Sunburn for 7/24 – A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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

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APPROVAL RATING DOWN SLIGHTLY FOR OBAMA

According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll of nat’l adults, conducted July 8-21, 49% approve of the way Obama is handling his job as POTUS, while 44% disapprove. In the previous poll, conducted May 16-19, 51% approved of Obama, and 44% disapproved.

OBAMACARE LOSING GROUND WITH MODERATE DEMS via The Washington Post

Support for the Affordable Care Act has dropped among moderate and conservative Democrats from 74 percent to 46 percent since the law was passed in 2010. A recent Post/ABC News shows that overall support for the law is down to just 58 percent among Democrats. However, the waning support among moderate and conservative Democrats is not likely to result in a repeal of the law. Thus far, the Senate has refused to acknowledge House attempts to repeal the law, and President Obama would veto any attempt to repeal. Obama dropped in on a White House meeting on Monday to personally appeal to Hollywood celebrities who have expressed interest in helping to educate young people about the ACA

WITH SPEECHES, OBAMA AIMS TO DRIVE ECONOMIC NARRATIVE

With his speech-fueled campaign across the country–beginning today with an address at Knox Collegein Galesburg, Ill. — President Obama hopes to refocus public attention on the economy at a time when the job market continues to steadily improve alongside rising consumer confidence,The New York Times reports. The speeches will not contain new proposals, officials said, and are not meant to break the gridlock with Republicans in Washington but to rally public support behind the president’s vision. Obama has also adopted a new catchphrase, “middle out”–growing the middle class to strengthen the overall economy–to describe his plan for economic vitality, a deliberate refutation of the “top down” approach many conservatives favor. 

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HOUSE DEMS: IMMIGRATION REFORM UNLIKELY IN 2014

House Democratic leaders warned Tuesday that if immigration reform fails to pass this year it is very unlikely to happen in 2014, The Hill reports. “We’ve seen how in an election year it’s very difficult to get a lot done,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra. Prospects remain dim, however, for House passage of sweeping immigration reform this session–even though most Americans support the Senate bill’s two main provisions focusing on increased border security and a path to citizenship. Meanwhile, the White House condemned a House GOP plan to grant legal status to unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children without allowing their parents the same deal. 

>>>Despite what naysayers might think, Sen. Marco Rubio has not killed his chances to earn the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2016 by pushing immigration reform, The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf writes. Read more

POLL: AMERICANS SPLIT ON IMMIGRATION REFORM

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that “while a path to citizenship and increased border security are clearly popular by themselves, the Senate immigration bill as a package does not get overwhelming – or even majority – support. In fact, Americans are pretty lukewarm on it, with 46% in favor and 44% against. In other words, it’s not like Americans are clamoring for this one piece of legislation.”

The numbers get worse for the Senate bill once you drill down. Just 19% of Americans support the bill ‘strongly,’ while 30% oppose it strongly. And in politics, it’s often the people who feel strongly who donate money and vote.

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AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY CONTINUES FRONT ON OBAMACARE WITH WEB ADS ON FL DELEGATION VOTES via contributor Karen Cyphers

Americans for Prosperity doesn’t let much slip past the sight when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, and considering the abundance of snags that the program has hit already, finding material to hold against it is no great feat.  Recent headlines on the delay of ObamaCare’s employer mandate are being kept fresh by AFP in a series of online ads around the country in which House member votes are highlighted with the message that a delay is unworkable and the law’s mandates should be fully repealed.

In Florida, ads feature Reps. Patrick Murphy and Joe Garcia, and Rep. Lois Frankel, who voted against delaying either piece of the law, breaking with the president on the employer mandate.  AFP-Florida State Director Slade O’Brien was heartened by Reps. Murphy and Garcia’s votes, and urges them to “finish the job” and to take a “brave stand and support stopping this train wreck in its tracks.”  Instead, O’Brien and the AFP contend that it is time to replace ObamaCare (“an unworkable, bureaucratic maze riddled with unintended consequences”) with a more workable set of reforms.

DEMS DINGING STEVE SOUTHERLAND ON YOUNG IMMIGRANTS via Elizabeth Titus and Emily Schultheis of POLITICO’s Morning Score

A Democratic super PAC is criticizing Southerland and seven other House Republicans – with an eye toward eight targeted members – for what it calls “hypocrisy” about immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children.

House Majority PAC’s attack comes ahead of a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing this morning on the issue that Republicans are billing as part of its “step-by-step process” on immigration reform. Democrats are contrasting the hearing with last month’s House vote “to cut off funds for an Obama administration initiative to block deportations for DREAM Act immigrants.”

“That kind of hasty flip-flop would give anyone whiplash,” said House Majority PAC communications director Andy Stone in a statement. 

The attack is in line with $175,000 the super PAC just put into ads on Spanish-language TV. POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt writes that those ads “provide an early preview into how Democrats plan to turn immigration into a key issue in the midterm elections.”

EMAIL OF THE DAY: “We were one of only ten races – in the whole country – in which a challenger outraised their opponent. And one of only three Democrats to out-raise their GOP incumbent.” — Jessica Ehrlich, who is running against Bill Young.

EMAIL I DIDN’T OPEN: “Peaceful Walk & Prayer Vigil to Ask Rep. Ross to Support Immigration Reform”

HOUSE GOP CONTINUES TO RUN AGAINST WASHINGTON via Roll Call

“When House Republicans retreat to their districts for the August recess, they will each be armed with a detailed guide — an exceptionally detailed guide — on how to assure their already convinced constituents that Washington is broken. 

The best way to stay in Washington appears to be to deride Washington, and Republican leadership isn’t going to deviate from that familiar formula.

POLITICAL NEWCOMER CHALLENGES JEFF MILLER IN GOP PRIMARY via Kevin Derby of Sunshine State News

Kyle Kinser filed his paperwork to challenge Miller in the Republican primary. Kinser, a loss prevention supervisor, talked to Sunshine State News about his challenge to Miller who has represented parts of the Panhandle in Congress since winning a special election in 2001.

A self-described fiscal conservative, Kinser told SSN he supported reducing federal spending and cutting taxes while keeping the government’s promises to veterans and people on Social Security.

“There’s a general frustration with our politicians,” Kinser insisted, adding Washington has “a lack of transparency.”

… Kinser does not have an open shot at Miller in the Republican primary. John Krause, a pastor and private investigator, is also running for the Republican nomination. Back in 2010, Krause ran against Miller in the general election with no party affiliation and took 8 percent of the vote.

Miller also faces a familiar foe over on the Democratic side. Veteran and businessman Jim Bryan has filed to run against Miller for the third time. In 2008, Bryan took 29 percent of the vote against Miller. In 2012, Miller won with 70 percent while Bryan finished far behind with 27 percent of the vote.

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LIST OF CELEBRITIES BOYCOTTING FLORIDA OVER ZIMMERMAN VERDICT DISCREDITED via Sunshine State News

Representatives for a number of artists on the list of purported list of musicians and performers boycotting the state of Florida in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict said Tuesday that their clients have never heard of nor have they been contacted by the list. MotherJones received word that the Rolling Stones, who were listed as a group who is boycotting Florida, had never even heard of the list. 

TWEET OF THE DAY: @MarcACaputo: Doubt Jay Z will boycott FL. But if he does, what’s it say? He’ll go/give press to state-sponsor of terrorism Cuba, but FL needs to change?

DREAM DEFENDERS BELATEDLY FILES TO RECEIVE OUTSIDE AID via the News Service of Florida

The organization behind the ongoing “stand your ground” protest inside the Capitol submitted paperwork Tuesday needed to collect charitable contributions.

The Hialeah-based Dream Defenders submitted the documents to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services so the group could continue to solicit for cash and in-kind support.

“As young people sifting through how to build this organization and do this work we’re going to slip up some times,” said Ahmad Abuznaid, legal and policy director for the Dream Defenders. “We’re okay admitting our faults as an organization.”

The agriculture department sent a letter to the group Monday night advising that it could face fines up to $1,000 per violation for failure to comply with registration requirements. Erin Gillespie, press secretary for Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, said the department is working with the organization to complete the needed paperwork. “We get notified on a regular basis of charities or others who are soliciting contributions without being properly registered,” Gillespie said in an email. “Our first step is always to work with the group to bring them into compliance.”

The department wrote the letter after an inquiry from The Tampa Tribune, Gillespie said.

>>>Florida taxpayers so far have paid $97,970.88 to keep the state Capitol secure during the student Stand Your Ground protest. 

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NATIONAL REVIEW: THE RISEN CRIST via Neal Freeman of National Review

The Honorable Charles Crist has just informed key supporters that he will run for governor next year as a Democrat. A considerable number of voters, credulous types, believe that he will. Run for governor, that is. Nobody believes that his association with the Democratic party will survive even the slightest political inconvenience. Charlie Crist has by now transcended partisan attachments, wafting upward on a billowing cloud of self-enchantment. Two questions engage the political class. First, will he actually run? There is little question that he would do so if he could waive any obligation to serve. Crist’s enthusiasm for campaigning, as also his disdain for governing, have been well documented. But Florida election law, which is notoriously loose-jointed in some respects, seems settled on the lapidary point: If you receive the most votes, you win. Like it or not, you’re elected. If there are any loopholes in the governing text, Crist failed to find them three years ago when, as the antsy incumbent considered a shoo-in for re-election, he conducted an exhaustive search for escape routes from the governor’s mansion, settling ultimately on a plan to run for the U.S. Senate against the nominee of his own party. That plan produced the predictable harvest of discord, bitterness, humiliation, and defeat. 

The other question, of course, is: Can he win? The incumbent, Governor Rick Scott, says he can’t. When I ask him why he’s so confident, Scott, who is on message with metronomic reliability, says, “I will have $25 million in the bank by the end of the year and will use it in early 2014 to define my opponent.” Sounds like a plan. A war chest of that size will buy a lot of defining, even in an expensive media state like Florida.

STATE GOP USES SCOTT’S PLEDGE TO HAMMER OBAMA BEFORE VISIT via Matt Dixon of the Florida Times Union

The Republican Party of Florida is using Gov. Rick Scott’s pledge to secure $38 million for JaxPort to hammer President Barack Obama prior to his Thursday visit to the port.

The trip is part of a national tour that Obama will use to outline his economic plans for the future. In January, Scott held an event at JaxPort to announce he was seeking $38 million to complete the next phase of Mile Point.

“While President Obama comes to Jacksonville’s port to provide rhetoric about the middle class, it’s Governor Scott that provided a down payment on growing middle class jobs in Duval County through his investment in JAXPORT’s Mile Point project,” said RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry in an email blast sent Tuesday.

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LATVALA CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO REP. WILLIAMS RESIDENCY via WCTV

Senator Jack Latvala (is) forwarding information he obtained about State Representative Alan Williams to House Speaker Will Weatherford.

Records show State Representative Alan Williams owns one home on Stony Creek Way in Tallahassee’s Buck Lake area, a home he admits is not in his 8th house district.

Records also show Williams is part owner with two relatives of another home on Olive Avenue in his district.

Reporter: “Can you tell me where you live, which one of those places. I mean it’s a simple question, where do you sleep at night?”

Williams: “Well I’ll tell you, it’s hard to sleep when you’re fighting for district 8.”

Reporter: “Should someone who represents a district actually live in that district in your opinion?”

Williams: “Well I believe, that again, as we look at the intent of whether members are duly qualified, you have to look at are they invested in the community.”

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DETZNER LOOKING AGAIN AT DOZIER ISSUE via the News Service of Florida

Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s office is reviewing a request from University of South Florida researchers to reconsider his decision to deny a permit to exhume bodies from four gravesites at the closed Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.

“The department received the letter yesterday and is reviewing the letter for response,” Detzner’s spokesman Mark Ard said in an email Tuesday. Detzner on July 15 denied a permit sought by the USF researchers to dig for reportedly unaccounted-for bodies of boys who died at the former reform school between 1900 and 1952. Detzner claimed his department’s Bureau of Archaeological Research is “restricted to the recovery of objects of historical or archaeological value,” but “not human remains.”

USF researchers Erin Kimmerle and Christian Wells wrote Detzner on Monday that the purpose of their research is “not to get ideas for a journal article, but to return lost human remains to their families.”

GR BUDGET TO GET BUMP NEXT YEAR via the News Service of Florida

Florida lawmakers will have nearly $1.6 billion in additional general revenue available when they craft a 2014-15 budget, according to estimates released this week. The estimates, put together by state analysts, take into account a variety of factors, including increased revenue and money expected to be carried forward from the current fiscal year. In all, the state would have an estimated $28.82 billion in available general revenue in 2014-15, up from $27.26 billion in expected appropriations this year.

The estimates are tentative, and analysts will update projected revenues in the coming months. General revenue is a key part of funding the education, health and criminal-justice systems.

KISSIMMEE MAYOR, PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICIALS URGE DOH TO EXPEDITE NEW TRAUMA ALLOCATION RULES

The Mayor of Kissimmee, as well as other public safety officials have written to the Florida Department of Health (DOH) urging the DOH trauma office to expedite their process and approve the Osceola Regional Medical trauma center. These officials are hopeful the DOH trauma allocation rule will be released quickly and provide an opportunity for Osceola to move forward with their trauma center – as central Florida only has one adult trauma center and one pediatric trauma center. Read the letter here.

NEW VERSION OF FL. HOUSE APP AVAILABLE 

Mobile device users are encouraged to download version 1.4 of FL House, the official mobile app of the Florida House of Representatives.  The new version includes improved search functionality throughout the app, the opportunity to provide feedback, share bills via Facebook and Twitter and receive House news early.  FL House is a free app available for all Android and iOS devices. 

According to House Speaker Will Weatherford, “The Florida House of Representatives continues to raise the bar in the mobile app arena by providing our users with exciting new features. Version 1.4 will allow anyone following the Florida House to find information faster, share with friends and remain up to speed on all of the action.” 

Users are encouraged to download FL House to receive House news early via push notifications.  Soon, the Florida House will make important announcements available to mobile app users before anyone else.

PSC CANDIDATES h/t to the Florida Current

The Florida Public Service Commission Nominating Council meets today to select a list of candidates for the PSC term vacancies of Ronald A. Brisé and Arthur L. Graham, who are among the nominees

SOUTH FLORIDA STRONGEST IN STATE FOR INCOME MOBILITY, ACCORDING TO NEW STUDY via contributor Karen Cyphers

When it comes to upward mobility of Floridians, the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale metro area is the most promising place to live, according to a study highlighted in Monday’s New York Times. The report highlighted the work of a team of researchers from Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley who analyzed an enormous database of earnings records to estimate intergenerational mobility — i.e. the chances that a child raised in a low-income household grows up to escape poverty. 

What these researchers found is that larger tax credits for the poor and higher taxes on the affluent barely make a dent in income mobility, and that modest or no correlation exists between mobility and the number of local colleges and their tuition rates. Mobility tended to be higher in metropolitan areas where poorer families are more dispersed among mixed-income neighborhoods, and lowest in areas where people are highly segregated by income. Income mobility was also higher in areas with two-parent households, better elementary and high schools, more civic engagement, and more membership in religious groups.

In Florida, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale is the only region to fall above the national average for income mobility.  Here, a child who grows up with parents who earn in the 10th percentile ($16,000 per year)  is estimated to end up, on average, in the 38th percentile of income.  About 7% of children in Miami from 10th percentile households will end up in the top income bracket as adults.   Compared to the nation, the income mobility of low-income children in Florida are about on par with children in other states, and is stronger than their counterparts in other Southern states, with limited exception.  Areas of the Midwest show particularly high income mobility.

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BIG K STREET FIRMS SEE MODEST GROWTH, BRIGHT FUTURE via POLITICO Influence

The last few years have been lean for K Street, but revenues were up a bit at big firms during the second quarter of 2013. Patton Boggs – the largest firm on K Street by revenue – is showing some growth again, for example. The firm posted $10.9 million in lobbying billings in the second quarter. That’s up from the $10.4 million it posted in the first quarter and the first growth the firm has posted since the last quarter of 2011. Other big firms also posted decent numbers: Van Scoyoc Associates reported $5.6 million in the second quarter of 2013 – up from $4.7 million in the first quarter. The Podesta Groupreported nearly $7 million – up from $6.6 million in the first quarter.

Holland & Knight reported about $4.6 million in the second quarter of 2013 – up slightly from $4.4 million in Q1. Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck reported $5.4 million – up only slightly from the $5.3 million reported in Q1. BGR Group stayed steady – reporting $3.7 million in both quarters of 2013. Cassidy & Associates showed just under $3.1 million in LDA revenues in the second quarter – roughly on par with their $3.1 haul in Q1. K&L Gates bounced backed a bit in the second quarter, posting $4.3 million in lobbying billings. That’s up from the $3.98 million the first posted in Q1 and the $3.6 million the firm posted in the final quarter of 2012.

“It has us excited that we’re perhaps seeing a turnaround in the business,” said Kevin O’Neill, deputy chairman of Patton’s public policy department. And for big law firms, not all government business is reflected in the lobbying numbers – Patton is doing a lot of regulatory work related to Dodd-Frank implementation, O’Neill said.

On the other hand, immigration reform and other topics have driven a flurry of lobbying registrations – and some on K Street expected a slightly bigger payday. “I think it’s a little bit lighter than what we would have thought,” said Holland’s Rich Gold about the lobbying numbers. Gold predicts that when the congressional tax reform process heats up, it will be a big driver of new business.

CHECK OUT: The Hungry Lobbyist – via Brian Johnson of API. It’s a BuzzFeed-style listicle on 20 lobbyist problems. Such problems include “complying with the ‘toothpick rule’ when all you want is a steak,” “clients who actually think Congress passes legislation that matters,” and ‘having everyone think you’re what’s wrong with the system.” 

ECONOMIC CLUB OF FLORIDA TO HOST A PROGRAM ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE BIG BEND

The Economic Club of Florida is scheduled to host a program on economic development in Tallahassee, regarding projects that will represent millions of dollars of investment to the state’s capital city and surrounding areas. Ed Murray, director, president and broker of NAI TALCOR will speak, along with Assistant City Manager Jay Townsend, and Matt Behnke, CPA, Associate Athletic Director for Business and CFO of the FSU Department of Athletics. The presentation is set for noon on Thursday, July 25, at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center, A-3, at 505 W. Pensacola Street. The buffet line opens at 11:15 a.m. and the meeting adjourns at 1:00 p.m. 

FLORIDA BAR BOARD MEETS

The board of governors of the Florida Bar meets Wednesday through Saturday at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort.

REDDIT JOINS THE INTERNET ASSOCIATION

The website Reddit is joining the Internet Association, the trade group is announcing Monday. While Reddit, part of Conde Nast publications, doesn’t lobby on the Hill or have its own political action committee, it’s still been active on tech policy issues over the past two years. The site was a key component of the backlash to the Stop Online Piracy Act last year, and sought earlier this month to drive awareness of the NSA’s surveillance programs as part of the Stop Watching Us coalition.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the Tampa Tribune’s Steve Otto.

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.