Sunburn for 4/16 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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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. You need their team on your side during this Legislative session for media, grassroots and netroots support. Visit to read about their team and how they can help you.


West reported his campaign committee gave $400,000 on March 27th to, wait for it, the Allen West Foundation. This follows the $250,000 his committee gave to the same foundation on December 28th. The committee also gave $250,000 on December 28to his American Legacy Guardians.

Both organizations share the same PO Box address in Boca Raton.

Dave Levinthal of the Center for Public Integrity explains that donations from a campaign committee to a nonprofit group are legal, and there are no restrictions on the amount. Candidates may also donate campaign funds to their own charities, as former presidential candidate and Rep. Ron Paul did earlier this month.

The Allen West for Congress Ccommittee also reported it paid $178,397 for legal fees and recount expenses. The committee has $142,672 cash on hand as of March 31.

RUBIO RAISES $2.28 MIL DURING 1ST QTR OF 2013 via CQ Roll Call

Rubio raised $2.28 million during the first quarter across three affiliated political committees.

Adopting a fundraising strategy usually employed by national party committees and major presidential nominees, the Florida Republican set up a joint fundraising committee with his personal campaign account and his political action committee, Reclaim America.

Collectively, Rubio’s three committees ended March with $2.32 million in cash on hand after spending $1.2 million, including $700,000 on a brand new, national direct mail program that helped the senator attract 15,000 new donors.

The numbers are impressive given that Rubio is not up for re-election until 2016. He also spent the first three months of this year enmeshed in negotiations over a bipartisan immigration overhaul, a sensitive and complex effort that engenders suspicion or outright opposition in much of the senator’s political base.

VETTING MARCO RUBIO via McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed

The enduring notion that the ‘Republican savior’ may have feet of clay has followed him since his arrival on the national stage three years ago. It’s been a subject of gossip among the chattering Miami politicos at The Biltmore, a talking point pushed by bloodthirsty Democrats eager to stop his ascent, and a constant source of frustration in the Senator’s orbit.

Rubio is just 41, but he has already served as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. And his quick rise to national stardom, along with his long, varied career in state politics, well-known financial troubles, and ties to an embattled former congressman have combined to prompt many in the political class — including some of his most enthusiastic boosters — to speculate that the Senator’s pristine political brand will collapse under the weight of national scrutiny.”

***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.***


An invitation from uber lobbyist Brian Ballard to a fundraiser for Democratic congressional candidate Gwen Graham, daughter of former Governor Bob Graham, turned heads last week after Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald first reported about the item.

Ballard traditionally raises money for Republican candidates. In fact, he led Mitt Romney’s money-raising team in Florida, so the head-turning, at first glance, made sense.

However, upon further investigation, there are several ties that bind the Ballard and Graham clans.

According to Graham’s campaign, Gwen and Ballard’s wife, Kathryn, have bee friends since childhood. Moreover, the Ballards and Grahams are godparents to one of each other’s children. Gwen 

Those kind of ties trump partisan politics, right?

TWEET, TWEET: @MikeVasilinda: Former congressman Jim Davis, who lost to Charlie Crist, at Capitol boosting Bill Nelson for Governor


Murphy – the youngest sitting member of Congress – will be feted at a young professionals fundraiser next week.

The April 24 event will cost $30 at the door for Beltway professionals under 30. Confirmed hosts, guests and co-sponsors include Achim Bergmann from Bergmann Zwerdling Direct and president of Southwest Communication Strategies, Eric Johnson from Rep. Murphy’s office, Gabriel Schillinger of Buy It Mobility Networks, Marilyn Rudne of M.R. Publishing , entrepreneur Joel Diamond and management consultant Ryan Houston. Grant Dubler, a law student, is organizing the event and will attend.

***A message from the Florida Press Association:  This session there are a number of threats to public notice that would cripple Floridians’ ability to access critical information.  It is paramount that policymakers protect the public’s right to this information by ensuring that public notices continue to be published in Florida’s newspapers, as they are the most recognizable source for this critical information.  In fact, recent Scarborough Research shows that 62 percent of Floridians indicated they had read a print edition newspaper in the past seven days.  Moreover, attempts to move all public notices to the Internet alone is detrimental, as the digital divide still exists today and disenfranchises many Floridians, as indicated by Scarborough Research which found that 42 percent of those 65 and older don’t have access to the Internet.  The FPA urges the Legislature to be vigilant of any attempts to limit public notice and protect Floridians’ right to this important information.***


Bay Area residents who are displeased with the nation’s tax system can join together with other dissenters on Tax Day for a press conference and protest hosted by PICO United Florida, state partner of Americans for Tax Fairness.  The gathering is part of a national “Who Pays?” campaign that intends to draw attention to what it considers law-sanctioned tax evasion by wealthy individuals and corporations.  

The group will use stories of Floridians impacted by recent federal budget cuts to illustrate what they feel are consequences of tax avoidance through mechanisms such as overseas tax havens. Granted, not all who are frustrated on Tax Day are frustrated about the same things. But if this sounds like something you gripe about, the press conference and protest begins at 10:00 AM on Monday, April 15, at the US Post Office located at 3135 1st Avenue N in St. Petersburg.


The State Board of Education meets 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Cabinet Meeting Room at the Capitol. Among the items to be discussed are the teacher salary increase being considered by the Legislature and the new Common Core program. The full agenda can be found here.


On Friday, Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong will host a symposium on the Department of Health’s plan to create a private-public partnership called Florida’s System for Cancer Research & Collaboration; and last week, the state Senate unanimously passed the Quality Cancer Care and Research act, a complementary measure which establishes a state seal of approval for cancer centers that meet designated standards.

Yet in the wake of these high-profile measures, both of which are intended to market Florida as a medical destination for high-quality cancer care, one of the state’s most prominent cancer institutions has concerns. Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa is Florida’s only hospital — and one of only 41 nationwide —  to hold the prestigious designation of being a “National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center” — a title that reflects Moffitt’s excellence both in cancer care and in research. Moffitt’s concern is that these new state-level designations could potentially “lower the standards of care or misrepresent the quality of care,” according to Jamie Wilson, Moffitt’s vice president for government relations. In other words, new performance measures could dilute the value of hospitals that are already recognized leaders. Sen. Anitere Flores, the bill’s sponsor, does not feel that her bill contradicts Moffitt’s individual goals. This designation would create a seal of approval for hospitals that may not focus solely on cancer as Moffitt does, but would raise standards across the board.


I had to reread this headline three times because it isn’t everyday that South Florida doesn’t rank at the top of the list when it comes to white collar criminal activity; but as it turns out, South Florida is not among the nation’s epicenters for tax cheating.

The National Taxpayer Advocate conducted a study using confidential IRS data and determined that the nation’s largest clusters of potential tax cheats live in the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, and DC.   As reported by the Huffington Post, the IRS uses this data to target taxpayers for audits. Nevertheless, South Florida remains No. 1 in the nation for tax-related identity theft.  So, at least there’s that to report as we near the close of Tax Day.

***While the Legislature debates election reform in the final weeks of Session, candidates were required to file their Q1 finance reports to the Division of Elections by April 10. Go to On 3 Public Relations for the complete list of filed candidates, their contributions, expenditures, and cash-on-hand.*** 


Opponents of a sweeping overhaul of the law governing Citizens Property Insurance were in the Capitol on Monday visiting lawmakers, trying to sway enough to reject the measure before it comes up for a final floor vote on Tuesday.

Representatives of a trio of consumer advocacy groups – Hernando County-based Good Foundation Florida, the Florida Association for Insurance Reform, and Policyholders of Florida – say there are parts of the bill (SB 1770) they support. But they claim the overall product will harm new homeowners and the state’s struggling real estate market by hiking rates in some areas as much as 90 percent.

“The final product is very damaging and unnecessary,” said Jay Neal, executive director of the Florida Association of Insurance Reform. “The market in Florida has actually started to recover. We have private risk capitol starting to come in. We had the first ever wind-only take out by a private company.”

Meanwhile, advocates for the changes at Citizens, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, are equally pressing for the changes they say are needed to reduce the fiscal burden.


Shortly after last week’s rollout, a state-funded plan to offer health insurance to an additional 116,000 residents is receiving vocal pushback.

It would offer $2,000 state-funded subsidies to low-income parents and those who qualify for disability under social security. The plan would come with an annual price tag of $238 million, and require a $25 monthly contribution from enrollees.

It would be administered by the Florida Health Choices program, a plan created by the Legislature in 2008 to act as a marketplace for health care coverage. 

Opponents of the plan crowded the fourth floor of the Capitol and held a news conference money to blast the plan. Many of the critics support a plan authored by state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, that would offer coverage to 1 million residents currently uninsured by using $51 billion in federal money offered under the Affordable Care Act.

House Republicans have swatted the idea of using federal money, pointing to instability and a $16 trillion national debt.

TWEET, TWEET: @MikeFasano: Thanks Chair @richardcorcoran allowing open fair discussion on Fl Health Care. We may not agree but appreciate his honest principles #sayfie

LATVALA QUESTIONS RESIDENCY OF MARIA SACHS via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post

Maria Sachs isn’t a member of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, but she figured prominently in a Monday confirmation hearing for four appointees to the Florida Elections Commission.

The committee approved Gov. Rick Scott’s four appointees, but only after Chairman Jack Latvala questioned one of them — attorney Barbra Stern of Fort Lauderdale — about her ownership interest in a condominium unit that Sachs has declared as her residence.

Stern and her mother, lobbyist and longtime Sachs friend Judy Stern, are listed as owners of the 740-square-foot unit in Fort Lauderdale in Sachs’ Senate District 34. Sachs owns a house with her husband just outside District 34 in Boca Raton, but rents the condo and lists it as her residence. The Florida constitution requires legislators to live in the districts they represent.

The conservative website said this month that it visited Sachs’ Fort Lauderdale address on April 2 and was told by a neighbor that the unit had been vacant for at least six months.

Sachs disputed the report in an interview with The Palm Beach Post earlier this month.

“When I’m home from session, my legal residence and where I live is that address in Fort Lauderdale,” Sachs said. She said she pays about $950 a month rent.

PRESS RELEASE I JUST COULDN’T GET TO ON SUCH A BUSY NEWS DAY: Soto and Rehwinkle-Vasilinda Fight to Protect Floridians from Algae Outbreaks

***Sachs Media Group is Florida’s dominant public affairs communications firm, widely recognized as one of the leading independent communications companies in the nation. The firm rises above the competition through the most experienced management team in the business and an expert corps of gifted professionals. Sachs Media sets the pace in public relations, crisis management, branding, digital/social media, graphic design and video production. In the past two years alone the firm has been recognized with three prestigious Bulldog Awards, including the national “PR Agency of the Year” honor in 2011.***

LEGISLATIVE PREVIEWS via the News Service of Florida

Tuesday goes big with bills on nuclear with power plants; guns in schools; total maximum daily loads; speedy death penalty sentences; less speedy vehicles; property tax and transportation measures galore; and more.

In the House

Regulatory Affairs has a crowded agenda, taking aim at modifying a 2006 law that allows power companies to preemptively charge customers for nuclear plans (HB 7167); amending the Florida Insurance Code to avoid conflicts with the Affordable Care Act (HB 7155); Ticketholders’ Rights (HB 163); Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (HB 211), burglar alarm systems (HB 973), Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (HB 1069), the state Catastrophe Fund (HB 1107), the public modeling program used for hurricane loss projections (HB 1247), and allowing alcoholic beverage licenses to be issued to hotels in Madison County with at least 25 guest rooms (HB 1421).  9 a.m., 404 House Office Building.

Education Committee looks at fine arts courses (HB 283); public school infrastructure (HB 559); K-12 instructional materials (HB 1031); and a bill (HB 1285) that would transfer ownership of the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center to Florida State University, and make its official name the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. It also directs the state beverage agency to issue a beverage license for the arena. 9 a.m., 102 House Office Building.

Health & Human Services Committee takes up HB 301, Sen. Benacquisto’s Cancer Treatment Fairness Act; HB 317 to allow jail inmates to continue receiving certain psychotherapeutic medication and requires some additional training for mental health experts. It also sets out certain time frames for mental competency hearings and commitment hearings and makes other changes related to situations where the mentally ill are in the criminal justice system. Others include a bill (HB 125) dealing with a program of “All-inclusive Care for the Elderly,” or PACE; and skilled nursing facilities (HB 1159). 9 a.m., 17 House Office Building.

State Affairs Committee is expected to again take up one of the ethics bills getting attention in the Legislature (HB 7131), this one – with a number of amendments on the table – would ban certain officials from getting a cushy state or local job under certain conditions, prohibit the speaker of the House and president of the Senate from lobbying state agencies for two years after leaving office, require ethics training of elected officials along with requiring public posting of financial disclosures.  The agenda also includes: publicly funded pensions (HB 599), underground natural gas storage (HB 1083), expansion of existing protections of marked and branded containers for the transport and storage of agricultural products (HB 1393), establishing water quality standards known as ‘total maximum daily loads’  (HB 7113), and total maximum daily loads for impaired water bodies  (HB 7159). Another bill (HB 7159) proposes to clarify a number of property tax issues. 2 p.m., 17 House Office Building.

Economic Affairs Committee picks up the HB 1049 to make the Daytona International Speedway eligible for a sales tax rebate of $2 million a year for 30 years.   A measure directed at the Department of Economic Opportunity (HB 7007) would consolidate the reports of the state’s various economic incentive programs; makes the governor a sitting but non-voting member of the Visit Florida Board of Directors; and imposes a penalty on individuals who fraudulently acquired reemployment benefits.  A proposal that has already cleared three committees (HB 135) would designating the Space Coast Regional Airport, the Space Coast Industrial Park and the Spaceport Commerce Park as spaceport territory in Brevard County, which allow businesses in those centers to receive a tax exemption on machinery and equipment purchases.  A transportation bill (HB 7127) lumps together a number of issues; and there are proposals for new specialty license plates for Freemasonry (HB 487) and Caribbean-center charities under the banner “Sun, Sea, and Smiles” (HB 427).  And a proposal (HB 71) would allow street-legal, “low-speed vehicles” to be reclassified as golf carts, a move to reduce registration and insurance costs. 2 p.m., 102 House Office Building.

Judiciary considers a bill (HB 1097) that would allow for designated employees to carry guns at Florida schools, as well as other controversial measures (HB 1125) which deals with “wage theft”, pre-empting the prosecution of wage theft to the state, and HB 7083, which is aimed at speeding up the death penalty appeals process. Bills related to sentencing of drug defendants (HB 159); retail sale of smoking devices, such as pipes and bongs (HB 49); computer or cell phone harassment (HB 787); and sentencing of juveniles (HB 7137) are among the other bills before the panel. 2 p.m., 404 House Office Building.

In the Senate

On the Senate Floor: Bills on the calendar include the property insurance overhaul bill (SB 1770) up for a final vote. The measure is aimed at raising premiums for Citizens Property Insurance, and lowering the degree to which state taxpayers are on the hook for the company’s shortfalls. The first bill on the special order calendar – which means it could come up for amendments and questions but not for a final vote – is the bill to ban texting while driving (SB 52). 9 a.m., Senate Chamber.

Senate Banking & Insurance concludes its confirmation hearing of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. President and CEO Barry Gilway.  Also the committee may continue its debate over a proposal (SB 1262) to reduce the size of the Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.  The intent is to reduce the amount of bonding and emergency assessments that could be charged to Florida residents if insurers face a shortfall after a major storm. Opponents say the plan will likely increase costs for homeowners. 1:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building.

Community Affairs also considers a proposal (SB 1472) to modify the 2006 nuclear power carve-out, but in stages based upon licensing and certification from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; The Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act (SB 1028) would require the Division of Resource Management of the DEP to set up an online hydraulic fracturing chemical registry for owners and operators of wells, service companies, and suppliers.  The School Safety Act (SB 514) would allow voters to approve an increase to property taxes for the creation of a special district that would determine a school district’s security and mental health referral needs.   Another bill (SB 1128) would extend the 2002 Health Flex Program, which is designed to provide affordable, alternative health care coverage for low-income individuals.  The program otherwise would sunset on July 1, 2013.  Finally, Florida timber would get priority in a proposal (SB 1080) to require state agencies, when constructing public bridges, buildings and other structures, to use Florida grown lumber and other forest products – as long as the cost is in line with other available woods. 1:30 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building.

Governmental Oversight Committee considers a number of public record exemptions bills: (SB 984) exempts “proprietary business information” that includes the name of the applicant and leasing or operational plans related to an application for underground natural gas storage; (SB 1680) allows portions of closed meetings of the State Child Abuse Death Review Committee, and any local child abuse death review committees within the Department of Health, to be unrecorded and off the record; (SB 1318) would keep from the public complaints of misconduct filed against government employees until the investigation is completed or the employee has been notified the case will proceed. The committee will also consider a proposal (SB 250) to establish a Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame that would be set up in the Plaza Level of The Capitol.  4 p.m., 412 Knott Building.

TWEET, TWEET: @D_Fifer: Hey @lobbytools, can you add a search filter that just says “not dead”. Thanks.

***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.***


Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan has endorsed Republican Mike Hill in the special election for House District 2. 

“I’m proud to stand with Mike Hill and urge fellow Republicans to support him as our next state Representative,” Sheriff Morgan said. “Mike has the genuine conservative values that we need in Tallahassee and the courage to stand up to the special interests and insiders. We need Mike Hill in the Florida House.”  

“I’m honored to have the support for Sheriff Morgan, a fellow veteran and tremendous conservative leader in our community,” said Hill. “Sheriff Morgan exemplifies the service mentality that we need in our elected leaders and the mentality I will take to work every day as a state Representative.” 



The Florida Retail Federation is hosting a fundraiser on behalf of Jack Nobles, candidate in the Special Election for House District 2.  The reception will take place on Wednesday, April 17, from 11 am – 1pm, at the Federation’s office at 227 South Adams Street in Tallahassee.  Nobles, former Pensacola councilman, was the first candidate to officially file to run in the special election.  


HD 29: (Mike)  Clelland has also shown he is serious about fundraising. In the first quarter of 2013, he raised more than $22,000 and spent none of it. Plakon also posted impressive numbers during that period, raising almost $16,400 and spending almost $750.

HD 30: (Bob) Cortes, a businessman who served on the Longwood City Commission and eventually rose to deputy mayor, hopes to win the seat back for the Republicans. So far, he has raised more than $25,000 and loaned his campaign another $25,000. Dentel’s fundraising for the first quarter of 2013 was not released as of Friday afternoon but it is expected that she will have done well.

HD 31: Rep. Byron Nelson faces term limits in 2014 and three Republicans have already filed to run for this seat representing parts of Lake and Orange counties. … Eustis chiropractor and businessman Randy Glisson entered this race at the end of January and he started off with a bang, posting impressive fundraising numbers. In the first quarter, Glisson raised more than $20,000, loaned his campaign $5,000, relied on near $750 through in-kind donations and spent more than $950. … Businesswoman Terri Seefeldt is a prominent Republican activist and she entered the race in early February. In the first quarter of 2013, Seefeldt brought in almost $11,000.

HD 44: Former Rep. Eric Eisnaugle is looking to get back to Tallahassee and has an impressive war chest to make it happen. … Eisnaugle raised more than $7,000 in the first quarter of 2013, meaning he has now raised more than $123,500.


Florida legislators aren’t allowed to accept campaign contributions during the annual 60-day legislative session, which usually begins on the first Tuesday in March. So the day before the session begins is traditionally Fat Monday in Tallahassee as lawmakers gorge on campaign cash before enduring two months of enforced fasting.

This year, nearly $1.1 million worth of campaign checks flowed to Florida House and Senate incumbents March 4, the final day before the current session began.

Senators up for re-election next year or in 2016 raised a combined $605,875 on March 4, according to campaign reports filed last week. That one-day haul accounted for 40 percent of all the money raised by Senate candidates in the entire quarter.

The Senate’s Fat Monday champion was Sen. Anitere Flores who raked in $51,275 for her 2016 campaign. … House incumbents snagged $472,983 March 4, which is more than one-quarter of all the campaign cash given to House members in the quarter. 

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you 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.***

APPOINTED: LuTimothy May to the University of West Florida Board of Trustees

4TH FLOOR FILES: The latest installment of the 4th Floor Files features Lori Killinger. Her clients include the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Mosaic and St. Lucie County. Here’s the file on Lori.


Associated Industries of Florida has launched a campaign to save a $220 million tax break for insurance companies, releasing a new 30-second spot recently.

The influential business group is protesting the proposal of Florida’s Senate Budget Chairman, Joe Negron, who surprised many last month with a plan to eliminate the tax break in order to lower car registration fees for consumers.

The tax break was created in 1987 to help recruit insurance companies to Florida. Negron questioned whether it had outlived its usefulness and said the lost revenue could be used to lower the cost of car registrations (the Legislature hiked those fees in 2009).

The insurance industry—which normally gets along with the business-friendly Legislature–protested the proposal, calling it a “tax hike.” It passed through the Senate Appropriations committee anyway.

Now, the business lobby is making its appeal directly to consumers in a campaign-style TV ad.


Former Rep. Connie Mack has joined Liberty Partners Group as a partner and senior policy adviser in Washington, the firm announced Monday. He will be following his father, former Sen. Connie Mack III, who serves as chairman emeritus of the same firm.

FAPL CLOTHES DRIVE via the Florida Current

The Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists and the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence is holding its clothing drive to help victims of domestic violence acquire clothing that will enable them to dress well for job interviews. Donations of “gently used” men’s and women’s clothing will be accepted 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday on the second floor of the Capitol. Donations also welcomed the FCADV office, 425 Office Plaza Drive, Tallahassee. Receipts available for tax purposes.


A lengthy analysis in today’s TCPalm explores the public life and work of former Senate President Ken Pruitt who was elected in 2010 as the St Lucie County Property Appraiser, and who continues to operate a successful lobbying firm with at least 17 clients.  Although the TCPalm report stated that other regional property appraisers find their work to be a full-time, year-round job — particularly this time of year, when preliminary tax rolls and preliminary budgets are prepared — Pruitt’s outside work lobbying the legislature means double crunch time for him.

Pruitt’s firm, P5 Group, lists clients including Southern Waste Systems/Sun Recycling, Jupiter Medical Center, New Horizons of the Treasure Coast, the Palm Beach and Broward sheriff’s offices, and the cities of Boca Raton and Delray Beach; and reported bringing in more than $400,000 in 2012 for legislative and executive lobbying. The TCPalm report questions whether a conflict of interest may arise from these activities, however acknowledges that no law prevents Pruitt from acting in these dual roles. Ultimately it is up to county voters to decide if he has done a good job.


Brian Ballard, Ballard Partners: Citrus Health Network, Inc., Epilepsy Foundation of Florida

Bonnie Basham, Boat Owners Association of the United States

Tony Boselli, Ballard Partners: Republic Services of Florida

Richard Candia, Jose Fuentes, Becker & Poliakoff: City of Homestead, City of Sweetwater

Kim Case, Holland & Knight: Victoria McCullough

Elizabeth Fleming: Defenders of Wildlife

Lisa Gurske, Matt Umanos: Gainesville-Alachua County Association of Realtors

Victoria Hernandez: Miami-Dade College

Scott Hopes: Consulate Health Care

Gary Hunter, Frank Matthews, Hopping Green and Sams: Panama City Development, LLC

Timothy Qualls,  Young van Assenderp PA: Florida Tax Collectors, Inc.

Nancy Texeira, Lawson & Associates: Florida Health Care Association

Correction: In yesterday’s edition, Angela Dempsey was listed as working for Greenberg Traurig. She, in fact, works for Dutko Poole McKinley. 


The News Herald explored the layer of political behavior often left untold in civics books: where ideas for legislation come from, who writes the language, and how lawmakers become bill sponsors — and selected a piece of pet legislation (literally) that has reached the finish line in both the House and Senate this Session as an example of what makes for successful advocacy over time. 674 by Sen. Bill Montford and HB 997, sponsored by Rep. Travis Cummings and co-sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Patronis, regard the collection and reporting of data from animal shelters — reviewed last week on this blog as well.

The News Herald dug deeper, looking at both the history of this measure over time and discussing the role of one determined lobbyist — Juan Mixon — in seeing through its successful passage, working pro bono in behalf of the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs as well as in the interest of his firm’s other client, the Florida Veterinary Medical Association.  This is the third year this bill has been filed, and the News Herald analysis considers how modifications to the language and fiscal impact have evolved, in addition to the mix of sponsors and co-sponsors it has drawn.  It provides a solid case study on the power of relationships, timing and doggedness (can’t help myself) in political advocacy.

***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.***

CONGRATS  to The Tampa Bay Times‘ Tim Nickens and Daniel Ruth for winning the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. The journalists were cited for “their diligent campaign that helped reverse a decision to end fluoridation of the water supply for the 700,000 residents of the newspaper’s home county.” 

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.