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Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – 12.01.16

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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 and Jim Rosica.


The 2016 hype has barely died down, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start talking about 2018.

There’s been plenty of chatter about the gubernatorial race already. The will he or won’t he (or she) has been going on for weeks, and the list of potential candidates seems to grow by the day.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has raised big money, but the Republican hasn’t said whether he’s actually going to make a go of it. Rep. Gwen Graham, the daughter of former governor and Sen. Bob Graham, is ready to run a 67-county strategy — if she runs, that is. John Morganis, at the least, enjoying flirting with the idea, as are several other Florida politicos.

If a new Gravis Marketing poll conducted for the Orlando Political Observer is any indication, Democrats might have a leg up come Election Day. The poll of 3,250 registered voters showed both Graham and Morgan would defeat several potential Republican foes.

In a hypothetical match-up, Graham would defeat Putnam, 37 percent to 34 percent. Put Attorney General Pam Bondi on the ballot, and Graham’s lead grows. The poll shows she’d receive 44 percent of the vote, while Bondi would get 36 percent.

She also holds an 8-point lead over CFO Jeff Atwater. In a hypothetical match-up between the two, Graham would receive 40 percent compared to Atwater’s 32 percent. The poll shows Graham would trounce outgoing Rep. David Jolly, getting 40 percent of the vote compared to Jolly’s 29 percent.

Morgan, an outspoken Democratic donor and medical marijuana proponent, also comes out on top in head-to-head match-ups. In a race between Morgan and Putnam, the Orlando Democrat would receive 39 percent compared to 35 percent for Putnam. The Gravis Marketing poll shows Morgan leads Atwater, 41 percent to 34 percent.

The bombastic attorney has a double digit lead over Jolly and Bondi in the Gravis Marketing poll. Morgan leads Bondi, 45 percent to 35 percent; and has a 11-point lead (42-31) over Jolly.

We wouldn’t take these numbers to the bank, though. The poll showed between one-quarter and one-third of respondents said they weren’t certain who they would vote for come 2018.

And why should they be? There are still 705 days until the gubernatorial election, after all.

BILL NELSON EARLY FAVORITE IN 2018 U.S. SENATE RACE — The Gravis Marketing poll shows Sen. Nelson could be poised to win re-election in 2018. The poll of 3,250 registered Florida voters showed the Orlando Democrat had a double-digit lead over Attorney General Pam Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott. In a hypothetical race between Nelson and Bondi, Nelson would receive 50 percent of the vote, while Bondi would receive 35 percent. The poll showed 15 percent of respondents said they weren’t certain who they would vote for. In a head-to-head match-up between Nelson and Scott, Nelson would receive 51 percent compared to Scott’s 38 percent. Scott is mulling a 2018 bid, telling reporters in November a run against Nelson was “an option.” In a hypothetical Nelson-Scott race, 11 percent of respondents said didn’t know who they would support.

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ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will make a law enforcement budget announcement at 9:30 a.m. at the Florida Highway Patrol, 133 S. Semoran Blvd. in Orlando.

HAPPENING TODAY — AIDES MEET AHEAD OF DEC. 6 CABINET MEETING — Cabinet aides for Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and CFO Jeff Atwater will meet at 9 a.m. in the Cabinet meeting room at the Florida Capitol. Aides are expected to discuss issues expected to come up during the Dec. 6 Cabinet meeting.

HAPPENING TODAY – ANALYSTS SET TO DISCUSS COMMUNICATIONS TAX — The Revenue Estimating Conference will meet at 2 p.m. in room 117 of the Knott Building to discuss issues related to the gross receipts tax and the communications service tax.

IN-STATE COLLEGE TUITION RATES FOR FLORIDA’S UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS COULD BE IN DANGER via Claire McNeill of the Tampa Bay Times — Heralded as a bipartisan victory when it passed, a Florida law granting in-state college tuition rates to undocumented students could now be in danger. A bill filed Wednesday by conservative Florida Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, seeks to erase that 2014 provision. Colleges no longer would have to waive out-of-state fees for undocumented students who attend Florida high schools. “It is certainly a big issue in my district among my constituents, who were frustrated and upset that the state would allow undocumented illegal immigrants to receive taxpayer-supported in-state tuition,” he said. “So I think it’s important to file the bill and have a discussion on it.” … More than a decade of contention preceded the 2014 tuition bill. When it finally passed in a high-profile 26-13 vote in the Senate, Republican Gov. Rick Scott deemed it “a historic day.”

STUDENTS URGE COLLEGES TO ESTABLISH ‘SANCTUARY CAMPUSES’ FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS via Jessica Bakeman of POLITICO Florida — Students from at least two higher education institutions in the state have started petitions urging administrators to declare their schools “sanctuary campuses.” … The term is modeled after “sanctuary cities” — municipalities that have adopted policies to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. As of Tuesday evening, a petition at New College of Florida had gained 783 signatures from students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members, according to its author, Ximena Pedroza. The Sarasota liberal arts school is the smallest in the State University System, enrolling about 850 students. … The petition lists eight demands of the administration, including that it “declare New College of Florida to be a sanctuary campus that will actively refuse to comply with immigration authorities regarding deportations or raids.” … A separate petition calls on Florida International University’s leaders to make the Miami school enrolling 55,000 a “sanctuary campus.”

NEW HOUSE EDUCATION CHAIRMAN WHO OPPOSED SCHOOL RECESS PLAN ‘WILL TAKE A LOOK’ AT IT IN 2017 via Kristen M. Clark of the Miami Herald — After being one of only two Florida House members to oppose it last session, Miami Republican Rep. Michael Bileca said he’s open to considering a renewed effort to mandate recess time at Florida’s public elementary schools. But he indicated the proposal could still face some potentially tough scrutiny in 2017. “I will take a look at it,” Bileca told the Herald/Times. “The areas I had difficulty with were not changed (last session), so we’ll need to see what’s changed.”… In filing a bill on Tuesday, Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, got the ball rolling to revive the Legislature’s recess debate for next session. Rep. Rene Plasencia, the Orlando Republican who advocated for the issue last spring, is drafting the House companion.

LAWMAKERS PREPARE DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO CANNABIS IMPLEMENTATION via Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida — After an overwhelming majority of Floridians approved an expansion of medical marijuana in the state, lawmakers are preparing to hash out the regulatory set-up for the growing industry. …Republican State Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg is planning to fill a bill that would likely afford the greatest expansion of medical cannabis availability. It’s a bill that he said “rhymes” with one he filed last year. That effort failed. But this time, he said he has an army of voters backing him up. “This is as close to a mandate as the Legislature can get on this,” he said in an interview with POLITICO Florida. He added that he wants medical marijuana implementation that “looks, acts and feels medical.” While he wants to allow for products that patients can smoke and eat, he said he doesn’t want to allow cannabis products to be packaged like candy or in any way attractive to children.

BARBARA WATSON PROPOSES STATEWIDE COMMISSION TO REVIEW POLICE SHOOTINGS via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Miami Beach Gardens Representative Watson filed a bill last week that would create special review commission to reveal fatal use-of-force incidents by law enforcement personnel. “I think there’s a loss of confidence with the community” when it comes to some cases of police shootings, Watson said … “And once the community knows the process and knows what level of that process the investigation is in, I think it kind of restores their confidence in the system this should be a parallel investigation, independent of the police department, and that they can move forward with confidence.” The proposal, HB 43, calls for a 15-member board selected by the attorney general, all of whom would serve a four-year term. The bill says that at least five members must not come from a local law enforcement agency, nor the Florida Departments of Law Enforcement, Corrections, or Legal Affairs. Obviously, that means that as many as 10 officials could be from those agencies. Sitting judges and members of the Legislature would not be allowed to serve on the committee. The bill calls for the head of a local law enforcement agency to contact the commission with 24 hours after a use of force has resulted in the death of a member of the public. That police chief or sheriff would also need to contact the agency within a week after an internal affairs report was completed regarding such an incident. If that report exonerated the officer(s) in question, the commission, after reviewing the case, could call on the Attorney General for “prosecution consideration if the use of force appears unlawful.” The commission would also have subpoena power, something eluding activists who in 2015 called for an independent citizens’ review board in Tampa. Many of those same activists said they intended to put a charter amendment on this November’s ballot to allow such subpoena power, but they failed to do so.

BILL AGAIN TARGETS ATTORNEY FEES IN PUBLIC RECORDS CASES via Florida Politics – New state Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican and lawyer, is again behind the legislation (SB 80). He backed a version of the bill last session as a state representative. It passed the Senate unanimously but died in the House. The measure changes the word “shall” to “may” regarding courts awarding legal fees when an “agency (has) unlawfully refused to permit a public record … to be inspected or copied.” It would also require a “complainant (to) provide written notice of the public records request to the agency’s custodian of public records at least 5 business days before” suing. Records requests are not normally mandated to be in writing. The idea is to cut down on the number of “frivolous” lawsuits at taxpayer expense by eliminating guaranteed attorney fees in cases where public officials made an honest mistake, bill advocates have said, including the Florida League of Cities. Open government watchdogs, such as the First Amendment Foundation, have countered that the bill would instead affect legitimate actions against local governments and state agencies that unreasonably refuse to respond to record requests.

PARKINSON’S WON’T STOP ME, LARRY METZ SAYS via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Metz, a Yalaha Republican who represents House District 32 in Lake County, revealed his diagnosis during [an] interview for an opening on the Florida Supreme Court. The 61-year-old, a lawyer in private practice, did not make the final cut. On Tuesday night, he told he didn’t “want to talk about it too extensively because it is a private health issue.” … “Obviously, it’s out there in the public domain because I disclosed it in a context I thought I needed to,” Metz said in a phone interview. But the disease “hasn’t stopped me from doing what I want to do.” Parkinson’s is a “chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time,” according to the Parkinson’s disease Foundation. The disease, which has an unknown cause, often manifests through trembling of the hands, legs and jaw. “I haven’t started taking medication for symptoms at this point, though there will come a time when I do,” Metz said. “It’s usually very effective and there are many examples of people that live with Parkinson’s disease for decades, finding themselves able to do their normal, everyday activities.”

CARLOS GUILLERMO SMITH BRINGS A PROGRESSIVE AGENDA TO THE FLORIDA HOUSE via Monivette Cordeiro of Orlando Weekly – What sets House District 49’s newest representative apart is how easily a bullhorn slips into his hand as he leads chants in a protest against Donald Trump, discrimination or efforts to stymie the minimum wage, all while wearing slim jeans and a fashionable blazer. And he’s also not afraid to be the lone voice of disagreement among friends. When President Barack Obama came to campaign for Hillary Clinton in Orlando, Smith joined with a small group to protest the trans-Pacific Partnership and then later went on to introduce the president to a crowd of thousands. “I’m going to find a way to leverage my unapologetic grass-roots identity with this new role,” he says. “If I have to motivate people to get involved by grabbing a bullhorn or knocking on doors, I’ll do that.” A longtime progressive activist, the 35-year-old Democrat is the first openly queer Latinx to serve in the Florida Legislature. Politics isn’t the first path he imagined his life taking. After being raised by a Canadian mother and Peruvian father in Boca Raton, he moved to Orlando and graduated with a business degree from the University of Central Florida in 2003 … The election of Donald Trump has been a tough pill to swallow for many Democrats in Florida, especially Bernie Sanders supporters like Smith who voted for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in hopes they could push for progressive policies under her presidency. Still, under a President Trump, Smith hopes to collaborate with his fellow legislators when he can and push for progress, such as by fully funding the Bright Futures scholarship, decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, safeguarding women’s reproductive rights, fighting structural racism and income inequality, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour and expanding anti-discrimination workplace protections to include LGBTQ people.

DUVAL DELEGATION ELECTS JAY FANT AS NEW CHAIR, AARON BEAN AS VICE CHAIR via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The Duval County Legislative Delegation selected a new chair and vice chair during a meeting in Jacksonville this week. The delegation voted unanimously to appoint Rep. Fant, a Jacksonville Republican, to serve as its chairman for the 2017 legislative session. “I am honored that my colleagues have entrusted me with the responsibility of leading our efforts to make the most of Duval County’s tremendous opportunities,” said Fant in a statement. “I look forward to working with them to make sure our constituents’ interests are vigorously represented in Tallahassee and we enact policies that will strengthen our economy and bring more jobs to our area.” The delegation also selected Sen. Bean to serve as its vice-chairman.

MORE FUNDING TO BATTLE HEROIN EPIDEMIC AMONG PALM BEACH COUNTY’S LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES via Skyler Swisher of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel – Palm Beach County unveiled a 43-page list of state legislative priorities Tuesday, which includes a call for more funding to battle the prescription drug and heroin epidemic. “This represents the diverse interests of the whole county,” said Rebecca DeLaRosa, director of legislative affairs for Palm Beach County. Commissioners are calling for increased funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment, a dedicated revenue source of homelessness programs and additional dollars to battle mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika. Addressing the prescription drug and heroin overdose epidemic is one of the county’s top priorities, officials say. Commissioners want the state to reimburse agencies that use the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, commonly referred to by its brand name Narcan. The creation of Westlake, Palm Beach County’s 39th city, prompted several items to be included in this year’s list. Developers used a tailor-made law to incorporate the city with only five registered voters. Other priorities include banning the use of e-cigarettes indoors in areas where tobacco use is prohibited, increasing penalties for people who use rental cars to commit crimes and allowing slot machines at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. Commissioner Melissa McKinlay is supporting legislation called “Brittany’s Law” named in honor of 18-year-old Brittany Baxter, who was killed in April 2015 when a driver ran a stop sign. The 17-year-old driver had received eight citations in the 33 months he had been authorized to drive.

MARIA SACHS FACES SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWSUIT via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat – Twenty-eight-year-old Matthew Damsky Monday filed sexual harassment charges against Sachs. He said the three years he worked for the 67-year-old Delray Beach Democrat left him with pain and discomfort. The case was first reported by Gossip Extra in June when Damsky filed a sexual harassment charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Sachs denied all the charges then and has repeatedly done so since. A Boca Raton native, Damsky resigned from Sachs’ staff in February after admitting to making about $50,000 in unauthorized charges on an office credit card.

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MIAMI STOP LIKELY ON TRUMP’S VICTORY TOUR via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald – Trump is expected to visit key states that helped win him the election, such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida. Several sources have told the Miami Herald that Trump’s “thank you tour” is planning to hit Miami in the next few weeks, though a date isn’t firm yet. The president-elect is said to miss the energy of his massive campaign rallies.

MARCO RUBIO: ‘BUILDING A WALL IS A PHRASE’ via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – “Building a wall is a phrase that is about securing the border and enforcing our immigration laws. And I think that’s something we need to move on first,” Rubio said … in an interview with Sean Hannity. “I’ve — I’ve said now for a long time that it is the key that unlocks the door to be able to do anything else on immigration.” Rubio’s comments reflect what other Republicans on Capitol Hill have said as questions have come up about the cost and feasibility of a wall, at least as Trumpdescribed it. Rubio said he generally agreed with Trump’s domestic agenda but carefully noted potential differences on foreign policy. “We’ll see how that develops. He’s had — as I said, he’s never held public office before, so he said some things on the campaign trail. We’ll see how that translates to foreign policy,” Rubio said. What are those concerns, Hannity asked, nothing Trump’s pledge to get  “rid of” the Iranian deal, “identify radical Islamists” and stay away from “foreign entanglements” like Iraq.

ANOTHER FLORIDIAN WHO WAS ‘DRUG CZAR’ HAS ADVICE FOR PAM BONDI via Steve Bousquet of the Miami Herald – That would be Bob Martinez, the former Republican governor and mayor of Tampa, who held the post in 1991 and 1992 in the last two years of President George H.W. Bush‘s term. When Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992, Martinez headed back to Florida. In the alphabet soup of the federal bureaucracy, the Cabinet-level agency is known as ONDCP, the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Martinez, now a lobbyist at Holland & Knight’s Tampa office, knows the route to Senate confirmation. He schmoozed with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, then chaired by Democrat Joe Biden … completed the lengthy Senate questionnaire for high-level appointees; and won Senate confirmation on an 88-12 vote. He also endured his share of negative press coverage along the way, like the 1992 Orlando Sentinel editorial that said: “The drug czar office of Bob Martinez is a joke. It has neither the power nor the right people to fight the nation’s drug war.” He said the job required working with other federal agencies, law enforcement agencies, states and local governments, and to get drug treatment money to where it was needed most. “You do a lot of jawboning to get things done,” Martinez said. “It’s not something that’s direct. Policy is your domain.” Bondi is the subject of much speculation that she’ll be offered a job in Trump’s administration after working to help him win Florida.

BLAISE INGOGLIA TOUTS CONGRESSIONAL ENDORSEMENTS FOR RPOF CHAIR RE-ELECTION via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News – In an announcement … Ingoglia noted 11 congressmen or future congressmen from all over the state who were willing to go to bat for his second bid at party chair. The congressmen had warm words on Ingoglia, who officially announced his candidacy for the position this week. Many of them honed in on the pivotal role Ingoglia played in Florida’s part of the GOP’s successful election results earlier this month. “The GOP enjoyed great success in Florida in 2016, and Blaise deserves credit for his leadership and vision,” said U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis. “I believe he will be able to build on the success from the 2016 cycle and should be elected to another term.” Many of the wins — especially Trump‘s — were hard-fought battles for Republicans, but many ultimately emerged victorious to head to their offices in Tallahassee and in Washington. Grassroots support has been at the forefront of Ingoglia’s mission since taking the job and many attribute Ingoglia’s grassroots movement as a crucial aspect to the GOP’s overall success. “The organization Chairman Blaise Ingoglia put in place this past election cycle was crucial in delivering big wins from President-Elect Trump and Senator Rubio, our Congressional delegation, and the state Senate and state House,” said U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho. “I am proud to support his bid for re-election and with his continued leadership our party will be more than prepared for the 2018 cycle.”

HAPPENING TONIGHT — NEAL DUNN HOSTS “PRIMARY DEBT RETIREMENT” FUNDRAISER — Incoming Rep. Neal Dunn is scheduled to hold a “primary debt retirement breakfast” at 8 a.m. Thursday at The Capitol Hill Club, 300 1st Street, SE in Washington, D.C. The event calls for a $2,500 contribution to be considered a PAC host and $1,000 contribution to be an individual host. The event will benefit Friends of Neal Dunn. Dunn defeated two other Republicans in the Aug. 30 primary in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District. The doctor defeated Democrat Walter Dartland and Libertarian Rob Lapham in the November general election.

‘THE GIRL RESCUED AT SEA’ STEPHANIE MURPHY RIDES THAT HUMANITARIAN SERVICE INTO CONGRESS via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – When she was six months old, her family fled Vietnam on a refugee boat. Stephanie, her mother, father, brother and dozens of mostly strangers, all yearning for freedom and better lives, went adrift when their boat ran out of fuel. Supplies were running low. This was on the South China Sea, in thousands of square miles of open water. Along came her hero, the U.S. Navy, which intercepted their little boat, provided fuel, food, water and other supplies, and helped them make the crossing to Malaysia. The Lutheran Church took it from there, getting them from a Malaysian refugee camp to America, where her family settled in Virginia. ‘The girl rescued at sea,” as a congressional campaign flyer dubbed her, will not forget the humanitarian assistance the sailors provided. Nor does she want to disappoint them … She helped organize the U.S. Navy’s rescue, relief and recovery assistance to victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami that swept through south Asia, particularly Indonesia, in late 2004. “I always say it was the greatest honor of my life, to be able to work alongside uniformed men and women, knowing that they rescued me at sea,” Murphy said in an interview … “And then to be working alongside them, rescuing other people in Southeast Asia in the aftermath of such a devastating tsunami, the long hours, getting home in the middle of the night, and then turning on the TV, and seeing U.S. men and women in uniform delivering water and caring for the people who had been injured, it was incredibly satisfying, and something I’m so proud of.” She pledged a willingness to work across the aisle and that includes working with a Donald Trump White House, even though her campaign had demonized Trump in an effort to also demonize John Mica by association. “The campaign is over. And as I said throughout the campaign, I’m willing to work with anyone who is willing to work with me,” she said. “That’s the approach I’m going to take with this administration.”

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FLORIDA PRISON AGENCY ENDS YEARS OF DENIALS AND AGREES TO PAY WHISTLEBLOWERS $800,000 via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – The prison agency also agreed to end lawsuits by three other department whistleblowers, closing a chapter in what has been one of the most tumultuous eras in state prison history. The agreement, filed in Leon County Circuit Court … exonerates investigators of the FDC inspector general’s office, Doug GlissonAubrey Land and John Ulm, after they came forward with evidence that they believed an inmate at Franklin Correctional Institution, Randall Jordan-Aparo, had been gassed to death by prison guards. The Aparo’s family has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the state. The agency does not agree to the allegations but does agree to pay Glisson, Land and Ulm each $133,333 and drop all pending internal investigations. Glisson and Ulm will also receive more than $4,100 in wages lost from a recent demotion, in return for agreeing to leave the agency. The settlement also ends the retaliation claims by employees James PadgettDavid Clark and Christina Bullins, who each will receive $50,000. The attorneys who handled the case, Steven R. Andrews and his son, Ryan Andrews, will be paid $250,000. “They didn’t offer up this settlement because they liked us,” said Glisson, a supervisor whose last day at the agency he has worked at for more than 20 years [was] Wednesday. “They really didn’t want this to go to a jury trial.”

FLORIDA SLAVERY MEMORIAL PROPOSED FOR CAPITOL via the Tallahassee Democrat – A Democratic lawmaker has proposed the creation of a “Florida Slavery Memorial” that would be built at the state Capitol complex. Rep. Kionne McGhee … filed the proposal (HB 27) last week for consideration during the 2017 legislative session, which starts in March. The Department of Management Services would be required to build the memorial after considering recommendations from the Florida Historical Commission, according to the bill. “It is the intent of the Legislature to recognize the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the American Colonies and to honor the nameless and forgotten men, women, and children who have gone unrecognized for their undeniable and weighty contributions to the United States,” part of the bill says.

WHAT CHRIS HUDSON IS READING – DWAYNE JOHNSON’S ‘BALLERS’ MOVES TO CALIFORNIA FROM FLORIDA, WILL GET $8.3 MILLION TAX CREDIT via Dave McNary of Variety – “Ballers” is scheduled to shoot its next 10 episodes in California, where it will employ 135 cast, 209 base crew and 5,700 extras. The series will generate an estimated $33.5 million in “qualified expenditures,” defined as wages paid to below-the-line workers and payments to in-state vendors — making it eligible for a 25 percent tax credit for its first season in California, followed by a 20 percent credit for any successive seasons. “Ballers” is the seventh series to relocate to California under the state’s expanded tax incentive program, launched last year. “We’re thrilled to welcome another TV series and the long-term jobs it will create in-state,” said California Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch. The 2015-16 fiscal year marked a major expansion of the seven-year-old tax credit program, aimed at halting the erosion of California-based production to states with bigger incentives such as Georgia and New York. The annual allocation rose from $100 million to $330 million, and applications are ranked on how many jobs they will produce, rather than being selected by lottery. The program expansion, enacted in 2014 by California lawmakers, covers five years and $1.65 billion in tax credits. The credit is set at 20 percent, but producers are eligible for an additional 5 percent “uplift” if they shoot outside the Los Angeles zone, commit to music scoring or music track recording in state, or to do visual effects in California. The commission also disclosed … that it had reserved tax credits for 22 recurring series that are already in the program from the most recent tax credit application period, held Nov. 14-29. Lemisch said the specific tax credit allocations have not been determined since it’s uncertain whether all of the series will be picked up. She estimated that the total allocation for “Ballers” and the 22 series would be around $75 million. “The industry responds very favorably whenever we’re able to level the tax credit playing field,” she added.

YES, VIRGINIA, THERE WILL BE A CIGAR PORCH AT THE GOVERNORS CLUB via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Despite years of delays, an outdoor deck in front of the private club at Adams Street and College Avenue “is still a go,” said general manager Barry Shields. The deck, which will hold 10 to 12 outdoor tables under the existing magnolia tree, had been hung up in permitting with the city of Tallahassee. “At this point, I’m still hoping that we’ll have it ready to go by the first day of session,” Shields said. The 2017 Legislative Session begins March 7. It’s been two years since a smoke-free happy hour was instituted in the club’s first-floor lounge, which had been beset with clouds of offending stogie smoke that sent some patrons fleeing. Smoking is prohibited in the club, except on the second-floor balcony, which hosts occasional cigar dinners, and in the lounge after 7 p.m. The building, at 202-1/2 S. Adams St., was built in 1926 to be a Masonic Lodge … After a time, it became an Odd Fellows hall, and Governors Club later took possession of the building. It opened in 1982, where it has been continuously operating since.

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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