Sunburn for 9/20 — 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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SHUTDOWN ROADMAP via John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman of POLITICO

Speaker John Boehner will eventually have to bring a funding bill to the House floor that keeps the government – and Obamacare – running. That’s the bill the House will most likely receive from the Senate shortly after Boehner’s chamber resumes work on Wednesday, just days short of an Oct. 1 government shutdown. … The Senate will strip the language that’s meant to defund President Obama’s health care law – strong language that was drafted to appease Boehner’s right wing. … Boehner and House Republicans will then be back in the spotlight. And the speaker may need the support of House Democrats to pass the measure. It won’t be pretty, but that so-called clean CR could pass the House with roughly 180 Republican votes with the remainder coming from the Democratic side of the aisle, according to senior GOP sources.

White House deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors met with the House Democratic Caucus on Wednesday to walk through government funding scenarios. Although some Democrats are pushing to turn off the sequester as part of any CR deal, White House officials believe they can count on between 40 and 50 Democratic votes for a clean CR at the $986 billion level, giving House leaders enough to reach the key 217 vote level. … Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida are … wild cards. If Lee and Cruz can persuade at least 38 of their colleagues to support a sustained filibuster of the funding bill, that would block any of Reid’s potential maneuvers and put a shutdown within reach. … If Reid needs to increase money for the Pentagon to earn the votes of hawkish senators like John McCain, passing a funding bill will become a lot trickier in the House. House GOP aides expect between 150 and 180 Republicans to eventually support a CR that comes back from the Senate – just enough support to keep Boehner out of hot water.

The nation will be perilously close to a government shutdown , and Boehner and his leadership team – bolstered by a raft of polling – will make the case that a shutdown will cost Republicans their House majority. But with only sequester-level spending to claim as a victory on the CR, the House GOP stance will harden when it comes to hiking the debt ceiling in mid-October. … The Republican plan on the debt ceiling is skewed so far to the right that it’s likely to get little – if any – Democratic support. … Just look at the conservative favorites in the mix for a debt ceiling package: construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, where Obama has demonstrated over the past few years he won’t get pushed around; tax reform, where Republicans refuse to increase revenue and Democrats refuse revenue neutrality; and a one-year delay of Obamacare, which the White House has flatly rejected. If Boehner fails to get to 217 on what GOP aides call his ‘kitchen sink approach’ to the debt ceiling hike, he will have to start over and seek Democratic backing. … Boehner and Obama haven’t spoken since their White House meeting about Syria a few weeks ago.

TWEET, TWEET: @CarrollDoherty: Many factors affect a president’s job rating but Clinton was often below 50% pre-1995 #shutdown, never after that.

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EMAIL: “One word describes everything that is going on in Washington right now: dysfunction.” — Julia Gill Woodward, campaign manager for Gwen Graham.


Former Gov.  Jeb Bush says the threat by some Republicans of shutting down the federal government to force defunding of Obamacare is unrealistic.

“If you control one-half of one-third of leverage in Washington, D.C., your ability to influence things are also relative to the fact that you have one-half of one-third of the government… It’s a reality. This isn’t a hypothetical. So as we get closer to these deadlines, there needs to be an understanding of that, or politically it’s quite dicey for the Republican Party,” Bush said Wednesday at the National Press Club.


Greg Sargent digs into the new Washington Post/ABC News poll on the debt ceiling and finds this amazing nugget: 

“Among Republicans who believe that not raising the debt ceiling would cause serious harm to the economy, a majority of them wants Congress not to raise it anyway.”

OUCH: Nicolle Wallace on “Morning Joe,” re GOP threats to shut down the government over Obamacare: “When Republicans run into the street despite the fact there’s a flashing red light, they will get hit by the cars and killed. This is stupid, politically.”


Conservatives in the Senate have spent weeks and weeks hectoring House Republicans to stand true to GOP principles and make funding for the federal government contingent upon Democrats agreeing to defund Obamacare.

It’s about to blow up in their faces, and probably turn several of their more moderate colleagues into collateral damage.

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The Florida Democratic Party has released the official schedule for the 2013 State Conference, to be held October 25 – 27 at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort.  The conference will begin with “PROMISE Training” on Friday morning, followed by meetings of the Committee on Clubs & Caucuses, Campaign Committee, Legislative Committee, Rules Committee, Senior Caucus, and more. Friday night will culminate with a “Kickoff Concert” for ticketed guests only. 

On Saturday, expect more caucus meetings, voter registration training, communications and message training, and various panel discussions on education, health care, and more.  Sunday ends with various clubs and caucuses, including Young Democrats, College Democrats, and the State Executive Committee. Visit here for the full agenda and registration.

SINK OFF AND RUNNING — TO CHINA via William March of the Tampa Tribune

While Democrats across the state wait to hear Alex Sink’s decision on whether to run for governor, she’s about to take off on a nine-day United Way mission to China.

Sink has said she would make a decision on the race by this month, but said in an interview today she’s leaving Sunday for nine days in Taipei, Shanghai and Beijing.

Long active in the United Way, Sink is travelling with an international delegation from the United Way Worldwide Advisory Board seeking to plant the seeds of a philanthropic movement in China. That nation, long dominated by autocratic governments, doesn’t have a tradition of organized philanthropy like that in the U.S., she said. The advisory board’s mission is to start such traditions in developing nations.

“We’re going to go and share our experience of how much joy you can get from supporting arts programs, literacy and other charitable programs,” she said.

Sink has long said she would announce a decision about the 2014 governor’s race by September—close friends say she has been genuinely undecided and debating the question. But the trip makes it seem likely that she’s either putting off the decision until next month, or saying no.

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ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will announce Florida’s unemployment rate for August. Scott will make the announcement at Northrop Grumman’s Center of Excellence dedication ceremony, where the expansion will create 1,000 jobs in Florida. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, 2000 W. NASA Blvd., Melbourne. 10:00 a.m.


Scott is considering an executive order to address growing controversy over the Common Core State Standards.

Scott provided few details Wednesday, but hinted that the order would involve the new tests aligned to the education standards.

Florida was planning to use national exams created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. But Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford have said Florida should develop its own plan for testing.

“PARCC is too expensive and it takes too long,” Scott said. “So I’m looking at a variety of things, whether it’s an executive order, some administrative and some legislative, to try to fix that.”

Scott also said he would try to address what he called “too much federal involvement” — an overture to tea party groups who consider the new benchmarks and tests an example of federal overreach.

Scott’s remarks came one day after state Board of Education members blasted him for failing to provide clear direction on the standards and exams, which will replace the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests beginning in the 2014-15 school year.

LATVALA LIKES SCOTT’S SLOW PACE ON LG SEARCH via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

“I fully support the cautious approach he’s taking to fill the job,” Latvala said. “I have no second thoughts and am not second-guessing him on the way he’s doing it.”

At public events in Orlando and Tampa Wednesday, reporters again pressed Scott on the search for a new No. 2, but he provided no new details. The $130,000-a-year job has been vacant since Jennifer Carroll resigned on March 12 and the office on the state Capitol’s plaza level sits dark and empty. 

“We’re still working on it,” Scott said. “I want somebody that’s going to help me fulfill my agenda. That’s what I want. I want somebody that’s going to help me focus on how we get more jobs here, and how do we constantly improve education, because they’re completely intertwined. That’s the attribute.”

Latvala said he believes Scott and his chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, are seeking someone who’ll be more of a team member than a ticket-balancer going into his 2014 re-election campaign. Latvala’s name is one of many that has popped up in the endless guessing game — but he threw cold water on that notion Thursday and appears to love his current job as a senator.

“I intend to be Senate president,” said Latvala, who’s seeking the presidency in 2016. “It isn’t something I would give a bit of thought to.”

On Scott’s performance, Latvala said: “I ‘m a great supporter of the governor. I’m a great admirer of his. I really like the guy personally and I think he’s getting better every day.”

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ASSIGNMENT EDITOR: Florida’s Water Crisis Addressed at the Florida Water Forum in Orlando

On Friday, Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) and the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association (FSAWWA) will jointly host the fourth annual Florida Water Forum at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The fourth annual Florida Water Forum will address the key issues surrounding Florida’s water crisis, and will feature guest speakers discussing agricultural water supply, permitting, alternative water supply projects and Everglades and Numeric Nutrient Criteria legislative updates.

Nearly 200 business and community leaders, local and state government representatives, and Floridians across the state are expected to attend the forum. They include  presentations by Rep. Ben Albritton (agricultural water supply planning; Commissioner Adam Putnam; Rep. Dana Young (30-year permitting); Rep. Ray Pilon (alternative water supply projects); Rep. Matt Caldwell and Drew Bartlett (Numeric Nutrient Criteria); and Rep. Elizabeth Porter and Dr. Ann Shortelle (inter-district issues).

The cost of the event is $75 and includes lunch. There is no charge for members of the media.

FLORIDA SICK TIME TASK FORCE MEETS via David Damron of the Orlando Sentinel

A task force set up to look at a statewide sick time policies meets for the first time today, but worker advocates are skeptical that the panel will establish any new worker rights in Florida. The Employer-Sponsored Benefits Study Task Force was set up by Republican lawmakers in the same piece of legislation that blocked local governments from passing their own local policies mandating paid sick time for workers. Orange and Miami-Dade counties had been considering such moves.

The task force option was offered up by state Sen. David Simmons as a way to address sick time policies statewide. Business critics of mandatory paid sick time feared a patchwork of local rules would emerge and drive away employers. 

Senate President Don Gaetz appointed Jeff Clyne, president of Mid-State Machine and Fabricating Corporation headquartered in Lakeland; Andy Madtes, a South Florida union leader; Sen. Rob Bradley; and Art Kimbrough, a small business owner from Marianna 

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford appointed Walter Carpenter, an Orlando real estate appraiser; Marcia Gonzalez, the political director for the Florida Carpenter Regional Council, a union group; Florida State University economics professor Randall Holcombe; Gregory Riehle of Wesley Chapel and owner of Saddlebrook Resorts; and Rep. John Wood.


Florida Education Association: Meets all day for its 2014 Political Planning/Training Workshop in Tallahassee. Information contact is Lynda Russell, at (850) 201-2800.

Economic Club of Florida: Former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charley Wells speaks about his book, Inside Bush v. Gore, at noon to 1 p.m. in rooms A2-A3 of the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center.

Department of Economic Opportunity: Expected to release unemployment numbers for August at 10:00 a.m.

Agency for Health Care Administration: The Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee will meet to discuss recommendations for the Medicaid program’s preferred drug list. 1:00 p.m., Tampa Airport Marriott, Tampa International Airport, Tampa.

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As a Legislative panel prepares to discuss auditing lobbyist’s compensation, the association that represents Florida’s lobbyists want to make sure they have a say in the process.

A letter signed by the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists’ board of directors requesting they be  allowed to “provide input” into the process was sent Thursday to Senate President Don Gaetz of Niceville and House Speaker Will Weatherford of Wesley Chapel.

The organization’s members have a code of ethics and it has created a designation for members that “develop in-depth knowledge of the legislative process.”

Rumor that audits were coming began to circulate weeks ago, and Gaetz has now formally supported the idea. On Monday, the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee will be discussing the issue.

The group, which has roughly 350 members, does not take a position on the issue, which has caused a bit of a rift in the lobbying community.

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It is a rare moment when the Miami-Dade delegation unifies behind a common guy, but that is what you can expect to see at the kickoff fundraising event for Daniel Diaz Leyva’s campaign for House District 112.  Join members of the Florida Cabinet, House, and community tonight from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Building, Roof Top, in Coral Gables.

REP. EISNAUGLE RAISES COIN — BUT FOR WHAT RACE? via Aaron Deslatte of the Orlando Sentinel

Former Central Florida state legislators Scott Plakon and Eric Eisnaugle held a fundraiser at the Orlando offices of Rumberger, Kirk and Caldwell.

Both Republicans are slated for high-profile races in 2014 — Plakon is running for the Seminole County seat currently held by Democrat Mike Clelland, the Lake Mary lawyer who knocked off Chris Dorworth last year.

Eisnaugle, who left office after redistricting placed him in Rep. Steve Precourt’s Orlandodistrict, is running for that District 44 seat which encompasses much of southwestern Orlando and Orange County. Eisnaugle is also politicking to be House speaker down the line,a phenomenon spurred by Florida’s eight-year term-limit law for legislators.

But here’s a hitch: Precourt may land a job heading up the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority, a gig he has eyed for a long time. He would then have to resign the seat early, and trigger a special election. If that were to happen, Eisnaugle would almost certainly step in to fill the seat, and rumors have been circulating since Precourt lost his majority leader job that this was an orchestrated move giving Eisnaugle an early advantage in that 2020 House speaker’s race.

Yep. The 2020 House speaker’s race. Stay tuned.

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University of Florida Health researchers and their colleagues will receive up to $7.7 million in funding over five years from the National Institutes of Health to use large data sets in humans and animals to speed up the process of finding therapies for Alzheimer’s disease. The grant is part of a $45 million NIH initiative from the Office of the NIH Director with additional funding from the National Institute on Aging, the lead institute within NIH for Alzheimer’s research.

The UF researchers are collaborating with colleagues at The Mayo Clinic Florida and the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle to combine large data sets from humans and mouse models of the disease and then use the results to look at patterns that point to potential therapies.

During the first year of the NIH grant, they plan to generate RNA sequences for every gene expressed in the human brain using 700 brain samples from 350 subjects. Then they will have data to compare with similar work done in mouse models to see where similarities and differences might be found. 

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Jason Unger, GrayRobinson: Florida A&M University


Facing Florida with Mike Vasalinda: Frank Brogan

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Former Senator Paula Dockery, Patrick Manteiga, the Tampa Bay Times‘ Steve Bousquet, and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune‘s Jeremy Wallace.

Political Connections on Orlando’s 13 News: Former Sen. Mel Martinez & former Orange Co. Commissioner John Martinez 

Political Connections on Tampa Bay’s BayNews 9: John Morgan

The Usual Suspects on Tallahassee’s WCTV: Mayor Kristin Jacobs and Mary Ellen Klas

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my friend, Rep. Jamie Grant. Also celebrating today is Sen. Dorothy Hukill.

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.