Sunburn for 11/5 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

in Uncategorized by

A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

***Sunburn is sponsored by Tucker/Hall – one of Florida’s leading public affairs and public relations firms. Visit TuckerHall.com to read about their team.***

FIRST THINGS FIRST …

IT’S ELECTION DAY IN THE ‘BURG!

Here’s all you need to know: Rick Kriseman = Charlie Crist and Bill Foster = Rick Scott.

Keep checking SaintPetersBlog.com for the latest updates.

IT’S ALSO DJ’S BIRTHDAY:  A very happy birthday to David Johnson – the great, great, great, grandson of Speaker of the House Robert Brown, who became Florida’s Speaker in 1846 a year after statehood.

***New campaign financial reporting rules are now in force – including a new monthly filing requirement. Political Accounting Group provides campaigns and political committees a complete range of accounting services including all campaign finance reporting, along with IRS filings and tax returns.  We can also handle your online fundraising presence. Avoid the headaches. Let the team of PAG help your campaign comply with new campaign laws and additional reporting requirements.  Visit www.pagworks.com for more information.***

CRIST KICKS-OFF CAMPAIGN FOR GOVERNOR

Former Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Cristlaunched his campaign for his old job Monday, promising to take the state in a new direction if he is returned to office as a Democrat.

“Today I announce that I am running for governor of Florida. And the reason is to put you back in charge,” Crist told supporters at a rally Monday morning near his St. Petersburg home.

Crist said his successor and likely opponent next fall, Republican Gov. Rick Scott, went to Tallahassee as an outsider who said he would shake up the capital – but that didn’t happen.

“Overnight he went from taking on Tallahassee to becoming the example of what’s wrong with the place,” Crist said.

Crist criticized the incumbent, saying he favors big business, big contributors and big lobbyists. Crist told the crowd he will take back Florida for the people.

He spelled out several focus points for his campaign, including more affordable college educations, a tax policy that favors the middle class, and improving infrastructure across the state.

HOW IT PLAYED: Sun Sentinel, Charlie Crist Announces Bid For Florida Governor – Get ready for the second coming of Crist”… Tampa Bay Times, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist: ‘time to take Florida in a better direction’ – Crist spoke from a lectern on a small, black stage, facing north, with an American flag, a Florida flag and a huge sign that says THE PEOPLE’S GOVERNOR in white letters on a blue backdrop”…  Orlando Sentinel, “Charlie Crist joins race for Florida governor – Casting the 2014 election as between someone who can represent all Floridians and someone he contends represents the ideological fringe”…  Miami Herald, “Charlie Crist: Rick Scott’s “trying to bully me by waving around his $100 million checkbook – As a member of the minority party, Crist is also facing another first: Being outspent”… Bradenton Herald, “Crist kicks off run for governor as a Democrat – Crist is now the Democratic front-runner in a primary that also includes former state Sen. Nan Rich, who has struggled to raise money and with her name recognition while campaigning for nearly a year-and-a-half”… Washington Post, “How Florida Democrats learned to love Charlie Crist – establishment has welcomed Crist not just as a new friend but as a presumptive standard-bearer”…Wall Street Journal, “Crist completes his reinvention – After losing the Senate race as an independent, he cozied up to Democratic fundraisers and party officials. Democrats embraced him notwithstanding the rank opportunism”… CNN, Take two in Florida for Crist, now a Democrat – Crist spent a good part of his speech slamming first term Republican Gov. Rick Scott”… Bloomberg News, Florida’s Crist Says He Wants to Reclaim Governor’s Office – The former governor’s entry into the race opens the spigot of spending for consultants, pollsters and advertising agencies from both parties”… Sarasota Herald Tribune, “Crist begins campaign for governor – Crist is aiming to make the race a referendum over how Scott has managed the state, particularly regarding education policies”… Jacksonville Times Union, “Charlie Crist’s first speech as candidate packed with jabs at Rick Scott – The tone has taken a brutal turn unusually early”.

GELBER AMONG FIRST DEMS TO VOICE SUPPORT

To former Democratic legislator Dan Gelber, it is easy to support Charlie Crist. And not just because Gelber, like many Democrats, is hungry to take back the Governor’s Mansion. Rather, Gelber shares in a Monday column on Context Florida, why he has liked Crist all along. 

“Early on and throughout his term as Florida’s Attorney General and Governor, it became clear that he was a real moderate and a true bipartisan,” Gelber wrote, going on to list the many issues that Crist championed during his eight years as a Republican in statewide office: automatic restoration of felon rights, global warming, extension of poll hours, and more. 

To Gelber, Floridians won’t be persuaded by the Republican Party of Florida’s vilification of Crist. 

“It won’t work. Floridians know what’s going on. They have watched as a narrow swath of ideologues have taken over the Republican Party nationally and here in Florida, intent on purifying its ranks of officials who commit the high crimes of moderation or bipartisanship,” Gelber writes. “Tons of Republicans and independent voters understand why Charlie had no place in a Republican Party that has jumped the tracks because they feel like the Republican Party has abandoned them too.” 

Gelber suggests that Floridians will see in Crist the “kind of bipartisanship that is so sorely lacking in this nation”, and that voters have already concluded that “Charlie has their back and Scott doesn’t.”

OBAMA CAMPAIGN VETERANS SIGN-ON WITH CRIST via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

After 20 years of campaigning, Charlie Crist knows as as much or more about winning elections in Florida as anybody. But he’s still a rookie when it comes to winning elections as a Democrat, so in putting together a campaign team for his Democratic gubernatorial campaign Crist appears to be relying heavily on his pals from the Barack Obama campaign.

His new media consultant is Jim Margolis, and his pollster is John Anzalone, both part of Obama’s campaign team. Senior adviser Steve Schale, is a pro who ran Obama’s 2008 Florida campaign.

And in yet another reminder of how weird this whole situation is, former Florida Democratic Party Chairman Bob Poe, who used to say all kinds of mean things about Republican Charlie Crist, is chairman of Crist’s political committee, Charlie Crist for Florida. That’s Crist’s answer to Rick Scott’s Let’s Get to Work committee, which can accept unlimited contributions.

RICH CHALLENGES CRIST TO SERIES OF DEBATES

Nan Rich welcomed Crist to the gubernatorial race this morning and is calling for him to debate the issues with her in a series of televised events around the state. 

“Charlie is a Democrat now – but he’s changed more than his party registration – he’s changed his stance on many major issues and voters I’ve met with wonder how committed he is to his new found positions,” said Rich in a statement. 

Continued Rich, “That’s why I hope that he will embrace this opportunity to debate the important issues Floridian’s care about.  They want to know how we will improve Florida’s schools and what we’ve done in the past to support them, they want to know how we will protect Florida’s fragile environment, they want to know how we will protect Florida’s at risk children and elderly and I know that Florida’s women want to know where we stand on protecting their reproductive rights.” 

Rich called for a series of 10 debates in each of Florida’s major media markets beginning in January and concluding the week before the Primary with a statewide televised debate. 

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Bright House Networks Business Solutions, your locally-based leader in advanced communications and networking solutions. At Bright House, we provide Business Internet tailored to the needs of small to mid-sized businesses. It’s scalable, secure, and reliable, with productivity–boosting benefits and robust features. With speeds up to 100 Mbps, we’ve got the right speed to fit your needs.  And for organizations with even heavier bandwidth demands we offer fiber-based Dedicated Internet Access and Metro Ethernet to connect multiple locations. Large or small, we have the right technology for any size business.  Find out why others in your area trust Bright House Networks Business Solutions for their Internet. Learn more.***

GOP REAX

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO

“Floridians have a clear choice between a governor with a proven record of job creation, and a consummate political opportunist that can’t be trusted.  Charlie Crist’s governorship was underwhelming to say the least. Rick Scott has proven himself very capable of cleaning up after Charlie’s mess, creating jobs, and restoring Floridians’ hope about the future.”

HOUSE SPEAKER WILL WEATHERFORD: WHY DID CRIST “LEAVE” FLORIDA BEHIND

“If Charlie Crist wants to be Governor so bad again, why did he leave Florida in our time of great need, when we had over an 11 percent unemployment rate with 832,000 people out of work?” asked Weatherford in a statement released by the Republican Party of Florida. “Florida really needed a leader then, but he turned his back on our state. If we couldn’t count on him then, how can we count on him now?”

SEN. PREZ DON GAETZ: CRIST HAS NO HONOR

“In four years Charlie Crist switched three times the core principles he said he would be faithful to — Republican then Independent now Democrat,” said Gaetz, in a statement released by the Republican Party of Florida. “In private, Democrats have to be wondering, ‘Will he use us to be something else next year.’ “

Continued Gaetz, “I respect, even honor opponents who stand by their principles. I cannot respect an opponent who has no principles and therefore no honor.”

WEBSITE LAUNCHED

The Republican Party of Florida launched www.CharlieForFlorida.com, a website, it says, is “devoted to highlighting Charlie Crist’s failures as governor and setting the record straight.” The website currently features Let’s Get to Work’s TV ad “Opportunist,” which highlights Democratic criticism of Charlie Crist, including a statement from former FDP Chairman Karen Thurman when she said, “He has done nothing to create jobs…his only core belief is personal ambition.”

“Throughout his career, Charlie Crist has only been interested in one person – himself. When things got tough in Florida, he abandoned the state to pursue the bright lights of Washington, DC,” said RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry. “During his four-year term 830,000 Floridians lost their jobs, the unemployment rate increased over 7 points, and state debt increased by over $5 billion. This is the record of a failed governor and there is bipartisan agreement that Charlie Crist shouldn’t be governor. If he wants to be governor again why did he quit the first time around?”

YES, THE RPOF DID PAY FOR AN AIRPLANE TO BUZZ OVER CRIST’S SPEECH: Classy, GOP. Very classy.

***Capital City Consulting, LLC is a full-service government and public affairs firm located in Tallahassee, Florida. At Capital City Consulting, our team of professionals specialize in developing unique government relations and public affairs strategies and delivering unrivaled results for our clients before the Florida Legislature and Executive Branch Agencies. Capital City Consulting has the experience, contacts and winning strategies to help our clients stand out in the capital city. Learn more at www.capcityconsult.com.***

BEST OF THE TWITTERS

@BillyCorben: Charlie Crist just announced he’s running for Governor. Finally some fresh blood and new ideas in Florida politics.

@ChrisLatvala: A Republican, Independent and Democrat walk into a bar. What does the bartender say? “Oh, hey Gov. Crist”

@emokidsloveme: 

In other news, Charlie Crist has luxurious hair.

@MarcACaputo: Charlie Crist: “I don’t have their special interest checkbook.” He forgot to add: “any longer.”

FACEBOOK STATUS OF THE DAY: “We got a race in which one governor’s biggest advantage is that everybody knows him, the other governor’s biggest disadvantage is that everybody knows him.” — Bill Cotterell

***The Public Affairs Consultants Team of Jack Cory, Keyna Cory and Erin Daly guide their clients through the legislative, state agency and local government process. They do so by providing governmental consulting, lobbying and professionally coordinated grassroots programs for businesses, professionals, non-profits, local governments and associations. Recently named a Leading Association Lobbyist, They Cover Florida Like the Sun.***

SCOTT RE-ELECTION COMMITTEE NOW OVER $13.5 MILLION via the News Service of Florida

The Tallahassee-based “Let’s Get to Work” committee, which is backing Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election effort, has posted $311,035 in contributions for October, bringing the year-to-date total to $13.56 million. The October total is considerably lower than the $3.65 million collected in September.

The committee also spent $286,101 during October, of which $235,772 went to consulting, according to information posted on the committee website.

The committee will play an important role in the 2014 gubernatorial campaign and has already put out a TV ad criticizing Democratic candidate Charlie Crist. Scott, who spent more than $70 million of his own money in the 2010 gubernatorial contest, has said he will have $25 million in the bank by the end of the year that will be used “in early 2014 to define my opponent.”

More than half of the October contribution total, $175,000, was from Bayfront 2011 Development LLC, a Miami firm that is connected with casino giant Genting Group. The Bayfront 2011 contribution comes as legislators prepare for a debate in 2014 on the future of gambling in Florida. Since December 2012, Bayfront 2011 has pumped $325,000 into the fundraising committee.

As for the expenses, Forward Strategies, a Tallahassee political consulting firm run by Meredith O’Rourke, received the bulk of the October consulting work. O’Rourke once raised campaign cash for Crist. For the year, the committee has spent $1.49 million.

***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.***

THE SPECIAL ELECTION FOR CD 13

ALEX SINK DESIGNATED ‘TOP-TIER’ CANDIDATE, LANDING HER MORE NAT’L PARTY SUPPORT via William March of the Tampa Tribune

Sink has been added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s list of key candidates. A Jumpstart Candidate designation will give her access to extensive help from the national party, by way of “financial, communications, operational, and strategic support,” according to a press release issued Monday. 

BIG GET: Mega-fundraiser Mel Sembler endorsed Republican David Jolly.

LARRY AHERN FOR CONGRESS?

If you are a politician in Pinellas County and your name HAS NOT been floated as a possible candidate for the CD 13 Special Election, you need to ask yourself what you are doing wrong (or better yet, who handles your public relations).

The latest name to emerge as a possible candidate is Rep. Larry Ahern.

A senior adviser to Ahern says that the second-term House member and his wife and political partner, Maureen, are currently engaged in a serious discussion about whether to pull the trigger on a run for Congress?

What does Ahern bring to the table? Well, he’s won two elections in legislative districts that generally reflect the partisan split of CD 13. He’s also a rock-ribbed conservative who will draw support from the right wing of the Pinellas GOP. In a multi-way primary, Ahern could count on a solid base of support while the more moderate candidates scramble for center-right voters.

Of course, once Ahern tacks to the right to win the primary, he might find it difficult to tack back to the center to defeat Alex Sink, but he can worry about that after the primary.

Right now, Ahern’s candidacy is an intriguing possibility. 

SAFETY HARBOR MAYOR JOE AYOUB PONDERS RUNNING via Curtis Krueger of the Tampa Bay Times

Add another name to the list of people considering whether to run for Pinellas County’s open congressional seat: Safety Harbor Mayor Joseph Ayoub.

 That’s considering, as in not decided yet.

Ayoub said in a news release many people have encouraged him to run and “They are excited about a true conservative Republican potentially getting in, running and winning.”

***CoreMessage is a full-service communications and issues advocacy firm with the experience, relationships and expertise to help you get your message out. Connected at the state capitol and throughout Florida, the CoreMessage team unites issues with advocates, messages with media and innovative solutions with traditional tactics to get results. Follow CoreMessage on Twitter and visit them on the Web at www.coremessage.com***

HIGH COURT TURNS DOWN CAMPAIGN FINANCE CASE via The News Service of Florida

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a challenge to Florida laws that place requirements on political committees.

Justices did not provide an explanation for denying a request to hear the case, which was filed by a group of Southwest Florida residents who sought to pool $600 to run radio ads in 2010 against a ballot initiative known as the “Florida Hometown Democracy” constitutional amendment. The group’s lawsuit argued that Florida’s legal requirements, such as a requirement related to disclosing financial information, were burdensome and violated First Amendment rights.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in June upheld the laws and said the state has a legitimate interest in requiring disclosure of information about such issues as who contributes money to political committees. The plaintiffs filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court in September.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

The Cambridge Global Perspectives Kickoff Event is focused on improving student learning through high-quality, global curriculum anchored in the Common Core State Standards. The upcoming kickoff event offers Florida’s school principals and education professionals the chance to experience Cambridge Programs like never before. Bringing together Global Perspectives students and teachers, the event’s free workshops and practicums will focus on the  benefits of college preparedness and vital skills that students need to succeed in the competitive sector of higher education. The Cambridge Global Perspectives Kickoff Event will take place on December 10, 2013, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. To learn more and reserve you free place, visit here.

***RSA Consulting Group is in the business of building Relationships, developing Solutions and Achieving results.  With RSA clients receive the personal attention and commitment they deserve.  RSA is a full service consulting firm with expertise in areas of government & community affairs, strategic planning, fundraising & event planning, as well as media & public relations.  To learn more visit www.rsaconsultingllc.com.***

SHOT: FACTIONS IN GAMING REFORM FIGHT HAVE IMPRESSIVE POLITICAL SCORECARDS via Matt Dixon of the Florida Times Union 

Gaming reform is widely regarded as the only controversial issue that might see action during the 2014 — an election year — legislative session, but it’s still no guarantee. The Legislature has paid $400,000 for a set of three studies on the issue, and a Senate gaming panel is holding public hearings on the issue in four cities across the state. They will be at Florida State College at Jacksonville’s downtown campus on Friday, Nov. 15. The issue involves some of Florida’s biggest political players all dumping campaign cash in the system and spending untold more messaging for their desired outcome. Each has amassed an impressive political scorecard. Most of Florida’s traditional special interests — the Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Retail Federation, among many others — will be involved, but the issue will be driven by a handful of groups. 

On the anti-gaming side is Disney. With the company’s deep pockets and control over the state’s tourism industry, it has long been a big political fish. The company is generally opposed to any gaming expansion because it could tarnish Florida’s family-friendly reputation, the company argues.

While no one knows the exact relationship, the company is also likely involved with NoCasinos.org, a site that acts as an attack dog against pro-gaming expansion news. Disney’s corporate communications staff has asked reporters if they have reached out to NoCasinos.org when calling about gaming reform.

Disney’s political scorecard: So far during the 2014 election cycle, the company has given $740,368 to candidates and committees. It has contracts with six lobbying firms and spent between $30,000 and $120,000 lobbying lawmakers between April and June. 

Though Disney usually opposes any gaming expansion, the proposal it pushes back against most is the construction of Las Vegas-style casinos in South Florida.

CHASER: LAWMAKERS STILL SEEKING ANSWERS ON FUTURE OF GAMBLING IN FLORIDA via James Rosica of the Tampa Tribune

Despite a 708-page study and two public workshops under their belts, state senators haven’t yet reached a ‘eureka’ moment over the future of gambling in Florida, according to the Senate’s Gaming committee chair. 

“It’s like succotash,” said Sen. Garrett Richter — they’ve heard a little bit of everything. 

“I don’t have any sense that the committee has developed, at this point, any united front on a solution,” he told reporters on Monday after the latest committee meeting. 

“I never thought that the job was going to be easy,” he added. “I never thought the solution was going to jump up and be obvious, and I think that this committee is going to have to work hard … It is going to be a challenge.” 

After years of doing nothing and letting the “Internet cafe” problem blow up in their faces, lawmakers now are considering a plethora of options, including allowing Las Vegas-style destination casino-resorts.

… Richter also said he wasn’t changing the format of recent public workshops, even after reports that a casino lobbyist had organized a busload of seniors to speak in favor of gambling. 

“My takeaway is that we had extensive public feedback,” Richter said. “So far, I’ve found the two public meetings we’ve had so far to be productive, to be meaningful, to be informative. So no, I wouldn’t venture to change that.” 

Two more workshops are scheduled for Jacksonville and Pensacola. 

Last week, Orlando-based No Casinos Inc. outed the Las Vegas Sands Corp., revealing that one of the company’s Florida lobbyists “orchestrated” the busload of Tampa seniors to speak at last week’s workshop in Lakeland.

SEN. ROB BRADLEY WANTS TO PUT OUT SMOKING ON PLAYGROUNDS via the News Service of Florida

Local governments would have the ability to prohibit smoking on playgrounds, under a measure (SB 342) filed Monday by Sen. Rob Bradley.

The bill would allow municipalities and counties to restrict smoking in local government-owned playground areas as an expansion of the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act. The act, approved by voters in 2002, prohibits smoking in most enclosed indoor workplaces. Bradley tried to pass a broader bill (SB 258) during the 2013 legislative session that would have allowed restrictions on smoking on municipal or county properties, but it died in the Community Affairs Committee. Under Bradley’s current proposal, a citation could only be issued for those who refuse to stop smoking after being advised of the restriction and refusing to leave the area.

***Aggressive. Strategic. Creative. Sachs Media Group is Florida’s dominant independent communications firm. With offices in Tallahassee, Orlando and Washington, D.C., Sachs Media Group sets the pace in public relations, crisis management, branding, digital/social media, graphic design and video production. SachsMedia.com***

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: CONSUMER ENERGY ALLIANCE-FLORIDA TO HOST ENERGY 101 TODAY 

Consumer Energy Alliance-Florida will host an Energy 101 Briefing featuring an overview on natural gas and hydraulic fracturing and its impact on Florida. Discussions will focus on key issues regarding the important role that natural gas policy has on energy policy for Florida and the science behind hydraulic fracturing. The event will be held today, from 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. in Room 216-C of the Capitol Building. 

Presenters will include: Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, Chairman of the Energy and Utilities Subcommittee for the House of Representatives; Rep. Ray Rodrigues who is the sponsor of legislation regarding hydraulic fracturing in Florida; and technical and policy experts including Natalie Joubert, Denise Co, Michael Zehr, and Kevin Doyle.

SENATE COMMITTEE SEEKS HELP FOR SOUTH FLORIDA WATERWAYS via Jim Turner of News Service of Florida 

A Senate committee will be asked Tuesday to support $190 million for projects intended to help reduce pollution going into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries from Lake Okeechobee. A 23-page draft report, which is slated to go before the Select Committee on Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin, adds six long-term fixes to a list of short-term fixes first recommended in August by Chairman Joe Negron. 

“This draft report represents a significant first step toward improving water management across the entire South Florida region,” Negron wrote in a letter to committee members that accompanied the report.

The report recommends support for the state Department of Environmental Protection to receive some authority over the water releases from Lake Okeechobee, proposes increasing the funding for the C-43 and C-44 reservoirs that link the lake with the estuaries, and proposes backing the $90 million that Gov. Rick Scott has sought to bridge a 2.6-mile section of the Tamiami Trail. 

In September, the committee approved $2.77 million to improve pump stations, reducing the flow of polluted waters that have negatively affected the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. The money will also go to build a channel to aid the flow of water from the Florida Everglades across the barrier of the Tamiami Trail in Miami-Dade County.

Groups such as the Everglades Foundation have called the Tamiami Trail “one of the most prominent dams” blocking the natural flow of the River of Grass from the lake to the southern Everglades. 

In all, the report includes about $190 million in short-term and long-term projects, including the Tamiami Trail work. Among the recommendations: $40 million to speed construction of the state’s portion of a C-44 reservoir and stormwater treatment area for the Indian River Lagoon-South Restoration Project; $5 million to support construction of the C-43 basin project to provide water storage in the Caloosahatchee basin. The committee also asked to add the reservoir — of which Florida’s eventual share is estimated at $289 million — into the state’s Long-Range Financial Outlook; $32 million for projects tied to ensuring that all surface water discharges into the Everglades Protection Area meet water quality standards; and Giving the DEP authority to regulate releases when the risk of dike failure is less than 10 percent. 

‘STAND YOUR GROUND’ CONTROVERSY RETURNS TO THE CAPITOL via Margie Manzel of the News Service of Florida

As the Florida Legislature returns to Tallahassee this week, the debate over the state’s controversial “stand your ground” self-defense law is returning as well, with a five-hour hearing scheduled for Thursday and both sides already at work getting their messages out. The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will take up a bill by Rep. Alan Williams that would repeal “stand your ground,” and activists who protested the law with a sit-in at the Capitol this summer are expected to turn out in force.

“(It) will be the first time in our country that any legislature has taken up a bill to repeal ‘stand your ground,’ ” Williams said during a conference call with supporters.

Williams’ repeal bill appears to have no chance as lawmakers hold committee meetings to prepare for the 2014 legislative session. The “stand your ground” law is heavily supported in both chambers of the Republican-led Legislature, and House Criminal Justice Chairman Matt Gaetz has famously said that “not one comma” in the law should be changed.

“If you look at the five years preceding the ‘stand your ground’ law, each year the murder rate went up in our state,” Gaetz said. “Since the ‘stand your ground’ law passed, the murder rate has gone down. I’m sure there are many reasons that’s the case, but I’ve got to believe that having robust self-defense laws — that puts the law on the side of the law-abiding citizen, and it puts criminals on notice.”

Participating in Sunday’s phone meeting with Williams and the Dream Defenders was Ron Davis, father of 17-year-old, Jordan Davis, who was fatally shot last year in Jacksonville. In a case that has drawn widespread attention, the shooting took place at a gas station, where 45-year-old Michael Dunn told a carload of four young men to turn down their loud music and, after an argument, opened fire. Dunn has pleaded not guilty, saying he feared for his life and saw a weapon in the other car, but police have said Jordan Davis and his friends were unarmed.

TODAY IN THE LEGISLATURE h/t to the Florida Current

Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee: Will hold a panel discussion about recent child-abuse deaths. Among the speakers is expected to be Esther Jacobo, interim secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families. 9 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building.

LGBT protections: A bipartisan group of House members will hold a news conference to call for passage of HB 239, which would protect people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender from discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing at 12:30 p.m., Fourth-Floor rotunda, the Capitol.

Agency for Health Care Administration: Will make a presentation to the House Health Innovation Subcommittee about assisted-living facility regulation. 1 p.m., 306 House Office Building.

House Ethics & Elections Subcommittee: Expected to hear presentations from the Florida Department of State and the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections about a renewed effort to remove non-citizens from the voting rolls. Such voter-purge attempts have been highly controversial since before the 2012 elections. 1 p.m., 212 Knott Building.

House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee and the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee: Will receive presentations about efforts to shift policies to private insurers from the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. House subcommittee: 1 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol. Senate committee: 1:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building.

House Economic Development & Tourism Subcommittee: Will receive information about a new unemployment benefits system that has faced technical problems. 1 p.m., 12 House Office Building.

House Healthy Families Subcommittee: Will receive a presentation from the Florida Department of Children and Families about the Sexually Violent Predator Program. The program has come under scrutiny recently because of a newspaper series that raised questions about the state’s handling of sexual predators, with many predators accused of committing repeated attacks. 3:30 p.m., 12 House Office Building.

Senate Select Committee on Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin: Will consider recommendations to deal with issues related to water discharges from the lake leading to pollution in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. 4 p.m., 412 Knott Building.

***SUNBURN is brought to you in part by Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC, a top-notch public affairs, political communications and public relations firm.  Visit www.bascomllc.com to read about their growing team, success stories and case studies.***

FUNDRAISER LINE-UP FOR TODAY

11:45 a.m. -1:00 p.m. – Rep. Bryan Nelson, Rep. Jim Boyd, Rep. Bill Hager at Governors Club – Library Room

4:30 – 6:00 p.m. – Rep. Janet Adkins and Rep. Marlene O’Toole at Governors Club – Board Room

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. – Rep. Debbie Mayfield at FL Retail Federation

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. – Rep. Steve Crisafulli, Rep. Ritch Workman, Rep. Tom Goodson, Rep. John Tobia at Governors Club – Capital Room

5:30 – 7:00 p.m. – Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. at Beer Industry of Florida, 110 South Monroe Street, Suite B

6:00 – 7:30 p.m. – Rep. Barbara Watson at Governors Club – BC Room

***101 RESTAURANT and MINT MARTINI BAR welcomes you back to Tallahassee.  A block from the Capitol, 101 is open for lunch and dinner every day.  For reservations please click on www.101tally.com or call us at 850-391-1309. Mint Martini Bar opens Tuesday to Saturday at 5 pm.  This weeks line up: Tuesday (Karaoke), Wednesday (Wine Down Wednesday featuring Dan Fester), Thursday (live music), Friday (Fat Tire Fridaywith Fester), Saturday (Socialite Saturday with Deep House).*** 

DEPARTMENT OF UNSURPRISING NEWS: “Florida’s lobbying corps is littered with former governors, agency heads, House and Senate leaders, and a myriad of former lawmakers and agency officials.”  — hvia Matt Dixon

TALLAHASSEE LOBBYISTS WON’T BE AUDITED UNTIL 2015 via Aaron Deslatte of the Orlando Sentinel

A Joint Legislative Auditing Committee on Monday approved draft guidelines for the audits that allow for lobbying firms to keep some documentation confidential, but also will allow lawmakers critical of the auditing mandate to repeal it next session.

Because the committee is making changes to the guidelines, its recommendation is for the audits to only start looking into reports filed by lobbyists in 2014 and forward.

The auditing firms actually wouldn’t begin randomly selecting firms until 2015.

“No audits will be conducted in 2014,” said committee chairman Joe Abruzzo. “This decision will allow the lobbyists a year” to prepare.

But they might never happen.

Two members of the panel — Sens. Alan Hays and Jeremy Ring — said last month they want to push to repeal the auditing requirement in the 2014 session.

“For now, we have to comply with the current law,” Abruzzo said.

***Today’s SUNBURN is sponsored by Corcoran & Johnston Government Relations. One of Florida’s Top Lobbying Firms, Corcoran & Johnston has demonstrated the ability to navigate government and successfully deliver results for clients, time and again.  To learn more visit www.corcoranfirm.com.***

ROCK BY THE SEA RELEASES HOLIDAY CD, HOSTS BENEFIT CONCERT FOR CANCER CHARITIES 

Rock By The Sea is at it again, raising awareness and money to assist cancer research and treatment. For the fourth year, Rock By The Sea is delighted to continue their tradition of music, holiday joy and charity with the release of A Rock By The Sea Christmas: Volume Four, including both original and traditional holiday tracks. But Rock By The Sea is not stopping there. They are also putting on a charity concert event featuring artists from A Rock By The Sea Christmas past and present. 

The CD is available for purchase now and includes contributions by Matthew Perryman Jones and Hannah Miller, Besides Daniel, an original track written exclusively for the CD by Stroke 9, MELODIME, Paris Luna, a live song fromFred LeBlanc (of Cowboy Mouth) and John Taglieri along with several other artists. 

Proceeds from this year’s CD and concert will go to Camp Sunshine in Atlanta, GA, and to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Program at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando, FL. For more information, please visitwww.rockbythesea.org.

***SUNBURN is sponsored in part by Strategic Image Management – Florida’s premier one-stop shop for political campaigns, issue advocacy, legislative initiatives, & public relations. Visit www.simwins.com or follow us on twitter @SIMWINS and start winning today***

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to David Hurley.

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