Sunburn for 9/24 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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


It’s fiscal chaos at home and violence abroad Monday, as the Senate looks at legislation to forestall a government shutdown before Oct. 1 (next Tuesday). Meanwhile, the horror continues in Kenya: 62 people are dead, and the terrorist group involved—Somalia-based Al Shabaab—is claiming three of the attackers are American-born. Elsewhere, the White House announced John Kerry will meet with Iran’s foreign minister, setting up the highest level diplomatic meeting between the two countries since 1979. And finally, big news from BlackBerry, as the beleaguered manufacturer of not-all-that-smart phones was pulled back from the brink of oblivion by an investors’ group that will pay $4.7 billion to buy the company and take it private.


A new Pew Research survey finds that if the federal government shuts down because Republicans and President Obama fail to agree on a budget, there will be plenty of blame to go around. About as many say they would blame the Republicans (39%) for such a standoff as say they would blame Obama (36%), with 17% volunteering that both would be equally to blame.

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A LITTLE MORE BIG OBAMACARE MATH via contributor Karen Cyphers

As reported by Chris Conover, contributor to, Medicare actuaries have estimated that in its first 10 years, Obamacare will boost health spending by “roughly 621 billion” above what Americans would have spent without the law. The Medicare report breaks this figure down to mean that that between 2014 and 2022, the increase in national health spending attributable to Obamacare will ring in at about $7,450 per family of 4.  This is a far cry from President Obama’s June 2008 campaign pledge that his administration would lower premiums by $2,500 for a typical family per year, by the end of the first term at that.


Federal officials often say that health insurance will cost consumers less than expected under President Obama’s health care law. But they rarely mention one big reason: many insurers are significantly limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals … When insurance marketplaces open on Oct. 1, most of those shopping for coverage will be low- and moderate-income people … To hold down costs, insurers … have created smaller networks of doctors and hospitals than are typically found in commercial insurance. And those health care providers will, in many cases, be paid less … Some consumer advocates and health care providers are increasingly concerned. Decades of experience with Medicaid … show that having an insurance card does not guarantee access to specialists …

Insurers say that with a smaller array of doctors and hospitals , they can offer lower-cost policies and have more control over the quality of health care providers. … The current concerns echo some of the criticism that sank the Clinton administration’s plan for universal coverage in 1993-94. Republicans said the Clinton proposals threatened to limit patients’ options, their access to care and their choice of doctors. … In a new study, the Health Research Institute of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the consulting company, says that ‘insurers passed over major medical centers’ when selecting providers in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, among other states. … Even though insurers will be forbidden to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, they could subtly discourage the enrollment of sicker patients by limiting the size of their provider networks.

FLORIDIANS AWAIT GUIDANCE ON OBAMACARE via Barbara Peters Smith of the Herald-Tribune 

In the half of America where health care reform was enthusiastically embraced, uninsured consumers are being deluged by opportunities — online, on TV and on street corners — to learn about their coverage options for 2014. But in states that have resisted the program, including Florida, so far there’s a slightly ominous silence. 

Because Gov. Scott and the Legislature chose not to set up a statewide insurance exchange, Floridians will do their shopping through the federal marketplace. And for the 15 percent to 20 percent of Southwest Florida residents who lack insurance, these final days before the exchange is up and running may seem like unbearable suspense. 

Until the enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act begins Oct. 1, there is no certain information about what plans will be available in this area, and there are few explicit instructions about where to go for assistance. 


Heavily Democratic Broward County is expected to join Pinellas County in resisting Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to bar Obamacare enrollment advisors from state health department facilities.

Broward Mayor Kristin Jacobs will offer a resolution at Tuesday’s county commission meeting that would allow Affordable Care Act “navigators” and counselors at Florida Department of Health facilities in Broward County. The commission, which is dominated by Democrats, is expected to approve the proposal.

Jacobs has scheduled a news conference after the vote where Obamacare outreach efforts will be publicized.

In her resolution, Jacobs adopted Pinellas County’s argument that the state cannot prevent Obamacare advisors from health department buildings because the county owns most of those facilities.

Of the eight Florida health offices in Broward, the county owns seven of the buildings and leases them to the state Health Department.  

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BEST COMMENT ON CHARLIE CRIST’S FACEBOOK PAGE: “shut up and run for governor so we can get skeletor out of office.” — Andrew Gill

EMAIL: “As you might expect, (Alex Sink’s) decision not to run also had an important impact on our campaign – my phone hasn’t stopped ringing!” — Nan Rich

ODDEST PRESS RELEASE OF THE DAY: “Unintended Consequences: How Rick Scott And Nan Rich Outlawed Computers, iPhones, and Human Reproduction” via Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie


The Republican Party of Florida has launched a new website that touts Gov. Scott’s handling of the economy — and slams former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who is widely expected to run for governor as a Democrat in 2014. The website,, focuses on issues such as job creation, the state’s unemployment rate and Scott’s proposal to cut $500 million in taxes and fees next year. It also has a “Before & After” section that attempts to juxtapose Scott’s performance with the time Crist was governor — a time that Florida and the rest of the country got hammered by the economic recession.

The Republican Party of Florida launched, a website, according to a release “devoted to giving Florida voters a simple and interactive view of the economic turnaround happening under Governor Rick Scott. The website will serve as an information hub for all economic news and will be continually updated. will also highlight economic contrasts of Rick Scott’s successes and Charlie Crist’s failures.”

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SCOTT: FLORIDA SHOULD PULL OUT OF PARCC via Kathleen McGrory of the Miami Herald

Gov. Scott is directing the state Education Board to withdraw from the national consortium creating tests to accompany the new Common Core State Standards.

Scott sent a letter to state Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand recommending a six-point action plan for pursuing higher standards in education.

His first recommendation: pull out of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and start the competitive bidding process to select the state’s new assessment.

Scott also suggested the education department hold a series of public hearings on the Common Core benchmarks to “identify any opportunity to strengthen or risks for federal intrusion in Florida’s standards.”

In addition, Scott penned a note to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan informing the federal government of Florida’s intentions to sever its fiscal ties with the PARCC. Florida had previously been named the consortium’s “fiscal agent.”

Scott reiterated his commitment to high standards in Florida to Duncan.

“In recent months, however, the debate over how to best accomplish this has devolved into whether Floridians and all Americans are simply ‘for Common Core’ or ‘against Common Core,’ with federal government involvement in PARCC a central part of the problem for states,” he wrote.


President Don Gaetz: “Today our Governor affirmed Florida will maintain our state’s constitutional primacy in establishing education policy, particularly with regard to control over standards, curriculum, instructional materials and student assessments.   Florida has risen steadily and dramatically in national education rankings not because of some policy dictated from Washington but because the people of Florida have made education accountability and academic achievement a moral imperative.”

Speaker Will Weatherford: “I applaud Governor Scott for taking decisive and bold action to affirm Florida’s constitutional role in education. For the past 15 years, Florida has been on a purposeful road to improve our schools through higher standards, greater accountability and higher pay for our best teachers. These efforts are paying off and our students are achieving better results. In the Common Core debate, Governor Scott’s actions today strike the perfect balance between states’ rights and states’ responsibilities. While I support our current standards, I think it is appropriate to undertake a transparent and thorough review with public input. We will not retreat one inch from our ambitious pursuit of the highest quality education system in the nation.”

Sally Bradshaw: “I was pleased to see the Governor take a strong stand in favor of Florida’s existing high standards today, standards that should be focused on Florida’s students and not on process or politics.  We can and will continue to push for even higher standards and a system that ensures that Florida’s students continue to excel.”

Gary Chartrand: “Governor Scott is once again setting the bar high for our education system, and has listened to Florida educators in the decision process for Florida’s standards.  I look forward to working with the Governor, Commissioner Stewart and educators around the state to craft the best plan for Florida.”

Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future: “I am encouraged by Governor Scott’s continued commitment to the thoughtful implementation of Florida’s Common Core standards while he also seeks input from the public.”

TWEET, TWEET: @RickScott: .@FLAnnScott and I now have a 3rd grandson! Sebastian Scott Kandah was born 9/22/13 at 8:19pm, weighing 8 lbs 10 oz. #ScottBabyWatch

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APPOINTED: Nina Di Pietro and Joy A. Tootle to the Board of Medicine.


The crux of the issue is whether the National Flood Insurance Program can continue to support older, flood-prone homes without charging the exorbitant premiums that appear justified by their risk of catastrophe. Congressional leaders from Oregon to Florida are getting pushback from homeowners shocked to find their mandatory flood policies leaping to unaffordable levels without warning. At the same time, some fiscal conservatives and other watchdog groups insist it’s only fair to remove long-standing subsidies that have kept rates low for a relatively small group of policyholders.

Twenty percent of flood policyholders own aging, low-lying properties that mostly aren’t built up to contemporary standards and which could cost the program, and the nation, billions more in the future.

Flood insurance reform is particularly complex in Florida, a state that relies on its beach tourism and coastal population centers but also has a political bent toward the fiscal conservatism championed by leaders such as Republican Gov. Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio. 

Even Scott, a severe critic of federal debt, is urging Congress to slow the program’s rate hikes, which are meant to fill a more than $20-billion deficit but could make thousands of coastal homes unsellable. 

In the meantime, many people who bought homes that had been subsidized by the program since the bill passed in July 2012 are beginning to receive new unsubsidized rates that are catching many off-guard. Stephen Ellis, vice president of the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense, urged the senate panel not to delay the reforms.


Florida Cabinet: Meets in the Cabinet Meeting Room in the Lower Level of the Capitol at 9 a.m. Department of Economic Opportunity executive director Jesse Panuccio will give a report on economic growth. Full agenda can be found here

The Public Service Commission: Holds an informal meeting starting at 10 a.m. on the fuel and purchased power cost recovery clause with generating performance incentive factor, docket 130001. It will be held in room G-362 of the Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee. 

Water district budgets: Four of the state’s five water management districts hold final public hearings today on their 2013-14 budgets and property tax rates. They are as follows: Southwest Florida Water Management District: 5:01 p.m. in Tampa at the district’s Tampa Service Office, 7601 U.S. 301 N. More information can be found hereSt. Johns River Water Management District: In Palatka at 5:05 p.m. at its district headquarters, 4049 Reid St. A copy of the agenda can be found hereSouth Florida Water Management District: 5:15 p.m. at the district headquarters in West Palm Beach, 3301 Gun Club Road. More information can be found hereSuwannee River Water Management District: In Live Oak at 5:30 p.m. at its headquarters, 9225 County Road 49. More information can be found here

FSU’s Project on Accountable Justice: In conjunction with the St. Petersburg College Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions team with The James Madison Institute for a public forum called “A Tale of Two States: What Can Florida Learn From Georgia’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice Reforms?” 6 to 8 p.m. at FSU’s College of Law, Room 101, 425 W. Jefferson St., Tallahassee. The public is asked to register in advance at here or 727-394-6251.


As the state Board of Education faces critical issues, Gov. Rick Scott on Monday announced the appointment of former New York City teacher Rebecca Fishman Lipsey to replace Kathleen Shanahan on the board.

Lipsey, a 32-year-old Aventura resident, taught fourth- and fifth-grade from 2004 to 2006 and then held a series of positions from 2006 to 2012 with Teach for America. She was executive director of Teach for America in Miami-Dade County from 2008 to 2012. Scott’s decision to replace Shanahan, who served as a chief of staff to former Gov. Jeb Bush, was not a surprise.

Shanahan criticized Scott during a board meeting last week for skipping an education summit that he called. Also, she criticized Scott for failing to consult Board of Education members on an education executive order that he is reportedly preparing to release. “He should have sent a recommendation to the state board for action,” Shanahan said and also added that Scott’s actions were “embarrassing for him.”

Scott appointed Lipsey for a term starting Jan. 1, 2014, and ending Dec. 31, 2017. The appointment is subject to Florida Senate confirmation. 

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The Democratic minority in the Florida House met behind closed doors in Tallahassee on Monday night to oust Rep. Darryl Rouson who was scheduled to become caucus leader after next year’s elections, from the leadership. Rouson garnered the support of 17 members of the Democratic caucus but 24 voted to dismiss him.

>>>Alternative headline: Charlie Crist’s best political friend ousted from party leadership post.


Departing from past norms, Gaetz, among other things, told committee chairs that agencies and departments not give “generic” presentations to committees, asked that bills not be brought to the floor if they have not passed all committee stops, and don’t hear bills that do not have House companions.

“Don’t try to breathe life into the living dead,” Gaetz said.

He also laid out likely rules changes that include ensuring members live in their districts and a change that will require the state to audit lobbying compensation reports. The Legislature passed language requiring the audits in 2005, but rules have never been implemented to follow through.

“We did not follow up on what we should have done….we intend to begin those audits this year,” he said.

Gaetz is asking the committee chairs to hold oversight hearings to ensure that a handful of important bills passed last year have been fully implemented.

“We passed some darn good bills last year,” he said. “Let’s make sure they get implemented.”

NEW TO THE TWITTERS: @FLGOPWhip — “Official Twitter for the Office of the Majority Whip in The Florida House of Representatives”


Sen. Jeff Clemens: “That summer went by quickly. Back to Tallahassee.”

Rep. Katie Edwards: “Spoke to soon, sitting on a runway at MIA, waiting to find out what plan B is since the pilot says there is a little maintenance issue involving the aircraft. I think I am going to drive. I’m flexible like that. LOL.”

Aaron Deslatte: “Rent-seeking. Horse-trading. Log-rolling. And justice 2 jesus is even back in the house. Oh, how I missed thee, Florida Legislature!”

Steve Schale: “Drivers start your engines, Tallahassee is back in business.”


@AnitereFlores: And so it begins…early morning flight to Tlh for committee meetings #wheredidsummergo

@JohnsonBlanton: Day 1 of the 2014 legislative session kicks off today with legislative committees taking place. 221 days till Sine Die. 

@RepBillHager: Tallahassee bound for the first week of committee mtgs. Looking forward to seeing my colleagues in the @MyFLHouse & getting back to work.

@Rob_Bradley: Time to get to work for the people of Clay Bradford and Alachua counties. Committee weeks begin. What do u think should be our top priority?

@SenatorJohnLegg: A group of crows are called a murder. Guess what a group of vultures are called? A committee.  Have a great “committee” week.

@StevePrecourt: Looking forward to a busy committee week & beginning my role as Chairman of State Affairs.

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Sen. Anitere Flores wants legislative sessions to begin in January instead of March. Under her proposal (SB 72), sessions in even-numbered years would begin on the first Tuesday after the second Monday in January.

The Florida Constitution mandates that sessions in odd-numbered years begin on the first Tuesday in March but gives the Legislature the authority to set dates in even-numbered years.


Gaetz told Senate leaders that it is time to end the confusion over where a legislator can live while representing a district, announcing that he hopes to persuade the House to adopt a joint rule that will clarify the current requirement.

Gaetz would not elaborate what the requirement will be except to say “any rules that we have have to be rooted firmly in law.”

Current rules require that a legislator only be a registered voter in the district he or she represents, not have his homestead there. It is not clear whether the new rules will require that the homestead be in their district either.

“It’s not the British parliament, where you get to move to anywhere there is an open seat. You ought to be going to grocery store, an synagogue and church among the people that you represent. That’s what a representative democracy is about.”

He said that “any rules that we have have to be rooted firmly in law” but dismissed any suggestion that they would seek a new statute or constitutional amendment.


McKeel has received one of the University of Florida’s highest awards, the Presidential Medallion, in recognition of his strong support of UF and higher education in Florida.

The award is given for outstanding service or contribution to the university. McKeel graduated from UF in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and was chairman from 2008 to 2011 of the Gator Caucus – state legislators who attended, graduated from or support the university. 

The award presentation took place during a groundbreaking ceremony for the $75 million renovation and expansion of UF’s Reitz Student Union. Speaking before the presentation, McKeel, 38, addressed the need for continued support of Florida’ s State University System.


The state’s ban on Internet cafes may have caused unforeseen ripple effects, according to one Tampa Bay-area lawmaker.

Sen. Jack Latvala spoke at Monday’s gaming committee meeting.

He told colleagues he voted for the ban earlier this year after assurances it wouldn’t affect games such as those played at truck stops and children’s fun centers.

But he said he recently was told that one of his constituents, who operates “claw machine” games at various Wal-Marts in the state, was forced by law enforcement to remove those machines.

“We went after Internet cafes but we need to look very carefully at any unintended consequences of what we did,” Latvala said.


A top Republican Party of Florida official does not have to turn over “in-house” documents as part of an ongoing redistricting lawsuit, according to a special master’s report.

As part of the lawsuit, Frank Terraferma, who coordinates the state GOP’s House campaigns, has already turned over communications and documents related to redistricting maps and communications discussing the redistricting process.

He objected, however, to turning over documents related to “communications between him and other employees, consultants, or members of the RPOF.”

Judge Terry Lewis taped former Supreme Court Justice Major Harding to serve as a special master and review the documents to determine if they should be made public. The information was subpoenaed by a coalition of plaintiffs, including the League of Women Voters of Florida, who are challenging the constitutionality of maps drawn as part of Florida’s 2012 redistricting process.  

They argue the maps are at odds with the state’s Fair Districts amendments, which aimed to take politics out of the redistricting process. Communications Terraferma is objecting to release would help prove their case, plaintiffs argue.

“Basically, the Coalition Plaintiffs argue that Mr. Terraferma tried to draw a privilege line at a point to cover documents and communications that may well reflect partisan rationales or intent behind the drafting and selection of legislative redistricting plans,” Harding wrote in his ruling, which was dated Sept. 20.

He denied the argument because Terraferma had already turned over documents related to map-drawing.

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Senate Education Committee: Meets 8:30 a.m. for an update on implementation of the SB 1076, passed last session under the catch-phrase “lashing education to the economy.” Senators will also discuss middle school digital skills. 412 Knott Building. 

House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee: Meets 9 a.m. to receive a series of updates concerning new initiatives implemented since the spring session. The Agency for Health Care Administration will report on the Diagnosis Related Grouping compensation procedures and potential changes to the Low Income Pool. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities will brief lawmakers on implementation of the iBudget plan. 212 Knott Building. 

Senate Democratic Caucus: Meets 12:30 p.m. in room 200 of the Senate Office Building. 

House Appropriations Subcommittee: Meets 1 p.m. to review long-range enrollment and financial outlook projections for education. Staff will also brief members on the consequences of new student full-time equivalent calculations passed during this past legislative session. 17 House Office Building. 

House Healthy Families Subcommittee: To review child protection teams starting at 3:30 p.m.. Committee members will also hear presentations by the Department of Children & Families, Florida Coalition for Children and St. Lucie Judge Larry Schack. 12 House Office Building.

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Amanda Murphy’s campaign for the House District 36 seat received a big boost with the endorsement of Pasco County Professional Fire Fighters.

“Amanda Murphy is the only candidate in the race who understands the tough challenges our law enforcement officers face each and every day while keeping our community safe,” said James Preston, President of the Florida Fraternal Order of Police.  “She will stand up and fight for law enforcement and Pasco County in Tallahassee,”

Democrat Murphy faces GOP rival Bill Gunter in the Oct. 15 general election for the seat vacated by former Rep. Mike Fasano.

“We know Amanda Murphy will stand up to special interests and make sure the legislature treats Florida’s fire fighters and first responders with respect they deserve,” said Joe Ruso, Vice President of Pasco County Professional Firefighters.  

Both Pasco County and the Fraternal Order of Police have now endorsed Murphy.

“The Fire Fighters and Police protect us every day here in Pasco. It is time that Tallahassee begins putting our first responders ahead of special interests and begins protecting their futures,” said Murphy.


On October 15, Democrat Amanda Murphy will face-off against Republican Bill Gunter in a special election in House District 36, the seat formerly held by Mike Fasano. A poll for the Democratic Party by Hamilton Campaigns shows a slight advantage, but within the margin of error, for Murphy.

On November 5, voters in St. Petersburg will decide between incumbent Bill Foster and challenger Rick Kriseman in what polls suggest is a deadlocked mayoral race. The race is suppose to be non-partisan, but Democrats have rallied behind former state Representative Rick Kriseman, while the GOP is backing Foster.

To maintain a semblance of relevance, the Florida Democratic Party needs a win in at least one of these two races. To build momentum for 2014, it needs to run the table. Losing both races is just not an option for the FDP.


With Rep. Eddie Gonzalez facing term limits next year, two Republican candidates are already off-and-running for his House seat which represents parts of Miami-Dade County.

Educator Bryan Avila, an English professor at Miami-Dade College who serves on the Planning and Zoning and Scholarship boards of the city of Hialeah, filed to run for the House seat back in November 2011. Between entering the race and June 30, Avila raised $11,900 and kept most of it on hand, spending around $325. Earlier this year, Avila held off libertarian Manny Roman to become vice chairman of the Miami-Dade County Republican Executive Committee 

Avila said he is running for the House seat to improve Florida’s business climate and education across the Sunshine State.

Standing in Avila’s way is Alexander Anthony who filed last week to run in the Republican primary. This marks Anthony’s second bid for elected office this year. He lost a campaign to serve on the Miami Springs City Council earlier this year.

Anthony has lived in the district since 2001 but has called Florida home since 1979. After working on Wall Street, Alexander headed to the Sunshine State where he ran two security service companies employing 1,200 people before selling the firms. He currently runs two businesses that employ 150 people.

Speaking to Sunshine State News on Thursday, Anthony said “special interests” control too much of Tallahassee and pushed for “common-sense” solutions to Florida’s problems.

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5:00-6:30 p.m. – Rep. Darryl Rouson, Rep. Karen Castor Dental — Governors Club Lounge

5:00-6:30 p.m. – Rep. Bruce Antone, Rep. Randolph Bracy, Rep. Mike Clelland, Rep. Victor Torres — Andrews 228 – Fountain Room

5:00-7:00 p.m. – Blaise Ingoglia for HD 35 — Governors Club

5:00-7:00 p.m. – Eric Eisnaugle, Scott Plakon, Chris Sprowls — Governors Club – Private Dining Room

5:00-7:00 p.m. – Rep. David Santiago — Governors Inn – Tallahassee Room

5:00-7:00 p.m. – Sen. Wilton Simpson — Florida Realtors

5:30-7:00 p.m. – Rep. Dennis Baxley, Rep. Halsey Beshears, Rep. Doug Broxson, Rep. Travis Cummings, Rep.  Mike Hill, Rep. Travis Hutson, Rep. Clay Ingram, Rep. Keith Perry, Rep. Elizabeth Porter, Rep. Charlie Stone — Governors Club – Main Dining Room

5:30-7:00 p.m. – CFO Jeff Atwater — Governors Club – Balcony

5:30-7:00 p.m. – Sen. Dorothy Hukill, Sen. Tom Lee — Governors Club – Library Room

5:30-7:30 p.m. – Bob Cortes — Clyde’s & Costello’s

6:00-7:00 p.m. – Sen. Joe Negron — Governors Inn

6:00-7:00 p.m. – Sen. Maria Sachs — Governors Club – Plantation Room

6:30-7:30 p.m. – Rep. Janet Cruz, Rep. Joe Saunders, Rep. Linda Stewart, Rep. Carl Zimmerman — TBD

SPOTTED: House candidates Chris Latvala and Chris Sprowls breaking bread with lobbyist Barney Bishop.

SPOTTED: Reps. Eagle, Hood, Rodrigues, and Larosa having a laugh with consultant Anthony Pedicini after their fundraiser.

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NEW TO THE TWITTERS: @EricDraper, executive director of Audubon Florida.



“We are excited to have Clay Barker join our team,” said Jessica Corcoran, the president of Capitol Consulting. “Clay’s combined experience, in both political campaigns as well as the legislative process are a complement to our existing team.  Clay’s addition greatly benefits our existing clients and adds to our strong foundation at Capitol Consulting.”

Prior to joining Capitol Consulting, Clay served as legislative assistant to State Representative Jake Raburn. Clay began his career with State Senator Jeff Brandes as an aide and later as Deputy Political Director where he played a key role in winning one of Florida’s most highly contested primary races.  In this role, Clay assisted in all aspects of the campaign from fundraising to grassroots strategy as well as preparing daily briefings, line by lines, and managing the candidate’s schedule and personal contacts.


SPOTTED: Former U.S. Senator George LeMieux and lobbyist Rich Heffley huddling at The Governors Club.

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The first thing I thought of when learning about Citizinvestor were my imaginary friends in the Pawnee, Indiana, Parks department.  Projects that are important to citizens don’t always get top bill from cash-strapped local governments. Think Leslie Knope’s pit-to-park proposal. Knope, who didn’t have access to Citizinvestor’s public project crowdfunding platform, nearly succumbed to taking $35,000 from Pawnee’s America-shaming Venezuelan sister city.  Taxes may be the original “crowdfunding” source, but they only go so far. And often, taxes aren’t spent toward what individuals feel the most strongly about.  Are people willing to pay above taxes for things they care about? This question has been put to the test by Citizinvestor over the past year.  And the answer is a resounding yes.

Jordan Raynor, co-founder of Citizinvestor, has learned a lot about the generosity of publics this year.  In Naperville, Illinois, people pitched in close to $77,000 to raise a Navy memorial statute. They’ve partnered with cities to fund bike racks in Oregon, plant trees outside of Chicago, and create a community garden in a poor area of Philadelphia. And in their own backyard in Tampa, Raynor and his colleagues are embarking on a project to crowdfund nearly $11,000 to provide a school year’s worth of weekend meals for every student at Oak Park Elementary, among the poorest children in Tampa Bay.

While three founders of Citizinvestor are all conservatives, their company’s focus is anything but partisan.  To liberals, projects initiated through Citizinvestor represent worthy causes that further the ability of governments to provide for peoples’ needs, and to conservatives, Citizinvestor empowers people at the local level to have greater control about where governments spend their money.  “Generosity is nonpartisan,” Raynor said. “We partner with people and governments from across the spectrum.”

And here’s the kicker: not a dime changes hands until the project is fully funded. Gone are the days of donating to a cause that will only make it a fifth of the way to completion.  Kinda sounds like something that both Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson could get on board with, huh? Apparently, Raynor had already thought this through. This video is the closest I have ever seen to fictional characters acting as accidental spokespersons.

***CoreMessage is a full-service communications and issues advocacy firm with the experience, relationships and expertise to help you get your message out. Connected at the state capitol and throughout Florida, the CoreMessage team unites issues with advocates, messages with media and innovative solutions with traditional tactics to get results. Follow CoreMessage on Twitter and visit them on the Web at***

CONGRATS to 30-under-30 honoree Keith Fernandez on passing the Florida Bar. Other friends of the ‘burn who passed are: Katie Edwards and Ashley Ligas.

CORRECTIONS: Yesterday, I referred to lobbyist Chris Moya as Carlos Moya, a slip-up occurring because I have a fraternity brother named Carlos Migoya. Also, in congratulating her on her engagement to Mike Van Sicker, I misspelled Kathleen McGrory’s name.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to uber lobbyist Chris Dudley and Akerman Senterfitt’s Joe Gibbons.

REST IN PEACE: Harvey Morgenstein, who Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times appropriately describes as “a giant in Democratic politics.”

WELCOME TO THE WORLD: Conor Brandes, the third child of Natalie and Senator Jeff Brandes. The bouncing baby boy came in at seven pounds, six ounces. 

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.