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Sunburn for April 26 – AIF health care summit gets underway; Recapping Alan Grayson vs. David Jolly; Dwight Dudley exits; Sean Pittman honored

in Peter/Top Headlines by

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.

Interested in health care? Better head to Central Florida.

The annual Florida Health Care Affordability Summit, hosted by the Foundation for Associated Industries of Florida, kicks off today in Orlando. The annual event is meant to create a conversation between the business and health care communities about their needs.

“It grew out of starting a conversation around our conference table and with our members, to bringing in a few more and a few more, to everyone being a part of the conversation,” said Tammy Perdue, general counsel for Associated Industries of Florida.

It’s evolved from there. Nearly two dozen health care experts are slated to speak over the next two days. Lawmakers — including Senate President Andy Gardiner, Sen. Oscar Braynon, Sen. Aaron Bean, Rep. Cary Pigman and Rep. James Grant — will serve as speakers and moderators.

If there is a theme to this year’s summit, it might just be technology. There are panels about medical simulation and one about how data can improve health care. Panelists will talk about options for controlling drug costs, how to create a healthier Florida workforce and how to expand health care through technology.

“Every year we have it it becomes more meaningful and more focused,” said Perdue. “People really want to know is being said here.”

Participants may be surprised by how much of what is being discussed at the summit is already happening in the Sunshine State. Two of the panelists on the panel focused on simulation techniques are from Florida, and Perdue said the University of Central Florida has been looking at ways to use virtual reality and simulation for medical research and education.

“The simulation panel is going to be most surprising,” said Perdue. “I think that’s going to blow their minds.”

The summit also comes as interest in how to prevent the spread of Zika. On Wednesday, Hadyn Parry, the CEO of Oxtiec, is scheduled to talk about ways technology can improve Floridians lives by lowering their risk of insect-born disease.

Oxitec is a British biotechnology company aimed at pioneering new ways to control pests, like mosquitoes, that are capable of spreading diseases. Earlier this year, the company announced it was expanding its program to Brazil to help protect the country from Zika. That new mosquito production facility has the capacity to protect more than 300,000 people.

“We are thrilled to have so many knowledgeable speakers, panelists and moderators participating and bringing their own perspectives to our discussions surrounding health care in Florida at this year’s Summit,” said Tom Feeney, president and CEO of AIF, in a statement.  “We look forward to our guests engaging with these thought leaders from across the health care industry spectrum in an effort to work toward practical, tangible solutions that will lower the barriers of accessibility to good, quality health care in the Sunshine State for all.”

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Here’s today’s policy-packed lineup at the Health Care Affordability Summit at the Orlando World Center Marriott.

— 9 a.m.: Welcome by Senate President Andy Gardiner.

— 9:15 a.m.: Opening Address – Lars Houmann, President & CEO of Florida Division of Adventist Health System.

— 10 a.m.: Medical Simulation Presentation by The National Center for Simulation, moderated by Tom Feeney, President & CEO of Associated Industries of Florida. Panelists: Waymon Armstrong, Founder & President of Engineering & Computer Simulations, Inc.; Wilson Ariza, Associate Director for Training for SimLEARN National Simulation Center, VHA Employee Education System; Gerard “Jerry” Aubert, Associate vice president of Health and Information Technology for University of Central Florida College of Medicine.

— 11:15 a.m.: Impacts & Options of Controlling Drug Costs moderated by state Sen. Oscar Braynon. Panelists: Mara Osman, Southeast Regional Director for State Affairs at America’s Health Insurance Plans; Jill Hanson, PharmD, MBA, BCPP, vice president of Pharmacy Operations for Sunshine Health.

— 12:15 p.m.: Lunch & keynote address by Cindy Mann, Formerly with Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services

— 1:45 p.m.: Opportunities & Obstacles for a Healthier Florida Workforce moderated by state Rep. Cary Pigman. Panelists: Debra Diaz, DNP, CRNA, ARNP, President of the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists; Jon Reitz, Regional vice president of Retail and Pharmacy Operations at Walgreens; David Greenlaw, Ph.D., President of Adventist University of Health Sciences.

— 2:45 p.m.: Powerful Patients: How Data Improves Health Care moderated by state Rep. James Grant. Panelists: Mike McCarthy, Director of Government Programs at 3M; Kim Streit, FACHE, vice president of Health Care Research and Information for Florida Hospital Association; Molly McKinstry, Deputy Secretary of the Division of Health Quality Assurance for Agency for Health Care Administration; Allen Naidoo, vice president & Chief Analytics Officer with Florida Blue.

— 3:45 p.m.: Expanding Health Treatment Options Through Technology moderated by state Sen. Aaron Bean. Panelists: Claudia Tucker, vice president of Government Affairs at Teladoc; Aaron Dallek, CEO & Co-Founder of Opternative; Matthew Stanton, Senior Director for Distance Health in the Office of Clinical Transformation at Cleveland Clinic Health System.

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BILL NELSON FOR VEEP? via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Nelson appeared in a New York Times story that dropped a lot of names including, Tim KaineSherrod BrownDeval PatrickTom Perez and Julian Castro: “She knows that if she chooses a younger and ambitious vice president, she will have someone by her side who may be making calculations with an eye toward running for the presidency in 2024. The past two vice presidents, Joe Biden and Dick Cheney, were widely seen as devoted to their jobs; they appreciated and sought power, but given their ages, they were not determined to seek their bosses’ job in the future. Clinton, 68, likes that fact, Democrats say, and has to decide if she wants a rising star or a seasoned hand who is not interested in the presidency, like Bill Nelson, 73, a senator from another key state, Florida.”

ALAN GRAYSON, DAVID JOLLY DEBATE CAMPAIGN FINANCE, CLIMATE CHANGE, OTHER ISSUES via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel – It was the first such debate in a format that organizers, which included groups as politically diverse as the conservative Americans for Tax Reform and the liberal Progressive Change Institute, hope will be followed in other races and even in the presidential campaign. Jolly, had appeared Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes” to discuss his STOP Act, which would bar members of Congress from calling donors directly. He said that happens for hours almost every day in special call centers provided by each party near Capitol Hill. “At the end of the day, the most important reform we can make is to reform Congress … Get Congress back to work, get them off the phones, get them to stop asking for money.” Grayson … while supporting the STOP Act, said he has gone beyond it by being the only member of Congress whose 2014 race was financed by small donors. “We are creating a new paradigm in campaign finance … This is the revolution, happening right in front of your eyes.” Both candidates said they were against banking institutions being “too big to fail,” but they disagreed on the remedies. “If you are as an institution too big to fail, you’re too big to exist,” Grayson said. Jolly said he wanted more transparency but added that “overregulation has so crushed small and medium institutions and left us with ‘too big to fail.’” Jolly said he has voted against Republican budgets that have made too many changes to the Social Security program for people under 55, but “if you’re new to the workforce, you’re still going to have [Social Security], but it might look different.” Grayson responded, “We do not need cuts. Cuts are hurting the people who need those benefits.” Grayson and Jolly differed on whether climate change was America’s biggest threat – Grayson said yes, Jolly disagreed. A question about Planned Parenthood led to Grayson giving his full support while Jolly said he differed with his party by voting against another investigation of the group. Jolly also said he was opposed to a $15 minimum wage, saying “why do lawmakers arbitrarily choose a number? Let’s index it.” Grayson said “if you gave people a $15 minimum wage, there would be more customers.”

— “Questions posed new Senate debate format put Jolly in a tough spot” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

— “Ron DeSantis disses debate as “Democratic Senate debate” via Jenna Buzzacco- Foerster of Florida Politics

AUGUSTUS SOL INVICTUS SAYS HE WAS SHUNNED FROM SENATE DEBATE via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Invictus said the debate was not open to all of the candidates, saying at least 15 candidates have emerged. In a statement, the Orlando Libertarian candidate said the organization hosting the debate pretended the Libertarian Party of Florida does not exist. The Open Debate Coalition invited candidates who had received 15 percent in recent polls. In a release sent moments before the debate, Invictus said his campaign was fighting to be included, but couldn’t protest the debate “because the location has not been disclosed.”


— @BylineBrandon: I’m not entirely sure questions from inside Florida outnumbered questions from Mark Ruffalo

— @StephenLemongello: Jolly: “Greatest cut of all will be the collapse of Social Security system because of the lack of Congress to realize it’s failing” #FLSen

— @ByKristenMClark: .@AlanGrayson says he supports @DavidJollyFL’s STOP Act, has other ideas of his own for campaign finance.

— @BradHerold: Started handing out materials at the half-empty pizza place I’m having dinner- influenced more FL GOP primary voters than the #OpenDebate

— @BFGPollara: Question: did anyone but members of FL press Corp watch #OpenDebate ? Answer: NO

— @ElectionSmith: Intentionally not watching the #OpenDebate between @AlanGrayson and @USRepDavidJolly. Sounds like I’m not missing much #HubrisDebate

— @MarcACaputo: Grayson sees 1 bright side of climate change in South Florida: “Rush Limbaugh’s house is on the coast. So his house goes 1st”

— @MDixon55: Interesting to see how @AlanGrayson talks about @POTUS, who has endorsed @PatrickMurphyFL

— @MDixon55: So, I’m sure none of us will ever see that shot of @DavidJollyFL high fiving/hand shaking w @AlanGrayson ever again

JOLLY SAYS IDEALLY HE’D LIKE TO BAN ALL TV POLITICAL ADVERTISING via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Jolly says that he asked Patrick Murphy and Grayson that if they co-sponsored his legislation banning federal officeholders from directly soliciting campaign contributions, he would have been content if they continued to fundraise, even possibly against him this fall. “I took the pledge in January. I no longer directly solicit money,” the Pinellas County GOP congressman and Senate candidate said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “But I’d beg my Democratic opponents in this race: co-sponsor it, and I’ll get your back, and say you don’t need to take the pledge now, let’s just change the system.” However, not only did neither of the two top Democrats in the Senate race co-sponsor the measure, but they have openly criticized it.

COULD JOLLY RUN FOR A DIFFERENT OFFICE? via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – Charlie Crist can’t breathe easy just yet … Republican former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker … opted out earlier this month. Now drama is springing back up with chatter that Jolly … could— or should — run for re-election rather than continue his campaign for the U.S. Senate. Jolly, fresh off a glowing 60 Minutes report featuring his efforts to rein in constant money-raising by his colleagues in the House, last year declared Congressional District 13 virtually impossible for any Republican to win … “I continue to encourage him to consider it,” Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos said of Jolly running for re-election … even if Jolly has a shot at keeping the district in the GOP column, he is scorned as a self-righteous phony by plenty of Washington Republicans. They see his “Stop Act” proposal to halt incessant Capitol Hill fundraising as a publicity gimmick he came up with because he happens to be lousy at soliciting money himself. He led the field of five-little known candidates in two of three polls taken in March. But two of those polls also showed more than three quarters of Florida Republicans were undecided. That’s a wide-open race … perhaps Jolly needs to consider whether the best guy to stop Crist is the one he sees in the mirror.

— “Upside-down campaigns offer new metrics for ‘front runner’” via Jeff Schweers of the Tampa Tribune

U.S. SENATE TRACKER: Republican Carlos Lopez-Cantera will be in Miami; Republican Todd Wilcox will be in Orlando.

CHARLIE CRIST PICKS UP A LABOR ENDORSEMENT IN CD 13 CONTEST via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – LiUNA, the Laborers’ International Union of North America, has announced that it is endorsing Crist in the race for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. “From construction and energy workers, to public employees, our members are moving Florida’s economy forward – and Charlie Crist will help us get the job done,” said Dave Brier, Business Manager of LiUNA Local 517. “Charlie worked to protect Florida’s jobs and hard-working, middle-class families as Governor, and he’ll do the same in Congress.” On its website, the union calls itself “the most progressive, aggressive and fastest-growing union of construction workers, and one of the most diverse and effective unions representing public service employees.” It is said to be nearly a half-million strong in membership.

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RACE TO REPLACE GREG EVERS OPENS UP, WINDOW TO JOIN CLOSING via Rick Outzen of Rick’s Blog – The early leader in the GOP primary to replace Evers in the Florida Senate appears to be Rep. Doug Broxson, who has put together a $100K+ war chest. Rep. Mike Hill picked up the endorsement of Escambia Sheriff David Morgan, who also endorsed Hill when he first ran for the Florida House. However, several names are being floated for the race. The most intriguing is Capt. Keith Hoskins, the recently retired Commanding Officer of NAS Pensacola. Hoskins is hesitant because of his new job in the private sector, but several people in Pensacola and Tallahassee are excited about his political prospects. Engineer Scott Adams and Judge Gary Bergosh are two names also being mentioned. Adams has generated some support from the Senate leadership, but name recognition is an issue. Bergosh served on the Escambia County School Board before being appointed to the bench. The window for announcing is closing quickly. If Hoskins, Adams or Bergosh want to run, they need to get in the race in the next 10 days.

DWIGHT DUDLEY EYEING JUDGESHIP AS HE LEAVES FLORIDA HOUSE via Michael Auslen and William March of the Tampa Bay Times – Dudley … will not run for re-election … “There are mighty challenges to improve policy in our state, but it’s been a great experience … I think we’ve been able to advocate for some good stuff and actually move the needle some on a few things.” Dudley is leaving the state House with his eye on another public office, the Group 8 Pinellas County judgeship. Two candidates, Dora Komninos and Curtis “CK” Korsko, are already filed for the seat. “It’s not decided, I’m thinking about that,” Dudley said. “I’m leaning in favor of doing that. I think I have a lot to offer in that regard. I treat people fairly, and I think it’s a worthwhile thing to be doing.”

BEN DIAMOND TO RUN FOR DUDLEY’S SEAT via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics — In what appears to be a coordinated effort, Diamond made his announcement just hours after incumbent Dudley announced publicly that he would not run for the seat he has held since 2012. He’s a Yale University graduate, and earned his law degree from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Florida Law Review. Previously, Diamond practiced in the litigation group of the law firm Akerman Senterfitt. He also worked for four years as a lawyer for the State of Florida in Tallahassee, serving as General Counsel to the Chief Financial Officer of the State of Florida and the Florida Department of Financial Services. Prior to that, he served as a law clerk to the Judge Emmett Ripley Cox on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

HAPPENING TOMORROW NIGHT — Republican state Rep. Kathleen Peters hosts a fundraiser for her re-election effort in House District 69. Reception begins 5:30 p.m. at the Sirata Beach Resort Royal Palm Meeting Room, 5300 Gulf Blvd. in St. Pete Beach. RSVP to Katie Ballard at 954-803-3942 or

ALSO HAPPENING TOMORROW NIGHT — State Rep. Jason Brodeur kicks off his house District 28 re-election with a fundraiser at the Red Cypress Brewery, 855 E. SR 434 in Winter Springs (located in the Senor Tequila’s Plaza. Event begins 5:30 p.m. RSVP to

HAPPENING THIS WEEK — State Rep. Doug Broxson is holding a fundraiser reception Thursday for his Senate District 1 campaign. Event begins 4:30 p.m. at the Florida Retail Federation offices, 227 South Adams St. in Tallahassee.

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WHO’S BETTER? RICK SCOTT SAYS FLORIDA BETTER THAN CALIFORNIA via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press – Taking his quest to lure jobs from other states up another notch, Gov. Scott got Florida to start airing radio ads blasting California’s decision to raise the minimum wage. Scott announced Monday that the state’s economic development agency will use taxpayer money to pay for spots that will run on Los Angeles and San Francisco radio stations ahead of a trade mission Scott is taking next week to the Golden State. The radio ads, paid by Enterprise Florida, contend that a new law that gradually raises California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour will cost the state 700,000 jobs.

DEADLOCK ON INSURANCE REGULATOR TESTS POLITICAL SKILLS OF SCOTT AND JEFF ATWATER via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Winds of change are swirling in Tallahassee. Florida needs an insurance commissioner, arguably the most important consumer-protection job in the state government, so Scott‘s judgment could be tested as never before. At the end of perfunctory public interviews a few weeks ago, Scott went all-in for one candidate: Jeffrey Bragg … a Tallahassee outsider with private sector and Washington experience. Atwater wanted Bill Hager, an expert witness in insurance lawsuits, arbitrator and Republican member of the state House from Palm Beach County. Someone has to give … Still, as hurricane season approaches, it’s hard to overstate the importance of a hiring decision that could affect the pocketbooks of so many Floridians. And while it’s not Scott’s decision alone, the buck stops with him.

JACK LATVALA AND OTHER LAWMAKERS PUSH FAVORITES FOR INSURANCE POST via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Latvala sent Atwater a glowing recommendation for Ray Blacklidge, a friend and constituent in Pinellas Park who has an extensive background in various forms of insurance. Blacklidge was added to the list of candidates last week by Atwater … Latvala describes Blacklidge as a “national expert on no fault automobile insurance” with more than 30 years of executive experience in the property and casualty insurance industry. Blacklidge, 55, is an executive of two write-your-own insurance carriers, American Traditions Insurance Company and Modern USA Insurance Company, and Latvala said his “remarkable experience and commitment to the citizens of our state” makes him an excellent candidate. Sen. Anitere Flores … and Rep. Hazelle Rogers … both urged Atwater to support Dolce Suarez-Resnick of Miramar … She was an appointee of former CFO Alex Sink to the state Financial Literacy Council.

HOW FDLE COMMISSIONER RICK SWEARINGEN HAS SPENT HIS FIRST SIX MONTHS via Arek Sarkissian of Naples Daily News – With the controversy of his promotion behind him, Swearingen said he spent the majority of this year’s legislative session securing $10.7 million in funding that should help stop the loss of laboratory analysts from leaving their jobs after going through two years of training. He also helped advocate for legislation that provided funding to pare down a backlog of more than 13,435 untested sexual assault kits and policy that required those kits to be tested within 120 days of submission. Swearingen … was regularly seen filing into legislative committee meetings in the Capitol … he wanted to be as accessible to lawmakers as possible. “I did not just want to be there with my hand open asking for money,” Swearingen said. “I wanted to be there to help them in any way possible.” Swearingen echoed the concerns of lawmakers in a push to have FDLE handle more officer-involved shootings reported by state and county law enforcement agencies. Swearingen, whose twin brother is the recently-retired Leon County Undersheriff Rob Swearingen, said FDLE would bring transparency to a tense situation for any community. He brought up the riots that followed the January 2014 shooting of a black teen in Ferguson, Missouri, as an example. “Any agency that doesn’t want us to investigate is on the wrong side of history,” Swearingen said. “We are much closer to another Ferguson than they may think.”

MADNESS: IN FLORIDA PRISONS, MENTALLY ILL INMATES HAVE BEEN TORTURED, DRIVEN TO SUICIDE, AND KILLED BY GUARDS via Eyal Press of the New Yorker – Shortly after Harriet Krzykowski began working at the Dade Correctional Institution, in Florida, an inmate whispered to her, “You know they starve us, right?” … “I thought, Oh, this guy must be paranoid or schizophrenic,” she said recently. Moreover, she’d been warned during her training that prisoners routinely made false accusations against guards. Then she heard an inmate in another wing of the T.C.U. complain that meal trays often arrived at his cell without food. After noticing that several prisoners were alarmingly thin, she decided to discuss the matter with Dr. Cristina Perez, who oversaw the inpatient unit. “You can’t trust what inmates say,” she responded … Krzykowski mentioned that she had overheard security guards heckling prisoners. One officer had told an inmate, “Go ahead and kill yourself—no one will miss you.” Again, Perez seemed unfazed. Krzykowski discovered … many inmates were locked up in single-person cells. Solitary confinement was supposed to be reserved for prisoners who had committed serious disciplinary infractions. In forced isolation, inmates often deteriorated rapidly. As Krzykowski put it, “So many guys would be mobile and interactive when they first came to the T.C.U., and then a few months later they would be sleeping in their cells in their own waste.” In her view, the T.C.U. was unacceptably rundown: the walls were mildewed, the hallways were caked in grime, and the sewage system was often backed up. In the staff break room, cockroaches had overrun the kitchen area, infesting even the microwave. Oddly, the water from the kitchen faucet was scalding, so Krzykowski began using it to make ramen noodles for lunch.

EDITORIAL: THE HIGH PRICE FOR SPEAKING UP ABOUT ABUSE IN PRISONS via the Tampa Bay Times – After years of lawsuits, allegations of corruption and evidence of cover-ups of brutal beatings and worse, the Florida Department of Corrections should have learned by now the best antiseptic is openness. Yet weeks after a Corrections inspector privately told state senators about abuse and a suspected cover-up, he became the target of six internal investigations in a single day. For all of the recent efforts to overhaul the prison system, there still are corners of darkness. Legislators should be demanding answers from Corrections Secretary Julie Jones, or they may find themselves unable to persuade state employees to be candid with them in the future.

STATE WANTS TO CLOSE INMATE TRANSITION PROGRAM TO MAKE WAY FOR OFFICES via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – The 182 men living at the Bridges of America work release center in Pompano Beach are in prison but they spend their time getting ready to leave — taking classes in things like addiction education, anger management, forklift certification, computer basics, the ABCs of finance and getting out on work-release to hold a job …  last week the privately-run nonprofit Bridges of America program was told it must close down by May 16. The reason: The state agency needs the office space. The owners and supporters of the Broward-based center were stunned. The lease for the Pompano facility was up May 16 and when the FDC issued its requests for proposals to renew the contract in March — at rates reduced from $52 a day to $56 a day — Bridges of America was the only one to respond. But rather than follow through with contract, FDC last week reversed course and said it needed the facility to house its probation office, which is seeking new space.

JOE NEGRON FLOATS BLOCK TUITION TO SOLVE LATE COLLEGE GRADUATION PROBLEM via Jessica Bakeman of POLITICO Florida – Florida’s taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing education costs for students who are staying in college longer than four years just for fun, Senate president-designate Negron said last week during a statewide tour of the state’s dozen public universities. So the Stuart Republican is toying with a possible solution in the form of block tuition. Rather than paying per credit hour, students would pay a flat rate. That would encourage them to take more credits — 15 per semester, instead of 12 — and help them to complete a bachelor’s degree in four years, he said last week. Higher education officials throughout the state say they’re open to exploring the idea. But they warned many students won’t be able to take on heavier course loads, even with potential financial incentives. And they worry implementing a block tuition policy could result in unintended consequences, like penalizing students who are balancing college with work and family responsibilities or pushing them to take on more than they can handle successfully.

MY TAKE: CALLING BS ON MICHELLE REHWINKEL VASILINDA via Florida Politics – Like too many lawmakers and elected officials throughout Florida … Rehwinkel Vasilinda did not vote in the March 15 Presidential Preference Primary … Most of those elected who failed to show up and do what they frequently ask voters to do – you know, VOTE – went belly up, when asked, and offered the public relations equivalent of, “Yeah, crap, I forgot” or “My bad. Sorry.” And good for them. Bad that they didn’t vote, but good for them for owning up to it. But not Rehwinkel Vasilinda. She says she stayed home as a “protest.” As a way of calling attention to the problem of partisan extremism and political disenfranchisement. Sure that message is fine. Many people agree that the red meat primaries are failing us all. We get that and in the current environment, it’s hard to disagree. But, COME ON! you know quite well how to call attention to problems or how to highlight issues you care about … Frankly, you are quite good at it – so kudos on that front. In fact, anyone protesting pretty much anything knows, as you do, how to alert the media. Nobody – and I am pretty sure by “nobody,” I mean not a single solitary person in the state — believes that nearly six weeks after the primary – six weeks during a time when you alerted exactly no one, that you were “protesting” anything. You just forgot. Own it.

HAPPY 100TH ANNIVERSARY, FLORIDA CHAMBER — Gov. Scott and the Florida Cabinet today will honor the Florida Chamber of Commerce with a resolution celebrating its 100th anniversary. The Florida Chamber was officially created on April 29, 1916 in an effort to save Florida’s business community – and the agriculture industry specifically – from an invasive cattle tick that threatened the livelihood of the state’s leading economic engine.

“One hundred years ago, the biggest threat facing Florida’s economy was a parasite — the cattle tick,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “While the threats to Florida’s economy have changed, the Florida Chamber’s mission to secure our state’s future, create jobs and create economic opportunities remain the same.” In the 100 years since the Florida Chamber was created, Florida’s population has grown from just over 900,000 in 1916 to more than 20 million. Over the past year, 1 in 12 jobs created in the U.S. were created in Florida, and Florida would be the 18th largest economy in the world if the Sunshine State were a country. Throughout the Florida Chamber’s 100 year history, its number one goal has been to encourage a business friendly climate that allows job creators to do what they do best – create private-sector jobs and contribute to Florida’s economy.

Click here to watch a short video on the Florida Chamber’s history.

TWO BIG FLORIDA CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE TALK MERGER via Robert Trigaux of the Tampa Bay Times – The two chambers talking merger are the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. Both chambers issued releases explaining their reasons to explore combining their resources. “There are many issues that are more effectively addressed with a regional approach,” stated Christine Barney, chair of Miami’s chamber and CEO of rbb Communications. “By consolidating our power bases we increase our ability to shape key issues regionally while continuing to address the matters that impact our local businesses and economy,” added Heiko Dobrikow, chair of Fort Lauderdale’s chamber and general manager of the Riverside Hotel.

NEW HISPANIC PUBLIC AFFAIRS SHOW DEBUTS IN FLORIDA via Sergio Bustos of The Associated Press – WLTV-23, the Univision affiliate in Miami, announced that “Al Punto Florida” will be hosted by Univision 23 anchor Ambrosio Hernandez and Mariana Atencio, of Miami-based cable network FUSION. The one-hour show will be broadcast, beginning at 11 a.m. [Sunday], on five Univision affiliates: Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Miami. Hernandez says the show will analyze issues through interviews and journalistic reports on newsworthy topics in Florida and in Latin America … politics will play a key role in the program, noting Sen. Marco Rubio will be its first guest. The show is modeled after Univision’s “Al Punto,” a national public affairs show hosted by Univision anchor Jorge Ramos.


Emily Buckley, Jones Walker: Right at Home Sarasota County

Lauren Calmet: Florida Coalition for Children

J.B. Clark : Florida Electrical Workers Association

Husein Cumber: Florida East Coast Industries

Will McKinleyAngela DempseyFred O. Dickinson, PooleMcKinley: Herdt Consulting

Matthew Sansbury: Stifel, Nicolaus & Company

SEAN PITTMAN HONORED BY NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION – The Tallahassee lawyer & lobbyist accepted the a Heman Sweatt Award at the National Bar Associations Mid-Year Conference in Ft. Lauderdale. The award calls for recipients demonstrate community leadership and concern for human and civil rights and model excellence in legal education and perseverance in the law, public policy and social activism. “It’s an honor to win such a prestigious award, named for an amazing lawyer and civil rights activist,” says Pittman. “This honor is without parallel. I am humbled and accept it with deep gratitude.” Pittman was nominated for the award by national civil rights attorney Ben Crump.

***Situated in the heart of Downtown Tallahassee, 101 Restaurant combines southern hospitality with big city style. Through Executive Chef Jason Bruner, 101 Restaurant adopted the Farm-to-Table approach where they use products from farmers and fishermen found within a 100-mile radius of their downtown restaurant. These locations include Quincy, Thomasville, Apalachicola, Panama City and many others. The goal at 101 Restaurant is to give guests a fine dining experience in a luxurious, casual environment. Plus, if you stop by any day from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., you can enjoy their Double Happy Hour! Call them today to make your reservation! (850) 391-1309.***

TWEET, TWEET: @ArekSarkissian: I may be working with @GrayRohrer and @CallTallahassee again! Rapture!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Rep. Larry Ahern, state House candidate Alex Barrio, Tampa airport’s Gina Evans, Americans for Prosperity’s Andres Malave, and Tampa City Councilwoman and state House candidate Lisa Montelione.

NEW X-MEN: APOCALYPSE TRAILER: IT’S ALL THE MUTANTS AGAINST A GOD via Angela Watercutter of Wired – Not only does it tease a Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) cameo, it also promises the best—or at least the most unique—hero superhero squad of the year. The new trailer also offers up the summer’s best band of bad guys with Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) and his Four Horsemen: Angel (Ben Hardy), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Also, it’s got jokes! (Glad to see Quicksilver finally connected the dots on his parentage.) Pause at: 0:20 for Apocalypse’s cool table. 0:29 for the Four Horsemen. 0:55 to see Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) get temped by the dark side. 1:25 for LoLs. 2:00 for Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) giving her best Coach Taylor speech. 2:27 for the Wolverine reveal!

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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