Sunburn for 9/25 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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

FIRST AND FOREMOST: Happy birthday to one of the true class acts in Florida politics – David’s much better half, Christina Johnson, president of On 3 Public Relations.

NOT ONLY IS IT CHRISTINA’S BIRTHDAY, but it’s the 15th anniversary of David proposing to her. Here’s how the story goes, according to DJ.

“Smack in the midst of the ’98 elections … She had a State House candidate/client on East Coast, was much later coming back than had planned as the candidate was being, well, a candidate … So making me more nervous than I normally would have been as I had a full crew of friends waiting on us for a surprise birthday/and-I-Damn-sure-hoped-engagement party at Clyde’s.

“Finally, she got here, exhausted from a hard week on the road … sweetly asking if we could just stay in … but I had to get her there, so I began to plead, and even beg, she thought, as I made the one knee move … It all finally worked as I proposed, she accepted, and then I said ‘Now, get your sweet, engaged self ready; our friends and colleagues have a two hour head start … the clock is ticking and they are hammered and waiting.’

“She found new strength, as I submit a diamond works better than Red Bull, and we arrived to the hap-hap-happiest and loaded bunch of kids … and Clyde’s stayed open even later in a tremendous act of Ericks/Raynor kindness and good marketing.

“Great night all round. Sweet memory of 15 years ago, and it seems as though it was just yesterday.  Like everyone who knows her, I do love that girl.’

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“Something that might be of concern to Democrats, however, is that in this year’s data, independents are tilting Republican by 18 points, 43 percent to 25 percent. This is even more than the 14-point edge that the GOP had in the 2010 polling (40 percent to 26 percent) and dramatically different from the 1-point Democratic edge in 2012 (35 percent to 34 percent). While independents tend to vote in smaller numbers than they do in presidential years, so do some of the strongest Democratic groups, namely minorities, youths, and, in particular, young women. These are the voters who made a huge difference for the Democrats in the 2008 and 2012 elections.

This turnout disparity between midterm and presidential years spells trouble for Democrats. They overcame that obstacle in 2006 by running strongly among those independents who had turned on President Bush over the war in Iraq, among other things. The forces at work are considerably different this time around.



A ‘family glitch’ in the 2010 health care law threatens to cost some families thousands of dollars in health insurance costs and leave up to 500,000 children without coverage, insurance and health care analysts say. … Congress defined ‘affordable’ as 9.5% or less of an employee’s household income, mostly to make sure people did not leave their workplace plans for subsidized coverage through the exchanges. But the ‘error’ was that it only applies to the employee – and not his or her family.

So, if an employer offers a woman affordable insurance, but doesn’t provide it for her family, they cannot get subsidized help through the state health exchanges. That can make a huge difference; the Kaiser Family Foundation said an average plan for an individual is about $5,600, but it goes up to $15,700 for families.


(T)he start of enrollment for the Affordable Care Act and the first day of a shutdown would fall on the same day, Oct. 1. … ‘A shutdown per se doesn’t stop the Affordable Care Act,’ said Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office who now leads the American Action Forum, a … group opposed to the health law. That’s because the 2010 law relies primarily on mandatory spending, which congressional inaction can’t stop. It’s the budget category used for benefits such as Medicare and Social Security.

… The exchanges must connect to computers at other federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service and the Homeland Security Department, in order to determine whether potential customers are eligible for coverage and for subsidies to help pay their premiums. Those connections probably wouldn’t be jeopardized by a shutdown.

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A government shutdown next week would jeopardize the paychecks of more than 800,000 federal workers who could be told to stay home.

While there is no law requiring that nonessential employees be compensated if they are ordered off the job, Congress has in the past voted to reimburse their losses once shutdowns ended. But this go-round could be different. The bitterly divided Congress includes many lawmakers who are unsympathetic to the plight of federal workers.

Compared with the shutdowns of the 1990s, many more federal workers are in danger of being furloughed this year, because Congress has not passed a single funding bill. In the past, Congress had passed appropriations bills that funded various large agencies.


With Congress hurtling the country toward a government shutdown, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching “This Is Insanity,” a paid Facebook campaign to urge Congressman Steve Southerland not to shut down the government in order to pad health insurance companies’ profits.

The DCCC says its Facebook campaign will “engage young voters in Florida to sign a petition to tell Congressman Southerland to stop playing political games with our economy and focus on commonsense solutions that protect our heath care and grow our economy.”

“No one in their right mind thinks Congressman Steve Southerland’s march toward shutdown is sane, and young voters are especially disgusted with padding insurance companies’ profits at their expense,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Congressman Southerland decided that it’s more important to give insurance companies free rein over our health care decisions than make sure we pay military families and distribute seniors’ Social Security checks – and that’s just insanity.”


As Congressional inaction brings the government closer to a shutdown, new gift reports show members of Congress were adept at taking advantage of last month’s summer recess and receiving almost $1.7 million in free trips during the month of August.

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“Here’s where we are, Florida. Gov. Rick Scott has cut taxes five times in the last three legislative sessions: property taxes, business income taxes, sales taxes on manufacturing equi p.m.ent and machinery. Almost 370,000 private-sector jobs have been created. Our unemployment rate has been dramatically reduced to 7 percent, below the national average, surpassing economists’ expectations.

“Clearly, it’s working.  Nobody understands this better than me. My company is in the jobs business, specifically executive recruiting and staffing. In the years under Charlie Crist, it was definitely not working. Our economy was floundering, and my company was forced to downsize. Our client’s businesses were also downsizing, making it harder to find jobs for qualified individuals. I spent countless hours talking to prospective candidates who had 20 to 30 years of experience but still couldn’t find work.

“Now, thanks to the economic know-how of Governor Scott and our Republican-led Legislature, we’re looking at a significant budget surplus this coming fiscal year. Gov. Scott wants to give some of that money back to Floridians by cutting $500 million in taxes and fees.

“What do the Democrats have to say about this goal? Nan Rich, the only announced opponent in the race for governor, asks if we really need tax cuts. Other Democratic legislators say that, instead of cutting taxes, we should fund more things like social welfare programs with this extra money.

“When Democrats say that the proposed $500 million in tax cuts is simply just a reelection gimmick, look at the other major tax cuts he’s passed for Florida’s families and job creators. Governor Scott is going to win reelection because he is doing the right thing for our state – trusting the people with their money.”


Attorney General Pam Bondi repeatedly apologized Tuesday for asking Gov. Rick Scott to reschedule an execution that had been planned for the night of her waterfront “campaign kickoff” fundraiser.

Addressing the Tallahassee media for the first time since the reason for the delay became public, Bondi said her request to move the execution of convicted murder Marshall Lee Gore from Sept. 10 to Oct. 1 was a “mistake” that “won’t happen again.”

Scott has said he was simply complying with a request from a state Cabinet member when he rescheduled the execution.

Bondi, who has yet to receive a challenger in her 2014 re-election campaign, said her staff was aware of the reason for the request. Attorneys for Gore, whose sanity has been the focus of two prior successful efforts to block the execution, have again filed a challenge to the planned execution. “We are fighting that,” Bondi said. Gore was convicted of killing two women in 1988 in Miami-Dade and Columbia counties. Gore’s death warrant is for the murder of Robyn Novick, whose nude body was found in March 1988 in a rural area of Miami-Dade.

Asked if she was concerned the incident could hinder the perception of her as a crime fighter, Bondi replied: “I asked that a killer’s date be changed and he was given 20 more days, and it won’t happen again. I’m sorry.”

I KEEP HEARING that George Sheldon, spurred on by Bondi’s miscue, will announce in October that he will run for AG.

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… Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

That’s right, Lopez-Cantera has emerged as a dark horse possibility on Gov. Rick Scott’s short list of LG options.

You may wonder if Lopez-Cantera would even be interested in serving as Lieutenant Governor, considering he was just elected Property Appraiser in Miami-Dade. A few months ago, the answer would have been negative. But today, as Lopez-Cantera feuds openly with the Miami-Dade County Commission over the independence of the Property Appraiser’s office, the former State Representative is said by a source close to him to be open to serving as LG and Scott’s running mate in 2014.

Certainly, Lopez-Cantera fits the bill for Scott. A telegenic Hispanic with a South Florida political base puts a checkmark in a lot of boxes as Scott and chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth evaluate possible replacements for Jennifer Carroll.  

Scott has been silent about the search for a second-in-command, a job vacant since the resignation of Carroll on March 12. 


Scott on Tuesday defended his decision to withdraw from a testing system central to evaluating new, nationwide school standards by saying it represented the federal government’s ”entry point for intrusion.”

Scott announced a day earlier that Florida would withdraw from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing program that accompanies the Common Core State Standards, which are poised to be deployed fully in the state next year.

… “It’s their entry point to having more involvement in our education system,” Scott said of the PARCC system, which was developed largely by educators from Florida and other states, not the federal government. “My goal is lets make sure we continue to raise our standards. I want to thank Gov. Bush for his focus on that.”

… Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Scott again declined to openly endorse Common Core, echoing comments he made a day earlier in letters to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Florida Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand.

“A lot of people want to say, ‘is it yes or no to Common Core?’ and that’s not the right way to be looking at it,” Scott said. “It’s ‘yes’ to high standards…because that’s going to pay off in a global economy, and it’s ‘no’ to federal intrusion.”

WHAT’S PARCC GOT TO DO WITH IT? via Kathleen McGrory of the Miami Herald

(W)hen pressed by a reporter to explain how PARCC was an example of federal intrusion, Scott was short on details.

“If you look at it, it’s their entry point into having more involvement in our education system, and my goal is, let’s make sure we continue to raise our standards,” Scott said. “I want to thank [former] Gov. [Jeb] Bush for his focus on that. He really led that effort and he’s led it around the country, but I want to continue that focus on education, but we don’t need the federal government intruding in our lives.”

Asked a second reporter: “How can a test that’s developed by a consortium of states be federal intrusion? How is that their entry point?” 

Replied Scott: “It was their entry point to intrusion and their involvement in our system. What I believe in, is we should be able to come up with an assessment that works for us. Again, we want high standards but we don’t need their involvement.”

A third try from another reporter: “But governor, you haven’t given us any examples. Give us an example of what you mean by federal intrusion. What specifically has happened?”

Scott: “It’s the entry point to where the federal government would be more involved in our education system, and I oppose that. That’s what I talked to Secretary Duncan about.” 

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The rate hikes, which go into effect on Oct. 1, are due to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The measure was passed to keep the National Flood Insurance Program solvent after an onslaught of claims from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Essentially, what it does is remove federal subsidies from properties in flood zones.

“Everyone’s going to pay more for flood insurance,” said Lee Gorodetsky, an insurance agent in Fort Lauderdale. “It’s just a question of how much. And we’ve seen so many floods now: Colorado, last year, hurricane Sandy, before that, other parts of the country. And it’s obvious the … program is bankrupt.”

… “It’s a real mess,” said Treasure Island real estate agent Jim White, who noted that home sales are down because no one can afford to pay the full flood insurance rates. The real estate market in Florida was just beginning to recover following the recession, he said.

“Just the specter of this has killed the real estate market,” Treasure Island Mayor Robert Minning added.

At least one Florida legislator, and lawmakers in Louisiana, another state hard-hit by the changes, are hoping to persuade Congress to delay the rate hikes for a year.


st. Petersburg’s Bill Foster warned Gov. Scott that flood insurance rate hikes could be “devastating” for thousands of St. Petersburg homeowners.

Foster was joined by area realtors, who briefed Scott and the Cabinet about potential impacts of changes to the National Flood Insurance Program, which take effect Oct. 1. They called on state leaders to seek a delay from members of Congress.

Florida Realtors President Dean Asher also spoke about the “unintended consequences” from passage of the Biggert-Waters Act.

Insurance rates are expected to go up statewide for property owners in flood-prone areas. St. Petersburg will be among the hardest hit cities, with up to 15,000 property owners facing higher insurance premiums.

“It will have a devastating effect on St. Petersburg and Pinellas County,” Foster said.

At Tuesday’s briefing with Scott and the Cabinet, Foster also suggested that Attorney General Pam Bondi could file a lawsuit to try to force a moratorium. Scott and Cabinet members had no immediate response after the briefing.


Opponents of planned rate increases by the National Flood Insurance Program are planning a rally Saturday in Tampa, one of several similar gatherings in states across the country. 

The Tampa rally will be at noon at Ballast Point Park, 5300 Interbay Blvd. 

Other rallies are planned in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Alabama, Hawaii and Iowa.

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APPOINTED: James “Jim” Scott to the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority.

REAPPOINTED: James “Jim” Kimbrough to the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority.


Florida’s consumer confidence declined one point in September to 76, continuing a four-month slide, according to a University of Florida survey. “The decline is definitely a trend and one that is now being reflected in other economic data,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. This trend also suggests that Floridians could face another recession if the federal government shuts down, McCarty said.

Three of the five components dropped.  Respondents’ confidence in the U.S. economy over the next year fell two points to 74. Meanwhile, their faith in the national economic health over the next five years went down six points to 72.  Expectations of improved personal finances a year from now was 78 — down three points.

Respondents’ overall opinion that their personal finances are better now than a year ago was unchanged at 63, a figure that has stayed level for three months. Finally, survey-takers’ response to the question of whether now is a good time to buy a big ticket item such as a computer rose three points to 90. Florida’s economic sentiment may be a bellwether for the national mood, McCarty said.

“It is worth noting that our July reading was among the first economic indicators to show what now appears to be a slowdown in both Florida and U.S. economic indicators,” McCarty said.

POLICY NOTES via The Florida Current

Florida Parole Commission: Meets 9 a.m. at 4070 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee. The agenda can be found here. 

Florida Department of Environmental Protection holds a rule development workshop at 9 a.m. in Lake Buena Vista on proposed amendments intended to increase the use of reclaimed water and provide clarification for permit applicants. The workshop will be held in the third-floor board room of the Reedy Creek Improvement District Administration Building, 1900 Hotel Plaza Blvd. More information about the meeting can be found here. More information about the proposed rule is available by contacting Janet Llewellyn at 850-245-3139 or

Florida Public Service Commission: To discuss the nuclear decommissioning costs for Crystal River 3 Nuclear Plant among other subjects at a conference at 9:30 a.m. in room 148 of the Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Room 148, Tallahassee. The agenda can be found here. 

State University System’s Board of Governors’ Chancellor Search Committee:  Meets 11 a.m. via telephone conference call. The number is 888-670-3525, Participant Code: 4122150353. More information can be found here

Florida School Boards Association: Holds its third Federal Issues & Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. starting at noon with briefings from federal and state officials about pending federal education issues. More information can be found here

Florida Public Service Commission: Workshop to discuss the 10-year site plans for the state’s 11 largest electric utilities. Each utility’s plan identifies system upgrades and modifications needed to maintain adequate reliability for the coming decade. The meeting will be held at the Betty Easley Conference Center, Room E-148, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.

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The Florida Justice Association announced it has awarded Senator Arthenia Joyner with the Perry Nichols Award, the organization’s highest honor, for her relentless passion for equal rights, truth, and justice.

The Perry Nichols Award was created in 1977 in honor of the visionary who first brought Florida’s leading trial attorneys together to create the Negligence and Compensation Lawyers of Florida, the predecessor to today’s Florida Justice Association. It is given to the attorney whose perseverance, commitment, and unmatched dedication to the civil justice system sets the standard for other attorneys to aspire to achieve. She has been widely recognized for her leadership on women’s and human rights issues and her relentless passion for justice, truth, and equal rights.  Facing segregation and discrimination, she participated in the first civil rights demonstrations in her hometown of Tampa and was arrested twice while attending FAMU when participating in efforts to desegregate movie theaters. Also, in 1985, as President of the National Bar Association, she was arrested in a protest against apartheid outside the South African Embassy in Washington, DC.


Tuesday, the Florida League of Cities honored Senator Wilton Simpson with its 2013 Legislative Appreciation Award. According to a release, “Legislative Appreciation Award recipients are lawmakers who consistently vote and advocate on behalf of the League and its members. This prestigious award was presented to Sen. Simpson for his tireless efforts to protect the home rule powers of Florida’s cities during the 2013 legislative session. Sen. Simpson voted in support of League positions, offered amendments to help prevent preemptions and unfunded mandates, and worked behind the scenes to rally support for League positions.” Sen. Simpson serves as chair of the Community Affairs Committee. He was elected to the Florida Senate in 2012.

PAFFORD, WILLIAMS VIE FOR DEM LEADERSHIP POST via Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida

Two lawmakers filed paperwork Tuesday to try to become the next House Democratic leader, part of a 48-hour rush to fill the role after the caucus ousted its first choice in a dramatic meeting Monday night.

Rep. Mark Pafford of West Palm Beach and Rep. Alan Williams of Tallahassee said they would seek the position, while Rep. Mia Jones of Jacksonville declined to make another bid. Jones narrowly lost a February election that led to Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg being named leader; Williams was initially in that race, but dropped out.

Pafford is perceived to be the front-runner, with an ability to heal ties with the Florida Democratic Party, trial lawyers and teachers after complaints that Rouson had alienated those groups. Pafford, a progressive, could also help soothe grass-roots activists uneasy with the idea that former Gov. Charlie Crist, once a Republican, is the party’s likely gubernatorial nominee in 2014.

In her statement withdrawing from the race, Jones threw her support behind Pafford.

“At this time, I believe it is in the best interest of the caucus for us to elect Representative Mark Pafford as our next leader,” Jones said. “He will represent us with dignity and integrity, and most importantly, he will right this ship.”

A meeting was set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday for Democrats to choose a new leader, who would be charged with leading the effort next year to gain more seats for the party in the 120-member House. That leader also will head the Democratic caucus for a two-year term, starting after the 2014 elections.

HASHTAG OF THE DAY: #Paffordnado h/t George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post.

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State Sen. David Simmons, chair of the Senate Banking and Insurance committee, says his committee will look into the possibility of prohibiting state-backed Citizens Property Insurance from issuing coverage for non-Florida residents who own property in the state.

Simmons says many out-of-state customers insured by Citizens own coastal property at rates far below those found in the private marketplace.

“We ran those numbers last spring, 180,000 individuals who are non-residents or appear to be non-residents have policies,” Simmons told his committee Tuesday. “That is a significant part of the exposure that Citizens has.” 

Rep. Bill Hager, vice-chair of the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee, agrees with Simmons’ findings.

“During the 2013 legislative session,” the Delray Beach Republican said in a Sept. 10 press release,  “my colleagues in the Florida Legislature and I made some necessary, forward progress to reform Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp.”

Hager was referring to inquiries by the Stronger Safer Florida Coalition, which include the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Wildlife Federation. The coalition had questioned legislators as to why Florida property owners subsidize the nearly 180,000 people living out-of-state who hold Citizens policies.

A similar proposal entered into the 2013 legislative session, but did not make it to a final package aiming to reform and reduce the size of Citizens. According to Hager, excluding out-of-state policyholders would result in the same thing — a reduction in the number of policies written by the state-sponsored insurance company.  


Senator Dorothy Hukill has filed Senate Bill 188 that defines the use of biometric information and protects students’ privacy rights.  The bill provides parents with the right to consent or refuse to have their child biometrically scanned by a school.  It also stipulates that a student cannot be excluded from school activities or services even if they do not provide their biometric information. 

Some Florida schools are already collecting biometric information to be used for various purposes such as paying for lunches, recording attendance, checking out library books, boarding the school bus and tracking students’ movements on campus.  These issues need to be addressed and this legislation will do that.  

All 67 school districts across Florida will be required to notify parents of current and enrolling students of their biometric collection policies by written notice at least 30 days prior to collection.


Rep. Matt Gaetz wants high schoolers to catch up on sleep for school days.

Gaetz has filed HB 67 for the 2014 legislative session, a bill that would prohibit school boards from starting high school classes earlier than 8 a.m.

The Fort Walton Beach Republican believes that later school start times will provide more teenagers more sleep, something that is impossible if students have to leave for school before dawn. The extra rest will help them perform at their most alert levels, and promotes an overall healthier lifestyle.

Early start times for high schoolers have been a growing issue across the country, and is particularly significant in Gaetz’s home region of Okaloosa County. The Fort Walton Beach High School begins classes at 7 a.m.


Pilon filed a proposal that would end Florida’s “winner takes all” practice of awarding all the electoral votes to the presidential candidate that carries the state.

Pilon wants to create one presidential elector from each congressional district and two at-large districts. At-large electors would cast ballots for the presidential candidate getting the most votes in a majority of congressional districts.

This “district method” was adopted in Nebraska in 1991, where two electors at large and one elector for each congressional district are pledged to each president/vice-president ticket.  Electors pledged to the ticket having received the plurality of votes within each Congressional District.

In the 2008 and 2012 elections, Democrat Barack Obama won all of Florida’s electoral votes — 27 went to Obama. In 2012, it increased to 29 votes.

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CAN’T WAIT TO READ the second volume of “The Speakers,” written by Dr. Ed Moore and edited by the House Clerk’s team. The book is being released this week by the Speaker’s office. It is over 160 pages about the House Speakers from Peter Rudy Wallace to Will Weatherford and is stocked with historical photographs. 


House Higher Education & Workforce Subcommittee meets 9 a.m. to hear an update on the implementation of the preeminence provision in SB 1076. It provided additional money for both the University of Florida and Florida State University to improve their academic rankings. 102 of the House Office Building.

Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee: Will hear updates from AHCA at 1 p.m. on a series of initiatives lawmakers launched in the spring. AHCA will deliver reports on DRGs, Medicaid residency and managed care programs, waiver requests for LIP and the Medically Needy program and the status of lawsuits with financial implications. 412 Knott.

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government: To hear a presentation on Florida’s springs from the Department of Environmental Protection at 1 p.m. in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building. The subcommittee also will hear a presentation on DEP’s petroleum contamination cleanup program and a presentation on the artificial reef program by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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4:30-6:00 p.m. – Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, Rep. Marylynn Magar, Rep. Kathleen Peters, Rep. Holly Raschein — Governors Club – BC Room

4:30-6:00 p.m. – Rep. Larry Metz, Rep. Kathleen Passidomo — Governors Club – Library Room

4:30-6:00 p.m. – Rep. David Richardson, Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez — Governors Club – Capital Room

5:00-6:30 p.m. – Rep. Alan Williams — Clyde’s & Costello’s

5:00-6:30 p.m. – Rep. Barbara Watson, Rep. Jared Moskowitz, Rep. Gwen Clarke Reed, Rep. Hazelle Rogers — Andrews 22- Fountain Room

5:00-7:00 p.m. – Rep. Michael Bileca, Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, Rep. Carlos Trujillo at Highpoint Center 14th Floor 

5:30-6:30 p.m. – Rep. Katie Edwards — Governors Club – Balcony

5:30-7:00 p.m. – Rep. Steve Crisafulli at Home of Chris & Kellie Kraft – 3571 Mossy Creek Lane

5:30-7:00 p.m. – Rep. Kionne McGhee, Rep. Richard Stark at Hospitality Square

5:30-7:00 p.m. – Rep. Shevrin Jones, Rep. Karen Castor Dentel, Rep. Kevin Rader –Governors Club Lounge

5:30-7:30 p.m. – Rep. Irv Slosberg, Rep. Bobby Powell, Rep. Daphne Campbell — 101-Restaurant

6:00-7:30 p.m. – AG Pam Bondi at Home of Jim & Carole Smith, 10300 McCracken Road

7:00-8:00 p.m. – Rep. Jimmie T. Smith — Governors Inn – Meeting Room

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Go figure on this one: early voting dampens voter turnout. This finding, born from a Pew Research study that used multivariate regression to analyze turnout data from 2004 and 2008, suggests that the nation’s most popular voting reform achieves the opposite of its intent.  What’s more, early voting states include large, electorally important ones such as Florida, Ohio, Texas and New Jersey. When implemented on its own without other voting reforms, early voting appears to rob Election Day of its “stimulating effects” by dissipating the energy of Election Day over a longer period of time.  To the authors, early voting reduces social pressure to vote, and makes it more difficult on campaigns to get people to the polls over time rather than in one heated day.   The study also examined media effects and found that states with early voting had lower volumes of campaign ads and less steep ramp ups of ads before Election Day. (Now that, who can say is a bad thing?) Through this, the study suggests that predicted turnout is lessened by three to four percentage points in states with early voting.

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CORRECTION: Yesterday, while offering a correction to the misspelling of Kathleen McGrory’s name, I went on to misspell Michael Van Sickler’s name. I give up!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Dave Peluso.

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.