Sunburn for 3/19 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

in Uncategorized by

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

RNC CALLS FOR SWEEPING REFORMS TO PARTY

The Republican National Committee released an audacious set of recommendations on Monday aimed at revitalizing the party following the drubbing suffered by GOP candidates last November, calling for sweeping changes to the party’s infrastructure, outreach and nominating process to contend for the White House in 2016.

“There’s no one reason we lost,’ [chairman Reince] Priebus plans to say [in remarks at the National Press Club]. ‘Our message was weak; our ground game was insufficient; we weren’t inclusive; we were behind in both data and digital; our primary and debate process needed improvement. … So, there’s no one solution: There’s a long list of them.'”

Noteworthy are the recommendations in the “Media Buying and Placement” section: “Continued audience fragmentation means media plans must incorporate increasingly diverse mixes of broadcast television, cable television, Hispanic advertising, sports programming, radio, Internet advertising, social media, mobile, and other emerging media such as online television viewing and radio listening. … The one-spot-fits-all model used by Republican presidential campaigns since the Reagan era is no longer enough. … The Obama media research and buying staff was 5 to 15 times larger than the Romney staff. New online media require much more active staff and daily tweaking than traditional media. … The RNC and the Party campaign committees should explore relationships with providers of syndicated media and consumer research (e.g., Nielsen, Scarborough, Arbitron, MRI, Simmons, Comscore, Rentrak, CMAG, Delta, Polaris).”

The Wall Street Journal calls it a “scathing self-analysis” that “describes the party as ideologically ossified, unable to speak to a wider electorate and increasingly seen as representing the rich and the old.”

RNC RECOMMENDATIONS FAVOR DEEP-POCKETED CANDIDATES

Tucked in near the end of the 97-page autopsy “are less than four pages that amount to a political bombshell: the five-member panel urges halving the number of presidential primary debates in 2016 from 2012, creating a regional primary cluster after the traditional early states and holding primaries rather than caucuses or conventions,” Politico reports.

Each of those steps would benefit a deep-pocketed candidate in the mold of Mitt Romney. That is, someone who doesn’t need the benefit of televised debates to get attention because he or she can afford TV ads; has the cash to air commercials and do other forms of voter contact in multiple big states at one time; and has more appeal with a broader swath of voters than the sort of ideologically-driven activists who typically attend caucuses and conventions.”

EMAIL I DIDN’T OPEN: “Community Groups Take Hip Hop Back From Marco Rubio” from Laura Johns of Organize Florida

Today’s Sunburn is sponsored in part 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.

A POLITICAL MARRIAGE SOURED BEFORE TOP OFFICIAL STEPPED DOWN via the News York Times

Despite a tumultuous week, Jennifer Carroll said in a 25-minute interview with the New York Times that she was ready to move on and that she viewed her resignation as a setback rather than a catastrophe. She said she was already fielding offers and was weighing a jump into corporate life, community service and, perhaps later, a return to politics.

“People are calling me asking me to run for this, that and the other thing,” said Ms. Carroll, 53, who is married with three grown children. “I say, you know what? First of all, I am going to spend time with my family, because for the last two years it’s been very difficult.”

Asked later about the appropriateness of the skit, Ms. Carroll, whose earthiness helped charm Floridians and lawmakers, quipped, “I’m glad she had the stilettos and was looking good.”

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE FORMS SHOULD HAVE RAISED RED FLAGS FOR SCOTT by Mike Vasalinda of Capitol News Service

By the time Carroll was sworn in as Florida’s 18th Lt. Governor, there were plenty of red flags in her financial disclosure that should have raised concerns for Rick Scott and his administration.

As a state legislator, Carroll failed to disclose a list of her assets for two years, and for one of the years, a list of her debts. Integrity Florida calls the filings just the beginning of one error after another.

“How do you have a multiple mortgages, but you don’t list any real estate. How do you go from your first term in the state legislature to the second term and show an increase of net worth of more than twenty million dollars. I mean questions should have been asked long ago.”, says Dan Krassner, Integrity Florida.

Carroll began her legislative career worth a half million dollars. The next year it jumped to two point three million. She mistakenly then listed her assets at 23 million. Another filing shows her net worth at 202 million. “Just some of the messiest forms I’ve ever seen from a public official.”, adds Dan Krassner.

>>>Most of the vaunted Florida Capitol Press Corps missed this, too.

HERALD EDITORIAL: LESSONS FROM CARROLL’S FALL FROM GRACE

Banning the cafes … is long overdue, but the real culprit here is an attitude in Tallahassee that sees no evil in having legislators, while in office no less, work as consultants and lobbyists for Florida businesses.

STEVE CRISAFULLI URGES REPUBLICANS TO RETURN THEIR MONEY FROM ALLIED VETERANS by Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald

Calling the allegations of fraud committed by the Internet cafes controlleld by Allied Veterans “outrageous”, Crisafulli sent a letter to his Republican colleagues Monday telling him he is donating the money to charity and urged them to do the same.

Crisafulli who is designated to be House speaker in 2016, follows the announcement on Friday by the Republican Party of Florida that the party was donating $300,000 to the non-profit, state-run Florida Veteran’s Foundation to compensate for taking the tainted cash. The Florida Democratic Party has not announced what it will do with the estimated $176,000 it received.

TWEET, TWEET: @WayneBertsch: How do you return $$ that’s suppose to have been spent during the Campaign?

***Prepare to make a difference as a future public leader…at no cost to you.  March 29 is the deadline for applications to the Tampa Bay Public Leadership Institute where you’ll learn from pros about candidacy, leadership and public policy, while networking with leaders. Discover more.*** 

MARCH ROARS IN WITH OVER $800K IN CONTRIBUTIONS FOR RICK SCOTT COMMITTEE via the News Service of Florida

While speculation abounds that the fallout from Governor Rick Scott’s change in position on Medicaid could harm his 2014 re-election, the group building his campaign account hasn’t been troubled finding donors.

After a relatively quiet February for the fundraising committee “Let’s Get to Work,” the political machine picked up $809,825 in the first two weeks of March. Among the biggest contributors were: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, $237,500; Florida Power & Light Company, $50,000; and $125,000 from a group of election committees with ties to the Florida Chamber of Commerce – Florida Jobs PAC, Florida Chamber of Commerce Alliance, and the Partnership for Florida’s Future.

The contributions posted by Let’s Get to Work are the first reported by the Tallahassee-based campaign committee since Scott proposed the state accept for up to three years the expansion of Medicaid as outlined in the federal Affordable Care Act. L

 Of the March money, $86,750 arrived on March 14, a day after another potential landmine was thrust before the governor, Jennifer Carroll’s hasty exit from office in the wake of the arrests of individuals involved with Internet cafes run by Allied Veterans of the World. 

STAT OF THE DAY: Rick Scott’s approval rating is just 47 percent … among Republicans.

TWEET, TWEET: @PPPpolls: We continue to find Rick Scott trailing Charlie Crist by double digits. 

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Bright House Networks Business Solutions. Thousands of businesses, from local bakeries to national hotel chains, even the 2012 Republican National Convention, have chosen us to provide Voice, Internet and Video services that are reliable, scalable and flexible. We have the proven experience, equipment, infrastructure and personalized attention to meet any business needs. Learn more.*** 

BLOG POST OF THE DAY: PATRICK MURPHY, PLEASE GET THE TIN CUP OUT OF MY FACE by Nancy Smith of Sunshine State News
 
Since the 2012 election ended, I’ve had 27 emails from Murphy, his camp or the national Democratic Party on his behalf. Every one of them is out to stiff me for a donation because of some usually-obscure effrontery to the rights of citizens that needs my money and Murphy to cure.
 
… What if I were a full-scale, Patrick Murphy believer and clicked that “Donate” button on every email? Let’s say I gave the last-cycle DCCC average online gift of $31 every time. At 27 clicks, that would mean I donated $837 in five months. By the time the 2014 election rolled around I would be tithing like some fairyland princess with a charm, hoping to ward off a magical hex.

And let’s be honest. If I were giving regularly, you know I’d get even more attention from the gang at party HQ. Think of the emails popping up in my inbox then. Imagine the opportunities to bump up my contribution.

But what if I can’t afford, or plain don’t want to fight for truth and justice the Patrick Murphy way over and over again? What happens if I just get sick and tired of seeing my inbox spammed up with one candidate’s begging email? Well, I can turn the spigot off by clicking on the fine print. 

COULD VAL DEMINGS TAKE ON TERESA JACOBS IN 2014?via David Damron of the Orlando Sentinel

When asked about her plans now, Demings says that, although she hasn’t ruled anything out, she’s also being recruited hard to take on Webster again.

But Democratic fundraiser Bob Poe said he has urged Demings to take on Jacobsa Republican.

“She would be a great candidate, and I think she would win,” Poe said.

While Jacobs has struggled through several controversies during her first two years, Demings’ name is one of the few to emerge as a potential challenger to Jacobs in the nonpartisan election.

Jacobs has taken heat from some Hispanics activists who said she didn’t do enough during redistricting to create a stronger Hispanic district. And she alienated some in the gay and lesbian community over a fight for a domestic-partner registry.

In recent months, Jacobs has been involved in the bruising political and legal battle over a sick-time referendum. Commissioners blocked the measure from the ballot — a move she voted against — but Jacobs has at times defended the delay, and she favors state lawmakers’ blocking local efforts to mandate paid sick time for employees.

ELLYN BOGDANOFF LOOKING AT REMATCH VERSUS MARIA SACHS

Was there any doubt about Ellyn Bogdanoff not going quietly into the political night?

She’s considering whether she wants to once again go head-to-head with Senator Maria Sachs, reports Anthony Man of the Sun-Sentinel.

“I haven’t made the decision not to run,” Bogdanoff said, declining to offer a timetable for when she’ll decide. “I’ll know it when I know it,” she said.

Unlike lesser-known candidates who are already planning their 2014 campaigns and preparing fundraising efforts, Bogdanoff said she doesn’t feel time pressure. “I have a lot of experience. I could probably do it in five minutes, set it up.”

One reason to hold off on a Senate race decision is last week’s resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll. Bogdanoff’s name quickly turned up on pundits’ lists of potential replacements.

“Right now, it’s just blog chatter,” she said, adding that she’d be open to any overtures from Gov. Rick Scott’s office. And, she said, “having somebody who is strong in Broward and Palm Beach counties could be of benefit to the governor.”

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Bright House Networks Business Solutions. Thousands of businesses, from local bakeries to national hotel chains, even the 2012 Republican National Convention, have chosen us to provide Voice, Internet and Video services that are reliable, scalable and flexible. We have the proven experience, equipment, infrastructure and personalized attention to meet any business needs. Learn more.***

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DIPS TO 7.8%

The unemployment rate in Florida dipped slightly in January to 7.8 percent, putting it below the national jobless rate for the first time since January of 2008. The national unemployment rate in January was 7.9 percent. Florida’s jobless rate dropped from 7.9 percent in December.

BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETS

The State Board of Education will meet and hear updates on a proposed pay raise for teachers, transition to Common Core Standards and the 2013 Legislative Session. The meeting will be held in 1703 of the Turlington Building, Tallahassee starting at 8:30 a.m.

GUN DISPUTE AT UNF GOES TO APPEALS COURT via The News Service of Florida

The 1st District Court of Appeal is scheduled to hear arguments in a case about whether the University of North Florida can prevent a student from having a gun in her car while on campus. A Duval County circuit judge last year dismissed the case, which was filed by the group Florida Carry, Inc., and student Alexandria Lainez. That prompted the appeal to the Tallahassee-based appeals court. 

***For over 20 years, the PA Team of Jack Cory, Keyna Cory and Erin Daly have successfully helped their Clients through the legislative and governmental process. Whether it’s a Fortune 500 company, national or state association, a Florida business or non-profit, they all look to the PA Team to help them with their Public Affairs, Governmental Consulting, Lobbying and Grassroots programs.  They “Cover Florida Like the Sun” through their work for clients with state and local governments.***

FUNERAL FOR LARCENIA BULLARD SET FOR SATURDAY 

A memorial service for former Sen. Larcenia Bullard is set for Friday evening followed by a Saturday funeral, both in Miami. Bullard, who left the Legislature last year because of term limits, died over the weekend at 65.

A sorority service will be held at 5 p.m. Friday followed by a litany service at 7 p.m., both at Church of the Ascension on SW 160 St. in Miami. Funeral services are set for Saturday at 11 a.m., at South Dade Cultural Arts Center on SW 211 St. in Miami. Bullard’s family asked that in lieu of flowers memorial donations be made to the Rachel And Edward Bullard, Jr. , Foundation.

HOUSE RELEASES BUDGET ALLOCATIONS via Kathleen Haughney of the Sun Sentinel

In a memo from House Speaker Will Weatherford to House members, Weatherford noted the financial difficulties of the past few years that led to several budget cycles.

“I remain committed to the disciplined fiscal principles that led us to where we are today but also recognize that state programs and services had been limited given the crisis we faced,” he said. “Now there is an opportunity to appropriately provide additional funding for state priorities.”

Weatherford said there would be $1 billion new money put into school funding and that the House wanted to preserve $1.2 billion in financial reserves. The House is also proposing an across the board pay raise for state workers.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the categories:

Education Prek-12: $10.57 billion in general revenue, plus $426.5 million from the education enhancement trust fund and $204.7 from the State School Trust Fund

Higher Ed: $3.44 Billion in general revenue and $867 from the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund

Health Care: $7.8 billion in general revenue, plus $382.7 million from the Tobacco Trust Fund

Justice System: $3.5 billion in general revenue

Transportation and Economic Development: $163.9 million in general revenue and $182.7 million in trust funds.

Government Operations: $282.6 million in general revenue and $20 million in trust fund dollars.

MCKEEL OFFERS SPENDING PLAN FOR MORTGAGE SETTLEMENT MONEY via The News Service of Florida

The Florida House Appropriations Committee will being deciding how to use about $200 million in mortgage fraud money the state received last year as part of a $32 billion national settlement with five of the nation’s largest loan servicers.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Seth McKeel has proposed a committee bill that would offer down payment assistance for teachers and other professionals with low incomes in fields where recruitment and retention have presented significant challenges. It would also pay for residential rehabilitation and reconstruction projects in blighted areas, encourage partnerships with the private sector in providing housing to elderly and low income residents and provide housing grants for low income university students. The measure also would extend legal assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure and increase funding for courts and clerks offices to address foreclosures. Earlier this year, the Joint legislative Budget Commission approved a $60 million package of relief that would include $35 million in down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers, who under federal guidelines have not owned a home in the previous three years. The maximum benefits of $7,500 can be used to help with closing costs on 30-year, fixed rate mortgages.

The Senate proposal for the money is expected to be released as a committee bill by Sen. Andy Gardiner, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development.

SENATE PANEL UNANIMOUSLY BACKS INTERNET CAFE BAN via the Orlando Sentinel

Protests from Internet cafe operators, South Florida adult arcade owners, veterans and even a Catholic priest over a proposed ban on Internet cafes, maquinitas and adult arcades fell on deaf ears Monday with the Senate Gaming Committee voting unanimously to shutter gaming centers that are the center of a federal racketeering investigation.

… Sen. John Thrasher, sponsor of the Senate bill to close down Internet cafes, told his colleagues that they could “not wait another year” to deal with these unregulated gambling facilities. The House voted last year to ban Internet cafes, but the Senate wanted to regulate them. In the end, nothing was done.

***Today’s 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.***

BIPARTISAN LOVEFEST COMES TO AN END OVER SENATE ELECTIONS REFORM via Dara Kam of the Palm Beach Post

Senate Ethics and Elections Committee Chairman Jack Latvala had hoped for a unanimous thumbs-up on a measure designed to fix Florida’s elections woes highlighted by long lines in November.

Instead, St. Petersburg Republican stormed out of the committee meeting room after a strict party-line vote, with all Democrats – including Vice Chairwoman Eleanor Sobel of Hollywood – voting “no.”

Democrats said their objections to the bill shouldn’t come as a surprise. They filed numerous amendments late last week and held a press conference two weeks ago highlighting their wish-list for the bill (SB 600).

… Latvala said the Democrats blind-sided him with their amendments, filed Friday, and should have reached out to him last week.

“There were a couple of those that were in there today that i’d seen them and we could have worked on them, we could have probably put them in,” he said.

He called the Democratic opposition to the bill a political ploy.

“It’s hard for me to understand how every Democrat in the House could vote for the bill. We improved a couple of areas in the Senate bill in the issues they’re concerned about and the Democrats voted against it. It’s just politics pure and simple,” Latvala said.

POWER INDUSTRY DEFENDS CHARGES FOR PLANTS THAT MIGHT NOT BE BUILT via the News Service of Florida

Legislation is in the pipeline to reverse a 2006 law that has allowed more than $800 million to be collected towards the construction of nuclear power plants that may never get built.

But industry leaders and representatives for the state’s largest utilities on Monday praised the law, which they say has allowed them to be ready for increased demand.

Florida Power & Light Senior Director of Nuclear Development Steven Scroggs said the 2006 law has allowed the Juno Beach-based utility to acquire advantageous financing rates on projects while planning for new nuclear facilities. It can take more than six years to land federal permits and take a decade before construction begins, he said.

“We don’t really have the luxury of sitting by idly, we have to plan ahead,” Scroggs said. “Just as if we know hurricanes and tornadoes are coming we position crews in position to be able to respond quickly as soon as that weather has passed, similarly we cannot wait to make decisions about new generation investment until our customers need additional power. We have an obligation to plan far in advance.”

The law has allowed FPL to upgrade already-existing nuclear plants in Miami-Dade and St. Lucie counties, while planning for the possible construction of two new reactors.

Alex Glenn, Florida President of Progress Energy Florida, which recently merged with Charlotte, N.C. -based Duke Energy, told members of the Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee he is “optimistic” the company will get a federal license to move forward with plans for nuclear plants, but even then the company must continually re-evaluate the costs of construction materials, the potential of carbon taxes, and other fuels before building.

***RSA Consulting Group is a full service consulting firm with expertise in the areas of government & legislative affairs, community affairs, strategic planning, as well as media & public relations.  RSA fully integrates all of these areas to achieve far-reaching results and yield high-impact successes for their clients.  When you choose RSA Consulting Group, you’re choosing a team well known for their exceptional work ethic, integrity and ability to accomplish the goal.  For more information, visit RSA Consulting Group’s website.*** 

LAAIA URGING LAWMAKERS TO SUPPORT NEW MUTUAL INCENTIVE PROVISION IN SB 1770

The Latin American Association of Insurance Agencies (LAAIA) is urging lawmakers to support a provision contained  in the large property insurance bill, SB 1770, moving through the Senate.  The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government at 4 p.m. today.  The proposal would allow startup mutual insurance companies to participate in a surplus note program to aid in the depopulation efforts of Citizens.  Tony Martely, president of the LAAIA, said in a release yesterday that the proposal, if adopted, “would benefit the state by reducing Citizens aggregate exposure and current Citizens policyholders by providing them with an alternative insurer” and that “the benefits of a mutual are wide-ranging.  For instance, because there are no third-party investors in a mutual format, the expenses of the company are roughly two-thirds of the average property insurer.  Mutuals also have the ability to offer rate levels that are comparable to Citizens and offer broader coverage than current Citizens policies.”

LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS DRUG REPACKAGING LOOPHOLE TO BE HEARD IN FIRST COMMITTEE TODAY

House Bill 605, sponsored by Representative Matt Hudson, is on the agenda for today’s House Health Quality Subcommittee meeting. The bill seeks to close a loophole in Florida’s workers’ compensation system that allows physicians to repackage medications and charge employers exorbitant prices, far exceeding the statutory reimbursement for the same pharmaceuticals dispensed by pharmacies. The bill’s companion, Senate Bill 662 by Senator Alan Hays, is on the agenda for tomorrow’s Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. The proposals are among the top priorities for the Associated Industries of Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Coalition.

LEGISLATIVE BRIEFINGS via The News Service of Florida

In the House

Parent ‘Trigger’ and Immigrant Tuition in Ed. Appropriations: A bill (HB 867) that would give parents more of a say in how consistently underperforming schools are overhauled – including forcing them to become charter schools, is before the House Education Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. The measure is opposed by some public school advocates because they say for-profit charter school companies encourage parents to allow them to take over schools to make money. Because the measure sets out a “trigger” for when parents can force a school to change in nature, the controversial bill has come to be called the “parent trigger” bill. The measure was passed along party lines with Republicans in favor, in another House committee earlier this month. Another bill before the committee (HB 7051) allows certain children of illegal immigrants to qualify for in-state college tuition, if the child is a U.S. citizen. They can’t now, because residency status for tuition is based on parents’ address – and their parents don’t legally live here. Background screening for non-instructional contractors on school grounds (HB 21); bullying in public schools (HB 609); and a bill that revises the law related to state-approved teacher prep programs and allows for private vendors to create an educator preparation institute (HB 863) are also among the subjects of bills before the panel. That bill also has language related to local school district development and certification programs for teachers. 8 a.m., 17 House Office Building

Warrants for Cell Phone Info: The House bill (HB 797) that would require police to get a warrant before searching someone’s cell phone or other device for evidence is among several bills before the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. Another measure (HB 1325) would clear the criminal record of people whose crimes were the result of them being trafficked. Prostitution arrests, for example, often net people who are the victims of human trafficking. 9 a.m., 404 House Office Building

Ethics Bill In House E&E: House E&E takes up a wide-ranging ethics bill that includes a ban on dual public employment and a stronger ban on post-service lobbying for the speaker of the House and Senate president, among other things. 1 p.m., 212 Knott Building

In the Senate

Senate Floor Session: Proposals aimed at the Kansas-based Westboro Church, low speed vehicles, and Canadian drivers are before the full Senate.  Among the bills on the calendar and available for a vote: (SB 118) prohibits protests an hour before or after a funeral or burial, with protestors having to stay outside 500 feet of where the funeral or burial is taking place; (SB 160) requires the Department of Health to waive the initial application fee for veterans who apply for a radiological personnel certification; (SB 286) gives a design professional working for a company or entity immunity from economic tort suits liability if the contested contract does not name the individual, the business has professional liability insurance required under the contract; (SB 1766) repeals a new law that says international visitors need a special permit to drive in Florida; (SB 62) allows “low speed vehicles” – vehicles with a top speed of 20 mph – to be classified by the DMV as golf carts for just a $40 fee, with the intent of lowering insurance premiums; and (SB 352) which allows Lake-Sumter Community College to become Lake-Sumter State College.  There is also a list of trust fund bills, along with ones correcting typos and eliminate expired statutes, up for third reading.  9:30 a.m. Senate Chamber

St. John River Caucus: Members of the Senate whose districts include the St. Johns River or its watershed will meet Tuesday morning. 8 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building

Democratic Caucus: The Senate Democratic holds its regular caucus meeting Tuesday morning. 8:30 a.m., 200 Senate Office Building

Drones and Porn: The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Committee takes up a bill (SB 92) that would put restrictions on when police in Florida could use unmanned aerial drones. Another bill (SB 86) before the panel bars people from distributing pornographic or obscene materials to minors, or distribute such materials at a school. The committee also discusses the budgets of several justice related agencies. 1 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building

Defense Contractor Tax Refunds: The sky is the limit for incentives under a measure (SB 236) that deletes caps on tax refunds for qualified defense contractors and space flight businesses, among other businesses, and is the only bill currently before the Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Committee. The bill would remove the limitations on tax refunds an individual participant of either the Qualified Defense Contractor and Spaceflight Business Tax Refund program or the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund program may receive.  The cap is now $7 million for both programs, with the total growing to $7.5 million if the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund recipient is located within an enterprise zone. The panel also discusses the budget of agencies under its purview. 1 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building

***Sachs Media Group is Florida’s dominant integrated communications company and one of America’s leading independent communications companies. In 2011, the firm was named the “PR Agency of the Year” nationally in the prestigious Bulldog Awards. With exceptional experience and results in public affairs, branding, social/digital and crisis communications, the firm combines unparalleled relationships, news judgment, messaging and storytelling ability with cutting-edge strategies to engage audiences with content they seek and share. Sachs Media Group, formerly Ron Sachs Communications, is home to the team best known for smart, strong and strategic counsel across the diverse and ever-changing media landscape.***

4TH FLOOR FILES talks to Fred Karlinsky about Silence of the Lambs, Miss Rotunda, and passing the Bar without studying. Here’s the file on Fred.

AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY RALLYING 

Americans for Prosperity is hosting a rally on the front steps of the Florida Capitol tomorrow at 1:30 pm.  The rally marks the arrival of AFP-FL activists to Tallahassee for two days of lobbying their elected officials about limited government and economic freedom. 

The rally will focus on the rejection of Medicaid expansion, the need for pension reform, and ending corporate welfare, as well as AFP-FL’s Five for Florida plan.  House Speaker Will Weatherford, Majority Leader Steve Precourt and Chairman Matt Hudson will all be speaking in addition to AFP’s President Tim Phillips and Florida State Director Slade O’Brien.

FLORIDA FARM BUREAU RECEPTION TONIGHT via The Florida Current

Florida Farm Bureau members gather at the Tallahassee/Leon County Civic Center at 5:30 p.m. as part of National Agriculture Day, for a reception for state lawmakers and executive department officials. The event offers an informal setting where farmers and ranchers can discuss public policy issues that affect their livelihoods. Adults, $20, and children are free.

FLORIDA TREND RANKS THE TOP 20 FIRMS BY REVENUE here.

>>>Would you rather be 1 of 12 at firm with $8 million in revenue or 1 of 4 at firm with $6 million in revenue? 

NOT TO DEFEND LOBBYIST DAVID RAMBA BUT … Full blog post here.

***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.***

BLOG POST I WON’T READ: “Satan or Obama? Controversy in History Channel’s Shows How Casting Can Be Seen As A Political Act” by Eric Deggans of The Feed.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to the FEA’s Pat Ford. And, actually, today is the right day to celebrate Eric Johnson’s birthday. Looks like I jumped the gun yesterday.

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.