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Sunburn for 5.3.17 – Snake eyes for gambling bill; Session heads to overtime; Lake O, homestead exemption head to Gov.; Gwen Graham hearts Florida; Consumer sentiment dips

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

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

SNAKE EYES: 2017 GAMBLING BILL DEAD —

With Tuesday’s death of this year’s gambling bill, reporters got to write the same story they did last year, and the year before that, and the year before that.  

As this website once put it, an “effort to revisit the state’s gambling laws bloated and sank in the waning days of this year’s Legislative Session.”

It’s not the story that writes itself—it’s the story that’s already been written.

This year, a gambling bill tanked because the House and Senate wouldn’t compromise on expanding slots to referendum counties.

In years past, it’s been any one of a number of reasons, like a fight over destination casinos in South Florida.

And once again, by failing to act, lawmakers allow the very thing they proclaim to hate the most: Letting the courts make gambling policy.

They’ve just done it recently, allowing those “pre-reveal” slot machine-like entertainment devices.

So wouldn’t it be deliciously funny, wouldn’t it be side-splittingly ironic, if the Supreme Court of Florida finally released its Gretna Racing decision on Thursday, the day it usually issues its opinions for the week?

(OK, maybe not this week, but one veteran of The Process guesses at least “within the next few weeks.”)

Indeed, at issue in the Gretna case is the same issue that deep-sixed this year’s effort: Whether counties that said ‘yes’ to slots in voter referendums should be constitutionally allowed to have them.

If the court rules favorably, it could expand slot machines to all eight counties where voters passed slots referendums: Brevard, Duval, Gadsden, Hamilton, Lee, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Washington.

That could result in the single biggest gambling expansion in the state, including the other counties that will hustle to run their own referendums.

Here’s another thought: When legislators ignore a problem or fail to address it, it has a tendency to blow up in their faces. Recall the “Internet cafe” meltdown of 2013, for example.

And when will the Seminole Tribe finally get fed up and stop its “good faith” paying of gambling revenue share to the state? The Tribe wasn’t talking, but smart money says its leaders are approaching the boiling point.

We’re not gloating over the Legislature’s history of failure to make a dent in betting policy. We are boggling over what the next disaster will be because this current Capitol crew doesn’t know when to dig out its heels.

Jose Feliz Diaz: ‘We were too far apart’ from Senate via Florida Politics State Rep. Diaz, the House’s point man on gambling, said an impossibility of compromise over slot machines killed the 2017 gambling bill. “We were too far apart and the Senate wanted to bring it in for a landing during budget conference, and we were not going to be able to do that,” he told reporters after Tuesday’s House floor session. “The timing was off.” The sticking point was an offer to expand slot machines to pari-mutuels in counties that approved them in referendum votes. Such an expansion still needs legislative approval. The House opposed it; the Senate wanted it.

Lawyer: Seminole Tribe ‘will react accordingly’ to bill’s death” via Florida PoliticsThe Seminole Tribe of Florida “will react accordingly” to the demise of a gambling bill this Legislative Session, the Tribe’s top outside lawyer said Tuesday. Chief negotiators for the House and Senate said earlier Tuesday they wouldn’t resolve their differences over the legislation before the scheduled end of the 2017 Legislative Session on Friday. When asked whether the Tribe plans to stop paying the state, attorney Barry Richard of the Greenberg Traurig law firm said, “I can’t answer that question,” adding such a decision requires a vote by the Tribal Council. Gary Bitner, the Tribe’s spokesman, declined comment.

Bill’s death leaves fantasy sports in limbo via Florida Politics – The death of gambling legislation this year throws into doubt whether lawmakers can act on daily fantasy sports. A provision for it was in the Senate’s gambling bill, and a separate bill (HB 149) to declare fantasy sports play as games of skill, and therefore not gambling, had been filed in the House by Sanford Republican Jason Brodeur. When asked Tuesday if his bill was dead, Brodeur said, “Not as long as we are still in session.” But Rep. Diaz said he thought although Brodeur’s bill could be amended onto another bill in the House, because its companion wasn’t heard at all in the Senate, “I think it’s in trouble.”

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— LEGISLATURE HEADED TO OVERTIME —

Siren: A final budget deal was reached late Tuesday night, according to a senior legislator close to the negotiations.

Legislature won’t finish it’s work on time” via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press – Legislators won’t be able to wrap up their work on time. Bogged down in a dispute over money for hospitals and nursing homes, top Republicans were unable to reach an agreement on a new $83 billion state budget by the Tuesday deadline. Legislators can extend the session by a supermajority vote in both chambers, or legislative leaders can announce a special session.

— “You know the timetable as well as I do, with the 72-hour requirement.” Senate President Joe Negron said late Tuesday. “We will definitely not complete the budget work prior to the end of Friday.”

“Why the budget is in a stalemate? Hospital cuts” via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – While the House and Senate came to an agreement last week that would cut $650 million from hospitals’ payments through Medicaid, they still haven’t agreed on how to put those cuts — or a potential $1.5 billion boon in Low Income Pool funds approved by the federal government — into effect. “The health care budget is the biggest one left, some issues tied to that,” Speaker Corcoran said. “LIP, hospital cuts, all of those things.” House and Senate budget negotiators have not met publicly about the health care budget since Saturday afternoon, while they have moved closer toward agreement in other areas of the budget. At that weekend meeting, neither chamber ceded ground on the formula to use to determine the cuts.

Ace health care reporter Christine Sexton offers an example of how the differences between the House and Senate play out: “…how the cuts are applied is a $40 million plus issue to Miami’s Jackson Memorial. The Senate plan would reduce Medicaid payments to Jackson by $85.6 million compared to $40 million under the House proposal. Cuts to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in the Senate is more than double the cuts in the House, $39.3 million versus 18.7 million, respectively.”

— “Key senator says money will be in budget for land conservation” via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida Rob Bradley said he’s confident that a 2017-18 state budget will include money for the Florida Forever conservation lands program. “This is going to be a budget that those who care about the environment are going to be very proud of,” Bradley told reporters. He is chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources. He said the budget would include spending Florida Forever, for Florida Keys wastewater projects, his proposed projects along the St. Johns River and President Negron‘s proposed Everglades reservoir. The Senate’s proposed budget had $15.2 million for the Florida Forever projects at the Department of Environmental Protection and $5.4 million for the Florida Communities Trust local parks grant program.

This quote has come back to bite Richard Corcoran, who otherwise is dominating Session: “I know all of you wrote that it was going to be a train-wreck, we’re going to go into 18 special sessions, we’re never going to get done, but now that we have come together, we’ve worked out our differences and now we’re having a conference, I think it’s going to be a spectacular session. There’ll be no crashes, despite your reporting, and I think it’s going to be a good day for the state of Florida.”

— DESPITE BUDGET STALEMATE, KEY PRIORITIES MOVING —

“Lake O Reservoir proposal heads to Governor” via Ana Ceballos of the Associated Press – The House and Senate both passed the measure (SB 10) on Tuesday, sending it to Gov. Scott. The bill had previously gone through some Senate-approved changes in the House. Some of those changes included reducing the state’s annual debt service from $100 million to $64 million. In an effort to minimize impacts on agricultural workers, the measure also prohibits the state from taking private property to build the reservoir. The sugar and agricultural industries have welcomed this change.

Water full of algae laps along the Sewell’s Point shore on the St. Lucie River under an Ocean Boulevard bridge. Photo credit: AP.

More details on the plan via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald: The plan will create at least 240,000 acre feet of storage — about 78 billion gallons — south of the lake by converting 14,000 acres of state land now used as a shallow reservoir to build a deep-water reservoir. The measure will set in motion negotiations for the state to purchase land for the project from willing sellers, while prohibiting the use of eminent domain to force the sale. Beginning in the 2017-18 fiscal year, the state will use $34 million from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire land or negotiate leases in the Everglades Agricultural Area. Another $30 million from the LATF will be used for the C51 reservoir project. In 2018-19, and every year thereafter, $100 million from the LATF will be used for the project.

— Everglades Foundation hails passage via CEO Erik Eikenberg: “Today is a momentous event. The many voices that came to the table this session – anglers, realtors, business and community leaders, and people who want the best for their state – were heard with the final bipartisan passage of SB 10, a positive and science-based step toward the restoration of America’s Everglades.”

— Even U.S. Sugar is happy via spox Judy Sanchez: “Senate Bill 10 has been greatly improved, takes essentially no privately owned farmland, and even removes the threat of eminent domain. The House deserves credit for quickly passing legislation that can provide some protection for our water resources while also protecting our farming communities and vital food production. U.S. Sugar always supports solutions that are based on science, which, in this case shows the source of the water significantly impacting the coastal estuaries flows from north of Lake Okeechobee, not the south. Obviously, you’re going to have to build some solutions north of the lake to finally fix the discharge problem. We look forward to working with legislators in the future to get that done.”

Bruce Ritchie reports that a veto of the Lake O. plan is “unlikely.”

Homestead exemption ready for voters – The House on Tuesday voted 83-35 to put a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot that would allow homeowners to shield an additional $25,000 of the value of their home from most property taxes. The additional exemption would not apply to taxes charged by school districts. The Senate approved the measure (HB 7105) earlier this week. If 60 percent of voters say yes, the amendment would take effect in 2019.

Speaker Corcoran very proud of this effort: “Today’s vote is a big win for all Floridians. If passed by the voters, this additional exemption will be one of, if not the largest, tax cut in the history of Florida at $645 million. An additional $25,000 exemption means real money in the pockets of Florida families. For just the third time in state history the people will see real tax relief in homeownership. The average family will save enough to purchase clothes or school supplies for their children or grandchildren, catch up on bills or make another car payment, pay for healthcare or childcare, and so much more. Real savings, real money, and real relief. Today’s massive tax cut proves, once again, the Florida House will continue to fight for, and stand with, every day Floridians.”

Tweet, tweet:

@NickensFL: Big loss for businesses, renters, second-home owners and local governments. Expect local tax increases and program cuts.

@Stipanovich: The latest and one of the most egregious examples of the legislature’s utter disdain for local officials and the voters who elect them

— LEGISLATIVE MANEUVERING —

“House beats back shroud over Florida’s open meeting law” via Florida Politics A change that critics said will neuter the state’s Sunshine Laws by allowing any two elected officials of a local governing body to meet without notice in private failed in the House on Tuesday. The bill (HB 843), filed by Naples Republican Byron Donalds, received a vote of 68-48—less than the two-thirds required to change the state’s open meetings law … It would have let two members of a board of five or more members to “discuss public business” without it being an official public meeting.

Tweet, tweet:

“Senate passes compensation for deceased FSU player’s family” via The Associated Press – A bill to compensate the family of a freshman Florida State football player who died after a workout 16 years ago is heading to the desk of Gov. Scott. The Florida Senate voted 34-2 for a claims bill (HB 6515) paying $1.8 million to the family of Devaughn Darling. Florida State agreed to settle the case in 2004 after a lawsuit alleging negligence by trainers in Darling’s death. But state law prohibits the university from paying more than $200,000 without legislative authorization. Darling, who had the sickle-cell trait, died after doing indoor drills during off-season training in February of 2001. The trait can make people vulnerable to illness from exertion.

“TBARTA bill one step closer to going to Rick Scott’s desk” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – One more vote in the House, and the bill goes to Gov. Scott’s desk. Sponsored in the House by Plant City Republican Dan Raulerson, HB 1243 would downsize TBARTA from seven counties to five (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee and Hernando), and change the TBARTA’s focus to transit (and not simply transportation). Two weeks ago, an amendment filed by Tampa Bay-area Republicans Tom Lee and Jeff Brandes made it much harder for the region to push for light-rail, but Senate sponsor Jack Latvala was able to make changes to that amendment last week, which appeared to have satisfied supporters of the bill. There was little discussion about the bill on the House floor. The bill now goes to the full House for a third and final reading. The Senate bill passed last week.

House approves computer coding bill” via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools – HB 265 would instruct the Articulation Coordinating Committee to identify high school courses that could satisfy university admission requirements for math and science and require the education commissioner to establish academic standards for computer science, was passed unanimously. A similar bill (SB 104) stalled in committee, but the House bill will now head to the Senate.

House passes Florida Forever bill” via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools – HB 7119 reorganizes the Florida Forever land conservation program but its fate, along with the entire environment budget, remains unclear. The bill would restructure the Florida Forever funding formula to provide 40 percent for conservation easements at the state agriculture department, 35 percent to the Department of Environmental Protection for the priority acquisition list and 25 percent to the Florida Communities Trust grant program … in addition, Rep. Matt Caldwell filed an amendment that would provide $57 million annually for three years to Florida Forever — starting in fiscal year 2018-19 — and increasing amounts after that.

***A Prospective Payment System for nursing center reimbursement gives more value to Floridians’ Medicaid spending by putting it toward what matters most – the quality of our loved one. Learn more here.***

“Must-pass workers’ compensation, AOB reform languishing in Legislature” via Florida Politics – With House and Senate leaders caught up with budget negotiations ahead of Friday’sdeadline for adjournment, advocates for legislative fixes for assignment of benefits and workers’ compensation reform confronted this possibility: Their must-pass legislation might not pass. There’s a workers’ compensation bill on the Senate calendar, but it differs in significant respects from the version the House adopted, and it was unclear whether those differences could be reconciled in the time left. Meanwhile, the House has adopted assignment of benefits, or AOB, reforms. But Senate version languished in the Rules Committee. “The problem we have right now is a bandwidth issue, with leaders being so involved in these (budget) numbers that they can’t really focus on these policies or strategies, or how we would do it — which bill, this and that,” said Sen. Gary Farmer … sponsor of the Senate AOB bill.

Senate expected to take up marijuana bill today – The Senate will likely take up the House’s version of the medical marijuana implementing bill (HB 1397) when it meets to begin discussion on implementing the 2016 medical marijuana constitutional amendment. The upper chamber is currently slated to discuss its version of the bill (SB 406) when it convenes for session at 10 a.m. today, but records show the House bill has been received by the Senate. Amended Tuesday, the House bill, among other things, quickens the pace by which the state issues licenses for medical marijuana treatment centers. The bill calls on the DOH to issue 10more licenses “as soon as practicable, but no later than July 1, 2018.” The measure does not, however, include caps on the number of retail locations growers can have, something the Senate bill includes. House Majority Ray Rodrigues told members Tuesday that “95 percent” of the changed adopted had been negotiated with the Senate. Sen. Rob Bradley, the Senate sponsor, said he would let the process work when asked by reporters about whether the Senate would hold the line on caps

— RICK SCOTT TAKING TO THE ROAD —

Scott announced his “Fighting for Florida’s Future” campaign, taking him on a whirlwind tour of home cities of lawmakers who might feel pressure to support full funding for Enterprise Florida and VISIT Florida. And now, with the Legislature hammering out the final details of a budget that dismisses some of Scott’s priorities, the governor is adding a third priority to his tour’s message: $200 million to help fix the Herbert Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee. “There are still a few days left of the Regular Session which means that there is still time for the politicians to do the right thing and fund priorities to protect our environment and keep our economy growing,” Scott stated in a news release … On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Scott plans stops in Tampa, Orlando, Palm Beach, Miami, Pensacola, Panama City, Naples, Sarasota, Jacksonville, and the Space Coast.

The details: Gov. Scott kicks off his “Fighting for Florida’s Future” tour at 9 a.m. at Power Grid Engineering, 100 Colonial Center Pkwy Suite 400 in Lake Mary. From there, he’ll head to Tampa for an event at 11:15 a.m. at CWU, 5402 W Laurel St. Unit 1B. Scott will then make his way to Riviera Beach for an event at 2:30 p.m. at RGF Environmental Group, 1101 West 13th Street. He’ll end the day at 4:45 p.m. at Rick Case Kia – Sunrise, 14500 W Sunrise Blvd. in Sunrise.

This is also on the road, so watch out: ‘Flu bug’ raises awareness about proposal to allow pharmacists to test for flu — Don’t be alarmed, this bug won’t give you the flu. Instead, the purple and pink VW bug parked outside the Governor’s Inn is meant to raise awareness about a proposal to allow Florida pharmacists to test customers for the flu. A bill (SB 1180), sponsored by Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, would have allowed pharmacists to test and treat Floridians for the flu. Under the proposal, pharmacists who were trained and certified to give a flu shot would have been authorized to give tests and provide an anti-viral medication, like Tamiflu, to patients.

The bill, which was backed by the Florida Pharmacy Association, did not receive a hearing in the Senate; however, a House bill (HB 7011) was amended to allow pharmacists to order tests. That bill is on the House’s second reading calendar. “It creates a conversation and debate about why wouldn’t we want to support a pretty simple concept,” said Claudia Davant, the association’s long-time lobbyist. “It’s all about access to care.”

— OPINIONS — 

“Jason Pye, Sal Nuzzo: Mandatory minimum reform needed in overdose epidemic” for Florida Politics – Facing yet another drug overdose epidemic, the Florida Legislature has an opportunity to move the needle in the right policy direction — finally … the heat is on to include policies that have failed Florida – every single time they’ve been tried. Current law already provides harsh mandatory sentences for trafficking in heroin laced with fentanyl. This should trouble anyone who believes mandatory minimums will deter fentanyl trafficking. If that’s true, what are they waiting on? The truth is mandatory minimums don’t reduce drug trafficking. Mandatory minimums have also failed to reduce drug abuse. In fact, since adopting mandatory minimums to reduce overdose deaths, Florida’s overall drug-induced death rate has increased nearly 150 percent. Incarcerating thousands of low-level addicts who don’t pose a risk to public safety is expensive. One such reform – a practical, reasonable and moderate one – would give judges, under compelling circumstances, a degree of flexibility to sentence drug offenders appropriately.

“Medical marijuana: OK, it is time to drop caps on dispensaries” for Florida Politics – As competing bills to implement Amendment 2 get bogged down mid-Session, the hot-button flashpoints began: The number of new medical marijuana licensees, as well as the process to award those highly-valued “Willy Wonka” golden tickets … caps on dispensaries means less access, fewer available products and fewer licensees. But when it comes to cost, less is more — medical weed prices would skyrocket, that is. To be clear, pro-Amendment 2 folks are really not looking for limited access and higher prices — it seems obvious they were pushing this notion simply to upset the game. But now the dust has settled, and the Senate bill still has caps in it. With only three full days left, it may just be time to back off. Caps on dispensaries — at any number — helps nobody. What it does is hurts those who took a chance, making an investment in medical cannabis. It also hurts those who live in rural (and even some suburban) areas. Also, dispensary caps hurt patients — particularly those who are very sick or need to travel. And, most of all, it hurts the 71 percent who supported medical marijuana for severely ill patients. It’s time to drop the caps and move on.

GWEN GRAHAM MAKES IT OFFICIAL

“Daughter of ex-Florida governor seeks his same seat” via Brendan Farrington of the Associated Press – Graham made her announcement in Miami-Dade County, where she lived until she moved into the governor’s mansion at age 15 when her father, Bob Graham, took office.

“I’m so proud of Dad, but I stand on my own two feet. I’ve certainly learned from him, but I would never expect anyone to support me simply because I am Dad’s daughter,” Graham told The Associated Press before her announcement.

“I will be a governor that does focus on what he focused on, which is making the right decisions for Florida again.”

“At announcement, Graham promises a love for Florida” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Standing before Miami Carrol City High School, where she said she spent a “workday” Monday, Graham spent much of her speech blasting the past 20 years of education reform efforts in Tallahassee as degrading students, turning over the schools to what she called the “education industry” intent on making money off high-stakes student tests.

“And as governor, I will not just criticize this culture of teaching to the tests, I will end it,” she said, even if she needs to use a line-veto to do so.

Graham also vowed to commit to technical and career-based training for students beginning in middle school; investing in roads, bridges and mass transit; and pushing to diversify the economy away from tourism and agriculture, and toward new economies, technology, robotics, health care and solar energy, with a new focus on entrepreneurs and home businesses.

“Out of the gate, Emily’s List backing Graham” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – “Gwen Graham doesn’t need to tell Floridians that she’s a champion for women and families in her state — her record proves that beyond a doubt,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock stated in a news release. “While serving in one of the most divisive Congresses in memory, Gwen fought to ensure Florida’s veterans received the health care they deserved, to end gender discrimination in pay, and for affordable college education for Floridians and all Americans.”

“Republicans quickly attack Graham as non-achieving, non-transparent” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Republicans wasted little time … In separate releases, the Republican Party of Florida said she lacks accomplishments to run on; the Republican Governors Association said the former congresswoman did not release her congressional records before leaving office at the end of December. The pair of responses may indicate a level of concern the Republicans could have for a Graham candidacy, as neither party organization quickly attacked the announced candidacies of the other two Democrats running for governor. Graham’s campaign dismissed the charges as typical partisan responses: “These predictable, partisan attacks are about as standardized and one-dimensional as the high-stakes tests Florida Republicans keep heaping on our schools and kids. Let’s focus on Florida — that’s certainly what Gwen Graham is doing.”

Assignment editorsGraham will join ESA Renewables for a Workday monitoring and installing solar panels. Event and interview opportunities with Graham as she installs solar panels at the home of an Orange County Solar Co-Pp member in Orlando at 2 p.m. All press interested in attending are asked to please RSVP to Matt Harringer at press@gwengraham.com.

— CONSUMER SENTIMENT DIPS FROM RECORD HIGH IN APRIL —

Consumer confidence in Florida dropped in the last month, but researchers say Floridians seem more optimistic than they were a year ago.

The monthly University of Florida consumer survey released Tuesday measured confidence at 95.7, which is 3.5 points lower than it was in March. The lowest index possible is a 2, and the highest is 150.

Hector Sandoval of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research said that while the numbers have shifted somewhat that the perceptions are relatively stable reflecting “favorable economic conditions in the state.

Sandoval said the decline in the April numbers was due to “unfavorable expectations” about the economy in the future. He noted, however, that those with incomes over $50,000 have favorable perceptions.

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“Rick Scott appointed water management official resigns after inappropriate Facebook post” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida – In his resignation letter, John Browning officially said he was leaving the St. Johns River Water Management District because of the workload. He had served on the board since Scott appointed him in late 2015. “I understand the important job water management does; however, I did not realize the amount of time and commitment it required,” he wrote … The letter makes no mention of a Facebook post he wrote in November when he commented on a man who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent and was wearing a red and white headscarf. “Ever want to get off a plane when loading,” read the post, which showed a picture of the man.

“Back to business as usual for Erik Fresen” via Kyra Gurney of the Miami Herald – … speaking at an education event in Miami less than a week after pleading guilty to failing to file a tax return for 2011. The former House education budget chair was a panelist at an event organized by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce on education options in the downtown area. Fresen advocated for charter schools and discussed the need to better promote the strength of Miami-Dade schools to business interests and families in the downtown area. Fresen … has ties to the charter school industry. He has worked as a land-use consultant for Miami architecture firm Civica, which has done work for charter school management company Academica, whose founder is Fresen’s brother-in-law. One topic Fresen did not discuss at Monday’s event: his tax troubles.

State Supreme Court publicly reprimands North Florida judge via Florida Politics – Calling it a “sad occasion, sad for you, sad for us,” Chief Justice Jorge Labarga on Tuesday publicly dressed down 3rd Circuit Judge Andrew Decker for alleged attorney-ethical lapses before his election as judge in 2012. He also made false statements during his campaign, the court found. “No one can undo what you have done,” Labarga told Decker in open court. “This is not a task I enjoy; indeed, I hate it.” The court also ordered him suspended for six months without pay. Decker was used a case study by a House ethics panel this Legislative Session as it looked into exercising its constitutionally-granted impeachment power. Labarga said Decker showed a “baffling inability” to understand what he’d done wrong, adding that the reprimand would be the court’s “last admonition” to him.

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Assignment editors: The Constitution Revision Commission continues its statewide listening tour with a public hearing at 4 p.m. (central time) at the Amelia Center Auditorium at Gulf Coast State College, 5320 West Highway 98 in Panama City.

Governors Club Wednesday lunch buffet menu –  With only days left in the 2017 Regular Session, the Governors Club Wednesday lunch buffet features three bean & pepper salad; macaroni & ham salad; mixed green salad; three assorted dressings; New England clam chowder; honey baked ham; roasted sweet potatoes; pan-blackened redfish; red beans & Rice; green beans almandine; black beans & blue sugar flank steak.

Happening today – FAPL hosts May Madness social — The Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists will host a May Madness Social with live music and networking at 5:30 p.m. at Southern Public House, 224 E. College Ave.

New and renewed lobbying registrations

Jodi Brock Davidson, Colodny Fass: Broward Teachers Union

Jeffrey Greene, Jeff Greene & Associates: Green Roads West, LLC

Will McKinley, PooleMcKinley: NIC, Inc.; Sunshine State Towing Association

Samuel Verghese, One Eighty Consulting: Column Technologies, Inc.

Happy birthday to one of the nicest guys in The Process and a great dad, Donovan Brown. Also celebrating today is Gershom Faulkner (now in U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist‘s office) and Mr. Janet Zink, Tom Scherberger.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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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