Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn for 6.7.17 – Special Session already not so special?; There’s a bear in the election woods; David Richardson aims for D.C.; op-eds galore

in Peter/Top Headlines by

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

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


Special Session hasn’t even started yet, and stuff’s already starting to blow up.

Take House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s Tuesday evening reaction to the Senate’s filed bills on education, economic development and tourism marketing.

“We stand with the Governor in his commitment to increase funding for our K-12 public schools and creating more jobs,” he said.

“But instead of addressing jobs, honoring the will of the people in passing medical marijuana, or taking care of our public school children, the Senate President wants a massive property tax increase, wants to weaken accountability provisions for VISIT FLORIDA and Enterprise Florida (EFI), and wants to raid reserves to give to hospital CEOs.  

“Needless to say, the House is not raising taxes, not softening accountability rules, and not borrowing against reserves to pay for corporate giveaways,” Corcoran added.

“And without question the House will not allow funding for our schoolchildren to be held hostage to pork barrel spending and special interest demands.”

In the words of Ron Burgundy: “Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.”

Before that, Senate Appropriations chair Jack Latvala dropped a bomb when, in a memo, he said bills filed during the Special Sesh would fall under the constitutionally-mandated 72-hour cooling off period.

Staff came to that conclusion by researching session precedent going back to 1993, Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta said.

If a bill gets amended, however, that would reset the clock, pushing back the end of session beyond Friday.

Later, the House filed HB 3A on the Florida Education Finance Program. But the House’s bill statement said the cooling off period does not apply.”

“It is not general in application; does not resemble the constitutionally required format and scope of a general appropriations bill described by Article III, section 19(b); does not meet the definition of a General Appropriations Bill in Joint Rule 2; and meets the general appropriations exemption applicable to supplemental appropriations provided in Joint Rule 2,” the statement said.

In other words: Pass or fail, we ain’t staying. (We won’t even mention the lack of medical marijuana in the call as of Tuesday night.) So let’s quote another great movie line, “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy (week).”

– “Uh oh: Florida lawmakers’ special session in jeopardy before it even begins” via Michael Auslen, Mary Ellen Klas and Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Spectrum Reach, the marketing platform of choice, connecting you to your target audience on TV, digital and mobile. With access to our powerful data and insights, solutions for every screen, and the best programming content on the top 50+ networks, we’ll help you reach the right customers for your business. #NeverStopReaching***


Special Session gets underway today – The schedule starts with a House floor session at 12:30 p.m. and a Senate session at 1 p.m. The House Appropriations Committee then meets at 2 p.m., with the Senate Commerce & Tourism Committee convening at the same time. The Senate Appropriations Committee is slated to meet at 4 p.m. The following day, the Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to meet again at 10 a.m., with the full House going into session at 10:30 a.m. The Senate follows with a floor session at 2 p.m. Finally, both chambers meet on the floor on Friday, with the Senate starting at 10 a.m. and the House going in at 10:30 a.m. All meetings and times are subject to change.

Special Session rules — The team at LobbyTools put together a handy guide to get you up-to-date about what you need to know before the Legislature gavels in. When it comes to committee meetings, meetings need to be noticed two hours in advanced; committee amendments shall be filed no later than one hour before the committee. Senate rules require the Special Order Calendar to be published two hours in advance, but House rules don’t special a Special Order Calendar publishing deadline. The Senate deadline for floor amendments for bills on the Special Order Calendar is 5 p.m., or 2 hours after the calendar is announced. House floor amendments must be approved two hours before a floor session. And when it comes to fundraising, the rules of a regular session apply: Members of the Legislature aren’t permitted to solicited, be solicited or accept any contribution during special session

“Joe Negron: Senate will consider veto overrides” via Florida Politics Senate President Negron told members in a Tuesday memo he expects “a proposal to override the veto of some university and higher education funding.” The Stuart Republican also left the door open for medical marijuana implementation to be added to the call, saying he had made no deal “limit(ing) the subject matter to the issues listed in the Governor’s proclamation” … Legislative negotiators are reportedly close to striking a deal regarding marijuana dispensary caps, limiting the number of retail locations, that hamstrung lawmakers during this year’s regular session that ended in May. Introducing marijuana legislation would require a two-thirds vote.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala talks with Senate President Joe Negron during early discussion of the budget on the final day of the extended 2017 Legislative Session at the Capitol in Tallahassee. Photo credit: Colin Hackley.

“Jack Latvala: ‘Cooling-off’ period applies to Special Session bills” via Florida Politics Latvala is telling fellow senators that funding bills will be subject to the state’s constitutionally-mandated “cooling off” period. That potentially means, if the bills are amended, that lawmakers could be stuck in Tallahassee past Friday, when the session is scheduled to end. The Clearwater Republican, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a memo that he and Senate President Negron—an attorney—had “reviewed relevant legal precedent and accepted the advice of our professional staff regarding the application of the 72-hour cooling off period.” A House spokesman wasn’t immediately available for comment Tuesday.

Rene Garcia: I’m ‘not comfortable’ with more K-12 funding without changing HB 7069” via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – The Hialeah Republican told President Negron in a letter that he’s “not comfortable supporting any compromise” on increasing K-12 funding for 2017-18 that does not also address a controversial education policy bill that awaits Gov. Scott‘s approval. García was one of three Senate Republicans to vote against HB 7069 when it narrowly passed the Senate on the final day of the 2017 regular session. “While my career has reflected a passionate commitment to school choice and local autonomy, I find it difficult to support adjusting the Florida Education Finance Program while failing to address the erosion of Florida’s commitment to public education that is contained in HB 7069,” García said.

Medical marijuana activists ‘cautiously optimistic’ Legislature will take it up in Special Session” via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News – Key players in the issue like Orlando attorney John Morgan said that they believe Negron was worried the seven original growers would have an unfair advantage over other MMTCs — but said those fears were irrational since the dispensaries would end up beating out each other in the long run anyway. “Joe [Negron] is misguided because I don’t think you should cap dispensaries,” Morgan told SSN. “Competition takes care of everything in a capitalistic society, [but] these lawmakers are not capitalists. They are people who have lived at the public trough their whole lives.” If legislators can’t work out an agreement over medical cannabis, it will be up to the Department of Health to figure out how to regulate the state’s medical marijuana industry before July 3.

Morgan, who supports lifting MMTC caps, said he was hopeful lawmakers would work out some kind of agreement, one way or the other, but trashed legislators for toying with the will of Florida voters. “They have never done anything besides go up there and play board games like it’s a Monopoly game and it’s not real,” he said. “At the end of the day, the cream will rise to the top. They’re fighting something that doesn’t need to be fought about.”

“Some lawmakers bowing out of Special Session” via Florida Politics At least eight House members and one senator won’t be attending some or all of this week’s Special Session, set for Wednesday-Friday. The June meeting is conflicting with some lawmakers’ plans, including one whose brother is getting married out of state. A list, as of Tuesday afternoon, showed lawmakers asking for and receiving excused absences for part or all of the three-day session, with reasons given.

DSCC goes after Scott over special session — The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is out with a new ad hitting Gov. Scott over the upcoming three-day special session. The video features clips of recent media reports talking about the special session, and the governor’s request for money for economic incentives. The 60-second spot also highlights concerns over a sweeping education bill, as well as the governor’s vetoes for higher education, road construction projects. Scott is widely expected to run for U.S. Senate in 2018. Click on the image below to watch the clip.

Assignment editors: Rep. Shevrin Jones and FEA President Joanne McCall will hold a press call to discuss the special session at 11 a.m. Interested media should RSVP to Johanna Cervone at for dial-in information.

Split appeal court upholds Gov. Scott’s 2015 veto of firefighters’ $2,000 raise” via Florida Politics — The Governor’s constitutional authority to veto budget line items trumps a state law requiring him to bow to the Legislature when it resolves labor collective bargaining impasses, a divided 1st District Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. … “The Florida Constitution clearly articulates the governor’s authority to veto the (budget), or specific appropriations therein. It authorized him to veto the raise appropriation here,” the court said. “That appellant’s members possess constitutional collective bargaining rights does not alter the governor’s constitutional authority with respect to the GAA.” … The dispute involved Gov. Scott’s veto of a $2,000 raise the Legislature OK’d for members of … the Florida Forest Service for the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2015. In a dissent, Judge Bradford Thomas wrote that upholding the raise would not “significantly impair the governor’s general veto authority and properly harmonizes conflicting provisions of organic law.”

Governor’s veto threatens Appleton Museum of Art” via Joe Callahan of the Ocala Star-Banner – College of Central Florida officials were in crisis mode in the wake of Gov. Scott’s decision to veto $1.5 million in state funding the college was counting on to operate the Appleton Museum of Art. CF President Jim Henningsen and his staff met multiple times to discuss options to keep the prestigious museum open beyond June 30, which is the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year. Henningsen hopes to get approval from the family of the museum founder, Arthur I. Appleton, to use $1.5 million of the museum’s $19 million endowment to keep the museum open for one more year, through June 30, 2018. “We are trying to reach the family to see if they will approve the money, and then we can lobby the legislature to get the Appleton funded in next year’s budget,” said Henningsen, adding that if no state funding can be acquired next year then the museum may have to be closed.

“Scott’s vetoes could impact Luna archaeology efforts” via Joseph Baucum of the Pensacola News-Journal – The University of West Florida’s excavations of the Don Tristan de Luna settlement in East Pensacola Heights could be impacted by Gov. Scott‘s $410 million cuts to the Legislature’s $83 billion proposed budget. The governor slashed $4.1 million to the university, of which $1.1 million would have gone to the university’s archaeology program. Since 2015, researchers and students from the program have conducted several digs and tests of the Luna site, arguably the oldest established European multi-year settlement in the United States. “We realize it has not been an easy year and we thank ​our legislative partners for all of their efforts,” said UWF President Martha Saunders. “The archaeology program is an active program, so we are concerned about the impact on the students currently enrolled. We are committed to doing everything we can to minimize any disruption.”

Assignment editors: Gov. Scott will present the Medal of Merit to Airman David Barba and Aviation Boastswain’s Mate Andrew Miller at 9 a.m. at Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville. The two sailors are being awarded for their courage and selflessness assisting victims following an incident in Times Square earlier this month. Media interested in attending should arrive at the pass and decal parking lot by 8:15 a.m. for security check in. For additional questions, contact William Austin, Mayport Public Affairs Officer, at 904-629-7145 or

Assignment editors – Aides to Gov. Scott and the Florida Cabinet will meet at 9 a.m. in the Capitol’s Cabinet meeting room in advance of the scheduled June 14 meeting.

Meanwhile … “Trouble getting sake in Florida? Law could soon change for the better” via Laura Reiley of the Tampa Bay Times – State law officially defines wine as a beverage fermented from grapes, berries or other fruit. Made from fermented rice, sake … often has been erroneously lumped with liquors, typically distilled from grains. Restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, and other places allowed to sell and serve wine and beer, but not liquor, have often shied from sake, fearing legal problems. House Bill 689, passed by the Legislature in the 2017 Session but awaiting action from Gov. Scott, would finally clarify that sake is indeed a wine, making it servable and sellable anywhere other wines and beers are sold.


At least 3 Florida counties targeted by Russian hacking attempt” via Steve Bousquet and Adam Playford of the Tampa Bay Times – At least three Florida elections offices got malicious emails days before the 2016 presidential election that a classified federal report says were part of a Russian cyberattack that aimed to hack into their computers. Election supervisors in Citrus, Clay and Pasco counties got the emails, but they did not open them. It’s unclear whether the cyberattack was successful anywhere else in Florida. A secret intelligence report by the National Security Agency described two efforts by a Russian military intelligence unit, the G.R.U. to disrupt the presidential election.

State officials say voting system was secure in 2016” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – Florida’s online elections databases and voting systems remained secure in 2016 … despite what appears to be confirmation that a phishing email was sent to state elections offices  and news reports indicate that federal officials believe the Russians were behind it. “The Florida Department of State participated in an informational call with the FBI related to elections security at the end of September 2016, said Sarah Revell, spokesperson for the agency that oversees Florida’s elections system. “But there was no indication of a Florida-specific issue.” She denied there were any successful hacking attempts from the phishing emails investigated by the National Security Administration.

Shot tweet:

Chaser tweet:

Perry Thurston backs Gillum for Governor — Thurston, the chairman of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, announced Tuesday he was endorsing Gillum’s gubernatorial bid. “As Governor, we can trust Mayor Gillum to be a fierce advocate for our community on so many issues – from addressing climate change, to ensuring healthcare is accessible to the most medically-needy in our state, to protecting public education from for-profit charter schools and their friends in the Legislature,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to helping him ‘Bring It Home’ for Florida!” 

Miami-Dade State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle considering statewide run in Florida” via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald — Rundle is mostly interested in the possibility of running for Governor but didn’t rule out running for Attorney General, said State Rep. Joe Geller, an Aventura Democrat who organized the meeting at her home Memorial Day weekend. While multiple Democrats have filed to run for Governor, no well-known Democrat has announced a bid for attorney general. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, a Democrat, is considering running for Attorney General. (Gov. Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, both Republicans, are term limited.) Fernandez Rundle had no timeline for making a decision, Geller said.

– “Jail inmate scalding death haunts Miami-Dade prosecutor’s plans to run for governor” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida

Tweet, tweet:

Matt Caldwell raises more than $100K for Agriculture Commissioner bid in May” via Florida Politics — The North Fort Myers Republican raised $101,1575 for his 2018 agriculture commissioner bid during a 20-day period in May, his campaign said Tuesday. While Caldwell filed to run for the statewide office May 1, he did not begin fundraising until after the 2017 Legislative Session ended. Caldwell will report ending the month with $100,458 cash on hand, according to his campaign. His political committee, Friends of Matt Caldwell, will report raising $712,825 since January. “I am truly humbled by the outpouring of support we have received and what we have been able to accomplish in our first month,” said Caldwell in a statement. “When we announced our campaign, I said this would be a grassroots endeavor.”

Now a CFO candidate, Jeremy Ring to publish a book on Yahoo experience” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics — Former state Senator Jeremy Ring, the only official candidate in the 2018 race to be Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, has just completed a book about his experiences working as a founding member of Yahoo. Ring said Monday he plans to publish his book this fall. “We Were Yahoo” will describe how the Silicon Valley-based company changed the world twice, Ring told a couple of dozen supporters who gathered to learn more about him at an appearance at the University Club in downtown Tampa. “The first time on the way up it pioneered the entire digital information age, and everybody knows that, but on the way down the major missteps of that company allowed Facebook and Google to grow and mature and become the companies that they were,” he said.

Assignment editors: Ring will address the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans annual conference at 11 a.m. at The Florida Hotel & Conference Center, 1500 Sand Lake Road in Orlando.

Democrat running for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s open seat drops out” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — Miami businessman Scott Fuhrman, who jumped into politics last year and took on longtime Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, announced Tuesday that he’s suspending his campaign for Ros-Lehtinen’s open congressional seat in 2018. Fuhrman said a lack of support from donors was the primary reason behind his decision. “Running these campaigns costs an exorbitant amount of money, it’s really insane,” Fuhrman told the Miami Herald. “I spent over a million dollars of my own money in 2016 and this year. I couldn’t really get the support among the Democratic donor community without having to put in a huge amount of my own money in the race.”

Legislature’s financial sleuth, David Richardson, to run for Ros-Lehtinen’s seat” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – “I’m ready for it,” Richardson said. “The most important thing is that anyone working Washington has got to work in a bipartisan way and, for the last five years, I’ve demonstrated I’ve been able to get things done in the minority.” Richardson, 60, entered a race that is already crowded with both Democrats and Republicans … He starts with a strong base as his Democratic state House district is enclosed entirely within Congressional District 27, is 60 percent Hispanic and leans Democratic. “Ileana Ros-Lehtinen because of her tenure has been amazing and exceptional with constituent services,” he said. “I really believe she could have won in 2018.” Richardson said he has been considered a run for Congress for some time but expected Ros-Lehtinen to retire in 2020. Her unexpected announcement that she will retire in 2018 after 35 years in office, accelerated his timeline.

— Flashback to May 10: “David Richardson preparing for run in CD 27” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

“Daisy Baez hit with residency complaint” via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald — A Coral Gables voter said he has filed a complaint against state Rep. Daisy Baez, accusing the Democrat of violating a Florida requirement that lawmakers live in the districts they represent. Christian Rodriguez asked House Speaker Richard Corcoran to investigate Baez’s residency, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by the Miami Herald. Though it is dated May 29, the House had yet to confirm receipt as of Tuesday, more than a week later. “Baez is ineligible to represent the district in the Florida House of Representatives and should be removed immediately upon a finding that she either never established her permanent residency within House District 114 or she relinquished her permanent residency,” the complaint says.

Two Republicans, one Democrat qualify for HD 116 race — State records show two Republicans, Jose Mallea and Daniel Anthony Perez, and one Democrat, Gabriela Mayaudon qualified to run for the seat. Democrat Ross Hancock, who previously filed to run for the seat, has withdrawn from the race, according to state records. Mallea and Perez will battle it out for their party’s nomination in the July 25 primary. The winner will face Mayaudon in the Sept. 26 general election. Diaz, a Miami-Dade Republican, resigned his seat effective Sept. 26 to run in the Senate District 40 special election to replace Sen. Frank Artiles. Artiles, a Miami-Dade Republican, resigned in April amid scandal.

— “Missing penny almost costs House candidate” via Florida Politics

– “Invisible Pasco’ activist Linda Jack to challenge Amber Mariano in House District 36” via Florida Politics

– “House candidate Berny Jacques wins another local elected official’s endorsement” via Florida Politics


After a seemingly rule-less meeting, constitution panel adopts rules” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Rules — addressing such matters as who will appoint committees, how proposals will move through committees, whether Florida’s Sunshine laws will cover everything — emerged from a sometimes chaotic debate in Orlando at a meeting that Chair Carlos Beruff adjourned suddenly after he got what he apparently wanted. By a 20-11 vote, the commission adopted a proposal from Gov. Scott-appointee Brecht Heuchan that largely adopts, as a base, the rules used by the previous state Constitution Revision Commission in 1997-98, with a few changes Heuchan said were the desires of a rules work group that had met. With that, Beruff closed down discussion or consideration of dozens of other proposals, including some amendments and then adjourned the meeting. He promised that the other suggestions would be taken up at later meetings, but made contradictory statements about whether they would be considered by the full commission, or by a rules committee, which he would be able to appoint and control. But the rules package didn’t address everything that everyone wanted, and opponents mounted challenges.

“Supreme Court will hear Florida A&M hazing appeal” via Florida Politics – The justices have decided to consider an appeal from Dante Martin, convicted in the 2011 hazing death of FAMU drum major Robert Champion. A date for oral arguments is not yet set. “Florida’s hazing statute criminalizes the type of conduct that—though physically grueling, perceived as brutal to many, and unappealing to most—is nonetheless protected under the federal constitution,” his initial brief said. Martin and Champion were both members of the school’s famed “Marching 100” band. Champion, 26, succumbed to internal injuries after a brutal beating ritual with fists, mallets and drumsticks in a band bus that was parked outside a game in Orlando. According to the AP, “the case brought into focus the culture of hazing in the band, which was suspended for more than a year while officials tried to clean up the program.” Martin, now 30, was sentenced in 2015 to 6 years and 5 months in prison on felony manslaughter and hazing charges, according to the Department of Corrections website. He is currently serving time in the Wakulla Work Camp.

National, local politics infuse union fight over panhandle county’s teachers” via Jessica Bakeman of POLITICO Florida – With Alabama on its northern border and the Gulf of Mexico along its southern coast, Santa Rosa County is deep red. Even many of its teachers — a traditionally left-leaning group — didn’t want to be associated with the state and national unions’ efforts to boost Democrats. So, leaders voted to leave in late 2015. The Tallahassee-based Florida Education Association has since helped form a competing local union there and is challenging the now-independent Santa Rosa Professional Educators for the rights to collectively bargain contracts with the school district. SRPE’s leaders say the state union is coming after them out of fear that other, bigger chapters will follow their lead. Several unions from around the right-to-work state have indicated their interest in breaking away as well, the group’s president and attorney claim.

Deal for David Beckham’s Miami soccer stadium land gets approval” via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press – In a 9-4 vote Tuesday, Miami-Dade County commissioners decided to allow Miami Beckham United to buy 3 acres of county land, the final piece in a nine-acre plot on which a 25,000-seat soccer stadium is planned. It’s a big win for the English soccer icon, who has spent four years – and counting – trying to bring Miami an expansion MLS franchise. “Miami is ready,” said Tim Leiweke, one of the partners in Beckham’s group. “We are committed. And the city and the county have now taken the necessary steps for us to control our own destiny for a privately financed, world-class soccer stadium for Major League Soccer. Beckham’s group will pay just over $9 million for the three-acre plot. It has already paid $19 million for the other 6 acres needed, and Leiweke said he’s hopeful a team could start playing in the stadium in 2020.

Injured Orlando Predators player loses workers’ compensation claim on appeal” via Orlando Rising — A former Orlando Predators player can’t recover workers’ compensation benefits because nobody from the Arena Football League ever signed his employment contract, the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday. Bryon Bishop attempted to claim benefits for an injury sustained during a tryout to rejoin the now-defunct team following a hiatus. A judge of compensation claims had ruled that he was entitled to them under his contract with the league. A three-judge appellate panel … cited the lack of a signature by a league representative in reversing the compensation judge. Only Bishop and a team representative had signed. The contract term was Feb. 1-Aug. 31, 2013.

Workers’ comp judge ordered to reconsider $20K attorney fee agreement” via Florida Politics — A state appeals court criticized a judge of compensation claims for denying a $20,000 attorney fee award because of unsubstantiated claims that the parties had colluded. The 1st District Court of Appeal ordered Judge John Lazzara of Tallahassee to conduct a proper evidentiary hearing in the matter. … The case involved a claim for hearing loss by Jose Delgado against City Concrete Systems Inc. and FCCI Insurance Co. The parties had agreed upon the fee award, but waited until May 2016, after the Florida Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated Castellanos v. Next Door Co. ruling on attorney fees, to file it with the judge. … The court criticized Lazzara’s seven-page order “that assumed certain unestablished facts and strongly suggested that the attorneys engaged in collusion to commit fraud.”

“Personnel note: David Mica Jr. named interim head of Florida Lottery” via Florida Politics Mica Jr., the Florida Lottery‘s chief of staff, has been named interim secretary while Gov. Scott searches for a full-time replacement, an agency spokeswoman said Tuesday. Mica was officially appointed as interim on Friday, according to Lottery spokeswoman Connie Barnes. The vacancy was created by the departure of former Secretary Tom Delacenserie, now president and CEO of the Kentucky Lottery.

Sabal Trail pipeline protesters accept probation deal” via Katie Pohlman of the Ocala Star-Banner – Two protesters who crawled 250 feet into a piece of the Sabal Trail pipeline in February will receive 12 months of probation each. Karrie Kay Ford, 29, of Gainesville, and Nicholas Segal-Wright, 26, of Lake Worth, entered no contest pleas to a misdemeanor trespassing charge. Ford also entered a no contest plea to resisting a law enforcement officer. The two have to complete 30 community service hours and pay a joint restitution of $7,183 to Sabal Trail Transmission at a rate of $200 a month each during probation. They will have to decide how to pay the remaining amount after the year has passed. Both are prohibited from returning to any land or property that Sabal Trail Transmission owns or has interest in.


Orlando workplace shooter John Neumann Jr. showed ‘pattern of abuse’ court injunction says” via David Harris of the Orlando Sentinel — A former Fiamma co-worker wrote in 2014 court filings that John Robert Neumann Jr. was a “danger to our community” and showed a “pattern of abuse” that was known among other employees. … Carlos Rodriguez filed two injunctions against Neumann in May 2014 that highlighted an ongoing dispute — one for stalking and another for repeat violence. Rodriguez wrote that Neumann started verbally attacking him and “spitting in my face.” … Deputies were called to the business after Rodriguez accused Neumann of assaulting him, but no charges were filed.”

Company ‘heartbroken’ after workplace shooting near Orlando killed 5” via Emily Shapiro of ABC News — After a “disgruntled” ex-employee returned to his former workplace near Orlando, Florida, shooting and killing five people, the company said it is “heartbroken,” calling the attack “unspeakable.” … Fiamma, which is part of an Italian company that manufactures awnings and accessories for RVs, said in a statement, “The Company is heartbroken following the unspeakable attack upon our loved ones and employees. In these dark hours we ask for thoughts and prayers for all the victims of this tragedy and their families.”

Sheriff: Workplace shooting left 2 teens parentless” via The Associated Press — As families of five people killed in a workplace shooting in Florida deal with their shock and grief, a local sports league is raising money for the children of one of the victims – two teens who had already lost their mother nine years ago. Kevin Clark was a “wonderful man and an absolutely amazing, supportive and wonderful father” to his 14-year-old daughter and 18-year-old son, the local Pop Warner league said Tuesday in its fundraising appeal. … The Lake Howell Pop Warner league said Clark’s 14-year-old daughter was a cheerleader in the league, and his 18-year-old son played football in the league for several seasons. The fundraising appeal says Clark was a big supporter who “could often be found snapping pictures on the sideline during game days.”

Friend: Orlando victim feared workplace shooter would seek revenge over firing” via Troy Campbell of WKMG — A friend of Fiamma shooting victim Robert Snyder (said) …  that Snyder warned others of the gunman’s behavior prior to the shooting. It was Snyder who personally fired John Robert Neumann Jr. in April, said Lillian Crouch, who has been on a billiards team with Snyder for about three years. …. Crouch said Snyder told her at the time of Neumann’s firing that he feared Neumann would return for revenge.

— “Orlando workplace shooting victim Kevin Clark was devoted dad, passionate photographer” via Beth Kassab of the Orlando Sentinel

— “Orlando workplace shooting victim Robert Snyder was skilled billiards player, ‘awesome’” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel

— “Orlando workplace shooting victim Brenda Montanez was ‘like a ray of sunshine’” via Gal Tziperman Lotan of the Orlando Sentinel

— “Orlando workplace shooting victim Kevin Lawson was husband, father who loved motorcycles” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel

— “Orlando workplace shooting victim Jeff Roberts had been married nearly 37 yearsvia Gal Tziperman Lotman of the Orlando Sentinel


Steve Hayes: Tourism industry in jeopardy with House Bill 1A” via Florida Politics – As I watched Gov. Scott, Senate President Joe Negron, and Speaker Richard Corcoran announce their plans for a special session to discuss tourism funding, I felt hopeful for the fate of Florida’s tourism industry. However, my optimism faded when I read the strict VISIT Florida provisions tucked inside House Bill 1A. Of course, I am deeply appreciative of our lawmakers’ willingness to rethink the issue of VISIT Florida’s funding, but I am concerned the severe restrictions still hinder VISIT Florida’s ability to help smaller communities compete in the increasingly aggressive tourism promotion industry. VISIT Florida must be able to operate to keep tourists, and revenue, flowing into the Sunshine State. Restoring its funding to $76 million is certainly a critical component to ensuring our tourism industry continues to flourish, but the bureaucratic red tape proposed by HB 1A counteracts the increased budget.

Pat Neal: look to Colorado — cutting visit Florida funding would be disastrous” via Florida Politics – To gauge just how disastrous major cuts to VISIT Florida would be, one must look to Colorado. Keep in mind that Colorado has a more diversified and equitable share of its gross domestic product among different industries, and is not quite as reliant upon the tourism industry alone for its revenues. So, presumably, the effects of defunding tourism marketing programs in Florida would be even more drastic than those seen in Colorado. In 1993, an obscure provision in the state law allowed for the funding of the state’s tourism marketing mechanisms to expire. This meant that Colorado became the first state to essentially eliminate its funding for tourism marketing. The effects were fairly immediate and more drastic than could have been anticipated. The elimination of their $12 million tourism marketing budget manifested in a 30 percent decrease in Colorado’s share of the domestic tourism market. In terms of dollars, this constituted a contraction of Colorado’s tourism revenue by $1.4 billion annually.

Timothy Stapleton: fighting the opioid epidemic in the exam room via Florida Politics – It’s up to all of us to come together as a community to fight this rampant problem at every level: education, prevention, treatment and recovery services. Physicians can effect positive change by staying educated on best practices and effectively communicating with their patients about treatment protocols for pain management. There is an inherent risk in prescribing highly addictive medications, particularly for patients suffering from severe chronic pain. Physicians have a duty to consider the risks versus clinical effectiveness of prescribing opioids and communicate those risks and benefits clearly and honestly to their patients. Physicians have an obligation to educate their patients while developing treatment goals. Treatment does not end when a prescription is written: An open line of communication is necessary to make appropriate clinical decisions and detect signs of opioid dependence.

John Sowinski: Gambling lobbyist finally admits it – casinos prey on customers” via Florida Politics Marc Dunbar … wears the hats of a lawyer, lobbyist and investor. And so, call it a Freudian slip or just a moment of candor, it was interesting to hear someone from the inside let us all in on how the industry views its customers – as prey. This came out in a recent interview … In it, Dunbar discussed the state’s longstanding rejection of Vegas-style resort casinos — something the industry has sought in this state for decades. Because of that prohibition, he said, “you arguably have the kind of gambling that you don’t want to have, the kind that preys primarily on your constituents, as opposed to the tourists.’’ It’s an interesting argument to make to state lawmakers – fleece the tourists to spare your voters. Perhaps it would be an argument some might buy if there was any validity to it. But it’s a fake choice. Casinos do indeed prey on customers. And the most effective method they have for doing so is with high-tech, digital slot machines. Researchers have documented that these machines create a fast-paced, immersive environment in which gamblers lose track of time and losses.


How not to lobby the Florida Legislature via J.D. Alexander‘s Facebook page:

New and renewed lobby registrations: Lisa Aaron, Lisa Aaron Consulting: Commvault Systems; David Ramba, Allison Carvajal, and Evan Power, Ramba Consulting Group: Surgical Care Affiliates

“Personnel note: Beth Vecchioli rejoins Carlton Fields” via Florida Politics Vecchioli will be Senior Director for Government Consulting and co-Chair of the firm’s Property and Casualty Regulatory Group in its Tallahassee office. Previously, she was senior policy advisor and a member of Holland & Knight’s Florida Government Advocacy Team. “This is like coming home for me,” Vecchioli said. She was formerly with Carlton Fields for 9 years, serving as a government consultant from 2003-12. At Carlton Fields, she’ll advise clients in the areas of insurance regulation, lobbying, and financial services. Her client roster includes insurers, reinsurers, mortgage brokers and lenders, as well as national computer companies. She was a senior manager and regulator at the Florida Department of Insurance and Office of Insurance Regulation for more than 10 years.

“Personnel note: Joshua E. Doyle selected as head of Florida Bar” via Florida Politics Doyle, a Tallahassee-based special agent for the FBI, will be taking the reins from John F. “Jack” Harkness, Jr. as the next executive director of The Florida Bar, according to a Tuesday press release. Harkness, who’s been with the Bar for 37 years, will shift to an “ongoing consulting role.” They’ll start a six-month transition in July. The Bar is charged with regulating the state’s 104,000 licensed attorneys. Doyle, 37, who has spent seven years with the bureau, previously was a lawyer-lobbyist for Metz, Husband & Daughton in Tallahassee, including serving as outside legislative consultant to the Bar, the release said. Leading the Bar “is his dream job,” said name partner Jim Daughton. “It’s the only job he would have left the FBI for.”

AppointedJanet Price to the Governing Board of the St. Johns River Water Management District.

— ALOE —

Florida woman let snake bite baby as learning opportunity” via The Associated Press – A Florida woman is under investigation after apparently posting a video on Facebook showing a red rat snake biting her 1-year-old daughter. The woman … has no regrets for “introducing” the girl to the snake, which she found in the driveway of her home near Sebring … the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. The woman says, “people are too sensitive” … the snake bit her and her son several times and “didn’t leave a mark.” She thought it was a good opportunity to “introduce” the girl to the snake without her getting hurt.

Universal announces Fast & Furious – Supercharged to debut next spring” via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising – Fast & Furious – Supercharged will include a simulated 120-mph car race through the streets of Los Angeles with the Fast & Furious crew of Dom Toretto, Hobbs, Letty and Roman. The 3D attraction replaces Disaster!, an earthquake adventure that closed in 2015. The newest ride will feature Universal’s new Virtual Line system, which is being used at Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon and the Volcano Bay water park. Guests can select a time to ride in advance to avoid queues for the attraction, which will include an exhibit of show cars.

Happy birthday to Rep. Jason Brodeur and Thomas Grigsby.

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

Latest from Peter

Go to Top