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Sunburn for 2.13.17 – Jeff Atwater’s bombshell; the case vs. Tom Grady; Gus Bilirakis gets an earful; Tim Tebow goes to a prom

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

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


Never mind who’s running for Governor in 2018, Floridians want to know which Republicans are in the running for Chief Financial Officer now that CFO Jeff Atwater announced he is leaving this year, with speculation starting with Tom Grady, state Rep. Joe Gruters, former House Speaker Will Weatherford, and Teresa Jacobs and as many as a dozen other elected officials.

Grady, a securities lawyer who is a former state Representative who also has held several positions in state government, is widely reported as a close friend of Gov. Rick Scott, who will select a replacement for Atwater for the nearly two full years left in the term.

Weatherford, a venture capital and business consultant, is a former Speaker of the House who draws praise from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and who recently announced he’s not running for governor.

Jacobs is the Orange County mayor and a former banker who always sounds like she’s already someone’s chief financial officer, and who reportedly has been exploring a possible state run for that job in 2018 when she’s term-limited from the mayor’s office.

Names tumbling around Tallahassee – some with more spin than others – also already have included Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, former Speakers Steve Crisafulli and Dean Cannon, state Sens. Jack Latvala, Aaron Bean, Lizbeth Benacquisto, Jeff Brandes, and Tom Lee, state Rep. Jim Boyd, and former state Sen. Pat Neal.


TOM LEE ACTIVELY JOCKEYING FOR APPOINTMENT via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – Lee says he is actively working to be appointed CFO …“I have already spoke to someone in the governor’s sphere of influence,” Lee said. “We will see that the governor wants to do and when he wants to do it.” Lee had been actively considering a run for CFO when Atwater was termed-out, including building an initial campaign organization and hashing out a potential budget.


It’s no surprise Grady’s name was among the first to pop up as a possible replacement to Atwater when news of his resignation broke last week.

He’s a former state representative, who served stints as both the head of the Office of Financial Regulation and the interim head of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. A securities lawyer by trade, it’s safe to assume he knows a thing or two about the financial sector. And it doesn’t hurt he’s practically besties with Gov. Scott.

But Grady’s career in politics has been speckled with controversy, and not the kind you want from the state’s top finance office.

During his brief tenure in the Florida House, Grady was criticized for his decision to fly private charters to and from the capital city. He was one of 19 lawmakers called out in a 2009 report by the Tampa Bay Times. At the time, the  Tampa Bay Times reported Grady “regularly charged taxpayers for use of a private plane arranged by the Naples technology firm InfiNetwork, one of whose executives donated $250 to Grady’s campaign. The bill for taxpayers: $7,850.”

Flying private isn’t against the rules. And back then, neither was flying on the planes of donors and lobbyists. But that isn’t the only time Grady’s travel expenses made headlines.

During his time as the interim president of Citizens, Grady racked up big hotel and travel expenses, all on the state’s dime. The Tampa Bay Times reported in June 2012 that Grady had “spent nearly $10,000 on expensive hotel rooms, airplane trips, a limo ride, and a three-night stay in Bermuda” in about two months. And those expenses, the paper noted, didn’t include the costs associated with a statewide “listening tour” he took as he lobbied to become the permanent head of the state-run insurance company.

If Floridians have learned anything from the recent feud over Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, it’s this: Out of control spending has the tendency to get someone fired not hired.

But the case against Grady goes beyond controversies, there’s also a question of whether he’d actually stick around. The Naples Republican hasn’t held an elected or appointed post for very long, and always seems to be angling for the next, higher position.

He served just one term in the Florida House, from 2008 until 2010. In 2011, he Scott appointed him to the Commissioner of Financial Regulation post. He held that position for just seven months, before taking over the role as interim president of Citizens Property Insurance. He was on the job for three months as the state searched for a new permanent head, but didn’t make the cut as a finalist.

And along the way, his name kept popping up for run for other positions. In 2010, he said he would consider it if Bill McCollum approached him to be his lieutenant governor. His name was floated as a leading candidate to lead the Office of Insurance Regulation, something he said was “flattering.”

He toyed with the idea of running in Florida’s 19th Congressional District, but dropped those plans after Francis Rooney got in the race. But even then, Grady dropped hints that it wasn’t the last people might hear from him, using a prepared statement to address rumors he might be considering a 2018 run for Attorney General.

“I never say never, but today I am focused on our kids, schools, learning and jobs,” he said in a news release at the time.

Grady dismissed speculation that he was a leading candidate for CFO position, saying he was focused on the Florida Gulf Coast University president’s position. He is one of several candidates scheduled to be interviewed this week, with the presidential selection committee expected to select finalists Thursday. Grady told FloridaPolitics.com last week he thinks he has “a good opportunity to get the presidential appointment.”

Then again, Grady in November told POLITICO Florida he didn’t plan on applying for the FGCU job, saying he and the school’s board of trustees had a different vision for the future.

Never say never, right?

FIRST ON FLORIDA POLITICS – FRANCIS ROONEY SAYS HE’S NOT CONSIDERING 2018 GUBERNATORIAL BID via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – “I am considering one thing — being the best congressman I can be for Southwest Florida,” he said. “I’m thankful to have the opportunity to represent Southwest Florida, and I’m not intending to do anything else other than do the best possible job I can.” Rooney says he’s not interested in running for governor, saying he’s has “said it a lot, no way.” …“I’m sure there’s a lot of good business people that would make excellent governors in Florida, and congressmen and senators as well,” he said. “I just want to be the best congressman I can be.”

— “Jack Latvala’s gubernatorial prospects impacted by decisions by Atwater, Rooney” by Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics

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DAYS UNTIL: Valentine’s Day – 1; Start of 2017 Legislative Session – 22; Florida Capitol Press Corps Press Skits – 29; 2017 Legislative Session Sine Die – 81; FSU vs. Alabama – 201; Election Day 2017 – 263; Star Wars: Episode VIII/The Last Jedi opens – 304.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD FOES, SUPPORTERS FACE OFF IN PROTESTS IN TAMPA BAY AREA via Sara DiNatale of the Tampa Bay Times – A woman in the middle of a median on N 56th Street hoisted a sign above her head that said, “Honk if you are pro-life.” A priest led the group of about 120 people in saying the Lord’s Prayer. On the other side, about 150 people dressed in pink clutched matching signs that said “I support Planned Parenthood.” Some wore pink knit hats with cat ears, made popular during last month’s Women’s March to show opposition to President Donald Trump. Similar scenes played out in front of the Planned Parenthood-St. Petersburg Health Center and across the country Saturday, as those in support of Republican congressional leaders’ plans to defund the organization turned out to demonstrate. The 100-year-old women’s health care provider offers birth control and other women’s health services, including abortions, at more than 600 centers across the country. Despite their sharp disagreement, each side managed to protest peacefully without incident.

GUS BILIRAKIS GETS ANOTHER EARFUL ON OBAMACARE REPEAL via William Levesque of the Tampa Bay Times – More than 300 people came out to the West Pasco County government center for the second of Bilirakis’ “listening sessions” on health care reform. And as happened during a session last week in Pinellas, a majority of those who spoke offered strong support of the law and urged Bilirakis to vote against killing it. Bilirakis, a Republican who wants to replace Obamacare because its costs have skyrocketed, once again had no change of heart on his opposition to the health law. The support for the Affordable Care Act that Bilirakis has heard in the last week stands in contrast to the conservative bona fides of his district, which includes all of Pasco and parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

— ’Death panel’ disputes erupt at Florida GOP congressman’s town hall” via Eric Bradner of CNN

— ’We need this Affordable Care Act’: Voters discuss health care at Florida town hall” via The Washington Post

— “UCF Socialist Club Incites Young Kids To ‘Kill Donald Trump’” via Jacob Engels of the East Orlando Post

— “Women’s March Florida holds inaugural meeting of Orlando Chapter” via Frank Torres of the Orlando Political Observer

WILL DONALD TRUMP BE BAD FOR BUSINESS AT THE WINTER WHITE HOUSE? via Christine Stapleton of the Palm Beach Post – Whether Trump’s becoming leader of the free world will be good for business at Mar-a-Lago is not yet known. The lure of hosting an event at the winter White House may not be that alluring after all. Some groups have already expressed concern that patrons who oppose Trump might not attend events at Mar-a-Lago. Because the president’s trips are not announced to the public far in advance, groups will not be able to scheduled their events around his visits. That means some unlucky gala-goers who purchase tickets for events that end up coinciding with a presidential visit might find themselves stuck in traffic, waiting for Secret Service to sweep their vehicles. Exactly how often President Trump will visit Palm Beach is not known. However, it could be weekly … the Town of Palm Beach posted notice on its website that every Friday until May 1 the town will take steps to control traffic impacts due to presidential visits. While some members of the Mar-a-Lago club adore Trump, they would like to see less of him in Palm Beach now that he is president.

TRUMP IMPEACHED? YOU CAN BET ON IT  via Steven Shepard of POLITICO – There’s already talk of impeachment, just three weeks into Trump‘s turbulent presidency. In fact, many are already betting on it. Gambling houses all over the world are taking in action on whether Trump, inaugurated just last month, will resign or be impeached. And the odds aren’t as long as you might think. Ladbrokes, the British oddsmaking giant, has Trump’s chances of leaving office via resignation or impeachment and removal at just 11-to-10, or just a little worse than even money. The odds of Trump being impeached this year in the House of Representatives are only 4-to-1, according to the Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, despite GOP control of the chamber. You can win $180 on a $100 bet with Bovada, the online gaming site, that Trump won’t make it through a full term – though the bet is off if Trump passes away during the next four years.

MELISSA MCCARTHY RETURNS TO SNL AS AN EVEN MORE FRUSTRATED SEAN SPICER via Elahe Izadi of the Washington Post –  McCarthy reprised her unhinged, seething Sean Spicer character, which was last week’s most-talked-about SNL moment — and an impersonation that reportedly unsettled the White House. Click on the image below to watch the video.

***Sen. Jack Latvala is fighting to protect Florida’s small business owners by leveling the playing field for owners of franchise establishments. This will lead to more economic growth and jobs for our communities. Tell Sen. Latvala you support him and learn how to help protect small businesses in Florida at protectflbusiness.com.***

CHARLIE CRIST HAS BEEN A CONGRESSMAN FOR ONLY SIX WEEKS, AND EVEN HIS FRIENDS ARE GRUMBLING via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – What’s striking about Crist is how quickly he and his wife, Carole, who is leading much of the decision-making and is being paid to oversee political activities, have generated widespread grumbling and head-scratching about his clumsy start in Congress, even among longtime friends. “I’m a bit disappointed that we haven’t heard from him in Pinellas County,” said County Commissioner Janet Long, a fellow Democrat. “I can only compare the two, and right after David Jolly was elected he was calling my office and asking for a meeting and wanting to work together. We built a very tight relationship. I’m hoping we can build the same kind of relationship with Charlie.” Long lamented that Crist did not keep the “outstanding” Vito Sheeley as his district director and instead seems to be hiring staffers few people know. She and other elected Pinellas officials wondered why Crist did not opt to use the Seminole office used by Jolly and Young and already familiar to many Pinellas constituents.

— “Charlie Crist names Gershom Faulkner as Outreach Director” via Florida Politics

CARLOS CURBELO PROFILE – MEET THE FLORIDA LAWMAKER THAT WILL HAVE A BIG SAY SHAPING THE TRUMP AGENDA via Israel Ortega of Opportunity Lives — Opportunity Lives recently sat down with Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Ways and Means committee member, to discuss a broad range of issues that are likely to come up this year. On what the appointment means: This is a big deal for me personally, but it is a bigger deal for the people of South Florida. Think about all of the issues that come up before the committee including tax reform and healthcare… On repealing an replacing Obamacare: …Our goal is not just to repeal the law, but also to inject competition in the healthcare system and give people more options. That’s because of the many flaws of Obamacare includes the reality that folks that have been insured through the exchange simply do not have access to good doctors and quality health care. … On standing up for trade: …We want to work constructively with the new administration and help guide them how despite flaws, a lot of the trade deals have really improved the quality of life for many Americans.

RICK SCOTT INAUGURATION PARTY COST MORE THAN $600,000 via The Associated Press – Scott and first lady Ann Scott in January hosted the Florida Sunshine Ball at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium two days before Trump’s inauguration. Records show that Scott’s political committee Let’s Get to Work paid a company more than $609,000 to rent the auditorium, hire caterers and stage the event featuring The Beach Boys. Let’s Get to Work regularly receives donations from some of the state’s main corporate interests. In the last few weeks Duke Energy donated $100,000 as did private prison provider The Geo Group.

​​ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will host a a series of round tables with business owners, economic development leaders and community leaders to discuss the economic impact of Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Marine Concepts, 2443 Pine Island Road in Cape Coral. From there, he’ll head to the Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 East Fowler Avenue in Tampa where he’ll host a round table at noon. Scott will end his day with a round table at 3 p.m. at the Vessel Sandwich Company, 213 S. 2nd Street in Flagler Beach.

GOP FEUD COULD LOGJAM LEGISLATIVE SESSION via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel – The bitter feuding among top Republicans that spilled out into the open this week, a month before the legislative session starts, has some observers worried about gridlock and a possible shutdown of state government. The fights have implications for schools, colleges, the environment, health care and jobs for 20 million Floridians. House Speaker Corcoran… is at the center of the animosity. He’s taking on both Scott and the Senate in his push to reform Tallahassee, but his crusade has roiled the Capitol. “We’re going to fight for the principles that we know are going to make the state better and damn the consequences,” Corcoran said.

— “Meet the new House Republican who is defying Speaker Corcoran” via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times

WHAT THE SPEAKER’S OFFICE IS READINGRICK SCOTT NEEDS BETTER ARGUMENT FOR INCENTIVES via the Pensacola News-Journal editorial board – As entertaining as it is to see state politicians of the same party collide publicly, the battle brings serious ideological questions for taxpayers — especially those who consider themselves conservatives. …The governor’s attempt to shame his antagonists are silly. It’s easy to make hyperbolic accusations about “killing” jobs. It’s another thing to actually explain, in logical terms, how legislators’ actions affect working Floridians. Furthermore, the once-upon-a-time Tea Party prodigy ignores the irony that he’s the politician arguing for spending millions in taxpayer money on things like incentives and advertising that can arguably be described as government handouts. With the state facing real struggles with failing schools, aging infrastructure and environmental emergencies, it’s simply tough to argue that we need to be investing our money in marketing campaigns and corporate incentives, rather than real, tangible public needs. But hey, we’re open to convincing.

POLITIFACT FLORIDA: CORCORAN’S VISIT FLORIDA JAB DOESN’T TELL FULL STORY via Katie Sanders of the Tampa Bay Times – “Spending more taxpayer money on VISIT FL (or less) has not demonstrated a direct impact on tourism,” Corcoran tweeted … with a slew of numbers to bolster his point. PolitiFact Florida’s verdict: Half True … Corcoran’s point neglects important context. The test of good marketing isn’t just whether people come, but how long they stay and how much money they spend. “After all, you can’t deposit visitors in the bank, but you sure can deposit the money they leave behind,” said David Preece, academic director of the Center for Hospitality & Tourism at Brigham Young University-Hawaii.

KEN LAWSON “WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT” FOR VISIT FLORIDA via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – In an email, Lawson thanked the tourism industry for showing up to a House hearing this week where the Careers and Competition Subcommittee cleared a measure to eliminate the agency, the Enterprise Florida economic development organization and dozens of state incentive programs. It will “You showed up to help and your voice was heard,” Lawson said. “… I could not be prouder of the way the industry has rallied to make a difference. “I want to assure you that VISIT FLORIDA will continue to fight,” Lawson added. “I have already begun meeting with each and every legislator to ensure they know that VISIT FLORIDA serves a vital role in marketing destinations large and small in every community of this great state, and that a reduction in our public funding would mean the loss of tax revenue and jobs that benefit their constituents. Constituents just like you.”

LEGISLATORS HIDE PROJECTS IN UNIVERSITY BUDGETS via Arek Sarkissian of the Naples Daily News – Progress Boulevard Extension is one of Alachua’s newest roads, courtesy of Florida’s taxpayers. State lawmakers agreed to pay $500,000 for the two-lane, black-topped road that leads to nowhere. The money for the road came in last year’s budget, but the project can’t be found anywhere in the 400-plus-page bill passed by legislators and signed by Gov. Scott. It’s not part of the billions the state spends each year on transportation. It’s not in any capital project budget. The cash for that project and dozens of others made at the special request of individual lawmakers is hidden inside the state’s $82.3 billion budget, with no mention of Progress Boulevard Extension … Over the past seven years, lawmakers have quietly tucked nearly $315 million for their secret projects into state budgets, hiding them in the billions they give to universities to operate with the understanding that this is extra money for special purposes.


BILL CALLING FOR RESERVOIR SOUTH OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE FILEDHOUSE via Tyler Treadway of TCPalm.com – The proposal to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to curb disastrous discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers is now officially before the Florida House of Representatives. State Rep. Thad Altman … filed House Bill 761 … The legislation is identical to Senate Bill 10 filed in late January by state Sen. Rob Bradley … Both outline Senate President Negron‘s proposal for the state and the federal government to equally share the $2.4 billion cost of buying up to 60,000 acres south of Lake O and building a 120 billion-gallon reservoir. Even before the House version was filed, the plan has met with opposition from that chamber’s leadership. House Speaker Corcoran … said he doesn’t think Negron’s reservoir would curtail the discharges and doesn’t want to borrow money by issuing government bonds to pay the state’s share.

QUEST FOR DAILY RECESS: MOMS RENEW FIGHT FOR MORE FREE PLAY IN LEGISLATURE  via Kristen Clark and Kyra Gurney of the Miami Herald – Across Florida, how much unstructured playtime public elementary schoolchildren get each day varies greatly from school to school. Some of the state’s 67 county school districts don’t have a formal policy, and in those that do, administrators often give principals and teachers a lot of discretion. It’s that inconsistency that’s leading passionate “recess moms” to once again lobby lawmakers this spring to pass a statewide, mandatory requirement that elementary schoolchildren get 20 minutes of recess each day. This year, the proposal (SB 78/HB 67) appears on slightly better footing but faces the same hang-up — now in the House. Miami Republican Rep. Michael Bileca, the education policy chairman, isn’t convinced a statewide mandate is the way to go, and he’s reluctant to limit teachers’ flexibility in the classroom.

JEFF BRANDES FILES BILL TO CREATE AFFORDABLE HOUSING TASK FORCE via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – The bill (SB 854) … would create an affordable housing task force assigned to the Florida Housing Finance Corp. According to the St. Petersburg Republican’s proposal, the task force would be charged with “developing recommendations for addressing the state’s affordable housing needs.” With another 5 million people expected to be living in Florida by 2030, Brandes said he filed the bill because he thinks there needs to be discussion about how the state approaches workforce housing and affordable housing going forward. “There really isn’t a statewide direction for affordable housing,” said Brandes.


SPOTTED at Jack Latvala‘s fundraiser at the International Polo Club Palm Beach – Adam Corey, Matt Forrest, Carl and Walt Dover, Brittany Dover, Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, Andy Palmer, Alan Suskey.

SPOTTED at the Farmers for Wilton Simpson event at the 4G Ranch: Gus Bilirakis, Spkr. Richard Corcoran, Sen. Denise Grimsley, Adam Babington, Jeff Johnston, Rachel Perrin Rogers and Brian Hughes, Bridget and Sheriff Chris Nocco, Ron Pierce, Will Weatherford.

***The quality of nursing home care is better in states like Florida that use a certificate of need process. You can help protect Florida’s most frail seniors by urging legislators to keep CON for Florida’s outstanding skilled nursing centers. Learn more from the Florida Health Care Association here.***

ANDREW GILLUM ENLISTS ALLIES IN ‘CAMPAIGN TO DEFEND LOCAL SOLUTIONS’ via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – Tallahassee Mayor Gillum continued his “Campaign to Defend Local Solutions” … marshaling support from consumer, environmental, and anti-poverty organizations against proposed legislation that would block local business and professional regulations absent express permission from the Legislature. “We would like to work with our colleagues across the street in standing up for local democracy,” Gillum said during a news conference outside Tallahassee City Hall … “It’s consistent with the governing party’s philosophy that decisions are best when they are made locally. If that is the case, then we’ve got to make sure that that’s consistent with the laws that are adopted in this state. Otherwise, it’s hypocritical.” Gillum, a Democrat and potential candidate for governor in 2018, launched the campaign in January, promising to recruit “individuals, organizations, and elected officials concerned about the erosion of local rights.”

HAPPENING TODAY – PUBLIC SCHOOL ENROLLMENT, POPULATION NUMBERS DISCUSS— The Education Estimating Conference will discuss pre-kindergarten through 12th grade public school enrollment during its meeting at 10 a.m. in 117 Knott Building. The Demographic Estimating Conference will meet to discuss and analyze Florida at during its 1:30 p.m. meeting in 117 Knott.

SCHOOLS IN FLA. FACING TEACHER SHORTAGES via The Associated Press – School districts all over Florida are facing teacher shortages, including in elementary education, which historically had the easiest jobs to fill … The recruiting is starting earlier than ever, and recruiters are exploring out-of-state candidates in the Midwest and northeast. “We are starting earlier, and we are definitely exploring more options than we ever have,” said Greg White, recruitment specialist for Osceola County schools in the Orlando area. “We’ve got to find those quality educators to be in front of our children.” … The Seminole County school district … used to rely on state-run teacher job fairs but is for the first time hosting its own next month, hoping in can fill some jobs ahead of a later-spring hiring crunch. A main reason for the shortage is a drop in Florida college students majoring in education.

OFFICIALS, VOTERS CLASH OVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA RULES via Joe Reedy of The Associated Press – Three months after Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment on medical marijuana, state health officials and prospective pot-seeking patients are at odds over proposed rules that would spell out who could get marijuana. State officials have recommended restrictions on what type of patients can qualify for medical marijuana, and where they can obtain it. Their suggestions, however, have prompted a wave of opposition across the state, with nearly 1,300 residents attending what are normally low-key bureaucratic hearings to press for less restricted access to marijuana. “Patients, doctors, caregivers and activists all had a unified message which is rare,” said Ben Pollara, who is the campaign manager for United for Care. “They want impediments removed and a free marketplace.”

DEP, MOSAIC TAKE ISSUE WITH TAMPA BAY TIMES SINKHOLE STORY via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – DEP posted on its website a response saying that the Times’ conclusion was false because the well data is from the North stack, which — while continuously monitored and intact — has been closed for nearly 12 years. The sinkhole, DEP said, occurred under the south stack. Mosaic called allegations “fundamentally wrong.” The company said the higher aquifer levels were expected and intended from grouting operations at the north stack that were performed with DEP’s oversight. Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittman [said] he was checking with others at the newspaper on whether they would comment in response to the criticism. DEP says sampling of 1,250 private drinking water wells has shown no effects from the sinkhole.

HUMAN WASTE FERTILIZES FARMS, BUT FUELS TOXIC ALGAE BLOOMS via Lucas Daprile of TCPalm — Two-thirds of the state’s waste is spread on private land. Half of that requires permits and is banned in certain watersheds because, being less treated, it contains more pathogens and heavy metals. The other half is not. Classified as “fertilizer,” limitless amounts of it can be dumped near waterways — despite containing just as much nitrogen and phosphorus as the sewage sludge. It’s the source of nearly a fourth of the phosphorus in the Lake Okeechobee watershed, according to a 2009 Audubon Florida report that called human waste-dumping “the most preventable source of pollution.” … Lawmakers tried to ban waste dumping in the St. Lucie, Caloosahatchee and Lake Okeechobee watersheds when they unanimously passed the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program in 2007. But a committee rewrite of the bill exempted the waste that contains less bacteria and heavy metals, without regard to its nitrogen and phosphorus content. While that Class AA “fertilizer” now falls under Department of Agriculture voluntary guidelines about how best to use it, Class B “sludge” requires a Department of Environmental Protection permit that regulates the amount, proximity to surface water, time the public must avoid the site after application — and bans it in those three watersheds. … Lawmakers who deregulated Class AA waste expressed surprise when TCPalm provided examples of unfettered waste-dumping in sensitive watersheds.

IN MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH, JACKSONVILLE POLICE, FIRE UNIONS REACH TENTATIVE PENSION DEAL via Nate Munroe of the Florida Times-Union – Many steps – and some uncertainty – remain: Union members must formally vote on the proposal, while city officials have to run a complex financial analysis, write legislation and brief members of the City Council. And [LennyCurry’s administration will have to convince the Police and Fire Pension Fund board of trustees – with whom the mayor has publicly traded barbs – to go along with significant changes to a 2015 pension-reform law. But the tentative agreements — which cover police, firefighters and corrections officers — are a major victory for Curry. Negotiations with the police and firefighter unions were the highest stakes because of the poor financial health of the pension fund and the burden that has placed on the city’s budget. The talks had also become contentious at points, particularly with police union leadership, which felt betrayed by Curry’s plan to cut pension plans for future employees.

***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.***


Mario Bailey, Becker & Poliakoff: AT&T

Albert Balido, Anfield Consulting: Gentry & Associates; JetPay; Renew Financial

Slater Bayliss, The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners: DFGV Holdings, Inc.

Ellyn Bogdanoff, Becker & Poliakoff: Florida Association of Student Educational Inc.

Stuart Brown, SKB Consulting Group: Public Consulting Group c/o MultiState Associates Inc.

Michael Cantens, Flagler Strategies: Retail Services & Systems, Inc.; AT&T

Edgar Castro, Southern Strategy Group: Fairness in Taxation

Christopher Chaney, The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners: Strategic Holdings, Inc.; DFGV Holdings, Inc.

Leslie Dughi, Greenberg Traurig: North Broward Hospital District

Mercer Fearington, Jr., Southern Strategy Group: 3M Company

Robert Gentry, Gentry & Associates: City of Bunnell

Jennifer Green, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee: Auto Care Association; Florida Justice Reform Institute

David Griffin, GrayRoninson: Government Payment Service, Inc.; Scientific Games Corporation

Thomas Griffin, Smith Bryan & Myers: Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association; The Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center; Florida Association for Child Care Management; Florida Land Title Association; Istation

Michael HarrellKimberly McGlynn, Timothy Stanfield, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney: Vertical Bridge Holdings, LLC

William Helmich, Helmich Consulting: Educational Management Services

Cynthia Henderson, Cynergy Consulting: Wireless Infrastructure Association c/o MultiState Association Inc.

Jim Horne, Strategos Public Affairs: AMI Kids, Inc.

Jonathan Kilman, Foley & Lardner: NeuroTrauma Association of American Inc.

Brian Lee, TPG Consulting: Food & Water Watch Fund

Nickolas Lowe, Unconventional Strategies: Broward College Foundation

Paul Lowell, Foley & Lardner: Regal Senior Care Management

Tracy Mayernick, The Mayernick Group: Lake Wales Charter Schools

Jim Naff, Smith Bryan & Myers: Istation; Summit Care, Inc.

Sarah NeiwoldJoy Ryan, Meenan PA: Brookdale Senior Living, Inc.

Eli NortelusDavid Roberts, Akerman LLP: Marifirst Wellness Solutions, LLC

Winn Peoples, The Peoples Group: Florida Insurance Council

Rebecca Roman, Adams St. Advocates: Quidel Corporation

SPOTTED at Ballard Partners’ Gasparilla Knight Parade party: Ana Cruz, Bob Buckhorn, Ashley Bauman, Chris Berg, Alan Clendenin, Pat Kemp, Sen. Latvala (across the street at the Italian Club), Janee Murphy, Kyle Simon, Ian Whitney. Also spotted at the parade: Anthony Pedicini and Jackie Toledo.

TIM TEBOW HEADLINES FLA. PROM FOR TEENS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS via The Associated Press – Tebow was the star attraction at a prom held for teenagers and young adults with special needs in Daytona Beach … The “Night to Shine” prom was held Friday night. The idea for the event was created by Tebow’s foundation and similar ones are held around the world. About 160 teens and adults, helped by hundreds of volunteers, attended the prom held at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.

DISNEY INCREASING PARK TICKETS FOR CERTAIN TIMES OF YEAR via Orlando Rising – The single-day ticket prices are either staying the same or are increasing no more than $5 under the new price structure that goes into effect Sunday. Last year, Disney rolled out a pricing plan that allows visitors to view a planning calendar from eight to 11 months out to determine which days are considered “value,”” regular” or “peak” times. Visitors pay more on “peak” days, which are the busiest times as forecast by park officials. The goal of the varied price structure is to give park visitors an incentive to come during times that are not “peak” so that the experience can be better enjoyed by all, officials said. There have been times during holiday and spring break where the crowds have been so large that Disney has had to stop selling tickets. “Our pricing provides guests a range of options that allow us to better manage demand to maximize the guest experience and is reflective of the distinctly Disney offerings at all of our parks,” said Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to former Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Jeff Brandes and Marc Reichelderfer. Celebrating today is Mitchell Norton.

Sunburn for 2.10.17 — New Fla. Retail Fed. prez; Bill Nelson primaried? Jeff Atwater’s win; Rick Kearney antes up

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

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

FIRST IN SUNBURN – SCOTT SHALLEY TO BE NAMED NEW PRESIDENT/CEO OF FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION – Look for the Florida Retail Federation to announce the hire of Scott Shalley to replace Randy Miller, who is retiring. Miller will continue to consult with FRF on issues as needed going forward. Shalley becomes only the 6th person to serve as both president and CEO in the 80 year history of the FRF. Shalley comes to the FRF from the Florida Association of Counties, where he served as Executive Director since 2015.

BILL NELSON COULD FACE PRIMARY CHALLENGE IN STATE SEN. RANDOLPH BRACY via Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union – Nelson, 74, is the only Democrat in Florida elected to statewide office and is expected to run for another six-year term in 2018 … Bracy, 39, was elected to the state Senate last year after serving four years in the Florida House. He currently serves as chairman of the Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee, hand-picked by Republican Senate President Joe Negron to carry out his aggressive platform of juvenile justice reforms. Bracy is a consultant by trade, a former teacher and has been active in politics for years, mostly in his hometown of Orlando.

NELSON BLASTS TOM PRICE’S MEDICARE RECORD via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Price‘s views on Medicare vouchers and eligibility would be bad for senior citizens … Nelson vowed to vote against affirming his nomination to be Donald Trump‘s secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Nelson charged that Price’s support for a Medicare voucher system would lead to increased out-of-pocket costs for seniors’ medical bills and his support to raise the eligibility age to 67 would break promises to people paying into the system. “Our country deserves an HHS secretary who will uphold those promises, not inflict deep cuts that alter the financial security Medicare provides Americans in their later years,” Nelson stated … “And so for these reasons and others, sometime in this next 11 and a half hours when we vote, I’m going to vote no on this nominee. There’s too much at stake for our seniors to give this nominee the control over these programs.”

MARCO RUBIO RE-SHARPENS CONDEMNATION OF PUTIN AND ANY U.S.-RUSSIA DEALS via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing entitled, “The United States, The Russian Federation and the Challenges Ahead,” Florida’s Republican senator condemned prospects of a grand deal between the Trump administration and Putin involving ISIS, sanctions over Russian hacking, and Ukraine, calling it “a really stupid deal” that would have no chance of forwarding American interests. “I think this whole notion of a grand bargain, where they are going to help us kill terrorists and fight ISIS in exchange for lifting sanctions, is a fantasy,” Rubio said in response to comment from two witnesses, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Philip Breedlove, USAF (Ret), and Julianne Smith, senior fellow at the Center for New American Strategy.

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DONALD TRUMP RAGES IN ALL CAPS AFTER APPEALS COURT RULES AGAINST HIM via William Cummings of USA TODAY – Trump wasted no time in responding to a federal appeals court decision rejecting the Justice Department’s effort to reinstate his executive order barring immigration from seven Muslim nations. “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” Trump tweeted. Either the president’s caps-lock button is stuck, or he is one angry commander in chief. According to netlingo.com, “When someone is TYPING AN ENTIRE SENTENCE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, that person is SHOUTING. It is not proper netiquette to TYPE IN ALL CAPS, especially in email.” Stephen Colbert responded to the president’s tweet, taking issue with the grammar rather the substance of Trump’s social media scream: “Sir, this is two sentences. It shouldn’t be a comma. It should be a period. #GrammarNeoNazi”

TRUMP TO ARRIVE IN PALM BEACH COUNTY DURING RUSH HOUR TODAY via Kristina Webb of the Palm Beach Post – According to a temporary flight restriction by the Federal Aviation Administration, Trump will fly into PBIA sometime close to 5:15 p.m. Friday. The restrictions expire at 10 p.m. Sunday, indicating a late return to Washington, D.C. Trump is traveling to his Mar-a-Lago Club this weekend — his second weekend visit in a row — as he hosts Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

TAMPA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT’S CEO MEETS WITH TRUMP via Francis McMorris of the Tampa Bay Business Journal – Joe Lopano flew to Washington, D.C. and was among several airport and airline leaders to meet with Trump … as the new administration turned its sights to improving the aviation industry … Trump has vowed to focus on U.S. infrastructure projects and has called some U.S. airports “obsolete.” Lopano, speaking as he was boarding a plane back to Tampa, said the main topic of discussion was the customer experience. “That encompasses infrastructure on the ground,” he said. “We had a great discussion on how we can improve that.”

HOW TO BUILD AN AUTOCRACY via David Frum for The Atlantic – If this were happening in Honduras, we’d know what to call it. It’s happening here instead, and so we are baffled … The United States may be a nation of laws, but the proper functioning of the law depends upon the competence and integrity of those charged with executing it. A president determined to thwart the law in order to protect himself and those in his circle has many means to do so … liberty is actually threatened in a modern bureaucratic state … not by diktat and violence, but by the slow, demoralizing process of corruption and deceit. And the way that liberty must be defended is … with an unwearying insistence upon the honesty, integrity, and professionalism of American institutions and those who lead them. We are living through the most dangerous challenge to the free government of the United States that anyone alive has encountered.

WE ARE NOT THE SAME; THE IMMORAL EQUIVALENCY OF PRESIDENT TRUMP via Darryl Paulson of Florida Politics – President Trump turned in one of the most disgusting performances of any American president when he placed America and the Soviets on the same moral plateau. In a Fox News interview with Bill O’Reilly before the Super Bowl, Trump defended Putin against O’Reilly’s charge that “Putin’s a killer.” Trump responded that “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?” If Obama had made that statement, Republicans would be calling for his impeachment. But, weak-kneed Republicans, who have no problem praising Trump, have a far more difficult time criticizing him when he becomes ill with “foot and mouth” disease. In their silence, supporters of Trump are neither doing him, or the nation, favors anyway. Do you remember when one of our political leaders ordered the assassination of a political opponent?  Neither do I. But, Putin did that to Boris Nemtsov in 2015.

MATT GAETZ: DISSENTERS WELCOME AT ‘OPEN GAETZ DAY’ via Joseph Baucum of the Pensacola News-Journal – In the run-up to Gaetz’s all-day visit to Northwest Florida Feb. 23, the Fort Walton Beach Republican has urged all with input to partake in the day’s organized events, even those critical of his recent performance on Capitol Hill. “I encourage anyone to show up and participate who’s willing to be peaceful and nondisruptive,” he said. “It’s ‘Open Gaetz Day.’ The point is to get people’s ideas, suggestions and even criticism.” Several local groups aim to attend to voice their dissent to Gaetz’s recent policies. Those include members of the Escambia County Democratic Women’s Club … Their disapproval centers on the lawmaker’s recent drafting of a bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.

CHARLIE CRIST WANTS TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO LOOK INTO VOTER SUPPRESSION, DISENFRANCHISEMENT via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Crist and 75 other Democrats are signing on to a letter originally penned by Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, Alabama’s Terri Sewell and Washington’s Derek Kilmer calling for an evaluation of state voter restrictions in Wisconsin, North Carolina and Florida. Those states bar individuals with past felony convictions from voting unless they are able to meet a burdensome clemency requirement. This law has led to the disenfranchisement of an estimated 1.5 million Floridians. “Unsubstantiated voter fraud claims are being used as cover to enact policies aimed at disenfranchising certain voters — something Floridians are all too familiar with,” said Crist … “Voter suppression efforts are an attack on our democracy. I will fight to protect access to the voting booth, including for nonviolent former felons. It’s a matter of civil rights and fundamental fairness.”

DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ STAFFER UNDER INVESTIGATION, REPORT SAYS via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald – … for equipment and data theft …  Imran Awan has worked for various members of the House of Representatives since 2004. Multiple relatives of Awan who have also worked for House members are also part of the investigation. A spokesman for Wasserman Schultz, David Damron, didn’t respond to questions about Awan but sent a statement to the Miami Herald: “At this time we are continuing to gather information from House officials, and will determine the best approach to move forward once we have received a thorough review. We are consulting House counsel to ensure that due process is afforded to her employees before any action is taken.” A spokeswoman for U.S. Capital Police, Eva Malecki, sent a statement … “At the request of Members of Congress, the United States Capitol Police are investigating the actions of House IT support staff. No Members are being investigated. No arrests have been made. We have no further comment on the ongoing investigation at this time.”

FLORIDA ‘CROSSOVER’ CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS GIVE DEMOCRATS GLIMMER OF HOPE IN 2018 via Florida Politics – 2016 cycle’s “crossover” congressional seats – districts that voted for one party on the congressional level, and another for president … There were 26 such seats in the 2012 cycle, and 2016 saw an increase to 35. A dozen of the crossover seats sent a Democrat to Congress and backed Trump for president, while the remainder, including Florida’s 26th and 27th Congressional Districts, voted a Republican into Congress while backing Democrat Hillary Clinton for president. Despite the jump in crossover seats … the Clinton versus Trump election may not be an “accurate gauge” of these seats true partisan leans, and says most of the districts are “more competitive on paper than in practice” … the GOP has a much firmer grasp on their Congressional seats than Democrats did in 2010, when Republicans won the midterm election by a landslide. Democrats lost 48 House seats, and their majority, in that cycle.

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DAYS UNTIL: Pitchers & catchers report for Spring Training – 2; Valentine’s Day – 4; Start of 2017 Legislative Session – 25; Florida Capitol Press Corps Press Skits – 32; 2017 Legislative Session Sine Die – 84; FSU vs. Alabama – 204; Election Day 2017 – 269; Star Wars: Episode VIII/The Last Jedi opens – 307.


ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will hold a press conference at 9 a.m. to highlight proposed transportation investments at Southwest Florida International Airport, 11000 Terminal Access Road in Fort Myers. The event will be on the third floor of the airport.

JEFF ATWATER WINS FIRST ROUND OF $1 BILLION BONDS FIGHT WITH FEDS via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics– Atwater has scored a preliminary win in his fight against the federal government over U.S. savings bonds he holds as unclaimed property. The U.S. Treasury has agreed to redeem “just over 1,000 bonds, worth a little more than half a million dollars, excluding accrued interest,” Atwater spokeswoman Ashley Carr said … The total value of all the bonds in question is more than $1 billion. In November, Atwater sued the feds for that amount, saying they had refused to make good on matured U.S. savings bonds he holds as unclaimed property. The suit was filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which adjudicates demands for payment from the federal government.

HALSEY BESHEARS NOT A CANDIDATE FOR AG COMMISSIONER via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat – The three-term Republican represents nine north Florida counties and the southwest section of Leon including Woodville. He had expressed interest in a statewide run last month but indicated the urge has passed. “I’m thinking of a fourth Bird Legs Bicycles shop,” said Beshears, who operates a popular Tallahassee Trek specialty shop and recently opened two stores in Jacksonville Beach. Beshears has family ties to a huge Jefferson County farm and nursery.

ICYMI: BEN ALBRITTON LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN FOR DENISE GRIMSLEY’S SENATE SEAT via Florida Politics – Albritton, the Wauchula Republican who represents House District 56, filed for the Senate District 26 seat. SD 26 covers a wide swath of Central Florida from Charlotte and Glades counties through southern Polk County. Currently holding the seat is Denise Grimsley, the Lake Placid Republican who recently filed as a candidate for Agriculture Commissioner. “It has truly been an honor to serve Florida’s Heartland for the past seven years,” Albritton said in a statement. “If given the opportunity, I want to continue the fight for the conservative reforms that protect and grow jobs here at home, that make our communities safer, and that value the lives of all Floridians.”

HOUSE, SENATE TRYING TO AVOID BUDGET SHOWDOWN OVER RULES via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – The Florida Senate and House have agreed to work together on a joint rule to avoid a “who blinks first” approach to this year’s budget negotiations. Sen. Jack Latvala … who heads the Appropriations Committee … told the Rules Committee he was “pleased to report” House leaders had agreed to consider what’s known as a “joint rule” to streamline the process. The House now requires each request to be filed separately; those were due Tuesday. But the House’s method also required any senator’s project request to have its companion filed in the House or that chamber would not consider it. Latvala called that an “unprecedented situation” at the Rules Committee meeting … He said he consulted with Senate President Negron, who agreed the Senate “could either pass a budget and see who blinked first, or be proactive and try to resolve the situation.”

ANGRY RICHARD CORCORAN DARES SENATE TO SUE HIM; JOE NEGRON SAYS IT’S NOT HAPPENING via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Corcoran dared the Senate to make good on a threatened lawsuit challenging the House’s power to impose new budget-writing rules that affect how the Senate crafts a budget, but Senate President Negron responded by saying it’s not going to happen. “Legislative business should be resolved in the Capitol — not in the court system,” Negron told the Times/Herald. “I expect that to happen.”

JACK LATVALA SAYS EVIDENCE DOESN’T SUPPORT HOUSE ON JOB INCENTIVES via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – Visit Florida, for example, returns $3.20 cents for every dollar spent on advertising, according to figures from Amy Baker, state government’s top economist. Enterprise Florida’s international offices program, meanwhile, returns $4. And its export assistance program returns $1.90. That’s as measured in tax revenue. Not counting spending on beaches, transportation and aviation, five of the top programs in return on investment involve the sort of incentives that would be outlawed under a bill approved by the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee. “They all produce a net increase in tax revenue, over and above what we invest in them. And all five of them are included in the bill the House passed out of committee yesterday to abolish,” Latvala said during a meeting of his committee.

JOINT AUDITING COMMITTEE REVIEW HEARS MIXED REVIEW OF ENTERPRISE FLORIDA’S SUCCESS RATE OVER THE PAST DECADE via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Officials with the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) provided commentary on their recent audit of the private-public partnership before the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee … The appearance came a day after a House committee voted to kill Enterprise Florida, along with Visit Florida …  Dan Raulerson wanted to know if there was a way to compare how well Florida is doing in using tax incentives to recruit businesses compared to other states? “One of the analysis we did shows that Florida does not rank as favorably with respect to competitive states when you look at just the targeted industries,” said Laila Racevskis, a senior legislative analyst with OPPAGA. She added that her office also compared Florida on major economic indicators. The analyses included six qualified target industries—manufacturing; wholesale trade; information; finance and insurance; professional, scientific and technical services; and Management of Companies and Enterprises.

FLORIDA NONPROFIT HOSPITALS BRACE FOR LEGISLATIVE BATTLE via Alexandra Glorioso of the Naples Daily News – A growing number of Republican legislators are signing on to Gov. Scott’s call to deregulate the health care industry, a move that nonprofit hospitals fear could cripple their ability to care for the poor … The deregulation push gained steam with Sen. Rob Bradley‘s bill to repeal the law that determines how many hospitals, nursing homes and hospices can be in one area at a time based on demand for their services. Bradley called the bill a “vehicle” for the Senate to join the House and governor in a debate Senate leaders have avoided that dates back years regarding the repeal of what is known as the state’s certificate of need process. The arguments against the idea by the nonprofit hospital association have historically prevailed in the Senate, thus making repeal of the certificate-of-need regulatory process a perennial loser in the Legislature. Scott has defined the bill as one of his top priorities, and it has been pushed as a longtime priority of House Speaker  Corcoran … as well as his likely successor, Rep. Jose Oliva.

***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.***

STAND YOUR GROUND BURDEN OF PROOF BILL SHOOTS THROUGH FINAL SENATE COMMITTEE via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News – The Senate Rules Committee passed SB 128, sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley… by a vote of 8-4. The bill will now head to the Senate for debate and approval. If passed, the proposal would give defendants more protection from prosecution in “Stand Your Ground” cases by requiring prosecutors to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” whether a defendant is entitled to immunity at a pretrial hearing in order to disprove a claim of self-defense immunity. The legislation would flip the responsibility onto the prosecutor to prove why a defendant shouldn’t be allowed to use the Stand Your Ground defense in court. The bill has gathered significant attention around the state, particularly from those who say the bill is necessary to uphold Second Amendment freedoms.

TERM LIMITS FOR TOP FLORIDA JUDGES CLEARS FIRST HURDLE via The Associated Press – A divided House panel approved a measure (HJR 1) that would ask the state’s voters to approve a 12-year term limit for all Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges. If passed by the Florida Legislature, it would go before voters in 2018. Justices and appeals court judges currently must go before voters every six years for a merit retention vote. Supporters of the term limits proposal note that no judge has ever lost a merit retention vote. But opponents say the amendment would undercut the independence of the judicial branch and argued it would lead to less people seeking to become judges.

BRAD DRAKE, BLAISE INGOGLIA WANT LYING CANDIDATES PAY SOME TYPE OF PRICE via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Drake … At the House Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee … asked state election officials what recourse is there when a candidate is subjected to “malicious” comments from his opponent? Amy Toman, executive director of the Florida Elections Commission, said that a candidate can always file a complaint with her organization … Ingoglia said the real problem with such negative and false allegations is the extensive delays between reporting an elections violation and the time the commission addresses it. “If somebody is talking about peanut butter and veins, then they know that it is a political calculation, knowing that the time you all rule, the election is over,” said Ingoglia. He’d like a “fast-track process” where if a candidate sends out false information, the other candidate can file a complaint and get a response from the election commission within five business days. Ingoglia posited that “vile speech” is protected by the First Amendment, but said that “false speech should be protected at least by the courts.”

HOUSE PANEL HONES IN ON ATTORNEY FEES FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FIX via Florida Politics – The chairman of a key House subcommittee said this week that legislation to address rising worker’s compensation premiums will include curbs on attorney fees, “the biggest driver of the premiums.” Danny Burgess, chairman of the Insurance & Banking Subcommittee, spoke following a hearing into a raft of possible solutions to escalating worker’s compensation premiums. Also on Wednesday, the 1st District Court of Appeal scheduled oral argument for Feb. 22 in a challenge to a 14.5 percent rate increase that began to take effect in December. “There is no question that one of the more prominent focal points that need to be looked at very closely and addressed is the attorney-fee issue,” the Zephyrhills Republican said.

HOUSE MEMBERS MULL DETAILS OF HOW PANHANDLE OIL SPILL GROUP WILL OPERATE via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – Triumph Gulf Coast Inc. was established by the state to oversee spending of economic claims in eight Panhandle counties. The House select committee is considering draft legislation to establish processes for how the spending is administered. “We want this to be the most transparent procedure that we can have,” Rep. Jay Trumbull, a Republican from Panama City and chairman of the Select Committee on Triumph Gulf Coast, told committee members … His committee discussed an 18-page draft bill establishing procedures and another two-page bill that establishes the Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The bill requires that $299 million from the 2016 payment be transferred to the trust fund along with $1 million for administrative expenses to establish Triumph Gulf Coast.

HOUSE PANEL NARROWLY PASSES ABORTION TORT LEGISLATION via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – The bill, HB 19, creates a “cause of action” for a woman who is physically injured or suffers emotional harm due to an abortion if the doctor did not first get “informed consent,” which is when a doctor gets a patient’s permission before doing a medical procedure. Mark Delegal, a lobbyist representing The Doctors Company, said there is concern, if the bill becomes law, about increased insurance costs for physicians. “This is bigger than the abortion issue,” said Delegal, who called the bill shocking. It’s the same position taken by Equality Florida, the state’s largest LGBTQ organization. The bill was originally announced as defeated by the House Civil Justice and Claims Subcommittee, but passed after some confusion and a recount. There is not yet a companion bill in the Senate.

AARON BEAN FILES BILL FOCUSED ON NURSING HOME MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENT RATES via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – SB 712 transitions nursing homes that accept Medicaid payments to a prospective payment system. But LeadingAge Florida CEO Steve Bahmer said Bean’s bill “creates a better way to pay for care without devastating the highest quality” homes, unlike a model recently put forth by consultants. The Florida Legislature OK’d legislation in 2016 set aside $500,000 for a study to develop a proposal to convert Medicaid payments for nursing home services from a cost-based reimbursement to a prospective payment plan. The state hired Navigant Consulting to conduct the study, which included a series of public meetings across the state. Bahmer said a model developed by Navigant could shift “Medicaid funding from the highest quality nursing homes to the lowest quality nursing homes.” That model divides the state into two regions — the South region, which consists of Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, and the North region, which is the rest of the state.

JASON BRODEUR INTRODUCES AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE LEGISLATION IN FLORIDA HOUSE via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – HB 275 would streamline the process for use self-driving vehicles on public roads in Florida. “With more than 90 percent of crashes in 2015 being the result of human error, autonomous vehicles have the potential to eliminate this error and transform the way we travel,” Brodeur said … “I am proud to support HB 725 this session, as Florida is largely recognized as the nation’s leader in autonomous vehicle public policy. But in order to maintain this position and encourage companies to begin testing and deploying in the Sunshine State, we must address the current laws governing motor vehicle operation that never contemplated a driverless future.”

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Mayor Andrew Gillum will hold a press conference at 9:15 a.m. to condemn House Bill 17, which would take away from local governments, outside City Hill, 300 S. Adams Street in Tallahassee. Representatives from Equality Florida and Sierra Club are also expected to attend.

EDITORIAL: LET TRACKS DROP DOG AND HORSE RACES via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Sen. Bill Galvano … filed Senate Bill 8, which he describes as a “comprehensive, statewide approach to reforming current gaming laws.” The 120-page bill would … enable the owners of pari-mutuel tracks to drop increasingly unpopular dog and horse racing but maintain their card rooms … Galvano’s bill wisely “decouples” the racing requirement from the operation of card rooms that have cash pots. Requiring track owners to conduct greyhound or horse racing that the public – gamblers and non-gamblers alike – no longer supports doesn’t make sense. Eliminating the state mandate would acknowledge well-established trends in gaming, and help greyhounds and horses avoid fates they don’t deserve.

TALLAHASSEE ENTREPRENEUR RICK KEARNEY BOOSTS FLORIDA COMPETES CAMPAIGN WITH $100K via Florida Politics – Kearney gave $100,000 to Florida Competes, the coalition of businesses working to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act. Kearney’s check is the largest single donation to Florida Competes so far. Kearney, who serves as chairman and CEO of the Tallahassee-based Mainline Information Systems, said in a statement the donation represents a “longstanding commitment to LGBT equality” and is an investment in improving Florida’s reputation as a place of equality and inclusion. “I’m proud to stand with Florida’s business leaders to advocate for equality for all,” he said, “by adding these overdue protections to Florida’s civil rights statute.”

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MORE BAD NEWS AS FLORIDA ORANGE CROP DROPS AGAIN via Florida Politics – Florida’s grapefruit crop held steady at nine million boxes, but its orange crop went down slightly, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s February forecast. Thursday’s report projects a one million box reduction in the state’s orange crop to 70 million boxes. That’s after last month’s forecast also predicted a decrease.

ROBERT J. LUCK ELEVATED TO APPEALS COURT JUDGE via Florida Politics – Gov. Scott appointed Circuit Judge Luck to the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami. Luck, 37, of North Miami Beach, has served as a circuit judge for the 11th Judicial Circuit since 2013. He previously was an Assistant U.S. Attorney and Deputy Chief at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.


Slater BaylissChristopher Chaney, The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners: Alan Beckman LivaNova, PLC

Melanie Bostick, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee: Florida Justice Reform Institute

Melanie BrownJon Johnson, Johnson & Blanton: Selah Freedom

Bradley Burleson, Ballard Partners: DLRdmv, LLC

Edgar CastroNelson Diaz, Southern Strategy Group: Mark Anthony Brands, Inc.

Jennings Lawton DePriest, Strategos Public Affairs: Early Childhood Initiative

Pete DunbarMartha EdenfieldBrittany FinkbeinerCari Roth Dean Mead: Homestead Communications, Inc.

Candice Ericks, Ericks Advocacy Group: Handy, Inc.

Mercer FearingtonJerry McDanielClark Smith, Southern Strategy Group: RELX Inc.

Marnie GeorgeMichael HarrellPaul HawkesTimothy Stanfield, Buchanan Ingersolll & Rooney: National Strategies, LLC on behalf of American Kratom Association

Thomas GriffinLisa Hurley, Smith Bryan & Myers: Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc.; Summit Care, Inc.

Wayne Malaney, Wayne R. Malaney PA: Business Observer Florida

Charlotte Mather-Taylor, CMT Consulting: Envision

Kim McCray, McCray & Associates: Dosal Tobacco Corporation

Evan Power, Ramba Consulting Group: Building Officials Association of Florida

Christopher Snow, Snow Strategies: Pediatric Supplier

HAPPENING NEXT WEEK – FAPL HOSTS LAWMAKER RECEPTION — The Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists will host a “Welcome Back FAPLtini” at 5:30 p.m. at the Southern Public House, 224 E. College Ave in Tallahassee. The event is meant to welcome new and returning legislators to Tallahassee and is sponsored by Century Link and PIFF.

***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***

DISNEY’S WONDERFUL WORLD MAY BE TOO GOOD TO LAST via The Associated Press – ESPN has been one of Disney’s crown jewels, but with cable viewership on the decline, its ratings have been under pressure … Disney has been working hard to adapt to the new realities of online TV watching. Its channels — ABC, The Disney Channel, ESPN and others — are all part of less expensive “skinny” channel bundles on streaming services such as Sling TV, Sony PlayStation Vue and DirecTV now. Disney also took a $1 billion stake in BAMTech , which provides streaming for Major League Baseball. Disney plans to use that technology for an ESPN streaming service, set to launch this year, which will offer live game streaming and programming not offered on regular ESPN. Disney might also one day offer a standalone streaming version of ESPN, much the way HBO has with its $15-a-month-service HBO Now.

JEFFREY LORIA HAS PRELIMINARY AGREEMENT TO SELL MARLINS via Steven Wine of The Associated Press– Loria has a preliminary agreement to sell the team to a New York businessman, but the deal could fall through because the final purchase price hasn’t been determined, a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations … the Marlins have not commented publicly on the negotiations. The preliminary agreement was for a purchase price of about $1.6 billion, the person said, but added that was before the prospective buyer did due diligence. The final offer by the potential buyer could be much lower, the person said. The person declined to identify the prospective buyer but said other parties are also interested in purchasing the team, and negotiations with them might eventually be reopened.

RIVERS OF LIGHT PREMIERS AT DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising – A nighttime show that celebrates the relationship between animals and nature will debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Feb. 17. Rivers of Light is set on the Discovery River and features special water effects, decorative floats, laser projections and a live storytelling performance. Animal Kingdom’s first nighttime show starts with an ancient lantern festival that draws out four animal spirit guides – an elephant, owl, tiger and turtle. The animals are lit with LED technology and take shape on lantern floats, some measuring 15-feet-tall and 30-feet-long. Video projections and choreographed laser animation combine to create the appearance of glowing fireflies that light up the sky.

STAR WARS LANDS TO OPEN AT HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS, DISNEYLAND IN 2019 via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising – … bringing the largest ever themed expansions to both parks. The 14-acre attractions are under construction at both parks and are expected to bring large crowds capitalizing on the success of the Star Wars series of films. Star Wars Episode IX opens in theaters the same year as the two lands are scheduled to debut. “Our intent is to make it feel as if you just walked into one of the movies…,” said Disney Imagineering executive Scott Trowbidge in a 2015 interview for the fan publication Disney twenty-three. “Bringing Star Wars to life in the physical world gives us the opportunity to play with a whole bunch of things we’ve never done before… to really engage all of the senses.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our friends Carrie Henriquez and Franco Ripple. Also celebrating today is Jamie Wilson.

Sunburn for 2.8.17 – Scott vs. Corcoran showdown; Member projects pile up; red-light cameras still alive; Get well, Carol Dover!

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

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


… now the fight begins in earnest.

The House Careers & Competition Subcommittee will discuss a proposed bill today to get rid of Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. The discussion comes just one week after House leadership unveiled the proposal, and marks the latest in a quickly escalating fight between Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran over incentives.

Here’s a refresher, in case you’ve been living under a rock: Scott wants $85 million for economic incentives, even including it in his 2017-18 budget. Corcoran has compared incentives to corporate welfare, and has said they won’t be in the House budget.

And if the Florida House has its way, Enterprise Florida might not be around much longer. The proposed committee bill would eliminate, among other things, Enterprise Florida, Visit Florida, the Office of Film & Entertainment and entertainment tax incentive programs, quick response training programs, and the quick action closing fund.

The Florida House has Americans for Prosperity-Florida in its corner. The organization led the charge during the 2016 Legislative Session to quash Scott’s proposal for $250 million for Enterprise Florida.

The group is poised to do the same this year, encouraging supporters to sign a petition asking their representatives to support the proposed committee bill so “we can finally stop corporate welfare in Florida.”

“The Florida House has the opportunity to put an end to this corporate welfare by eliminating special tax carve outs and handouts for big businesses,” reads the petition. “Our government should not be using our hard-earned tax dollars to fund big corporations who don’t need or deserve handouts.”

And Americans for Prosperity isn’t just asking for supporters to sign a petition. On Monday, Brian Burgess with The Capitolist reported the organization was urging members to show up at the committee meeting, even “offering free food, lodging, transportation and t-shirts, all paid for by AFP.”

“The time has come to eliminate corporate welfare in Florida,” said Chris Hudson, the state director of AFP-Florida in a statement last week. “Floridians don’t deserve for their tax dollars to be used to recruit businesses to compete against them. They don’t deserve the millions of dollars in waste that produced an abysmal return on investment which is contrary to what politicians of the past promised would come.”

But don’t expect “Team Incentive” to go down without a fight. Scott has spent weeks talking up the need for money for incentives. Heck, he even held a jobs summit, where business leaders spent two days talking about what would happen if incentives weren’t part of the economic development toolbox.

“This all comes to down to … whether you care about people’s jobs or not,” said Scott to reporters during his 2017 Jobs Summit in Orlando last week. “It’s a choice between whether you believe in helping the poorest family in our state get to work or you don’t.”

Committee members will also likely expect to hear from supporters of Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida — including local chambers of commerce, business leaders, and local visitor and convention bureaus — to talk about what eliminating the programs could mean.

Want to weigh in? The House Careers & Competition Subcommittee meets at 1 p.m. in 212 Knott. But you better get there early, it’s sure to be a packed house.

HEARING that top lobbyists are being contacted by the Governor’s Office and urged to bring their clients to the House committee to speak against the House bill.

***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.***

RICK SCOTT LASHES OUT AT RICHARD CORCORAN OVER JOBS MONEY via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press – Scott … suggested that Corcoran … and other House Republicans are turning their backs on residents who need jobs. He said that House Republicans should stop “lecturing” him since they didn’t know what it was like to struggle for a paycheck or run a business. Scott also suggested Corcoran’s opposition was based more on politics. “We’re seeing people that just want to run for higher office; they’re not concerned about what happens to other people,” Scott said. “They just think it’s a nice soundbite. I’m extremely disappointed in the House’s action. They are not thinking about the future of this state.” (Click on the image below to watch video of Scott’s comments.) Corcoran wasted little time in responding forcefully to the governor’s comments – and raised questions as to whether the state’s support of business incentives has produced substantive results as Scott contends. “We were elected to do what is right and clean up government, put an end to the waste of taxpayer money, and end the culture of corruption,” Corcoran said in a statement. “The governor cannot be surprised that we will do the right thing regardless of the consequences.”

A CORDIAL HOUSE RECEPTION FOR SCOTT’S BUDGET, DESPITE OFF-STAGE RANCOR via Florida Politics – The House Appropriations Committee gave a respectful reception Tuesday to Gov. Rick Scott’s $83.5 billion state budget, with chairman Carlos Trujillo praising the spending plan as “conservative.” … Of proposed legislation that would spike Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida … Trujillo said a hearing Wednesday before the Careers and Competition Subcommittee would be telling. “If the bill goes down in flames tomorrow in committee, we know there’s probably not an appetite for the membership. But if that’s not the case, the appropriations will follow the policy,” Trujillo said. “I’m assuming it will be reported favorably.”

HOUSE TARGETS 23 ‘FLAWED’ INCENTIVES FOR PERMANENT ELIMINATION via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – (A) House analysis says the incentives Scott supports are “impediments to normal market forces, operating in a manner where government selects winners and losers.” One incentive on the House chopping block is the Urban High-Crime Area Job Credit, with tax breaks to businesses that create jobs in areas of high crime and poverty. Corporate giants Publix, Wal-Mart and Universal have benefited from it, and Miami-Dade has three job credit pockets, the most of any county. Through 2012, the state awarded $21.9 million in such tax credits to businesses in 13 areas, including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. The bulk of the credits, about $10.6 million, went to Orlando, where Universal Studios got a tax break for a Harry Potter attraction, the Orlando Sentinel reported, and Publix and Wal-Mart got tax breaks for distribution centers.

— “The case against spending tax money on job incentives, tourism promotion” via Paul Renner for the Tampa Bay Times

HOUSE MEMBERS’ PROJECT BILLS ADD UP TO $708 MILLION via Florida Politics – House members had filed 319 bills seeking money for local projects as the deadline for such legislation fell Monday. They would cost more than $708 million if enacted. Under rules approved when Richard Corcoran assumed the speakership, members must file a specific bill describing each project they hope to insert into the state budget. … According to a Lobby Tools tally, the most expensive item is HB 2503 by Cary Pigman, a Sebring Republican. He would spend nearly $62 million to tear down and replace the aging Okeechobee High School. The least expensive is HB 2003, by Deltona Republican David Santiago, to install a virtual reality lab for STEM students at Edgewater Public Elementary School in Volusia County. The price tag is $25,000.

MEANWHILE … VISIT TAMPA BAY WILL RESPOND TO SPEAKER’S DEMAND FOR FINANCIAL DETAILS BY DEADLINE via Steve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times – Patrick Harrison, chief marketing officer for Visit Tampa Bay, said the agency is planning to comply with a Wednesday [today] deadline to turn over more details, but he wouldn’t say what that will entail. “We will respond to the letters we have received by Wednesday,” Harrison said. Last month, 13 local tourism marketing agencies were asked to provide Corcoran … with detailed financial statements, including a list of employee names and salaries and itemized spending on travel and food.

***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.***

DAYS UNTIL: The Batman Lego Movie opens – 2; Pitchers & catchers report for Spring Training – 4; Valentine’s Day – 6; Start of 2017 Legislative Session – 27; Florida Capitol Press Corps Press Skits – 34; 2017 Legislative Session Sine Die – 86; FSU vs. Alabama – 206; Election Day 2017 – 271; Star Wars: Episode VIII/The Last Jedi opens – 309.

WILL THERE EVER BE ENOUGH $ TO KEEP FLORIDIANS COMPLETELY SAFE, ASKS GOP STATE SENATOR via Florida Politics – For the coming year, the state of Florida is asking Washington D.C. to give more than $41 million for domestic security. “Is this the attitude of the American people and Floridians, that we’re willing to spend whatever it takes to be safe in a free society? And can we really do that to make us completely safe?” asked freshman state Sen. Doug Broxson. “Is there any amount of money that will make us completely safe?” Broxson aimed his question to Bryan Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management and Mark Glass, an intelligence officer with the FDLE … They said that the more than $41 million requested is more than the state actually needs going into next year, and ensures not having to hit the state Legislature up for additional funds.

BILL TO KILL RED-LIGHT CAMERAS DOESN’T GET THE VOTES IN SENATE via Florida Politics – Lawmakers are once again debating this year whether the state should stop using red light cameras — but the conversation may not be long. The House Appropriations Committee voted favorably on HB 6007 by Rep. Bryan Avila which would scrap red-light cameras in Florida. Meanwhile, the Senate Transportation Committee failed to pass a similar red-light repeal bill by Sen. Frank Artiles on a 2-2 vote. Saying he agreed with both sides, committee Chairman George Gainer said he believes it should be up to individual counties to decide on whether to keep or jettison the red-light cameras … Artiles blasted the leading vendor of the cameras in Florida, American Traffic Solutions, for having 24 lobbyists working in Tallahassee to kill his bill. The House bill has one of three committees of reference left. The Senate bill failed in its first committee, and would have had four to pass through.

JEFF BRANDES, DARRYL ROUSON DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION BILL ADVANCES IN SENATE via Florida Politics – The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously passed legislation to reduce the number of driver’s licenses suspended annually in Florida. The bipartisan bill (SB 302), sponsored by Brandes and Rouson, would end the suspension of licenses for non-driving-related offenses. If passed, it could dramatically reduce a large number of suspensions taking place statewide each year. Right now, one can lose driving privileges in Florida over a number of nondriving offenses: truancy, writing graffiti, theft, vandalism, writing worthless checks and a minor’s possession of tobacco.

PUBLIC RECORDS BILL SQUEAKS THROUGH SENATE PANEL via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel – A bill that open government advocates say will  place a “chilling effect” on citizens and media outlets attempting to get public records narrowly moved through a Senate panel Tuesday. The bill, SB 80, would require public records requests to be submitted in writing five days before filing a lawsuit and leave it up to the judge to decide whether to award attorneys’ fees. It passed the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee on a 4-3 party line vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. Sen. Greg Steube is sponsoring the bill and said he only wants to target the cottage industry of lawyers and law firms taking advantage of public records laws. He cited cases of lawyers filing records requests against small local governments and non-profits with government contracts, then “shaking down” the groups for payments to avoid a lawsuit.

REDISTRICTING OVERHAUL CLEARS FIRST SENATE PANEL via Florida Politics – A bill aimed at speeding up the handling of political redistricting court cases breezed through its first Senate committee … The legislation (SB 352) was OK’d by the Senate Judiciary Committee with only state Sen. Bobby Powell … voting against it. “I do believe it’s initially incumbent on us to be transparent so we don’t wind up in these situations,” Powell said. “This is something that basically we brought on ourselves.” Representatives for both the League and Common Cause, plaintiffs in the redistricting actions, opposed the bill. It next heads to the Senate’s Ethics and Elections Committee.

SENATE PANEL OKS BILL TO CREATE CHIEF DATA OFFICER via Florida Politics – The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee OK’d the legislation (SB 362) unanimously … It also establishes a “Geographic Information Office” within the agency. “GIS activities are fragmented across the state with duplication of data collection and storage,” a staff analysis said. “Standards are followed inconsistently, and information is not immediately accessible when needed by law enforcement, emergency management and the State Fire Marshal.” The bill also comes after an audit of the agency laid out a laundry list of security and other problems at the relatively new agency, created in 2014.

DIRECT PRIMARY CARE BILL EASILY PASSES FIRST HURDLE via Kate Payne of WFSU – An effort to expand direct primary care sailed through its first committee meeting Tuesday in the Florida statehouse. The healthcare model allows patients to pay doctors monthly fees in exchange for basic services. Proponents say the system cuts out insurers, and lowers costs and wait times. … Similar measures failed in the past two legislative sessions, but the bill filed this year by Senator Tom Lee of Brandon does carry the support of various physician associations. The measure specifies that direct primary care is not insurance, and does not meet statutory requirements for insurance. But at a time when the future of Obamacare is uncertain, supporters say direct primary care could be a safety net for the poor and underinsured.

PLAN WOULD SCRAP LIMITS ON TRAUMA CENTERS IN FLORIDA via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools – SB 746, by Sen. Travis Hutson, came two weeks after Gov. Scott called for getting rid of a limit of 44 trauma centers statewide … In addition to eliminating the overall cap, Hutson’s bill also would end limits on the numbers of trauma centers in each of 19 regions — limits that have prompted much of the legal wrangling in recent years among hospitals. Most recently, an administrative law judge ruled last week that the Department of Health had improperly allowed Orange Park Medical Center in Clay County to open a trauma center in 2016. That ruling stemmed, at least in part, from a regulation allocating one trauma center to a five-county region of Northeast Florida.

JACK LATVALA, JASON BRODEUR AIM TO PROTECT FRANCHISEES via Florida Politics – Legislation that would protect small business owners who enter into franchise agreements was filed Tuesday in the Florida Legislature. (Latvala, a state senator, and Brodeur, who is in the House,) announced their support of the “Protect Florida Small Business Act” … The bill’s intent “is to promote fair business relations between franchisees and franchisors and to protect franchisees against unfair treatment by franchisors,” it says. “Therefore, it is necessary to regulate the conduct of franchisors and their representatives in order to prevent fraud, unfair business practices, unfair methods of competition … and other abuses upon franchisees in this state.”

TWEET, TWEET: @Fineout: State Sen. @ClemensFL has proposed an amendment to Senate higher ed package that makes Fla private college stipends needs based

CINDY GRUDEN AT CAPITOL TO SUPPORT MORE MONEY FOR MOFFITT via Florida Politics With former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden sick at home, wife Cindy stepped in to stump for Moffitt Cancer Center’s request for increased funding at the Capitol Tuesday. The center, located in Tampa, is asking lawmakers this year for an additional $8 million from the state’s tobacco tax to build a new research facility. “If he were here, (Jon) would tell you Moffitt is all about teamwork,” she said.


REGGIE FULLWOOD AVOIDS PRISON AFTER WIRE FRAUD PLEA via Florida Politics –Fullwood pleaded guilty to two counts last year, and it turned out that, rather than facing two centuries in prison, his sentence was no prison time At  all. Fullwood got time served, plus three years of house arrest for the wire fraud count, and one year for failure to file: those house arrest sentences will be served concurrently. Fullwood also is responsible for $60,500 in forfeiture, and an additional $42,500 in IRS penalties.

JUDGES QUESTION PARENT POSITIONS IN CHALLENGE TO FLORIDA’S THIRD-GRADE RETENTION LAW via Jeffrey Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times – The judges from the 1st District Court of Appeal have yet to make a ruling, but through questioning they suggested that the parents’ lawsuit might have been more appropriately handled in local courts or through an administrative procedures complaint. One of the panel said the parents seemed intent on subverting Florida law when they told their children last spring to sign their names to the reading exam but answer no questions. “This is self-inflicted harm,” Judge T. Kent Wetherell II said during the hourlong proceeding. Parents from seven counties filed suit in Leon County — where the Department of Education is based — in August. They sought emergency action to prevent their children from repeating third grade after refusing to complete a state reading test, and argued state law didn’t require a passing score. Leon County Judge Karen Gievers agreed. The department and districts appealed.

STATE OFFICIALS GET AN EARFUL FROM BROWARD MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACTIVISTS via Dan Sweeney of the Sun-Sentinel – At the Broward County Health Department on Tuesday, 200 people packed a room set up for about 70, crowding down the aisles, pouring out the door. … Doctors were especially adamant about ending the 90-day rule and the Florida Board of Medicine’s role. The board is a 15-member administrative body whose members are appointed by the Governor. … But mostly, advocates, doctors and would-be patients want the system to work faster. … Christian Bax, Director of the Office of Compassionate Use, said little throughout the proceedings and took no questions afterward.

FLORIDA TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY APPLICATION DEADLINE – March 20 is the application deadline for individuals looking to be secretary of Florida’s Department of Transportation. The deadline appeared in an online job description for the position. Former Secretary Jim Boxold exited the $141,001-a-year state job to join Tallahassee-based Capital City Consulting. Rachel Cone, the department’s assistant secretary for finance and administration, is serving as acting secretary. The Florida Transportation Commission will interview applicants and send the top three names to Gov. Scott, who will make the final appointment. The agency has an annual budget of $10.8 billion, with nearly 6,000 employees.

INSURANCE OFFICE GOING AFTER ONE-WAY ATTORNEY FEES IN AOB FIGHT via Florida Politics – Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier laid out his office’s solution to the insurance assignment-of-benefits problem to Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet Tuesday, and it includes limiting contractors’ ability to recover attorney fees in litigation against insurance companies. … Florida’s one-way attorney fee statute is intended to shield policyholders against legal bills if they want to sue their insurers for failure to pay or low-balling claims. … Draft legislation circulating within the Office of Insurance Regulation would specify that only policyholders can take advantage of the law — not third parties, such as contractors, Altmaier said.

MIKE CARROLL: “WE AREN’T ALWAYS ABLE” TO SAVE “BROKEN” CHILDREN via Florida Politics – Carroll, secretary of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), spoke to the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee this week. Naika Venant, a 14-year-old Miami-Dade County girl who was in and out of foster care starting in 2009, killed herself during a Facebook Live video she titled, “I Don’t Wanna Live No More” … “I can tell you what happened to Naika was horrific on many levels,” Carroll said, including that her death was live-streamed “to a largely unsympathetic audience … This case is kind of symptomatic of what we deal with,” he said. In Naika’s case, “where issues were in place for most, if not all, of this young lady’s life. These issues predated her birth; they were generational.” Carroll said his department’s job is to protect such children “from the inside out” … “But many of these kids have cracks … they’re broken, they’re in pieces,” he told senators. “It doesn’t always show.”

MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR FLORIDA TAX BATTLE HEADS TO COURT via Florida Politics – The current owners of two Kraft Foods companies are going to court over a disputed $25 million in Florida corporate income tax. Intercontinental Brands LLC, which now owns Kraft Foods Global Brands, and Intercontinental Great Brands LLC, which owns Kraft Foods Holdings … sued the state Department of Revenue in Leon County Circuit Civil court. The state claims the companies respectively owe $16.3 million for 2008-12 and $8.8 million for 2006-11 in back corporate tax, penalties and interest … The revenue department says the companies owe because they had “intellectual property … licensees” who did business in Florida and paid them royalties. But the firms themselves say they “had no offices, employees or operations located in Florida,” had no property, contracts or other agreements here, and generally “did not conduct any business” in the state.

STORM COSTS LEAD TO A HIKE ON FP&L BILL via The Associated Press – The Florida Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved a $318.5 million request by the state’s largest power company. The money will used to cover storm-related damage from Hurricane Matthew and to replenish the company’s storm reserve fund. The PSC maintained that there was substantial damage caused by the storm in FPL’s service territory.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will highlight transportation investments during a press conference at 8:30 a.m. in front of the PortMiami administration building 1015 N. America Way in Miami. The event will be held in a restricted of the port terminal. Transportation to the event will be provided, but will not be available after 9:15 a.m. For questions, please contact Andria Muniz-Amador at 786-299-2410.

HAPPENING TODAY – COMMITTEE MEETINGS TO WATCH — Telehealth and health care workforce is on the agenda when the House Health Quality Subcommittee meets at 9 a.m. in 306 House Office Building; while the House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee is expected to settle in for a discussion about the “Future of Telecommunication Technologies” during its 9 a.m. meeting in 212 Knott. The House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee is set to take up Rep. Chris Sprowls’ ridesharing bill during its 1 p.m. meeting in 102 House Office Building. The Senate Transportation, Tourism & Economic Appropriations Subcommittee will get a presentation on economic development incentive programs during its meeting at 10 a.m. in 110 Senate Office Building. The “Excellence in Higher Education Act” will get a hearing during the 2 p.m. meeting of the Senate Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting. The Senate Regulated Industries Committee will discuss a bill that would loosen craft distillery laws when it meets at 2 p.m. in 301 Senate Office Building.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Sen. Brandes will hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. in front of the Senate Chamber on the 4th floor Rotunda to discuss new legislation focused on innovations in healthcare data accessibility. He’ll be joined by several members of the Florida Legislature and the Florida Medical Association.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: The Florida Health Care Association will give a presentation on the managed long term care component of Statewide Medicaid Managed Care during the Senate Health & Human Service Appropriations Subcommittee meeting at 2 p.m. in 401 Knott.

GOING PURPLE FOR ALZHEIMER’S RALLY IN TALLY via Michelle Branham of the Tallahassee Democrat – The Old Capitol [turned] purple … at sundown (around 6 p.m.) to celebrate the Annual “Rally in Tally” Alzheimer’s Association State Advocacy Day – with over 140 delegates joining forces from across the state. The Rally in Tally begins at 9 a.m. … Advocates from all over the state of Florida – including caregivers and those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s — will be visiting their legislators throughout the day to advocate for increased state research funding, support services, education programs, cultural outreach and increased respite care services.


POLL FINDS FLORIDIANS DISAPPROVE OF DONALD TRUMP’S PERFORMANCE via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun Sentinel – A poll by Florida Atlantic University found 66 percent disapproving of Trump’s job performance. He has approval of 34 percent. Trump’s national approval rating is 45 percent, according to a Real Clear Politics compilation. The FAU survey showed the partisan differences that marked the election season continue as strong as ever. Among Republicans, an overwhelming 73 percent approve of the president’s job performance and 27 percent disapprove. Among Democrats, just 8 percent approve of the job he’s doing so far, with 92 percent disapproving. Among no party affiliation/independent voters, 32 percent approved and 68 percent disapproved.

PAM BONDI: DONALD TRUMP’S TRAVEL BAN ‘ABSOLUTELY’ LEGAL via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – “I absolutely think it’s constitutional,” Bondi said echoing the Trump administration. “It’s not about religion, it’s about the safety of our country.” Bondi said she does not agree with the temporary restraining order, but will “respect the ruling.” She did say it could have been rolled out “smoother.”

SCHOOL CHOICE SUPPORTERS REJOICE AS SENATE CONFIRMS BETSY DEVOS via Allison Nielsen of Sunshine State News – School choice advocates in Florida had high hopes for DeVos as the nation’s next education secretary, blaming opposition to her confirmation on teachers unions mobilizing against her. Jeb Bush, a longtime advocate of education issues in Florida, praised Tuesday’s result. “Millions of families share Secretary DeVos’s vision for disrupting a failed status quo that has denied too many children access to a quality education,” he said. “It’s time to upend the entrenched special interests that put adults above genuine reforms that will raise student achievement.” Senators received millions of calls opposing DeVos’ nomination, jamming up phone lines on Capitol Hill as the vote drew closer. The NEA vowed to keep a close eye on DeVos as she navigates through her new position.

RONNIE SIMMONS, LONGTIME AIDE TO FORMER U.S. REP. CORRINE BROWN, CHANGING PLEA IN FRAUD CASE via Steve Patterson of the Florida Times-Union – Simmons, is apparently changing his not-guilty plea in the fraud case that helped end Brown’s long political career. Simmons is scheduled to face U.S. Magistrate James R. Klindt … about the new plea, according to an entry posted on Simmons’ court docket. Simmons, whose given first name is Elias, faced the possibility of a prison sentence exceeding 350 years if he were convicted of all 18 charges brought against him in a July indictment.

MULTIMILLIONAIRE GLADESMAN ‘ALLIGATOR RON’ BERGERON MULLING GOVERNOR CAMPAIGN via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – “I’ve had an awful lot of people approach me,” said Bergeron, 73, a rodeo champ, alligator wrestler, and eighth generation Floridian who grew up swimming in the Everglades and made a fortune in the development, road construction and cattle business. “I think I have to first of all look at my family and how it would effect my family and make the decision after that.” A Republican who describes himself as a “moderate conservative,” Bergeron says private sector experience is critical in government, as is building consensus, listening and bringing people together. He is a big fan of Gov. Rick Scott, but also is complimentary of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, and likely Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam. “We’d have to have a hitchin’ post at the governor’s mansion for my horse,” mused Bergeron, who expects to make a decision within four months or so.

GWEN GRAHAM: WOMEN’S RIGHTS MUST BE UNDERSTOOD TO BE NONNEGOTIABLE for the Palm Beach Post — More than 10,000 marchers descended on Tallahassee for a political fight. They chanted slogans, sang songs and waved signs in support of women’s rights. My father, former Gov. Bob Graham, and mother, Adele, marched with them for more than a mile to the steps of Florida’s State Capitol. The green sashes they wore were reminiscent of earlier trailblazers, women marching for the right to vote. Once they reached the rally point, Dad called for equal rights now, and the crowd responded with thunderous applause. This scene didn’t occur at last month’s Women’s March — it was in 1982, when women organized marches across the country to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. … I did not imagine I would still have to fight for those same rights three decades later as a member of Congress. I never imagined in 2017, we’d have a president threatening to undo all the progress we’ve made.

Today, we stand at a crossroads on women’s rights. One path takes us backward. A new Supreme Court rules against women. The next generation of women doesn’t have access to family planning. Their options in school are limited. Their fellow students, teachers and bosses again find it acceptable to harass them. They have fewer opportunities to become lawyers or doctors — and if they do make it, they’re still paid less than their male counterparts.

The other takes us forward. We elect more women to public office. We break barriers. We shatter glass ceilings. …The next generation of leaders in all fields – from engineering to business, public service to medicine – will be women. I believe there are always opportunities to work together — but we cannot negotiate on women’s rights.

***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.***

RAMON ALEXANDER RESIGNS FROM MINORITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE via TaMaryn Waters of the Tallahassee Democrat – Alexander resigned as the president and CEO for the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce after only a month on the job. The freshman state legislator was selected out of seven applicants for the position with a base salary of $50,000 plus benefits. “After very thoughtful consideration via fully evaluating my leadership roles and responsibilities throughout the region, it is absolutely necessary that I am not limited or restricted in any way to effectively carry out the critical role of serving as a duly elected member of the Florida House of Representatives,” Alexander said in his resignation letter. “I firmly believe that the intentions and core mission of BBMC is a much needed and a noble cause. I look forward to supporting the growth of the BBMC and its myriad community impact initiatives in my capacity as State Representative.” Tallahassee attorney and Minority Chamber founder Sean Pittman said he was disappointed to lose Alexander. The chamber had been without a president for 14 months before Alexander’s hire.


Taylor Patrick Biehl, Capitol Alliance Group: City of St. Petersburg

Marsha Bowen, Robert M. Levy & Associates: Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts

Ed Briggs, RSA Consulting: H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

Kimberly Case, Holland & Knight: Osceola County

Mark Delegal, Holland & Knight: Florida Academic Cancer Center Alliance

John Forehand, Kurkin Brandes: Florida Automobile Dealers Association

Eddie Gonzalez, Sun City Strategies, The Everglades Foundation

Armando Ibarra, Ai Advisory: Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association

Dean Izzo, Capital City Consulting: GDKN Corporation; SHI International Corp.

Timothy Meenan, Meenan: Brookdale Senior Living, Inc.

Michelle McKay, T.B. Consultants: Stratum Health System Inc.

Foyt Ralston, Bryant Miller Olive PA: City of Gretna

Laura Reynolds, Conservation Concepts LLC: Friends of the Everglades

Sydney Ridley, Southern Strategy Group: Altria Client Services LLC and its Affiliates

Steven Schale, Schale Communications: State Farm Florida Insurance Company

Robert Schenck, The Legis Group: Duke Energy

Clark Smith, Southern Strategy Group: Nopetro Management

Robert Wilson, Wilson & Associates: Florida Energy Pipeline Association; Florida Gas Transmission Company; Sunoco LP

PERSONNEL NOTE: JAVIER FERNÁNDEZ JOINS HOLLAND & KNIGHT IN MIAMI via Florida Politics – Fernández, who served as chief of staff to former Miami Mayor Manuel A. Diaz, has joined Holland & Knight as a partner in the firm’s South Florida Government Advocacy & Development Group. “His political background and understanding of the nuances of politics and policy will assist him in crafting effective solutions to achieve our clients’ goals,” said Miguel De Grandy, leader of the group. Fernández represents clients in all aspects of the land use and zoning entitlement process.

PERSONNEL NOTE: KEVIN MARINO CABRERA JOINS SSG’S MIAMI LOBBYING TEAM via Florida Politics – Marino Cabrera joins Southern Strategy Group after managing campaigns on both the state and federal levels. He also was a Council member on Miami-Dade County Community Council 11. He began his political career as the Field Director for Congressman Carlos Curbelo’s campaign, later serving as Director of Constituent Services. Marino Cabrera then was recruited to join Jeb Bush’s Presidential campaign as the South Florida Director. He was recently appointed by Commissioner Juan Zapata as a Councilman for West Kendall’s Community Council in Miami Dade County, a local land use and zoning board. He was subsequently elected to a full-term in 2016.

WEDNESDAY GOVERNORS CLUB LUNCH MENU – It’s Pacific Northwest buffet day with smoked tomato soup; apple pear salad; seasonal green salad; smoked salmon & penne pasta salad; rosemary peppered beef; chicken thigh yakitori; BBQ grilled salmon; white & wild rice with apples & raisin; roasted root vegetables; beans with lardon & sage and chef’s choice dessert.

***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***

PANDORA: THE WORLD OF AVATAR OPENS MAY 27 via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising – The CEO of the Walt Disney World Company … hinted that ticket prices would be going up. Pandora – The World of Avatar will be in the southwest portion of Animal Kingdom. It is expected to increase attendance and make Animal Kingdom a full day adventure. “We really believe in the coming years that the interest in Avatar will only increase,” said Disney CEO Robert Iger. “We think it has big potential.” When asked if the new attraction would bring higher admission prices, Iger said that Disney increases its ticket prices annually, but he was not ready to comment on the amount.

PUBLIX NO LONGER OFFERS YOU THAT FREE SLICE OF MEAT AT THE DELI COUNTER via Laura Reiley of the Tampa Bay Times – What gives? “We are piloting a change in a few dozen delis in Central and southwest Florida to create a more natural exchange between our deli clerks and our customers,” says Brian West, media relations manager at Publix, which has more than 1,000 stores in the Southeast. Translation: “Natural exchange” means no free deli samples. Publix says this is not a cost-cutting measure, and it doesn’t give out sales figures. But my mesquite turkey was $5.40 for a half-pound, 14 slices in the bag, plus meat crumbs. That means each slice is about 38 cents. Now, times that slice by all the free slices we have chomped at Publix deli counters and that’s $38 trillion zillion. Thereabouts.

TWITTER ROLLS OUT THREE NEW WAYS TO FIGHT ABUSE via Joseph Lichterman of NiemanLab.com – Twitter said it will prevent previously suspended users from creating new abusive accounts; it’s developing a “safe search” that lets users avoid searching for hateful or abusive tweets, and it’s tweaking the timeline with a new feature that will collapse “potentially abusive or low-quality tweets. Twitter said the collapsible tweets will ensure the “most relevant conversations are brought forward.” The “safe search,” meanwhile, will remove tweets “that contain potentially sensitive content and Tweets from blocked and muted accounts from search results.”

GET WELL to Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association chief and INFLUENCE 100 alum Carol Dover, who fractured her leg over the weekend.

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.

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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.

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.

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.”

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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

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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.”

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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.

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