A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Sponsored by Tucker/Hall – one of Florida’s leading public affairs and public relations firms. You need their team on your side during this Legislative session for media, grassroots and netroots support. Visit TuckerHall.com to read about their team and how they can help you.
OBAMA PROPOSES SHORT-TERM FIX TO SEQUESTER
President Obama called for a short-term fix to avert across-the-board spending cuts. To give negotiators time to pass a broader deficit and budget package, the president is asking for a smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms to avoid the economically harmful consequences of the sequester for a few months.
” … While we need to deal with our deficits over the long term, we shouldn’t have workers being laid off, kids kicked off Head Start, and food safety inspections cut while Congress completes the process,” said Obama.
Clinton has put up a new website for her post-State Department career.
MIT STUDY: FLORIDA HAD NATION’S LONGEST WAIT TO VOTE via the New York Times
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis determined that blacks and Hispanics waited nearly twice as long in line to vote on average than whites. Florida had the nation’s longest lines, at 45 minutes, followed by the District of Columbia, Maryland, South Carolina and Virginia, according to Charles Stewart III, the political science professor who conducted the analysis.
WHAT’S MARCO LISTENING TO? CHECK OUT HIS SPOTIFY LIST
Ever wondered what song Marco Rubio is listening to in between his calls for immigration reform? Well, now you can find out as the Florida Senator has released his Spotify list.
On Rubio’s playlist are “Feel So Close by Calvin Harris … Good Feeling by Flo Rida … Home by Phillip Phillips … Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People … Where the Streets Have No Name by U2 … 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman … Viva La Vida by Coldplay … Changes by Tupac Shakur … Don’t you Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia … Stay Strong by Newsboys … Hall of Fame by The Script featuring Wil.I.am. … Every Storm Runs Out of Rain by Gary Allan … Fruta Fresca by Carlos Vives … Bon, Bon by Pitbull … Rappers Delight by The Sugar Hill Gang … Clique by Kanye West, Jay Z, Big Sean.”
Spotify is a commercial music streaming service providing DRM-protected content from a range of major and independent record labels, including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group and Universal.
BILL NELSON’S NEW PRESS SECRETARY
With Bryan Gulley named the Communications Director for the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Senator Bill Nelson has tapped Ryan Brown to be his new Press Secretary. Brown previously served as Deputy Communications Director for Nelson’s 2012 re-election campaign and is a recent law school graduate.
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CRYSTAL RIVER NUKE FACILITY SHUTTING DOWN
Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, announced Tuesday that it will retire the Crystal River Nuclear Plant, a facility that has been shut down since late 2009.
The plant was closed in the fall of 2009 after a crack was found in the outer layer of the containment building’s concrete wall.
While trying to repair the problem in 2011, crews cracked other portions of the wall. In its release Tuesday, Progress Energy said the nature and scope of repairs needed at the plant could raise costs dramatically.
“We believe the decision to retire the nuclear plant is in the best overall interests of our customers, investors, the state of Florida and our company,” Jim Rogers, chairman, president and CEO of Duke Energy, said in a statement.
“This has been an arduous process of modeling, engineering, analysis and evaluation over many months. The decision was very difficult, but it is the right choice.”
TWEET, TWEET: @SaintPetersBlog: Crystal River nuke facility says it is retiring to “spend more time with its family.”
FLORIDA ECONOMY ON REBOUND, BUT FOR HOW LONG?
Washington remained the top question mark as business executives mapped out the economic landscape for 2013. Severe budget cuts are set to begin in March if the White House and Congress can’t reach a broader deal on deficit reduction, while the nation’s borrowing power will again hit a cap in May. Each dispute has the potential to become a debacle for the national economy, which otherwise seems poised for a good year
HELP WANTED ADS UP BY 28,000 IN JANUARY
Florida’s “help wanted” online ads rose by nearly 28,000 openings in January, or 12.3 percent over the same month in 2012. Compared to December, job postings decreased by 1.7 percent. Demand was strongest in large cities, with Miami having the highest percentage gain, more than 26 percent, over the previous year.
ENTERPRISE FLORIDA ENGAGES IN “PAY-TO-PLAY”, SAYS INTEGRITY FLORIDA
A government watchdog group and Americans for Prosperity blasted Florida’s government for the hundreds of millions of dollars it gives to corporations, stating the state’s jobs agency is engaged in “pay-to-play” and “corporate welfare.”
A new report by Integrity Florida and Koch-brother funded Americans for Prosperity highlights several problems with the state’s economic incentives program, which uses tax deals to bring companies to Florida.
“We’re concerned about the appearance of pay-to-play ,” said Dan Krassner, director of Integrity Florida.
>>>Martin Dyckman, the retired associate editor for the Tampa Bay Times and long-time columnist and reporter, resigned his position on the all-volunteer board of Integrity Florida because of the sponsorship of the research by AFP.
ENTERPRISE FLORIDA FIRES BACK
“Integrity Florida has claimed to be a non-partisan, non-profit organization with no policy agenda. However, a report on economic incentives for job creation funded by a group that so publicly opposes these incentives is deeply troubling,” Swoope wrote in a letter back to Integrity Florida director Dan Krassner.
“Due to our increased concerns about the independence and balance of your analysis of our economic development tools, we are requesting that you publicly post and distribute our response to your report in the same manner that you have publicized your initial report. This response will include information left out of your report, including the aggressive actions the state has taken (and is currently undertaking) to pin down bad actors and ensure they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law, where laws are found to be violated.”
SCOTT’S BUDGET SHOWS HE’S CAMPAIGNING by Bill Cotterell of Florida Voices
Had Scott proposed another year of belt-tightening, his critics would have accused him of solidifying his conservative base rather than reaching out to voters who might be persuadable. By proposing $4 billion in new spending, Scott is suspected of trying to broaden that base by appealing to “Florida Families First,” the slogan printed on his lectern at the budget news conference.
… Scott’s 2010 campaign slogan was “Let’s Get To Work,” which is now the name of his re-election finance fund. “Florida Families First,” the theme of his new budget recommendations, looks like a marketable brand name for 2014.
SCOTT HITS THE AIRWAVES TO PROMOTE HIS PLAN FOR TEACHER RAISES, ELECTION REFORM by Jim Turner of Sunshine State News
Scott took to the airways on Tuesday defending his $74.2 billion fiscal plan that includes his call for more tax breaks for manufacturers and a pay hike for teachers.
Scott also continued to give his support to election reform proposals announced Monday from Secretary of State Ken Detzner that seek more early voting flexibility for county supervisors of elections, along with steps intended to speed the tabulating results.
Scott did a telephone interview on FOX News 92.5 FM in Fort Myers and said the reaction from teachers has been predictably supportive, with the enthusiastic response in part because educators feel their concerns are being heard in Tallahassee.
QUOTE OF THE DAY – “When I run for re-election I want people to vote for me, but the truth is, I want everyone to feel good about voting,” — Gov. Scott said while on WIOD 610 AM in Miami.
HOUSE REPUBLICANS NOT EASING OPPOSITION OF SCOTT’S TEACHER PLAN by Michael Van Sickler of the Tampa Bay Times
Despite calling Gov. Scott’s proposed $74.2 billion budget “thoughtful” and “fiscally sound”, Florida House Appropriations Chair Seth McKeel said the varying ways it provides raises among different groups of employees is raising concerns of fairness.
“It seems to treat different employees differently,” said McKeel during Tuesday’s meeting with Scott’s budget director, Jerry McDaniel. “And we have consternation about that.”
Afterward with reporters, McKeel went further criticizing the proposed compensation, which is one of the budget’s key platforms.
“There are three different ways, and I’m concerned if that’s a defensible mechanism for dealing with employee pay,” he said.
Florida Democrats (but none that I know) have been abuzz the past few days over a rumor that Charlie Crist might be headed to Washington.
“Not so,” Crist replied in an e-mail to Scott Powers of the Political Pulse, which inquired about rumors that President Barack Obama has offered him some sort of job and he’s been weighing that option against others.
It’s more likely the folks at the Rick Scott-linked Let’s Get To Work committee are spreading this rumor in hopes of stirring up controversy against Crist.
MY OP-ED: IN FLORIDA, THE NIXONS ARE GOING TO CHINA for Florida Voices
Some also suggest that Scott and Co. see the shadow of former Gov. Charlie Crist looming over the state capital and now recognize that if they do not get their act together, the barbarians (read: Democrats) will crash through the gate. Indeed, the prospect of Crist returning to the governor’s mansion looms large in Tallahassee, but Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford don’t strike me as the type who intimidate easily.
Scott, Gaetz and Weatherford’s change of heart is about something more. They’re running one of the ol’ standbys from the Republican playbook: It’s the “Nixon goes to China” play that former Republican President Richard Nixon drew up long ago.
.. Like a tea partier suggesting that the education funding spigot be turned on. Like the senior state senator who suggests the revolving door between lawmakers and lobbyists be closed. Like the legislator elected by developers finding it in vogue to tend to the environment. Like the tough-on-crime crowd finally getting “smart” about sentencing guidelines.
***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. ***
BRANDES ANNOUNCES PUBLIC LIBRARIES INNOVATION PLAN
Brandes filed SB 608 –Library Innovation, designed to transform the state’s existing public library networks into a cutting edge, interactive system that meets the dynamic needs of Florida’s communities.
“Technology is changing rapidly, and the libraries of Florida are incredible assets we must continue to invest in,” said Brandes. “Libraries hold tremendous possibilities for innovation, and I believe that our libraries will engage users in ways that we are just beginning to imagine.”
This bill creates a Library Innovation Task Force that, working with professionals in the field, will put together a 10-year plan to advance Florida’s Public libraries. It also lays a framework for a “Library Innovation Grant” to be spent on the expansion of services and technology available throughout the state.
JEANETTE NUNEZ BILL POKES STICK INTO EYES OF OPTOMETRISTS Full blog post here
Rep. Nunez (R – Ihopeshehasnooptosinherdistric
If you walk into an optometrist’s office, you call him ‘Doctor Bill Jones.’ But if this bill passes, you would address him as Bill. That;s just insulting.
… The first hearing on this will be this Thursday in House Health Quality.
SENATE COMMERCE PANEL GIVES OK TO DOLPHINS BILL via Kathleen Haughney of the Sun Sentinel
A bill drafted by the Miami Dolphins to give them up to $3 million per year in state money to help fund a renovation of Sun Life Stadium cleared its first hurdle Tuesday morning, passing the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee.
The measure, SB 306, lets the state designate exactly one “professional sports franchise renovation facility” to qualify for $3 million annually to help fund renovations. To qualify, the stadium must be more than 20 years old, generate $3 million in sales tax annually and plan a renovation of $250 million or more where the team owners are willing to put up 50 percent of the cost.
They also have to promise to stick around for another two decades.
SENATE PANEL PUTS MED MAL UNDER MICROSCOPE via the News Service of Florida
A Senate committee Tuesday began considering whether to make changes in Florida’s medical-malpractice laws, reviving a debate that has flared repeatedly during the past decade.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Tom Lee said he wanted to get a sense of how other lawmakers view a series of proposals floating in the Legislature and has not decided how he wants to proceed. “We want to be thoughtful, deliberate and get it right,” Lee said after the meeting. The proposals, for example, would place an additional restriction on expert witnesses who testify against doctors in medical-malpractice cases.
Also, Tallahassee physician Richard Thacker urged approval of a proposal that would stiffen legal requirements for proving that doctors have committed malpractice by not doing medical tests. “Every lawsuit changes a doctor, and generally not for the better, whether they are the defendant or not,” Thacker said. But attorneys who represent plaintiffs said the changes are unnecessary and would further limit the ability of malpractice victims to get compensated for their injuries. “Their (the proponents’) proposals do not increase the safety of Florida residents, nor do they reduce the costs associated with medical care,” said Fort Lauderdale attorney Ken Sobel, who chairs a medical-malpractice committee for the Florida Justice Association, a trial lawyers group.
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LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE PREVIEWS via the News Service of Florida
In the House
The House Ethics and Elections Subcommittee takes up a bill (HB 569) that would prevent committees of continuous existence, or CCEs, from accepting contributions after Aug. 1 and would revoke their certification on Sept. 30 while raising contributions limits from $500 to $10,000. House Speaker Will Weatherford has made getting rid of CCEs one of his main goals on ethics reform.
The House Choice and Innovation Subcommittee takes up a proposed committee bill (PCB CIS 13-01) dealing with charter schools.
In the Senate
The Senate Appropriations Committee hears from Jerry McDaniel, budget director for Gov. Rick Scott, on Scott’s proposed spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Scott is pitching a $74.2 billion budget that increases education spending by $1.2 billion and would allow all manufacturers to claim the sales-tax exemption on equipment.
A bill making it illegal for police to use remotely controlled drone aircraft for many purposes makes its second committee stop when the Senate Community Affairs Committee takes up SB 92 by Sen. Joe Negron. Drones are currently in use by about a half dozen Florida law enforcement agencies. The bill would prohibit their use unless a warrant was issued or in special cases such as hostage situations. The committee also takes up the Senate Ethics bill (SB 2) that prohibits most state government employees from serving in elected positions.
SOME LAWMAKERS WANT TO CRACK DOWN ON ELECTIONS SUPERVISORS via Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida
Some lawmakers are considering strengthening state officials’ authority to remove county supervisors of elections after voting snafus in November led to long lines and voter anger.
Details are sketchy; supporters haven’t come forward with a specific proposal yet, and at times seemed to be thinking out loud at a Tuesday meeting of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee.
But there were clearly at least a few Republican senators interested in putting pressure on elections supervisors – with the Legislature having come under fire for changes to the state’s voting laws pushed through by the GOP in 2011.
***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.***
GAETZ, GARDINER HEADLINE GASPARILLA-THEMED FUNDRAISER ON SATURDAY
Beads, pirates and a group of GOP state senators will be on display this Saturday when Senate President Don Gaetz, Senate President Designate Andy Gardiner and several other Republican lawmakers take part in a Gasparilla-themed political fundraiser in Ybor City.
In addition to Sens. Gaetz and Gardiner, Senators Jack Latvala, Thad Altman, Jeff Brandes, Nancy Detert, Bill Galvano and Wilton Simpson are also listed on the fundraising invitation. Majority 2014 — the Republican Party of Florida’s campaign arm for state senate races — is the beneficiary. Invite here.
REALLY, DOUG HOLDER, YOU FILED TO RUN FOR 2018?
With a month left before the Legislature is gaveled into session, almost every legislator even contemplating running next year has opened a campaign account. This is so they can collect somee seed money from the Adams Street crowd before fundraising is shut down during session.
Even most of those not up for election in 2014 or those term-limited, but interested in returning to the Legislature in 2016 have filed the appropriate paperwork to begin accepting contributions.
And then there is Rep. Doug Holder. He’s not worried about 2014 or 2016. No, Rep. Holder has his eye on 2018 — a presidential race and three Olympics into the future. That’s when Senator Nancy Detert will be term-limited from seeking another term in the Florida Senate, leaving her District 28 seat open.
But between now and when Sen. Detert steps down in five years, Doug Holder will be running for her seat. Talk about the permanent campaign!
Then again, from what I hear, Holder may be running for the State Senate sooner than 2018. Speculation has it that Sen. Detert has her mind set on running for Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections in 2016.
For Representative Holder’s sake, let’s hope this is true.
WITH RANDY GLISSON RUNNING, CHIROPRACTORS SEEK ONE OF THEIR OWN IN LEGISLATURE AGAIN
Since at least 1976, when Dennis Jones was first elected to the Florida Legislature, there has been a doctor of chiropractic serving in either the House or Senate. But with Jones’ retirement and Frank Farkas defeat at the polls last year, chiropractors are shut out of the Legislature for the first time in decades.
Randy Glisson hopes to change that.
Glisson, a doctor of chiropractic, filed paperwork last week to run in 2014 for the District 31 seat in the Florida House. When Glisson filed his candidacy paperwork, it was reported that he was accompanied by his father, Dr. Jim Glisson, who served a decade in the Legislature and later ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor.
Glisson owns Lake Health Care Center, a healthcare center founded by his father in 1963. He previously served on the Florida Hospital Waterman Board Foundation and chaired the Board of Chiropractic Medicine after he was appointed by then-Gov. Bob Martinez.
“As a small business owner, I understand the importance of reducing taxes, cutting government spending, and restricting government regulation,” said Glisson.
The seat Glisson is running for is currently represented by Bryan Nelson, who is term-limited from running again
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4TH FLOOR FILES: This installment features Teye Reeves of Floridian Partners. Her clients include the Florida Cable Telecommunications Association and the Florida Chamber. Here’s the file on Teye.
COALITION FORMED TO SUPPORT ‘DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE’ LEGISLATION
In an effort to make Florida roads safer, a coalition of law enforcement organizations, businesses and local governments have banned together in support of legislation to stop texting while driving.
We want to encourage the Florida legislature to pass legislation that will help keep our families, friends and communities safe,” said Manny Maroño, President of Florida League of Cities and Mayor of the City of Sweetwater. “We cannot afford to allow this deadly behavior to continue.”
Many corporations throughout Florida have no texting while driving policies in place and encourage other businesses to consider adopting similar policies.
FL Dnt Txt + Drive” coalition members include:
AAA, AARP, Alamo Rent A Car, Allstate, AT&T, AutoNation, Beer Industry of Florida, City of Orlando, DuPont, Enterprise Car Rental, Florida Automobile Dealers Association, Florida League of Cities, Florida Orthopedic Society, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Trucking Association, Ford Motor Company, National Solid Wastes Management Association, and Walt Disney World.
MIAMI MAYORAL CANDIDATE TO HOLD FUNDRAISER IN TALLY via Kathleen McGrory of the Miami Herald
Money and support are rolling in for Miami mayoral candidate Francis Suarez.
On Wednesday, Suarez heads to Tallahassee for a 6 p.m. fundraising event at Clyde’s and Costello’s.
The host committee includes six Republican state representatives from Miami-Dade: Frank Artiles, Michael Bileca, Jose Felix Diaz, Manny Diaz Jr., Jose Oliva and Carlos Trujillo, according to the email invitation. Rep. Richard Corcoran, a Tampa Bay-area Republican who has been tapped to become speaker in 2016, is also on the committee. (Oliva is also in line to become speaker.)
Suarez, 35, is challenging incumbent Mayor Tomas Regalado in the November election. Suarez has already raised about $500,000 through his electioneering communications organization, The Future is Now. Regalado has amassed about $160,000.
Norton most recently managed the Joe Saunders for Florida House campaign, electing the first openly gay legislator in Florida history. His winning track record also includes working for Obama for America (2008), Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe (2010), and managing Lauren Poe for Gainesville City Commission (2011). Norton is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Master’s Degree in Campaign Politics and Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.
JON RAWLSON LAUNCHES BOUTIQUE LOBBYING FIRM, ARMORY HILL ADVOCATES
Jon Rawlson, a veteran lobbyist and former healthcare executive, announced the launch of a new governmental affairs firm, Armory Hill Advocates. As founder and president of the new firm, Rawlson says he will use his 25 years of experience in public affairs, government relations, and grassroots advocacy, to work on behalf of healthcare and nonprofit clients throughout Florida and Washington, D.C.
“I have helped national corporations, private companies, and community organizations build networks of advocates, develop priorities and maximize outcomes for more than 20 years,” said Rawlson. “With a focus on small businesses and companies making less than $300 million per year, Armory Hill Advocates is in the best position to serve our clients and deliver results. Our expert knowledge and experience in government affairs, public policy, and community engagement is unmatched. With locations in Florida – Orlando and Tallahassee – and the nation’s capital, we look forward to developing winning strategies while extending the reach of our clients.”
SPRING TRAINING FUNDRAISER
Debbie Wasserman Schultz is hoping to raise some cash for her leadership PAC, Democrats Win Seats, between Feb. 28 and March 2 from behind the home plate of the Yankees and Phillies game during the annual Spring Training weekend in Florida, according to an invitation. The weekend also includes a welcome reception at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa and pre-game events. Cost to host: $5,000 (PAC) and $2,500 (individual). Cost to sponsor: $2,500 (PAC) and $1,000 (individual).
There are a couple of fundraisers for legislative candidates planned for Wednesday.
The first is an event for freshman Representative Mike LaRosa. It will be held in the Library Room of the Governor’s Club beginning at 4:30 p.m.
There is also a fundraiser benefiting Reps. Matt Hudson and John Wood hosted by Speaker Will Weatherford and Speaker Designates Steve Crisafulli and Richard Corcoran. The event is planned for the B.C. Room at the Governor’s Club and begins at 6 p.m.
***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.***
HAPPY BIRTHDAY once-and-future Rep. Eric Eisnaugle and lobbyist Fred Karlinsky.
CHECK OUT THIS HILARIOUS ‘HELP WANTED’ AD FROM THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA: ” If you want to spend a lot of time reading proposed legislation, sitting through committee meetings and late night floor sessions, filing multiple stories for decent but average pay in a town that’s not that close to a beach, and covering Florida Gov. Rick Scott – who doesn’t really want much coverage, you might be a good fit for us.” Full ad here.
WHAT PRONOUNS SAY ABOUT POLITICIANS: David Brooks looks at James Pennebaker’s new book, The Secret Life of Pronouns — which studies how people use words like “I,” “me,” and “mine” — and concludes that “when people are feeling confident, they are focused on the task at hand, not on themselves. High status, confident people use fewer ‘I’ words, not more.”