suppression of voting rights and about the amount of undisclosed, unlimited money in campaigns.”

TRUMP’S ARMY SECRETARY — THE OWNER OF THE FLORIDA PANTHERS — NOMINEE WITHDRAWING via Cyra Master of The Hill – Vincent Viola, Trump’s choice to be Secretary of the Army, is withdrawing himself from consideration for the post. Viola, who is reportedly worth $1.8 billion, is the founder of electronic trading firm Virtu Financial and was previously the chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange from 2001 to 2004. He also owns the NHL’s Florida Panthers. Viola told Trump that he would be unable to accept the nomination because separating himself from his businesses has proven insurmountable.

FIRST ON @FLA_POL – JESSE PANUCCIO TAKING JOB WITH DONALD TRUMP ADMINISTRATION via Florida Politics – Panuccio, now with the Foley & Lardner law firm, accepted an offer to become Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General. The position is “the third-highest ranking official at the Department of Justice,” according to the department’s website. That role “supervises the work of five of DOJ’s large litigating components – the Antitrust, Civil, Civil Rights, Tax, and Environment and Natural Resources Divisions – as well as DOJ’s grant-making components,” the site says.

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO FLORIDA IF THE EPA REALLY DID GO AWAY? via Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times – Perhaps the greatest impact the EPA has on Florida is in funding. Since 2002, for instance, the agency has been footing the bill for Florida health workers to check the beaches of 30 coastal counties for the types of bacteria that will make people sick. If the Florida Healthy Beaches Program finds too much fecal coliform bacteria or enterococci bacteria, the beach is closed until the risk declines. The EPA also gives the DEP money — $110.7 million in the 2015-2016 fiscal year — that the state then lends to local governments for building and maintaining their sewer and water plants and transmission lines. Without the federal agency, local and state governments would have to come up with that money on their own.

CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION ASKS PRESIDENT TO SUPPORT EVERGLADES RESTORATION via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Francis Rooney is calling on Trump to support Everglades restoration, with a letter to the president saying that Everglades restoration “has far-ranging impacts to the entire state of Florida and the rest of the country.” … signed by the entire Florida delegation … The letter asks that Trump prepares his fiscal 2018 budget, the “strong support Everglades restoration projects, especially those within the Central Everglades Restoration Program (CERP).” It also notes the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016 Act authorized two projects that now needs further action from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Interior. The projects include the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEEP) and additional authorizations to complete the Picayune Strand project, both which are important to achieving “optimal water flow” … “The Everglades deserve your attention and support, and we ask that you provide the necessary resources to restore the region,” the delegation wrote.

GUS BILIRAKIS GATHERING TURNS OUT TO BE STRONGLY PRO-OBAMACARE via Kathleen McGrory of the Tampa Bay Times – More than 200 people … packing a Palm Harbor community center Saturday morning so tightly that late-comers had to park down the street. Despite the demographics of the district, which includes all of Pasco and parts of Pinellas and Hills- borough counties, nearly all the guests came to support the Affordable Care Act, the Obama-era health law now on the chopping block. Only a handful supported efforts by congressional Republicans to repeal and replace the health law — and one was a Bilirakis employee, case work director Kristen Sellas. The crowd got rowdy, booing a 77-year-old speaker who said former President Barack Obama played politics to ram the Affordable Care Act through Congress in 2010.


BOB CORTES ‘EXPLORING’ POSSIBLE CONGRESSIONAL RUN IN CD 7 via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Cortes confirmed reports he was in Washington D.C. for a couple of days early this week talking to officials at the National Republican Congressional Committee and others about a possible run in CD 7 in 2018. If he does run, Cortes would be seeking a seat Republicans held for generations before U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy won it in November. “I’ve been asked,” to consider such a run … “I have not made a decision, yes or no,” he added.

SPOTTED on Friday’s airing of “Real Time with Bill Maher”: Rick Wilson

***The Florida Health Care Association knows how legislators can save taxpayers $68.2 million per year in unnecessary spending, while safeguarding the highest level of care for Florida’s frailest residents. They’ll share the plan on Wednesday with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health & Human Services. Learn more by clicking here.***

GWENDREW: IS 2018 THE YEAR OF THE TALLAHASSEE GOVERNOR? via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat – Two of Tallahassee’s most notable politicians, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham and Mayor Andrew Gillum, are positioning themselves for a possible run for governor, a post no Democrat has been able to win since Lawton Chiles beat Jeb Bush back in 1994. Graham … has all but declared she’s running. Gillum declined to comment about his political plans. But he’s shown obvious signs he’s still eyeing higher office after passing last year on a congressional run. Voters have a chance to make history with either of the two Tallahassee hopefuls. If Graham were elected, she’d become Florida’s first female governor. If Gillum were elected, he’d become the state’s first African-American governor. If either were elected, they’d be the first person from Tallahassee to take up residence in the Governor’s Mansion since LeRoy Collins more than a half-century ago.

BOB BUCKHORN TO TAMPA MUSLIMS: ‘WE WILL STAND WITH YOU FOREVER’ via Richard Danielson of the Tampa Bay Times – [At the] Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area … Buckhorn spoke to more than 3,000 in the mosque and an annex. “I came here for a simple reason . . . to tell you this city has your back,” Buckhorn said. “We will never demonize anybody based on your race or your creed or your color or your ethnicity (or) the god you worship. All of us came from somewhere else … I want the children to hear me more than anybody: We love you. We honor you. You are a part of who we are. We celebrate your faith. We want you to be a part of this community and give back. We treasure the fact that you chose to come here. You are us.”

RICK KRISEMAN STATEMENT ON ST. PETERSBURG’S SANCTUARY CITY STATUS LEADS TO CONFUSION via Kathryn Varn of the Tampa Bay Times – Kriseman … sought to clarify confusion surrounding his statement about St. Petersburg’s status as a sanctuary city, including pushback from Sheriff Bob Gualtieri over cooperation with federal immigration authorities. In a blog post published … Kriseman wrote that fear within the Muslim community stoked by Trump‘s strict immigration policies led to his decision to declare St. Petersburg as a city that will protect immigrants from “harmful federal immigration laws,” a stance that was widely interpreted as an official “sanctuary city” designation. “We will not expend resources to help enforce such laws,” he wrote, “nor will our police officers stop, question or arrest an individual solely on the basis that they may have unlawfully entered the United States.” In an interview, Kriseman clarified his post, saying the city is philosophically, not literally, a sanctuary city that supports other governments that have taken that route. He said the Sheriff’s Office decides whether to notify federal agents of an accused criminal’s immigration status. Gualtieri said Sunday that he has no intention of ceasing cooperation with federal authorities and called Kriseman’s statement misleading.

***The 2017 Florida Blue Foundation Community Health Symposium and Sapphire Awards are coming to Kissimmee April 19-20 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. The two-day event — with the theme “Creating a Culture of Health” — will feature several Florida-based, regional and national health professionals. The symposium will give attendees an opportunity to learn more about health care culture, purpose built communities and communities of health. Discussions will center on health issues, policy, reform and engagement. Network with 400+ executives from a range of private sector, government, universities, nonprofit organizations and more. To view agenda and register, click here***

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will be talking about transportation investments in his 2017-18 “Fighting for Florida’s Future” budget starting at a 10 a.m. news conference at the parking lot of Milliken’s Reef restaurant, 683 Dave Nisbet Dr. in Cape Canaveral. Then, at 4 p.m., the governor will be holding a press availability at JAXPORT Blount Island Marine terminal, 9620 Dave Rawls Boulevard in Jacksonville.

FLORIDA EDUCATION FUNDING HIGH; SCHOOLS STILL RECOVERING FROM RECESSION CUT via Andrew Atterbury of USA TODAY – The state would have to spend an additional $1.86 billion over the next three years to offset inflation and cuts that have ravaged education funding since the Great Recession, according to the Florida School Finance Council …  “School revenue is back to where it was in 2007, (but) does anybody believe costs are the same?” asked Malcolm Thomas, superintendent of the Escambia County School District. “I think where we’re feeling the pinch now is just the operational costs to really support and educate your kids.” School funding in the upcoming state budget is anticipated to increase for a fifth straight year, yet it still won’t be enough, education officials say. Lawmakers set aside $19.7 billion for K-12 education in 2015-16, a record for Florida at the time and almost $1 billion more than what was spent in 2007 … But even then, the funding school districts received per student — which pays for items such as salaries, transportation, utilities and textbooks — still was below the 2007 level for an eighth consecutive year.

HAPPENING TODAY – FLORIDA DOH TO HOLD MEDICAL MARIJUANA WORKSHOP — The Florida Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use will host the first in a series of workshops to begin discussions about implementing the 2016 medical marijuana constitutional amendment at 2 p.m. at the Duval County Health Department, 900 University Blvd. in Jacksonville.

— “Richard Corcoran threatens to sue visit Tampa Bay over financial records” via Steve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times

— “UNF capital improvements among appropriations asks by northeast Florida lawmakers” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics

FARMERS GEAR UP TO FIGHT PROPOSED LAND BUY SOUTH OF LAKE O via Susan Salisbury of the Palm Beach Post – EAA Farmers Inc. says there’s misinformation being circulated about the land grab they say would not solve problems plaguing the estuaries to the north, such as toxic blue-green algae. They point to a 2015 University of Florida study that found that, on average, 70 to 80 percent of the freshwater discharge and 65 percent to 80 percent of the nutrients in the estuaries comes from the local basins, not Lake O. They assert there is also a lack of understanding about the food and jobs they provide, and opposes taking any more EAA farmland out of production. The coalition formed in January includes more than 60 mostly family-owned farms and related businesses located in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

JEFF BRANDES: LEGISLATURE NEEDS EDUCATING ABOUT FLOOD RISK via Florida Politics – “I think my colleagues in the Legislature don’t quite understand the gravity of the situation — much like Congress,” said Brandes … “They do not understand how serious the risk is.” But that’s understandable, Brandes said — their constituents don’t, either. “Most folks don’t understand how important the issue of flood insurance is. Most Floridian think flood is part of their homeowner’s insurance. It isn’t. They also think, ‘Oh, I don’t live in a flood zone — I don’t have to buy it.’“

CERTIFICATE OF NEED PROGRAM IN SENATE’S CROSSHAIRS via Florida Politics – Rob Bradley filed a bill to repeal the state’s controversial Certificate of Need program. And Gov. Scott supports the measure. Senate Bill 676 would eliminate the Certificate of Need (CON) Program at the Agency for Health Care Administration. Currently, health care providers require a certificate of need prior before building or converting hospitals, nursing homes and hospices. Under Bradley’s bill, the Agency for Health Care Administration would develop licensure rules for new providers, and sets guidelines for the licensure of hospitals and hospice facilities. Bradley, a traditional free-market conservative, believes that competition will help reduce health care costs for consumers.

OUCH — GREG STEUBE STEPS UP WITH RIDICULOUS PROPOSALS via Andy Marlette of the Pensacola News-Journal – Another Steube … would let conceal-carry permit-holders potentially sue gun-banning private businesses in the case of a mass shooting or terrorist attack or zombie stampede in which a gunless permit-holder was harmed. So much for Republican sanctity of private property rights. Forget that such an overreaching law is a gross betrayal of conservative principles. Forget that if a business bans guns, a permit holder retains the right not to frequent that business … Forget, too, just how plain stupid it is. You know what business bans guns in Florida? Disney World. And if you think some clown from Sarasota is going to force such a law upon the Grand Mouse-eared Godfather of the Magic Kingdom, you belong in the circus sideshow with Steube.

BILLS PUSH LEGAL LIMITS via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel – One bill would ban local governments from enacting any business regulations. Another would allow people to sue businesses that ban guns if they get hurt. And a third would ban all “obscene material” from the internet. For example, Rep. Ross Spano … filed HB 337 last month and named it the “Human Trafficking Prevention Act.” Much of it is aimed at combating human trafficking and child pornography, but it also looks to restrict regular pornography or other sexual content. A measure from Rep. Randy Fine … filed HB 17 … which would bar local governments from passing new regulations on businesses, professions or occupations. Any regulation on those issues passed by a city or county after Jan. 1 would be null and void.

COMPUTER CODING AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE? LAWMAKERS AGAIN PUSH THE IDEA via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – Aimed at preparing students for high-tech jobs … in a modern digital economy, the legislation (SB 104) has the backing of such influential powerhouses as Disney and the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “I love this idea. This is the future,” said Sen. Brandes who is driving the Senate bill this year. “Employers are valuing the skill of coding, and we should ensure that the education market is geared toward what employers want.” But the idea is drawing renewed criticism from educators and Hispanic advocacy groups — particularly in South Florida, which has the most diverse population in the state.

HAPPENING TODAY – COMMITTEE MEETINGS TO WATCH — The Senate Criminal Justice committee is set to discuss a bill (SB 280) that requires unanimous jury recommendations before defendants can be sentenced to death. In 2016, the Legislature passed a bill requiring at least 10 of the 12 juries recommend the death penalty, but the Supreme Court in October ruled jury recommendations must be unanimous for the death penalty to be imposed. The hearing is scheduled for 4 p.m. in 37 Senate Office Building. Meanwhile, the Senate Education committee is scheduled to discuss a bill (SB 374) that would make several changes to the state college system, including putting it under a new governing board and implementing new restrictions on baccalaureate degrees. That meeting is also scheduled for 4 p.m. in 412 Knott.

SPOTTED at last week’s fundraiser for Jeff Brandes at the JW Marriott in downtown Miami: CFO Jeff Atwater, Doug Bell, Raymond Blacklidge, Christian Camara, Mark Delegal, Logan Mcfadden, Tim Meenan, Danielle Scoggins, Ashley Kalifeh, Robert Reyes, Derrick McGhee, William Large, Chris Spencer, Rick Porter, Joy Ryan, Monte StevensKatie Webb.

SPOTTED celebrating Sen. Oscar Braynon‘s 40th birthday at the Confidante hotel in South Beach: President Negron, Anitere Flores and her husband Dustin Anderson, Tracy and Frank Mayernick.


SPEAKING OF FUNDRAISERS … HERE’S AN UPDATE ON NANCY TEXERIA via close friend Ron Sachs – “Texeira is considering civil legal action after her bogus arrest last October by overzealous Manatee County Sheriff’s deputies led to an appropriate decision by the Manatee County State Attorney’s Office to drop all charges, refusing to prosecute. The State Attorney’s office action reflects impartial analysis of the absence of probable cause for Texeira to ever have been arrested during a nightmare evening. She steadfastly claimed she was victimized twice: first, by a man posing as an Uber driver; second, by a man at the gas station where she sought help, who rifled through her pocketbook despite her protests. The third time was the groundless arrest. Texeira, whose highly regarded Ground Game Solutions consulting business provides fundraising and strategic counseling to top Florida politicos, is reviewing her options with legal counsel to pursue potential civil action against the deputies and Sheriff’s Department involved in her arrest. Since the ordeal began and now has ended, Texeira has been offering pro bono services to various criminal justice reform organizations. She also looks forward to sharing insights from her experience with legislative policymakers.”

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF). PIFF was formed in late 2010 with three charter members: Allstate and Castle Key Insurance Companies, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, and State Farm Insurance Companies, to create a dynamic, efficient, and competitive marketplace for personal insurance products for the benefit of all Floridians.  PIFF charter members serve forty-five percent (45%) of the automobile insurance market and more than twenty percent (20%) of the homeowners’ property insurance market. The association is the leading voice for personal lines property and casualty insurers in Florida. Learn more.***

BIG LOSS – BENTINA TERRY LEAVING PENSACOLA FOR GEORGIA via the Pensacola News-Journal – Terry, Gulf Power’s Customer Service and Sales vice president, has been selected as senior vice president of the Metro Atlanta Region for Georgia Power. “My time in Pensacola has been an incredible part of my life,” Terry said. “I’ve met and become close with so many special people who will continue to have a big impact on who I am.” In 2013 Terry received the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce’s Community Leader of the Year award. And, in 2016 she was named No. 1 on the InWeekly Power List of the top 100 most powerful and influential people in greater Pensacola. Her active participation across the state of Florida was recognized in 2015 when she was named one of Influence Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in Florida Politics. She also served our region and our state as chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation from 2012-14 and as chair of Leadership Florida from 2014-15.

PROPOSED 6-YEAR LOBBYING BAN WOULD BE STRICTEST OF ANY STATE via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times –The National Conference of State Legislatures has published an informative report of post-employment lobbying restrictions in all 50 states, which shows that at least 34 states have a form of a cooling-off period but none is more than two years, which is what’s in current Florida law and the Constitution. Some states have no restrictions. Passage of the six-year lobbying ban in Florida is a top priority of House Speaker  Corcoran … The two bills, HB 7001 and 7003, passed the House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee on 18-0 votes — making this is an excellent example of a legislative proposal that few if any lawmakers will be able to vote against.


Melissa AkesonWiliam Rubin, The Rubin Group: Florida East Coast Railway, LLC; Teach Florida

Ron Book, Ronald L. Book PA: New Horizons Community Mental Health Center, Inc.

Jeff Johnston, Anita Berry, Matt BlairAmanda Stewart, Corcoran & Johnston: PBA Holdings, Inc.; Surterra Holdings, LLC.

Amy Bisceglia, The Rubin Group: Florida East Coast Railway, LLC.; Hartman & Tyner, Inc.; South Florida Regional Transportation Authority

Matt BryanJeff HartleyLisa Hurley, Jim Naff, Smith Bryan & Myers: Polk County, Florida; Syn-tech Systems, Inc.

Kevin Marino Cabrera, Southern Strategy Group: Fairness in Taxation; The Florida Bar, Family Law Section

Kimberly Case, Holland & Knight: Park Place Behavioral Healthcare

Michael Cantens, Flagler Strategies: Organization for Safe Cannabis Regulation

Chris CarmodyChristopher Dawson, GrayRobinson: Lake County School Board

Jack CoryKenya Cory, Erin Daly Ballas, Public Affairs Consultants: Medical Solutions of Florida LLC.

Carlos Cruz, Cruz & Company: Generic Pharmaceutical Association

David DanielThomas Griffin, Smith Bryan & Myers: Polk County, Florida

Claudia Davant, Adams St. Advocates: Quidel Corporation

Jose Diaz, Robert M. Levy & Associates: Professional Wrecker Operators of Florida

Nelson Diaz, Southern Strategy Group: Fairness in Taxation

Pete DunbarMartha EdenfieldBrittany FinkbeinerCari Roth, Dean Mead: Florida Institute of Technology

Marty FiorentinoJoseph MobleyMark Pinto, The Fiorentino Group: Crowley Maritime

Katie Flury, GrayRobinson: Coronal Energy; Lake County School Board

Jason Gonzalez, Shutts & Bowen: U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform

Kenneth Granger, Capital City Consulting: SPDS, Inc.

Lauren Claire Henderson, Cynergy Consulting: AECOM

Calvin Holton, The Holton Group: Pharmacists Who Care

Gary Hunter, Timothy Riley, Hopping Green & Sams: Sklar Exploration Company

Jessica Janasiewicz, Mixon & Associates: Data Recognition Corp.; Santa Rosa County School District; School Board of Alachua County; School Board of Leon County

Natalie Kato, Lori KillingerTerry Lewis, Marin Christopher Lyon, Lewis Longman & Walker: Pace Fire Rescue District

Jessica Love, GrayRobinson: Santa Fe College Foundation

Kelly Mallette, Ronald L. Book PA: Equifax; Woolpert, Inc.

Darrick McGhee Sr., Johnson & Blanton: Ladies Learning to Lead, Inc.

David Ramba, Allison CarvajalSue MullinsEvan Power, Ramba Consulting Group: Northwest Florida State College

Scott Remington, Clark Partington Hart Larry Bond & Stackhouse: Peaden Brothers Distillery of Florida

Jeff Sharkey, Capitol Alliance Group: City of St. Peterburg

Timothy Stanfield, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney: Conference of County Court Judges

Robert Stuart, GrayRobinson: Coronal Energy; Lake County School Board, Accelerated Learning Solutions of Florida

Alan Suskey, Suskey Consulting: The Everglades Foundation

Heather Turnbull, The Rubin Group: South Florida Regional Transportation Authority; Teach Florida

WHAT CHRIS TURNER IS READING – NEW GEORGE RR MARTIN STORY THE SONS OF THE DRAGON DUE OUT THIS OCTOBER via Sian Cain of The Guardian –The Sons of the Dragon will be published in a fantasy anthology called The Book of Swords in October. Chronicling the reigns of the second and third Targaryen kings, Aenys I and Maegor the Cruel, the story will also explore what happened to their families, friends and enemies during their time in power. In the world of Westeros, both kings reigned roughly 250 years before the main storyline of Game of Thrones begins, when their descendent Daenerys begins her attempt to reclaim power.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to my friend Rep. Clay Ingram. Celebrating today are Reps. Eric Eisnaugle and Greenberg Traurig’s Fred Karlinsky.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Sunburn for 02.03.17 – A trio of summits before Super Sunday

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

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


Florida politicos hoping to kick off Super Bowl weekend early are out of luck with dueling conferences — nay, a trio of summits — happening across the state this weekend.

Interested in economic development? There’s a summit for that. Insurance industry have you scratching your head? There’s a confab in SoFla. Perplexed by the medical pot industry? Don’t worry, the Florida Association of Counties has you covered.

Here’s what to expect if, like us, you’ll be attending one of the several summits around the state, instead of snacking on “Fresh from Florida” corn, tomato and avocado salsa (thanks for the tip, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam).

— More jobs:  The final day of Gov. Rick Scott’s 2017 Jobs Summit kicks off at 9 a.m. at the Caribe Royale, 8101 World Center Drive in Orlando. The governor is expected to get the day started, when he hands out business awards.

While Thursday’s event gave presenters a chance to make a pitch for Scott’s $85 million request for economic incentives or stress the importance of spending for tourism marketing, Friday’s agenda looks to give attendees a chance to hear from experts about entrepreneurship.

Speakers include Travis Brown, the author of How Money Walks, and Chris Hart IV, the president and CEO of Enterprise Florida.

— Insurance woes: The Florida Chamber’s Insurance Summit is also entering its final day, but it has far from a light agenda planned for conference-goers. The summit kicks off with a panel discussion about flood insurance moderated by Sen. Jeff Brandes and featuring Maria Wells, the 2017 president of the Florida Realtors, Bill Fleischhacker, the executive managing director of Aon Benfield, and John Dickson, the president and CEO of NFS Edge Insurance Agency.

Attendees will also hear from Belinda Miller, the chief of staff at the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation about PIP (personal injury protection) reform, and members of the House and Senate on what they’re thinking as they enter a session where insurance is expected to be a hot topic.

The final day of Florida Chamber Insurance Summit starts at 8:45 a.m. at the JW Marriott, 1109 Brickell Ave. in Miami.

— Pot talk: Implementing the medical marijuana constitutional amendment is clearly going to be a hot topic this legislative session. There’s already two competing bills in the Florida Senate, and the Department of Health has begun the process rule-making as mandated by the constitutional amendment.

So the Florida Association of Counties is hoping to help members navigate the rough waters with a medical marijuana summit at the Embassy Suites Lake Buena Vista on Saturday. The event is a chance for local government officials across the state to discuss issues surrounding the implementation of the constitutional amendment.

The conference kicks off at 9:30 a.m. with a presentation from Christian Bax, the director of Florida’s Office of Compassionate Use. Panelists throughout the day include Kim Rivers, the CEO of Trulieve; Bruce Knox; the COO of Cansortium & president of Knox Medical; and Dr. Carlos Smith, the medical director for Modern Health Concepts.

Sen. Rob Bradley and House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues are also scheduled to speak. Bradley filed a Senate implementing bill; while Rodrigues is expected to carry the bill in the House.

RICK SCOTT: ‘IF WE WANT JOBS IN THIS STATE, OUR TAXES HAVE TO BE LOWER’ via Florida Politics— Gov. Scott made the pitch for an aggressive tax cut plan, saying Florida leaders need to run the state like a business to continue to attract jobs — and job seekers — to the Sunshine State. The Naples Republican kicked off his 2017 Jobs Summit in Orlando on Thursday. Similar to his 2016 Degrees to Jobs Summit, the two-day event is meant to bring together business and community leaders to discuss economic and business development. “If we want jobs in this state, our taxes have to be lower; we have to have to have less regulation; we have to have government at the city, county and state government level that says ‘I want to solve your problems,’” said Scott.

BILL WOULD KILL VISIT FLORIDA AND ENTERPRISE FLORIDA via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times – Less than 36 hours after Scott chastised legislators for threatening to pull back funding for Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, the House leadership has rolled out a bill set for its first hearing that would kill both agencies. The bill comes to light as Scott was in Orlando making some of his strongest comments yet about how the Legislature’s actions have cost the state jobs with some of the biggest corporations in America. Specifically, Scott blamed the Legislature’s retreat from job incentives as one of the reasons why General Electric refused to move its company headquarters from Connecticut to Florida two years ago. Scott said negotiations with GE were going on, but then the Legislature cut back job incentive money that could have helped GE.

ADAM PUTNAM TO BUSINESS LEADERS: ‘FLORIDA HAS COME TOO FAR TO TURN BACK NOW’ via Florida Politics – Each month, Putnam looks at the list of top job openings the governor gives him. And each month, the top jobs remains same. “If you look at all the job vacancies, frequently those vacancies don’t necessarily require a four-year degree,” said Putnam, after brief remarks at Scott’s 2017 Jobs Summit. “If we want to have manufacturing in the state, that’s industry certifications and trades and training that does not require a university experience. They’re both important, but universities get all the glory.” While much of the day focused on tax cuts, economic incentives and the need for tourism marketing dollars, Putnam’s remarks focused largely on the importance of keeping talent in Florida.

JEFF ATWATER DELIVERS FRANK ADVICE AT CHAMBER’S INSURANCE SUMMIT via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – He warned insurers they need to present hard facts to the Legislature before they can expect help in solving problems with the workers’ compensation system and other priorities. Speaking at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Insurance Summit in Miami, the state’s Chief Financial Officer called for “honesty and transparency with an abundance of data that makes the case that a legislator, when weighing the evidence, can make a solid choice between what is out there today and where we go forward.” He told insurance representatives that their industry has not always helped itself — as when, two years ago, it resisted his Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights. “I’m not crying crocodile tears for anybody in here.”

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Spectrum Business. Bright House Networks Business Solutions is now Spectrum Business, and we are committed to delivering your business with superior business Internet, Phone, and TV services to help power your success. We offer the best value in business with the fastest Internet for the price, advanced phone with unlimited long distance, cloud-based Hosted Voice and reliable TV – all delivered over our reliable, state-of-the-art, fiber-rich network.  Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Spectrum Business. Learn more.***

DONALD TRUMP HEADS TO HIS ‘WINTER WHITE HOUSE’ IN FLORIDA THIS WEEKEND via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald – The White House did not release details about Trump’s schedule, including if he will attend the International Red Cross Ball Saturday evening. Protesters are organizing a “March to Mar-a-Lago for Humanity” to coincide with the ball, which is often held at the estate. But holding the gala at Trump’s estate has created a thorny situation this year for the Red Cross, which has offered aid to refugees affected by Trump’s moratorium on the refugee program. “The Red Cross is dedicated to alleviating​ human suffering,” protest organizers wrote on Facebook. “If Obamacare is repealed, it will be a disaster; 30 million Americans will be left suffering without health insurance. The Muslim ban, moratorium on accepting Syrian refugees, immigrant deportation policy, stance on reproductive rights, etc. will cause AVOIDABLE suffering around the world.”

ANTI-TRUMP MARCH BACK ON IN FLORIDA AFTER BRIEF CANCELLATION via Terry Spencer of The Associated Press – Alex Newell Taylor of Women’s March Florida said that her group and South Florida Activism have taken over the march from Stephen Milo. He had issued a statement saying Saturday’s March to Mar-a-Lago was being canceled because of safety concerns. Newell Taylor says the groups have more experience than Milo in organizing demonstrations and believe they have the expertise to keep it peaceful. She said there will be trained marshals and legal assistants to keep the march orderly. More than 2,000 people have registered on Facebook to attend the protest.

JOE GRUTERS UPDATE – HE SERVED AS DONALD TRUMP’S FLORIDA CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR. HE DOESN’T KNOW WHETHER A CAREER IN D.C. IS IN HIS FUTURE. via Claire Aronson of the Bradenton Herald – Should an opportunity present itself in Washington, D.C., Rep. Joe Gruters said he did not know whether he would leave his post in the Florida Legislature to go work for Trump. “There may be some opportunities available,” Gruters, said. “Right now, I am focused in serving the Legislature.” When asked whether he was headed to go work for Trump, the man for whom he served as Florida campaign co-chair, Gruters said, “You never know,” adding that he hasn’t made a decision but there could be opportunities.

PROGRESSIVE GROUP LAUNCHES AD IN FLORIDA SLAMMING SUPREME COURT PICK — People For the American Way launched a TV ad encouraging senators to oppose President Donald Trump’s selection of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. The spot — which is set to air in a dozen states, including Florida, for one week — is meant to explain why Gorsuch would be unfit to sit on the high court. We’re releasing this ad to shine a spotlight on the threat Judge Gorsuch poses to the America Way,” said Michael Keegan, president of PFAW, in a statement. “We urge Americans across the country to call their senators and make clear that they expect their senators to stand up against Gorsuch, a Supreme Court nominee who prioritizes corporate interests over the constitutional rights that Americans rely on.” Click on the image below to watch the ad.

ENVIRONMENT FLORIDA WANTS BILL NELSON TO REJECT SCOTT PRUITT AS EPA HEAD via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 11-0 to confirm Pruitt, who serves as Oklahoma Attorney General. Democrats on the committee boycotted the vote … advocacy group Environment Florida is calling on the Sunshine State’s two senators to reject his nomination. Marco Rubio already declared his support. Nelson is getting lobbied from both sides to either support or oppose Pruitt. The Florida Democrat pleased liberals by announcing his opposition to Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary.

IN MIAMI BEACH MINIMUM WAGE FIGHT, PHILIP LEVINE TELLS RICK SCOTT ‘I’LL SEE YOU COURT’ via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – After Miami Beach approved a measure last year raising its minimum wage ordinance, Mayor Levine predicted the state would challenge the proposal in court. Levine said the ordinance violates a state law signed by Scott that forbids such measures … On Wednesday, the state did just that, by signing on to a suit filed in December by three of the state’s largest trade groups challenging Miami Beach on the ordinance. The Florida Retail Federation, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and the Florida Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit in December challenging the ordinance. They claim it’s a direct violation of a 2013 law signed by the governor forbidding municipalities from assigning their own minimum wage. But attorneys for Miami Beach argue the state law is unconstitutional since voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 that allows local governments to set higher minimum wage. As to what Levine is saying to the governor today? “So, to the state, I say, see you in court.”

SCOTT HEADING TO ARGENTINA FOR TRADE MISSION via The Associated Press – Scott is scheduled to take a five-day trip in late April to Buenos Aires. This is Scott’s 13th trip abroad since he became governor in January 2011. Former Gov. Jeb Bush took 16 trade missions during his eight years in office. Scott has defended the trips as a way to open doors for Florida-based companies seeking business abroad.


FROM THE “WHERE ARE THEY NOW” FILES: TONY BENNETT RETURNS TO POLITICS via The Associated Press – The former Florida education commissioner is now “a member of a southern Indiana county council,” the AP reports. He was appointed this week to a vacant slot by Republican precinct committee members, however, not elected. Bennett told a local paper he “sees the position as a chance to serve.” Bennett, who once was Indiana’s elected schools chief, quit in Florida after the AP published emails showing he changed Indiana’s school-grading system to benefit a top Republican donor’s charter school.

JOHN MORGAN HAD A DIFFERENT KIND OF STUMP SPEECH FOR TALLAHASSEE via Florida Politics – Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer and possible gubernatorial candidate, was a study in highs and lows Thursday as he spoke to Tallahassee’s Capital Tiger Bay Club. In wide-ranging remarks, Morgan – who said he still hasn’t decided on a 2018 run – pinballed between self-deprecating fat jokes and curse-word spiked anecdotes, and more serious musings about social good and the nature of God. “There is more right about America than wrong,” he said at one point. “And there is more right about you than wrong. And there is more good about all of you, when we get to know each other, than bad.”

JACK LATVALA SETS SIGHTS ON 2018 GOVERNOR’S RACE via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Latvala, who has been low-key about any plans, confirmed he’s serious about running, but he said he won’t make any decisions until at least May, when the next legislative session is over. “I have as good a grasp of where the state is, where the state has come from, and the things we need to do as anybody in public office,” he said … “I love this state. Why shouldn’t I think about running for something else?”

SPOTTED at a fundraiser in St. Petersburg for Latvala’s political committee: Sen. Denise Grimsley, Rep. Kathleen Peters, Hayden Dempsey, Laura and David Jolly, David Rancourt, Betty and Mel Sembler, Jeff Vinik.


***The 2017 Florida Blue Foundation Community Health Symposium and Sapphire Awards are coming to Kissimmee April 19-20 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. The two-day event – with the theme “Creating a Culture of Health” – will feature several Florida-based, regional and national health professionals. The symposium will give attendees an opportunity to learn more about health care culture, purpose built communities and communities of health. Discussions will center on health issues, policy, reform and engagement. Network with 400+ executives from a range of private sector, government, universities, nonprofit organizations and more. To view agenda and register, click here***

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: State Sen. Dana Young will be featured at the next meeting of Café Cohen Tampa, 420 W. Kennedy Blvd. beginning 8 a.m. upstairs at the Oxford exchange

DOROTHY HUKILL EXTENDS LEGISLATIVE ABSENCE AS SHE FIGHTS CANCER via Florida Politics – The state senator will be absent from the upcoming committee week as she continues her battle against cervical cancer, a Senate spokeswoman said Thursday. “We expect her to return within a few weeks,” Katie Betta told FloridaPolitics.com. “Until then, she will remain engaged in the legislative process by working remotely as she continues her treatment and recovery.” The Port Orange Republican disclosed her condition last November in a letter to Senate President Joe Negron.

LORANNE AUSLEY BILL WOULD PREVENT FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES FROM OVERSEEING STATE CHARITY CAMPAIGN via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat – Florida’s beleaguered state agency charity campaign could no longer be managed by a for-profit company under a bill filed by Rep. Ausley … The bill would require a statewide, nonprofit charitable group that already participates in the FSECC to serve as the campaign’s fiscal agent. Under the measure, the state would be precluded from hiring another for-profit company like Solix to process pledges. Ausley said under the proposed legislation, the campaign would go back to being run by a statewide charitable group with a vested interest in running a robust campaign. The United Way oversaw the campaign from its inception in 1980 until 2012, when the state brought Solix on board.

PAUL RENNER FILES OCCUPATIONAL OPPORTUNITY ACT IN HOUSE via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics – Also known as the “Occupational Opportunity Act,” HB 615 would compel Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation to license military members, spouses, and surviving spouses in occupations they have licenses for in other states. The bill would also extend the amount of time after discharge that such license reciprocity would be granted, from six months to two years. Renner’s bill also waives license fees for military, spouses, and what a press release from his office calls “low-income individuals.”

‘SANCTUARY CITIES’ BILL IS IN THE WORKS FOR 2017 SESSION via Kristen Clark of the Tampa Bay Times – State Sen. Aaron Bean told the Herald/Times that he and Rep. Larry Metz are drafting legislation that will seek to impose “consequences” on cities and counties “who say there are only select, certain federal laws they’re going to abide by” … “We’re looking at financial penalties, yes,” Bean said when asked if the consequences potentially included withholding state funding from cities and counties deemed “sanctuaries” for immigrants who are in the country illegally. “We’re also looking at removing the umbrella of your sovereign immunity for elected individuals, boards and constitutional officers.”

FLORIDA BUSINESSES THAT BAN GUNS COULD BE HELD LIABLE IN MASS SHOOTINGS via Kristen Clark of the Tampa Bay Times – Under an NRA-backed measure proposed this week in the Florida Legislature, victims who had permits to carry concealed weapons could sue the theater for damages if they could show the weapons ban left them disarmed when they might have been able to use their gun to thwart or stop the attack. The new proposal (SB 610) from Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube — a conservative Sarasota Republican who has proposed a slew of controversial gun-rights measures this year — says the “Legislature intends to find a balance” between gun-owners’ rights and private property rights. And Steube’s plan to do that means businesses would be held responsible — and put at risk of being sued — for decisions to ban guns.

FLORIDA AGENCY HEAD WON’T SUPPORT FEES FOR KAYAKS, CANOES via Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel – Efforts by Florida’s boating officials to consider adopting a fee and registration for kayaks, canoes and other motorless craft appeared uncertain with an announcement from the head of the state’s wildlife agency. Nick Wiley, director of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, noted in a statement the work of a panel of citizens to consider “expanding vessel registration to nonmotorized boats in Florida.” “The FWC appreciates the work of this advisory group, but we are not supportive of increasing fees on Floridians or visitors who participate in nonmotorized boating.”

SMALL DAIRY FARMER SEEKS FIRST AMENDMENT PROTECTION FROM STATE REGULATORS via William Patrick of FloridaWatchdog.org – Five years ago, the Florida Department of Agriculture turned its regulatory power on a small third-generation dairy farm in the Panhandle’s Calhoun County, population 14,462. Mary Lou Wesselhoeft, owner, was selling all-natural pasteurized skim milk – whole milk with the cream skimmed off – and labeling it exactly what it was: skim milk. But in a strange twist with First Amendment implications, the state said Wesselhoeft was misrepresenting her product. After a decade without complaints or confusion, newly enforced regulations required artificially injected additives — something Ocheese Creamery had never done and wasn’t about to start doing … the department issued an ultimatum: either stop selling skim milk or label it “imitation milk.” Wesselhoeft … opted to stop selling her locally popular item rather than comply with a condition she believes is dishonest. But not without a fight. In March 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled in favor of the Department of Agriculture.

THOUSANDS OF TOBACCO LAWSUITS IN THE PIPELINE via Jeff Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat – Wade Halvorson died in 2008 … but his lawsuit against Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and Liggett lives on through his widow, Sandra. The lawsuit she filed in Leon County Circuit Court is among at least a dozen filed by local residents, and one of thousands statewide that have resulted in judgments totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Many of those plaintiffs have died waiting for the cigarette manufacturers to pay up, thanks to an obscure statute exclusive to tobacco companies that says they don’t have to put up a bond or pay out until every last appeal has been exhausted. Twin bills filed by Sen. Greg Steube and Rep. Danny Burgess for the upcoming legislative session would change that by repealing the statute that gives tobacco companies this exclusive advantage.

MIKE FASANO GETS RESULTS — PASCO TAX COLLECTOR QUESTIONS $82 OIL CHANGE BILL via Mark Douglas of WFLA-TV – Mike Fasano is furious about an $82 oil change bill handed to his Chief Deputy Billy Poulos … by a Jiffy Lube worker at 21345 State Road 54 in Lutz … Poulos was driving a fleet car owned by the Tax Collector’s Office. “It strikes a nerve, because its someone else’s money, it’s not my money, it’s not your money, it’s the people of Pasco County’s money that we’re trying to do our best and spending it wisely,” Fasano said. Jiffy Lube manager Bobby Fatzinger said he wasn’t at the store on State Road 54 in Lutz when Poulos was charged $82 … but insists that’s the standard rate for synthetic oil at Jiffy Lube.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF). PIFF was formed in late 2010 with three charter members: Allstate and Castle Key Insurance Companies, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, and State Farm Insurance Companies, to create a dynamic, efficient, and competitive marketplace for personal insurance products for the benefit of all Floridians. PIFF charter members serve forty-five percent (45%) of the automobile insurance market and more than twenty percent (20%) of the homeowners’ property insurance market. The association is the leading voice for personal lines property and casualty insurers in Florida. Learn more.***

CRAIG FUGATE JOINS BLUEDOT STRATEGIES via Florida Politics – Fugate, who was President Barack Obama‘s FEMA director after serving as Florida’s emergency management director under Jeb Bush, has joined other Obama appointees at this new firm. BlueDot specializes in strategic communications and research. “Fugate will advise BlueDot’s clients on emergency management implementation strategies and crisis communications,” a press release said. Other principals include Obama veterans Lars Anderson and Moira Whelan.


 Joshua Aubuchon, Holland & Knight: Florida Academic Cancer Center Alliance

Keith Bell, Clark Partington Hart Larry Bond & Stackhouse: Northwest Florida Professional Baseball, LLC

Matt Blair, Corcoran & Johnston: Florida Optometric Association; Florida Optometry Eye Health Fund, Inc.

Ellyn Bogdanoff, Becker & Poliakoff: Quest Management Group, Inc

Kimberly Case, Holland & Knight: Florida Academic Cancer Center Alliance; Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.

Cory Guzzo, Floridian Partners: Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc

Brittany Dover, Gary HunterBrooke Lewis, Hopping Green & Sams: Florida Electric Power Coordinating Group, Inc

Ron Pierce, Edward Briggs, Natalie King, RSA Solutions: The SEED Foundation

Glenn KirklandJonathan Menedez, Kaleo Partners: EMC/State Partners, LLC.

Jessica Love, GrayRobinson: College of Central Florida

David Sigerson, Capital Hills Consultants: Arise Gaming Florida LLC

Alan Suskey, Suskey Consulting: American Marine Univeristy:

Screven Watson, Screven Watson & Associates: Florida Power & Light Company

A DIFFERENT SUPER BOWL MATCHUP: POLITICS VS. THE NFL via Ken Belson of The New York Times – This week … two cultural phenomena — politics and football — are coming together again in an extraordinary, and for the league, uncomfortable way on the country’s biggest sports stage. The Super Bowl, scheduled for Sunday night in Houston, is infused with national politics like never before. Fox’s pregame telecast will include an interview of President Trump by Bill O’Reilly. The owner, coach and star player of one team, the highly successful New England Patriots, are friends of the president’s. The political overlay made the league so uneasy, apparently, that it omitted any references to the president from the dozens of official transcripts of interviews with players Monday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Tom Gallagher and Carolyn Pardue. Celebrating this Super Sunday are Christina Diamond and Clay Ingram.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Sunburn for 02.02.17 – Scott’s jobs summit, Chamber’s insurance confab kick-off; Ag. Commish candidates galore; Major Latvala fundraiser

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

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

Get ready, Florida: Gov. Rick Scott wants to talk J-O-B-S.

OK, we get it. That’s not really surprising. It’s clearly his favorite topic. He’s been singularly focused on bringing more of them to the state since he ran for office back in 2010. His speeches are peppered with jobs numbers; and at least once a week you can find him at a small business somewhere in the state applauding job growth (no matter how small) and handing out his “Governor’s Business Ambassador Award.”

But Scott is taking his devotion to jobs to the next level, hosting a two-day summit at the Caribe Royale in Orlando this week to bring together “business, education, economic development and community leaders to discuss how to keep bringing new jobs to Florida.”

“A job is the most important thing to a family, and we must fight to make sure our children and grandchildren have every opportunity to succeed in the Sunshine State,” Scott said in a statement announcing the summit last week.

The event is expected to be similar to Scott’s successful 2016 Degrees to Jobs Summit. While that focused largely on preparing Florida’s students for the workforce, the 2017 event appears to focus on economic development development.

And why wouldn’t it? The summit directly follows theEnterprise Florida meeting, also taking place at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, where economic incentives will surely be discussed.

It also comes just days after Scott officially rolled out his fiscal 2017-18 budget, which included $85 million in economic incentive dollars and $76 million in marketing money for Visit Florida. Both organizations have come under fire in recent months, and House Speaker Richard Corcoran has said there is no chance either will be funded in the his chamber’s budget.

That doesn’t mean the need for cash won’t come up, especially since the agenda appears tailor made for discussions about the benefits of Scott’s ask.

There’s a panel discussion dubbed “Florida Economic Development: Past, Present, and Future;” one called “International Trade: Florida is a Gateway to the World;” and one called “Tourism: Florida’s Jobs Generator.”

Eric Silagy, the president and CEO of Florida Power & Light, is expected to talk about marketing Florida; while Jonathan Grella, with the U.S. Travel Association, is set to discuss why tourism matters. Ken Lawson, the newly named president and CEO of Visit Florida, is expected to speak, as is Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Scott will take part in a panel discussion about disaster response, as well as give the keynote address today.

The fun doesn’t end when Scott gives his closing remarks this afternoon. There’s a networking reception immediately after the first day’s festivities, and Scott is expected to be in attendance. He’ll be introduced by CFO Jeff Atwater.

Don’t even think about skipping out early. On Friday, there are panel discussions scheduled on how talent drives business and entrepreneurship. Chris Hart IV, the president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, is also expected to take the stage.

The 2017 Jobs Summit kicks off at 1 p.m. today at the Caribe Royale, 8101 World Center Drive in Orlando.

ALSO HAPPENING TODAY – FLORIDA CHAMBER KICKS OFF INSURANCE SUMMIT IN MIAMI —The Florida Chamber’s 2017 Insurance Summit kicks off today at the JW Marriott in Miami. The two-day event is meant to bring together industry leaders to discuss ways the state can build a “safer, stronger future for Florida’s consumers.”

The event kicks off with welcome remarks a “state of Florida’s Future” speech at 8:30 a.m. by David Hart, the executive vice president of the Chamber of Commerce. Bryon Ehrhart, the global head of strategic growth & development at Aon, is expected to take the stage around 8:50 a.m. to give a speech titled “Insurance Reality Check: How Are We Doing.” The event also features a panel discussion with members of the media on ways to educate consumers, and a discussion called “Preparing for the Storm: Hurricane Forecasting, Modeling and Aftermath.” Lorilee Medders, the director of the Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center, will moderate that panel, which features Richard Knabb, the director of the National Hurricane Center, and Bryan Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

CFO Jeff Atwater is slated to give the keynote address during lunch; while Robert McClure, the president and CEO of the James Madison Institute, will discuss insurance reforms needed now. The afternoon is expected to be full of panels discussing assignment of benefits, including a panel on who profits from fraud and abuse, and steps to fix the problems. The summit runs through Friday.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Spectrum Business. Bright House Networks Business Solutions is now Spectrum Business, and we are committed to delivering your business with superior business Internet, Phone, and TV services to help power your success. We offer the best value in business with the fastest Internet for the price, advanced phone with unlimited long distance, cloud-based Hosted Voice and reliable TV – all delivered over our reliable, state-of-the-art, fiber-rich network.  Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Spectrum Business. Learn more.***

DONALD TRUMP RAISED $15 MILLION IN DECEMBER via Ken Vogel of POLITICO – Trump’s re-election efforts are off to a strong start financially, according to campaign finance reports showing that Trump’s three committees brought in a combined $15 million last month and finished the year with $16 million in the bank. The committees – Trump’s campaign and two joint fundraising vehicles created by the campaign and various Republican Party committees – disbursed nearly $32 million from Nov. 29 through Dec. 31.

TRUMP LOSES LEGAL FIGHT OVER GOLF CLUB MEMBERSHIPS via Andy Reid of the South Florida Sun Sentinel – A federal judge ruled that Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter should pay $5.8 million to people who argued that while waiting for membership deposit refunds, they were charged annual dues and fees – even though they were barred from using the golf course, restaurant, spa and other amenities. Barring people still paying fees from using the club “revoked or canceled their memberships” and entitled them to refunds within 30 days, according to U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra’s ruling. The judge also wiped out any fees and other club charges that had accrued since Dec. 31, 2012, for those who were part of the lawsuit.

BUDWEISER WADES INTO IMMIGRATION DEBATE WITH NEW SUPER BOWL AD via Amar Toor of The Verge – Budweiser has injected itself into the debate surrounding Trump’s controversial immigration orders with a new Super Bowl ad about the company’s origins. The one-minute ad, titled “Born the Hard Way,” tells the story of how Adolphus Busch immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in the 1800s, which led to the creation of the Anheuser-Busch brewing company (now AB InBev, the world’s largest beer company). The dramatized origin story shows Busch on a long, arduous voyage to St. Louis, where he meets Ebert Anheuser, fittingly, over a beer.

CRITICS DON’T EVEN WANT ANIMATRONIC TRUMP TO SPEAK via The Associated Press – An online petition was started last week, asking Walt Disney World to keep an animatronic Trump silent in its Hall of Presidents attraction. The attraction has animatronic figures of all U.S. presidents … The Change.org petition says Trump ran a campaign filled with hateful speech and he doesn’t deserve to have a voice at a place like Disney World in Florida. The Hall of Presidents temporarily closed earlier this month so the new animatronic president could be installed. It reopens in June.

BEYONCÉ, TIM TEBOW FOR PREZ? INVALID VOTES SPIKED IN FLORIDA via Gary Fineout of The Associated Press – A report released by state officials showed more than 161,000 Florida voters who took part in the elections either at the polls or by mail didn’t cast a valid vote for president. The “non-valid votes” include those who wrote in such names as Mickey Mouse or Bernie Sanders and others who simply left the ballot blank … invalid ballots outnumbered Trump‘s margin of victory over Democrat Clinton of nearly 113,000 votes to clinch Florida’s 29 electoral votes. And the rate of invalid votes for president in 2016 — 1.69 percent overall — was more than double the rate it was in 2012 and 2008 when President Barack Obama won the state each time. “There were some people who were very disgruntled,” said Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles, giving the read of some fellow election officials on the report.

WOMEN’S MARCH ACTIVISTS TO HOLD MEETINGS THROUGHOUT FLORIDA THIS WEEKEND via Florida Politics – Activists who traveled to D.C. for the historic Women’s March, or participated in one of the several protests … will be holding meetings up and down the Sunshine State this Saturday to strategize on what happens next … In Tampa, that meeting will take place at 4 p.m. at the Jimmy Keel Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave. In St. Petersburg, interested members will be meeting at 4: 00 p.m. at Nova 535, 535 Mlk Jr. … In Tallahassee, the meeting will take place at 4 p.m. at the Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, 2015 Fleischmann Road. In Gainesville, the meeting will take place at 1 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville, 4225 NW 34th St.

DENISE GRIMSLEY RUNS FOR AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER IN 2018 via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News – State Sen. Grimsley played up her background in agriculture, ranching, nursing, business and politics as she threw her hat in the ring. “I offer my candidacy to serve as Florida’s agriculture commissioner as a continuation of the public service that has meant so much in my life … I began my working life with a passion for nursing and helping people in difficult situations. I continue that today as a hospital administrator. I’ve operated our family businesses and know treating the customer well and with respect is key to any success.” Grimsley current chairs the General Government Appropriations Subcommittee and is the vice chair on the Ethics and Elections Committee. She also serves on the Agriculture Committee.

>>>Look for Trey McCarley and Kris Money to handle fundraising for Grimsely’s campaign.

EX-SEN. LISA CARLTON CONSIDERING RUN FOR STATE AG COMMISSIONER via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times – Hours after Sen. Grimsley announced she was running for Florida Agriculture commissioner, Carlton confirmed she is weighing getting into the contest as well. Orlando Republican Paul Paulson has also filed for the seat. Carlton, a Sarasota County Republican and rancher, was in the Florida Senate from 1998 to 2008. She said since then she has stepped completely away from politics to focus on raising her family and her family’s citrus and cattle ranch businesses.

>>>Sources close to Rep. Matt Caldwell say he continues to strongly consider running for Ag. Commish and is receiving “massive” encouragement to do so.

MATT GAETZ DRAFTS BILL TO ‘COMPLETELY ABOLISH’ THE EPA via Alexandra Kaufman of the Huffington Post – Matt Gaetz … sent the email to lawmakers who might co-sponsor the legislation, which would shutter the EPA by the end of next year. “Our small businesses cannot afford to cover the costs associated with compliance, too often leading to closed doors and unemployed Americans,” Gaetz wrote. “It is time to take back our legislative power from the EPA and abolish it permanently” … he cited a statistic from the American Action Forum, a conservative policy group launched in 2010 by Republican heavyweights, stating that “it would take more than 94,200 employees working full time to complete one year of EPA paperwork.”

CHARLIE CRIST NAMED TO THREE KEY FINANCIAL SERVICES SUBCOMMITTEES via Florida Politics – Crist, as a member of the House Financial Services Committee, was tapped to serve on three of its principal subcommittees. Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, which covers all matters relating to banking, including oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, mortgages, and federal regulators of financial institutions; Monetary Policy and Trade, which has jurisdiction over the Export-Import Bank and the International Monetary Fund as well as the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, which impacts access to capital and interest rates; and Oversight and Investigation, which is tasked with overseeing administration actions relating to financial services to promote good governance in this sector.

CRIST PUTS HIS WIFE ON THE PAYROLL via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – Carole Crist … Is now on his campaign’s payroll. Campaign reports show the wealthy former New Yorker received two payroll payments in December totaling $6,500, and another $417 payment. “She’s a great woman, my best friend, smart, loyal and driven and plays an integral part in this campaign,” said Crist, describing his wife as the “campaign director” who also plays a big role in raising money. Anti-nepotism rules bar members of the U.S. House from hiring family members for official staff positions, nothing prevents them from using political committees to hire relatives.

CHLOE CONEY RETIRING AS U.S. REP. KATHY CASTOR’S DISTRICT DIRECTOR via Richard Danielson of the Tampa Bay Times – Starting in 2007, Coney helped launch Castor‘s district office in Tampa and worked on constituent service and outreach as a wave of foreclosures and business losses hit Tampa during the Great Recession. Coney grew up in Tampa, and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Florida A&M University. She received a master’s in biblical counseling from Florida Beacon Bible College in Largo. In 1992, she founded the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa … she oversaw job training and home ownership counseling for thousands of people, construction of affordable homes in East Tampa, an infusion of new businesses and the opening of a youth center in place of an abandoned bar. With Coney’s retirement, Marcia Mejia, Castor’s communications director, will become district director.

VAL DEMINGS WANTS HER COMMITTEE IN CONGRESS TO OVERSEE ‘THE WALL’ via Florida Politics – As Trump moves forward on his plans to build a massive, potentially $25 billion wall along the Mexico border, Demings wants assurance that Congress will have some oversight of the project … Demings introduced an amendment to the oversight plan of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that could give that committee some control, regardless of how the president wants to do the wall. Demings, an Orlando Democrat, is a member of that committee. She is also a ranking member on that committee’s Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs. Her amendment would give the committee control to examine costs associated with construction, maintenance, increased surveillance, environmental effects, and compensation for affected property owners as well as look at the effectiveness and source of funding for the wall.

***Capital City Consulting, LLC is a full-service government and public affairs firm located in Tallahassee, Florida. At Capital City Consulting, our team of professionals specialize in developing unique government relations and public affairs strategies and delivering unrivaled results for our clients before the Florida Legislature and Executive Branch Agencies. Capital City Consulting has the experience, contacts and winning strategies to help our clients stand out in the capital city. Learn more at www.capcityconsult.com.***

DAYS UNTIL: The Batman Lego Movie opens – 8; Pitchers & catchers report for Spring Training – 10; Valentine’s Day – 12; Start of 2017 Legislative Session – 33; Florida Capitol Press Corps Press Skits – 40; 2017 Legislative Session Sine Die – 92; FSU vs. Alabama – 212; Election Day 2017 – 277; Star Wars: Episode VIII/The Last Jedi opens – 315.


SCOTT, STATE CABINET OK RYAN MATTHEWS AS INTERIM DEP SECRETARY via Florida Politics – Gov. Scott and the Florida Cabinet on Wednesday formally approved Ryan Matthews as interim Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. Matthews will serve until Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam decide on a permanent replacement for outgoing Secretary Jon Steverson … Matthews, named deputy secretary last year, had been in charge of the department’s air, water, and waste pollution programs and for overseeing the agency’s regulatory districts.

MICHELLE DENNARD IN LINE FOR CAREERSOURCE FLORIDA PRESIDENCY via Florida Politics – Current CareerSource Florida Vice President of Policy Dennard was the top-scoring candidate for CareerSource’s president and chief executive officer job following interviews of three finalists conducted Jan. 20 by the agency board’s search committee. She scored highest on all three interview scorecards forwarded to Gov. Scott … The CareerSource Florida board will officially select its new president at a Feb. 8 meeting.

***SUNBURN is brought to you in part by Sachs Media Group, Florida’s dominant public affairs communications firm. Sachs Media thrives on high-stakes challenges in the relentless pursuit of excellent outcomes. To help you win in the corridors of power, let us score for you in the court of public opinion. Visit www.sachsmedia.com to learn more.***

JOE NEGRON: LAKE OKEECHOBEE LAND-BUY BILL WON’T PUT SUGAR MILL OUT OF BUSINESS via Isadora Rangel and Tyler Treadway of TCPalm.com – Negron … believes his proposal to build a reservoir on about 60,000 acres south of the lake wouldn’t put a Belle Glade sugar mill out of business, as opponents have claimed. He’s not looking to buy land that’s heavily farmed, and “we can work with landowners” to minimize potential impacts to jobs and production … “I think there’s a way we can structure this in a way that will have minimum impact on production and not to the extent you would be shutting down a factory or any kind of production” … Negron tried to allay concerns from residents of Pahokee, Belle Glade, Clewiston and other rural communities that rely heavily on the sugar industry, the largest owner of acreage south of the lake. Those communities have organized groups to condemn a bill filed last week as a jobs killer.

AS FIRST PREVIEWED IN SUNBURN – JEFF BRANDES FILES COMPETING MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – Brandes‘ proposal (SB 614) completely upends the small medical cannabis program already functioning in the state in favor of more competition. His bill would allow businesses to be licensed as growers, distributors or processers who make pills and oils that can be sold to patients. It would do away with existing caps in state law that allow just seven companies to be in the marijuana business and require them all to grow, process and sell their own products. A competing proposal (SB 406) filed by Sen. Rob Bradley largely keeps that system intact but allows additional licenses to be granted when the number of patients grows.

GREG STEUBE STARTS FILING INDIVIDUAL BILLS TO BREAK UP HIS MAJOR GUNS PROPOSAL via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – Steube is following through on plans he announced last week to break up a controversial and sweeping gun measure he had initially proposed (SB 140) into as many as 10 individual bills. Six such bills had surfaced by 4 p.m. … SB 618 lifts the ban on concealed weapons in airport passenger terminals, mirroring a measure already filed in the Florida House. Other individual measures would allow concealed weapons also at legislative meetings (SB 620) and other government meetings (SB 626), in career centers (SB 640), on public college and university campuses (SB 622) and in courthouses so they can be temporarily surrendered at security (SB 616).

RICHARD CORCORAN OUTLINES PATH FOR TRIUMPH GULF COAST BILL via Rick Outzen of Rick’s Blog – Corcoran outlined the path for funding projects with the $300 million settlement from BP oil spill earmarked for Northwest Florida. “I think we figured that part out … I think the question is doing it in a manner that comports with the (Florida) constitution and protecting the rights and the interests of the people in the Panhandle.” He said that House Select Committee on Triumph Gulf Coast has an upcoming workshop on the Proposed Committee Bill (PCB) … “I think that that PCB, and talking with them, will make sure that the money goes to the Panhandle, first and foremost, permanently and indefinitely,” said Corcoran.

HOUSE MEMBER PROJECTS CURRENTLY TOP $200 MILLION via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools – Members of the Florida House have filed 103 appropriations projects bills … and the total currently exceeds $200 million. According to House Rule 5.14, in order for a project to be included in the House budget, it must be filed as a standalone bill, favorably considered in committee, and made with non-recurring appropriations. So far, 9 bills request appropriations that were vetoed in previous budgets, including HB 2073 requesting $3.4 million for the Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative. The largest appropriation project filed to date is the $15 million requested in HB 2109 by Rep. Joe Gruters for The Legacy Trail Extension.

TAMPA BAY LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION ATTEMPTS TO FIND ANSWERS FOR REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION FIX via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Tampa Bay’s Legislative Delegation … representing the area’s eight counties, spent two hours in Clearwater discussing how to begin addressing the region’s myriad transportation issues. According to a new white paper prepared by the D.C.-based Enos Center for Transportation for the Tampa Bay Partnership, a regional structure for transportation planning, operations and decision-making is paramount to the development of a regional transport network. That conclusion might make an interested observer ask — isn’t that what TBARTA was supposed to be? “They are operating on a shoestring budget, cobbled together on donations from local governments,” said Shawn Harrison, who served on the TBARTA board after its creation. “If we can take that vision and expand, I really do think we do have at our disposal a vehicle that can plan and put assets on the road.”


WHAT STEPHANIE SMITH IS READING – FLA. COURT SAYS UBER DRIVERS ARE INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS, NOT EMPLOYEES via Florida Politics – A Florida appellate court has ruled that a former Uber driver isn’t entitled to unemployment benefits because he was an independent contractor, not an employee. A unanimous three-judge panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami ruled Wednesday for the Department of Economic Opportunity, the state’s jobs agency, against Darrin E. McGillis. The ruling is another win for the San Francisco-based ridebooking service, which is fighting a multi-state legal battle not to be considered an employer so it doesn’t have to pay certain benefits under state labor laws.

HAPPENING TODAY – CAMPAIGN TO DEFEND LOCAL SOLUTIONS, OTHERS TO HOST PANEL DISCUSSION ON GUN VIOLENCE — The Campaign to Defend Local Solutions, started by Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, will host a filming of the documentary of Newtown and a panel discussion on gun violence at Florida A&M University Rattler’s Den, 1628 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Tallahassee. The documentary chronicles the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Gillum is expected to give opening remarks, followed by the documentary and a panel discussion featuring FAMU Police Chief Terence Calloway, FAMU SGA Vice President Paris Ellis, FAMU SGA Senate President Brandon Johnson, and Jordan Sealey with the FAMU Campus Activities Board. The event begins at 6 p.m., and doors open at 5:30 p.m. The panel discussion is expected to begin around 7:45 p.m. Media is asked to RSVP to kevin@catecomm.com.

PRIVATE INSURER CLEARED TO ASSUME 15,000 CITIZENS INSURANCE POLICIES via Florida Politics – The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has cleared Southern Oak Insurance Co. to take over as many as 15,000 home policies from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Southern Oak is eligible to assume the policies effective April 18 under the “takeout” process — a way for Citizens to shift policies to private insurers. The process is sometimes referred to as “depopulation,” and Citizens’ goal is to let private companies assume as many policies as they can responsibly handle. But the depopulation rate has been slowing. During the first two months of 2016, the Office of Insurance Regulation approved depopulation of 200,000 polices, according to Citizens.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF). PIFF was formed in late 2010 with three charter members: Allstate and Castle Key Insurance Companies, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, and State Farm Insurance Companies, to create a dynamic, efficient, and competitive marketplace for personal insurance products for the benefit of all Floridians. PIFF charter members serve forty-five percent (45%) of the automobile insurance market and more than twenty percent (20%) of the homeowners’ property insurance market. The association is the leading voice for personal lines property and casualty insurers in Florida. Learn more.***

PERSONNEL NOTE: ACLU-FL STAFFS UP FOR TRUMP ERA via Florida Politics – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida announced a bevy of new staff “in preparation for the upcoming fights in the Florida legislature, in the courts, and in cities and counties across the state of Florida,” according to a Wednesday news release. Deputy Director Melba Pearson was an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County for 16 years … Political Director Kirk Bailey will lead direct lobbying, organizing and campaign initiatives … Staff Attorney Jackie Azis will focus on criminal justice issues … Legislative Counsel Kara Gross, based in Tallahassee, was … Senior Assistant General Counsel for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) … Raymer Maguire IV will coordinating criminal justice reform efforts.


George Anderson, Southern Strategy Group: American Traffic Solutions; The Gasparilla Inn & Club

Joanna Lee Clary Bonfanti, Gunster Yoakley & Stewart PA: Lakeland Electric

Ron Book, Ronald L. Book PA: Renovate America, Inc.; Woolpert, Inc.

Rana Brown, Ronald L. Book PA: Renovate America, Inc.

Chip Case, Jefferson Monroe Consulting: City of Anna Maria

Angela DempseyFred DickinsonErik Kirk, PooleMcKinley: Yum! Brands, Inc.

David Griffin, GrayRobinson: Florida Distillers Guild

Christopher Hagan, Akerman LLP: Association of Public Safety Communications Officials

Mike Haridopolos, Mike Haridopolos: Pharmacists Who Care

Lauren Claire Hendeson, Cynergy Consulting LLC: Ascend Learning c/o MultiState Associates Inc.

Lila Jaber, Gunster Yoakley & Stewart: Broward College Foundation

Jon Johnson, Johnson & Blanton: Florida Voices for Choices

Allison Liby-Schoonover, Metz Husban & Daughton PA: American Chemistry Council

James McFaddin, Southern Strategy Group: Walton County Sheriffs Office

Edward Pozzuoli, Tripp Scott PA: Charter Schools USA; Life Insurance Settlement Association, Inc.

Alex Setzer, Southern Strategy Group: Florida Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials

***The 2017 Florida Blue Foundation Community Health Symposium and Sapphire Awards are coming to Kissimmee April 19-20 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. The two-day event – with the theme “Creating a Culture of Health” – will feature several Florida-based, regional and national health professionals. The symposium will give attendees an opportunity to learn more about health care culture, purpose built communities and communities of health. Discussions will center on health issues, policy, reform and engagement. Network with 400+ executives from a range of private sector, government, universities, nonprofit organizations and more. To view agenda and register, click here***

WHAT JEFF BRANDES IS READING: SELF-DRIVING CAR PROTOTYPES NEED LESS HUMAN HELP, DATA SHOW via Justin Prichard of The Associated Press – Self-driving car prototypes appear to be getting better at negotiating California streets and highways without a human backup driver intervening, according to data by California transportation regulators … The data reflect safety-related incidents reported by 11 companies that have been testing more than 100 vehicles on public roads … Waymo, as Google’s self-driving car project was recently rebranded, did far more testing than the other 10 companies combined … reported that its fleet drove itself more than 635,000 miles with 124 safety-related “disengagements,” which must be reported when the technology fails or the backup driver takes control out of concern the car is malfunctioning. Cruise Automation, a startup acquired last year by General Motors, reported driving the second most test miles. Cruise said its prototypes had 181 disengagements over 9,776 miles (185 per 10,000 miles) and that it was “pleased with our progress” during testing on the complex streets of San Francisco.

MARDI GRAS BEGINS SATURDAY AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising – The Mardi Gras celebration continues for 50 consecutive days. The annual event includes a nightly parade featuring Mardi Gras floats, New Orleans-inspired music, colorful dancers and stilt performers. In a new twist this year, Universal Orlando’s annual passholders can sign up to throw more than a million beads from the parade floats. Float riders are chosen at random and the spots are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. This is the first year the parade will roll through the park every night. The parades only ran on concert nights during previous Mardi Gras celebrations. Also debuting this year, guests that arrive after 6 p.m. can park for free.

SUPER BOWL SPENDING TO REACH $14.1B IN 2017 — The average cost of a Super Bowl party is down slightly in 2017, but the Florida Retail Federation doesn’t think that will stop Floridians from going all out this weekend. Florida families are expected to spend an average of $75 per person to watch Super Bowl LI between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots on Feb. 5. While the average per person cost is down slightly from last year, total spending across the country is expected to reach $14.1 billion. “Floridians love their football more than just about any other state, and with the Super Bowl being the final game of the year, we expect fans to celebrate the end to great seasons in both professional and college football,” said Randy Miller, the president and CEO of Florida Retail Federation, in a statement. “The Super Bowl is truly a must-see event for Floridians whether they follow the sport closely or not, and we expect local consumers to load up on food, drinks and decorations for their game watching parties.” In 2015, people spent an average of $82 per person on a Super Bowl party and total spending reached about $15.5 billion.

HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAY WISHES to one of the best, Katie Webb.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Sunburn for 02.01.17 – Donald Trump rolls out SCOTUS pick; Rick Scott rolls out a budget

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

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


If confirmed by the Senate to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch would fill the seat of the man he seeks to emulate as a judge.

He would be the first justice to serve alongside a colleague for whom he worked. Gorsuch described his former boss, Justice Anthony Kennedy, Tuesday as one of the judges who brought him up in the law.

President Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died nearly a year ago. Trump said he was delivering on his pledge to choose someone in Scalia’s mold.

Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge in Denver for the past 11 years, said he adheres to Scalia’s approach to the law, evaluating the Constitution and laws by how they were understood when they written. He also shares with Scalia a flair for writing.

But unlike the sometimes irascible Scalia, Gorsuch approaches his work with a courtly manner more reminiscent of Kennedy.

Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the bipartisan National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, has known Gorsuch since they worked as clerks on the federal appeals court in Washington, though for different judges.

“His opinions stand out for his prose and analysis and he gets along really well with both sides,” Rosen said.

While abortion rights groups immediately criticized the nomination, Rosen said Gorsuch’s record on the issue is sparse.

In a book Gorsuch wrote laying out the case against assisted suicide and euthanasia, Rosen said, Gorsuch was careful to avoid making a religious case for his views, focusing instead on philosophy.

“He has been careful not to say what he thinks about abortion or marriage equality,” Rosen said.

In any event, with Kennedy remaining on the court, there are five votes to preserve abortion rights and gay rights, no matter Gorsuch’s views. Should Kennedy, 80, or liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 83, or Stephen Breyer, 78, leave the court in the next four years, Trump then would have a chance to appoint a justice whose vote could perhaps flip the court on abortion, gay rights and a range of hot-button issues.

It’s unclear how quickly majority Republicans might be able to move Gorsuch’s nomination through the Senate or whether Democrats will try to block him. Gorsuch could join the court in time for the last arguments of the term in the spring.

TWEET, TWEET: @AlexConant: Very impressed w/ @PressSec strategy tonight. Great reveal event, followed by making East Room a spin room for ecstatic senators on live TV

BILL NELSON REACTION: “I will base my decision on a full examination of Judge Gorsuch’s judicial record and his responses to senators’ questions.”

MARCO RUBIO REACTION: “Judge Gorsuch is a highly qualified, mainstream jurist, which is why he was unanimously confirmed to the circuit court by the Senate in 2006. By all accounts he has the right temperament and experience for the job, and I’m pleased to see him nominated to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Most importantly, he is committed to the principles of original intent and judicial restraint. This is critical, because too many in the federal judiciary today believe it is appropriate for judges to invent new policies and rights instead of interpreting and defending the Constitution as it is written.”

TWEET, TWEET: @GBennettPost: .@FLGovScott offers bilingual praise for @realDonaldTrump pick of @JusticeGorsuch


Thumbs up from Gus Bilirakis: “Judge Neil Gorsuch is a steadfast conservative who has dedicated much of his life to upholding the Constitution. I applaud President Trump’s decision to nominate him to the U.S. Supreme Court, filling the seat of the great constitutional scholar, Antonin Scalia. Judge Gorsuch will serve the court and the American people well. I hope my colleagues in the U.S. Senate confirm him quickly so the court can carry on its work with a full bench.”

Thumbs down from Lois Frankel: “The Republicans hijacked President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court and now, sadly, President Trump is bowing to his more extreme supporters. Based on his judicial record, Neil Gorsuch will tip a narrowly divided court in a dangerous direction. This nomination puts serious issues at stake, like a woman’s constitutional right to make her own personal health care choices, getting money out of our politics, and ending political gerrymandering. We need a Supreme Court Justice whose record reflects mainstream values and respect for the fundamental rights of all Americans.”

Thumbs up from Pam Bondi: “I’m thrilled with Gorsuch — will base decisions on law and Constitution-not own policy preferences or personal feelings.”

Thumbs up from Richard Corcoran: “@realDonaldTrump – true to his word – nominated a judge worthy of the Scalia legacy & committed to the separation of powers. #HomeRun”

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Spectrum Business. Bright House Networks Business Solutions is now Spectrum Business, and we are committed to delivering your business with superior business Internet, Phone, and TV services to help power your success. We offer the best value in business with the fastest Internet for the price, advanced phone with unlimited long distance, cloud-based Hosted Voice and reliable TV – all delivered over our reliable, state-of-the-art, fiber-rich network.  Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Spectrum Business. Learn more.***

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Several Florida leaders and elected officials will hold a press call at 10 a.m. to call on Sens. Nelson and Rubio to reject President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Rep. Daisy Baez; Tony Lima, the executive director of SAVE; and Damien Flier, the spokesman for Why Courts Matter Coalition are expected to be on the call. To RSVP and receive dial-in information, email  Damien@progressflorida.org.

DCCC PUTS 2018 TARGETS ON FOUR FLORIDA REPUBLICAN CONGRESS MEMBERS via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Brian MastMario Diaz-BalartCarlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The DCCC listed those four among 59 targeted nationally in a midterm memo circulated to various Democratic allies. The DCCC’s rival, the National Republican Congressional Committee, scoffed.

POLL SHOWS CHARLIE CRIST WOULD BEAT DAVID JOLLY IF A REMATCH IS IN THE CARDS via Florida Politics– In a new StPetePolls survey of CD 13 voters, Crist would edge out Jolly by about eight points if such a rematch were held today. Crist would get nearly 49 percent, compared to Jolly, who gets just under 41 percent. Nearly 11 percent of respondents were undecided … Crist received the support of almost 72 percent of Democrats, along with nearly 24 percent of Republicans. Those numbers are significantly better than his Republican predecessor; Jolly wins only 69 percent support from voters of his own party, while getting 18 percent of Democrats.

SHOT: @SLRoss528: Spotted on Adams Street @SaintPetersblog and Gwen Graham. Hmmm.

CHASER: @SaintPetersBlog: Just helping @GwenGrahamFL celebrate her birthday. Nothing to see here.

***The 2017 Florida Blue Foundation Community Health Symposium and Sapphire Awards are coming to Kissimmee April 19-20 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. The two-day event – with the theme “Creating a Culture of Health” – will feature several Florida-based, regional and national health professionals. The symposium will give attendees an opportunity to learn more about health care culture, purpose built communities and communities of health. Discussions will center on health issues, policy, reform and engagement. Network with 400+ executives from a range of private sector, government, universities, nonprofit organizations and more. To view agenda and register, click here***

RICK ROLLS (GET THAT?) OUT HIS BUDGET – Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday released a nearly $83.5 billion proposed budget for 2016-17 that is more than 1 percent larger than this year’s budget. Here’s a few key items you should know about:

Education: Scott wants to increase spending on public schools by $815 million, which translates into a 4 percent increase for each student. Scott is also proposing the elimination of the contentious “Best and Brightest” teacher bonus program. Instead, Scott wants to spend $58 million on several recruitment and retention programs, including one that gives scholarships to teachers who teach in rural districts.

Property taxes: The governor’s increased money for public schools relies on a rise in property values that is expected to generate nearly $558 million in additional local property taxes. Schools in Florida are paid through a combination of state and local money. House leaders say they will oppose Scott’s proposal.

 – Pay raises: Scott is not recommending any across-the-board pay raises for state workers, but he is recommending performance bonuses that could be worth up to $1,500 for each employee. He is also recommending a five percent pay raise for the state’s highway patrol troopers, wildlife officers and state law enforcement agents. Scott also is recommending pay raises and bonuses to correctional officers and probation officers.

Prisons: The budget proposal calls for a nearly $127 million increase for the Department of Corrections. The money would be used for pay raises, the hiring of additional of correctional officers, as well as money to create a special mental health unit at a prison in Wakulla County.

Tuition: The governor wants to keep college and university tuition at its current levels.

SCOTT’S $83.5 BILLION STATE BUDGET GOES HEAVY ON TAX HOLIDAYS via Florida Politics  Scott’s budget would include cuts to business taxes and rents; a one-year sales tax exemption for college textbooks; and a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday. Back-to-school fairs would enjoy a tax exemption. There would be a nine-day disaster-preparedness tax holiday; a three-day veterans’ sales tax holiday; and a one-day camping and fishing sales tax holiday.

SCOTT SPENDING PLAN SETS DEO BUDGET AT NEARLY $1.3B via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools– Scott is recommending a $163 million increase in funding for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity in his proposed 2017-18 budget … the boost will bring the DEO budget to nearly $1.27 billion. Scott’s ask includes $85 million in economic incentives – a contentious issue with some lawmakers. Scott’s budget will also give DEO $300 million from settlement money for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

BUDGET PROPOSES MORE SCIENTISTS, RESEARCH TO FIGHT ZIKA VIRUS via the Miami Herald – Scott is recommending the state spend $2.9 billion to support the health department in the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1 — an increase of $54.6 million over the current year. And though Scott has recommended that the number of employees at the health department remain at the current level of 14,065, he is calling for new funding for the agency to hire 21 epidemiologists and to invest more in infectious disease research to help fight Zika and other public health threats. … Scott’s budget proposal recommends the agency spend $1.9 million for epidemiology, disease surveillance and outbreak control measures. His budget, too, recommends spending an additional $2.2 million to establish a recurring source of funds to make Florida more competitive for peer-reviewed federal grants through the National Institutes of Health.

SCOTT BUDGET PROPOSING CUTTING $156 MILLION FROM TRI-RAIL OVER CONTRACT via Florida Politics – Scott is proposing cutting $156 million in state funding for Tri-Rail development unless the South Florida Regional Transit Authority reverses its decision to award a controversial half-billion contract to a lone qualified bidder … The proposed 2017 state budget now includes an item calling for “no funding” until the authority withdraws, cancels or otherwise terminates the authority’s Notice of Intent for awarding its operating contract to Herzog Transit Services. On the line is $156 million the state had programmed for Tri-Rail’s capital outlay from the Florida Transportation Trust Fund.

RICHARD CORCORAN: ‘NO INCENTIVES’ IN HOUSE BUDGET via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Corcoran hasn’t backed down from his stance that incentives, favored by Gov. Scott, are little more than “corporate welfare” that he won’t allow in the state’s yearly blueprint for spending … there is “no chance” VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s public-private tourism organization, will be funded at previous levels. It got $76 million for the current budget year, and is asking for the same amount for 2017-18.

TWEET, TWEET: @Fineout: .@MyFLHouse has canceled most of its meetings planned for next Tues save 1 – presentation of @FLGovScott budget Ready to rumble?

KUDOS to the POLITICO Florida team for its coverage yesterday of Scott’s budget. Its team of reporters sliced and diced Scott’s proposed budget into a a dozen pieces and served up about that many stories about the Governor’s very political document. As Matt Dixon likes to say, “Go Pro.”

HOW SCOTT’S BUDGET ROLL OUT PLAYED – Miami Herald, Teachers get a top focus in Florida governor’s budget – “Scott wants the state to spend $58 million in the next budget year on a handful of initiatives — and those don’t include a controversial teacher bonus plan that lawmakers, with Scott’s support, have advanced in recent years.” Tampa Bay Times, Scott’s vanilla budget – “With two years left in his second term and an expected U.S. Senate campaign looming, the governor is becoming more irrelevant in Tallahassee as strong-willed legislative leaders pursue their competing priorities.” Miami Herald, Scott puts provision in proposed budget to block trade with Cuba – “Port directors put plans to sign any MOU with Cuba on hold … that didn’t prevent Scott from putting wording in his new budget that says no money can be ‘allocated to infrastructure projects that result in the expansion of trade with the Cuban dictatorship because of their continued human rights abuses.’” Tampa Bay Times, Scott proposes $83.5 billion state budget – “The  tax cut plans and his quest revive the state’s program to give tax breaks to private businesses has already been coolly received by state lawmakers who say tough budget conditions will make both ideas difficult to agree to.” Orlando Sentinel, Scott pushes tax cuts, jobs programs in budget proposal – “… a spending recipe with familiar ingredients: big tax cuts for businesses, millions for jobs programs, more money for schools and spending cuts for hospitals and health-care programs.” NBC Miami, Scott Proposes Nearly $83.5 Billion Budget – “Sending out a direct shot to some of his critics in the GOP-controlled Legislature, [Scott] framed his budget as way to maintain Florida’s economy and to grow jobs.” WPTV, Scott outlines $83 billion budget, wants to cut taxes & boost schools this year– “He may have trouble convincing legislative leaders to go along with his plan.” Naples Daily News, Scott doubles beach spending to $50 million in proposed budget – “General revenue would supply $40 million, with $10 million coming from the state’s Land Acquisition Trust Fund … ‘We’re going in the right direction,’ said state Sen. Jack Latvala.”


“The Governor is wrong in expecting Florida taxpayers to give away their tax dollars to businesses that want to come and compete against them in the market. We believe that his broad based tax cuts should be matched with common sense spending cuts, and that the legislature should work to give as much money back to the Florida families and entrepreneurs that are the real keys to economic development.” — Chris Hudson, state director for Americans for Prosperity-Florida

“AIF applauds Governor Scott’s proposed budget that fights for the future of employers and employees in our Sunshine State. His proposed spending plan, which includes $618 million in tax cuts and $85 million for economic incentives to businesses, will go a long way in continuing to help our state achieve the prosperity and growth our Florida families deserve.” – Tom Feeney, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida

“Providing women the opportunity to detect cancer early when it is most survivable is something that everyone deserves, no matter who they are or where they live. The state has supported this program in the past and it’s critically important that House and Senate leadership step up to ensure more women have access to it, not less. This program has been a lifesaver for hundreds of women in Florida because it provides access to evidenced-based screenings, which are the most important tools for detecting breast and cervical cancer early and improving survival rates.” — Heather Youmans, senior government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

“Thanks to the strategic investments Governor Scott has made in Florida’s airport system, we continue to be prepared to handle record volumes in traffic and operations while at the same time making critical improvements to keep our workers and passengers safe.” — Lisa Lyle Waters, president and CEO of the Florida Airports Council

“Florida Health Care Association is grateful  to Governor Scott for his continued support of quality care and services for Florida’s frailest elders. We appreciate him fully funding Medicaid for nursing center services and for initiating the dialogue on the creation of a Prospective Payment System. In addition, his ‘Fighting for Florida’s Future’ Budget will help to further streamline the background screening process, allowing qualified employees applying at our centers to enter the long term care workforce faster so they can more quickly begin caring for nursing center residents.” — Emmett Reed, executive director of the Florida Health Care Association

“The conservative estimate that Florida could be paying nearly $45 million a year in claims for ineligible dependents receiving benefits is astonishing. Florida Tax Watch commends Governor Scott’s commitment to reducing the burden on Florida taxpayers and for seeking innovative solutions to increase efficiencies throughout state government.” — Dominic M. Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch

“There has never been a more important time to focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in our state’s schools. Throughout the world, there is a growing demand for employees who can seamlessly fill positions in STEM fields, and Governor Scott’s investments will help ensure Florida students are prepared to compete in this global economy.” — Andy Tuck, vice chair of the State Board of Education

“On behalf of vulnerable girls in our state, we appreciate Governor Scott’s investment in prevention services in Florida. Under his leadership, more girls and young woman have access to education, counseling, and trauma informed services so that they can reach their full potential and successfully transition to adulthood.” — Mary Marx, president and CEO of the Pace Center for Girls

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will highlight his proposed fee cuts during a press conference at 10 a.m. at BCIndustries, Inc., 5008 Tampa West Blvd. in Tampa.

***Capital City Consulting, LLC is a full-service government and public affairs firm located in Tallahassee, Florida. At Capital City Consulting, our team of professionals specialize in developing unique government relations and public affairs strategies and delivering unrivaled results for our clients before the Florida Legislature and Executive Branch Agencies. Capital City Consulting has the experience, contacts and winning strategies to help our clients stand out in the capital city. Learn more at www.capcityconsult.com.***

ADAM PUTNAM AGREES: BUSINESS EXPERIENCE ESSENTIAL FOR GOVERNOR’S JOB via Florida Politics – “I think someone having business experience that they bring to public life is very helpful,” said Putnam… after a speech at The Associated Press annual Legislative Session planning session at the Capitol. “As a guy who is part of a small business, I get it,” he said. “You have a better feel for what regulations mean, what the paperwork translates to, and things that often sound like a good idea in Tallahassee, by the time they get to Main Street businesses, they’re a hot mess. It’s helpful to know what it means to create jobs in this state.”

MAYBE WE SHOULD SPEND SOME MORE MONEY ON DCF – CHILD WELFARE WORKERS IN FACEBOOK LIVE HANGING THREATENED WITH CONTEMPT via Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald – Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Maria Sampedro-Iglesia had scheduled a hearing to examine the suicide last week of Naika Venant, a troubled teenager who had been in and out of foster care since 2009. Sampedro-Iglesia opened her hearing by noting that child welfare administrators entrusted with Naika’s well-being had failed to show up. Naika was assigned to the foster home by the Center for Family and Child Enrichment, a case-management agency under subcontract with the Department of Children & Families … Sampedro-Iglesia said she was issuing an “order to show cause,” which requires child welfare workers to appear before her and explain why they should not be held in contempt. The order was not immediately signed.

PRESS ORGANIZATIONS FILE BRIEF IN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION RATE HIKE APPEAL via Florida Politics – The Associated Press, Florida Press Association, and Florida First Amendment Foundation have entered the legal battle over whether the state’s Sunshine Law covered the organization behind the state’s workers’ compensation premium increase. In a friend-of-the-court brief, the three accused the National Council on Compensation Insurance, or NCCI, of employing “an evasive device” to get around its legal obligation to calculate premiums in the sunshine. They pointed to a section of the insurance code requiring organizations like NCCI, which proposed rates to the Office of Insurance Regulation, to open deliberations and documents to the public.

LAND PURCHASE SOUTH OF LAKE O REMAINS TOP PRIORITY FOR JOE NEGRON via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics — Securing funding to purchase land south of Lake Okeechobee remains a top priority for Senate President Joe Negron. But Negron could face a tough road ahead. Gov. Scott did not include money for a proposed Everglades reservoir in his 2017-18 budget, and House Speaker Corcoran has dismissed the idea of bonding to pay for Negron’s project. The Stuart Republican appears unfazed, saying it is his obligation to convince people the project is appropriate. “I’m going to use the time I’m here to say enough is enough. We’ve been talking about southern storage for 20 years,” he said during the annual legislative planning session hosted by the Associated Press in Tallahassee on Tuesday. “It’s not a new idea. It’s not a radical idea. The time for talking is over. The time for action is now.”

JANET CRUZ READY TO SUPPORT CORCORAN ON ENTERPRISE FLORIDA via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Cruz … pledged that Democrats would continue to fight for increasing funding for public education, particularly for teachers, health care coverage for low-income Floridians and support for public hospitals. Afterward, pressed for where that money might come from, she offered to do away with corporate development incentives provided by Enterprise Florida, incentives that were vigorously defended by Gov. Scott, but targeted by Speaker Corcoran for major reform, at the same conference. “I understand the importance of attracting business, but in a good economy, do we really need to spend that money to attract businesses? Won’t they come to Florida?” Cruz challenged. “I think in a good economy these corporations find their way to Tampa without incentives.”

CRUZ SAYS DEMOCRATS HAVEN’T DONE ENOUGH TO CONVINCE VOTERS via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – “I don’t think as Democrats we’ve done a good enough job at articulating how our core values have a direct impact on ensuring Florida families can continue to climb the economic ladder of success,” Cruz told reporters … More funding for public education, better access to health care and a focus on clean water will help the state’s economy grow, Cruz said, and help avoid budget shortfalls such as the projected one this year. “Our state doesn’t have a revenue problem or a spending problem,” she said. “What we have is a problem in priorities.”

FIRST IN SUNBURN – JEFF BRANDES TO FILE MEDICAL MARIJUANA LEGISLATION — Sen. Brandes is expected to filed legislation today that would repeal current state law dealing with low-THC cannabis, and replace it with a proposal designed to encourage competition in the medical marijuana industry while safeguarding patients and making sure medical marijuana is available as provided in the Florida Constitution. Under the proposal, vertical integration, which is currently outlined in state law, is not required. Instead, medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs) can obtain any combination of four function licenses — cultivation, which allow for the growth and harvesting of marijuana; processing, which allows for the conversion of marijuana into medical marijuana products; transportation, which allows for the delivery between licensed MMTCs and direct delivery to qualified patients; and retail. Retail facilities would be restricted by population, and under Brandes’ proposal, local governments would retain the authority to regulate zoning and other safety standards.

TRAVIS HUTSON TELECOM BILL WOULD PRE-EMPT RIGHT OF WAY REGULATION via Florida Politics – Hutson, chairman of the Senate Regulated Industries committee, filed the “Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act” (SB 596) … The bill, among other things, would prohibit the Department of Transportation and certain local governments from prohibiting, regulating or charging for placing small wireless facilities in rights of way. Under Hutson’s bill, local governments can’t require applicants to perform services unrelated to the approval that’s being sought, like reserving fiber or pole space for the governmental agency. It also can’t ask the applicant to “provide more information to obtain a permit than is required of electric service providers and other communications service providers that are not wire les providers.” The bill also prohibits agencies from limiting “the placement of small wireless facilities by minimum separation distances or a maximum height limitation.” However, agencies can limit the height of a small wireless facility to no more than 10 feet above the tallest existing utility pole.

HAPPENING TODAY – PALM BEACH DELEGATION, SCHOOL BOARD MEET — The Palm Beach County legislative delegation is scheduled to hold a workshop with the county school board at 2 p.m. at Fulton-Holland Educational Services Center, 3300 Forest Hill Blvd. in West Palm Beach.

HAPPENING TODAY — SOUTHWEST FLORIDA LAWMAKERS TALK SESSION — The Chamber of Southwest Florida will host a panel discussion about the 2017 Legislative Session at 11:30 a.m. at The Crowne Plaza at Bell Tower Shops, 13051 Bell Tower Drive in Fort Myers. Participants are expected to include Sens. Lizbeth Benacquisto and Kathleen Passidomo, and Reps. Matt CaldwellByron DonaldsDane EagleHeather Fitzenhagen, and Bob Rommel.

The bill will also eliminate barriers to entry participants looking to operate in the state by eliminating existing requirements, like how long cultivators has been in business or the capacity of product that can be grown. Additionally, the bill would add paraplegia, quadriplegia and terminal conditions to the current constitutional list of debilitating conditions; restrict patients and caregivers from cultivating their own marijuana; establishes criteria for caregivers and requires background screening of caregivers; establishes criteria for the transportation and delivery of marijuana and medical marijuana products to patients; grandfathers in existing dispensing organizations as MMTCs; and applies a sales tax to sales of marijuana and medical marijuana products.


***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF). PIFF was formed in late 2010 with three charter members: Allstate and Castle Key Insurance Companies, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, and State Farm Insurance Companies, to create a dynamic, efficient, and competitive marketplace for personal insurance products for the benefit of all Floridians.  PIFF charter members serve forty-five percent (45%) of the automobile insurance market and more than twenty percent (20%) of the homeowners’ property insurance market. The association is the leading voice for personal lines property and casualty insurers in Florida. Learn more.***

FORMER ABA HEAD WARNS OF POSSIBLE DANGER TO JUDICIARY FROM CONSTITUTIONAL PANEL via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – The upcoming Constitution Revision Commission will likely take on the state’s judicial branch, and “the focus will not be on strengthening it,” the former president of the American Bar Association said …  retired Florida lawyer Martha Barnett, who was a Holland & Knight senior partner, said she expects an effort to “restrict, narrow and weaken the judicial branch … And if that happens, it is to the peril of the life and liberty of the people of this state,” she said during a panel discussion at The Associated Press’ annual Legislative Session planning meeting.

SUPREME COURT: ATTORNEYS CAN COLLECT FEES FOR CLAIM BILL WORK via Florida Politics– The Legislature can’t limit the amount of attorney fees to be paid out of money it OKs for a claim bill, a narrowly divided Florida Supreme Court decided. The 4-3 opinion was one of nine in an unusual out-of-calendar release from the court. In the claim bill opinion, the majority sided with the Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart & Shipley law firm, which represented Aaron Edwards, a brain-damaged man who received a $15 million claim bill from the Legislature. The “contingency fee contract” between the firm and Edwards’ mother called for attorney fees of 25 percent … The majority said lawmakers may approve or deny a claim bill but they can’t “impair an pre-existing contract” between an attorney and a client.

WATCHDOG GROUP TRYING TO OBTAIN DELETED MESSAGES FROM FORMER HEAD OF PTC via Jeff Patterson of WFLA-TV – Kyle Cockream was … at the center of an investigation into the PTC’s relationship with the heads of companies he was charged with regulating. Cockream resigned, but his actions before he left the job are now the subject of a new investigation. The Sunshine Group made a public records request to find out about his relationship with the cab companies. In court an attorney for Hillsborough County revealed Cockream wiped his phones clean of data, including his company phone, his personal phone and the phones of six PTC employees. Records show Cockream frequently called phones belonging to lobbyists and the heads of local cab companies. “So, what we conclude from that is there are definitely hundreds of missing public records,” said attorney Andrea Flynn Mogensen, with the Sunshine Group.

FORMER STATE LAWMAKER DAN GELBER WILL RUN FOR MIAMI BEACH MAYOR via Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald – Gelber filed paperwork to run for mayor. He went to City Hall with his family, including his father, former Beach mayor Seymour Gelber. The filing puts Gelber, a former federal prosecutor, into contention with Michael Grieco, a former state prosecutor. So far, the two are the only mayoral candidates in the November election, but candidates can file until early September. Gelber, 56, spent nearly a decade as a federal prosecutor and a decade in the Florida Legislature before running for Florida Attorney General in 2010. He has since founded Gelber Schachter & Greenberg, a boutique law firm based in Brickell.

SECOND ON FLA. POLITICS (BECAUSE MARC CAPUTO PISSED ON THE EMBARGO) –BALLARD PARTNERS GOING NATIONAL, OPENS D.C. OFFICE via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics— Brian Ballard, the firm’s president, announced this week Ballard Partners has opened an office in the nation’s capital. The announcement comes just weeks after President Donald Trump, who Ballard supported, took the oath of office. “There is great enthusiasm with President Trump’s new administration in Washington. We are thrilled to be part of this excitement with the opening of our new Ballard Partners office in our nation’s capital,” said Ballard in a statement. “We have assembled a first class team to lead our office in Washington, and we look forward to representing our clients on a path to success at the federal level.” That top-notch team includes Susie Wiles, who ran Trump’s successful Florida campaign. She’ll split her time between Washington, D.C. and Jacksonville. … Sylvester “Syl” Lukis has been tapped to lead the D.C. office. Lukis, a senior partner in Ballard Partners, brings more than 40 years of experience in government and representing clients Florida and Washington, D.C. to the position. … Dan McFaul has also joined Ballard Partners, bringing with him 20 years of experience on Capitol Hill. McFaul served as the chief of staff for newly U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, was a staffer on Trump’s transition team, and was the chief of staff and communications director for former Rep. Jeff Miller. He also served as former Rep. Joe Scarborough’s legislative director and deputy press secretary.


Stacy Arias, Southern Strategy Group: RELX, Inc.

Brad Ashwell, Brad Ashwell: Florida Alliance for Consumer Protection

Ellyn Bogdanoff, Becker & Poliakoff: Ygrene Energy Fund Florida

Ron Pierce, Edward BriggsNatalie King, RSA Consulting: Environmental Professionals of Florida

Angela Dempsey, PooleMcKinley: Magic Leap

Carole Duncanson, CLD & Associates: Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida

Mercer Fearington, Southern Strategy Group: Modern Health Concepts; Renovate America, Inc.

Jon Johnson, Johnson & Blanton: Marquis Software Development

Rob Johnson, The Mayernick Group: Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida; March of Dimes

Michael Kesti, Government Relations Group: Sea Vee Boats

Paul Mitchell, Southern Strategy Group: Florida Argentum

Jim Naff, Smith Bryan & Myers: Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners

Eli NortelusDavid Roberts, Akerman: AltaSci, LLC.

Jerald Paul, Capitol Energy Florida: Associated Industries of Florida

Louis Rotundo, Louis Rotundo: CBSync, LLC.

Christopher Schoonover, Capital City Consulting: George Hackney, Inc., d/b/a Trulieve

Nancy Black Stewart, Nancy Black Stewart PA: City of Westlake

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to OB, Senator Oscar Braynon and former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 01.31.17

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

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE NEXT GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham (wait, did I just write that? My apologies Adam, Bob, Jack, John, Phil, Richard, Rick, Billionaire X. Still, best wishes to Gwen.)

ALSO CELEBRATING TODAY is one of the best in the business: Kelsey Swithers of Bascom Communications. But she’s not running for Governor, so she doesn’t get top billing.


It’s time to talk priorities.

Today, The Associated Press hosts its annual legislative planning session on the 22nd floor of the Capitol. The event gives lawmakers a chance to lay out priorities ahead of the upcoming Legislative Session.

And this year, that could mean conflicting preferences from several of the state’s power players.

Things get started at 9 a.m., with Gov. Rick Scott unveiling his “Fighting for Florida’s Future” budget. The governor already released bits and pieces of his budget: a 5 percent pay raise for sworn state law enforcement here; $5.8 million for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to add 46 counterterrorism agents there.

A few of the requests have been controversial.

Last week, Scott announced he will recommend $618 million in tax cuts. According to his office, the cuts will be to “help Florida families and small businesses.” Among the proposals are a 25 percent reduction in taxes on commercial leases by 2018; creating four sales tax holidays and providing a one-year sales tax exemption on college textbooks.

The proposal has already been met with a bit of resistance. Budget writers warned there’s little wiggle room this year when writing the budget, which means Scott may not get all the cuts on his wish list.

Tax cuts likely won’t be the biggest battle in Scott’s proposed 2017-18 budget. Back in September, the governor announced he planned to ask for $85 million for economic incentives to bring more jobs to Florida. That ask will undoubtedly be part of a larger battle over economic incentives between Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

Corcoran is an outspoken opponent of economic incentives, and has said there won’t be “any corporate welfare in the House budget.”

The Land O’Lakes Republican will likely sound off about his position on economic incentives, judicial term limits and several other priorities during his presentation later in the morning.

He’s expected to take the mic around 11:30 a.m.

The session also includes Senate President Joe Negron, Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon, House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and a panel session on the Constitutional Revision Commission. The session wraps up at 3 p.m.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS:  Gov. Scott will unveil his 2017-18 “Fighting for Florida’s Future” budget at 9 a.m. at the AP Legislative Planning Session. The Governor’s budget staff will then host a pen and paper background briefing with credentialed press at noon in the governor’s large conference room in The Capitol, 400 S. Monroe Street in Tallahassee. No visual or audio recording equipment is permitted during the briefing.

DEFININING CRITICAL NEEDS COULD COLOR BUDGET FIGHT via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida -As Gov. Scott prepares to roll out his proposed spending-plan, one big thing hurdle is immediately evident: budget math. Scott is building his proposal based on a $2.8 billion budget surplus, a figure much higher than estimates by legislative economists. The Legislature’s top number-crunchers project only a $7.5 million surplus in September, and last month added $141 million to that number. The difference between the two figures is more than just dollars-and-cents. It will dictate funding levels for nearly every policy area across the board.

RICK SCOTT WANTS TO CUT $8M IN FEES via Florida Politics – The cuts, according to the Governor’s Office, include: free vehicle title transfers for surviving spouses; free replacement and renewal ID cards for citizens 80 years old and over; and free ID cards for citizens over 80 who surrender their drivers’ licenses. … The proposal also includes free veteran designation on new identification, licenses and renewals; free commercial driver’s licenses for veterans; reducing all fees associated with commercial driving schools by 50 percent; and reducing delinquency fees.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Spectrum Business. Bright House Networks Business Solutions is now Spectrum Business, and we are committed to delivering your business with superior business Internet, Phone, and TV services to help power your success. We offer the best value in business with the fastest Internet for the price, advanced phone with unlimited long distance, cloud-based Hosted Voice and reliable TV — all delivered over our reliable, state-of-the-art, fiber-rich network.  Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Spectrum Business. Learn more.***

TOO BAD MARCO RUBIO’S NOT AT AP DAY TO BE ASKED ABOUT THIS … RUBIO SAYS CONGRESS CAN’T GET ANSWERS ON TRUMP IMMIGRATION ORDER via Seung Min Kim of POLITICO – Rubio said Monday that the State Department is refusing to answer questions from Congress about President Trump’s expansive executive order barring immigrants from Muslim-majority nations and refugees worldwide – an assertion that the administration quickly disputed. Rubio said his aides sought to seek additional information from State about how the immigration directive would be implemented, particularly with representatives in Florida’s vibrant tourist sector calling his office with concerns about the order.

“We were told that the directive was, they were not to share any information today,” Rubio told reporters at the Capitol. “I suppose it’s because they are not clear what to tell us yet. But that cannot be a permanent position. We expect answers here fairly soon because we have constituents calling.” The State Department rebutted Rubio: “The Department remains in contact with members of Congress who have reached out regarding the executive orders, and will continue to provide information and assistance as we are able,” acting spokesman Mark Toner said.

WHY NOT ASK RICK SCOTT ABOUT THIS … TRUMP COAXES RICK SCOTT TO RUN FOR PRIZED U.S. SENATE SEAT via Alex Isenstadt and Marc Caputo of POLITICO – President Trump is personally urging Scott to challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in 2018 — and the loyal Trump ally looks increasingly likely to take the leap. Trump and Scott speak about once a week and on several occasions have talked about the race, according to two sources briefed on the talks. The two have known each other for two decades, and Trump likes Scott’s record as governor and as a health care tycoon. “We need you in the Senate. We need business guys like you,” Trump told Scott in a recent phone call, said one source who’d been briefed on it, paraphrasing the conversation. The person added that the president had signaled that he would help the Republican governor raise money.

OR THIS … FLORIDA-MEXICO SUMMIT CALLED OFF AMID TRUMP-MEXICO TENSION via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times – A trade summit meant to foster better ties between Mexico’s and Florida’s businesses set for Feb. 22 in Orlando was abruptly postponed Monday, less than a week after Trump threatened a 20 percent border tax on Mexican products coming into the United States and days after the president of Mexico canceled a scheduled meeting with Trump. “Understandably, there has been much uncertainty given the current state of negotiation and trade discussions between Mexico and the U.S.,” Doug Wheeler, president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council wrote to expected attendees of the summit. “And while we remain encouraged about the opportunities to continue to increase ocean trade between Florida seaports and Mexico, we also feel discussions from this Summit would be more productive at a time when more information and clarity can be provided.”

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will address the Florida Sheriff’s Association Winter Conference at noon at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, 225 E Coastline Drive in Jacksonville.

WHY NOT ASK JOE NEGRON ABOUT THIS … SENATE PREZ RESIGNS FROM GUNSTER LAW FIRM via Florida Politics – Negron has resigned from the Gunster law firm, four days after Gov. Rick Scott suggested ethics reforms affecting lawyer-legislators … One provision would ban lawmakers from working for companies, including law firms, that lobby the Legislature. Gunster has a “Government Affairs Law & Lobbying” practice in Tallahassee … Negron’s resignation was announced Monday by H. William ‘Bill’ Perry, Gunster’s managing shareholder. Negron, a Stuart Republican, had been “of counsel” with the firm, usually referring to an attorney who works on a case-to-case basis for a firm, not as an associate or partner. “Joe has been a great colleague and a valuable member of our litigation team,” Perry said in a statement. “We have accepted Joe’s resignation with both regret and the knowledge he will continue to dedicate his time and talents to the people of Florida as the leader of the Florida Senate.”

WHY NOT ASK RICHARD CORCORAN ABOUT THIS … EX-DEP CHIEF DISPUTES CORCORAN’S CLAIM THAT HOUSE FORCED HIM OUT via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – The timing of the resignation by Gov. Scott‘s former environmental secretary, Jon Steverson, has stirred plenty of talk in the state Capitol. Amid House criticism of the size of the legal expenses in a long-running multi-state dispute over water rights, Steverson submitted his resignation … to take a new job at the Foley & Lardner law firm … the day after a House committee publicly posted an amendment to an ethics bill that would subject “appointed state officers” (including agency heads such as Steverson) to the same six-year lobbying ban that would apply to House members who want to become lobbyists. Corcoran didn’t think that was a coincidence. “One day later, or give or take, from the time that we noticed that committee meeting, you see an agency head who resigns who has spent $100 million of taxpayer money on legal fees go and immediately become one of the participants in that law firm that he gave millions of dollars in legal fees to,” Corcoran [said]. Steverson said there was no connection. “Absolutely not,” he said through the DEP’s spokeswoman, Lauren Engel. “He got an opportunity and he took it” … Steverson and the Foley & Lardner firm had been in talks for a number of weeks before his resignation became public.

OR ABOUT THIS … TWO-WEEK-OLD COURT ORDER ON JUSTICE JAMES PERRY STOPS THREATENED LAWSUIT BY CORCORAN via Steve Bousquet and Mary Ellen Klas of the Tampa Bay Times – Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga … modified an earlier order and ended retired Justice James E.C. Perry‘s service as a senior justice effective tomorrow. Perry had been serving as a retired justice until the court completed final orders on cases he participated in before retiring Dec. 30. Labarga’s action came in response to a decision by Perry that “he had decided to pursue other things” instead of serving to fill in vacancies on the court until September 2018, as the original order had allowed … The ruling got attention because Corcoran threatened to file a petition before Labarga’s court, challenging the chief justice’s action as in violation of the Florida Constitution. Labarga said in his order that the court “has a long tradition of assigning recently retired Justices to senior service for purposes of completing the work they already had begun on this Court before the dates of their retirement.”

ASK BOTH CORCORAN AND NEGRON ABOUT THIS … STILL NO WORD ON MAKEUP OF CONSTITUTION REVISION PANEL via Florida Politics – With about a week before the start of the 30-day period in which it’s supposed to have its first meeting, the membership of the state’s Constitution Revision Commission is still unknown. Representatives for Senate President Negron and House Speaker Corcoran Monday said they still have not officially closed their application periods. “The President is currently accepting applications,” said Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta, who provided the latest list of 81 names already in. Because of continued interest, Corcoran also is still taking applications, spokesman Fred Piccolo said, after initially extending his deadline to last Friday … As governor, Scott will choose 15 of the 37 commissioners, and he also selects its chairperson. The Governor’s Office has posted its list of 96 applicants online. His office has not signaled when Scott will announce his decisions.  Pam Bondi is automatically a member as Attorney General, and Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga gets three picks. Court spokesman Craig Waters Monday had no news on Labarga’s picks.

***Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, LLC, is a full-service consulting firm located just steps from the Capitol. The firm specializes in the development and implementation of successful advocacy strategies highly personalized for each client. Team Liberty is comprised of professionals with a track record of successful coalition-building, grassroots efforts and team coordination. The combination of a strong commitment to clients and practical government and private sector experience is why Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profits alike choose Liberty Partners of Tallahassee.***

DANA YOUNG FILES FANTASY SPORTS BILL via Florida Politics – Young on Monday filed her own version of a bill that would legalize and regulate fantasy sports play. The Tampa Republican state senator’s “Fantasy Contest Amusement Act” (SB 592) declares such games to “involve the skill of contest participants and do not constitute gambling, gaming, or games of chance.” And it would prohibit the playing of fantasy sports on any “live pari-mutuel event” that could include dog and horse racing or on any amateur sports, such as college athletics. “Today, more than 3 million Floridians participate in fantasy sports,” Young said in an email. “This bill ensures the games they love will continue to be legal in the State of Florida…”

CLAY COUNTY DELEGATION HEARS LOCAL CONCERNS via Florida PoliticsSen. Rob Bradley, Rep. Travis Cummings, and Rep. Bobby Payne — the three members of the delegation  — heard from community advocates, stakeholders, and leaders on Monday … Wayne Bolla, chairman of the Clay Board of Commissioners, lauded the delegation for the veterans’ court and the progress on the First Coast Expressway, and asked for $500 million of funding to come through for that purpose and the replacement of the Shands Bridge … Clay County Supervisor of Elections Chris Chambless spotlighted his department’s key legislative issue: ERIC, an interstate voter registration program that “provides member states with a list of cross-state matches and in-state updates” … Clay County School Superintendent Addison Davis had a laundry list of projects … [among them], a desire to levy up to two mills for capital improvements in the district, especially related to technology needed for 1-to-1 devices and being “competitive with surrounding counties.”

HAPPENING TODAY – LEGISLATIVE DELEGATIONS ACROSS THE STATE MEET — The legislative delegations of Pinellas, Broward, Miami-Dade, Duval, Putnam, and Hamilton counties will meet to discuss issues ahead of the 2017 Legislative Session. The Pinellas County legislative delegation will meet at 9 a.m. at the Largo Public Library, 120 Central Park Drive in Largo. The Broward County legislative legislation will hold workshops with the school board, the county commission, and the League of cities beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 South Andrews Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. The Miami-Dade legislative delegation will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. at Florida International University, Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Rafael Diaz-Balart Hall, 11200 S.W. Eighth St.in Miami. The Putnam County legislative delegation will hold a public hearing on local bills at 2 p.m. at Jacksonville City Hall, 117 West Duval Street in Jacksonville. The Hamilton County legislative delegation will meet at 5 p.m. in the Hamilton County Courthouse, 207 N.E. First Street in Jasper.

INSURERS SETTLE MULTISTATE LITIGATION ALLEGING MISUSE OF DEATH MASTER FILE via Florida Politics – Florida will receive $111,000 in a multistate settlement with three insurance companies over alleged one-sided use of the Social Security Administration’s death master file.Ameriprise Group, RiverSource Life Insurance Co., and RiverSource Life Insurance Co. of New York will pay $1.5 million in all to California, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Pennsylvania, as well as to Florida. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, Department of Financial Services, and attorney general’s office announced the agreement on Monday. Florida’s share will cover the costs of investigating the alleged wrongdoing and monitoring the insurers’ compliance with the agreement. California was the managing lead state. The states accused the insurers of using the death file to end payments on annuities but did not use the data to begin paying survivor benefits under life insurance policies.

SUPREME COURT ORDERS ORAL ARGUMENT IN OLD ROCK ‘N’ ROLL LAWSUIT via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – The state’s highest court set oral argument in what could be a landmark case regarding who pays whom to play old rock ‘n’ roll. The Florida Supreme Court on Monday said it will hear argument April 6 in a case pitting Flo & Eddie, two original members of the 1960s band “The Turtles,” against satellite radio operator Sirius XM. Their most famous hit is “Happy Together.” … The stakes could be huge. If Flo & Eddie win, Sirius XM, internet music service Pandora, and many others “would owe damages not only to (them), but potentially all other owners of pre-1972 sound recordings…”

FORMER LAWMAKER, CITIZENS INSURANCE LEADER APPLIES FOR UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT via Jessica Bakeman of POLITICO – Tom Grady is a former one-term Republican lawmaker, the past head of a not-for-profit property insurance company established by the state and a current member of the state Board of Education. Now he wants to lead Florida Gulf Coast University. The Naples securities attorney (said) in November that he didn’t plan to seek the position, explaining that he and the Fort Myers school’s board of trustees don’t agree on a vision for the future. But he later reconsidered, he said Monday.

PERSONNEL NOTE: ALAN WILLIAMS JOINS TIM MEENAN’S FIRM – Meenan P.A. announced today that former state Representative Alan Williams is joining its firm. Williams will initially focus on local government and legislative work in states other than Florida. “With Alan joining our team, his reputation and combined experience in both business and government will help us provide solutions for our clients and enhance our services to clients around the State and Nation” said Tim Meenan. “We are particularly excited about his knowledge of both local government, and the legislature” said Meenan.


Ron Book, Rana Brown, Ronald L. Book PA: Associated Industries of Florida

Richard Coates, Tidewater Consulting: Organization for Safe Cannabis Regulation

David Custin, David R. Custin & Associates: PBA Holdings, Inc.

Leslie DughiFred Karlinsky, Greenberg Traurig: Merlinos & Associates

DavE Ericks, Adams St. Advocates, Ericks Consulting: Waste Connections of Florida

Steven Geller: Geller Law Firm: OSCR

Kari Hebrank, Wilson & Associates: National Utility Contractors Association of Florida

Nick IarossiChristopher Schoonover, Capital City Consulting: Community Care Plan

Kimberly McGlynn, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney: Florida Sportsman’s Land Trust

Peter Murray, Colodny Fass: Florida Property & Casualty Association

Jim Naff, Smith Bryan & Myers: Okeechobee Utility Authority

Marlon Onias, Onias Law: Coalition of Concerned Pharmacist and Citizens

David Sigerson, Capital Hills Consultants: OSCR

Jim Spratt, CAS Governmental Services: City of Belle Glade; City of Okeechobee; Town of Pembroke Park

Jennifer Wilson, Adams and Reese: Martin Memorial Health Systems

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF). PIFF was formed in late 2010 with three charter members: Allstate and Castle Key Insurance Companies, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, and State Farm Insurance Companies, to create a dynamic, efficient, and competitive marketplace for personal insurance products for the benefit of all Floridians.  PIFF charter members serve forty-five percent (45%) of the automobile insurance market and more than twenty percent (20%) of the homeowners’ property insurance market. The association is the leading voice for personal lines property and casualty insurers in Florida. Learn more.***

ON THIS WEEK’S EDITION OF THE ROTUNDA — OTrimmel Gomes’ latest episode of The Rotunda, President Trump’s ban on immigrants and refugees triggers another round of backlash for the new administration. Tallahassee based immigration attorney Elizabeth Ricci tells Gomes why she thinks parts of Trumps orders violate the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution. Gomes also tracks the latest legislative committee week as Speaker Corcoran continued his criticism of Visit Florida’s funding but Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala points out funding support was pushed by the House not the Senate. As Senate President Joe Negron’s pushes plans to buy land for Everglades restoration, opponents argued it would harm instead of help the local economy. Professional Angler Scott Martin tells Gomes there is completely different experience of Lake Okeechobee than what portrayed on television.

COCA-COLA ORLANDO EYE CLOSES FOR MAINTENANCE via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising – The 400-foot tall observation wheel, which opened in May 2015, is closed through Feb. 9. Maintenance on the Eye is done nightly, but the larger annual maintenance requires a complete closure. The Eye is part of I-Drive 360, a $250 million attraction destination that includes Madame Tussauds Orlando and Sea Life Orlando, which will both remain open.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Sunburn for 01.30.17 – Trump travel ban sows chaos; Florida pols react (& some don’t); Rick Scott begins to roll out budget; FMA rolls out leg. agenda

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

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


President Donald Trump‘s immigration order sowed more chaos and outrage across the country Sunday, with travelers detained at airports, panicked families searching for relatives and protesters registering opposition to the sweeping measure that was blocked by several federal courts.

Attorneys struggled to determine how many people had been affected so far by the rules, which Trump said Saturday were “working out very nicely.”

But critics described widespread confusion, with an untold number of travelers being held in legal limbo because of ill-defined procedures. Some lawyers manned tables at New York’s Kennedy Airport to offer help to families with detained relatives.

Advocates for travelers say the chaos is likely to continue. The executive director of National Immigration Law Center, Marielena Hincapie, said “this is just the beginning.”

Meanwhile, protests continued Sunday, including one in suburban Chicago organized by Jewish groups to show support for Muslims. Other demonstrations were planned for Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C., Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Airport. At the main Dallas-Fort Worth airport, an estimated 200 people held signs and chanted, “Let them go!” They awaited word on nine people detained at the airport, most of them Iranian, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Large airport protests erupted starting Saturday, a day after Trump signed the order banning travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen. The president also suspended the U.S. refugee program for four months.

A federal judge in New York issued an order Saturday temporarily blocking the government from deporting people with valid visas who arrived after Trump’s travel ban took effect. But confusion remained about who could stay and who will be kept out of the country in the coming weeks. Federal courts in Virginia, Massachusetts and Washington state took similar action.

A more decisive ruling on the legality of the Trump action by U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly will probably take at least several weeks. Opponents and government attorneys will get a chance to lay out their arguments in filings and possibly in oral arguments in court, Gelernt said. Activists said their goal was to have Trump’s order overturned entirely.

TRUMP SAYS PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS WILL BE GIVEN PRIORITY AS REFUGEES via David Brody of CBN News – “We are going to help them,” Trump tells CBN News. “They’ve been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair.”

— “Facing intense criticism, some Republicans are speaking out against Trump’s refugee ban. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell aren’t among them. via Kelsey Snell, Karoun Demirjian and Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post

— “Hours after landing in U.S., Cleveland Clinic doctor forced to leave by Trump’s order” via Charles Orenstein of ProPublica

— “White House screens ‘Finding Dory’ amid immigration ban protest” via Jennifer Calfas of The Hill

INSIDE THE CONFUSION OF THE TRUMP EXECUTIVE ORDER AND TRAVEL BAN via Evan Perez, Pamela Brown, and Kevin Liptak of CNN – When President Trump declared … he was enacting strict new measures to prevent domestic terror attacks, there were few within his government who knew exactly what he meant. Administration officials weren’t immediately sure which countries’ citizens would be barred from entering the United States. The Department of Homeland Security was left making a legal analysis on the order after Trump signed it. A Border Patrol agent, confronted with arriving refugees, referred questions only to the President himself, according to court filings. … It wasn’t until Friday … that career homeland security staff were allowed to see the final details of the order, a person familiar with the matter said. …

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Department of Homeland Security leadership saw the final details shortly before the order was finalized, government officials said.

Before the President issued the order, the White House did not seek the legal guidance of the Office of Legal Counsel, the Justice Department office that interprets the law for the executive branch. A source said the executive order did not follow the standard agency review process that’s typically overseen by the National Security Council, though the source couldn’t specifically say if that included the decision to not have the order go through the Office of Legal Counsel.

FEARS THAT TRUMP’S VISA BAN BETRAYS FRIENDS AND BOLSTERS ENEMIES via Delcan Walsh of The New York Times – Across the Muslim world, the refrain was resounding … Trump‘s freeze on refugee arrivals and visa requests from seven predominantly Muslim countries will have major diplomatic repercussions, worsen perceptions of Americans and offer a propaganda boost to the terrorist groups Trump says he is targeting. … [I]n interviews with dozens of officials, analysts and ordinary citizens across Muslim-majority countries, there was overwhelming agreement that the order signaled a provocation: a sign that the American president sees Islam itself as the problem. “I think this is going to alienate the whole Muslim world,” said Mouwafak al-Rubaie, a lawmaker and former Iraqi national security adviser in Iraq.

— “The disastrous consequences of Donald Trump’s new immigration rules via Daniel Benjamin of POLITICO Magazine

FLORIDIANS FLOCK TO AIRPORTS TO PROTEST DEPORTATION ORDER via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News – Protesters flocked to international airports, where immigrants from the countries were detained in a travel limbo. Some were deported back to their home countries, most in the Middle East, which are being ravaged by war and genocide. In Florida, protests were planned in nine different cities. Most were planned for Sunday afternoon. In Miami, rain poured as opponents of Trump’s executive order flooded into the arrivals side of the Miami International Airport, waving signs and chanting. The weather couldn’t dampen protesters’ spirits, though — their energy remained high as they vowed to speak out against the policy and push for equal rights for all immigrants coming to America. Rallies were also held at the Fort Lauderdale Airport, Orlando International Airport and the Palm Beach International Airport.

— “1,000 gather at Orlando airport to protest Donald Trump’s immigrant ban” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

SOUTH FLORIDA LAWMAKERS REMAIN MOSTLY SILENT ON TRUMP REFUGEE ORDER via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – As of shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday, the Herald had received comment or spotted social-media responses from five lawmakers. Two came from Republicans; the first was from Carlos Curbelo, who didn’t vote for Trump and took a cautious, middle-of-the-road approach to the president’s policy while sounding a note of caution about the apparent targeting of Muslim immigrants. Another Miami Republican who didn’t back Trump, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, said outright she objected to the seven-country visa suspensions. Nationally, some Republicans are criticizing Trump’s order, but most have stayed quiet … Three South Florida Democrats blasted Trump.

— “Charlie Crist says tariff for border wall will hurt American consumers via Florida Politics

— “FSU president says he’s ‘deeply concerned’ about Donald Trump travel ban” via Florida Politics

— “Kathy Castor calls Donald Trump order on refugees ‘illegal, immoral and un-American’” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

— “Stephanie Murphy: Donald Trump refugee policy undermines national security” via Frank Torres of the Orlando Political Observer


GOOGLE RECALLS STAFF TO THE U.S., APPLE SPEAKS OUT via Queenie Wong of the Mercury News – Trump’s immigration order sparked an outcry from some of the world’s largest tech firms … Alphabet’s Google ordering its overseas staff back home immediately and executives from other companies either lambasting the directive or reassuring their international staffers. Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees that the tech firm reached out to the White House to express how the order will negatively affect Apple’s workforce and made it clear that the company believes in the importance of immigration. “Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do,” he wrote.

UBER EXPLAINS PLAN TO AID DRIVERS AFFECTED BY BORDER BLOCK, AS PRESSURE MOUNTS via Tony Romm of POLITICO – Uber pledged to lobby against Trump’s executive order targeting many Muslim refugees while compensating affected drivers and creating a $3 million defense fund to help with “with immigration and translation services.” The commitments, communicated in a blog post by CEO Travis Kalanick, is Uber’s second statement in as many days against Trump’s directive — and it comes amid criticism that Uber continued to operate in New York City even as some local cab drivers paused their rides in opposition. In his latest dispatch, Kalanick promised to “do everything we can” to help drivers who are citizens of countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria but live in the United States and cannot return because of Trump’s “unjust immigration ban.” That includes “24/7 legal support for drivers who are trying to get back into the country,” he said, as well as financial aid for “lost earnings.”



— “Miami mayors past and present chide Carlos Gimenez over county immigration detentions” via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Spectrum Business. Bright House Networks Business Solutions is now Spectrum Business, and we are committed to delivering your business with superior business Internet, Phone, and TV services to help power your success. We offer the best value in business with the fastest Internet for the price, advanced phone with unlimited long distance, cloud-based Hosted Voice and reliable TV – all delivered over our reliable, state-of-the-art, fiber-rich network.  Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Spectrum Business. Learn more.***

TRUMP EXPECTED TO FULFILL PLEDGE TO CONSERVATIVES ON SUPREME COURT via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post Trump was able to prevent defections from the GOP base by promising to nominate conservatives to the Supreme Court and even pledging in a Palm Beach speech to release a list of potential nominees for scrutiny. Now Trump appears ready to honor his pledge to conservatives when he names a Supreme Court appointee this week.

THIS MIAMI HIGHWAY PROJECT WAS ON TRUMP’S INFRASTRUCTURE LIST, BUT IT WAS ALREADY FUNDED via Andres Viglucci of the Miami Herald – The only state project on a list of infrastructure improvements the Trump administration is thinking about backing — the reconstruction of Interstate 395 in Miami — is in fact already fully funded and ready to go. The $800 million, five-year project was fully funded as of the Florida Department of Transportation’s 2014-2015 fiscal year budget … The document, a news release announcing the start of bids on the project, dates back almost a year. The funding includes nearly $194 million in federal highway money and $403 million in state money. The federal funds were approved in April 2016 … In addition to a complete replacement of the functionally obsolete I-395, which connects Interstate 95 to the MacArthur Causeway, the project also includes improvements to a piece of I-95 and a stretch of State Road 836 that feeds into I-395. The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, which manages SR 836, is contributing an additional $151 million.

MARCO RUBIO SEEKS NEW PATH IN TRUMP’S WASHINGTON via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – On Trump’s first full weekday in office, Rubio faced a consequential decision: Maintain an election promise to stand up to Trump or set aside objections to Rex Tillerson, the nominee for secretary of state, and spare Trump a measure of dissent from fellow Republicans. “It was a close call,” Rubio said after the vote … A woman in a Greenpeace shirt joined the herd, mockingly holding up a model of a human spine. Rubio’s vote in favor of Tillerson, despite concern about the former Exxon Mobil CEO’s coziness with Russia, illustrates a reality and a calculation. This is Trump’s Washington, and Rubio, who as a presidential candidate accused Trump of being a con man, is choosing a safer route.

DAYS UNTILRick Scott Orlando Jobs Summit – 3: The Batman Lego Movie opens – 11; Pitchers & catchers report for Spring Training – 13; Valentine’s Day – 15; Start of 2017 Legislative Session – 36; Florida Capitol Press Corps Press Skits – 43; 2017 Legislative Session Sine Die – 95; FSU vs. Alabama – 215; Election Day 2017 – 280; Star Wars: Episode VIII/The Last Jedi opens – 318.

SPOTTED: Rep. Brian Mast on “ABC This Week” talking about his background in the U.S. Army and his priorities moving forward. The Treasure Coast Republican replaced Rep. Patrick Murphy in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. Click on this link to watch the video.

STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO GIVE GRANTS FOR BOOSTING VOTER REGISTRATION IN SMALLER FLA. COUNTIES via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida – The Florida Democratic Party’s new chair officially launched a $100,000 grant program aimed at small- and medium-sized counties to get them to grow the party’s registration numbers and organize early as they look to defend U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and try to win the governor’s mansion for the first time since Republicans won control of it in 1998. “If we want to win statewide we must truly compete for every vote in every city in every county across Florida,” the party’s leader, Stephen Bittel, said in a written statement. “That starts today.”

JEFF CLEMENS BULLISH ON SENATE DEMOCRATS CHANCES IN 2018 via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – “It just so happens that the way it plays out, the Democrats that are up for election in 2018 are in safe Democratic seats, so with the Republicans having to go defend as many as eight seats, there are opportunities,” the Lake Worth Democrat in St. Petersburg. “Whether it’s the two seats in Pinellas, whether it’s the two seats in Miami-Dade, one in Tampa, one back in Alachua County, even in places in Polk, believe it or not. There are opportunities. So, I’m looking forward to it.” The 46-year-old is now the Senate Democratic Leader-designate after current head Sen. Oscar Braynonserves out his current term. Part of his responsibilities are recruiting candidates for the 2018 cycle, and he says it’s rare for an incoming Senate Democratic leader to like his odds. “Whether it was (DwightBullard in ’16 or (MariaSachs in ’14 and ’12, we’re always on the defensive.” Clemens was in St. Pete to speak to the Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee.

***The 2017 Florida Blue Foundation Community Health Symposium and Sapphire Awards are coming to Kissimmee April 19-20 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. The two-day event – with the theme “Creating a Culture of Health” – will feature several Florida-based, regional and national health professionals. The symposium will give attendees an opportunity to learn more about health care culture, purpose built communities and communities of health. Discussions will center on health issues, policy, reform and engagement. Network with 400+ executives from a range of private sector, government, universities, nonprofit organizations and more. To view agenda and register, click here***

STATE TOURISM CONTRACTS WENT TO FORMER CHIEF OF VISIT FLORIDA AND ‘EMERIL’ COOKING SHOW via Arek Sarkissian of the Naples Daily News – VISIT FLORIDA offered few details about what the state received in return for the $9.1 million paid to the Brand USA federal partnership led by Christopher L. Thompson. Thompson once ran VISIT FLORIDA and hired the state agency executive who later gave Thompson’s Brand USA contracts for international advertising … contracts for the “Emeril” cooking show weren’t negotiated with the chef’s management company, like the promotion deal with Pitbull … Instead, the agency signed five contracts with a Tallahassee company that worked with the chef’s management and increased production charges by as much as 450 percent in one contract.

EDITORIAL: RICK SCOTT’S TWEETS HURT FLORIDA’S PORTS via the South Florida Sun Sentinel – What a disappointing trump card Scott played this week when he took a page from Trump‘s playbook and unleashed a series of tweets threatening to defund any Florida seaport that develops any kind of relationship with Cuba. Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale couldn’t afford to go to war with the governor. It’s got more than $600 million worth of capital projects on tap, having finally gotten the green light to deepen and widen its channel to accommodate the super-sized cargo ships now navigating the widened Panama Canal. Why didn’t he speak up when cruise ships began charting a course to Cuba, first from Miami, now from Tampa? And why didn’t he pick up the phone and first talk to community leaders who support the port and his push to grow high-paying jobs there?

AFTER LONG DROUGHT, GOV PROPOSES FLORIDA CORRECTIONS OFFICERS GET PAY RAISE via Mary Ellen Klas of the Tampa Bay Times – Scott is including $38 million in his proposed budget to boost pay for officers in Florida’s prison system, which is one of the nation’s most violent. Scott is also proposing to include $5 million for signing bonuses of up to $1,000 for officers at understaffed prisons, and $2.5 million to increase pay for officers assigned to prisons with mental health units … The proposal comes after years of reports about corruption and brutality in the prison system, which has been hobbled by staff turnover related to difficult working conditions and low pay. The raises must receive approval from state legislators. In the last 10 years, they’ve increased the corrections salaries only once — a one-time bonus for the lowest paid officers.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will honor veterans at 9 a.m. at Ronald O. Harrison Readiness Center, 4799 Northwest 67th Avenue in Miramar.

JACK LATVALA NOT READY TO ENDORSE SCOTT’S TAX CUT PLAN via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times – Senate Appropriations chairman Jack Latvala … didn’t give a flat no to the Republican governor’s tax plan. But when asked about it, Latvala took a wait-and see approach and listed out other important areas of state government that need to be addressed. “We’re 50th in mental health funding,” Latvala said. “We’re 49th in infrastructure. We have a lot of challenges with our prisons. And our state employees haven’t had a raise in nine years.” Latvala said the specifics of Scott’s plan will take a review by the Legislature. But lawmakers are already facing a tighter budget situation this year than last year when they cut taxes by $129 million.

— “Lawmakers, Rick Scott diverge on budget numbers” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel

NRA TRASHES STAND YOUR GROUND BILL OPPONENTS AS ‘FAKE ACTIVISTS via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News – Around a dozen women posted up … to oppose SB 128, wearing fiery red shirts emblazoned with the “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” logo on the front. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Everytown” gun-safety group’s logo was plastered on the back. The women sat silently during the meeting. Only two of the activists spoke on the bill, which would shift the burden of proof in Stand Your Ground cases … after the meeting was over. Florida Carry attorney Eric Friday … saw the group of women take off their red shirts, turn them in and place them in a plastic Rubbermaid-type container … The National Rifle Association pounced on the story, questioning whether or not the activists were really there for the right reasons or if they had actually been paid to be there by anti-gun groups … Marion Hammer called the activists “shameful” and said the women had no clue what was going on in the meeting, evidenced by trying to sit in the front row, unaware that section is reserved solely for state lawmakers testifying on bills.

EDITORIAL: VOTER INTENT ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA IGNORED via the Tampa Bay Times – The Florida Department of Health’s first draft of rules authorizing medical marijuana falls far short of what is prescribed in the voter-approved constitutional amendment. State regulators are proposing only a limited expansion of Florida’s existing program and an unwarranted restriction on which patients can access it. Amendment 2, approved by more than 70 percent of voters, legalizes marijuana for people with an array of ailments, and the state is obligated to craft a program that ensures access to it … By defaulting to the limited medical marijuana program already on the books in Florida, the Department of Health is not following the intent of Amendment 2. Florida needs a comprehensive rewrite of existing regulations that reflects the will of the voters.

HOUSE EDUCATION CHAIRMAN: BETTER CIVICS LESSONS NEEDED IN SCHOOLS via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – Miami Republican Rep. Michael Bileca, the House Education Committee chairman, says the issue is “near and dear” to him, and his primary goal is to streamline civics education so it runs from elementary school through college. No specific policy has been presented yet, but Bileca said: “It’s something that we’re really looking at — our civics, our history — all the way from K-12 to our college system, on how do we really inculcate a sense of civic understanding, appreciation for our institutions and what a republic stands for and have a fully informed and fully educated citizenry that’s able to participate in the democratic process.” Florida already requires civics classes for middle- and high-schoolers. High school students need three credits in social studies in order to graduate. Those include mandatory courses in U.S. and world history, economics and U.S. government.

RANDOLPH BRACY BILL SEEKS TO RESTRICT ELECTRONIC PUBLICATION OF PRE-CONVICTION MUG SHOTS via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Senate Bill 546 particularly focuses on the trend in recent years of many sheriff’s offices and other law enforcement agencies posting all their daily mug shots. The problem, Bracy argued, is that private companies take and repost them, but many never bother to follow up and remove the posts from the internet if charges are dropped or the people pictured are proven innocent. In the worst cases, he said, some companies have required that people pay fees to have their mug shots removed from online rogue galleries. SB 546 would stop the law enforcement agencies from publishing the mug shots online unless someone is convicted, but would keep the booking photos available for public access through Florida’s open records laws requests.

HAPPENING TODAY – LEGISLATIVE DELEGATIONS ACROSS THE STATE MEET — The legislative delegations of Holmes, Washington, Jackson and Clay counties will meet today to discuss issues ahead of the 2017 Legislative Session. The Holmes County legislative delegation will meet at 10 a.m. (central time) in the Holms County Commission Board Room, 107 East Virginia Ave. in Bonifay. The Washington Count legislative delegation will meet 11:15 a.m.(central time) at the Washington County Commission Board Room, 1331 South Blvd. in Chipley; while the Jackson County legislative delegation meets at 1:30 p.m. (central time) at 2864 Madison St. in Marianna. All three legislative delegations are made up of Sen. George Gainer and Rep. Brad Drake. Meanwhile, the Clay County legislative delegation — which is made of up Sen. Rob Bradley, Rep. Travis Cummings, and Rep. Bobby Payne — will meet at 4 p.m. in the Clay County Commission chambers, 477 Houston Street., in Green Cove Spring.

***Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, LLC, is a full-service consulting firm located just steps from the Capitol. The firm specializes in the development and implementation of successful advocacy strategies highly personalized for each client. Team Liberty is comprised of professionals with a track record of successful coalition-building, grassroots efforts and team coordination. The combination of a strong commitment to clients and practical government and private sector experience is why Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profits alike choose Liberty Partners of Tallahassee.***

DOCTORS WANT INSURANCE COMPANIES TO GET OUT OF THEIR WAY via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – The Florida Medical Association released its legislative priorities for 2017; removing interference by insurance companies in doctor’s decisions about patient care is prominent on the list … First, the priority is a direct primary care system, described as “an alternative to the traditional fee-for-service model in which patients are charged a simple, affordable flat monthly fee for comprehensive coverage of all primary care services.” Second, the FMA supports allowing doctors to override “fail first” policies by which, it says, insurers decide which drugs doctors should try first. Next is legislation to standardize the system for obtaining insurers’ authorization before doctors can prescribe medication, refer patients to specialists, and order testing or other treatments.

NCCI, STATE INSURANCE OFFICE CAN’T EVADE SUNSHINE LAW, BRIEF ARGUES via Florida Politics – The group behind a 14.5 percent workers’ compensation premium can’t get around Florida’s Sunshine Law by arguing that a single individual worked on the matter, and not a full-fledged internal committee, an appellate brief argues. The law holds that meetings by such committees at rating organizations like the National Council on Compensation Insurance, or NCCI, must be open to the public — and their internal supporting documents, too, the brief says. Attorneys representing James Fee, a Miami workers’ compensation lawyer challenging the premium increase, argue in a brief filed this week that the law applied even if a single individual — in this case, NCCI chief actuary Jay Rosen — did the number crunching. “By treating NCCI actuary Rosen as a ‘committee’ and vesting him with decision-making authority, NCCI rendered Rosen’s actions subject to (the Sunshine Law), John Shubin, of the Shubin & Bass law firm, wrote in the pleading.

SFRTA APPROVES CONTROVERSIAL $511M TRI-RAIL CONTRACT via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – The South Florida Regional Transit Authority … procurement process began with six potential vendors, but five were disqualified because of what the SFRTA said were problems with their bid applications. The winning vendor, Herzog Transit Services, submitted a $511 million bid, an amount tens of millions of dollars higher than the other vendors. Because every vendor’s bid except Herzog was deemed ineligible, the process was filled with controversy. One losing vendor sought a temporary injunction from a Broward County judge, but the attempt to slow the process failed. State Sen. Jeff Brandes … blasted the contract because of the cost.

FINALIST WITHDRAWS CANDIDACY TO BE FGCU’S PRESIDENT via Thyrie Bland of News-Press.com – Ken Harmon has decided to stay at Kennesaw State University, where he is provost and vice president for academic affairs … Harmon said he decided to remain at the Kennesaw, Georgia, school based on conversations he had with his family and Sam Olens, who was named Kennesaw’s president in October. Harmon said Olens wanted him to remain at Kennesaw State. “Still love this university and just some of the opportunities here, and I would definitely say it was not a negative about Florida Gulf Coast,” Harmon said. FGCU is looking for a leader to succeed President Wilson Bradshaw when he steps down in June. Bradshaw was named FGCU’s president in 2007.

TOP OP-ED – AIRBNB HELPING FLORIDA COLLECT TAXES via Michael Nutter for the Tallahassee Democrat – It certainly struck me as unique when in the summer of 2015 – toward the end of my final term as Mayor of Philadelphia – the peer-to-peer home sharing pioneer Airbnb approached me about helping to collect and remit local taxes on behalf of its hosts who share their homes to visitors … so it surely must have come as a similar shock to Florida policymakers several months later when Airbnb took a seat at the table and offered its partnership. By December 2015, they struck a deal allowing the company to voluntarily collect and remit the state sales tax on behalf of all its Florida hosts. Home sharing is activating Mayor [AndrewGillum’s Tallahassee economy; infusing new revenue for the state and 35 counties; and empowering the 32,000 Airbnb hosts statewide who share their homes for supplemental income. Florida’s story is proof of how public/private partnerships can embrace technology to elevate core industries and enhance quality of life.

MIAMI BEACH TO BEGIN NEW $100 MILLION FLOOD PREVENTION PROJECT IN FACE OF SEA LEVEL RISE via Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald – The city will embark on a $100 million project to raise roads, install pumps and water mains and redo sewer connections during the next two years across a swath of single-family homes in the La Gorce and Lakeview neighborhoods of Mid-Beach. A sizable chunk of a citywide effort estimated to cost $400 to $500 million, the work is meant to keep streets dry in the face of sea level rise. Along the way, engineers will have to figure out how to smoothly join private property to the public right of way, which will be an average of 2 feet higher than it is now. In some cases, private property that drains excess water into the street will no longer do so, creating a conundrum that public works officials believe could be solved with a new form of public-private partnership.

***Capital City Consulting, LLC is a full-service government and public affairs firm located in Tallahassee, Florida. At Capital City Consulting, our team of professionals specialize in developing unique government relations and public affairs strategies and delivering unrivaled results for our clients before the Florida Legislature and Executive Branch Agencies. Capital City Consulting has the experience, contacts and winning strategies to help our clients stand out in the capital city. Learn more at www.capcityconsult.com.***

HISTORIC HOME TO WELL-KNOWN FLORIDA GOVERNOR FINALLY OPENING via Gary Fineout of The Associated Press – The Grove, a historic house that symbolizes much of the state’s terrible past and transformation, will have its grand opening in March following an extensive renovation that cost taxpayers nearly $6 million. Hidden behind live oaks and magnolias near the Florida Governor’s Mansion, The Grove was built by one of Florida’s early territorial governors using slave labor. It would later serve as home to Gov. LeRoy Collins as he tried to shepherd the state through the civil rights era. The opening will be March 11 – or one day and 108 years after Collins was born. “The grand opening of The Grove is the culmination of more than six years of work to rehabilitate this historic home and transform it into one of the nation’s premier interpretive history museums of its kind,” said Secretary of State Ken Detzner.

NO FRIES: FLORIDA WANTS STUDENTS TO WHIP UP HEALTHY DISHES via The Associated Press – Adam Putnam … wants high school students around the state to enter the “Fresh from Florida Student Chef Cook-Off.” The deadline is Feb. 2 … contest rules require students to create an original recipe that includes one fresh fruit or vegetable grown in the state. Finalists will be chosen to compete in five regional cook-offs which will be held in March and April. The regional winners will participate in a statewide cook-off at the Florida School Nutrition Association annual conference. The ultimate winner will be invited to serve with a professional chef at one of the department’s future events.

PERSONNEL NOTE: CLAY HOLLIS, ANDREW LIEBERT JOIN DEPT. OF AG via Florida Politics – Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced Hollis would serve as the director of external affairs, while Liebert will serve as the deputy legislative affairs director. Hollis has served in U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney’s office since 2012, where he served as a senior legislative assistant focused on agriculture, transportation and energy policy since 2014 … Liebert has spent much of his career in Tallahassee. He has served as a legislative aide in the Florida House for the past four years, most recently for Rep. Ben Albritton, the chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee.

APPOINTEDRobert Mount, Jr., Dale Soles and Scott Guthrie to the North Central Florida Regional Housing Authority. Greg Beliveau to the North Lake County Hospital District Board of Trustees.



Doug BruceTrevor Mask, Colodny Fass: Suwannee River Chamber of Commerce

Pete Buigas, Buigas and Associates: Beacon Health Options

Dean Cannon, GrayRobinson: Canaveral Port Authority

Kimberly Case, Holland & Knight: Integrated Home Care Services

Edgar CastroNelson Diaz, Southern Strategy Group: Village of El Portal

Brady James Cobb, Cobb Eddy: Life Insurance Settlement Association

Jose Diaz, Robert M. Levy & Associates: Miami Shores Village; Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts

Candice Ericks, Ericks Advocacy Group: Green Sentry Holdings

Fausto Gomez, Gomez Baker Associates: BringIt; Metro-Dade Fire Fighters Local 1403

Nicole Graganella, Colodny Fass: Osceloa Legislative Effort

Michael HarrellPaul HawkesJames Magill, Kimberly McGlynn, Timothy Stanfield, Mac Stipanovich, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney: Green Point Consultants

Rob Johnson, The Mayernick Group: Associated Industries of Florida; Florida Alcohol & Drug Abuse Association; Florida State University Foundation; Home Builders Institute; Lexington National Insurance Corporation

Jonathan Killman, Foley & Lardner: Conduent, Inc. and its Affiliates

Jeffrey Kottkamp, Jeffrey Kottkamp PA: Alternative Medicine Florida

Bill McCullum, Dentons US LLP: Bombardier Transportation

Foyt Ralston, Bryant Miller Olive: AT&T; City of Dunedin

Manuel Reyes, Gomez Barker Associates: Metro-Dade Fire Fighters Local 1403

Rebecca Roman, Adams St. Advocates: 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East; Harris Corporation; Symantec Corporation

Jennifer Ungru, Jones Walker: Arise Gaming Florida

Beth Vecchioli, Holland & Knight: Integrated Home Care Services, Inc.

SPOTTED in Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn waterfront tent for the Gasparilla Parade: Ashley Bauman, Jane Castor, Ana Cruz and Todd Josko of Ballard Partners, Cesar Fernandez and Stephanie Smith of Uber, Melanie and Mike Griffin, Laura Lenhart, former state Rep. Ed Narain, Preston Rudie, Ryan Patmintra, Amanda Taylor, Andrew Wiggins.

MORE SPOTTEDs from Gasparilla: Steve Cona, Janet Cruz, Anthony Pedicini, Ashley Ross, Holly Tomlin, Sean Shaw, Ken Walters.


CURRENT, FORMER COLLEAGUES HONOR CAROL CAROL MARBIN MILLER via RandomPixels — A few days ago, after Miller posted a link on Facebook to a story she’d written about Naika Venant, a 14-year-old girl in foster care who hanged herself last Sunday while streaming it live on social media. I commented, “I don’t know how you do this.” Miller responded: “You just do.” …  Over the past few days I’ve asked some of Miller’s current and former Herald colleagues what drives her. Miami Herald Tallahassee bureau chief Mary Ellen Klas emailed this explanation: “What drives Carol Marbin? I have asked myself that many times, as I watched her time and again break away from untangling the bureaucratic complexities of some scandal she is investigating to take the time to turn a daily story on another tragedy she knows should not be overlooked. … When Carol writes about a child’s death, she brings with it the compassion of a mother, and yet, with a careful touch, she lets the evil, inequity and injustice surface. I honestly don’t know how Carol does it, but I do know it is with an extraordinary heart. That’s why people think of her when they have a story they know needs to be told, and it’s also why, as a journalist, she is feared.” And here’s how retired Miami Herald staffer Elinor Brecher described Miller’s work: “Carol Marbin Miller has been on the “dead kids” beat for decades – a beat that might drive the average reporter into deep depression or a different career. But she has a core of iron resolve about exposing cruelty toward and injustices against all vulnerable and helpless people: children, elderly, disabled, poor, sick. I think this comes from her non-negotiable sense of right and wrong and very definite ideas about morality, ethics and abuse of power, which she can’t abide. The misery she has to immerse herself in to do these stories does get to her, especially when it involves kids, but the sense of duty she feels to expose the conditions that cause these situations tends to override any emotional impact.”

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF). PIFF was formed in late 2010 with three charter members: Allstate and Castle Key Insurance Companies, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, and State Farm Insurance Companies, to create a dynamic, efficient, and competitive marketplace for personal insurance products for the benefit of all Floridians.  PIFF charter members serve forty-five percent (45%) of the automobile insurance market and more than twenty percent (20%) of the homeowners’ property insurance market. The association is the leading voice for personal lines property and casualty insurers in Florida. Learn more.***

ORLANDO COULD SUPPORT NFL TEAM, MAYOR BUDDY DYER SAYS AS PRO BOWL ARRIVES via Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel – We’re too big and beautiful not to at least be under consideration. We have too much projected population and too much pigskin passion not to attract some NFL owner disgruntled with his current home. Or, better yet, maybe we will get the attention of a future league expansion committee in search of vibrant new markets. Orlando has already opened some NFL eyes this week by selling out the Pro Bowl and showing the league that we take our football seriously … “I think we could definitely support an NFL team of our own; it’s just a matter of whether Jacksonville, Miami or Tampa would ever let that happen,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says. They might not have a choice if Orlando keeps growing at its current rate. Central Florida is the fastest-growing of the country’s 30 largest regions, according to population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau last year.

WHAT WILL WEATHERFORD IS READING –  ‘HAMILTON’ CAST TO SING AT SUPER BOWL 51 via The Associated Press – The performance by Renee Elise GoldsberryJasmine Cephas Jones and Phillipa Soo, who starred as the Schuyler Sisters, will be televised live by Fox before kickoff Feb. 5 when the Atlanta Falcons face the New England Patriots. Beginning with Vicki Carr in 1977, “America the Beautiful” has been sung eight other times before the Super Bowl, most recently in 2013 when Jennifer Hudson and 26 children from Newtown, Connecticut, sang the song in advance of Super Bowl 47. The “Hamilton” cast joins Luke Bryan, who will perform the national anthem, and Lady Gaga, who will headline the halftime show.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Sen. Perry Thurston.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Sunburn for 01.27.17 – Lake O plan off to slow start; Trump policies impacting Fla.; Scott v. Corcoran again; Happy birthday, Laura Boehmer!

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

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


So far, 2017 has been unkind to proponents of buying land south of Lake Okeechobee. That’s the takeaway from two January Senate committee meetings that have been held on the issue.

In the titanic legislative battle pitting landowners, minority residents from the Glades and state and water management district officials against Senate President Joe Negron and environmental groups, the Senate committee looking into the issue has heard testimony largely in favor of sticking the historic Everglades restoration plans first started in 1999.

For the proponents of buying land, you might say things have not gone as planned. Outside of Everglades Foundation scientist Tom Van Lent, the committee has yet to hear from a credible third-party expert making the case for buying up more land. Instead, they have heard speakers such as South Florida Water Management District Director (SFWMD) Pete Antonacci, DEP Deputy Secretary for Water Policy and Ecosystem Restoration Drew Bartlett, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lt. Colonel Jennifer Reynolds acknowledge that the state has plenty of land to build the reservoir Negron is proposing.

Even some of Negron’s constituents aren’t having any of it. According to the Stuart News, earlier this week, minority residents from Pahokee expressed concern about his plans to buy 60,000 acres of farmland, which they say would devastate their community. On Wednesday, those residents were front and center in a meeting in Tallahassee. Representatives of the “Guardians of the Glades” included former Pahokee Deputy City Manager Tammy Jackson-Moore and pastor Robert Rease from Belle Glade.

Senate leadership has insisted the process will be driven by science. And it turns out that the science used by the Everglades Foundation may not be as solid as previously thought. Earlier this month, SFWMD Hydrology and Hydraulics Bureau Chief Akintunde O. Owosina wrote a scathing letter to Everglades Foundation scientist Van Lent, alleging that among other things, “the assumptions you made in the model input were obviously selected to reduce northern storage and create an outcome in favor of southern storage.” The letter set off several rounds of exchanges between the Everglades Foundation and the water management district – a sideshow environmental groups and Negron simply can’t afford.

In a statement released by the SFWMD, the district once again challenged Van Lent’s assertion that buying land is necessary for fixing the problems in the east and west coast estuaries. In response to Van Lent’s presentation, the district noted that its scientists found Van Lent’s claim that storage south of the lake is preferable to storage north of the lake “misleading” and “the product of an agenda-driven academic exercise.”

The district also provided a quote from University of Florida scientist Dr. Wendy Graham from her Jan. 11 appearance before Bradley’s committee indicating the benefits of storing land south of the lake versus north of the lake are about the same. According to Dr. Graham, “”If you want to protect the estuaries, it’s pretty equal north or south of the Lake.” Except the fact that according to Negron, storage south of the lake will cost more, requiring $2.4 billion for land AND a reservoir.

In an era where Republicans are leading the charge against “fake science,” will Senate Republicans have the courage to defend the plan under those circumstances?

ARM-TWISTING TIME: JOE NEGRON’S SUSPECT RESERVOIR BILL FILED via Nancy Smith of the Sunshine State News – One day after Sen. Rob Bradley‘s Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources heard stakeholders pour their hearts out over the potential good and bad of a 60,000-acre reservoir on private property in the middle of the Everglades Agricultural Area — a departure from the restoration plans already in place — Bradley filed Senate Bill 10, Water Resources … the No. 1 priority of Senate President Negron … I hope these folks won’t consider the bill a done deal, even though Negron holds a tight rein on his chamber … There’s a great deal of collateral damage to consider. For example, we haven’t yet heard from the Taxpayers Association in Palm Beach County, or anywhere in the Glades, which stand to lose a significant chunk of private property from their tax rolls. Senate Bill 10 authorizes bonding a portion of proceeds from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, set aside by the voter-approved Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1, 2014), to purchase land and construct a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee “to reduce harmful discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.”

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Spectrum Business. Bright House Networks Business Solutions is now Spectrum Business, and we are committed to delivering your business with superior business Internet, Phone, and TV services to help power your success. We offer the best value in business with the fastest Internet for the price, advanced phone with unlimited long distance, cloud-based Hosted Voice, and reliable TV – all delivered over our reliable, state-of-the-art, fiber-rich network.  Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Spectrum Business. Learn more.***

IF YOU READ ONE THING – DOOMSDAY CLOCK MOVES CLOSER TO MIDNIGHT via Jonah Bromwich of the New York Times – On Thursday, the group of scientists who orchestrate the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic instrument informing the public when the earth is facing imminent disaster, moved its minute hand from three to two and a half minutes before the final hour. It was the closest the clock had been to midnight since 1953, the year after the United States and the Soviet Union conducted competing tests of the hydrogen bomb.

WHITE HOUSE ABRUPTLY HALTS OBAMACARE ADS via Paul Demko of POLITICO – The Trump administration has pulled the plug on all Obamacare outreach and advertising in the crucial final days of the 2017 enrollment season … The decision sends the clearest signal yet that President Trump is determined to fulfill his campaign pledge to repeal Obamacare. Hours after being sworn in, Trump issued his first executive order allowing federal officials to start unwinding parts of the law.

WHITE HOUSE POSTPONES EXECUTIVE ACTION ON VOTER FRAUD INVESTIGATION via Madeline Conway of POLITICO – The White House said that Trump would sign an executive action to begin an investigation into voter fraud Friday or Saturday, postponing a move … Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters … Trump returned “a little late” from the Republican leadership retreat in Philadelphia and “got jammed up on some meetings that needed to occur,” prompting the delay. Earlier in the day, Spicer had said that Trump planned to sign the action around 4:30 p.m. If signed, the executive action is sure to prompt a rebuke from Democrats, who argued on Wednesday that such a probe is unnecessary and could be used to increase voter suppression going forward.

TRUMP TO VISIT MAR-A-LAGO NEXT WEEK, SOURCES SAY via Shannon Donnelly of the Palm Beach Post – The Red Cross Ball is famous for the attendance of Washington big-shots, but this year’s event is offering the biggest shot of all: The Prez … Trump will be in da house next weekend and will likely make an appearance at the 60th annual gala. This apparently came as a surprise to the organizers of the event. When told of reports that the Federal Aviation Administration was designating a presidential level no-fly zone around Mar-a-Lago, the organizer said “I’d be surprised if he showed up. The White House just sent us the tribute video he made for the ball because he probably wouldn’t be able to make it.” Then, the callback. “The president will be in town next weekend after all, as it turns out, and if he doesn’t stay for the entire event he will definitely stop in. So, you were right.”


IN ORLANDO, NANCY PELOSI SLAMS DONALD TRUMP ON MEXICO WALL ORDER via Joe Burbank of the Orlando Sentinel – The former U.S. House speaker, was in Orlando to administer a ceremonial Oath of Office to newly-elected, 10th District Congresswoman Val Demings … Pelosi and Demings met with Orlando media after the ceremony and responded to questions with a scathing assessment of President Trump’s executive order to build a wall on the Mexican border.

MIAMI-DADE MAYOR ORDERS JAILS TO COMPLY WITH DONALD TRUMP CRACKDOWN ON ‘SANCTUARY’ COUNTIES via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – Fearing a loss of millions of dollars for defying immigration authorities, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez … ordered county jails to comply with federal immigration detention requests — effectively gutting the county’s position as a “sanctuary” for immigrants in the country illegally. Gimenez cited an executive order … by Trump that threatened to cut federal grants for any counties or cities that don’t cooperate fully with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Since 2013, Miami-Dade has refused to indefinitely detain inmates who are in the country illegally and wanted by ICE — not based on principle, but because the federal government doesn’t fully reimburse the county for the expense.

BOB BUCKHORN SAYS TAMPA IS NOT A SANCTUARY CITY, DOESN’T INTEND ON CALLING ICE ANYTIME SOON via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – At a news conference with U.S. Senator Bill Nelson … discussing their support for Trump’s call to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure in the U.S., Buckhorn backed away from any perception that Tampa is a sanctuary city. “We are not a sanctuary city, and that’s more of a semantic term than anything. There’s no legal definition to that,” he told reporters, before adding that the city has never engaged in helping to deport the undocumented. “We are not Customs; we are not I.C.E. We are not searching people who have chosen to live here and have not yet got citizenship,” the mayor replied. “That’s not something that we believe in, and not something that I support.”

ANDREW GILLUM ON IMMIGRATION ORDER: WRONG TO FORCE CHOICE BETWEEN ‘SECURITY AND COMPASSION’ via Lynn Hatter of WFSU – The definition of a sanctuary city is broad: but it usually applies to those with some sort of policy or law in place that governs interactions with federal immigration enforcement agencies. Tallahassee has no such language on its books, but officials say the city is also not going to go out of its way to enforce the immigration mandates coming out of President Donald Trump’s administration. A recent presidential executive order would restrict some federal funding to sanctuary cities … [Tallahassee Mayor] Gillum says the order criminalizes people based on their immigration status. “These are working people who pay taxes in our country,” Gillum writes. “They are attending public schools alongside our children and graduating as valedictorians and standout students. They are critical members of our local, state and national economy, and contribute to the culture of our society. A decision between security or compassionate immigration policy are false choices, we can have them both.”

FEDERAL HIRING FREEZE COULD HARM PANHANDLE ECONOMY via Melissa Nelson Gabriel of the Pensacola News-Journal – Trump issued an executive order implementing a hiring freeze for federal civilian employees. The order exempts military personnel, but does not define “military personnel” as active duty service members only or as Defense Department civilian workers who support the military. “The main thing is that the order does exempt military personnel, but there is no definition of who that is,” said Tim Kauffman, a spokesman for the Washington-based American Federation of Government Employees. “It is unclear if that is just uniform personnel or if it includes civilian workers.” Kauffman said his organization had received a lot of questions from federal workers wanting more details about the hiring freeze. AFGE has more than 670,000 members and is the largest union representing government workers, he said.

MOST FLA. AG GROUPS UNAFFECTED BY WITHDRAWAL FROM TPP; CATTLE INDUSTRY IS EXCEPTION via Kevin Bouffard of The Ledger – Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact drew muted reaction from Florida’s agriculture community. One notable exception was the Florida cattle industry, which like its national counterparts strongly supported the pact, known commonly as TPP, because of its potential to open protected Asian markets to U.S. beef. Representatives from growers of citrus, strawberries, tomatoes and ornamental plants said the TPP would not have significantly affected their commodities … Still, Trump’s action could have some lasting effects on future trade deals … But most of the benefits would have gone to farmers and ranchers in western states with easier shipping access to Asian markets.

GUS BILIRAKIS TO TRUMP: MAKE RIDGE ROAD A PRIORITY via CT Bowen of the Tampa Bay Times – Bilirakis released a letter to the president … citing Trump’s executive order to expedite environmental reviews of high priority infrastructure projects. The Ridge Road Extension meets that criteria, Bilirakis said, because of its importance as a planned evacuation route during tropical storm events. He noted Hurricane Hermine damaged more than 2,600 properties in Pasco County with damage estimates listed at $89 million. The multilane highway is projected to cost $102 million and would be elevated through portions of the 6,700-acre Serenova Preserve. The county has set aside more than $40 million to pay for the first phase of the road, from west Pasco to the Suncoast Parkway. The overall tab to the county for consultants and right of way is more than $17 million over the past two decades.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Sen. Marco Rubio will discuss an aggressive response to citrus greening, among other issues, at a roundtable with members of the Gulf Citrus Growers Association. Event begins approximately 11:30 a.m. EST at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, 2685 FL-29 in Immokalee. RSVP to christina_mandreucci@rubio.senate.gov.

PORTS CANCEL SIGNING OF PACTS WITH CUBA AFTER RICK SCOTT THREATENS TO CUT FUNDING via Amy Sherman, Mimi Whitefield and Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – A high-level Cuban business delegation toured Port Everglades and met with port officials … the planned highlight — the signing of a cooperation pact — was canceled after Scott threatened to cut off state funding to any port that entered into an agreement with Cuba. The Port of Palm Beach also called off its plans to ink a Cuba deal …  Scott said Wednesday that he would ask Florida legislators to restrict funds for ports that “enter into any agreement with [the] Cuban dictatorship.” That risked $37 million over the next five years for Port Everglades, which is in Fort Lauderdale, and $920,000 over the same period for the Port of Palm Beach.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will continue his “Fighting for Florida’s Future” Tax Cut Tour, which highlights his proposed $618 million in tax cuts, at a 1 p.m. news conference at Storm Smart, 6182 Idlewild St. in Fort Myers.

SCOTT GIVES SPEAKER CORCORAN AN EARFUL ON ETHICS REFORM via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – As the Florida House embarks on aggressive ethics reform mission that will target the Legislature and executive branch, House Speaker Corcoran asked Scott‘s office for suggestions … Corcoran got an earful of suggestions, at least one of which appears to be directed at Corcoran himself … including closing the loophole that allows legislators to fly on planes chartered by political parties and political committees; requiring legislators to disclose cases in which they are seeking state money for nonprofit groups; and prohibiting lawmakers from suing state agencies. Another Scott suggestion would prohibit legislators from working for law firms that lobby the Legislature — a proposed change that strikes at the very heart of how Florida’s “citizen Legislature” operates … change as a necessary safeguard “to ensure that all funding decisions are made free from any undue influence, whether real or perceived.”

RICHARD CORCORAN: SCOTT’S ETHICS PROPOSALS NOT PERSONAL via Florida Politics – “I read the letter,” Corcoran said in an afternoon media availability. “Clearly, they have somebody in mind, it seems like … it’s not me.”

… CORCORAN ALREADY VEXED BY SENATE GAMBLING PLAN via Florida Politics – House Speaker Corcoran is saving the profanities—for now. At a Thursday press availability, he was asked about comments by a lobbyist involved in this year’s gambling legislation, which the Senate has taken the lead on with an omnibus bill (SB 8). The person was overheard in a Capitol corridor saying he had spoken with the Speaker about the bill: “He’s not going for this free-for-all … He is going to let [the Senate] have their kitchen-sink charade for now.” “Those aren’t words that I would use,” Corcoran told reporters. “I probably would have used more profanity.” He quickly added with a smile: “I’m just kidding.”

RICHARD CORCORAN APPOINTS TWO LEGISLATORS TO INVESTIGATE ‘WATER WARS’ LEGAL BILLS via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – [Corcoran] asked two legislators with finance backgrounds to investigate the $100 million in legal bills the state has received in the protracted lawsuit against Georgia over access to water in the Flint-Chathoochee-Apalachicola River basin … he has asked Rep. Bill Hager, an attorney expert witness in insurance matters and Rep. David Richardson, a forensic auditor, to look at the bills. He said he supported the litigation but “the question is: what is the fair market cost.” “I think you’re going to find really fast that defending the rights of Floridians, yes, it’s an absolutely worthy expense,” Corcoran told reporters. “Spending $100 million in legal fees, we are getting gouged and that needs to be fixed.”

KEITH PERRY FILES BILL TO CREATE 10-DAY BACK-TO-SCHOOL SALES TAX HOLIDAY via Florida Politics – Under the proposed legislation (SB 490), certain school supplies would be tax exempt from Aug. 4-14. The proposal would include clothing, backpack and sneakers that cost $100 or less; pens, pencils, notebooks, markers, calculators and lunchboxes that cost $15 or less; and laptops or desktop computers that cost $1,000 or less. Scott’s proposal includes a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday, which he estimates would save Floridians $72 million.

THE TAX CUT THAT HISTORY SHOWS SCOTT IS MOST LIKELY TO GET FROM LEGISLATURE via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times –  The bulk of Scott‘s tax cut plan is aimed at business. Scott’s plan would cut a 6 percent sales tax that businesses pay on leasing property to 4.5 percent in 2018. That would cut taxes by $454 million for businesses, but lawmakers say economic forecast show that would lead to budget deficits without big cuts or more revenue elsewhere. The sales-tax-free shopping holiday would take $72 million out of the budget … The Legislature has refused to cut the tax on commercial leases twice in the last three years when Scott has made similar requests to cut the tax. Meanwhile, the back-to-school shopping tax has traditionally more acceptable to state lawmakers, though in various forms. Since 1998, the state has had a sales-tax-free shopping week in all but four years. It’s been as long as 10-days and as short as three.

SENATOR’S IRE, POLITICAL INTRIGUE SWIRL AROUND $500M S. FLORIDA COMMUTER RAIL CONTRACT via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – The public authority that oversees a South Florida commuter rail service is set to award a more than $500 million contract to a company whose bid was tens of millions of dollars higher than its competitors, each of whom was deemed ineligible for the same technical flaw. Officials from the rival bidders said the process raised red flags, and at least one prominent state senator is angered by the issue, which also comes steeped in lobbying and political intrigue. The winner of the South Florida Regional Transit Authority (SFRTA) contract operates Tri-Rail, a commuter rail service that runs on 70.9 miles of track between Jupiter and downtown Miami. The contract could be up a 10-year term. At its scheduled meeting … the board is set to consider an intent to award the contract to Herzog. But that won’t happen if state Sen. Jeff Brandes gets his way. “Obviously, any time there is a contract like this, I think there should be added scrutiny because of just some of the issues that surround it … We are going to pay special attention to it.”

VISIT FLORIDA DEFENDERS SWARM SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE HEARING via Florida Politics – Tourism business owners flocked to a Senate committee room Thursday to plead the case for Visit Florida, the state’s embattled tourism promotions agency. Representing both large operations and independent hotels and restaurants, they urged members of the Appropriations Committee to let the agency continue to sell Florida to potential tourists in the United States and overseas. Sheldon Suga, a manager at Hawks Cay Resort in Duck Key, brought 1,000 letters from hotel housekeepers and desk clerks, charter boat captains, and other tourism employees. “Individuals who rely on tourism in this state,” he said. “They don’t have the ability to bring tourists to this state. Visit Florida does.”… Committee chairman Jack Latvala was openly sympathetic. “This is an issue that this committee will give a lot of attention to — the Legislature is going to give a lot of attention to,” Latvala said. “The tourism industry employees 1.2 million Floridian,” he said. “It’s an industry we cannot turn our back on. We can’t crawl in a hole and pull a blanket on top of us. We have to compete economically with other states that also advertise and offer things to folks to come to their states.”

HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE LOOKS INTO STATE COURTS’ CASELOAD BACKLOGS – via Florida Politics – The percentage of the Florida Supreme Court’s caseload still pending after 180 days doubled after the U.S. Supreme Court upended the state’s death penalty system last year, a court representative told a House panel looking into court delays on Thursday. In Hurst v. Florida, the justices in Washington invalidated Florida’s death penalty because the law gave too much discretion to judges instead of juries in handing down death sentences. Death row inmates filed appeals en masse. The court in Tallahassee is still weighing a response. “That has completely held up the death penalty cases in Florida,” said John Tomasino, clerk of the Florida Supreme Court. The court has set a standard for deciding cases within 180 days. The House Civil Justice and Claims Subcommittee held hearings into how quickly  the high court and other appellate and trial courts are clearing their caseloads. Since 2006, the Florida Supreme Court has left between 1 percent and 4 percent of its cases lingering past that deadline. In 2015, the percentage was 3 percent. It swelled to 6 percent in 2016.

REPORT DECRIES POLITICAL INFLUENCE, LOW DIVERSITY IN FLORIDA JUDICIARY via Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida – A new report released by Progress Florida … is sharply critical of creeping political influence in the state’s judiciary, as well as its lack of ethnic and racial diversity … changes made in 2001 to the bodies that send the governor a list of judicial nominees from which to name an appointee, Judicial Nominating Commissions, undermines the merit selection process. It also says the changes subvert the 1970s reforms that were aimed at picking appellate judges based on who has the best qualifications rather than who best aligns with the governor politically. The report also criticizes the disproportionately low number of Hispanic and African-American judges, faulting Gov. Scott for doing nothing to help.


Travis Blanton, Jon Johnson, Dale Patchett, Johnson & Blanton: Hamilton County Development Authority; Marquis Software Development; Multitype Library Cooperatives

Ron Book, Kelly Mallette, Ronald L. Book PA: Florida Courthouse Therapy Dogs LLC.

Dean Cannon, GrayRobinson: Tech Care for Kids, Inc.

James Card, Larry J. Overton & Associates: Florida Association of Health Plans, Inc.; Henderson Behavioral Health

Christopher Carmody, GrayRobinson: STEPS, Inc.: Tech Care for Kids, Inc.

Christopher Dawson, Katie Flury, GrayRobinson: City of Orlando; STEPS, inc.; Tech Care for Kids

Angela Dzewiecki, Peebles & Smith, Inc.: Florida Acupuncture Association; Metroplan Orlando; ToHo Water Authority

Julie Fess: Sarasota Kennel Club

Martin FiorentinoJoseph MobleyMark Pinto, The Fiorentino Group: YMCA of Florida’s First Coast

Fausto GomezManuel Reyes, Gomez Baker Associates: Miami Shores Villages

John Charles Gray, GrayRobinson: American Maglev Technology, Inc.; Metro Orlando Economic Development; Williams Acquisition Holding Company

Christopher Hagan, Akerman LLP: Florida Solar Energy Industries Association; Miami-Dade County

Mike Haridopolos, Mike Haridopolos: South Central Florida Express, Inc.; Southern Gardens Citrus Groves Corporation; Southern Gardens Citrus Nursery Corporation; Southern Gardens Citrus Processing Corporation; United States Sugar Corporation.

Michael HarrellJames Magill, Timothy Stanfield, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney: Florida Sportsman’s Land Trust

Kari Hebrank, Wilson & Associates LLC: Florida Energy Pipeline Association; Florida Gas Transmission Company; Florida Home Builders Association

William Helmich, Helmich Consulting: OSCR

Larry Overton, Larry J. Overton & Associates: Florida Association of Health Plans, Inc.; Henderson Behavioral Health, Okeechobee County School District

Diana Padgett, Timmins Consulting: North Florida Community College Foundation

Timothy Parson, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee: No Casinos, Inc.

William Peebles, Pebbles & Smith: City of Mount Dora; City of Tampa; Florida Acupuncture Association; Monroe County Board of County Commissioners; Orlando Utilities Commission

Evan Power, Ramba Consulting: City of Daytona Beach; Florida Automobile Dealers Association; Florida Concrete & Products Association

Richard Reeves, GrayRobinson: Florida Distillers Guild

Robert Reyes, Capitol Group: Florida United Businesses Association; United Association Services, Inc. (d/b/a FUBA Workers’ Comp)

Joseph Salzverg, GrayRobinson: Seavin, Inc.

David Shepp, Southern Strategy Group: Oakley Groves, Inc.

John Wayne Smith, Peebles & Smith: City of Mount Dora; City of Tampa; Monroe County Board of County Commissioners; Orlando Utilities Commission

Christopher Snow, Snow Strategies, Inc.: All Kids Care of Orange Park

Monte Stevens, Southern Strategy Group: 3M Company

Robert Stuart, GrayRobinson: Seavin, Inc.; STEPS, Inc.; Tech Care for Kids, Inc.

Jason Unger, GrayRobinson: Tech Care for Kids, Inc.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF). PIFF was formed in late 2010 with three charter members: Allstate and Castle Key Insurance Companies, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, and State Farm Insurance Companies, to create a dynamic, efficient, and competitive marketplace for personal insurance products for the benefit of all Floridians.  PIFF charter members serve forty-five percent (45%) of the automobile insurance market and more than twenty percent (20%) of the homeowners’ property insurance market. The association is the leading voice for personal lines property and casualty insurers in Florida. Learn more.***

BOG CHAIRMAN SAYS UNIVERSITIES MUST FOCUS ON PREPARING STUDENTS FOR JOBS, BOOST RESEARCH via Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat – Florida’s public universities are showing progress but must continue their focus on graduating students prepared with skills for the job market, increasing research and ensuring access, Board of Governors Chairman Tom Kuntz said …  Kuntz said a major focus for this year will be strengthening ties between the universities and the business community to make sure students are majoring in areas that will lead to job growth in Florida. “First, aligning degrees to match high-skilled workforce needs is a high priority for our system,” Kuntz said. “Students should be graduating with degrees that provide them with the skills to engage in meaningful productive work. In looking at how we can improve on preparing students to enter the workforce, we’ve asked two questions: (1) are our students equipped with the skills they need to step into high-skilled jobs, and (2) are we offering degree programs that align with those needs?”

SUIT CLAIMS ELECTRONIC CRAPS MACHINES RIPPED PLAYERS OFF via Nick Sortal of the Miami Herald – Lawyers filed suit Jan. 20 against Interblock, which manufactures electronic table games worldwide. The suit also names the Isle Casino and Racing in Pompano Beach, where the games the complainants named in the suit are located. The suit claims the dice game takes too large of a commission on certain winnings. Live dice games and roulette are illegal in Florida, but in 2012 electronic versions of the games — with bouncing dice and spinning wheels — were declared legal … The casinos make money, naturally, when patrons lose a bet, but they also take a portion when patrons win. That’s the rub with the Interblock craps game. It advertises that it takes 5 percent of each dollar plunked down in a successful bet; but it actually takes 5 percent of a player’s winnings. In certain bets, that commission amounts to 10 percent, rather than 5 percent, the suit argues.

THIS IS WHAT MEDICAL MARIJUANA LOOKS LIKE IN TAMPA via Janelle Irwin of the Tampa Bay Business Journal – Trulieve opened its first medical marijuana treatment center in Tampa … the company’s third dispensary in the state. The treatment center is not what some would expect … medical marijuana products offered at Trulieve under state law are behind a locked door that only patients or their registered caregivers can access. The medical marijuana comes in a non-euphoric strain low in the high-inducing chemical THC and three strains of full-strength medical marijuana. None of those strains are available to smoke. They come in pills that can be taken orally, like an aspirin; as tinctures, which are also taken orally; and two types of inhalation devices that work similar to an e-cigarette. All are packaged in containers reminiscent of those a patient would receive at a pharmacy.

TRI-RAIL’S HALF-BILLION DOLLAR, SINGLE-PROPOSAL DEAL RAISES QUESTIONS via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – The South Florida Regional Transit Authority will consider awarding a deal to run the state’s largest public commuter railroad, Tri-Rail — worth up to $511 million — after tossing all competing bids, including some asking far less money. Some rejected bidders, including Tri-Rail’s current operator, Maryland’s Transdev Services, are fuming and challenging …Transdev went to court to block the award; initially getting a temporary restraining order. In depositions filed in the Transdev court case against the transit authority … the agency’s procurement director Christopher Bross testified that he had the power to accept the bid prices at face value, but chose instead to interpret that some bidders had included conditions on their pricing; so he disqualified them. Bross did so, he testified, without asking the bidders to clarify. Transdev argued in court that the bid price was, as the law required, clearly stated and not conditional, and would not have been changed as Bross had testified he assumed to be a prospect.

SPOTTED in the Vanity Fair article about legendary society columnist “Suzy:” Pepe Fanjul and wife Emilia.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our great friend, Laura Boehmer of Southern Strategy Group. Another SSG lobbyist celebrating today is Deno Hicks. Best wishes to our friend Cory Guzzo, too.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Sunburn for 01.26.17 – Donald Trump’s voter fraud whopper; Rick Scott sells his tax cuts; Bill Galvano’s grease; Meet Jayer Williamson

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

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

DONALD TRUMP ANNOUNCES ‘MAJOR’ VOTER FRAUD INVESTIGATION via Julie Pace and Jonathan Lemire of The Associated Press –The investigation, he said, will look at those registered to vote in more than one state, “those who are illegal and … even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time).” Depending on results, Trump tweeted, “we will strengthen up voting procedures!” Trump has been fixated on his loss of the popular vote in the election and a concern that the legitimacy of his presidency is being challenged by Democrats and the media, aides and associates say. Secretaries of state across the country have dismissed Trump’s voter fraud claims as baseless.

TRUMP’S VOTER FRAUD CLAIMS UNDERMINE THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS AND HIS PRESIDENCY via Dan Balz of The Washington Post –There is no benign explanation for President Trump’s false assertion that millions of people voted illegally in the last election. It is either a deliberate attempt to undermine faith in the democratic process, an exhortation to those who favor new restrictions on access to the ballot box or the worrisome trait of someone with immense power willing to make wild statements without any credible evidence. By repeating as president what he had said as a candidate, for whatever purpose, Trump is striking at the foundation of a democratic society. This is yet another example of Trump being willing to cast doubt on information, individuals or institutions that he believes threaten his legitimacy, challenge his authority or question his actions — from attacks on “phony polls” or the “dishonest media” to assertions now of vast voter fraud … Trump is chipping away at a shared public confidence in a system that is fundamental to a representative government for no apparent reason other than that he’s bothered by the fact that, although duly elected and now in the White House, he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by almost 3 million votes.

MUST-READ – TRUMP’S VOTER FRAUD EXAMPLE? A TROUBLED TALE WITH BERNHARD LANGER via Glenn Thrush of The New York Times – Trump gathered House and Senate leaders in the State Dining Room for a get-to-know-you reception … kicked off the meeting by retelling his debunked claim that he would have won the popular vote if not for the 3 million to 5 million ballots cast by “illegals.” … Trump said he was told a story by “the very famous golfer, Bernhard Langer” … [The] 59-year-old native of Bavaria, Germany — a winner of the Masters twice and of more than 100 events on major professional golf tours around the world — was standing in line at a polling place near his home in Florida on Election Day … when an official informed Langer he would not be able to vote. Ahead of and behind Langer were voters who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote, Trump said — but they were nonetheless permitted to cast provisional ballots. The president threw out the names of Latin American countries that the voters might have come from. The anecdote was greeted with silence. Just one problem: Langer, who lives in Boca Raton, is a German citizen with permanent residence status in the United States who is, by law, barred from voting, according to Langer’s daughter Christina.

AS TRUMP CLAIMS VOTER FRAUD, HIS SENIOR ADVISER REGISTERED TO VOTE IN TWO STATES via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald – His campaign chief registered in both Florida and New York … The voter registration of Stephen Bannon drew a complaint during the campaign from a group that opposed Trump, but ultimately Florida election officials dropped the complaint. Bannon wasn’t the only person close to Trump who has been registered in two states at once … Trump’s daughter Tiffany was registered to vote in Pennsylvania and New York, while CNN reported that Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for Treasury secretary, is registered in New York and California. Bannon registered to vote in Miami but never voted there. In August, Bannon switched his voter registration to Sarasota County … Bannon didn’t vote in Sarasota County, either.

VOTER FRAUD? HARDLY ANY FOUND IN FLORIDA via Michael Van Sickler of the Tampa Bay Times – Aside from assurances from the mostly Republican elections officials in the state that fraud was exceedingly rare, there are the public records, which show scant evidence of the existence of voter fraud (typically, in the Trumpian sense, this is fraud where someone casts a ballot more than once or does so even though they aren’t eligible to vote). During the past two statewide elections, Floridians cast more than 20.7 million ballots. In that period, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement brought 13 voter fraud cases. Six ended in guilty pleas, including four convicted felons and one non-citizen who voted illegally and a worker for a political vendor who admitted filing phony voter registration forms. Two cases were settled before trial. The others are pending or charges were dropped.

DEMOCRATS DEMAND STATE INVESTIGATE DONALD TRUMP’S FRAUD ALLEGATIONS via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon … said in a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner: “I believe that charges of election fraud by the President of the United States are far too serious to allow more time to elapse.” Citing a state law that gives Detzner authority to act on such allegations, Braynon wrote: “You now have a legal obligation to act.” Braynon added that “such reviews and purges in the past failed to turn up any evidence of widespread fraud,” and said that in some cases, people were falsely accused of fraud, including veterans. But Braynon said Detzner needs to reassure Floridians “that (Trump‘s) election to the presidency was beyond reproach.”

SEMINOLE ELECTIONS CHIEF MIKE ERTEL TAKES TO SOCIAL MEDIA TO DEFEND VOTING INTEGRITY via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – “President Trump has created quite the kerfuffle with today’s tweets concerning voter fraud,” Ertel wrote in his post. “To be clear: voter fraud is likely one of the least committed felonies in America, and barring systemwide collusion, it is simply not the case that ‘millions voted illegally.’ … However, there are always political operatives who attempt to manipulate the process throughout, and to pretend it doesn’t exist at all, is to either be putting your head in the sand or to exercise an extreme naïveté of the presence of dirty political tactics,” he continued. “There is good news: Florida’s system, while not perfect, is among the best at ensuring voter trust. We have hard-working, ethical supervisors of elections, and Seminole County is home to poll workers and staff who together constitute America’s Finest Elections Team.”

BUT, KEEP THIS IN MIND — TRUMP’S POLICIES POLLING WELL WITH VOTERS via Cameron Easley of Morning Consult – – A new Morning Consult/POLITICO poll provides the first, in-depth look at what voters overall thought about Trump‘s inauguration speech. Overall positive reactions: 49 percent of respondents thought the speech was good or excellent, compared to 39 percent who found it only fair or poor. Additionally, 55 percent of voters thought it was better than they expected it to be … Much more optimistic than pessimistic: 51 percent found the speech optimistic and 50 percent found it hopeful. Only 26 percent found it to be pessimistic. “America First” is a hit: 65 percent of voters reacted positively to the passage in which Trump said “it’s going to be America First.” 22 percent reacted negatively to this concept. Definitely not boring: only 21 percent of respondents found the speech boring, compared to 57 percent who didn’t. Voters want Trump to tweet less. They also want the media to cover his tweets less: 61 percent of voters say Trump uses Twitter too much. Even Trump voters agree – 44 percent think he tweets too much, compared to 38 percent who think he tweets the right amount or not enough. Additionally, 56 percent say news organizations cover Trump’s use of Twitter too much.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Spectrum Business. Bright House Networks Business Solutions is now Spectrum Business, and we are committed to delivering your business with superior business Internet, Phone, and TV services to help power your success. We offer the best value in business with the fastest Internet for the price, advanced phone with unlimited long distance, cloud-based Hosted Voice, and reliable TV – all delivered over our reliable, state-of-the-art, fiber-rich network.  Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Spectrum Business. Learn more.***

BILL NELSON SOUNDS OFF ON WHAT HE CALLS DONALD TRUMP’S ‘ROCKY’ FIRST WEEK IN OFFICE via Florida Politics – [Nelson] spent considerable time discussing – and criticizing- some of the moves that the newly-inaugurated president has made in his first week in office. Nelson has voted against Jeff Sessions for Attorney General and Mike Pompeo for CIA Director, and he says he’ll oppose Rex Tillerson when the former ExxonMobil CEO’s name comes up for a confirmation vote for Secretary of State. When asked why … Nelson said just two words. “Vladimir Putin.” Regarding Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s choice as Treasury Secretary, Nelson said he has not made up his mind, even after speaking with him personally. Nelson also was dismissive of Trump’s call to begin plans to construct a border security fence on the Mexican border, saying that a “multiplicity of things” can be done to  protect our borders.

MARCO RUBIO ANNOUNCES APPROPRIATIONS ASSIGNMENTS via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News – Rubio will serve on the  Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee … on the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee … also gained a spot on the smallest of the Senate Appropriations subcommittees as he was named [to the] Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee. With a seat on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, it’s no surprise that Rubio ended up on the Senate State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee. Rubio will also serve on the Senate Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee … On all five of the subcommittees, Rubio will be the lowest ranked Republican in terms of seniority.


***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF). PIFF was formed in late 2010 with three charter members: Allstate and Castle Key Insurance Companies, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, and State Farm Insurance Companies, to create a dynamic, efficient, and competitive marketplace for personal insurance products for the benefit of all Floridians. PIFF charter members serve forty-five percent (45%) of the automobile insurance market and more than twenty percent (20%) of the homeowners’ property insurance market. The association is the leading voice for personal lines property and casualty insurers in Florida. Learn more.***

DAYS UNTILRick Scott Orlando Jobs Summit – 8: The Batman Lego Movie opens – 15; Pitchers & catchers report for Spring Training – 17; Valentine’s Day – 19; Start of 2017 Legislative Session – 40; Florida Capitol Press Corps Press Skits – 47; 2017 Legislative Session Sine Die – 99; FSU vs. Alabama – 219; Election Day 2017 – 284; Star Wars: Episode VIII/The Last Jedi opens – 322.

CHARCOAL — FIRST LEGAL CARGO FROM CUBA IN MORE THAN 50 YEARS — ARRIVES AT PORT EVERGLADES via Mimi Whitefield of the Miami Herald – The first Cuban exports since the embargo went into effect over a half-century ago arrived at Port Everglades as port officials prepared to receive a business delegation from Cuba later in the week. Two containers of artisanal charcoal made from Cuban Marabú, an invasive woody species from Africa that is considered a nuisance on the island, arrived at the Fort Lauderdale port aboard a Crowley Maritime ship called the K-Storm. The charcoal exports, which are produced by private worker-owned cooperatives, are legal under a rule change by the former Obama administration that allows the importation of some products produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs.

RICK SCOTT  WANTS FUNDS CUT FOR SOUTH FLORIDA PORTS THAT INK CUBA DEALS via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald — Over three posts on Twitter, the governor said he would ask state lawmakers to restrict dollars for ports that “enter into any agreement with [the] Cuban dictatorship” — as Port Everglades and the Port of Palm Beach plan to do Thursday and Friday, respectively. “We cannot condone Raul Castro’s oppressive behavior,” Scott tweeted in English and Spanish, using the preferred social media platform of his friend, Trump. “Serious security/human rights concerns.”

SCOTT’S TAX CUTS WILL FACE MAJOR CHALLENGE IN GOP LEGISLATURE via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Scott began a two-day, six-TV market push … for $618 million in tax cuts, and some Republicans at the Capitol who would have to vote for it are not exactly on Scott’s bandwagon. In the House, even before Scott launched his annual tax-cut Speaker Richard Corcoran and his top advisers have called the state’s historic spending levels “unsustainable,” mostly because of a lack of discipline by Republicans themselves, and that cuts will be required to balance the budget in a year with almost no surplus after essential needs are funded. “Tax cuts are always possible,” said House Appropriations Chairman Carlos Trujillo. “But how much appetite do we have to be disciplined financially? We’ve been led by Republicans for the last 20 years and we spend like Democrats.” The bottom line: Scott’s tax cut proposals could face the same fate as last year.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will continue his “Fighting for Florida’s Future” tax cut tour at 9:30 a.m. at Baron Sign Manufacturing, 900 W. 13th Street in Rivera Beach. Later in the day, he’s scheduled to appear at the Florida Real Estate Trends Economic Summit at the Renaissance SeaWorld Orlando, 6677 Sea Harbor Drive in Orlando.

CABINET TO APPOINT INTERIM DEP SECRETARY ON FEB. 1 via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times – Scott and the Florida Cabinet have set a conference call to appoint an interim secretary to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and talk about the process for selecting a permanent replacement. The Cabinet met … but because there was not enough time give proper public notice of the discussion, Scott said the Cabinet would have to hold a conference call to make the interim secretary selection. The next regularly scheduled Cabinet meeting is not until Feb. 7, which would have left DEP without a leader between [JonSteverson‘s resignation and the interim selection.

TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION WILL NOT RECOMMEND DOT SECRETARY REPLACEMENTS AT MEETING via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – The Florida Transportation Committee will not be recommending a successor for Jim Boxold as secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation during its meeting Friday in Orlando. Boxold announce he will be leaving Feb. 3 for a position at the capitol city consulting lobbying firm. A commission spokesman said that the “process and timeline” for a replacement will be discussed, but no specific names. The nine-person board is responsible for selecting names to forward to Gov. Scott for final approval.

SENATE PANEL OKS GAMBLING OVERHAUL BILL, INCLUDING SEMINOLE PROVISIONS via Florida Politics The Florida Senate has seemingly fast-tracked the chamber’s gambling overhaul for this year, as its first panel gave unanimous thumbs up to the measure one hour into a meeting that had been scheduled to last four. The bill (SB 8) was cleared Wednesday by the Regulated Industries committee, which oversees gambling policy. It has only one more stop, Appropriations, before it can be heard on the floor. The 2017 Legislative Session begins March 7. The measure ensures “substantial positive impacts for many years,” said bill sponsor Bill Galvano, the Bradenton Republican expected to be Senate President in 2018-20. He cited a figure of $375 million in “net economic impact” to state coffers, which could use the extra cash in what may be a tight budget year … Though the Senate may be poised to finally pass gambling legislation after years of inaction, wild cards remain in the form of the House, which remains to averse to anything looking like gambling expansion, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

TWEET, TWEET: @Fineout: Legislative 101 – When a bill has just 1 more stop & it’s a month before session & a senator says he’s voting yes to move it along … it’s a sign it’s a top priority of legislative leaders that one shouldn’t try to stop in this chamber.

RED-LIGHT CAMERA BAN PASSES HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE via Florida Politics – This year’s effort to ban red-light cameras in Florida was approved by the Florida House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee after testimony that the records shows the cameras don’t appear to be reducing traffic accidents and their primary purpose seems to be revenue that’s not doing much to improve highway safety. House Bill 6007 is the house’s fifth attempt to ban the cameras since the Florida Legislature authorized them in 2010. Previous repeal attempts passed the house in 2011 and 2016, only to die in the Florida Senate.

UNIVERSITIES, COLLEGES PAINT DEPRESSING PICTURE OF DEALING WITH 10 PERCENT CUTS via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Asked to prepare for 10 percent budget cuts, Florida’s state university and college leaders pledged to try to avoid affecting students but told the House Subcommittee on Higher Education Appropriations the impacts would still be profound. “The target reductions are set at 10 percent for each entity,” Subcommittee Chairman Larry Ahern said after spelling out the challenges faced by the larger House Appropriations Committee of possible 10 percent budget cuts this year to deal with a $1.7 billion shortfall. If the universities make their own proposed cuts, that would amount to $274 million out of the 12 state universities’ $2.74 billion in annual budgets … At some schools, that would mean slicing through administration and services ranging from computer support, to institutes and research, said Martha Saunders, newly-installed president of the University of West Florida, which could have to deal with a $10 million annual cut. Everything from mentoring programs to faculty recruitment would be at risk, she said.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION DEBATE TURNS TO EMPLOYEES’ POINT OF VIEW via Florida Politics – Employee dissatisfaction with Florida’s workers’ compensation system emerged as an issue during a House committee hearing Wednesday, amid suggestions they deserve more choice over their treating physicians. Rep. George Moraitis Jr. recalled a meeting with firefighters who complained of their medical treatment under the system. “We really need to have a solution that helps the workers,” he said. “Yes, we need to limit attorney involvement, to not have the wrong incentives. But to sit here and say the program was working well, I definitely disagree with that.” Attorney involvement has been the focus of much of the debate since last year, when the Florida Supreme Court struck down statutory limits on attorney fees in workers’ compensation cases enacted in 2003. Those limits were intended to rein in litigation costs. … Following the hearing, Insurance & Banking Subcommittee chairman Danny Burgess noted a recent Office of Insurance Regulation survey in which nearly 66 percent of system stakeholders disagreed or strongly disagreed that the system strikes the right balance between workers and employers. “It raised a lot of questions. The purpose of the grand bargain is to get the workers better and get them back to work,” he said.

— “House bill would expand bank rights in foreclosure cases” via Florida Politics

— “’Patient Savings Act’ filed in Florida House” via Florida Politics

DEMS DEMAND RICHARD CORCORAN CANCEL SPEAKER WITH ‘ANTI-IMMIGRATION’ TIES via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – Democrats have demanded the Florida House cancel a presentation by the leader of a think tank deemed by a group the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “anti-immigration” and affiliated with white nationalism. Democratic Leader Janet Cruz sent a letter to House Speaker Corcoran calling for the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee to rescind its invitation to Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. He is set to speak as part of a panel on “security issues related to refugee resettlement” at the subcommittee’s 9 a.m. meeting. Since 1995, Krikorian has run the Center for Immigration Studies, whose website says the group backs “low-immigration, pro-immigrant” policies, has been called out repeatedly by the SPLC, which tracks hate groups.

***SUNBURN is brought to you in part by Sachs Media Group, Florida’s dominant public affairs communications firm. Sachs Media thrives on high-stakes challenges in the relentless pursuit of excellent outcomes. To help you win in the corridors of power, let us score for you in the court of public opinion. Visit www.sachsmedia.com to learn more.***

HAPPENING TODAY – COMMITTEE MEETINGS TO WATCH — The House Children, Family & Seniors Subcommittee will hear presentations about refugee service and resettlement programs during its 9 a.m. meeting in 12 House Office building; while the House Post-Secondary Education Subcommittee is expected to get a presentation on post-secondary civics education during its meeting at 9 a.m. in Mashburn Hall. The House Tourism & Gaming Committee is set to discuss issues related to pari-mutuels during its meeting at 9 a.m. in 212 Knott. The Senate Regulated Industries Committee will discuss a bill to repeal a decades-old law requiring liquor stores to be stand-alone facilities during its meeting at 10 a.m. in 412 Knott. At 1:30 p.m., the Senate Appropriations Committee will get receive presentations about tourism marketing and economic-incentive programs.

SENATE WILL HEAR TOBACCO APPELLATE BOND CAP REPEALER via Florida Politics – A Senate panel today will hear a bill that would repeal the cap on the amount of money tobacco companies have to put up as appellate bonds. Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, and Rep. Danny Burgess, a Zephyrhills Republican, have filed measures for their respective chambers for the 2017 Legislative Session. Giving this bill a committee hearing is the latest indication that this Legislature has a soft spot for trial lawyers. The Senate bill (SB 100) is teed up first in the Regulated Industries committee, which meets at 10 a.m.

JAYER WILLIAMSON: WIRED FOR PUBLIC SERVICE via Brian Burgess of The Capitolist — Jayer Williamson wasn’t born an electrician, but he learned the trade fresh out of college. He wasn’t born a public servant, either, but even earlier in his life, he knew he wanted to be one. The year was 1984, and Jayer was just five years old. He’d just spent a long day with his grandfather, W.L. Butler, meeting with Representatives and Senators from across Florida, discussing issues important to their community. Butler himself had previously served as both a city councilman in Milton, and later as a Santa Rosa County commissioner, until 1980. As grandfather and grandson headed back home from Tallahassee, Butler turned to his tired grandson and asked if he enjoyed the day. Williamson will never forget his own reply to his grandfather: “I will be a member of the Florida House of Representatives.” The answer, he says, stuck with him in the back of his head. “Today I get to live it out. Not everyone has the opportunity to do something they wanted to do all their life,” Williamson says. … His first legislative session is already looming, and he’s starting to get the hang of things in Tallahassee, just as a he promised his grandfather 32 years earlier. He credits the legislative staffers for making the transition easier.

PERSONNEL NOTE: SEAN WHITE JOINS SENATE MAJORITY OFFICE via Florida Politics – White is the office’s newest legislative analyst. “Majority Leader Wilton Simpson worked with Sean while Simpson chaired Community Affairs and was very impressed,” spokeswoman Rachel Perrin Rogers said. “He’s excited about what Sean will bring to the Republican Caucus.” White also has worked for the House as a policy analyst, at the Public Service Commission and for Tallahassee’s Ausley & McMullen law firm. He was in the James Madison Institute’s Leaders Fellowship program, Class II, in 2015-16. He graduated from The University of Virginia in 2004, where he was on the “Dean’s List of Distinguished Students.”


Michael Corcoran, Anita Berry, Matt Blair, Jeffrey Johnston, Amanda Stewart, Corcoran & Johnston: Florida Development Finance Corporation; University of South Florida Foundation

Taylor Patrick Biehl, Capitol Alliance Group: Big Bend Advocacy Association

Amy Bisceglia, The Rubin Group: Insikit, Inc.

Ron BookKelly Mallette, Ronald L. Book PA: EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases

Melanie Brown, Johnson & Blanton: Santa Rosa County

Matt Bryan, Smith Bryan & Myers: Children’s Campaign

Kevin Marino Cabrera, Edgar O. Castro, Southern Strategy Group: CloseWatch Technologies

Andreina Figueroa, ADF Consulting: Duke Energy

Katie Flury, GrayRobinson: SAS Institute; Woodward & Curran, Inc.

Katherine Holzer, Katherine Holzer: Safety Net Hospital Alliance

Rob Johnson, The Mayernick Group: AT&T; Florida for Care; Florida Medical Association; Isle of Capri Casinos; IWP; Jacksonville Greyhound Racing, Inc.; Smart Pharmacy; Walmart.

Trevor MaskKatie Webb, Colodny Fass: George Hackney Inc. d/b/a Trulieve

Jerry Lee McDaniel, Southern Strategy Group: Florida Delegation, Southeast U.S./Japan Association

George Meros, GrayRobinson: Florida Justice Reform Institute

Pete Mitchell, PJM Strategies: Safety Net Hospital Alliance

Joel Overton, Larry J. Overton & Associates: Henderson Behavior Health; MorseLife

Jerry Paul, Capitol Energy Florida: Seven Seas Cruising Association

David Ramba, Ramba Consulting Group: Sarasota Kennel Club, Inc.; St. Petersburg Kennel Club, Inc. d/b/a Derby Lane

Donald Ray, Donald G. Ray & Associates: Florida Monument Builders Association

Marc Reichelderfer, Landmarc Strategies: GCCM, Inc.

Keith Teel, Covington & Burling: Altria Client Services LLC and its Affiliates; RAI Services Company

Ronald Watson, Watson Strategies: Disaster Solutions LLC; SLGT Inc.

HAPPENING TODAY – FLORIDA ACCESS TO JUSTICE PROJECT TO RELEASE REPORT LOOKING AT LACK OF DIVERSITY IN STATE COURT SYSTEM — The Florida Access to Justice Project is set to release a report today that looks both at the amount of special interest money and the lack of diversity in the state court system. The report is expected to provide nine key policy recommendations aimed at ensuring a more diverse and impartial Florida court going forward.

ATTORNEY: FLORIDA NEVER HELPED GIRL WHO LIVESTREAMED SUICIDE via The Associated Press – Nakia Venant had been in and out of foster care for more than seven years, and since April, had bounced between at least 10 homes and shelters, said Howard Talenfeld, who is Nakia’s mother’s attorney. Nakia was sexually abused by another foster child when she was 7, he said. Nakia killed herself early Sunday, several hours after she wrote on Facebook: “I Don’t Wanna Live No More,” adding three sad-faced emojis. “Nakia told the world, in the way she left this world, about the terrible failures in (Florida’s) foster care system,” Talenfeld told a news conference. Florida’s system of hiring private contractors to oversee foster care in much of the state has led to several suicides, accidental deaths and murders, Talenfeld said. “Tragically, we are here talking about another child among this horrific list, this horrific history of foster care privatization in Florida.”

STATE SAYS NO TO LIP BALM, SUNGLASSES IN PUBLIX LIQUOR STORES via Florida Politics – The Lakeland-based chain had sought permission from the state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco to add those items to those its sells in its separate stores that offer hard liquor. “It is self-evident that balloons are party-type supplies,” its request says, and gift cards, for example, “are a ubiquitous part of party attendance.” Nope, state regulators said earlier this month. Balloons and lip balm don’t rate, and Publix’s request was shot down. The state called Publix’s arguments that the items also qualify as party supplies “unpersuasive.”

FLORIDA’S HEALTH CARE TRANSPARENCY DATABASE TAKES SHAPE via Ryan Benk of Health News Florida – The Agency for Health Care Administration is paying a company called the Health Care Cost Institute $6.1 million over five years to build the online transparency tool, but they won’t be working from scratch. The plan is to meld the HCCI’s national average-price database, called Guroo, with an existing state website called the Florida Health Finder, which lists quality ratings and general pricing information about hospitals, nursing homes and other providers. Health Finder only includes a provider’s price tag, but not what an actual patient could expect to pay after insurance.

FLORIDA STATE WORKERS GETTING PREPAID TUITION SIGN-UP DISCOUNT via The Associated Press – State workers will get a $25 discount on the application fee if they enroll during this year’s open enrollment period. The application fee is normally $50. Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is sending an email in January to state workers with promotional code activation instructions that allow state workers to receive the discount.

GENTING ASKS FAA TO RE-APPROVE TOWERS PLANNED FOR OLD MIAMI HERALD SITE via Nicholas Nehamas of the Miami Herald – Malaysian gambling giant Genting … says it won’t sell the land but is still far from being able to build the casino it wants. Genting asked the Federal Aviation Administration to re-approve plans to build three 649-foot towers … The FAA approved the towers in 2013, but that approval expired Jan. 10. Real estate blog the Next Miami first reported the news. The towers are not expected to rise anytime soon. Art Miami recently said it had struck a deal to set up its tent on the site for the next several years. Genting also wants to build a marina on the property, which it bought for $236 million in 2011.

EDITORIALMOSAIC REZONING REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL PHOSPHATE MINING MERITS APPROVAL via the Bradenton Herald – This is a case where we hope people can agree to disagree with civility after both sides present their points. The world’s largest manufacturer of phosphate-based fertilizers seeks approval of a zoning change to allow a 3,635-acre expansion of its Wingate Mine property. The Winding Creek neighborhood sits adjacent to the Wingate East site. One of its residents, Linda C. Eneix of Myakka City, wrote county commissioners to express support for Mosaic’s request: “Mosaic Phosphates has impressed me as one of the most caring, responsive and community supportive institutions imaginable in today’s commercial world.” At Mosaic’s New Wales fertilizer plant in Polk County in September, a sinkhole under a stack formed and 200 million gallons of that acidic wastewater drained into the Floridan aquifer … That and other spills give pause, but they are rare occurrences. Certainly, there is the potential for other accidents, but if that is the measure by which we judge projects, little would be accomplished. County commissioners should approve Mosaic’s request.

WHAT TAYLOR BIEHL IS READING – MCDONALD’S TO GIVE AWAY 10,000 BOTTLES OF SPECIAL SAUCE via The Associated Press – To get you to come into McDonald’s and buy new versions of its Big Mac, the chain is giving away 10,000 bottles of its trademark special sauce for people to use at home … to celebrate the introduction of the Mac Jr. and the Grand Mac, two different-sized variations of the classic sandwich … The bottles will be available at participating locations nationwide. Additional details on how and where customers can get their hands on a bottle are expected to be released.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to smart guys Jason Roth and Mark Sharpe.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Sunburn for 1.25.17 – Bob Buckhorn’s opening; Bush staffer to Trump admin; Rick Scott’s tax cuts; Whiskey & Wheaties return

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

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


Andrew Gillum has the personal story.

Gwen Graham has the pedigree.

John Morgan has the bravado.

Phillip Levine has the money.

All four of the rumored contenders for the Democratic nomination for Florida governor have at least one defining characteristic that will shape the narratives of any campaigns they launch.

But it’s Bob Buckhorn who has the strongest selling point: a record of success as the two-term mayor of Tampa.

The Tampa success story, which reached another crescendo during the city’s hosting of the 2017 College Football National Championship, is the kind of story every candidate wishes they could tell.

“This is the first major event that we’ve had with the Riverwalk completed, and it’s the final piece of the puzzle,” Buckhorn told the Tampa Bay Times. “For us to have that now as part of our appeal really, really makes a difference.” (Be sure to read Janelle Irwin posit on how the spotlight from the college football playoff could help Buckhorn in 2018).

Now, if he wants to become governor, all Bob Buckhorn has to do is convince the rest of Florida he can do for it what he’s done in Tampa.

And right now there is an opening for Buckhorn to get into the race and define himself.

Gillum, the charismatic African-American mayor of Tallahassee, is working to insert himself into the statewide discussion about gun safety. But his trial balloons seem to never get much altitude.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Levine released a video announcing he would not run for re-election as Miami Beach Mayor. It was the clearest indication to date that he intends for governor.

But the video did not generate much buzz. “If the point of the Mayor Levine video is that he is boring (and has a really big watch) then Mission Accomplished!” remarked Republican political consultant Tre Evers.

It’s a horrible vagary of life which has kept Graham from ramping up her 2018 bid: her husband has cancer.

“Every part of me wants to run for governor, that’s what I feel passionate about, that’s what I know I need to do for the state of Florida, but things happen in life that could take me off that path. I hope not,” Graham told Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press.

As for Morgan, he continues to bluster while positioning himself as a Democratic, Florida-sized version of Donald Trump.

“Most politicians go on a B.S. ‘listening tour,’ which is all a joke, I’m going to go on a speaking tour,” Trump recently told Orlando Politics publisher Doug Kaplan. “I have the luxury of telling you exactly what I think. By the time I get done telling everyone what I think, I may be dead by my own words.”

Not knowing what to make of Trump, while seeing Graham held up, and Gillum and Levine not generating much buzz, the time is right for Buckhorn to make his presence felt in the invisible primary of 2018. Maybe he picks a fight with the Legislature. Maybe Gillum starts raising real money for his political committee. Maybe he hires a couple of key staffers.

Something. Anything. Strike while the iron is hot and all that.

Otherwise, the window will close. Graham will lock up the critical establishment support. Levine will muscle his way through the race with his checkbook. And Morgan will take up all of the oxygen in the room.

This past weekend, I ran into Buckhorn at the Gasparilla Children’s Parade. Watching him interact with the crowd and toss beads to throngs of Tampanians and visitors lining Bayshore Boulevard, I was reminded that, among all of the possible candidates mentioned here AND Republicans who may enter the race, Buckhorn is the best retail politician (although there is something to be said for how Graham’s sense of empathy can be felt literally, almost like the heat from a candle).

Buckhorn gains strength from all of the gripping and grinning. He kisses babies. He never turns down a request for a picture. He’ll drink a beer (or two) with a group of parade-goers.

In other words, Buckhorn on the campaign trail would be a force to reckon with.

The only question now is when will he get on the field.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Spectrum Business. Bright House Networks Business Solutions is now Spectrum Business, and we are committed to delivering your business with superior business Internet, Phone, and TV services to help power your success. We offer the best value in business with the fastest Internet for the price, advanced phone with unlimited long distance, cloud-based Hosted Voice, and reliable TV – all delivered over our reliable, state-of-the-art, fiber-rich network.  Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Spectrum Business. Learn more.***

‘DREAMERS’ IN FLORIDA GET SOME RELIEF AS DONALD TRUMP FOCUSES ON OTHER IMMIGRATION ISSUES via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Hundreds of thousands of immigrant “Dreamers” feel relief this week after the Trump administration indicated it will not try to deport them and instead seek a legislative solution. Sen. Marco Rubio was working on Dreamer legislation in 2012 but never got it rolling, and Obama stepped in with an executive order. That incensed conservatives and Trump had vowed to get rid of it, though now as president, he has backed down from an immediate threat. Aides say Trump’s focus is on deporting serious lawbreakers and building the wall. He wants Congress to take up legislation for Dreamers.

A NEW OATH OF CITIZENSHIP via Adam Goodman for the Tampa Bay Times – It only took 16 minutes of inaugural pageantry for the 45th American president to outline a newly aggressive, pro-America, pro-American “us versus them” doctrine that spared no nuance or feelings. The governing elite is out of sync and out of touch. The nation’s borders are intended, yet not defended. Working-class jobs are moving to foreign soil. Our leadership around the world has been compromised by a feckless fear about standing up and showing up. Predictably and summarily, the new president enraged the disenchanted who are still bemoaning the results of the campaign past and still defending eight years of national drift where “Yes, we can” yielded to “Nope, we won’t.”

A RESPONSE TO GOODMAN’S OP-ED: “Join the Mobile Infantry and save the Galaxy. Service guarantees citizenship. Would you like to know more?” 🙂

REPORT: FORMER JEB BUSH STAFFER CONSIDERED FOR TOP EDUCATION POST via Breitbart: A report in Politico suggests the former Florida deputy education commissioner under Gov. Jeb Bush, Hanna Skandera, is being considered for education deputy secretary. Skandera was also a senior policy adviser and deputy chief of staff at the education department under former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who served under President George W. Bush.

NEW FLA. DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHIEF APPOINTS STAFF; LONGTIME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR STEPS DOWN via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida – The new leader of the Florida Democratic Party, Steven Bittel, oversaw the shakeup of the moribund organization as he appointed two loyalists to oversee his transition, while its longtime executive director called it quits. As part of his winning Democratic campaign, Bittel employed operatives Juan Peñalosaand Reggie Cardozo who were both named transition advisers … Outgoing Executive Director Scott Arceneaux will continue to serve until a replacement has been named. Bittel also announced a new director for his office, Tessa Bay. Bittel said he wanted “to hold the Trump administration accountable and prepare for 2018,” when U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is up for re-election and faces the prospect of a potential challenge from Gov. Scott.

PROGRESSIVES LAUNCH AD URGING MARCO RUBIO, BILL NELSON TO VOTE AGAINST STEVEN MNUCHIN — A coalition of progressive organizations is hitting the airwaves to urge Sen. Bill Nelson and Sen. Rubio to vote against Trump’s nominee for Treasury secretary. The Progressive Change Campaign, Allied Progress Action, and Demand Progress Action will air a TV spot Wednesday and Thursday in Florida, and several other states, targeting Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for Treasury secretary. The ad is slated to air on MSNBC, CNN, FOX News, and in the Orlando and Tampa media markets. The 30-second spot features Lisa Fraser, a widow whose home was foreclosed on by a bank Mnuchin ran.  A former partner at Goldman Sachs, he has been criticized for aggressive foreclosure practices. “Steve Mnuchin ran the bank that committed fraud and took our home, and now Donald Trump has nominated him to run our economy as Treasury secretary,” she says in the ad. “We can’t let that happen.” The six figure ad buy will allow the coalition to expand into Florida, Missouri, Colorado, Delaware and Virginia. It continues to air in Arizona, Nevada and Iowa. “Mnuchin is the poster child for how Trump has betrayed America’s working families by turning over our economy to Goldman Sachs bankers and Wall Street billionaires,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “All Senators on the Finance Committee — Democratic and Republican — owe it to their constituents to vote no on Mnuchin.” Click the image below to watch the ad.

RUBIO, TIM KAINE TEAM UP AGAIN TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News – … in pushing the “Combating European Anti-Semitism Act.” The proposal mirrors a bill from the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism in the U.S. House, including two congressional representatives from South Florida, to examine growing anti-Semitism in Europe that was brought out in October. Rubio and Kaine brought out the proposal in the middle of November, near the end of the 114th Congress. With a new Congress convening this month, Rubio and Kaine reintroduced the bill … The senators brought in almost 10 co-sponsors, including U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

BREAKING THIS MORNING – GOV. RICK SCOTT ASKING FOR $618 MIL IN TAX CUTS via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press – During stops in three Florida cities, Scott on Wednesday will tout a tax cut package he’s asking the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature to pass this spring.

Scott’s $618 million tax cut package includes a proposal to cut by 25 percent the sales taxes charged on commercial rents. Other tax cuts Scott is proposing include a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday, as well as a three-day sales tax holiday for military veterans. He also wants to eliminate sales taxes charged on college textbooks.

Scott has routinely recommended tax cuts, but he has had trouble getting state legislators to go along with his complete tax cut package. Scott maintains the tax cuts will help businesses create jobs.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will kick off his “Fighting for Florida’s Future” tax cut fly around to announce proposed tax cuts in his 2017-18 budget at 9 a.m. at About Floors N More, 10950 San Jose Blvd. in Jacksonville. He’ll then head to Beneficial Blends, 5505 Johns Road in Tampa at 12:15 p.m., before ending his day at 3:15 p.m. at ARC Electronics, 575 Ravenswood Road in Fort Lauderdale.

SCOTT NAMES RYAN MATTHEWS AS INTERIM DEP SECRETARY via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – Matthews, who joined DEP in 2015 as director of the Office of Water Policy, will replace secretary Jon Steverson, who told Scott … that he was resigning Feb. 3 to take a job with the Foley & Lardner law firm. Matthews was promoted in November to deputy secretary for regulatory affairs after the departure of Paula Cobb for a private sector job. He was associate legislative affairs director with the Florida League of Cities from 2011 to 2015 and previously served as political director of the Jeff Kottkamp for attorney general campaign in 2009 and 2010.

***Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, LLC, is a full-service consulting firm located just steps from the Capitol. The firm specializes in the development and implementation of successful advocacy strategies highly personalized for each client. Team Liberty is comprised of professionals with a track record of successful coalition-building, grassroots efforts and team coordination. The combination of a strong commitment to clients and practical government and private sector experience is why Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profits alike choose Liberty Partners of Tallahassee.***

LAWMAKERS GIVE $2.6 MILLION MORE FOR CONCEALED WEAPON SPIKE via Arek Sarkissian of the Naples Daily News – Lawmakers … approved a $2.6 million request by the state Department of Agriculture to handle a continued historic spike in concealed carry permit applications. The agency, which oversees the state’s concealed weapons permit program, expects 316,738 concealed weapons permit applications during this fiscal year, which ends June 30. The agency had originally budgeted to handle last year’s record-breaking 244,726 applications. By Oct. 16, roughly three months into the new fiscal year, it already had collected 105,594 applications, said Derek Buchanan, the agency’s policy and budget director. “What we’re seeing is the same historic high number of applications we saw last year,” Buchanan said.

BILL TO BAN HYDRAULIC FRACKING ATTRACTS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT via Florida Politics – A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers have endorsed proposed legislation to ban extraction of oil and gas via hydraulic fracturing in Florida. “This bill is concise and straightforward. It bans fracking of all types in Florida,” Senate sponsor Dana Young said Tuesday during a news conference outside the Senate chamber. “As a sixth generation Floridian and avid outdoorsman, I believe we must act quickly and decisively to to protect our fragile environment from incompatible practices.” Present at the news conference  to discuss Young’s SB 442 were Democratic Sens. Gary Farmer and Linda Stewart, and Republican Sens. Jack Latvia and Keith Perry; House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, and Democratic House member Mike Miller, who is expected to introduce a House companion bill this week. “Just this collection of folks, you can see that this is an issue that transcends politics,” Farmer said. We can all come together to protect something as critically important as our water supply.

JEFF BRANDES BILL WOULD LEGALIZE DELIVERY DRONES via Florida Politics – The legislation (SB 460), however, focuses on ground drones, or “personal delivery devices.” Such a unit is defined as a “motorized device for use primarily on sidewalks and crosswalks at a maximum speed of 10 miles per hour, which weighs 50 pounds or less excluding cargo.” “With this legislation, Florida continues to lead in transportation policy,” said Brandes. His bill also requires drone operators to carry insurance coverage, among other things, and prohibits drones on the state’s shared-use nonmotorized trail network, or SUNtrails.

— “’Patient Savings Act’ filed in House” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics

— “House bill would expand bank rights in foreclosure cases” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics

COMMITTEE CHAIR WANTS ASSURANCES PIP REPEAL WOULD LOWER PREMIUMS via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – The chairwoman of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee foresees changes to Florida’s personal-injury protection, or PIP, mandate for auto insurance, but wants assurances reform will reduce premium costs. “I think that this is an issue that you will see some legislation that will come before this committee at a future date,” Anitere Flores said as the committee wrapped up testimony Tuesday from insurance regulators and interest groups. She urged committee members to “view it through the lens of how will this affect our consumers’ rates, and having some sort of assurances that anything we do as a Legislature to lower rates … that there will be some requirements that those rates actually be lowered.” The panel discussed abandoning PIP in favor of a system whereby people injured in auto accidents can sue to recover against bodily injury policies held by drivers found at fault. … If PIP were repealed, about 73.8 percent of PIP costs would be shifted to other types of auto coverage, said Sandra Starnes, director of property and casualty product review for the Office of Insurance Regulation. The rest of the losses would shift outside auto policies to private health insurers, health care providers, Medicare and Medicaid, and the injured persons.

HOUSE PANEL GETS UPDATE ON DENTAL CARVE OUT LAW via Florida Politics – A recent study by the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability into how effective managed care plans are at providing dental care appeared to be inconclusive … OPPAGA was tasked with looking into how effectively managed care plans are at providing dental care under a contentious 2016 law. The law, among other things, carved out dental care from the list of minimum benefits offered under the state’s Medicaid managed care plans. It required the Agency for Health Care Administration to implement a prepaid dental health program for children and adults beginning enrollment by March 1, 2019, unless the Legislature acts during the 2017 Legislative Session to require the statewide plans to cover it again. Mary Alice Nye, a staff director at OPPAGA, told the House Health & Human Services Committee her team could not come to a “definitive conclusion” about which was a more effective way to provide the service.

SENATE COMMUNITY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE PASSES FLORIDA BUILDING CODE REFORM via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools – Every three years the Florida Building Commission votes on whether to automatically accept the entire international building code, or amend it with certain provisions of the international code … if passed, SB 7000 would require the commission to use the most recent published edition of the Florida Building Code as the foundation, and mandate the committee to review, rather than update, the Code every three years. The measure would also delete the provision specifying how long amendments or modifications to the foundation code would remain valid. The bill would also carry forward any changes to the state building code through the time the next edition is published.

HAPPENING TODAY – COMMITTEE MEETINGS TO WATCH — The House Health Quality subcommittee will host a panel discussion on medical marijuana during its meeting at 9 a.m. in 212 Knott Building. The House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee will discuss top priority issues in agency budget requests during its meeting at 9 a.m. in Reed Hall; while the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee will discuss possible areas of budget reductions during its meeting at 9 a.m. in Morris Hall. The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will get an update on efforts to address the rape kit backlog during a meeting at 10 am. In 37 Senate Office Building. The Senate PreK-12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee is scheduled to hold a workshop about teacher pay and compensation during its 10 a.m. meeting in 110 Senate Office Building. And at 2 p.m., the Senate Regulated Industries will meet to discuss a comprehensive gambling bill in 412 Knott.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Sen. Anitere Flores and members of the Floridians for Fair Business Practices coalition will advocate for the repeal of the alcohol separation law during a press conference at 11 a.m. in front of Senate Chambers on the fourth floor of the Florida Capitol.

WHY I HAVE SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT TEARING DOWN THE WALL BETWEEN THE WHISKEY AND THE WHEATIES via Peter Schorsch – First, the leading force behind this issue is Wal-Mart. On issue after issue, Wal-Mart is less a partner and more a threat to local communities … What Wal-Mart is about (and will always be) is its bottom line … 2016 statistics from Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which show “big grocery retailers like Wal-Mart, Publix and Target had a perfect record in 2016 when it comes to preventing alcohol sales to minors: none were cited by DBPR for violating state liquor control laws, while smaller liquor stores were cited five times over the past 12 months.” … But let’s put aside statistics for a moment, and return to why I’m leaning more and more on the wall … allowing liquor to be sold alongside candy bars and cough drops. It’s certainly convenient. But it’s not what I want for my 4-year-old daughter. I don’t want to explain to her what Fireball or Jameson (or any other liquor) is. Those are adult products, and they’re probably best behind a wall, where little eyes and little fingers do not wander. Please forgive me for changing my mind because I’m a parent. In columns on other issues I’ve written, fatherhood has changed my politics.

STUDY SHOWS RESEARCH NOT ON OPTOMETRISTS’ SIDE IN EYEBALL WARS via Florida Politics – As Florida’s “Eyeball Wars” start up again, research in the Journal of the American Medical Association gives new insight on what is at stake in the struggle between ophthalmologists and optometrists. In October 2016, a team of medical professionals … issued a report examining the difference in treatment outcomes between optometrists and ophthalmologists in Oklahoma. Since 1998, both types of practitioners in Oklahoma have been allowed surgical privileges to perform laser trabeculoplasty (LTP). After accounting for potentially “confounding factors,” the report finds that eyes receiving LTP by optometrists had a 189 percent greater hazard for a follow-up procedure in the same eye, as opposed to those LTPs by an ophthalmologist. In conclusion, the study offers an ominous warning: “Health policymakers should be cautious about approving laser privileges for optometrists practicing in other states until the reasons for these differences are better understood.”

CIRCUS MAGIC? AFTER LAYOFFS, RINGLING COMPANY VIES FOR MILLIONS IN JOB CREATION via Jeremy Wallace and Sharon Kennedy Wynne of the Tampa Bay Times – The parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey can still collect up to $3.7 million from state and local government for job creation even after announcing one of the state’s largest layoffs since 2015. Feld Entertainment’s “The Greatest Show on Earth” will take a final bow in May that will cost 462 people — including dozens of Floridians — their jobs. Out of the nearly 200 companies that have announced layoffs in Florida the past two years, Feld’s will be the sixth largest. Despite the cutback, Feld will continue to collect millions for job creation because the company classifies 400 of the lost jobs as “based on the road.”

BRAVES, SARASOTA USING ‘PITFALL’ EXEMPTION TO DENY RECORDS REQUEST via Noah Pransky of 10 News – The Braves are seeking state, county, and city of North Port dollars to help fund a new $80 million complex that would play host to the team’s spring training and Florida operations for the next 30 years. … (W)hen 10 Investigates requested the public records that had been prepared to this point, county spokesperson Jason Bartolone responded that the Braves “have asserted confidentiality rights” under Florida State Statute 288.075, which aims to protect proprietary business information and trade secrets in public-private economic development deals. FSS 288.075 is one of the same exemptions used by rapper Pitbull and public agency Visit Florida to deny 10Investigates’ 2015 public records request into the artist’s taxpayer-funded tourism contract. … The statute suggests confidentiality only for proprietary information where “the disclosure of the information would cause harm to the business operations of the corporation.”  Using such an exemption to withhold drafts of a contract, which will later become public, may not fit the description of “trade secrets” that would cause harm to the Braves’ business operations.

RESTORING POWER TO 200K CUSTOMERS? NO PROBLEM FOR FPL — Tornadoes ripped through parts of Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties Monday, knocking out power for hundreds of thousands of customers in the region — 200,000 customers, according to Florida Power & Light. And while that left a helluva lot of folks inconvenienced, FPL staff essentially said “no sweat” when it came to restoring power. In fact, about 24 hours after the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down in Miami Springs, the utility company posted on Twitter and Facebook it had completed its restoration efforts. “We appreciate our customers’ patience as our crews restored powers to ~200,000 homes and biz within 24 hours of severe storms and tornadoes.” By comparison, 30,000 Tallahassee utility customers were without power when a massive storm knocked out three of the city’s 25 substations on Sunday. The Tallahassee Democrat reported 98 percent recovery was expected by midnight Monday, potentially leaving customers without power into Tuesday.

VOLUSIA SHERIFF SETS EXAMPLE BY DEMANDING TICKET AFTER CAUGHT SPEEDING via The Associated Press – Sheriff Mike Chitwood … wanted “to set an example” for his agency. The new sheriff was clocked going 78 mph in a 55-mph zone … He was stopped a day after Volusia County settled a lawsuit for a deputy-related crash … Chitwood says the sergeant stopped him and they talked briefly before going their separate ways. But Chitwood says he later realized he was wrong, called the sergeant and asked him to write the ticket. He’s already paid the $281 citation.

TRULIEVE TO OPEN MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY IN TAMPA via Florida Politics – The medical marijuana dispensing organization will open its third dispensary Thursday in Tampa. The company currently has dispensaries in Tallahassee and Clearwater. Trulieve is one of seven dispensing organizations currently authorized by the Department of Health to grow and distribute medical marijuana … the new dispensary will have both low-THC and high-THC medical cannabis available in a several forms, including oral capsules and vaporizers. In addition to dispensaries, Trulieve also offers a statewide delivery service.

THE WORST THING YOU’LL READ TODAY – GIRL IN FOSTER CARE HANGS HERSELF WHILE STREAMING IT LIVE – THIS TIME IN MIAMI via Carol Marbin Miller and Audra Burch of the Miami Herald – For two hours, Nakia Venant broadcast from the bathroom of her Miami Gardens foster home, eventually fashioning a homemade noose from her scarf. The live feed ended abruptly. Nakia, a petite 14-year-old with long hair and a sweet smile, killed herself overnight Sunday while live-streaming the event. Administrators with the Florida Department of Children & Families would offer little detail Tuesday about Nakia’s death, other than to confirm that both child welfare administrators and the Miami Gardens Police Department were investigating the suicide death of “a child … in the care of a foster family.”

WHERE HAVE WE HEARD THIS BEFORE: “We are absolutely horrified and devastated by the news of this young girl’s death,” said DCF Secretary Mike Carroll. “We will do everything we can to support this family and all those who cared for her as they begin to heal from this tragedy. We will conduct a comprehensive, multidisciplinary special review to examine this child’s history and the circumstances related to serving the child.”

 ***SUNBURN is brought to you in part by Sachs Media Group, Florida’s dominant public affairs communications firm. Sachs Media thrives on high-stakes challenges in the relentless pursuit of excellent outcomes. To help you win in the corridors of power, let us score for you in the court of public opinion. Visit www.sachsmedia.com to learn more.***


Robert Beck, Adams St. Advocates: Seminole County Sheriff’s Office

Louis Betz, Louis Betz & Associates: 3 Bees Corp; Costa Creative, LLC.; Ygrene Energy Fund Florida, LLC.

Marsha Bowen, Robert M. Levy & Associates: Florida Nurses Association; Village of Palmetto Bay

Robert Boyd, Kristin Crawford Whitaker, Sachs Sax Caplan: Mental Health Association of Central Florida

Dean Cannon, GrayRobinson: Florida’s Vision Quest; Volusia County Government

Bryan Cherry, Adams St. Advocates: 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

Jose Diaz, Robert Levy & Associates: Village of Palmetto Bay

Candice Ericks, Ericks Advocacy Group: Waste Connections of Florida

Katie Flury, GrayRobinson: Canaveral Port Authority; National Association of Industrial & Office Properties; Sodexo, Inc.

Adam Giery, Startegos Public Affairs: Project Lead the Way

Lisa Henning, Timmins Consulting: National Association of College Stores; North Florida Community College Foundation

Max Herle, THG Consulting: Florida Independent Spirits Association

Lisa Hurley, Smith Bryan & Myers: Diageo, Inc.

Nick IarossiAndrew Ketchel, Christopher , Capital City Consulting: OBS Real Estate Holdings, LLC DBA Ocala Gainesville Poker and Jai Alai

Ty Jackson, GaryRobinson: Allergan USA, Inc.

Brian Jogerst, BH & Associates: Florida Justice Reform Institute

Martin Christopher Lyon, Lewis Longman & Walker: American Civil Liberties Union of Florida; Southern Poverty Law Center

Trevor Mask, Colodny Fass: Edison Insurance Company; Florida Peninsula Insurance Company; Florida Peninsula Insurance Group; Southern Fidelity Property & Casualty, Inc.

Frank MayernickTracy Mayernick, The Mayernick Group: Florida Medical Association

Seth McKeel, Southern Strategy Group: Palm Beach State College Foundation

George Meros, Jr., GrayRobinson: Crossroads Treatment Centers

Sue Mullins, Ramba Consulting Group: Benderson Development

Evan Power, Ramba Consulting Group: Florida Water Quality Association; International Code Council

Adrien Rivard, Harrison Rivard Duncan & Buzzett: Eastern Shipbuilding Group; Hospital Corporation of American; Southwest Airlines

Carl Roth, Dean Mead: Palm Beach Aggregates

Ryder Rudd, Advantage Consulting Team: Florida Association of Health Underwriters

Nancy Black Stewart, Nancy Black Stewart PA: Eckerd Kids

Margaret Timmins, Timmins Consulting: Florida School Health Association; North Florida Community College Foundation

Katie Webb, Colodny Fass: Edison Insurance Company; Florida Peninsula Insurance Company; Florida Peninsula Insurance Group; Guy Carpenter & Company

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF). PIFF was formed in late 2010 with three charter members: Allstate and Castle Key Insurance Companies, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, and State Farm Insurance Companies, to create a dynamic, efficient, and competitive marketplace for personal insurance products for the benefit of all Floridians. PIFF charter members serve forty-five percent (45%) of the automobile insurance market and more than twenty percent (20%) of the homeowners’ property insurance market. The association is the leading voice for personal lines property and casualty insurers in Florida. Learn more.***

GOVERNORS CLUB WEDNESDAY LUNCH MENU has a Pacific Northwest flavor: Washington State salmon bisque; Washington trio apple salad; spinach pear salad; seasonal green salad; Oregon herb rubbed tri-tip beef; California drunken chicken; potatoes & wild mushroom au gratin; lime asparagus; broccoli & cauliflower au beurre; finished with peach cobbler.

FSU ALUMNI MAKE HISTORY WITH 8 OSCAR NOMINATIONS FOR ‘MOONLIGHT’ via David Heller of the Florida State University News – The acclaimed film, “Moonlight,” from Florida State University graduate Barry Jenkinsand his crew of FSU Film School alumni, has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture … Jenkins, who wrote the screenplay and directed “Moonlight,” was nominated in the Directing category. He shares a nomination for Adapted Screenplay with Tarell Alvin McCraney, who wrote the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” which was the basis for the film. “Moonlight” earned nominations for: Directing — Jenkins (FSU ‘03); Best Picture — Adele Romanski (FSU ‘04), Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner; Supporting Actress — Naomie Harris; Supporting Actor — Mahershala Ali; Cinematography — James Laxton (FSU ‘03); Film Editing — Nat Sanders (FSU ’02) and Joi McMillon (FSU ‘03); Adapted Screenplay — Jenkins and McCraney; Original Score — Nicholas Britell.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to two great Floridians, Sen. Aaron Bean and raconteur/lobbyist Gus Corbella

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons