A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
Today’s Rise and Shine Fact-iversary is brought to you by Sachs Media Group, the state’s dominant public affairs PR firm: Countless Floridians love to spend time on the water up and down Florida’s 1,800-mile coastline, and they can be more relaxed about it thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard – which today celebrates its 224th birthday. The Coast Guard goes out on more than 100 search and rescue missions daily around the country, savings lives from more than a dozen stations and air stations in Florida alone.
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Now, on to the ‘burn…
FIVE QUESTIONS FOR THE WEEK AHEAD?
Will any further revelations emerge from the Tampa Bay Times investigation into Florida GOP fundraising at King Ranch?
With three week left before the Democratic primary in the gubernatorial race, how does Charlie Crist balance looking ahead to November with the need to run up the score against Nan Rich?
How long will it take for the Florida Legislature to draw a remedial map of Florida’s congressional districts? Special session begins on Thursday.
How does AG candidate George Sheldon cope with the residency/legal issues circling his campaign?
Which legislative campaign(s) will draw media attention? The races for House Districts 15, 30, 31, 40, 61 and 74 are the most competitive.
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ICYMI: FLORIDA LAWMAKERS ORDERED TO DRAW NEW VOTING MAP via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press
Circuit Judge Terry Lewis wants the new map by Aug. 15, meaning that legislators would have to hold a special session over the next two weeks in order to comply with the decision. Lewis said he will then consider whether to order a special election later this year under this new map.
The ruling was hailed by the groups that challenged the state’s current districts as unconstitutional. But it’s not known yet if the Florida Legislature will comply or whether the decision will trigger another round of legal challenges. Florida’s primary election is Aug. 26.
Voters in 2010 passed the “Fair Districts” amendment that says legislators cannot draw up districts to favor incumbents or a political party. Lewis ruled in early July that two of the state’s 27 districts were drawn illegally to benefit the Republican Party.
But that decision sparked a legal battle over what steps to take next.
The League of Women Voters of Florida and the groups that sued the Legislature asked Lewis to adopt a new map and adjust this year’s election schedule. But legislative leaders said the state’s current districts should be kept in place to avoid disrupting the 2014 elections. They also contended only the Legislature has the authority to draw new districts.
In his ruling, Lewis said he found the arguments from legislative lawyers “more sensible” and agreed that the Legislature should be responsible for the new map.
SPECIAL SESSION TO FIX THE MAPS THIS THURSDAY via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post
House Speaker Will Weatherford sent a Sunday night email to state representatives, telling them that they will be forced to return to Tallahassee Thursday to begin the session.
… Final floor votes in the House and Senate are likely to occur the following week.
… “We continue to maintain our strong objection to any attempt to disrupt the current election process,” Weatherford wrote in his email. “Florida’s Supervisors of Elections have raised serious concerns over changing the elections process at this late date.”
CONFUSION REIGNS AFTER REDISTRICTING RULING via Mary Ellen Klas of the Tampa Bay Times
Confusion is the primary reaction to the redistricting ruling as legislators, elections officials and others sort through the order to immediately redraw congressional maps and contemplate what impact it will have on elections this year.
Responding to reporters questions, Gov. Scott implied that he won’t be getting involved in calling legislators back into special session to redraw the map but he sounded ready to put an end to the discussion.
Ron Labasky, general counsel for the state’s 67 supervisors of elections, said supervisors are trying to figure out what to do next.
U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown continues to oppose any suggestion that her winding, 10-county district be revised. Lewis threw out her district on July 10, concluding it was drawn in violation of the state’s Fair District rules because it was designed to benefit Republicans.
HOW THE REDISTRICTING DECISION IS PLAYING
The Guardian, Florida general election in doubt after judge orders districts redrawn – If the order stands, it could lead to the postponement or cancellation of the November election in many, if not all of Florida’s 27 congressional districts. Miami Herald, Reaction to latest redistricting ruling: silence, confusion and joy – Confusion is the primary reaction … biggest question is whether (U.S. Rep. Corrine) Brown will file a federal lawsuit and take it out of the state’s hands. Sunshine State News, Redistricting Bombshell Shakes Up Florida Politics – Judge Lewis threw a bombshell into Florida politics … Legislature would need to meet in special session to draw up the new maps … While in session, legislators are barred from fundraising. New York Times, Deadline Set to Redraw Voting Map in Florida – decision drew a strong rebuke from (Brown) who said the ruling and the movement to end gerrymandering was a “deliberate attack on African-American representation.” Bloomberg, Florida Judge Tells Lawmakers to Revise Congressional Map – ruling spotlights how politicians draw electoral maps favoring their parties, reducing competitive races and political gridlock … lack of competitive districts is pervasive. Tampa Tribune, A reasonable first step toward resolving the redistricting mess – His decision is unsatisfying, but understandable … there are no good options — thanks to the lawmakers abusing the redistricting process. POLITICO, Florida judge: Redraw congressional map now – Plaintiffs would have preferred if the judge had asked a third party to draw the new map rather than the legislature … the legislature has already shown that it can’t do a lawful job in creating the maps.
TWEET, TWEET: @SenDarrenSoto: Headed to session to correct most open & transparent redistricting process in Fla history-yeah right!
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JEB BUSH QUIETLY RAMPING UP POTENTIAL PRESIDENTIAL BID via Ian Mohr of the New York Post
Gov. Bush has been traveling to New York in the past month to quietly meet with high-flying business leaders to ramp up interest in a potential presidential bid.
“He’s been meeting with groups of up to 15 people at private homes to tell them about some of his moderate points of view,” a source said. “He’s been meeting with Republicans, Democrats and independents.”
Our source added, “They’re not fund-raisers. It’s for people here to get to know more about him. He’s said he has not decided whether he’ll run.”
We hear that Bush was in town for a meeting at the home of one Wall Street firm’s managing director.
POLL: 74 PERCENT OF VOTERS SAY CONGRESS HAS BEEN UNPRODUCTIVE via Mark Murray of NBC News
Nearly three-quarters of voters say that Congress has been unproductive this year, including 50 percent who say it’s been very unproductive, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll.
By comparison, 19 percent believe it has been productive, and another 3 percent say it’s been very productive.
These numbers come after statistics show that the current Congress (2013-2014) is on pace to be the least productive Congress in the modern era — measured by bills that are signed into law.
The NBC/WSJ/Marist poll also shows that Americans are divided on congressional control for the upcoming midterm elections. By 43 percent to 41 percent, voters say they want to see congressional Republicans stay in control of the House.
HOUSE TUMULT SHOWS IMMIGRATION STILL FLUMMOXES GOP via Charles Babington of the Associated Press
Midterm elections that will decide control of the Senate are three months away, and the 2016 presidential campaign will start in earnest soon after. Yet the Republican Party still can’t figure out what to do about illegal immigration.
It’s the issue that vexed Republicans as much as any in their 2012 presidential loss. It’s the one problem the party declared it must resolve to win future presidential races. And it still managed to bedevil the party again last week, when House Republicans splintered and stumbled for a day before passing a face-saving bill late Friday night.
The fiasco proved anew that a small number of uncompromising conservatives have the power to hamper the efforts of GOP leaders to craft coherent positions on key issues — including one that nearly two-thirds of Americans say is important to them personally, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released last week.
While often a flashpoint issue among Republicans in their primaries this year, the party could get a grace period of sorts in November. Immigration appears likely to have only a modest impact on the roughly 10 Senate races that will determine control of the chamber. The possible exception is the race between Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and GOP Rep. Cory Gardner in Colorado, where Hispanic voters made up 14 percent of the electorate in 2012.
Even if President Obama moves ahead with a proposal to give work permits to millions of immigrants living in the country illegally, removing the threat of deportation, Democratic strategists say Republicans won’t reap much of a benefit. Republicans, they argue, have already squeezed as much as they can from voters angry at the president by hammering at his record on health care, the IRS, foreign policy and other issues.
CARLOS CURBELO DEPLOYS THE JEB BUSH BOMB IN CD 26 PRIMARY via Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald
No other Republican polls as well in the Florida GOP as Jeb Bush.
And Miami-Dade School Board Member Carlos Curbelo hopes that’s equally true in the crowded GOP primary in Congressional District 26, which stretches from their shared home county to Key West. Republican voters in the district should be receiving a Curbelo-paid mailer featuring Bush’s likeness and endorsement of the “proven education reformer and a proponent of expanding economic freedom and cutting wasteful spending.”
This mailer is for a primary of just Republican voters. And it’s in their home county. And the bilingual Bush is well-known to Anglos as well as Hispanics, who comprise a majority of the voters in the district.
If establishment money and endorsements are an indicator, Curbelo’s the frontrunner. But ya never know in a primary. And that’s doubly true when you have a sneaky, well-known former congressman running but not running — David Rivera.
None of this means Bush is beloved by all. He promotes the Common Core educational standards, which some conservatives have demonized. And, remarkably so, the Miami-Dade GOP last year took a stand against Common Core — a slap at Bush who helped make the once-floundering party a powerhouse in a Democratic County.
Common Core, though, hasn’t really been an issue in this congressional race. After all, Common Core was created and managed by the states. A federal conservative who opposes a states’ rights issue has a measure of explaining to do.
GWEN GRAHAM CAPS OFF FIRST HALF OF CD 2 TOUR WITH POSSUM FESTIVAL VISIT Full blog post here
Congressional candidate Gwen Graham capped off the first half of her eight-day “Grilling with The Grahams” campaign tour of the North Florida with a visit to the Wausau Possum Festival, winning the first “possum of the day” auction.
Joined by Graham’s father, former governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, the family took a trip down the Apalachicola River Saturday to highlight the importance of the state’s natural resources as part of a plan to promote economic growth in North Florida.
“North Florida’s natural resources are being continuously threatened by out-of-state interests and Congress has been too busy fighting each other to defend us,” said the Tallahassee Democrat. “We need someone who will work with the Army Corps of Engineers to protect the Apalachicola and the thousands of working families that depend on it for work.”
Grilling with the Grahams is a 14-county series of family-centric barbeque events through Florida’s 2nd Congressional District. During the tour, Graham is promoting what she calls the “North Florida Way,” a set of common-sense values that she promises to bring with her to Washington.
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DAYS UNTIL THE ELECTION: 92
ATTORNEY GENERAL TO RICK SCOTT: “WE’RE WATCHING YOU” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder this month sent a scathing letter to Gov. Scott over voting changes in Florida and issued a warning that the Justice Department is “carefully monitoring” the state.
“Whenever warranted by the facts and the law, we will not hesitate to use all tools and legal authorities at our disposal to fight against racial discrimination, to stand against disenfranchisement and to safeguard the right of ever eligible American to cast a ballot,” Holder wrote.
Scott’s office dismissed it as a “bizarre attempt to help Charlie Crist.”
The letter, dotted with pointed language and examples of changes that have been enacted under Scott, comes months before the Republican governor faces off in an expected showdown with Democrat Crist.
“I am deeply disturbed that during your tenure your state has repeatedly added barriers to voting and restricted access to the polls,” Holder wrote., citing a 2011 decision to narrow early voting “that had previously enabled thousands of Floridians to cast ballots.” Holder said it was “widely recognized as a disaster.”
“I am pleased that last year you signed legislation that restored early voting days,” Holder said. “However, I have grave concerns that there remains a troubling pattern in your state of measures that make it more difficult, not easier, for Floridians to vote.”
Holder goes on to cite more recent changes, including a 2013 directive by Secretary of State Ken Detzner to not collect absentee ballots at places other than their offices, and a rejected request to use the University of Florida’s student union as an early voting site.
Scott’s office said the letter was blatantly partisan and referred questions to the campaign.
BILLIONAIRE CLIMATE-CHANGE SUPPORTER PLEDGES TO SPEND BIG TO BEAT SCOTT via Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald
The billionaire is ready to take out Florida’s multi-millionaire governor.
In a nationwide push to fight Republicans who deny the existence of man-made climate change, investor-turned-activist Tom Steyer has founded a Florida political committee, seeded it with $750,000 of his own money, and says he’ll spend far more to help Crist defeat Gov. Scott.
Florida Democrats are buzzing about Steyer spending $10 million, which he won’t discuss. Republicans say the California Democrat is a phony environmentalist, but they nevertheless worry that his financial commitment could be real in Florida.
“It’s hard to look at the map of the United States and not understand that not only is Florida ground zero for climate [change], it’s the third most-populous state,” Steyer said in a sit-down interview Friday with the Miami Herald.
“When you think about why this is an important state to be in, it’s because it’s actually a linchpin,” said Steyer, 57, underscoring Florida’s standing as the nation’s biggest swing state.
Of the seven states in which Steyer plans to make waves, Florida is the most expensive in which to campaign. In the coming weeks, Steyer plans to open NextGen Climate Action Florida’s headquarters in Miami, which is one of the nation’s most at-risk cities from rising seas and hurricanes.
SCOTT PLEDGES MAJOR SPENDING ON ENVIRONMENT via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press
Gov. Scott is scheduled to roll out a substantial environmental platform during campaign stops Monday in Martin County on Florida’s east coast.
Several of the “Let’s Keep Florida Beautiful” proposals Scott plans to announce represent a marked turn-around from his 2010 campaign when he pledged to slash government spending and tear away regulations that he said were harming the state’s economy.
“Florida’s natural beauty is a big reason why this is the best state in the country to call home,” Scott said in a statement. “Our natural resources are the foundation of our economy – they drive tourism, housing, business, and agriculture – and they deserve our long-term commitment.”
The Republican incumbent is vowing to dedicate $500 million to springs restoration over the next 10 years as well as $500 million over the same time period to help create alternative water supplies. He also wants to keep moving ahead with projects designed to steer excess and potentially polluted water from Lake Okeechobee away from the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.
Gov. Scott also plans to promise to spend $150 million a year for Florida Forever, the state’s environmental and conservation land-buying programs. The state once spent as much as $300 million a year on the program before legislators enacted steep cutbacks amid Florida’s souring economy.
The governor is also pledging to crack down on polluters during a second term by increasing the fines that can be assessed against “bad actors” who violate permit terms. Scott said he also wants to consider making it harder for some companies to secure permits if they have had a history of harming the environment. Similar proposals in the past have been blocked by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
MEANWHILE … ANN SCOTT ENTERS CAMPAIGN FRAY via Kathleen McGrory of the Miami Herald
he has spent the summer crisscrossing the state, a photographer in tow. On some days, she reads to children or visits new mothers in the hospital. On others, she makes the hard sell for her husband’s re-election over afternoon tea.
She is quick to point out that only some of the events are associated with her husband’s campaign. She distributes books to kids, for example, as part of a first-lady initiative known as the Summer Literacy Adventure.
Still, with each stop, she is helping shape Republican Gov. Scott’s image with an important group of voters: women.
… In many ways, Ann Scott stands in contrast to her husband. Whereas Rick Scott comes across as aloof and mechanical, Ann Scott is personable and warm. She speaks with a slight Texas twang, a byproduct of her childhood in Dallas.
… Of late, Ann Scott has been bounding from Amelia Island to the Panhandle to South Florida, attending an average of three events each week. Oftentimes, reporters are invited along.
It’s a new role for the first lady — and a much higher profile than she’s used to.
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CHARLIE CRIST’S ‘FAIRNESS’ PLEDGE COULD DRAW FIGHT FROM GOP LAWMAKERS via Aaron Deslatte of the Orlando Sentinel
On his first day back as governor, Crist says he wants to raise the minimum wage and stop job discrimination against women and gays.
But there’s a catch: The Legislature might say no.
Last week, the Democrat pledged a “First Day of Fairness” in which he would sign executive orders to make those policies apply to businesses dealing with state government. But if he defeats Gov. Scott, the ideas could spark a fight with the GOP-controlled Legislature.
The leadership of those chambers is already blasting Crist for “his best Obama impersonation” and hinting GOP lawmakers could try to nullify any such actions.
“The Legislature does have a record of opposing executive actions when they cross legal lines,” said incoming House Speaker Steve Crisafulli. “We’ve taken action against Republican and Democrat governors. It is not a partisan issue; it is an issue of respecting our constitution.”
Crisafulli, Senate President Don Gaetz, incoming Senate President Andy Gardiner, House Speaker Will Weatherford, and Senate Rules Chairman John Thrasher all put their names on a statement challenging the constitutionality of Crist’s orders.
“It’s remarkable how five white guys are going to condemn us for trying to be fair to women and fair to all Floridians,” Crist said in an interview. “It just strikes me as so dumb. It’s sad to say, but I guess that’s kind of the state they’re in right now.”
CRIST’S LOST SUMMER via Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald
Charlie Crist lost the summer.
The Democrat started his campaign in the fall with a bang, a double-digit lead in some polls. That margin has whimpered into a tie with Gov. Scott, a result of the Republican’s mammoth ad campaign ($20 million since spring!).
But Democrats are privately grumbling that Crist, too, bears some blame. His campaign is buzzless to many Democrats.
Were it not for Scott’s self-inflicted wounds and likeability problems, Crist would look doomed right now and Democrats would be in full-blown panic mode at the beginning of August.
Instead they’re just nervous. Just like Republicans are about Scott.
“There’s worry,” says a top South Florida Democratic fundraiser and Crist supporter. “There’s not much excitement right now with Charlie.”
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NAN RICH: ‘THEY SHOULD KNOW BY NOW, I’M NOT GOING AWAY’ via Hannah Winston of the Palm Beach Post
Former state senator Nan Rich said in an interview one of the difficulties she’s come across in the primary battle for the Democratic nominee for governor is name recognition.
But, to a crowd of about 60 in suburban Delray Beach, she said she wasn’t too concerned.
“Governor Rick Scott? Former governor Charlie Crist?,” she said. “Been there, done that.”
Though the former governor refused to debate Rich, she said that hasn’t changed her mind about her grassroots campaign.
“They should know by now, I’m not going away,” she joked with the crowd.
Plus, she said to the largely female crowd, people said the same seven years ago about a little-known African-American senator from Chicago.
RICH GETS FINANCIAL BOOST via the Associated Press
Rich is getting a financial boost to her campaign.
Rich became the first candidate running for governor to qualify for public matching funds. The state distributed more than $189,000 to her campaign on Friday. Rich had raised nearly $428,000 before receiving the money.
Candidates running for statewide office can qualify for matching money from taxpayers. The Republican-controlled Legislature tried to repeal public financing of campaigns but voters defeated the amendment in 2010.
Some Republicans have labeled public financing “welfare for politicians.” Former Gov. Jeb Bush refused public money, as did Gov. Scott in 2010. But other Republicans, including Attorney General Pam Bondi, are accepting the matching funds.
Crist is expected to accept public financing, but he hasn’t received any money yet.
SHELDON NOT BUDGING, WILL REMAIN IN AG RACE via Michael Van Sickler of the Tampa Bay Times
Questions about whether the residency status of George Sheldon should disqualify him from the Attorney General’s race have exposed a rift in the Florida Democratic Party.
The president of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida, Henry Crespo, said Sheldon should step aside in his Aug. 26 primary race against House Democratic Leader Rep. Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale.
“Recent questions about his residency and bar license are overwhelming,” Crespo stated in a release. “Pam Bondi is our target. If we allow the Sheldon campaign to continue, it will become a distraction on winning the Attorney General’s Office, which for African Americans is critical with issues like ‘stand your ground,’ voting rights and clemency board within the scope of the attorney general’s office.”
Last week, Sheldon’s Florida Bar license lapsed. To reinstate it, Sheldon signed an exemption that stated he had been a nonresident living in Washington D.C. from 2011 to October 2013 while working in his $179,000 job at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Florida Constitution requires that candidates who run for Attorney General live in Florida the preceding seven years. If Sheldon is stating he’s a nonresident with the Florida Bar, how does he qualify for AG?
TAMPA BAY TIMES ENDORSES SHELDON here.
AS ELECTION DAY NEARS, GAY RIGHTS GROUP WITH TAMPA BAY ROOTS RAISES PROFILE STATEWIDE via Kathleen McGrory of the Tampa Bay Times
When judges in two counties struck down Florida’s ban on same-sex marriages last month, a St. Petersburg-based advocacy group was poised to get the word out.
The group, Equality Florida, organized celebrations from Tallahassee to Key West, and flooded social media with colorful graphics proclaiming “Love Wins in Florida!”
Equality Florida has been working to protect Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for more than two decades. But its statewide profile has risen to new heights in the aftermath of the rulings.
The non-profit boasts 21 employees, 4,000 volunteers and almost 50,000 likes on Facebook. It has offices in Tallahassee, Gainesville, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami and Hollywood.
Equality Florida raises about $2 million annually, Smith said. Its principal sources of revenue are fundraisers, donations and membership dues.
To help win votes in Tallahassee, the group has its own lobbyist. It doesn’t hurt that state Rep. Joe Saunders has worked as a paid Equality Florida field director.
It wasn’t always that way. Equality Florida started out as a network of activists pushing the Hillsborough County Commission to adopt a human rights ordinance in the early 1990s.
Their efforts were successful — though the commission repealed the part banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1995. Commissioners are now considering adding that language back.
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ALL ABOARD FLORIDA AD BLITZ AIMS TO COUNTER CRITICS via Jennifer Sorentrue of the Palm Beach Post
All Aboard Florida is airing a television commercial in communities along its planned passenger rail route and is asking residents to write endorsement letters to local leaders in an effort to build support for the express train service.
Company officials say the media push is part of their ongoing commitment to educate the public.
The 30-second commercial began airing on television stations, and came after a group opposed to the train service released its own television advertisement criticizing the project.
The company sent out a mass email asking recipients to visit a website that allows supports to submit endorsement letters to local leaders.
Opponents of the train service say the advertising blitz is a sign their efforts to derail the project are working.
In statement to The Palm Beach Post, All Aboard Florida said it created the commercial to highlight the important aspects and benefits of the rail service.
RULING MEANS BLIND TRUSTS ARE LIKELY HERE TO STAY via Aaron Deslatte of the Orlando Sentinel
Floridians wrote the Sunshine Amendment into the Constitution thanks to the campaigning of Democratic Gov. Reubin Askew, requiring “full and fair disclosure of [elected officeholders’] financial interests” in order to “secure and sustain that trust against abuse.”
A Leon County judge threw out a lawsuit brought by the former chief of staff to the late Askew, Jim Apthorp, the League of Women Voters of Florida, and others, challenging Gov. Scott’s use of a blind trust to shield the disclosure of individual investments.
A blind trust allows candidates to disclose total dollar amounts without listing where the money is invested.
Circuit Judge John Cooper wrote blind trusts “have become an issue” in Scott’s campaign against Crist. But he noted other politicians had used blind trusts, the Ethics Commission had OK’d them, lawmakers were allowed to make changes, and the ones the Legislature adopted in 2013 to sanction Scott’s practice were “reasonable, appropriate and consistent.”
Yet here’s how potential conflicts – imaginary and otherwise — take shape: Scott is a mega-millionaire and has had investments all over the world. One of them, a 2011 investment into a French energy company called Schlumberger, provided services to a Texas-based oil driller called the Dan A. Hughes Co., which was exploring for oil in the Everglades.
Scott disclosed a net worth of $132.4 million last year. He had earned income last year of more than $3.25 million on his investments. Crist disclosed $1.25 million in net worth and $712,000 in income last year — including $296,700 from Orlando law firm Morgan & Morgan and another $182,933 in consulting fees paid by developer St. Joe Co. Scott’s disclosures included details about his wife’s finances, while Crist’s spouse has not done the same – drawing the ire of the GOP all summer.
In the end, a blind trust is both legal and aptly named. The public’s only method for verifying that faith-based approach will be the good will and voluntary disclosures of the potentially conflicted.
GAMING TALKS WITH SEMINOLES LIKELY STUCK UNTIL NOVEMBER VOTE via James Rosica of the Tampa Tribune
As this year’s legislative session wound to a close, representatives of Gov. Scott and the Seminole Tribe of Florida just couldn’t see eye-to-eye on a new gambling-revenue sharing agreement.
They were getting nowhere close to a deal, according to the tribe’s outside attorney in Tallahassee, so they left the table. And they haven’t been back since lawmakers left town in May.
“I don’t think anybody thumbed their noses at anybody else, but I know it was unsuccessful,” said Barry Richard, the attorney and a shareholder at the Greenberg Traurig law firm.
At the time, lawmakers cited the lack of a renegotiated revenue-share as the main reason they scuttled consideration of overhaul legislation, including a clean-up of laws regulating gambling.
You can’t do one without the other, they said. It turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
As legislators waited for an announcement that never came, Scott’s people and tribal representatives — as happens in business deals — couldn’t agree on a number.
The tribe offers gambling in several parts of the state, including at Tampa’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Big money hangs in the balance: The current deal guaranteed the state’s treasury $1 billion over five years from the tribe’s gambling revenue.
It’s still not clear whether Scott — whom legislative leaders have called “a great negotiator” — was at all involved in those early discussions.
The Governor’s Office has declined to answer questions about the Seminoles, including those submitted last week, other than repeating the assurance that the governor “will take the time needed to get the best deal for Floridians.”
For example, since news first broke of the talks, the tribe and Scott’s staff haven’t said who took part in the meetings, how many they had or what was discussed.
Richard has admitted he wasn’t in the room, but added if the negotiators had been close to a deal, “I would have known about it.”
“I think they just reached the point where, when it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen and they just stopped,” he said. “The governor went on to run his campaign and the tribe moved on to run their businesses.”
Everyone agreed to return to the negotiating table “after we know who the players are,” Richard said.
In other words, a new agreed-upon cut to the state won’t emerge till after the November election.
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>>>The Orlando Sentinel on House District 28 here.
>>>The Naples Daily News offers a look at the handful of House primaries to watch here.
>>>The Tampa Tribune on House District 67 here.
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***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you in part by the Florida Medical Association: Affordable, safe, patient-centered health care in Florida starts with a physician-led team, with all health care professionals playing valuable and appropriate roles. Learn more here.***
CONTEXT FLORIDA: DOCS VS. GLOCKS, REDISTRICTING, HIGH EXPECTATIONS AND AHA! MOMENTS
On Context Florida: Unified Sportsmen of Florida executive director Marion Hammer calls the push against the “Docs vs. Glocks” law — recently upheld recently by a federal appeals court — is not about gun safety. It is a political agenda to ban guns. Jamie Miller talks about the Hail Mary attempt in Florida’s redistricting lawsuit by the Florida League of Women Voters to use the League’s congressional maps for this year’s election. All the love and “high expectations” in the world cannot pull some children with disabilities anywhere near “academic proficiency,” writes Julie Delegal, the parent of a child that she says has “unique brain wiring.” In nearly every political campaign, Martin Dyckman notes there is an “Aha!” moment, where a candidate catches an opponent changing a position, giving them an opportunity to denounce the opponent for sacrificing principle to ambition. Sometimes this is true, but it can also be nonsense.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to Lisa Ard. Celebrating today is Mary Ann Lindley.