Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.
FLORIDIANS HAVE A GOOD FEELING ABOUT THE SUNSHINE STATE
A new poll from Public Opinion Strategies found Florida voters are feeling the most optimistic about the direction of the state than they have in nearly a decade.
The poll of 600 registered voters was conducted from March 1 through March 5 for the Florida Hospital Association. The findings were part survey that looked at Florida voters’ feelings toward Medicaid.
According to the March survey, 50 percent of voters said they think “things in Florida are generally headed in the right direction;” while 33 percent said they thought things “are off on the wrong track.” Those numbers mirror a January 2007 survey, which found 51 percent of Floridians thought the state was headed in the right direction.
But the numbers from this year are starkly different from six years ago, when a November 2011 survey found 65 percent of Floridians said the state not on track. At the time, just 22 percent of Floridians thought the state had positive trajectory.
Floridians good vibes about the the direction of the state don’t necessarily translate to great approval ratings for the state’s leaders. The survey found 45 percent of Floridians approve of the job Gov. Rick Scott is doing; while 41 percent said they disapproved.
The survey has a margin of error of 4 percent.
Scott saw overwhelming support among Republicans at 72 percent. But when it comes to independents and Democrats, Scott is upside down: 64 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of independents said they disapprove of the job the Naples Republican is doing.
The Florida Legislature doesn’t fare much better: 41 percent of voters said they approved of the legislative branch’s actions, compared to 34 percent who disapproved. The survey found 58 percent of Republicans said the liked the legislative course; while 49 percent of Democrats said they disapproved of the GOP-controlled Legislature.
Independent voters seem to have mixed feelings about the Legislature. According to the poll, 36 percent of independents said they disapproved of the House and Senate, while only 32 percent held a favorable opinion.
In short, Republicans like Republican control. Democrats pretty much hate it. And independents can’t really make up their minds. Par for the course, right?
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DAYS UNTIL: Major League Baseball Opening Day – 2; NFL Draft – 26; 2017 Legislative Session Sine Die (Maybe) – 34; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – 34; FSU vs. Alabama football game – 155; Election Day 2017 – 220; Star Wars: Episode VIII/The Last Jedi opens – 258; First Day of 2018 Legislative Session – 282.
RICHARD CORCORAN: RICK SCOTT IS A GOVERNOR WHO WON’T HELP US via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – “We’ve got problems in the Senate, and we’ve got problems with a governor who won’t help us take this burden off the backs of our small businesses,” Corcoran told the Times/Herald. “If the governor would get more active and start traveling the state, talk about the stuff that’s really going to cost us jobs.” Repeating a familiar theme, Corcoran said: “Handing over million-dollar contracts to Pitbulls and Emerils and the insider dealing that goes on is not how we bring tourism here.”
$81.2 BILLION HOUSE BUDGET AIMS THE MEAT-AX AT MEMBER PROJECTS via Florida Politics – State spending would shrink significantly under the budget being prepared in the Florida House, with much of the savings coming at the expense of projects sought by house members. “We go from a $1.2 billion deficit to an almost $1.1 billion surplus. In the year after, we go from a $1.8 billion deficit to a $1.3 billion surplus,” Appropriations Chairman Carlos Trujillo said during a news conference. … That adds up to around $2.2 billion in cuts, for a state budget worth $81.2 billion. Budget subcommittees killed one-quarter of the projects members wanted to bring home to their districts, saving $700 million, Trujillo said. … “Across the board, in every single silo, all my sub-chairman have done an exceptional job of identifying areas where they could save money,” Trujillo said.
WINNERS, LOSERS UNDER NEW HOUSE RULES FOR HOMETOWN PROJECTS via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – When it comes to hometown pork barrel spending in Florida’s next budget, this should be a good year for Miami-Dade and Pinellas counties for two reasons: Key members of House Speaker Corcoran‘s inner circle are from Miami, and the Senate’s lead budget-writer is Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater. But projects must clear new hurdles this session, and some clear winners and losers are emerging. Rep. Jose Felix Diaz is the runaway winner with 23 projects eligible to be in the House budget. Rep. Jeanette Nunez got 13 projects through a committee, and so did Rep. Halsey Beshears who represents 10 small, rural counties in North Florida … Rep. Liz Porter steered 11 projects through a committee. At the same time, Rep. Kathleen Peters … who supports Enterprise Florida, filed 18 projects and four got through committees. Rep. Brad Drake, the pro-Enterprise Florida Republican who filed the most projects, got six heard out of 45. Lauren’s Kids, a nonprofit founded by Sen. Lauren Book … is eligible for another $1 million from taxpayers.
SENATE PASSES 2017 GAMBLING BILL via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Sen. Bill Galvano, the chamber’s shepherd of this year’s legislation, told fellow lawmakers he couldn’t promise that “we’ll reach a state of resolution” this session. That said, he expects the House and Senate to go to conference on their respective bills, which are significantly different. Galvano later told reporters the bill represents $340-350 million in potential revenue for the 2017-18 budget, and this year, every bit helps. Senate President Negron, in a statement, said he was “pleased” that the bill “honors the will of our fellow citizens in the eight counties that have approved referenda to expand the availability of gaming options.”
MATT GAETZ: FIX FLORIDA’S EVERGLADES, AVOID DISTRACTION OF COSTLY LAND BUY via Florida Politics – At the heart of the current debate over fixing Lake Okeechobee is whether additional land should be purchased by the government using state and federal dollars through a bonding scheme that relies on future generations paying off the debt. At a time when 42 percent of all land in South Florida is already owned by the government, we should be looking for ways to get government out of the real estate business – not deeper into it. And with Washington so focused on cutting costs, there simply isn’t enough money to buy more land, especially for projects for which land has already been acquired by the government. Instead, the dollars committed by Congress and the state should be going toward projects that the science says can provide communities with tangible benefits for flood protection, storage and water treatment – the most quickly and at the best price.
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HOUSE APPROVES CRACKDOWN ON PUBLIC INVESTMENT IN PRO SPORTS STADIUMS via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – CS/HB 77, by Bryan Avila, would forbid the construction, renovation, or improvement on any pro facility “on public land leased from the state or a political subdivision thereof.” Cities and counties could sell public land to teams only at fair market value. Teams would have to assume public debt undertaken for their facilities if they move away. Coconut Creek Democrat Kristin Jacobs said she liked the idea but warned of unintended consequences. She pointed to negotiations with a new owner of the Florida Panther that required Broward County to upgrade the scoreboard, club room, and other amenities at the BB&T Center. “This bill would preclude that investment by Broward County. And if, in fact, the county could not go forward and make these investments to attract a new owner, guess what? You’d have no team. You’d have a big, hulking, empty facility that costs the taxpayers.”
HOUSE PASSES LOBBYING AND GOVERNMENT ETHICS LEGISLATION via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools – HJR 7001 is a proposed constitutional amendment to extend the lobbying ban for legislators and statewide elected officers from two years to six years. HB 7021 strengthens the financial disclosure requirements of local government officials and requires local government lobbying registration. HB 0479 makes a wide range of changes to government auditing provisions, most notably requiring government entities to create internal controls to prevent “fraud, waste and abuse” which the bill attempts to define.
LEGISLATIVE PANEL PUSHES FOR ANTI-ABORTION COUNSELING SERVICES via Ana Ceballos of The Associated Press – A House panel has advanced a bill that puts state money into the operation of anti-abortion counseling services. The House Health and Human Services Committee pushed the bill (HB 969) to the full floor … The bill is meant to structure a 12-year-old pregnancy services program offering women free counseling and prenatal services from a pro-life perspective. The pregnancy center would also provide services including physician referrals, flu and tetanus vaccines and medical screenings. State Rep. Lori Berman said the move would put women’s lives in danger, and that state money should not go to religious purposes. While religious content is not allowed in these pregnancy centers, some of the service providers that have been contracted in the program are part of evangelical Christian networks, like Heartbeat International.
UNION-DECERTIFICATION BILL CLEARS FLORIDA HOUSE ON A 75-41 VOTE via Florida Politics – The House approved legislation that would require the decertification of any public employee union unless at least 50 percent of the eligible workers in a unit pay dues … Democrats call it union busting. “It amazes me that we constantly come up with bills that are disguised, but that actually weaken the unions,” Broward Democrat Richard Stark said. “In this day and age, we forget how important unions were in keeping America great. They had a lot to do with the rise of the middle class in this country,” he said. “And we need to respect unions and stop trying to come in with back-door ways to weaken them.” Sponsor Scott Plakon insisted the point was accountability.
UCF-HCA HOSPITAL DEAL GETS COMMITTEE OK via Naseem Miller of the Orlando Sentinel – The joint venture between UCF medical school and the for-profit hospital chain HCA took another step on toward building a 100-bed hospital in Lake Nona. The Facilities Committee of the Florida Board of Governors unanimously approved the deal. The public-private venture will go in front of the full board for a final vote. The approval is only part of the process before the hospital can break ground on a 25-acre land next to UCF College of Medicine. The joint venture received initial approval from the state agency that oversees health policy and planning. But that decision has been appealed by Florida Hospital and is going through a hearing process, which is a separate process from the Board of Governor’s approval.
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LEGISLATORS STALEMATE ON STUDY KILLS FRACKING BILL via Arek Sarkissian of the Naples Daily News – A bill that would ban fracking in Florida is dead this year, with the state House and Senate unwilling to agree on whether a scientific study is needed before considering an all-out prohibition. House bill sponsor Rep. Mike Miller said he still thinks the state should have some sort of a fracking ban, but the study would ward off lawsuits brought by property owners who feel their rights have been violated. He said House leadership would not let his bill move forward without the study. “I think there’s a leadership situation where we have concerns about property rights issues and things the Senate sponsor may not agree with,” Miller said.
ARE HOUSE REPUBLICANS MAKING HEALTH CARE MORE ‘FREE MARKET’ OR ‘UNFAIR’? via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – The Florida House took steps toward the future Corcoran wants, passing two components of a free-market health agenda the chamber has pushed in recent years: HB 161 gives people and employers the option to negotiate and contract directly with a doctor for primary care services. It passed 107-6. HB 145 allows surgical centers to keep patients for a full 24 hours and creates new recovery centers that can care for them 72 hours after surgery. It passed by a 79-34 vote, as most Democrats rose to oppose the bill. Direct primary care will “make our health care system stronger,” said Rep. Mike Miller, who sponsored the legislation last year and helped push HB 161 this year. Agreements with doctors aren’t insurance and don’t qualify as a health plan under Obamacare, but lawmakers believe it will increase access to preventive care. Opponents argued that new options for surgery and recovery will make it harder for hospitals to survive. Hospitals rely on private insurance to help cover losses from Medicaid, which pays less, and charity care for patients who can’t afford to pay at all.
HOUSE FLOATS OVERHAUL OF STATE SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM via Jeffrey Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times – PCB EDC 17-03 aims to ramp up the intervention system for traditional schools that struggle under the state accountability and testing program. It would expand early warning requirements on student performance into elementary grades, and overhaul the responses for schools that cannot overcome the obstacles. School districts would be directed to declare educational emergencies for schools with grades below C, allowing them to renegotiate contract terms to eliminate programs seen as standing in the way of academic improvement. For schools facing required turnaround plans, the choice of a district-managed option — the most popular one currently used — would be deleted. Districts would have to choose among reassigning students to other schools, closing the campuses and reopening them as charters, or hiring an outside operator.
UNLESS THERE ARE CHANGES, JOE REDNER SAYS HE’LL SUE OVER LEGISLATURE’S MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics– Advocates of Amendment 2, which legalized medical marijuana in Florida, have been expressing disdain for HB 1397, moving through the Legislature this Session, sponsored by Fort Myers Republican Ray Rodrigues … Opponents denounce the bill as currently written, primarily because it bans smoking, vaporizing and eating of medical marijuana. It also requires patients recertify with the state every 90 days and compels patients to sign an “informed consent” document warning them about the dangers of marijuana use and reminding them that it is illegal federally. In the past, [United for Care campaign manager Ben] Pollara said he knows organizations and individuals who may sue if the ultimate legislative product has those elements. Tampa adult entrepreneur and gadfly Redner confirmed he would be one of those individuals. “We have a constitutional amendment, and I loooove the court system,” Redner said. “I cannot wait to sue the state Legislature. Please don’t pass a good law!” he joked about the efforts of Rodrigues, who is pushing the main medical marijuana bill in the Florida House.
HUNDREDS RALLY AT CAPITOL IN SUPPORT OF EMBATTLED ARAMIS AYALA via Florida Politics – A church atmosphere prevailed as some 300 people converged on the state Capitol Thursday to protest Gov. Rick Scott’s removal of Orlando prosecutor Aramis Ayala from the murder prosecution of Markeith Loyd. The protest, organized by Color of Change and Equal Justice USA, included denunciations of the Legislature for threatening to strike $1.3 million from Ayala’s budget. Organizers said they’d collected 130,000 petition signatures seeking Ayala’s reinstatement. … Participants acknowledged that Loyd stands accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend and a sheriff’s deputy. But they insisted that Ayala alone holds prosecutorial discretion over whether to seek the death penalty. … “Whether you agree or not with State Attorney Ayala’s opinion, she was independtly elected by the 9th Circuit, and she has the right to make that decision,” said Sen. Randolph Bracy, chairman of the Criminal Justice 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***
MARCO RUBIO SAYS HACKERS TWICE TARGETED HIS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN via USA Today – The remarkable revelation on Thursday was made even more extraordinary by the setting in which it was disclosed: a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing looking into Moscow’s role in the 2016 presidential campaign and President Trump’s victory. Rubio told committee members that both tries were unsuccessful. Rubio divulged the attempted hack following comments from an national security expert that Russian operatives tried to undermine the campaigns of presidential candidates viewed as hostile to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
COULD RICHARD CORCORAN BE THE NEXT GOVERNOR? via Don Gaetz for the Pensacola News-Journal – First, it’s not his turn. Notwithstanding a recent exception, Republicans take turns. Next time was supposed to be CFO Jeff Atwater’s turn. But, despite a splendid tour of effective public service and very nice poll numbers, Atwater is going home. Moving through the chairs are others who’ve dutifully served in office after office, making the rounds, slapping the backs, eating the rubber chicken dinners. It’s their turn, they say, before Corcoran. Second, he doesn’t have big money. When the price of election, as set by the current governor, is $73 million personal cash plus a bunch more from very interested friends, Richard Corcoran doesn’t have it. Third, he continues to whittle a stick he jabs, cheerfully and repeatedly, into the laser focused eye of the aforementioned governator, who, in turn, has laid down a free fire zone on Speaker Corcoran and anyone within a thousand feet of him. Fourth, there is the ancient curse of Marcellus Stearns. Stearns was Speaker of the House from 1869 to 1872. He wanted to be Governor but instead of moving right into the big chair he had to wait three years until he was finally elected chief executive in 1875. He pronounced a curse on all future presiding officers – if he couldn’t do it, no future Speaker could ever move directly from the Rostrum of the House to the Governor’s Mansion. (Actually, I don’t know if he pronounced a curse but it seemed like a good “alternative fact.”)
ANDREW GILLUM, MAYORS: STATE PREEMPTION HURTS LOCAL VALUES via Florida Politics – For the past few years, state legislators in Tallahassee have steadily eroded the ability of towns, villages, cities and counties to govern. They’ve passed new laws to prevent citizens from having their say through local government. And now, they’re threatening to silence local voices with fines and other punishment. It’s called preemption. And it’s a threat to our democracy. State lawmakers don’t like when our communities pass ordinances to preserve quality of life, protect our environment, promote public safety, improve wages and sick leave, regulate utility infrastructure, development and vacation rentals, and restrict threats to public health. They don’t like when cities and counties govern according to their own values. So, they strip local authority with ill-advised preemption. But you know better. When you vote in local elections, you’re voting for local problem solvers. You’re voting your values. You know what’s best for our communities — not out-of-touch state legislators, hundreds of miles away.
ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gillum will hold a round table discussion with ACA navigators at 9:30 a.m. at the Epilepsy Foundation, 1200 NW 78th Ave, #400 in Doral.
DAVID RIVERA FILES TO RUN FOR OFFICE AGAIN via Patricia Mazzei and Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – Rivera, a former state legislator and congressman turned perennial candidate, filed … to run for House District 105, currently represented by term-limited Rep. Carlos Trujillo– who holds the position that once made Rivera so powerful in Tallahassee: budget chief. A recount November determined that Rivera had lost the House District 118 seat to a first-time candidate, Democrat Rep. Robert Asencio. Another Republican, Ana Maria Rodriguez, has also filed to seek the seat. By the time the 2018 election rolls around, Rivera may no longer be dogged by a federal criminal investigation into the 2012 congressional election. He is suspected of orchestrating an illegal campaign finance scheme against one of his rivals in the Democratic primary. The statute of limitations for prosecutors to charge Rivera will expire later this year, and the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami has shown no signs of an upcoming indictment.
HEAVY-HITTER TOBY OVERDORF FILES FOR HD 83 via Nancy Smith of Sunshine State News – Overdorf, 47, serves on the Republican Party of Florida Executive Committee and is familiar to many Republicans around the state. He is running on a platform of pro-growth economic policies that promote job creation, greater economic prosperity, and the completion of necessary environmental restoration projects. … Overdorf is probably as qualified to serve in Florida elected office as anyone, say party-entrenched Republicans who told Sunshine State News they have seen “his energy, intelligence and common sense” up close.
FEDERAL OFFICIALS: MANATEES NO LONGER CLASSIFIED AS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES via Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the federal government are taking manatees — which have long been considered endangered since the first endangered species list came out in 1967 — down a notch to merely “threatened.” Federal officials called it a success story for the Endangered Species Act. The action was driven by a lawsuit by the libertarian group Pacific Legal Foundation, representing a group in Crystal River that opposes new protections for manatees there.
WORST STORY YOU’LL READ TODAY – RECORDS SHOW A SQUALID BEGINNING FOR TODDLER WHO LATER DIED IN FOSTER CARE via Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times – On the day two child welfare investigators turned up unannounced at the home of little Aedyn Agminalis, a machete, a hookah, a sex toy and a liquor bottle were lying on the living room floor. Four more sex toys and a used condom sat on a chair. In the bedroom where the toddler slept, fecal matter was smeared on the walls, the carpet, the crib and his blanket. His parents kept a cat litter tray in his room. It had not been cleaned for several days. The “deplorable” conditions found at the Brandon apartment in September were revealed in a report recently released by the Florida Department of Children and Families. They resulted in the boy going into foster care. Three months later and just weeks from a likely adoption, the 17-month-old died after suffering head trauma. Foster mom Latamara Stackhouse Flythe was arrested Feb. 20 on charges of first-degree murder and child abuse. Biological parents Brynn and Artha Agminalis were also arrested a few weeks later and charged with child neglect. Both pleaded not guilty.
***Sen. Jack Latvala and Rep. Jason Brodeur are 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 and Rep. Brodeur that you support them and learn how to help protect small businesses in Florida at ProtectFLBusiness.com.***
NEW AND RENEWED LOBBY REGISTRATIONS
Ed Briggs, RSA Consulting: Community Champions; Miracles Outreach; Uniti Fiber
Pete Buigas, Buigas and Associates: NeuroScience Centers of Florida Foundation, Inc.
Dean Cannon, GrayRobinson: ISF, Inc.
Chris Carmody, Joe Salzverg, Robert “Bob” 🙂 Stuart, GrayRobinson: Government Payment Service, Inc.
Kimberly Case, Holland & Knight: P & G Investors, LLC
Christopher Finkbeiner, The Rubin Group: Caregiver Services, Inc.; Weedmaps
Yolanda Cash Jackson, Becker & Poliakoff: CIOX Health, LLC; Coalition of Franchisee Associations
Natalie King, RSA Consulting Group: HomeAway; Miracles Outreach; Uniti Fiber
Allison Liby-Schoonover, Metz Husband & Daughton: The Florida Bar Business Law Section
Frank Mayernick, Tracy Mayernick, The Mayernick Group: Key Health Medical Solutions, Inc.
Jerry Lee McDaniel, Southern Strategy Group: Florida Opportunity Fund, Inc.
Eli Nortelus, David Roberts, Nortelus Roberts Group: Solidaridad Sin Fronteras
Ron Pierce, RSA Consulting: Miracles Outreach; Uniti Fiber
Bill Rubin, Melissa Akeson, Amy Bisceglia, Heather Turnbull, The Rubin Group: Weedmaps
Karen Skyers, Becker & Poliakoff: Coalition of Franchisee Associations
PERSONNEL NOTE: ONE EIGHTY CONSULTING WELCOMES SAM VERGHESE – One Eighty Consulting Inc., a leading procurement and governmental affairs firm in the Southeast, has hired Verghese, the former Secretary for the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. Verghese’s background includes having served as Chief of Staff for the agency overseeing Florida’s 1 million business license holders (DBPR), Senior Staff Director for the Florida House and the Director of External Affairs for Gov. Scott in the Executive Office will allow him to serve 180’s current clients as well as grow the firm in new directions. In 2014, Verghese was appointed as the youngest agency head in Florida history at his Department (DOEA) and later went on to earn confirmation from the Florida Senate … He was also an appointee to the Career Source Florida board of directors which implemented numerous job creation initiatives to boost Florida’s economy.
HAPPENING TODAY – FUNERAL SERVICES FOR BRIAN DASSLER PLANNED – Funeral services for Dassler, the deputy chancellor of educator quality, are scheduled for 3 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Tallahassee. Dassler died on March 20, he was 38. Dassler grew up in Broward County, where he graduated from Cooper City High School. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree from the University of Florida. In 2006, he was named Teacher of the Year in Broward County, the nation’s sixth largest school system. He was the youngest teacher to receive the award. There will be a post-service reception at The Edison Restaurant immediately following the service. A memorial service honor his life and accomplishments will take place in Broward County at the end of April. The family has request that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Brian Dassler Memorial Scholarship established by the Broward Education Foundation, and The Brian Dassler Transformation Leader Memorial Fund set up by The UF College of Education.
HAPPENING SUNDAY – ORCHESTRA SUNDAY AT TRINITY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH — Trinity United Methodist Church will hold its annual “Orchestra Sunday” during the 11 a.m. worship service Sunday. The service will include 25 to 30 minutes of music by a 28-piece professional orchestra. Legislators, staff and anyone staying in Tallahassee over the weekend is invited. The church is located at 120 W. Park Ave.
Black Almanac with Dr. Ed James on WWSB, ABC 7 in Sarasota: Political Analyst Dr. Lawrence Miller joins Dr. James discuss whether “patriotism is more than cheap platitudes.”
Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede on CBS 4 in Miami: Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch will go one-on-one with Jim DeFede to talk health care, Russia and President Donald Trump.
Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Guests on this week’s episode include House District 61 Democrat Sean Shaw, Politifact Deputy Editor Katie Sanders, WTSP investigative reporter Noah Pransky and Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos.
Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando and Bay News 9 in Tampa: Orlando Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart will discuss topics including funding (or defunding) Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida and the state’s overall budget outlook; Anne Packham from the Primary Care Action Network and Republican political analyst Frank Torres will talk health care legislation; and News 13’s David Bodden and PolitiFact reporter Allison Graves will examine President Donald Trump’s dubious wiretapping claims.
This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: Host Kent Justice will sit down with Clay County Superintendent of Schools Addison Davis and Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute Director Rick Mullaney.
The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Host Gary Yorden will sit down with Dr. Ed Moore, the president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, an association of 28 private, not-for-profit colleges and universities.
UNIVERSAL RELEASES VOLCANO BAY TICKET PRICES via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising – … with a one-day ticket running $5 more than Disney’s two competing water parks and $8 more than SeaWorld’s Aquatica. And while the price difference is not significant, Universal is touting its newest water park as the highest-tech water ticket in town. The park that towers over Interstate 4 will offer Tapu Tapu allowing guests to wait in virtual lines for rides and the ability to control some of the rides’ components through the technology. A one-day ticket to Volcano Bay is $67. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach cost $62 for a one-day visit, while SeaWorld’s Aquatica single day ticket is $59. A Volcano Bay Express Pass starts at $19.99 per person and lets guests bypass the water park’s virtual line experience. A Florida resident 3-park multiday ticket includes admission to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay for $199 for adults.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to two great Floridians, Eric Edwards and Dave Mica, Jr.