Sunburn for 1/28 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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

Governor Rick Scott is expected to release his proposed budget for the coming year this week, although officials in the governor’s office haven’t said when. 

The budget announcement is due by Feb. 3, which is next Sunday, and the governor told reporters this week that he will make his recommendations known sometime next week. It’s also not clear whether Scott will make his announcement in Tallahassee, or elsewhere in the state. The governor traveled to Orlando this past week to announce a teacher pay raise proposal. And in 2011 Scott made his first budget proposal announcement in the Lake County town of Eustis. 

The governor’s budget proposal is mainly that – a proposal that lawmakers often use as a guideline, but from which they deviate widely. The budget that lawmakers will write in the spring is for the fiscal year that begins July 1. 

Scott has already said that he will recommend more spending on education, including the $480 million teacher pay raise proposal, which would give each full time classroom teacher a $2,500 bump. Lawmakers have already expressed some skepticism about that proposal, however, expressing more interest in a pay system based largely on merit. 

Scott will be in town on Wednesday when he’ll address a gathering of newspaper editors and is likely to either preview some of his budget recommendations, or review them if he announces the proposal earlier in the week.

Lawmakers are back in their districts this week for a week before returning for more committee meetings starting Feb. 4.

The News Service of Florida has a complete preview of the week here.

TOP OP-ED “THE PRESIDENT’S MISSED CHANCE” by Joe Scarborough for POLITICO

“Obama dismissed concerns about the national debt during his inaugural address in a few throw-away lines, and instead used the speech to address social issues that Harry Reid’s Democratic Senate won’t touch. This political negligence suggests that Obama has chosen to ignore negative budget projections, credit downgrades, falling revenues and perpetual increases in mandatory spending. Instead, the president is teeing up partisan legislative battles with Republicans in hopes of embarrassing the party. Politically, it just may work. But as a measurement of the president’s seriousness, his second inaugural address can only be seen as a grand failure that missed yet another historic opportunity to call Americans together in the name of shared sacrifice.

If Obama’s address was any indication of where he wants to take this country over the next four years, the former community organizer is on a mission to insure that the United States of America is the most socially-correct, well-adjusted, happily progressive and hopelessly bankrupt country in the history of mankind.”

OBAMA BETS ON RECESS APPOINTMENTS AND LOSES 

President Obama “made a big gamble last January when he issued four recess appointments during a three-day break between meetings of the Senate — and with the court ruling Friday broadly undercutting his ability to make such appointments, he may have lost even bigger,” Politico reports.

Legal experts say the president “almost certainly did not anticipate the gamble going as spectacularly sour as it did Friday when a federal appeals court not only invalidated the three NLRB appointments but cut the heart out of the recess appointment power presidents of both parties have wielded for two centuries.”

RUBIO BEGINS CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO CHARM OFFENSIVE via Jon Ward of the Huffington Post

Last week, Marco Rubio called in to one of the most popular talk shows, the Mark Levin Show. … Levin was soft-spoken and receptive. He was perhaps a bit skeptical as Rubio explained, in a good amount of detail, his immigration reform ideas. But he did not rip the senator. … ‘You know this is very fascinating to me,’ Levin told Rubio at the end of their 10-minute interview. ‘I am going to take a much closer look at this and I am going to try to keep an open mind about it.’ After Rubio got off the phone, Levin was even more laudatory of the senator. … ‘We have de facto amnesty right now. When he said it, it set a light bulb off. Maybe I am a little slow. I said, “Well he’s right, we do have de facto amnesty.” … Rubio is heading off criticism by making the effort to talk to the loudest and most influential voices who have traditionally used the ‘amnesty’ label as a sledgehammer to halt any Republican efforts on immigration reform. …

The new construct will be that President Obama and Harry Reid, if they don’t agree with Rubio’s ideas on immigration reform, just want to retain ‘amnesty.’ This is a significant shift, if Levin warms to it and the rest of talk radio follows suit. … This is forward motion, not gridlock.

RUBIO PRE-BUTS OBAMA ON IMMIGRATION

As President Obama prepares to relaunch his drive for an immigration overhaul Tuesday in Las Vegas, where heavy turnout by Latino voters in November helped seal his reelection, Rubio Pre-but with an op-ed in Sunday’s edition of the Las Vegas Review Journal.  

“In the past, efforts to accommodate the undocumented have failed because the enforcement measures were never implemented. That’s why this option to apply for a green card and get in the back of the line should not be made available until it is certified that significant progress has been made on enforcement of our immigration laws. Both sides should want this kind of common-sense reform. To those concerned about illegal immigration, what we have now is de facto amnesty. To those looking to help the undocumented, families will continue being separated by deportations as long as politicians keep bickering and trying to outdo each other. I’ve been encouraged by the support for these ideas I’ve found across the political spectrum, and my hope is President Obama will use his voice and influence to further this approach. However, if what he offers is a process for the undocumented that is more lenient, faster and unfair to those waiting to come legally, it won’t bode well for reform.” 

MITT ROMNEY PLEDGES TO STAY INVOLVED

Romney told top Washington bundlers, donors and senior campaign leadership in a meeting Friday morning that he would help out GOP candidates for governor in 2013, during the upcoming midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race.

Said Romney: “We lost, but I’m not going away. I will continue to help.”

SARAH PALIN AND FOX NEWS PART WAYS

Sarah Palin’s contract with Fox News has ended and it is not being renewed, the New York Times reports.

“A Fox spokeswoman confirmed Friday that Fox had parted ways with the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee, effectively reducing her exposure to the channel’s millions of loyal viewers. It was unclear whether the parting was Ms. Palin’s choice, but it was described as amicable.”

***Representatives from Florida’s aerospace industry will visit Tallahassee on March 6, 2013, to participate in Florida Space Day and share with legislators the opportunities the industry brings to Florida and the nation’s space program. During Space Day, industry leaders and other aerospace supporters will meet with House and Senate members, as well as the lieutenant governor, to discuss  growing areas of the state’s $8 billion space industry, and determine the best strategies for leveraging these markets for Florida’s benefit in the years ahead.***

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will announce the additional state colleges accepting his 10k degree higher education affordability challenge, 10:00 a.m. on the Miami Dade College – North Campus.

DESPITE DISMAL POLL NUMBERS, SCOTT STILL A CHALLENGE TO DEMOCRATS by Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald

A few Democrats and many Republicans see Obama’s victory as more of a coin-toss result instead of a mandate in Florida. The president won the state by just .9 percentage points. Obama’s 2008 margin: 2.8 points.

After that first Obama’s victory, magazines like Time displayed a May 18, 2009, cover of an elephant with the headline: “Endangered Species.”

Democrats proceeded to lose every statewide elected seat based in Tallahassee in 2010. They were swamped nationwide, too. Republicans, though, no longer hold the supermajority they won two years ago in the Florida Legislature thanks to the last election.

“It’s foolish to think the next election will be easy,” said Nan Rich, a former state Senate Democratic leader from Weston running for governor.

“Rick Scott has a lot of money,” she said. “And it’s not just him. It’s the Republican Party.” 

SENTENCE OF THE DAY by the Tampa Bay Times‘ Lisa Garner (with a h/t to Michael Kruse): “As (Rick) Scott entered each classroom and posed his questions, the students furiously made eye contact with each other, smirking, because they were teenagers and something was happening.”

TWEET, TWEET: @fineout: Charlie Crist employer @ ally John Morgan airing TV ad where he says he will soon challenge PIP law that was top priority of @FLGovScott

***The PA Team of Jack and Keyna Cory and Erin Daly would like to congratulate their long term Client American Eldercare and their Grassroots Team for winning Florida’s contract for Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Program for Long-Term Care. The Delray Beach firm that specializes in caring for seniors in independent living in their homes as well as assisted living “is the only company that won contracts to enroll customers in every region of the state According to Health News Florida, The market is estimated to be worth about $3 billion.” The PA Team has represented American Eldercare and worked with their Grassroots Team for over 10 years. ***

ALLISON TANT BECOMES LEADER OF GANG WHO CAN’T SHOOT STRAIGHT, ERR, FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY

All the establishment-led campaigning on behalf of Tallahassee fundraiser Allison Tant paid off Saturday morning as she easily won a floor vote to become the new state chair of the Florida Democratic Party.

Alan Clendenin, whose campaign focused on committeemembers from big counties, then joined Tant on stage at the Democrats’ quarterly meeting in Lake Mary. They hugged and held their hands high. That signaled the power sharing many had come to expect from the weeks-long battle between the two that had at times gotten harsh, tough and angry.

Tant won 587 to 448.

Clendenin then watched as two candidates for the vice chairman position dropped out, he was nominated, and voted into the vice chair’s position by acclamation.

“Make no mistake, GOP,” declared Clendenin, 53. “This team’s comin’ to get ya!”

BALLOT IRREGULARITIES, CONSPIRACIES DOG CHAIR ELECTION by Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald

Uncounted votes. A spoiled ballot. A Democrat who signed a proxy vote-form with an X. Conspiracy theories.

Elections just aren’t easy in Florida, especially when it comes to Democrats — even when they vote for their own during the Florida Democratic Party Chair race.

… Initially on Saturday, Allison Tant was elected chair Saturday over Alan Clendenin by a vote of 587 to 448.

Turns out, that first tally missed a block of 59 votes cast by Bret Berlin, a Miami-Dade state committeeman.

“They said my ballot was stuck to another person’s ballot and it didn’t get counted,” said Berlin, who voted for Clendenin. “I didn’t eat anything in the voting room. My fingers didn’t have anything sticky on them.”

… Controversy surrounded Duval County’s Gayle Kendall and her 25 votes for Tant. Recovering from a bad car accident, she couldn’t make it Saturday to Lake Mary. She gave her proxy vote to another. But she didn’t sign it with her name. She marked it with an X.

FDP spokeswoman Brannon Jordan said the ballot marking was legal, and was witnessed by three others, including a notary. Also, Jordan said, Kendall wasn’t in a coma as some Clendenin supporters theorized.

Orlando progressive activist Susannah Randolph and her husband, Orange County Tax Collector and Orange County Democratic Party Chairman Scott Randolph, said a sign declaring “Beware of the bitches” appeared on Susannah’s office suite door in Orlando earlier this week.

The Randolphs, who have campaigned for Allison Tant of  Tallahassee to be state chair, are convinced the sign was the work of rogue supporters of Alan Clendenin of Tampa. Though there’s no clear evidence or confessions, the Randolphs said they are certain they know who placed the sign.

“I recognize the handwriting,” Scott Randolph said of the scrawled “the bitches” words.

TWEET OF THE DAY: @LennyCurry: Congratulations @allisontant2012. See you around on the road to 14.

***Last week, Walmart made the Veterans Welcome Home and Manufacturing commitments; offering jobs to honorably discharged veterans with expected hiring of 100,000 over the next five years and boosting sourcing of U.S. products by $50 Billion over the next ten years.  Click here to learn more about Walmart’s veterans and manufacturing commitments.***

GAETZ CAR DISPUTE LEGISLATION GETS IN GEAR via The News Service of Florida

A House panel approved a bill that backers say would help head off legal fights between car dealers and customers about problems with vehicles.

The Civil Justice Subcommittee voted 11-1 to approve HB 55, which would require consumers to give written notice to dealers at least 30 days before filing lawsuits. Customers would not be able to pursue cases if dealers agree to pay the amounts sought in what are known as “demand letters” and pay surcharges up to $500.

Sponsor Matt Gaetz said the bill, which is backed by the Florida Automobile Dealers Association, is aimed at resolving disputes before they wind up in court. Rep. Cynthia Stafford, a Miami Democrat who voted against the bill, said she was concerned about how low-income people would be able to navigate the process and whether it would give an unfair advantage to dealers. But Rep. Jose Oliva said he thinks the bill could help low-income people, as it would give them a way to make demands to dealership owners and get vehicle problems resolved. “I don’t think this limits access,” Oliva said. “I think it actually grants it.”

Gaetz sponsored a similar measure in 2012, but it did not pass. This year’s bill is also slated to go to two additional House panels.

LEGISLATIVE STAFF MERRY-GO-ROUND

On: Jon Baker, staff attorney for the House Local & Federal Affairs Committee

On: Jenny Bauer is now the senior attorney for the Insurance & Banking Subcommittee.

On: Jacqueline Davison has joined the Ethics & Elections Subcommittee as a legislative analyst.

Off: Jennifer Valenstein has left the House Education Committee as staff attorney and been replaced by Adam Brink.

Off and On: Linda Sims-Davis has left the Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight as administrative assistant and Cynthia Pruitt has joined the panel in the same role.

On: Rep. Lori Berman’s office has brought on Victoria Winslett as her district secretary.

On: Teresa Hadjipetrou has joined Rep. Jared Moskowitz’s staff as his district secretary.

On: In Rep. Linda Stewart’s office, Matt Alford has come aboard as legislative assistant and Dana Rutledge as district secretary.

Off: Rebecca Baer has left her legislative assistant role in the office of Sen. Maria Sachs. 

Off: Sen. Audrey Gibson has seen legislative assistants Linda Perry-Platte, Ashley Thomas and Jeanne Moeller depart.

PERRY THURSTON: DEAN CANNON STOPPED OBAMACARE PREP via James Call of the Florida Current

On Friday members of the House Select Committee on PPACA were told by state insurance regulators that they, the regulators, have apparently done very little during the past 34 months to implement the law that will become effective in 2014. House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston wanted to know why.

“Did you receive a letter from the Legislature or the previous leader instructing you not to prepare,” Thurston asked Wences Troncoso, a deputy commissioner with the Office of Insurance Regulation.

The committee chair, Rep. Richard Corcoran interjected that “I can tell you we haven’t sent any letter, Rep. Thurston.”

“Mr. Chair, I respectfully would like for him to answer the question. I’m not referring to the current leadership,” Thurston said.

“Yes, we did receive a letter from prior leadership, Dean Cannon,” said Troncoso. At the time, Cannon was a state representative who became the Speaker of the House a month later.

REP. RAY RODRIGUES PROFILE here.

WILTON SIMPSON FILES “FLORIDA SMALL SITIES CDBG” ACT

“The existing CDBG Act contains a number of provisions that restrict the program’s ability to be flexible. This legislation will give the Department of Economic Opportunity the latitude necessary to make the program more effective, increase economic development outcomes and remove burdensome and unnecessary requirements,” said Senator Simpson.

“Once this legislation is approved, DEO will be able to more easily help local communities secure grants for an expanded economic development toolkit, including entrepreneurial training, micro enterprise loans, and business incubators,” said DEO Director Jesse Panuccio. “We look forward to making this process more transparent, accountable, and efficient for communities in Florida.”

***Today’s SUNBURN is also sponsored by Ron Sachs Communication. Ron Sachs Communications provides its clients with a competitive advantage built on strategic relationships, dynamic creativity and smart and aggressive communications strategies that generate superior results. If you want to win, you’ll want to have Ron Sachs Communications on your side. www.RonSachs.com***

4TH FLOOR FILES talks to Sourthern Strategies Group managing partner Chris Dudley. Click here to get the file on Chris.

FIVE NEW PUBLIC DEFENDERS TAKE OFFICE via The Florida Current

Five of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits have had new public defenders sworn into office, the most in the PD system’s nearly 40-year history.

In the Pensacola-based 1st Circuit, Bruce Miller has taken office after winning a contested primary election in August. The 3rd Circuit, centered in Lake City, has had  Blair Payne, unopposed in the 2012 election, assume the office from C. Dennis Roberts, who retired this year. In Central Florida’s 5th Circuit, Mike Graves succeeds 30-year veteran Howard “Skip” Babb who retired.

Rex Dimmig rises within the 10th Circuit office to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Marion Moorman from the Polk County-centered circuit. Blaise Trettis was elected by the 18th Circuit to fill the opening left by the retirement of J.R. Russo.

LAUREN BOOK TO LAUNCH AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins and advocate Lauren Book launch child abuse awareness campaign Don’t Miss the Signs. The campaign will seek to educate Florida residents about some newly required obligations to report suspected abuse under the law.

NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS

Kelly Mallette, Ronald L. Book PA: Security First Managers, LLC

Michelle Wesolowski: Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates

SPOTTED: Floridian Partners Ana Cruz tossing beads from Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor’s squad car during the Gasparilla Parade.

***Today’s SUNBURN is also sponsored by Corcoran & Johnston Government Relations. With more than 45 years of combined legislative and regulatory knowledge and experience, Corcoran & Johnston’s ability to navigate through the processes and politics of government and deliver for their clients is unmatched.***

CAN’T WAIT TO READThe Future: Six Drivers of Global Change by Al Gore.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY from the weekend, the effervescent Laura Boehmer. Also happy birthday to Justin Snyder

THANKS FOR THE FOLLOW: @VoteAdamCorey

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.