A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
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YESTERDAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH
No progress was made on Washington’s twin crises Monday, as neither Republicans nor Democrats showed signs of budging on a budget deal to reopen the government, and the Hill continued to digest John Boehner’s weekend promise that House Republicans are “not going to pass a clean debt-limit increase.” The House was scheduled to vote on Monday on a bill that would reopen parts of the Food and Drug Administration, but Senate Democrats — who are already sitting on a pile of piecemeal budget bills — have said they’ll reject the measures while demanding that the House pass a budget extension for the entire government.
OBAMA OPEN TO SHORT-TERM NUDGE OF DEBT LIMIT via Kevin Cirilli of POLITICO
So says National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling, who added that the amount to raise the debt ceiling is a decision for Congress to make, though the White House would prefer a long-term solution. “Longer is better for economic certainty and jobs, but it is ultimately up to (Congress).” The Treasury Department maintains that the limit must be raised by Oct. 17 to avoid risking default.
WANT TO KNOW WHY THE GOV’T IS SHUT DOWN? THIS CHART EXPLAINS IT
Looking for the roots of the current morass in Washington? Look no further than the chart — built by the Washington Post graphics wizards — that shows the percentage of the vote that all House Members won with in the 2012 election.
The math is stark. Of the 199 Democrats in the House at the start of the 113th Congress, a majority — 51 percent(!) — won their race with 67 percent of the vote or higher. Among the 234 Republicans elected in the last election, 67 — or roughly 29 percent of the GOP conference — won with 67 percent or higher.
Add it up and you have 168 seats in which the current incumbent won with 67 percent or more of the vote. That’s 38 percent of the entire House with virtually no concern about losing a general election.
Those numbers are even more remarkable when stood against the paltry group of seats that are genuinely competitive between the parties. In the 2012 election just 31 Republicans and 31 Democrats won their seats with 54 percent of the vote or less — just 14 percent of the entire House.
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SHUTDOWN UNDERMINING SECURITY via the Federal Times
“With fewer eyeballs monitoring the government’s networks for malicious activities and an increasing number of federal systems sitting idle during the shutdown that security experts fear it could create a perfect storm for insiders and hackers looking to do agencies harm.”
“One of the most unsettling issues for security experts…is that attackers can glean intelligence during a shutdown. There is a cadre of people in security designated as so critical that during a shutdown they have to work and have access to tools and environments to preserve mission functions… Hackers will learn that the remaining employees are worth targeting because they are deemed critical to agencies’ operations.”
WHY THE SHUTDOWN WON’T END THIS WEEK via Matt Yglesias
“There are two different issues that Republicans need to give in on. First they need to stop holding the functioning of the government hostage to their desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act and second they need to stop holding the functioning of the American legal and financial system hostage to their desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Boehner would presumably like to do this all at once—like taking off a Band-Aid.”
“But that means the government has to stay shut down all the way until the chaotic 11th hour of the debt ceiling which is still almost two weeks off. That means at least another week of stalling and posturing on the shutdown while various people lose access to important services.”
WORRIES MOUNT AS SHUTDOWN TRUDGES INTO WEEK 2 via the Wall Street Journal
So far, “signs of economic damage are mostly limited to stalled contracts and lost tourism revenue. But the risk of a prolonged closure that morphs into a battle over the nation’s borrowing limit is raising concerns among economists and executives. … Economists say a quick resolution in coming days could spare the economy a serious blow, mimicking prior shutdowns. But the conflict dragging on for a couple more weeks—which some lawmakers have suggested could happen—risks restraining key parts of the economy that had been expected to accelerate in the coming months”
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GOP CONTINUES TO SUFFER POLITICALLY AMID SHUTDOWN
A new WaPo-ABC News poll out today finds 70 percent of respondents disapproving of the way Republicans are handling the budget fight. Obama’s approval on the issue has increased slightly to 45 percent from last month’s measure of 41 percent.
PERSONNEL NOTE: ’30-UNDER-30′ RECIPIENT KEITH FERNANDEZ NAMED LEGAL ADVISER & DIRECTOR OF COMMS TO CONG. ROS-LEHTINEN
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced the appointment of Keith Fernandez as her legal counsel and Director of Communications. The appointment, effective immediately, places Fernandez at the head of the Congresswoman’s media and communications operation in both Miami and Washington, DC. Fernandez will also serve as a close advisor to Ros-Lehtinen on legal and policy matters.
“I’m excited to have Keith on our Congressional team,” said Ros-Lehtinen. “His political work and issue advocacy are well-known in South Florida and he is a valuable addition to our already great staff. Keith’s insights on current events and policy will assist me in representing South Florida and will provide a valuable perspective on policy decisions.”
Fernandez, a Miami native, is a graduate of the University of Florida, Levin College of Law and Florida International University. He previously served in various political roles for Ros-Lehtinen and served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Bertila Soto. Fernandez is actively engaged on several policy issues and looks forward to working for his friends and neighbors in South Florida.
TWEET, TWEET: @learyreports: PPP’s Tom Jensen on shutdown conf call says of Bill Young: “It looks like this could be the thing that gives him the most trouble in years.”
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Agency for Health Care Administration: Holds the first of three public hearings as it formulates a request for a three-year extension of the Managed Medical Assistance Waiver previously known as the Medicaid Reform Waiver. The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. at Egypt Shriners, 4050 Dana Shores Drive, Tampa, 33634. To participate by phone call (877) 809-7263 and enter participant passcode 72390513#. A copy of the agenda may be obtained by contacting Linda.Macdonald@ahca.
Florida Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs: Holds a press conference about study results for programs for at risk youth in the Capitol courtyard at 4 p.m.. Contact is Eric Thorn at (850) 510-2165.
Enterprise Florida’s Finance and Compensation Committee: Meets at 4 p.m. at 800 N. Magnolia Ave., Suite 1100 in Orlando. Agenda here.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection: Continues a series of meetings across the state to receive public comment on its list of possible state lands that could be sold. An initial list in August of 5,331 acres had been trimmed to 3,463 acres on Sept. 25, 2013. A meeting will be held 6 to 8 p.m. in Viera at the Brevard County Commission, Florida Room C-313, 2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way. More information about the meetings can be found here.To see a list of the possible surplus lands, go to the DEP state lands website.
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GAMBLING REPORT DELAYED BUT CONCLUSIONS ALREADY KNOWN via James Rosica of the Tampa Tribune
The authors of a statewide gambling report today said its basic conclusion — that expanding gambling will have only a “modest” effect at best on the state’s economy — won’t change when the final report is submitted.
Spectrum’s managing director, Michael Pollock, told lawmakers the report’s main “bullet points” won’t be any different, including that expanding gambling opportunities will produce just a “mildly positive impact” in Florida.
The final version of the report was due Oct. 1 but was delayed another 30 days as Spectrum and legislative staff work out differences in calculating gambling’s likely economic impact on the state.
Overall, Spectrum’s projections suggest “that the introduction of casinos, whether standalone destination resorts, or addition of slot machines at existing pari-mutuels, will lead to modest economic benefits,” its draft report says.
The report runs through a dozen escalating scenarios, running the gamut from no changes to pulling out the stops with six destination resort-casinos over the state and allowing slots and table games at all pari-mutuels.
That all-in option could generate up to $5.4 billion yearly.
HAYS AND RING: FORGET AUDITING LOBBYISTS; REPEAL THE LAW via The Orlando Sentinel
The legislature’s joint auditing committee was told Monday that the random audits of some two-dozen firms could cost in excess of $1 million — sparking criticism from some on the House-Senate panel.
“What benefit are my taxpayers going to gain from having this information and is it worth the price we’re going to have to pay to get it?” asked Sen. Alan Hays who compared the auditing of private businesses to inspecting chicken farmers or office suppliers.
“Do we need to know how many chicken eggs he counted last night?”
Chairman Joseph Abruzzo said while he understood the sentiment, the panel had been directed to propose a way to implement a law that was on the books.
But Sen. Jeremy Ring suggested lawmakers should file a bill to repeal the auditing requirement instead.
“I just don’t think the Legislature should be auditing a private business,” said Ring, who proposed filing a committee bill to repeal the auditing requirement in a Senate panel he chairs.
Asked if he might also consider repealing the entire lobbyist-compensation reporting requirement, Ring demurred.
“That’s a bigger question. I guess I did open the door,” Ring said.
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ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Ag Commish Adam Putnam will announce new legislation that is being filed Wednesday to help prevent children and vulnerable adults from becoming victims of identity theft. Commissioner Putnam will be joined by the bill sponsors, Sen. Nancy Detert and Rep. Heather Dawes Fitzenhagen, along with several children’s advocates and representatives of law enforcement. The Cabinet Room, The Capitol. Tallahassee. 11 a.m.
PANEL TO WEIGH CHANGES TO ‘STAND YOUR GROUND’ SELF-DEFENSE LAW via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post
After the George Zimmerman verdict triggered a summer of protests and a month-long sit-in at Florida’s Capitol, lawmakers this week will revisit the “stand your ground” law that rocketed to national prominence with the case. Opponents want the self-defense measure repealed, while supporters have said nothing needs to change in Florida’s landmark self-defense law.
“We’re going to make a very good law better,” said Sen. David Simmons who helped write the NRA-backed law but who acknowledges it needs work. Simmons and Democratic Sen. Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale are each sponsoring similar bills expected to get their first hearing in the Republican-led Legislature. In last spring’s session, GOP leaders dismissed efforts to rewrite stand your ground. It’s important that we’ve gotten this far,” Smith said of this week’s hearing. “I know plenty of people want stand your ground repealed. And while I’d love to score a touchdown, at this point, I’m happy to just try to get a few first downs.”
The legislation going before lawmakers this week would require sheriffs or city police departments to issue guidelines for neighborhood watch groups. It would also prohibit volunteers from attempting to confront or apprehend someone thought to be acting improperly. The bills also clarify for law enforcement agencies that they should fully investigate incidents in which force is used and not feel restricted by the stand your ground measure.
Smith, however, also wants lawmakers to more strictly define circumstances where the law can be used.
He wants to prohibit someone from taking aggressive action – perhaps like Zimmerman confronting Martin – and using deadly force when they turn from aggressor to victim in an encounter.
Smith said gang members, angry neighbors and others have been shielded from prosecution by using the stand your ground law. Confrontations have been started, and the last person standing is the only one offering a version of what happened, Smith said.
TODAY IN THE LEGISLATURE h/t to the Florida Current
Senate Children Families and Elder Affairs Committee: Meets to discuss SB 7000, an assisted living facilities proposal focused on licensing and responsibilities of facilities with residents who are mental health patients. The committee will also hear a presentation on the implementation of CS/SB 1036, an independent living proposal dealing with foster children which becomes law in January. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. in 37 SOB.
Senate Education Committee : Meets to receive updates on the implementation of several bills passed during the spring session including HB 609 on bullying in the public school system. There will also be discussion of a tuition and fee waiver for teachers passed in 2010, HB 723. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. in 412 Knott.
Senate Health Policy Committee: Tallahassee Memorial Hospital will deliver a telemedicine presentation to the Senate Health Policy Committee. Members will also hear an update on the Medicaid managed care statewide rollout and discuss a sovereign immunity for dentists bill (SB 142) and another dealing with dental insurance (SB 86). The meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. in 412 Knott.
Senate Democratic Caucus: Meets at 12:30 p.m. in 200 SOB.
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ACTUAL CANDIDATE PRESS RELEASE: “HD6 Candidate Thelma Rohan Stands Up For Sen. Ted Cruz at RPOF Meeting”
CASTOR DENTEL TOPS $28K FOR QUARTER via The News Service of Florida
Freshman Rep. Karen Castor Dentel raised $28,305 in campaign cash between July 1 and Sept. 30 as she prepares for a Republican challenge next yearCastor Dentel has raised an overall total of $65,915, while spending $10,692. Three Republicans — Robert Cortes, David Dwyer and Scott Sturgill — have opened campaign accounts to try to unseat the incumbent in House District 30, which includes parts of Seminole and Orange counties.
DEMOCRAT ENTERS CROWDED RACE FOR HOUSE DISTRICT 31 via The News Service of Florida
Grand Island Democrat Jake Seymour has filed paperwork to run next year in House District 31, which will be an open seat because Rep. Bryan Nelson faces term limits. Seymour last week joined six Republicans who have opened campaign accounts for the race. District 31 includes parts of Lake and Orange counties.
DEMOCRAT TO CHALLENGE RAY PILON via Jeremy Wallace of the Herald Tribune
Navy officer and Sarasota Democrat Greg Para said he swore that if he made it back from his tour in Afghanistan he would commit himself to looking out for veterans. On Thursday, Para, who returned to the United States last year, took another step toward fulfilling that promise by filing to run for the Legislature in 2014.
“I know what it means to work hard, and I know what it means to experience hardship,” Para said.
The 50-year-old Para announced he is running for District 72, which includes most of Sarasota County north of Osprey. Para, who has never run for office, would be taking on Rep. Ray Pilon who has held the seat since 2010. Pilon won his re-election last year, winning almost 54 percent of the vote to Sarasota attorney Liz Alpert’s 46 percent.
GEORGE LEMIEUX ENDORSES RICHARD DENAPOLI
Businessman, former prosecutor, and Republican Party leader, Richard DeNapoli, earned the endorsement of former US Senator George LeMieux on Monday.
In endorsing Richard, Senator LeMieux said, “Richard DeNapoli is dedicated to solving the problems that face Floridians today and rising to the opportunities that can make Florida an even better place to live and work in the future. As a prosecutor, Richard fought hard to ensure that those who would prey on our kids, our seniors, and law abiding Floridians were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As a small business owner, Richard knows that the entrepreneur and the American worker create prosperity, not government. As a former local party Chairman, Richard knows that to build our party again, we need candidates who will govern with a servant’s heart. Richard is that candidate and that is why I endorse Richard for State House, and look forward to his service in Tallahassee.”
SPEAKER DESIGNATE CRISAFULLI RAISES ONLY $155K (SARCASM)
The Merritt Island Republican raised only $155,183 in campaign contributions between July 1 and September 30, according to the Division of Elections website. To date, Crisafulli has taken in just $222,883, while spending $35,295, for his re-election bid in House District 51.
Even though no opponents have filed paperwork to challenge Crisafulli in the Brevard County district, having less than $200,000 in the bank is sure to encourage some Democrat capable of raising a whopping ten or fifteen thousand dollars to run against Crisafulli.
Someone needs to light a fire under the Speaker Designate.
SPROWLS’ HAULS IN ANOTHER $32K FOR HD 65 CHALLENGE
Sprowls reported $32,031.67 raised in the third quarter, and currently has $78,754 cash on hand. In addition to the impressive fundraising total, 40% of donations came from Pinellas County and 60% came from the Bay Area. This local support shows Chris’ grassroots and in-district strength heading into November.
In announcing his numbers, Chris Sprowls said, “To receive such tremendous support from my friends, colleagues and neighbors in Pinellas County is very humbling. I am very proud that the vast majority of our contributions came from our community. I think it demonstrates that people in Pinellas share a vision of a government that continues to grow our economy, protects the interests of hard working Floridians, and serves the best interests of our community, not Tallahassee. I remain grateful, humbled, and focused on winning this seat and building a better Florida.”
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FUNDRAISER LINE-UP FOR TONIGHT
4:30-6:00 p.m. – Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., Rep. Jake Raburn, Rep. Ross Spano at Governors Club — Capital Room
5:30-7:00 p.m.– Sen. Aaron Bean, Sen. Jeff Brandes at Governors Club –Library Room
TODAY’S LUNCH MENU AT THE GOVERNORS CLUB
Fried Chicken, blackened grouper, bourbon and thyme creamed corn, seasonal fruit platter, mixed baby greens salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, broccoli crunch salad, oven roasted potato nedley, garlic green beans, french silk trifle and cookies & brownies.
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CONTEXT FLORIDA: MUSINGS ON PRESIDENTIAL POWER, COALITION POLITICS, AND MORE via contributor Karen Cyphers
On Context Florida, Bob Sparks writes a biting column, introducing us to a lawsuit by a Boca doctor that challenges whether the president or executive branch may selectively waive parts of Obamacare without Congressional approval. Then, Martin Dyckman proposes a clever scenario under which Speaker John Boehner could shrug off the “80 House crazies” who put him on the spot and build a cross-party coalition to “save our Constitution in the present crisis.”
Next up, Ben Kirby talks about PACE — the Property Assessed Clean Energy program that offers Floridians an option for community improvement that saves both energy and money. Finally, in the first of a four-part series, Gary Mormino memorializes Florida Gov. Millard Fillmore Caldwell, the “last Florida governor born in the 19th century and the first to govern in the post-WWII era.” Visit Context Florida to dig in.
MUST-READ SERIES FROM SUNSHINE STATE NEWS ON FLA.’S TOP LOBBYING FIRMS CONTINUES: #9 — COLODNY, FASS, ET AL
Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb PLC ranks No. 9 on Sunshine State News’ list of Top Lobbying Firms. Like several other firms in Florida, Colodny Fass has two offices — one in Tallahassee and one in South Florida. The motto given on its website is that it strives every day to serve clients “with integrity, passion, leadership and superior performance ‘From the Capitol to the Courthouse.’” Full profile here.
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OTHER NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW…
CRIST ENDORSES KRISEMAN, CALLS FOSTER’S LEADERSHIP “WEAK”
Amid continuing speculation that he would announce his intentions for 2014, former Gov. Charlie Crist endorsed Rick Kriseman this morning in the increasingly partisan battle that is the St. Petersburg mayoral election.
Once again, Crist sidestepped questions about his intentions to run next year.
“I’m focused on the mayor’s race,” said Crist, shrugging off repeated questions about his plans. “That is where my heart and soul is today, and will be for the next 28 days.”
“I’m going to do everything I can to help Rick Kriseman become mayor,” he added, not specifying just what that would be.
“I’m going to vote,” Crist said, encouraging the crowd to “vote, vote, vote Kriseman.”
HERTZ BEGINS MOVE TO SW FLORIDA
Hertz Chairman and CEO Mark Frissora will be among the company executives starting work Monday at temporary offices in Naples.
The company’s vice president of corporate affairs says this is an important milestone. Hertz plans to build a $68 million campus in Estero. Employees will work at the leased offices in Naples until the new headquarters is finished in 2015.
Hertz plans to relocate 300 to 400 workers from New Jersey, Oklahoma and other locations to Estero. It plans to hire another 300 to 400 workers locally over the next two years.
WILL AT&T’S MARSHALL CRISER BE NEXT UNIVERSITY SYSTEM CHANCELLOR via Tia Mitchell of the Tampa Bay Times
He has the business background, political connections and the pedigree. Could Marshall Criser III, the president of AT&T in Florida, be the next chancellor of Florida’s state university system?
Even under the speedy timetable outlined by the search committee, it’s still early in the process. But Criser’s name is coming up most often during whispered conversations about the job and who may apply.
Criser, who lives in Coral Gables, declined to speak with the Times/Herald Monday. Board of Governors spokeswoman Kim Wilmath said eight applications and a number of inquires have been fielded already, but declined to identify Criser specifically.
“The pool of applications already includes a wide range of individuals with experience in higher education, business and government,” she said via email. “As is the case with high profile searches, we expect the bulk of the applications to come in as we get closer to the October deadline.”
Several folks with knowledge of the process say Criser is the man to beat, though they are still keeping an open mind that an even stronger candidate could surface before Oct. 31.
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen and Vivian Rudd Myrtetus.