Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.
CALLING ALL SUNBURN READERS: It’s been a crazy year, but Thursday is a day to give thanks. Let us what you’re thankful for this year. Send your thoughts to Peter@FloridaPolitics.com.
NEW DIGS FOR NEW LEADERS
The Florida Senate has a brand new look, and not a moment too soon.
Eight months after kicking off a long-awaited renovation of the Florida Senate Chamber, outgoing Senate President Andy Gardiner showed off the new digs to members at a ceremonial grand opening Monday.
The $6 million upgrade was completed just days before members returned to Tallahassee for organizational session. It’s the first major renovation of the Chamber since the current Capitol was built in the 1970s.
“It’s much more modern, both in feel and in practical use,” said Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, a member of the Chamber Renovation Working Group. “I love the way it feels. It’s very comfortable, and it feels like it’s been here forever.”
Good-bye, wood paneling and dingy carpet. Hello, domed ceiling and a stained glass pendant.
The pendant is surrounded in by the names of all of Florida’s 67 counties and the bright white dome is a nod to the style of the 1949 chamber, which was almost entirely white, said Gardiner.
Another point of pride for Gardiner? The state’s motto — “In God We Trust — is now displayed prominently above the President’s rostrum.
Gardiner said the Senate worked hard to make sure the Chamber was “more accessible for people with unique abilities,” adding a hearing loop so people with hearing loss can tap into the system.
The President’s Rostrum and Secretary’s Desk platforms are wider to accommodate the use of wheel chairs, and Victoria Gaetz, the wife of former Senate President Don Gaetz, helped select a portable wheel chair lift that will ensure people can reach the rostrum without leaving their wheel chair.
The grand opening came couldn’t come a moment too soon. The Legislature will convene Tuesday for organizational session, which include swearing in new members and electing presiding officers. The House will welcome 46 new members, while the upper chamber greets 20 new senators.
The Senate will be called into session at 10 a.m. for its meeting, during which Sen. Joe Negron will assume the role as Senate President. The Florida House will be called into session for its organizational meeting, and that’s when Rep. Richard Corcoran will formally take over as House Speaker.
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IN HOUSE CEREMONY, RICHARD CORCORAN CITES ‘SACRED TRUST’ OF PUBLIC OFFICE via Steve Bousquet and Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – House Republicans elected Corcoran as their leader in a designation ceremony that makes the Land O’Lakes lawyer speaker for the next two years. “We have to reduce the temptations so that we can remember that the power we hold, we don’t hold for ourselves and our own interests, but we hold it in trust for the people we represent,” Corcoran said in prepared remarks that described holding public office as “a sacred trust.” Corcoran has shaken up the Tallahassee establishment with a direct attack on the status quo that includes changes to the budgeting process, new limits on texting between House members and lobbyists, a ban on lawmakers flying on lobbyist-owned airplanes and a six-year ban on former members lobbying the House, the most restrictive ban of its kind of any state. House members also elected Rep. Nunez as speaker pro tem for the 2016-2018 term. “Buckle your seat belts, because it’s going to be an interesting ride,” Nunez said. Nunez is the first Hispanic woman to hold the largely ceremonial position. She noted that it was the anniversary of her first date with her husband Adrian, who attended with their sons Justin and Jason. Daughter Megan, a senior in high school, had a basketball game.
SEMINOLE COMPACT STILL IN PLAY, CORCORAN SAYS via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Corcoran said lawmakers again will consider a gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. A federal judge earlier this month ruled the tribe can continue to offer blackjack and other “banked card games” to its Hard Rock Casino customers across the state, including the Tampa location. The tribe sued the state, saying it had broken an exclusivity deal with the tribe, one part of what’s called the 2010 Seminole Compact. The Seminoles now can offer blackjack until 2030 without sharing revenue with the state. The original deal wound up being worth more than $200 million per year. A renewed blackjack deal struck by Gov. Scott earlier this year promised $3 billion over seven years in revenue share to the state, but it failed to gain approval from lawmakers. It also contained key provisions critics said expand gambling in Florida, such as allowing the tribe to offer craps and roulette. Passing the deal helps both sides, providing the state with much-needed cash and the tribe with “stability,” Corcoran told reporters. The new compact “will go through the whole committee process,” Corcoran said. “We’ll see it work itself through.”
JANET CRUZ ELECTED TO LEAD HOUSE DEMOCRATS via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – Cruz, of Tampa, was unanimously elected by Democrats to lead their caucus. She is the first Hispanic woman named leader. She told the story of her family. Immigrant great-grandparents, a single mother who worked in a gypsum plant and Cruz’s own teenage pregnancy. That, she said, is a story mirroring many in Florida. With just 41 members to the Republicans’ 79, Democrats likely won’t accomplish most of their biggest goals. But she said she is hopeful that House Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, will be open to good ideas, no matter which party they come from. Democrats elected Rep. Bobby DuBose of Fort Lauderdale as leader pro tempore. Cruz issued a charge to members of the minority that they stand by their beliefs, even if it looks like they won’t succeed. “We believe it is time to give Floridians a raise, to protect Floridians from discrimination, to preserve our environment for generations to come,” Cruz said. “On these core values, our principles are not negotiable.”
FOR BEN DIAMOND, WENGAY NEWTON, A TIME OF LEARNING AND OUTREACH via Anne Lindberg of Florida Politics – “It’s going to be a learning session for me,” said Newton, who represents District 70, which covers portions of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Sarasota and Manatee counties. Diamond, who won the race for House District 68, which covers a portion of Pinellas County, agreed. “I’m still taking it all in,” Diamond said. But that doesn’t mean Diamond isn’t busy. As a Democrat, he’s in the minority party, and that’s going to make it harder to get his proposals passed. The way to do that, he said, is to build relationships. And that’s what he’s started doing already. “I’m spending today reaching out,” Diamond said. He’s meeting other Legislators, talking with them and asking questions. It’s all part of the learning process. “I think the more time I can spend getting to know the other members,” the better, he said. He said he hopes that will help when it comes to getting good committee assignments. Fellow Democrat Newton said he’s also hoping for good committee assignments. He’s also concerned about … a proposed rule that would impose a six-year ban on lobbying once House members leave the chamber. “I thought that’s kind of extreme,” Newton said.
— “Bobby DuBose, Gary Farmer named leaders of Broward County legislative delegation” via Kristen Clark of the Tampa Bay Times
WE’LL LET DIXON HANDLE THIS ONE – HOUSE MINORITY OFFICE’S STAFF DIRECTOR PLACED ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE via POLITICO Florida – Former lobbyist Joe McCann is on leave from his post as staff director for the Florida House Democratic caucus … McCann, a former lobbyist, was hired in August after incoming Democratic leader Janet Cruz fired Durward Brewer, who had previously served in the post … before joining the House, McCann was a lobbyist for Ballard Partners and briefly ran his own firm.
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DAYS UNTIL: Thanksgiving – 2; Premiere of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 23; Inauguration Day – 58; Pitchers & catchers start reporting for Spring Training – 84; Start of 2017 Legislative Session – 115: Election Day 2017 – 349: Election Day 2018 – 713.
DONALD TRUMP FAVORABILITY GETS A POST-ELECTION BOOST via Morning Consult — The president-elect is experiencing a boost in the polls, with a new Morning Consult/POLITICO survey showing 46 percent of voters saying they had a favorable view of the New York Republican. That’s a 9-point bump from just before the election, when a similar Morning Consult/POLITICO survey found 37 percent of voters had a favorable view of Trump. The survey found 46 percent of voters had an unfavorable view, down 15 percentage points from just before the election. “This honeymoon phase is common for new presidents,” said Kyle Dropp, the co-founder and chief research officer at Morning Consult. The online tracking poll of 1,885 registered voters was conducted from Nov. 16 through Nov. 18.
The Morning Consult/POLITICO survey also found that most voters think Trump’s children should be involved in running the Trump Organization, but shouldn’t be involved in his administration. The survey showed 59 percent of respondents said his children shouldn’t be closely involved in his administration. However, 62 percent said the children should continue to run the company. The survey also found 49 percent of respondents said they supported the president putting his financial interests in a blind trust.
DESTINATION D.C.? RESUMES FLOODING INBOXES OF TRUMP’S FLORIDA GATEKEEPERS via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post – Resumes from Floridians eager to join Trump’s burgeoning administration are flooding the inboxes of leaders of his campaign in the state, now informally deputized to screen and recommend potential hires. Some of these gatekeepers may even be headed to Washington themselves. “The sky’s the limit for Pam Bondi,” Trump campaign chairman Joe Gruters said of Florida’s attorney general, who is now also a member of the president-elect’s transition team. Trump’s pick Friday of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general may have lowered the altitude somewhat for Bondi. But Florida’s two-term attorney general, set to leave office in 2018, is widely seen as destined for a prominent post in the new administration. Joining the part-time Palm Beacher headed for the White House could be another resident of the island, billionaire Wilbur Ross, viewed as a possible Commerce Department secretary … Ross, like Trump, also lives in New York, where he raised money for the candidate last summer in The Hamptons. He also served as an economic adviser to the president-elect’s campaign. With Trump needing to fill about 4,100 jobs relatively quickly — from Cabinet posts to White House schedulers – a number of Floridians are seen as likely contenders, given the state’s political importance and the president-elect’s ties to Palm Beach, where he bought the landmark Mar-A-Lago estate 31 years ago.
UF PROFESSOR ON TRUMP’S TRANSITION TEAM OVERSEEING TELECOMMUNICATIONS via Jessica Bakeman of POLITICO Florida – A University of Florida professor will help the Trump administration determine the future of the Federal Communications Commission. Mark Jamison, director of UF’s Public Utility Research Center and senior lecturer at the Warrington College of Business, has been tapped to serve as part of a two-person volunteer team focusing on the FCC during the presidential transition. Jamison has been critical of the Obama administration’s telecommunications policies, such as net neutrality.
RICK SCOTT OPEN TO KEEPING SOME PROVISIONS OF OBAMACARE via Sergio Bustos of POLITICO Florida – Scott told CNN … he’s open to preserving some parts of the Affordable Care Act, but he insists “the core of Obamacare” must be repealed … Scott said the provisions allowing children to stay on their parent’s health insurance plan until age 26 and prohibiting insurance companies from rejecting anyone with a pre-existing condition could be left in place so long as the rest of Obamcare is repealed. “That’s fine,” said Scott, who suggested the two provisions were inserted into the Obama’s signature law “to win votes” in Congress. “But the core of Obamacare has to be repealed and let’s come up with a plan that reduces cost.” … “It’s a disaster. It’s not good for our country. It’s not good for people who want to get health care,” said Scott in referring to Obamacare. CNN anchor Jim Sciutto … asked Scott if he was “leaving the door open” to keeping parts of Obamacare in place and what he would advise Trump to do. “I would advise the president (elect) to repeal Obamacare. I know what he has said about the pre-existing condition and keeping people on their parent’s policies until they’re 26. But you have to start off by repealing Obamacare … ” … “The problem with Obamacare is the costs are going up so fast that people can’t afford it, companies can’t afford it and, long-term, government will not be able to afford health care.” “Gov. Scott, sounds like you are leaving the door open to Trumpcare, perhaps,” Sciutto said before ending the interview of Scott.
FORMER SEN. SCOTT BROWN EMERGES AS COMPETITION FOR JEFF MILLER AS TRUMP’S VA PICK via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – “Obviously I think the toughest job in the Cabinet is to lead the VA, because while it has so many angels working there, it has so many great problems as well,” Brown told reporters. “He is going to obviously take my application, interest under consideration.” The following is a Q&A Brown did with reporters: What are some areas of the VA you would improve? It really depends on the area. There’s still high suicide, there’s still long lines. There’s still a culture of putting the soldiers as a second-class person versus making it the top priority. So what would you do? Initially, I would obviously try to work on the suicide issues. I’d try to get folks with the mental health issues covered immediately. The VA can’t do it all. Did Trump offer any of his plans? He’s already put out his ten-point plan, he asked what my ideas were. And I just referenced, there’s just, it’ so voluminous. It’s got the second highest budget. It serves, what, almost 7-8 million people, what is it, 6-7, yeah 7 million people last year. It’s got a tremendous, employee base. There’s just so many things to do. So he was listening to my thoughts and suggestions and where I thought we could put our priorities. Who do you think you’re competing with for the position? I’m not competing with anybody. I think I’m the best person, but there are some tremendous people out there and I don’t look at it as a competition. Anybody who takes that job, which I believe is the toughest job in the cabinet.
FACEBOOK STATUS OF THE DAY via Diane Roberts – “I have never “unfriended” a person before, but I have just done so with Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, a woman who has disappointed all of us who once thought her promising and intelligent. I wish her a happy time in Trump’s America. The rest of us will keep fighting to recover the America of social justice and human decency.”
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MARCO RUBIO SHIES AWAY FROM TALK OF 2018 ELECTION via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – Fresh off re-election, he’s safe in his seat for six years, but Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson is up for election next year. And it appears likely Gov. Rick Scott could challenge Nelson for the seat. Nelson and Rubio have a close relationship as the sitting senators from Florida, despite their differing party labels. So asked by The Associated Press’ Gary Fineoutwhether Scott should throw his hat in the ring, Rubio bristled. “I don’t know. Running for office is a decision people have to make on their own,” Rubio said. “I want us to have a Republican majority and grow that majority, but I have a good working relationship with Bill Nelson, so I’m not going to jump into an electoral argument right now.”
KATHY CASTOR SAYS SHE’LL WORK WITH TRUMP AND GOP MAJORITY IN CONGRESS ‘IF THERE’S AN OPPORTUNITY’ via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – “People elected me to solve problems and if there’s any opportunity to do that with President Trump and a Republican Congress, that’s what I’m going to do,” she said … “But I’m not going to compromise the values that this community holds dear. Whether that’s taking our Dream Act students and not deporting them, or fighting for higher wages, the Democratic Party is the party of working people and I’m going to continue to stand up for their interests against the system.” Yet despite that perception, Hillary Clinton’s failure to win rust-belt states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan in the election has led to the accepted perception the Democrats have lost their way with working people. “All I know is that every week when I’m in Washington D.C. we’re standing up to moneyed special interests and for some reason that’s not being communicated,” Castor says. “For example, they want to give massive tax breaks to big corporations and the top 1 percent. That’s not going to help working class people or working people, and what I’m afraid is that the Congress that has passed draconian budgets and tried to keep all the benefits for the wealthiest in the country, that they kind of play on Trump and take advantage of him and the people who elected him. We’re going to be pointing these things out.”
PERSONNEL NOTE: VITO SHEELEY WILL SERVE AS CHARLIE CRIST’S DISTRICT DIRECTOR via Florida Politics – Congressman-elect Crist announced the first personnel decision for his new U.S. House of Representatives staff … Sheeley will serve as district director, overseeing constituent services throughout the 13th District. Sheeley served as outreach director on the staff of Congresswoman Kathy Castor, as well as outreach director on the Crist for Congress campaign. A native of St. Petersburg, Sheeley attended Lakewood High School and St. Petersburg College, and has worked in various roles for then-State Rep. Rick Kriseman, County Commissioner Ken Welch, and Alex Sink. “Vito is an outstanding person and a hometown guy, and I’m excited to have him help us serve the people of Pinellas County,” said Crist. “Vito was born and raised in this community, and will be ready on Day One to help our constituents access services, solve problems, and enjoy America’s most beautiful district.”
DOZENS OF STATE LAWMAKERS FILE TO RUN FOR RE-ELECTION IN 2018 via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – State elections records show about more than two dozen members of the state House and Senate filed have filed to run for re-election. Many of those lawmakers are incumbents who faced little-to-no opposition this cycle, while others just came off hard-fought battles to secure their spot in the Florida Legislature. Incoming Reps. Jayer Williamson and Byron Donalds are among the new members who have already filed to run in 2018 … State records show Reps. Colleen Burton, Dane Eagle, Katie Edwards, and Evan Jenne were also among the more than 20 members of the state House who filed to run in 2018. In the Senate, records show incoming state Sens. Lauren Book, George Gainer, and Kathleen Passidomo have already filed to run.
WHAT THE GOV’S OFFICE IS READING – FLORIDA SCORES BIG GAINS IN FORBES’ ‘BEST STATES FOR BUSINESS’ LIST BUT STILL DOES NOT CRACK TOP 10 via Robert Trigaux of the Tampa Bay Times – Forbes’ recently released its 11th annual “Best States for Business” list, which finds that Florida climbed more spots in the rankings than any other state, rising eight places to No. 12 from No. 20. We knew Florida was on the upswing, but this leap shows how much momentum is driving the Sunshine State over many of its peers … “The Sunshine State’s college attainment rate rose and the growth forecast rates are among the nation’s best. Projected job and population growth are both expected to be second best in the country over the next five years with income growth fourth fastest.” And, Forbes noted, Florida ranks second among larger states in the Kauffman Foundation’s “index of startup activity” — a strong plug for the state’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurism and small business. Forbes’ Best States for Business list factors in 40 metrics from 17 sources across six broad categories: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. Florida rose to No. 12 based on gains in a majority of these key areas. It ranked a lowly 39th in business costs and 26th in quality of life. But it landed 14th in labor supply, 13th in regulatory environment, 8th in economic climate, and an impressive No. 1 in growth prospects … Eleven other states are still ahead of Florida. Tops in the country, and dominating in that position for years, is Utah. The state does a lot of things right for its pro-business supremacy. But let’s be frank. Utah’s hot and has been for years, in large part because it enjoys the enormous overflow of tech companies and other businesses that relocate across the state border from super-expensive but still tech-vibrant California.
FLORIDA REPUBLICANS TO LAUNCH CONSERVATIVE COALITION FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald – Floridians for Immigration Solutions will hold their kickoff event at Hialeah City Hall at 11 a.m. Wednesday. “The effort is one of a dozen statewide conservative coalitions calling for a responsible solution to the country’s broken immigration system that secures the border, grows the economy, and recognizes that America cannot and should not engage in mass deportations of millions of productive members of society,” states a press release. Trump made a series of immigration-related promises including that he would turn off the “jobs and benefits magnet” that attracts immigrants who come to the United States illegally … The coalition leaders include four Republican past or present politicians: Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez, State Sen. René García, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Juan Zapata and former State Rep. J.C. Planas. The coalition also includes business leaders Julio Fuentes, CEO of the Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Mandy Llanes, chair of the Hialeah Chamber of Commerce.
PETITION SEEKS MORE TIME TO FILE HURRICANE MATTHEW-RELATED FLOOD INSURANCE CLAIMS via Florida Politics – Thomas Young, of the Law Office of Thomas Young in Tampa, wants the feds to extend the existing 60-day deadline by another 60 days — for a total 120. He posted his petition at WhiteHouse.gov, saying FEMA often issue extensions giving homeowners and small businesses more time to complete the paperwork. “As recently as September 2016, these agencies issued extensions for Hurricane Hermine victims and victims of Louisiana’s historic summer floods. Floridians flooded by Hurricane Matthew deserve the same consideration,” Young said in a news release announcing the drive.
SUPREME COURT CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS WILL BE LIVE STREAMED via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – The Florida Channel plans to live stream the interviews of candidates for an opening on the Florida Supreme Court … The interviews are open to the public, but they will be held in Orlando next Monday, instead of Tallahassee. They’ll be at the offices of the GrayRobinson law firm, where Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission chair Jason Unger is a shareholder. The interview schedule is: Noon-12:30 p.m. – Wendy W. Berger, a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal. 12:30-1 p.m.– Alice L. Blackwell, a circuit judge in Orange County. 1-1:30 p.m. – Roberta J. Bodnar, an assistant U.S. attorney in Ocala. 1:30-1:45 p.m. – break 1:45-2:15 p.m. – Dan Gerber, an Orlando civil-trial defense attorney. 2:15-2:45 p.m. – Sylvia Grunor, a Central Florida trial lawyer. 2:45-3:15 p.m. – Brad King, state attorney of the 5th Judicial Circuit. 3:15-3:30 p.m. – break 3:30-4 p.m.– C. Alan Lawson, the chief judge of the 5th District Court of Appeal. 4-4:30 – Larry Metz, a Republican state representative from Yalaha. 4:30-5 p.m. – Michelle T. Morley, a circuit judge in Sumter County. 5-5:15 p.m. – break; 5:15-5:45 p.m. – Michael J. Rudisill, a circuit judge in Seminole County; 5:45-6:15 p.m. – Patricia L. Strowbridge, a circuit judge in Osceola County.
EX-OFFICIAL GETS 3+ YEARS IN PRISON IN FLORIDA BRIBERY CASE via The Associated Press – The former manager of the South Florida city of Opa-locka has been sentenced to more than three years in prison in a federal corruption case … a federal judge imposed the sentence on 51-year-old David Chiverton. He pleaded guilty in September to a federal conspiracy charge involving acceptance of thousands of dollars in bribes from people seeking such things as code enforcement and city licenses. The FBI has been investigating corruption in Opa-locka for months. A former public works supervisor, Gregory Harris, pleaded guilty in August to a corruption charge but has not yet been sentenced. Authorities say other indictments are expected. The city is also battling a financial crisis that led Gov. Scott to declare a fiscal emergency with appointment of a state oversight board.
FLORIDA CHAIN LOSES FEDERAL GRANT DOLLARS, LAYS OFF STAFF via Christine Sexton of POLITICO Florida – Florida CHAIN will lay off five staffers in December after losing access to federal health care grants. Florida CHAIN Executive Director Mark Pafford [said] the organization was funded in part through a federal “Closing the Gap” grant awarded to groups, like Florida CHAIN, that advocate for Medicaid expansion. Pafford said the request for proposal for the grant money made clear that it was available only if Hillary Clinton were elected president and the money was in peril of being redirected if she weren’t. Florida CHAIN board chair Christine Fisher said the loss of dollars will, “shift the way we operate but not our priorities.” Though the grassroots organization will be forced to layoff staff, it will continue its mission of providing health information via its home page and through email advisories to the health care community. That work will be done by its volunteer board members and others who want to volunteer. In addition to Pafford, those losing their jobs are: Lisa Grossman, operations and finance director, Anne Swerlick, policy director, Scott Darius, advocacy director and Louisa McQueeney, Covering Florida Navigators project manager.
FLORIDA’S MENTAL-HEALTH FIREARM DATABASE POSES SAFETY RISK via William Patrick of FloridaWatchdog.org – Gun-rights advocates are quick to assert that if laws already on the books were properly followed, then there’d be no need for new gun-control measures. In the case of Florida’s Mental Competency database, or MECOM, state law enforcement is helping to prove that assertion. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is responsible for maintaining the MECOM background check system. It’s part of the state’s Firearm Purchase Program that implements the federal Brady Act at the state level, and regulates the sale and delivery of firearms from licensed gun dealers to unlicensed buyers. In addition to criminal history, court adjudications of mental incompetence and legal commitments to mental institutions are grounds for denying gun purchases. But a new state audit shows FDLE hasn’t been entering thousands of court records within the required time limit — if the department enters them at all. During the period June 2014 through February 2016, approximately 33,345 records were added to the MECOM database, according to the Florida auditor general. Of those, 5,771 records, or 17 percent, were entered after the one-month reporting deadline beginning from the date of adjudication or court-ordered commitment. More than 260 records were added anywhere from six months to one-and-a-half years late. What’s more, FDLE entered no records from 11 counties during the nearly two-year review period.
DOROTHY HUKILL UNDERGOING TREATMENT FOR CANCER via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Hukill … disclosed her condition in a letter to Senate President-designate Joe Negron, asking to be excused from [the upcoming] Organization Session. “I am fortunate that it (is) in the early stages and my medical team advises that my prognosis for full recovery is good,” she wrote. Hukill, an attorney and chair of the Senate’s Finance and Tax Committee, has long been interested in law and technology issues. Earlier this year, she said she planned to file legislation covering the use of “cryptocurrencies” such as bitcoin. She sponsored a measure that became law in 2014 prohibiting Florida public schools from collecting or using student “biometric data” — fingerprints, handprints and retinal scans — under an education data privacy measure.
RON BOOK—LOBBYIST, FATHER OF SEN. LAUREN BOOK, SOON TO BE COACH BOOK—FACES NEW FIGHT via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – Book, who is known as one of the Capitol’s most veteran and successful lobbyists, acknowledged that he has been slowed somewhat in recent months after having suffered a bone infection after foot surgery. In July, he was diagnosed with an aggressive tumor on his prostate and is undergoing radiation treatment. “I’ve had a very rough couple of months,” he said. “I’m going to be all right over time, but I’m still sort of experiencing those side effects every day.” A tireless worker, he said it has been difficult to scale back his work hours. He said his 18-hour days have become more like eight and 10. Tears welled in his eyes again as he pulled up photos from his iPhone of the twins in utero that Lauren and her husband are expecting in February. He proudly proclaimed the girl would be named Kennedy Grace and the boy named Hudson Lee. The family will move to Tallahassee for the session and Grandfather Book expects to have an active role. “I have refused to use aging-connotative names,” he said, bristling at the suggestion of being called “grandpa.” Instead, he said he is going to become known as “Coach. To make sure his carefully-tailored suits are not soiled when he cares for the babies, he has ordered six lab coats that say “Coach” on each one.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Mercury’s Bettina Inclán-Agen.