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Sunburn for February 10 – Well, that just happened…

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Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry, Ryan Ray, and Jim Rosica


As expected, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were the winners in the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary on Tuesday night, and it wasn’t even close.

Sanders and Trump were projected by the Associated Press as the winners of the respective Democratic and Republican primaries at 8 p.m. eastern time, immediately after all the polls had closed down in the Granite State.

“We are going to make America so great again, maybe greater than ever before!” Trump shouted to an exuberant crowd in Manchester.

Although the New York City real estate magnate had been favored for months to capture the primary, his victory was a rebuke to the GOP establishment, who for months have been in denial for months about his standing in the polls.

He may be impossible to stop now. As the race now goes to South Carolina for a primary on February 20, Trump has a solid lead there, as he does in Florida and many other states in the deep South that will be going to the polls in the next month or so.

The intense race on the GOP side over the past week in New Hampshire was all who would finish in second place behind Trump – and the biggest loser was Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who after his strong third place placing in Iowa slumped to a disappointing fifth place in New Hampshire. Rubio was riding high going into this week, but his stunning meltdown at the hands of Chris Christie in last Saturday night’s debate apparently took its toll.

“I did not do well Saturday night, so listen to this,” Rubio admitted during his concession speech in Concord. He promised his supporters “that will never happen again.”

Ohio Governor John Kasich came in a strong second place to Trump, giving his campaign a huge boost going forward. In the battle of the governors, Kasich would appear to in much better position than the other two governors in the race, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.

That’s not the way Team Bush is looking at it.

Spokesman Tim Miller said Kasich “ran a one-state campaign” in New Hampshire and doesn’t have a “viable path” to the nomination.  Kasich came out ahead of Bush, despite the fact that Right to Rise, his well-funded super PAC, spent millions of dollars in ads in New Hampshire to try to bring him down.

There was a tight battle for third place for several hours between Ted Cruz and Bush, with Bush ultimately falling to fourth.

Christie, meanwhile, finished a disappointing sixth, behind Rubio. There will be strong noises that he should step down.

Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson rounded out the field.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton’s advisers were telling the press ahead of Tuesday that it would be a moral victory of sorts if she would be able to close within double-digits behind Sanders, who, like Trump, has led in polling in the state for months.

But Sanders absolutely thumped Clinton, winning by over 20 percentage points.

Clinton advisers say she will now change her strategy against Sanders, framing it around race.

“Where people are held back by injustice anywhere in America, that demands action,” she said in her concession speech, giving a hint of what surely will be her message going forward. “We also have to break through the barriers of bigotry.” She added that “immigrant families shouldn’t have to lie awake at night listening for a knock at the door.”

Sanders incorporated much of his traditional stump speech into his victory address, saying, “What the people here have said is that given the enormous crises facing our country, it is just too late for the same-old, same-old establishment politics and establishment economics. The people want real change.”

There will now be a slight break before the next elections, which take place for btoh parties on February 20  – in South Carolina for the Republicans, and Nevada for the Democrats.


@daveweigel: Imagine explaining this primary to someone who went into a coma in January 2015 and just woke up.

— @JamesGrantFL: Donald Trump & Bernie Sanders finish third tonight. A distant third to the state of West Virginia courtesy of SCOTUS #NewsDump #LookOverHere

— @sppeoples : Context: Ted Cruz spent $800k on NH airwaves. Jeb Bush’s team spent $35 million.

@PatriciaMazzei: Very confident @willweatherford at @JebBush Manchester HQ. “Tonight is a resurrection…”

@MarcACaputo: Rubio did this all to himself. Can’t even blame Chris Christie, really

@charlescwcooke: Looks as if the debate screw-up did matter. Rubio was adding 3% per day until Saturday; on track for 3-2-1. Tonight, a total cratering.

@EWErickson: Rubio’s problem is he went the Rudy path claiming later victories. It didn’t work for Rudy. Sure, Clinton lost the 1st ten, but Marco ≠ Bill

@EWErickson: Spending the night talking Rubio friends off the ledge. He is still viable, just less likely. Really more headed to Trump v Cruz now.

@damianpaletta: Silver lining for Rubio? Christie needs to finish in the top 5 in NH to ensure spot in SC debate. Right now he’s sitting in 6th.

@ZekeJMiller: OH: @murphymike is going to subsidize the rest of the Chris Christie campaign

@BillKristol: After Sanders and Trump win tonight, Mike Bloomberg’s going to have a busy day tomorrow.

@PhilipRucker: Kasich should pick up some armor on his way to South Carolina because the Bush and Rubio super PACs are likely to drop some bombs.

@ShaneGoldmacher: GLOVES OFF: Bush spox @Timodc says John Kasich “for 20 years has been a supporter of gutting the military.” Line of attack headed to SC.

@amy_hollyfield: Was there any doubt that #Florida primary March 15 would matter? Should be none no


Departure Lounge: Iowa turned out to be the end of the line for four candidates. Additional Republican candidates could well head for the exits after New Hampshire. Christie, who put huge effort into New Hampshire and came up short, said he was going home to New Jersey to “take a deep breath” and decide what to do about his presidential campaign.

Cha-Ching: Look for a surge in campaign cash for those with strong finishes. Sanders … had his best fundraising day of the race after the Iowa caucuses. Cruz, too, had a post-Iowa bonanza. Now it may be Kasich’s turn. “We have a lot of people who have been promising money if we perform,” said Tom Rath, a senior national adviser to the Ohio governor, who finished second among Republicans. “Tonight, we performed.”

Creative Writing: Candidate Bill Clinton masterfully framed his second-place finish in New Hampshire in 1992 as a big victory for the “Comeback Kid.” Look for the 2016 runners-up in New Hampshire to use similar creative writing techniques. Kasich is treating second place more like a win, saying it’s evidence a positive message resonates with Americans. Bush seems genuinely thrilled to say his campaign “is not dead.”

Piling on: Lower-finishing GOP candidates can be expected to gang up on the New Hampshire success stories. That’s what happened to the Rubio after he exceeded expectations with a strong third-place finish in Iowa. Is Kasich in for a thrashing?

Where next? South Carolina and Nevada are coming up in the next two weeks. Most Republican candidates were bound Wednesday for South Carolina, which holds its GOP primary Feb. 20, and Democrats to Nevada ahead of that state’s Democratic caucus the same day. Those two states offer candidates their first opportunities to compete for a large and diverse electorate. But first, Sanders heads to New York City, where he plans to have breakfast with the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Ad nauseous: The presidential hopefuls and their supporters already are planning to spend $35 million in South Carolina and $7 million in Nevada on TV and radio commercials, amounts that will rise significantly as voting approaches. Big spenders in South Carolina so far are Rubio and his allies, Cruz and his supporters and a super PAC backing Bush, advertising tracker Kantar Media’s CMAG shows. Trump also burst back onto TV there beginning Tuesday.

Endorsements: More will pop after New Hampshire. The Republicans who hang in there will try to snag endorsements from those who bug out. And others may weigh in. Among them: The Congressional Black Caucus political action committee promised to make its endorsement after New Hampshire. Republicans are wondering if South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will pick a favorite.

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HILLARY CLINTON ALLIES GRAPPLE WITH CRUSHING LOSS via Annie Karni of POLITICO – Staffing and strategy will be reassessed. The message, which so spectacularly failed in New Hampshire where she was trailing by 21 points when she appeared before her supporters to concede to Sanders, is also going to be reworked – with race at the center of it. Clinton is set to campaign with African-American victims of law enforcement deaths … And the campaign … is expected to push a new focus on systematic racism, criminal justice reform, voting rights and gun violence that will mitigate concerns about her lack of an inspirational message. Twice, she referenced her visit to Flint, Michigan, this week … The race issue was also front and center in the memo released by campaign manager Robby Mook before the polls closed, just minutes before the race was called for Sanders. “It will be very difficult, if not impossible, for a Democrat to win the nomination without strong levels of support among African-American and Hispanic voters,” Mook said in the three-page memo. “And a Democrat who is unable to inspire strong levels of support in minority communities will have no credible path to winning the presidency in the general election.”

HOW MEAN OLD JOHN KASICH BECAME MR. NICE via Erick Trickey of POLITICO – The challenge for Kasich is to overcome his legendary persona—more “Prince of Spite” than “Prince of Light,” unapologetically brusque, insensitive and even mean. Kasich once mimicked the convulsive shaking of a Parkinson’s sufferer—in his State of the State speech. He calls his own legislators “knuckleheads,” “thugs” and “bullies.” He publicly called the police officer who had given him a traffic ticket an “idiot.” So far Kasich’s sunny pitch is working here in wintry New Hampshire. Polls show he has risen to second or third place. He’s trying to get voters to like him as if he were a guy buying a round for the bar. But buying somebody a drink doesn’t mean they want to drink with you, which is why the classic question, “Would you want to have a beer with the candidate?” matters a lot in politics.

— “Who is John Kasich? 5 things you should know — including how to pronounce ‘Kasich’” via Amber Phillips of the Washington Post

RUBIO’S 3-2-1 STRATEGY IMPLODES — After leaking their strategy to place second in NH, Rubio placed fifth in the Granite State. Now, he heads to South Carolina, where he said he plans to place first.

Charles Krauthammer: Rubio is “very badly hurt,” might be done. Watch here.

MARCO RUBIO NH CHAIRMAN: I WRESTLED SCARY MARCOBOT PROTESTER IN SELF-DEFENSE! via Matthew Boyle of Breitbart – Cliff Hurst … admitted he physically roughed up the protester in an interview with Breitbart News—but claimed the protester started it. “He was pushing me, almost pushed me over. I’m 76- years-old. And he went right against me and pushed me almost to the ground,” Hurst said. When asked if it was the protester who started it, Hurst said: “Yes, of course … “Yeah, it was because when you’re attacked like that—he just attacked me.”

TRUMP TRUMPS BUSH ON TV via 2016 Blast — A revved up Bush declared: “This campaign’s not dead, we’re going on to South Carolina.” Few people saw it on television, however: The networks cut away to Trump as he began his speech at the same time.

RUBIO AND JEB BUSH TV SPENDING: $124 MILLION via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Bush and his Right to Rise super PAC have already spent $10.3 million ads in South Carolina … Rubio and his super PAC and dark money group have spent $9.4 million. Biggest overall ad spenders to date: Team Bush: $76.7 million ($71.8M from Super PAC, $4.9 million from campaign) … Team Rubio: $48 million ($16.9M from campaign, $20.7M from Super PAC, $10.5M from 501c4) … Team Sanders: $21.3 million (all from campaign) … Team Clinton: $17.4 million ($17.2M from campaign, $199K from Super PAC) … Team Christie: $16.6 million ($16.1M from Super PAC, $500K from campaign) … Team Cruz: $13.9 million ($5M from campaign, rest from outside groups) … Team Kasich: $13.2 million ($12.7M from outside groups, $500K from campaign) … Team Trump: $8.3 million (all from campaign).

— “The anxiety of being Marco Rubio” via McKay Coppins of the BuzzFeed News

— “The 15 Saddest Moments of Jeb Bush’s Presidential Campaign” via Freddie Campion of GQ Magazine

JOE GRUTERS FIRED UP BY TRUMP’S NEW HAMPSHIRE VICTORY via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – One of the first Florida Republicans to celebrate the Trump victory was Gruters, the Sarasota County Republican Party chairman, and chairman of Trump’s Florida campaign. “I think that he is well underway to victory, and I think tonight is the first of many wins … I think that his rally here on Friday is going to continue to build that momentum … I think he’s going to do really well, and I think all the polls have him up between 10-15 points here in Florida.” Gruters is actually low-balling those numbers. The Real Clear Politics average of polls conducted in Florida actually has Trump up by 20 points over his next closest challenger … Cruz.

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LINDSAY GRAHAM WARNS THAT KASICH WILL STRUGGLE IN SC via David Weigel of the Washington Post – “Of the three early states, South Carolina has always been Jeb‘s best, in terms of infrastructure and dynamics,” Graham said. “We have a reputation for voting for the most conservative candidate who’s electable. [Kasich is] a good guy, and a good governor, but when it comes to military issues he’s been more of a budget cutter than a hawk. He describes himself as a budget hawk; well, advocating for more BRAC before you rebuild the military.”

ASSIGNMENT EDITORSBush will be campaigning in South Carolina, starting with a 11:15 a.m. Eastern rally at the Sun City Hilton Head Pavilion Room, 138 Kings Creek Dr. in Bluffton. RSVP available online here. Later, the former governor will hold a 3:30 p.m. Eastern town hall in Charleston County at the Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park Visitor Ctr., Cooper River Room, 99 Harry M Hallman Jr. Boulevard in Mount Pleasant. RSVP available online here. At 6:30 p.m. Eastern, Bush will hold a town hall at the VFW Post #10420, 4359 U.S.-17 in Murrells Inlet. RSVP available online here.

TRUMP WIN SETS UP BRUTAL BATTLE WITH TED CRUZ via Ben Schreckinger of POLITICO — Trump allies and antagonists alike say he is well-positioned for the next contest on Feb. 20 in South Carolina, where he boasts a double-digit lead over [Cruz] and fields his strongest operation of any state. But the Texas senator could gain the upper hand on Trump as soon as March 1, when 12 states vote, including six across the South where Cruz has invested heavily.

TRUMP UP WITH NEW AD IN SC: CRUZ ‘WORST KIND’ OF INSIDER via the Associated Press – The 30-second spot … says Cruz of “talks from both side of his mouth” on allowing immigrants who are in the country illegally to stay, and took “sweetheart” loans from Wall Street banks when he ran for Senate in 2012. Then the narrator says Cruz’s presidential campaign employed “dirty tricks” when it sent word to Iowans on the night of that state’s caucuses that Ben Carson might be dropping out. Cruz is “the worst kind of Washington insider, who just can’t be trusted,” the Trump ad concludes, showing Cruz’s “TrusTED” campaign slogan.

WHY TRUMP’S TAMPA BAY RALLY IS PERFECTLY TIMED via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – Trump‘s rally planned for Fridayevening at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa could not be better planned … supervisors in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties are sending out more than 300,000 mail ballots for Florida’s March 15 primary. “Voters will have their ballots in the hot little hands by tomorrow or Thursday and then Donald Trump is going to get a ton of earned media Friday,” noted Tony DiMatteo, a Republican consuiltant and Trump supporter in Pinellas County, whose elections office today sends out more than 200,000 ballots.

SILVER AIRWAYS PROMOTION OFFERS URGES FLORIDIANS TO FLY TO TAMPA TO SEE THE DONALD “TRUMP TRAIN” via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – The airline is offering 60 percent off one-way flights to Tampa on Thursday and Friday. The promotion is also good for one-way flights from Tampa on Saturday. “This Friday night, Trump will be at the USF Sun Dome for a major campaign event,” the airline said … “Last Saturday in New Hampshire’s debate, Trump shushed (JebBush live on television. What will Trump do next? Find out for yourself. Let Silver fly you to the event!” The airline said it is offering 60 percent off flights to Tampa, since “Bush came in 6th in Iowa.”

MARCO RUBIO IN 2ND PLACE IN FLORIDA, NEW POLL FINDS via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Trump leads in Florida, but Rubio is in second place, according to a new poll from Florida Southern College … Trump maintains the top spot in Florida among registered Republican voters with 27 percent. Rubio is in second with 20 percent, followed by Cruz at 12 percent and Carson at 6 percent … Bush is fifth with 4 percent … Florida voters would pick Rubio over Clinton, 45 percent to 43 percent. In a head-to-head matchup, Clinton would defeat Trump, 45 percent to 38 percent.

A WEEK LEFT TO REGISTER FOR PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY via Jeff Weiner of the Orlando Sentinel – Residents who haven’t previously registered to vote must do so by Feb. 16 to participate in the state’s March 15 presidential primaries. That’s also the deadline for voters to change party affiliation, which is important because Florida uses a closed-primary system. Want to register or swap parties? The forms are available in person or online through local supervisor of elections’ offices, the state Division of Elections, or at any local library or driver’s license office.

WHAT MICHAEL BLOOMBERG’S ENTRY WOULD DO FOR TRUMP via Edward Luce of  – There would be one major snag: an independent Bloomberg would have almost no chance of winning the White House. Moreover, he is a strong supporter of gun control, gay marriage, fighting global warming and cutting people’s sugar consumption — all positions that would rile Trump’s base support. He would almost certainly take more votes from Clinton than from Trump. A Bloomberg candidacy could split the vote just enough to give Trump the White House. Imagine that. As Bloomberg weighs his chances, he should recall the words of Adlai Stevenson, the 1950s Democratic leader. On being told that he would have the support of “every thinking man in America,” Stevenson replied: “Yes, but I need a majority.”

***Florida hospitals are on a mission. A mission to increase access to health care, improve the quality of care and reduce costs for patients. Find out more about the Florida Hospital Association’s “Mission to Care” and its new website that provides hospital prices and quality ratings in a consumer-friendly, searchable format.***

MEDICAL MARIJUANA INITIATIVE RECEIVES BACKING FROM SERVICE EMPLOYEES UNION via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – “The Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions ballot initiative is about compassion and quality of care for patients. There are hundreds of thousands of very sick Floridians who will find relief due to this comprehensive proposal,” said Martha Baker, a registered nurse and the president of SEIU Local 1991, which represents nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals at Florida’s largest public hospital. “There are 24 other states that have a medical marijuana law; United for Care is doing the right thing for Florida by bringing this issue to the voters. Moreover, the proposal puts medical decisions back in their proper place: between patient and doctor.”

DARREN SOTO ENDORSED BY NEW YORK U.S. REP. NYDIA VELÁZQUEZ via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Soto‘s bid to become the first Floridian of Puerto Rican descent to be elected to Congress has won the endorsement of … Velázquez, also of Puerto Rican descent [and] a 23-year House member from Brooklyn … “Darren Soto is a sensible and compassionate leader,” she said in a news release issued by Soto’s campaign. “He will stand up for the rights of those who cannot stand up for themselves, and has a proven record of doing just that. I am excited to endorse Darren Soto in his first race for Congress as he makes history by being elected Florida’s first Puerto Rican Congressman.”

‘TEBOW FACTOR’ EMERGES IN HD 12 RACE via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics – Bob Tebow, the evangelist and father of the Florida Gators legend, gave $200 in January to the HD 12 campaign of Don Redman. The Tebows have been political before; one can recall their pro-life advertisement aired during a Super Bowl a few years back. Tebow’s money behind Redman may not add up to much impact though, given that Redman (despite having been in the race the longest) lags behind two candidates, Richard Clark and Clay Yarborough, in the money race.

CORRECTION: State Sens. Jack Latvala and Jeff Brandes and Reps. Larry AhernChris LatvalaKathleen Peters and Chris Sprowls host a meet-and-greet for Republican Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate David Jolly Thursday, Feb. 18. Event begins 5:30 p.m. at the Greenberg Taurig offices, 101 East College Ave. in Tallahassee. An earlier post mistakenly referred to the event as a “fundraiser.” We regret the error.

***In Marion County alone, the horse industry’s annual economic impact is $2.62 billion and nearly 20,000 jobs—completely dwarfing any Seminole Compact estimates. Totally opposed by horsemen, the “partial decoupling” plan now in play would put horsemen on forced welfare with an artificial “set aside purse pool,” wiping out free enterprise and Florida’s ability to compete for horse racing business with other states. United Florida Horsemen want legislators to know that “Partial Decoupling” is being peddled by casino-only interests, the goal of which is to channel money directly into their corporate bottom lines that would have normally been circulated into Florida’s economy.***

GUT CHECK: LEGISLATIVE SESSION REACHES MID-POINT via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Take the 2016-17 state budget … The House came in at $79.9 billion with the Senate proposing $80.9 billion. Sure, that’s only a billion dollars apart, but $1 billion is still a lot of money, even in Tallahassee … As to policy, both chambers are closing in on some sort of ride-booking legislation … but remain apart on how to regulate those services, which include Uber and Lyft. And both chambers seem willing to do something about gambling, but don’t agree on exactly what. But they did pass three big measures in the first week: A water protection bill that House Speaker Steve Crisafulli wanted; a bill that expands employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, and another that increases their educational opportunities. The latter two were priorities of Senate President Andy Gardiner, who has a son with Down syndrome. Scott signed all three. A bill aimed at effectively ending permanent alimony is heading to the House floor after clearing its final committee of reference.

SENATE WILL TAKE DEAD AIM AT GOV. SCOTT’S ‘PROPERTY TAX INCREASE’ via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Senate President Andy Gardiner … issued a statement … in which he said Scott‘s proposed school budget would raise taxes … “Gardiner agrees that rising home values are a good thing, but the practical impact of rising property values is higher property taxes … our state can take steps to mitigate the impact by reducing the RLE (required local effort) and allowing homeowners across the state to keep more of their hard-earned money.” Under Scott’s budget proposal, nearly 90 percent of the boost in K-12 funding would come from higher property tax bills charged to businesses and homeowners through a budget provision known as RLE, or required local effort — an annual funding decision that the governor and Legislature set for all 67 county school districts. Growth in Florida property values means higher property taxes locally, even if the tax rate doesn’t go up. Scott has called this trend “a good thing,” but a growing number of his fellow Republicans in the Legislature call it a tax increase.

GAMBLING LEGISLATION STARTS ROLLING IN HOUSE via Gary Fineout of The Associated Press – A divided House panel voted in favor of a bill that would ratify a deal between the state and the tribe that would guarantee $3 billion to Florida over a seven-year period. The same committee also approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would require voter approval for any future gambling expansion. “Doing a gaming bill is like putting a queen-sized sheet on a king-sized bed,” said Rep. Jose Felix Diaz … “It’s impossible to accommodate the interests of every single person in the room.”

Here’s a look at what’s going on: Tuesday marked the first time … legislators took a vote on the proposed deal with the Seminoles. A House committee approved three separate bills dealing with gambling. The vote is noteworthy because, in the past, bills dealing with gambling have encountered stiff resistance in the House.Why is the deal opposed by some? Some want to extend slot machines to counties that have already approved them, which includes Brevard, Lee and several others … although the tribe could support slot machines in North Florida, it’s against allowing them at tracks near their existing casino in southwest Florida. If lawmakers insist on major changes to the compact, then the tribe would argue it doesn’t have to pay as much to the state. Additionally, some are opposed to the measures because one of the gambling bills under consideration would allow greyhound tracks and some horse tracks to drop racing. Track owners like this provision because they could still keep poker rooms and slot machines without racing. Anti-gambling opponents, citing the potential damage to Florida’s tourism industry, are also opposed to what they call a massive expansion of gambling.

SENATE PUNTS — FOR NOW — ON SEMINOLE COMPACT, GAMBLING BILL via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – “My intention is to (temporarily postpone) the gaming bills today for one week to give our committee members the opportunity to digest the various amendments being filed,” [said] state Sen. Rob Bradley, chair of the Regulated Industries Committee … Bradley told reporters the delay was about getting it right, rather than just getting it done. “The decision had nothing to do with vote counts and everything to do with the fact that this is a complex issue,” he said. “These are pretty extensive amendments.”

DEAD AGAIN: SENATORS KILL ANTI-LGBT DISCRIMINATION BILL via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – On a voice vote, the Judiciary Committee deadlocked again on a procedural move to bring the bill (SB 120) back, one day after the bill died on a 5-5 vote. Sens. Aaron BeanLizbeth BenacquistoJeff BrandesWilton Simpson and Kelli Stargel, all Republicans, still opposed the bill. In favor were committee Chairman Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and Sen. David Simmons, both Republicans, and Arthenia JoynerJeremy Ring and Darren Soto, all Democrats. The measure, known as the “Florida Competitive Workforce Act,” aims to prohibit employment, retail and other discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, amending the state’s Civil Rights Act.  “It will be back” next year, Diaz de la Portilla told reporters after the meeting.

TWEET, TWEET: @RepDanaYoung: Today 3 of my bills passed their cmtes unanimously: Gaspump skimmers, Disaster relief, & bill to reduce Hillsb. SRX reqs to lower State reqs

OPEN ENROLLMENT BILL GOES TO HOUSE FLOOR WITH AMENDMENTS via Kristen Clark of the Tampa Bay Times – HB 669 — from Rep. Chris Sprowls — would allow parents to request classroom transfers for their kids or put them in any school in the state that has capacity … the measure moved swiftly through three committees since passing its first panel three weeks ago, and it’s one of several bills being debated in both the House and Senate this session that call for open enrollment. The concept is supported by “school choice” advocates and the charter school industry — which gave Florida lawmakers’ campaign and political committees at least $182,500 between July and early January, before the 2016 session started. Republicans said the bill promotes choice and the freedom for all students to go to a quality school that suits their needs. But Democrats said key questions still remain unanswered, such as how it would affect school funding across district lines and whether it would hurt neighborhood schools or have other unintended consequences.

DESPITE PROBLEMS CHARTER SCHOOLS COULD GET MORE STATE MONEY via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press – Setting up a potential tug-of-war over millions in taxpayer money, the Florida House is rushing ahead with a plan that would force school districts across the state to share local property taxes with charter schools. Some legislators are pushing to steer more money to charter schools even though a recent analysis by The Associated Press found that as much as $70 million has gone to charter schools that eventually closed. The House will vote this week on a proposed budget that includes $90 million for charter schools. If the separate bill becomes law, then districts would be required to share an additional $63 million.

IMMIGRATION BILLS DEAD, SENATE CHAIRMAN CONFIRMS via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – Bills targeting illegal immigration in Florida won’t be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee this session, Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla said … “None of the immigration bills are going to be heard … So those are off the table as far as the judiciary committee is concerned.” One (SB 872) by Sen. Aaron Bean … would prevent so-called “sanctuary city” policies in Florida, requiring local law enforcement to hold undocumented immigrants if U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement indicates it might be interested in picking them up. Similar legislation passed the House last week. The other (SB 118) by Sen. Travis Hutson … makes it a first-degree felony — punishable by up to 30 years in prison — to re-enter the state after being deported.

BILL RESTRICTING ABORTION PROVIDERS NOW HEADED TO HOUSE FLOOR via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – HB 1411 cleared the House Health and Human Services Committee … sponsored by Rep. Colleen Burton … [the bill] requires doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The bill also prohibits state agencies, local governments and Medicaid managed plans from paying for services at a clinic that is owned, operated or affiliated with a licensed abortion clinic. It also amends state law to prohibit selling, purchasing or donating fetal remains obtained through an abortion.

SENATE COMMITTEE PASSES BILL RESTRUCTURING PUBLIC LAND ACQUISITION AND MANAGEMENT via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools – SB 1290, filed by Sen. Wilton Simpson is nearly identical to House equivalent, HB 1075, filed by Rep. Matt Caldwell … Sen. Darren Soto submitted an amendment to strip language that would allow “an expansion of use of land acquisition dollars, Amendment 1 dollars, on water projects.” DEP General Counsel Robert Williams told senators that using land acquisition money on water projects allows “[DEP] flexibility while we are looking at protecting springs, protecting other areas,” in addition to “other tools to our toolbox.”

THAD ALTMAN PUSHES FOR MORE LAND ACQUISITION MONEY IN SENATE PROPOSED BUDGET via Isadora Rangel of TC Palm – Altman … who represents part of Indian River County, filed an amendment to a proposed state budget the Florida Senate will discuss on the floor … The amendment would allow the state to borrow $222.5 million to put into the Florida Forever program, which buys lands for parks and habitat preservation. That’s an increase from $22.2 million currently proposed. Altman said he knows getting his proposal passed is a tough sell … Scott opposes borrowing money through the issuing of bonds and many fellow senators say the state already owns too much land. Altman’s measure would use about $22 million to issue $222.5 million in bonds.

***Mark your calendar! Join us at The Edison on February 11 for Pancakes at the Park to celebrate the half-way mark of session. Make a donation to enjoy delicious pancakes from 7-10 a.m., served by city, county, and state elected officials. All donations benefit the Foundation of Leon County Schools.***

FLORIDA STRONG CUTS NEW WEB AD BLASTING LEGISLATURE via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Florida Strong, an independent advocacy organization, has produced a new web that calls the Legislature a bastion for special interests to get their way in Tallahassee. Called “Agenda,” the ad begins with the statement that “Lobbyists control Florida’s agenda” followed by one that reads: “The Decisions made will impact you.” The ad says more than $28 million in “special interests” have flooded the Capitol and specifically calls out anti-environmental interests, the pharmaceutical industry and for-profit charter schools as the culprits.

ADVOCATES OF ELECTED EDUCATION COMMISSIONER LAUNCH WEBSITE TO “BUG” LAWMAKERS via Florida Politics – Fund Education Now created the page so Floridians could urge their representative to vote for HB 767, sponsored by … Rep. Debbie Mayfield, which would put an initiative to bring back an elected education commissioner on the 2016 ballot. “Florida’s experiment with an appointed Commissioner of Education has robbed us of our right to a citizen voice in education policy,” the form letter reads. “In recent years, we’ve watched as a revolving door of five different commissioners presided over one A-F Accountability/high stakes testing blunder after another. Appointed Commissioners do not work for us.” All 160 legislators in the Florida House and Senate are preselected when users visit the site, and the only requirement to hit “send” on the fully editable letter is a name, email and phone number.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will hold a rally 10 a.m. at the Florida Capitol rotunda, 400 South Monroe Street in Tallahassee to support investing $20 million into a Technical Center Rapid Response Grant.

NRA’S MARION HAMMER WANTS WATER AGENCY ABOLISHED OVER GUN CLUB DISPUTE via Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times – The National Rifle Association’s most influential lobbyist blasted a state water agency … demanding that Scott and the Legislature abolish the Southwest Florida Water Management District for what she called violations of the Second Amendment. Hammer … is upset at the agency commonly known as Swiftmud because of a decade-long conflict over a Pinellas Park gun club and lead pollution caused by spent ammunition. The Skyway Trap & Skeet Club … owned by Swiftmud, has had to deal with pollution caused by all the lead bullets and shot fired from the club.

LEGISLATIVE SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools

SENATE LOOKS AT ETHICS BILL – A seeking to strengthen ethics laws and include some contractors, as well as making it easier to prosecute corruption cases will be discussed by the Senate Rules Committee at 10 a.m. in Room 110 of the Senate Building.

LEGISLATURE DEBATES BUDGET – both the House and Senate are scheduled to debate their respective budget proposals at meetings starting 1 p.m.

EXPECT A PACKED HOUSE TONIGHT FOR JMI’S ANNUAL DINNER — Nearly 300 people will gather tonight for the 2016 JMI Annual Dinner at the Augustus B. Turnbull Florida State Conference Center featuring the National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke, author of “The Conservatarian Manifesto” and frequent guest on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher and Fox News’s Red Eye. The evening will also incorporate a panel discussion with leadership from LIFT Orlando, a nonprofit organization comprised of business leaders partnering with residents in Central Florida to accelerate community transformation. Learn more here.

***Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, LLC, is a full-service consulting firm located just steps from the Capitol. The firm specializes in the development and implementation of successful advocacy strategies highly personalized for each client. Team Liberty is comprised of professionals with a track record of successful coalition-building, grassroots efforts and team coordination. The combination of a strong commitment to clients and practical government and private sector experience is why Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profits alike choose Liberty Partners of Tallahassee.***

TWEET, TWEET: @stevebousquet: Why lobbyists are smiling: @FLSenate drops stricter lobbying disclosure rules from ethics bill due to lack of votes.

NOW MIKE HARIDOPOLOS IS SUING FRANK TSAMOUTALES via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Haridopolos filed his own breach of contract claim … In August 2013, Haridopolos went to work as an independent contractor for Tsamoutales Strategies, a lobbying firm that is based in Tallahassee but represents clients across the state and country. The deal included pay of $240,000 a year. Tsamoutales sued first in Leon County, alleging Haridopolos “trad(ed) on his former political positions to receive large sums of money” instead of “performing meaningful work,” according to that complaint. Haridopolos’s suit says he “provided the required services” through his termination last December but Tsamoutales “failed and refused to pay” him. He says he’s still owed “in excess of $350,000.”


Robert Bedford, Emergent Design and Development: Adult and Community Educators of Florida

Paul Bradshaw, Southern Strategy Group: Biomass Harvesting Solutions

Gus Corbella, Greenberg Traurig: Argos Resources

James Daughton, Warren Husband, Gregory Black, Patricia Greene, Aimee LyonAndrew Palmer, Metz Husband & Daughton: ACT

Julie Fess, Jennifer Hatfield, Wilson & Associates: Florida Energy Pipeline Association; Florida Gas Transmission Company

Michael A. Jackson: Florida Pharmacy Association

David Ramba, Ramba Consulting: North American Insulation Manufacturers Association

Justin SeniorTonya Kidd, Molly McKinstry, Orlando Eugene Pryor, Joshua Spagnola: Agency for Health Care Administration

Paul Wharton: East Coast Habilitation Options

Larry J. WilliamsJoanna Bonfanti, Gunster Yoakley & Stewart: Tampa Bay Downs; Tampa Greyhound Track

***Capital City Consulting, LLC is a full-service government and public affairs firm located in Tallahassee, Florida. At Capital City Consulting, our team of professionals specialize in developing unique government relations and public affairs strategies and delivering unrivaled results for our clients before the Florida Legislature and Executive Branch Agencies. Capital City Consulting has the experience, contacts and winning strategies to help our clients stand out in the capital city. Learn more at***

GOVERNORS CLUB BUFFET MENU – Italian is the theme for the Governors Club midweek lunch buffet menu with Marseillan Saffron Vegetable Soup; Antipasti Flatbread Sandwich Board; Salad Bar with Caprese Salad and Italian Salad; Rustic Italian Pork Ragu; Braised Balsamic Chicken; Cheese Ravioli with Mushrooms, Asparagus and Sun Dried Pesto; Fried Calamari & Shrimp; Italian Vegetables; Butter Pappardelle Pasta and finishing with Assorted Mini Desserts.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our friends Carrie Henriquez and Franco Ripple. Also celebrating today is Jamie Wilson.

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.

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