Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.
AMENDMENT 2 NOW IN EFFECT
Medical marijuana might be legal in Florida, but don’t rush out to buy a bong quite yet.
Approved by 71 percent of voters, Amendment 2 allows patients with debilitating medical conditions (think cancer, HIV/AIDS, and post-traumatic stress disorder) to use higher strength medical marijuana than previously allowed under state law.
Even though the constitutional amendment goes into effect today, it will be months before new rules are adopted and implemented by the Florida Legislature and the state health department. And even then, getting medical marijuana won’t be as simple as popping into your neighborhood pot shop.
Under the constitutional amendment, patients need to be under the care of a licensed physician for at least three months. But that might not be as straight forward as getting an appointment at your family doctor. Physicians need to take an eight-hour course and pass an exam before they can order medical marijuana for a patient.
The Associated Press reported 340 physicians are currently registered with the Department of Health to order medical marijuana. That number is expected to increase significantly in the first quarter of 2017. And so are the number of patients in state compassionate use registry. So far there are nearly 1,500 patients in the state registry, according to the Associated Press.
Getting pot might prove problematic for some patients, at least in the short term. Five dispensing organizations have been authorized to distribute medical marijuana. There’s dispensaries in Tallahassee, Clearwater and Tampa, and some are offering in-home delivery.
Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve, one of the state’s first medical marijuana dispensing organizations, said she and others in the business in Florida are excited about the progress being made, but are “eager to enter the next phase.”
The Florida Legislature and the Florida Department of Health will be tasked with coming up with the regulatory framework. And they might want to act fast: A recent report estimates Florida’s medical marijuana industry will rival Colorado’s by 2020.
A New Frontier Data and Arcview Market Research report projected Florida’s market will grow to $1.6 billion by 2020. That growth would make it about half the size of California’s estimated $2.6 billion market and slight more than Colorado’s expected $1.5 billion market, according to Forbes.
Last month, Forbes reported Florida could end up making up 14 percent of the medical marijuana market by 2020.
“The opportunity for good jobs, tax money and wealth creation created by Amendment 2 passing cannot be understated,” said Troy Dayton, CEO of The Arcview Group, in a statement last month. “Savvy entrepreneurs and pioneering investors are rightfully exuberant about the Florida market. And, thankfully, seriously ill patients will no longer need to go to high school parking lots or drug dealers to get their medicine.”
— Expansion of medical marijuana business is necessary and prudent” via Ben Pollara for Florida Politics
FLORIDA HEALTH DEPARTMENT APPROVES SEVENTH MARIJUANA LICENSE via Florida Politics – … and could be on the verge of adding at least one more. Department spokeswoman Sarah Revell said they have reached an agreement with McRory’s Sunny Hill Nursery for the seventh license. The nursery is affiliated with GrowHealthy and will operate an indoor facility in Lake Worth. The department also agreed to settle with Plants of Ruskin and 3 Boys Farm. Both nurseries are working on potential terms to present to the department. That would resolve the last of the 13 administrative challenges filed by nurseries not selected for the first five licenses last December by the Office of Compassionate Use. Through settlements and administrative challenges, two additional licenses have been awarded so far. The state’s Division of Administrative Hearings ruled in February that a Northeast Florida nursery should have received a license due to a background check being wrongly disqualified. The state registry currently has 340 physicians and 1,495 registered patients but state officials anticipate a significant increase once the amendment is implemented.
ALSO DRIVING THE DAY — FRESHMEN TAKE D.C. – The 115th Congress kicks off its two-year term with swearing-in ceremonies, welcoming dozens of new members to the nation’s capital. Florida’s congressional delegation will welcome 10 new members, including a former ambassador, three former state legislators, and a former governor. The new members of the congressional delegation are Republicans Matt Gaetz, Neal Dunn, John Rutherford, Brian Mast and Francis Rooney, and Democrats Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto, Val Demings and Charlie Crist.
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FIRST IN SUNBURN – GREG GODDARD TO BECOME BILL NELSON’S FINANCE DIRECTOR — Greg Goddard, the former Florida finance director at Hillary for America, has been named finance director for Sen. Bill Nelson. Goddard knows a thing or two about fundraising in Florida. Prior to joining Hillary Clinton’s finance team, the University of Central Florida graduate served as the Florida finance director for Charlie Crist’s 2014 gubernatorial bid. Goddard also served as the deputy finance director for the Florida Democratic Party and spent seven months as the finance director for Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. And Goddard is no stranger to Nelson, working as the Orlando Democrat’s North Florida finance director from April 2011 until December 2012. “I have joined the campaign in a finance role for 2018, and am excited to be back on Team Nelson,” said Goddard in a statement. Nelson is gearing up for a 2018 re-election bid, where he could face Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
>>>Christina Diamond is also raising coin for Nelson as a fundraising consultant.
>>>With Goddard to Nelson, who will serve as finance director for the expected statewide campaigns of Gwen Graham or Phil Levine? Sunburn hears Stephanie McClung of Ruth’s List is a top candidate.
STEPHANIE MURPHY, VAL DEMINGS NAME SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL STAFF via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Demings begins with Wendy Anderson as the Orlando Democrat’s chief of staff, and includes Caroline Rowland as her communications director and Sonja White as her district director in Central Florida. Murphy, the Winter Park Democrat elected to represent Florida’s 7th Congressional District, announced that Brad Howard will serve as her chief of staff, John Laufer as her deputy chief and legislative director, and Lauren Grabell Allen as her district manager … Howard, who ran Murphy’s campaign, spent five years on Capitol Hill as a communications director for a member of Congress and then the fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition, which Congresswoman-Elect Murphy will join. Allen most recently served as the executive director for Support Our Scholars, a Winter Park-based nonprofit organization that financially and emotionally assists young women from underprivileged backgrounds with extraordinary academic potential. Allen previously worked as a government affairs specialist for Siemens Corporation in its D.C. office, and has also served in the district offices of two U.S. senators. Laufer spent the last eight years as legislative director for U.S. Rep. Pedro Pierluis of Puerto Rico, and has served in a New York law firm and for a federal judge. Anderson has both Central Florida and Capitol Hill experience, having served as chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, a New York Democrat; and in lobbying positions for Florida Hospital and the African-American Chamber of Commerce. Rowland served as communications director for Demings campaign. White spent 29 years at the Orlando Police Department, where Demings once was chief of police, and also has played significant community service rolls with the Oasis Preparatory Academy, Harbor House of Central Florida, Central Florida YMCA Achievers, Leadership of Orlando and other organizations. Among other Demings’ key positions, Erin Waldron was named community and economic development director, Wendy Featherson as scheduler and executive assistant, Aimee Collins-Mandeville as senior legislative assistant, and Chester Glover and Gladys Morales Smith as constituent services caseworkers.
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THE WORST THING YOU’LL READ TODAY – HOW A 6-YEAR-OLD GOT LOCKED ON A PSYCH WARD via Rosalind Adams of BuzzFeed News — In September, a 6-year-old Northeast Florida boy was taken from his school by police cruiser to River Point Behavior Health, a troubled unity of the nation’s largest psychiatric hospital chain Universal Health Services. According to a BuzzFeed News report, the school’s counselor decided to send the boy — identified by BuzzFeed as Nicholas — to a psychiatric hospital after he had been kicking and biting. The child was locked up under the state’s Baker Act law, which allows someone to be sent to a psychiatric hospital for an examination if the person appears mentally ill and appears to be causing severe harm to themselves or others. The hospital can hold a patient for up to 72 hours. According to BuzzFeed, Nicholas’ parents asked to take their child home at least three times. At the facility, the boy “would be given a bloody nose by get locked in a “seclusion” room at 3 in the morning, and wait more than 24 hours to see a psychiatrist, according to medical records provided by his parents.” The hospital, BuzzFeed reported, also “filed a petition to get a court order to hold him for longer. Nicholas was released only after a lawyer intervened on his behalf.” UHS was the subject of a recent BuzzFeed News investigation, and River Point is under criminal investigation for Medicare fraud as part of a wider federal probe into UHS as a corporate entity, the company told investors. Federal regulators have been looking into whether River Point misused Florida’s involuntary commitment laws to hold patients at the hospital who did not need treatment.
DONALD POLMANN JOINS PSC via Florida Politics – Engineer Donald Polmann joins the state’s Public Service Commission this week. The commission regulates the state’s investor-owned utilities. Gov. Scott chose Polmann, of Dunedin, to replace Commissioner Lisa Edgar, who decided not to reapply. (She has since become director of state parks.) Polmann is a registered professional engineer with three degrees, including a doctorate in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He wrote a chapter for a scholarly book on water use and supply. He had been a senior manager at Atkins, an international design and engineering firm, specializing in water projects. His appointment, which must be confirmed by the Florida Senate, runs from this Monday to Jan. 1, 2021.
SEMINOLE TRIBE OBJECTS TO GRETNA TRACK’S INTERVENTION IN GAMBLING DISPUTE via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Greenberg Traurig attorney Barry Richard, who represents the Tribe, filed his memorandum in opposition to Gretna Racing’s motion to intervene last week, court records show. Its attorneys, David Romanik and Marc Dunbar, had asked Hinkle to remove the part of his ruling they say could make it a “crime” for the track’s cardroom to continue offering certain card games. Romanik and Dunbar also are part-owners of Gretna Racing. The track has a case pending before the state Supreme Court on whether to expand slot machines in the state. Voters in Gadsden County, where the track is located, and six other counties passed local referendums to approve slots. At immediate issue, however, is the track’s offering certain card games that Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Hinklebased his decision on. Hinkle had ruled that regulators working under Gov. Rick Scott allowed certain Florida dog and horse tracks to offer card games that mimicked ones that were supposed to be exclusive to tribe-owned casinos for a five-year period. The judge decided the Tribe could keep its blackjack tables till 2030. The state wanted Hinkle to instead order the tribe to remove the games because a blackjack provision in an agreement between the state and tribe expired last year.
SPACE FLORIDA ‘STEELES’ ITSELF FOR THE WINTER THAT’S COMING via Florence Snyder of Florida Politics – Good on you, Jason Steele, for being the first person in the Space Florida boardroom to talk about the elephant. “We have not had a target on our back, but I promise you, and my crystal ball is very clear, the target will be on our back,” Steele told his fellow Space Florida directors, as they reaffirmed a one-million-dollar line of credit for the folks behind a secret-something called Project Ice. For all the public knew, the loan was going to Vanilla Ice, at a time when secret deals with rappers have fallen out of favor. Steele’s warning seems to have had an effect. Within days, Space Florida revealed that the line of credit is for Made in Space,” a Silicon Valley company with a growing Florida presence, for a project that aims to produce a higher-quality optical fiber aboard the International Space Station.” Steele noted VISIT Florida’s claim that the public got 9-bucks on the dollar rate of return on its trade-secret intensive investment with Pitbull. We now know that the Miami rapper was paid a cool million to encourage millennials to come to Florida to get drunk and screw, an idea that might not otherwise have occurred to the kids. Steele warned that rate of return questions would be coming Space Florida’s way, too, and they’d best be prepared with answers that don’t make people laugh out loud.
NEW LAWS TARGET COUGH-SYRUP ABUSE, OPIOID ABUSE, LEGAL PROCESS via Florida Politics – SB 938 makes it illegal for manufacturers, distributors, or retailers to supply medicines containing dextromethorphan, or DXM, to anyone under 18. Anyone who looks younger than 25 would have to supply proof of age. The law forbids local governments from setting up their own restrictions. Another new law, SB 422, is intended to increase the availability of “abuse deterrent” opioids. Addicts often crush opioids, such as Hydrocodone, so they can snort, smoke or inject them. New manufacturing techniques deter abuse by making them very difficult to tamper with. The new law would prevent health insurers from requiring pre-approval to substitute abuse-deterrent drugs for those more liable to abuse. SB 1104 allows financial institutions to designate a central location or a person as the place or agent for the service of process — that is, for delivery of subpoenas, summonses or writs in lawsuits.
FOREBODING TWEET OF THE DAY: @TravisJHutson: In 2017 the @FLSenate regulated industries committee will look to shake up the status quo. Fireworks will start early.
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE TO HEAR OPEN CARRY BILL via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News – The legislation, SB 140, is sponsored by Sen. Greg Steube … who introduced the measure last year when he was a state representative. If passed, the bill would allow Florida’s 1.7 million concealed carry permit holders to openly carry their firearms. The more sweeping part of the measure, however, would eliminate gun-free zones in places like secondary schools, local centers and government meeting areas. The bill would not allow CCW permit holders to carry their firearms on college or athletic events and restrictions would still exist on carrying guns to restaurants and bars. Any permit holder in violation of the restrictions in the bill would face a misdemeanor charge. The Judiciary Committee is the first stop for the bill, and the odds are in its favor this year since Steube chairs that committee … Pro-gun groups have asked their members to write to state lawmakers to make the case for passing the bill.
DARRYL ROUSON FILES BILL TO ELIMINATE ELECTORAL COLLEGE via William March of the Tampa Bay Times – In the wake of Donald Trump’s winning the presidency while losing the popular vote by nearly 2.9 million, State Sen. Rouson … is filing legislation to include Florida in a national movement to elect the president by popular vote. The goal of the movement, known as the National Popular Vote interstate compact, is to eliminate the Electoral College’s decisive role in presidential elections, but without requiring a constitutional amendment to abolish it. “It’s about the voters and their votes being counted and respected,” Rouson said of his bill … The bill would require the state’s presidential electors to vote for the winner of the national popular vote, but it would take effect only if and when enough states sign on to total a majority of 270 Electoral College votes. At that point, the law would kick in for those states that have passed it, and the popular vote winner would be guaranteed an Electoral College majority. So far, according to the movement’s website, www.nationalpopularvote.com, 11 states totaling 165 votes have passed the bill: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia.
LEGISLATORS DIVIDED BY PARTY LOOK TO BLACK CAUCUS TO FIND COMMON GROUND via Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union – After he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, Byron Donalds had a decision to make. Would he, the only African-American Republican in the Legislature, join the Black Caucus? All of the other roughly 25 members of the caucus are Democrats. Rep. Mike Hill, a black Republican who served in the House from 2013 to 2016, chose not to affiliate with the Florida Legislative Black Caucus. The group meets regularly to discuss issues and push a legislative agenda that benefits African-Americans. Sometimes members are asked vote as a bloc on a bill that is of particular importance to black people in Florida. Jennifer Carroll, who stepped down from the Legislature after eight years to serve as Rick Scott’s lieutenant governor, was an active member of the caucus. Colleagues credited her with using her leadership positions in the GOP to accomplish things that otherwise could have languished with only Democrats’ support. Donalds, 38, a 38-year-old financial adviser who lives in Naples, is a product of the Tea Party movement serving in his first elected office. He knew his conservative leanings would not always mesh with the progressive agenda the Black Caucus often pursues. He decided to join anyway.
SPOTTED at FarmTable Kitchen at Locale Market, enjoying a New Year’s Eve feats: state Sen. Darryl Rouson, his wife Angela and their family, and political consultant Barry Edwards.
SPOTTED over the holiday break: State Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen in her winter best at the Vinoy Renaissance Hotel in St. Petersburg.
FLORIDA REPUBLICAN LEGISLATIVE LEADERS HOST JANUARY FUNDRAISER FOR FRANK ARTILES, MANNY DIAZ via Kristen Clark of the Tampa Bay Times – Newly elected Miami state Sen. Artiles and Hialeah state Rep. Diaz — who’s running for a Florida Senate seat in 2018 — are planning a joint fundraising reception for Jan. 10 at the Governor’s Club in Tallahassee … The host committee for the reception includes five influential Republicans, four of whom are current or future chamber leaders: current Senate President Joe Negron … Bill Galvano … Wilton Simpson … Jose Oliva and … René García. As Senate president, Negron is in charge of the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, which raises money to assist top party candidates. Galvano and Simpson are both on track to be future Senate presidents after Negron: Galvano in the 2018-2020 term and Simpson in 2020-2022. And, Oliva is poised to take over as House speaker in 2018. García’s presence on the host committee indicates an endorsement of Diaz as his successor. García is in his final term representing Senate District 36 and Diaz, a three-term representative, is running for that seat.
LEGISLATIVE STAFFING MERRY-GO-ROUND via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools
On: Lindsey Locke is now administrative support for the House Commerce Committee and its related subcommittees (Agriculture & Property Rights, Careers & Competition, Energy & Utilities, Insurance & Banking, and Tourism & Gaming Control).
On: Anna Higgins is a new legislative aide for Pensacola Republican Rep. Frank White.
On: Ashley Jeffrey has become district secretary for Santa Rosa Republican Rep. Jayer Williamson.
Off and on: Brian Pierce has stepped down as district secretary for Panama City Republican Rep. Jay Trumbull; Cooper Harrison is Trumbull’s new district secretary.
Off: Michael Bowen is no longer district secretary for Boca Raton Democratic Rep. Emily Slosberg.
On: Samuel Wagoner is legislative assistant and Tammy Still is district secretary for Palatka Republican Rep. Bobby Payne.
On: Christina Castillo is the new legislative assistant for Miami Republican Rep. Jeanette Nunez.
On: Dewayne Mallory is legislative assistant, and Gabriel Powell Legros is district secretary for St. Petersburg Democratic Rep. Wengay Newton.
On: Charles Smith is a new district secretary for Broward Republican Rep. George Moraitis.
On: Christopher Melvin is legislative assistant for Rep. Ralph Massullo.
Off: Isabela Dorneles is no longer legislative assistant for Broward Democratic Rep. Kristin Jacobs.
On: Gina Wells is the new district secretary for Volusia Democratic Rep. Patrick Henry.
On: Maria Wimberly is new district secretary for Miami Democratic Rep. Roy Hardemon.
On: Rachel Lockhart is the new legislative assistant for Jacksonville Republican Rep. Jason Fischer.
On: Kathy Johnson is the new district secretary for Orlando Republican Rep. Eric Eisnaugle.
On: Zachary Allen is now district secretary for Naples Republican Rep. Byron Donalds.
On: Ellen Boukari is the new legislative assistant Newberry Republican Rep. Chuck Clemons.
On and off: Sydnie Tiseo switched from district secretary to legislative assistant for Sanford Republican Rep. Jason Bodeur.
On: Kesnel Theus has become legislative assistant for Palm Beach Democratic Rep. Al Jacquet.
On: Ashley Alvarez is the new district secretary and Daniel Martinez the new legislative assistant for Hialeah Gardens Republican Rep. Manny Diaz.
On: Kelly McClure has become legislative assistant and Rosana Fonseca district secretary for Orlando Democratic Rep. Amy Mercado.
On: Roshanda Jackson is the new district secretary for Duval County Democratic Rep. Kim Daniels.
On: Thomas Valeo has become district secretary for Palm Beach Democratic Rep. Matt Willhite.
Off and on: Caitlin Butler is no longer district secretary for Altamonte Springs Republican Rep. Bob Cortes. David Casto is replacing Butler.
On: Michael Scimeca is the new district secretary for Titusville Republican Rep. Rene Plasencia.
On: Josh Barnhill is the new legislative assistant for Orlando Republican Rep. Mike Miller.
On: Jacob Hawkes has become the new district secretary for Neptune Beach Republican Rep. Cord Byrd.
On: Kaly Fox is now a secretary at Pensacola Republican Sen. Doug Broxson’s local district office.
On: Max Flugrath is new deputy communications director for the House Democratic Caucus.
On: Shawn Hall has become legislative assistant for Palm Beach Democrat Rep. Joseph Abruzzo.
Off and on: Brian McManus is no longer legislative analyst for the Senate Majority office. He has now become legislative assistant for Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young.
On: Elizabeth Honorat and Isabela Dorneles have now become legislative assistants for Miami-Dade Democratic Sen. Daphne Campbell.
On: Kayla Bailey is a new legislative assistant to Vero Beach Republican Sen. Debbie Mayfield.
On: Travaris McCurdy is the new legislative assistant for Ocoee Democratic Sen. Randolph Bracy.
On: Nicholas Alvarez and Demi Busatta are new legislative assistants for Miami Republican Sen. Anitere Flores.
On: La’Toya Jones is a new legislative assistant for Broward Democratic Sen. Perry Thurston.
On: Lance Clemons is new legislative assistant for Starke Republican Sen. Rob Bradley.
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BALLARD PARTNERS WILL CONTINUE REPPING DAILY FANTASY SPORTS SITES via Florida Politics – Brian Ballard and the lobbyists who work for him, including former state Rep. Chris Dorworth, have begun registering their representation for the 2017 Legislative Session, some effective as early as this week. Chief among those interests are DraftKings and FanDuel, the DFS giants who announced their merger in November. It still requires federal approval. In the online games, players pick teams of real-life athletes and vie for cash and other prizes based on how those athletes do in actual games. Florida struggled with fantasy sports last legislative session, ultimately letting die a measure that would have explicitly legalized online fantasy play. A 2006 federal law banned online gambling but specifically exempted fantasy sports, paving the way for the creation of the niche industry that’s since exploded in popularity. But several states continue to grapple with whether the games are mere entertainment or illegal sports betting.
CRAFT DISTILLERIES HIRE LOBBYISTS FOR UPCOMING SESSION via Florida Politics – Some craft liquor makers have hired or re-hired representation for the upcoming session: Ron Book and Kelly Mallette, for Florida Distillers of Lake Alfred. Foley & Lardner’s Christian Caballero, Paul Lowell, Jon Yapo and Jonathan Kilman, for American Freedom Distillery of Tampa. GrayRobinson’s Jason Unger and Robert Stuart, for the Florida Distillers Guild, the St. Augustine-based trade group. Republican state Sen. Greg Steube of Sarasota already has filed a bill (SB 166) that would change state law to craft distillers’ benefit. The House companion (HB 141) was filed by state Rep. Cyndi Stevenson, a St. Johns Republican. One provision in the measure expands how much booze they can produce and still be considered “craft,” raising the limit from 75,000 gallons per year to 250,000 gallons. Another repeals limits on how many bottles distillers can sell directly to consumers, though it maintains a limit on bottles being no bigger than 1.75 liters.
PERSONNEL NOTE: AMY ZUBALY NOW INTERIM HEAD OF FMEA via Florida Politics – Zubaly is now interim executive director of the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA). The board of directors tapped Zubaly, deputy executive director of public affairs and strategic communications, to helm the association while it looks for a new head. She’s been with the group for 17 years. Longtime FMEA executive director Barry Moline resigned last month to lead the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA) in Sacramento. “We are fortunate to have someone who has the longevity and knowledge of the industry and association that can lead us through the transition period,” FMEA President Clay Lindstrom said in a statement.
AIRBNB HOPES TO PARTNER WITH ESCAMBIA COUNTY IN 2017 via Joseph Baucum of the Pensacola News Journal – The company has already secured partnerships with 32 counties, but it will attempt to finalize deals with the remaining 35 next year — Escambia County among those who have so far abstained. A spokesman for the company said the primary benefit of the agreement is it ensures counties receive all the tax due to them. Tourist development tax is charged on rentals of less than six months. It is collected and administered at the county level and is largely generated through hotel stays, but also on bookings through short-term rentals such as Airbnb. Escambia County’s TDT rate is 4 percent. County Commissioner Doug Underhill said in regards to identifying property owners who owe the tax from short-term rentals, the county monitors the listings that are advertised. But he conceded there is difficulty in tracking all who owe the tax. “To a great extent, we rely on the accountability of property owners,” Underhill said. “For the most part, our citizens are responsible about reporting their taxes.”
U.S. OFFICIALS HAVE OK TO STUDY BRINGING BAHAMAS SAND TO FLORIDA BEACHES via Eric Staats of the Naples Daily News – The 2016 Water Resources Development Act authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to study the potential of using foreign sand, such as from the Bahamas, to widen shorelines and protect coasts from hurricanes like the ones that lashed the Big Bend and northeastern Florida last summer. In its “Shrinking Shores” investigation last year, the Naples Daily News reported Miami-Dade and Broward counties have exhausted their deposits of available offshore sand, leaving only sand that is too far offshore to retrieve or is nestled among protected reefs or other underwater marine features. A federal search found enough sand to last 50 years, but beach project managers told the Daily News the sand is too dark and risks triggering sand wars with other coastal counties. Project managers said Bahamian sand is the region’s best chance to end expensive and inefficient sand hauls from inland mines. But a ban, backed by the U.S. dredging industry, on spending federal money on beach projects that use foreign sand stands in the way. Coastal communities can ill afford to forgo federal money for their beaches, the Daily News found. Florida members of Congress tried again last year, unsuccessfully, to lift the ban.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Dunedin’s Julie Ward Bujaiski, and Hillsborough’s Ella Coffee and Ed Turanchik.