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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

in Peter/Top Headlines by

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.

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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 – 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.

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

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

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

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



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

Pete Buigas, Buigas and Associates: Beacon Health Options

Dean Cannon, GrayRobinson: Canaveral Port Authority

Kimberly Case, Holland & Knight: Integrated Home Care Services

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

Brady James Cobb, Cobb Eddy: Life Insurance Settlement Association

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

Candice Ericks, Ericks Advocacy Group: Green Sentry Holdings

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

Nicole Graganella, Colodny Fass: Osceloa Legislative Effort

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

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

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

Jeffrey Kottkamp, Jeffrey Kottkamp PA: Alternative Medicine Florida

Bill McCullum, Dentons US LLP: Bombardier Transportation

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

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

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

Jennifer Ungru, Jones Walker: Arise Gaming Florida

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Sen. Perry Thurston.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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