Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – August 26

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

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

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Mitch Perry, Ryan Ray, and Jim Rosica.

What are Florida voters thinking.

A new Quinnpiac poll of Floridians shows … a majority of Floridians (53 percent) support allowing the majority of undocumented immigrants in the country to stay in the U.S. … additional 12 percent say the undocumented should be allowed to stay in the U.S., but not be allowed to apply for U.S. citizenship. Thirty-one percent believe that the undocumented should be deported back to their country of origin.

… 48 percent of Floridians oppose cutting off federal funding to (Planned Parenthood), while 42 percent support that notion …

The Iran nuclear deal is not popular … In Florida, 61 percent oppose it, 25 percent support it … Sixty-one percent of Floridians also say the Iran deal will make the world less safe.

Floridians are apparently more hawkish … 55 percent – say that the U.S. should send ground troops to Iraq and Syria to fend off ISIS … Forty-percent of Floridians oppose adding troops … only 18 percent believe the U.S. is “winning” the war against ISIS.

President Obama … has been underwater in his personal approval ratings … only 41 percent of Floridians support him currently, while 56 percent oppose him. Regarding income inequality … by a 55/29 percent margin, Floridians support increasing taxes on higher income earners to reduce the amount of taxes paid by the middle class.

HOW THE Q-POLL PLAYED

Miami HeraldMost Florida voters oppose Iran deal, new Quinnipiac poll shows – “Obama remains unpopular in Florida — as does his nuclear deal with Iran … oppose the Iran agreement by 61-25 percent …” South Florida Sun SentinelFlorida voters strongly oppose Iran nuclear deal, split over Planned Parenthood funding – “It’s opposed by the youngest and oldest voters, by men and women, and by Republicans and independents. Democrats are the only group in which support for the deal is greater than the opposition.” Palm Beach PostFlorida voters sour on Obama, Iran nuclear deal – “Florida voters oppose stripping federal funding from Planned Parenthood … 55 percent backing U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS …” POLITICOSwing-state voters reject Iran deal – “… whether to send ground troops to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria … Strong majorities … said the U.S. and its allies are losing the fight …” The HillSwing-state voters oppose Iran deal 2-1 – “a majority of Americans nationally also thinks Congress should reject the accord …” Miami New TimesFloridians support immigrants, Planned Parenthood, and income equality but not Iran arms deal – “… allowing undocumented immigrants to stay, and taking on the income gap through federal action are all winning positions …” Washington TimesObama should not get ‘four more years,’ … — “Seventy-one percent of voters in Florida … said they would not like to see Mr. Obama serve as president for a third term if he could.”

DRIVING THE NATIONAL CONVO

The U.S. stock market took a dive this morning, with investors spooked by economic instability in China. The Dow Jones industrial average closed at its lowest point in well over a year, and some U.S. presidential candidates were quick to tout their own economic plans as the clear remedy to the world’s financial woes.

TWEET, TWEET: @RealDonaldTrump: Markets are crashing – all caused by poor planning and allowing China and Asia to dictate the agenda. This could get very messy! Vote Trump.

DONALD TRUMP TROLLS JEB BUSH WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM BUSH’S MOM via Sam Frizell of TIME Magazine

Trump delivered another well-placed jab at Jeb Bush … with a video quoting the former Florida governor’s mother, Barbara saying “We’ve had enough Bushes” run for president. The video … quotes a 2013 clip of the former First Lady responding to a question from NBC asking whether she “would like to see her son run for president.”

“No … I really don’t. I think it’s a great country. There are a lot of great families. There are other people out there that are very qualified, and we’ve had enough Bushes.”

“Mother knows best, Jeb!” the text … says tauntingly …

BUSH STEPS IN IT AGAIN via Eli Stokols of POLITICO

Bush‘s attempt to explain his use of the term ‘anchor babies’ … “This is ludicrous for the Clinton campaign and others to suggest that somehow I was using a derogatory term … What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed where there’s organized efforts – frankly, it’s more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children in that organized efforts, taking advantage of a noble concept, which is birthright citizenship” … Democrats quickly blasted Bush again for ‘tripling down’ on the anchor babies line.

POLL DU JOUR: A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds Donald Trump is widening his lead over the GOP presidential field with 32%, followed by Jeb Bush at 16%, Ben Carson at 8%, Mike Huckabee at 7%, Scott Walker at 5%, Marco Rubio at 4% and Ted Cruz at 4%.

— “Adelson clinic, education helping to beat prescription drug addiction” via Columba Bush for the Las Vegas Review-Journal

— “Jacksonville fundraiser for Jeb Bush is a homecoming of sorts for Jeb Jr.” via Nate Monroe of the Florida Times-Union

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Marco Rubio is raising money in SoCal.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Bright House Networks, a trusted provider of industry-leading communications and networking services to businesses of all sizes, from startups to large, multi-site organizations. Our Enterprise Solutions provides the fiber connectivity, cloud and managed services  today’s large organizations demand, while our Business  Solutions team works with small- to mid-size companies to ensure they get the right services to fit their needs and their budget. Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Bright House Networks. Learn more at brighthouse.com/business.***

NATIONAL PARTIES CAUTIOUS ON FLORIDA REDISTRICTING ENDGAME via Elena Schneider of the POLITICO

National strategists are bracing for the unknown in Florida, where the state Legislature failed to reach an agreement on redistricting … a move that keeps the 2016 map uncertain for at least a half-dozen competitive House seats.

It is unclear whether state legislators could still seek a solution during September meetings, or if “the governor could call them in again, and say, ‘Do your job,’” a national Republican operative said. “We’re taking the wait-and-see approach.” … Democrats are adopting a similar posture.

Republicans said that since Rep. Corrine Brown filed a lawsuit to overturn the court’s decision … the maps could be mired in litigation for much longer.

But if the courts provide a map, and takes a cue from the state legislative staffers’ base map, then a national Democratic strategist said they see two seats moving into their column … Daniel Webster’s 10th District … St. Petersburg-based 13th District … one national Republican operative, working off the base map, said Rep. Gwen Graham’s 2nd District and the open 18th District would be Republican pick-ups … 13th is a “wild card,” and Carlos Curbelo’s 26th District will remain competitive.

“The inability of the Republican legislature to follow the court order doesn’t change the fact that the gerrymandered map must change,” said Matt Thornton, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “The current map has been declared an unconstitutional gerrymander, so we are looking forward to the court doing the job the Republican legislature can’t or won’t do.”

LEGISLATURE WADES INTO UNCHARTED TERRITORY AMID INCREASING UNCERTAINTY via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

The Legislature is wading deeper and deeper into uncharted territory, and there’s simply no telling how it will end … breakdown of last week’s special session on congressional redistricting was only the beginning … courts now will seize control of redrawing the maps … raising new doubts about the credibility of the Legislature do to its job.

… in a few weeks, legislators will reconvene for another special session, the third such overtime session in four months, for a new redistricting battle … all 40 state Senate districts … it’s possible that all 40 senators would have to face the voters in 2016, as they do in all reapportionment years … As a result, some senators could get two additional years to hold office. … the unresolved fight over the 2016 Senate presidency involving Jack Latvala … and Joe Negron … could be wilder than ever.

Senators who are now scheduled to face voters next year are those in odd-numbered districts … in Tampa Bay are … Republican John Legg … and Democrat Arthenia Joyner … But the mere act of assigning which Senate seats get which numbers could itself be seen as more illegal political maneuvering.

JUDGE SETS REDISTRICTING CONFERENCE … BUT QUESTIONS LOOM via Mary Ellen Klas of the Tampa Bay Times

Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis … ordered a scheduling conference for … 3 p.m. to receive updates on the status of the congressional redistricting plan that lawmakers failed to complete last week. But the question of the day is: what options does he have?

Lawmakers assumed they were handing over the job of redrawing the districts to the court when they adjourned … without finalizing a congressional map. … lawyers for the plaintiffs that brought the legal challenge — the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and a coalition of Democratic voters — say they are not sure it will be Lewis who will be drawing the maps.

“The court relinquished the case to the trial court for 100 days to review the Legislature’s map and only review the map,” said Mark Herron, a lawyer for the voters coalition that challenged the congressional redistricting maps. With lawmakers failing to produce a final map, “we’re in outside territory now.”

Will Lewis order lawmakers to return to complete a map or will he conclude they have irreconcilable differences and mediate the situation himself? If he does decide to mediate and accept alternative maps, will the House and Senate be allowed to offer different options or will they be required to work in tandem?

HOUSE BREAKS WITH SENATE AND ASKS JUSTICES TO LET LOWER COURT WORK ON CONGRESSIONAL REDISTRICTING via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post

The Florida House split with the state Senate and asked the state Supreme Court to let a … judge begin work on drawing congressional district boundaries … The House acted alone … asking justices to give Judge Terry Lewis 60 days to consider maps submitted by the Legislature and voters’ groups … The lower court also could review evidence and conduct a hearing on which map should be recommended to the Supreme Court, the House said in its filing with justices.

(The) action stemmed from … support for a staff-drawn “base” map that the Senate refused to endorse. The Senate drew boundaries that House Redistricting Chairman Jose Oliva … warned could be rejected by the court as violating the constitution’s anti-gerrymandering provisions … Lewis and the Supreme Court have each thrown out earlier maps drawn by the Legislature on these grounds.

SENATORS TRY TO SALVAGE CONGRESSIONAL REDISTRICTING PLAN via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times

Sens. Rob Bradley … and Nancy Detert … filed a new redistricting plan; even though there is no clear mechanism to take up or vote on the plan … hoping their new offer could serve as a compromise that could win support if the Legislature does end up back in session to deal with the unfinished business.

(Their) plan takes part of the House’s final offer and combines it with her original idea to put all of Sarasota County whole in one congressional district without making any dramatic changes to Hillsborough County as the Senate previously was demanding.

Gone … was an idea pushed by Sen. Tom Lee … that would have put all of eastern Hillsborough into the 15th Congressional District … represented by Dennis Ross …

(All) of southern Hillsborough – south of the Alafia River — would remain in the 17th District … now held mostly by … Tom Rooney … absorb the House’s idea of keeping all of the city of Sunrise in Broward County and Rivera Beach in Palm Beach County together in the 20th Congressional district, now held by …  Alcee Hastings.

OSCAR BRAYNON WANTS SENATE TO GET A HEAD START ON REMEDIAL REDISTRICTING via Ryan Ray of Florida Politics

Sen. Braynon penned a letter to Senate redistricting guru Jay Ferrin late last week requesting the creation of a redrawn Senate map similar to the congressional “base map” the Legislature used as a lodestar during Special Session B.

Braynon said he hopes a proactive approach will avoid the time crunch that exacerbated lawmakers’ inability to come to an agreement on a plan to revise the eight U.S. House districts invalidated by the Florida Supreme Court back in July.

The Miami Gardens Democrat also expressed a belief that the longer the public and experts have to examine the maps, the more likely the high court will approve the new proposal.

“Rather than limiting public scrutiny to a few days prior to House or Senate committee consideration, starting the work over a month in advance allows for full public participation in a process that affects everyone,” said Braynon in a release. “And establishing the ground rules for maps that affect political futures is critical to protecting the integrity of the final product.”

FLORIDA TAXPAYERS PAY UP: JUNE SPECIAL SESSION COST $651,000 via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press 

A messy budget fight that forced Florida’s legislators to hold an unusual June special session cost taxpayers more than $651,000 … The nine-day special session turned out to be the costliest special session in the last 15 years, and the most expensive one since Republicans took full control over state government with the election of Jeb Bush as governor.

Katie Betta, a spokesperson for Senate President Andy Gardiner, pointed out the higher cost for the June special session was largely due to the length of the session … the average daily cost for the June session was slightly more than $72,000, which was a lower daily cost than three other sessions including one held during the summer of 2014.

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

SOUNDS LIKE GWEN GRAHAM WANTS TO RUN FOR RE-ELECTION

Graham told POLITICO Florida’s Jessica Bakeman on Sunday in Tallahassee that she expects to continue serving in Congress. “I’m continuing to run, and if the people of the Second Congressional District give me the honor of electing me again, I will be honored to continue to serve,” Graham said, acknowledging the “uncertainty” created by the chaos at the state capital. “I haven’t spoken with anyone that expected that the Legislature wouldn’t be able to agree on some map, so we are in uncharted territory.”

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Graham will be in Tallahassee to meet with healthcare advocates, and then announce new legislation to help pregnant mothers and babies. Event begins 10:30 a.m. at the Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition, 1311 North Paul Russell Road, Suite A101 in Tallahassee.

DON GAETZ ENDORSES NEAL DUNN IN CD 2 via Florida Politics

Former Senate President Don Gaetz is endorsing Panama City Republican urologist Neal Dunn in his bid for Florida’s 2nd Congressional District seat … should surprise few in North Florida … In 2014, Gaetz appointed Dunn in 2014 as the Senate’s representative on the Enterprise Florida Board of Directors … Gaetz called Dunn “one of us here in North Florida” as a conservative with “solutions that work … He personifies the values and needs of our retired military and the communities that host our bases and missions … he knows firsthand the health care issues that affect our communities … he faces the same struggles as the rest of us in meeting payroll, growing jobs and working through the maze of government regulation.”

JOHN MORGAN’S PROPOSED MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT HAS COMPETITION via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics

The John Morgan-backed … proposed constitutional amendment allowing medical pot on the 2016 ballot has competition. Two other ballot initiatives were filed last month … including one that … would allow recreational use of pot.

The other would reclassify cannabis “as a dietary supplement” and tax its sale at 10 percent, with the proceeds going to augment teacher salaries. It would allow pot possession of up to 4 ounces. Neither initiative has reported any valid signatures so far, according to the state’s Division of Elections website.

PRO-SOLAR GROUP FINDS 47 PERCENT SUPPORT FOR AMENDMENT via Joey Francilus of POLITICO

Nearly half of Florida voters favor a constitutional amendment that would make it easier for solar energy companies to install more panels in the state … That was the good news for … Floridians for Solar Choice, which paid for the poll … The bad news (is) … 47 percent support for the proposal was well short of the total that would be needed … only 30 percent did not favor the proposed amendment, and 23 percent were undecided.

CONTRARY TO CRITICS’ CONCERNS, FLORIDA GOP ALREADY SENDING MAILERS IN BATTLEGROUND STATE HOUSE RACES via Florida Politics

(The) Republican Party of Florida is sending several mailers to conservative voters in Central Florida to bolster three House incumbents … response to criticism the party is frittering away valuable resources on “palace intrigue” ahead of a tough 2016 campaign thought to favor Democrats … Blaise Ingoglia has authorized mail pieces designed to protect Reps. Mike MillerBob Cortes and Rene Plasencia, each of whom face tough re-election battles in 2016.

The Orange County Republican Executive Committee is reportedly considering establishing a separate campaign fund to protect these incumbents out of a mistaken concern that Ingoglia and incoming Speaker Richard Corcoran will not do everything they can to keep these seats.

All three legislators unseated incumbent Democrats last year in Central Florida districts, which skew Democratic during high-turnout presidential cycles, but favor Republicans in gubernatorial off years.

MIAMI BEACH CANDIDATES SHY AWAY FROM MAYOR’S SHADY PAC via Elaine De Valle of Political Cortadito

A newbie commission candidate in Miami Beach is taking a cue from the growing public disgust over a shady PAC financed by special interests and championed by Mayor Philip Levine and its chair, Commissioner Jonah Wolfson. … Mark Samuelian, who is running in group VI, made the Relentless for Progress PAC part of his campaign … released a statement about “not accepting contributions directly or indirectly from Miami Beach prohibited developers, vendors, lobbyists or their PACs, including Relentless For Progress” … “I think we need a strong voice for our residents and I do not that a PAC funded by special interests is in the best interest of our city,”

RFP doesn’t exist to help him. It is there to support the mayor’s slate, which in this group is John Elizabeth Aleman.

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Jamestown Associates, one of the most successful political and public affairs consulting firms in Florida and the nation. Jamestown produces victories for our clients by creating TV, radio, mail and digital advertising that gets the voters’ attention and their votes. Persuasive ads. Personalized attention. Detailed review of demographics, past election results and history. Understanding the client. Understanding Florida. Single-minded focus on winning. Jamestown’s work has been recognized with 50 Pollie and Reed awards. See how we can help you win. Visit JamestownAssociates.com***

RICK SCOTT ON WEEKLONG LATE SUMMER VACATION IN COLORADO via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott will spend most of this week on a family vacation in Colorado … First Lady Ann Scott, their two daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren took a leisurely family trip to France earlier in the month.

Had the Legislature approved a congressional redistricting map, Scott would have been required to review it, sign it or veto it. But that didn’t happen …

HOW DOES FLORIDA JOB GROWTH COMPARE TO OTHER STATES? via Robert Trigaux of the Tampa Bay Times

While Florida’s unemployment rate dipped to 5.4 percent last month, 28 other states and the nation as a whole boasted lower jobless rates … Seasonally adjusted, Florida’s employment hit 8.1 million in July, an increase of 30,500 jobs or up 0.4 percent over June. Only California (+80,700) and Texas (+31,400) reported greater increases in jobs that month. Nor did all states report gains. New Jersey lost 13,600 jobs, followed by Louisiana (-4,500) and Kansas (-4,300).

Since July 2014 … Florida gained 271,500 jobs, a 3.5 percent increase … While California leads all states in the past year with new jobs, adding 494,300, Florida’s annual job gain beat out Texas (+260,500) by a margin of 11,000. On the other hand, the Texas unemployment rate is just 4.2 percent, well below Florida’s … Florida kept adding jobs to match another record year in tourism … almost 45 percent of the jobs created in July in Florida were government hires. Small wonder Scott, who has long trumpeted the virtues of small government, opted not to highlight those figures.

FLORIDA BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBER: LAWSUIT THREATENS PUBLIC SCHOOL FINANCES via Travis Pillow of redefinED

A lawsuit aimed at the country’s largest private school choice program could have effects beyond the tens of thousands of students who receive tax credit scholarships, and the private schools they attend … state Board of Education member Gary Chartrand writes that if the lawsuit challenging the program succeeds, it could also affect public schools’ finances.

“After adding 38,469 new students last year, Florida public schools are projected to grow by another 100,000 over the next five … imagine returning 78,000 scholarship students in one fell swoop. Building new schools to handle all these scholarship children would cost $2.6 billion. Even if school districts had enough spare room to absorb half these students  … the tab would exceed $1.3 billion … the scholarship is worth only 80 percent of what the state and districts spend per public school student in operating costs, which means they would have to come up with $111-million more every year to make up that difference.”

STATE, SEMINOLE TRIBE NEARING BLACKJACK DEAL via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics

The state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida are inching closer to a deal that would allow the Tribe to keep blackjack at its casinos … state Sen. Rob Bradley, head of the Senate panel that oversees gambling in Florida, says the dialogue is “heating up.”

“We’ve made some great progress in our discussions on coming to some outline of an agreement … We are now actively engaged in discussions back and forth with the tribe … There is a lot of activity and we’re moving forward.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which regulates gambling, said the state “has responded to a request for mediation,” but didn’t make clear whether the state said yes or no.

AFP RUNS ADS THANKING LEGISLATORS FOR OPPOSING MEDICAID EXPANSION via Kevin Derby of Sunshine State News

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) will be running TV and online ads … praising legislators who opposed the proposed Medicaid expansion that was backed by the Florida Senate.

“Families, patients, and taxpayers should thank and congratulate the 72 members of the legislature for being champions on this critically important issue,” said Chris Hudson, AFP’s director in Florida. “We are committed to holding elected officials accountable to their constituents. In this case, these members deserve to hear from their communities for standing strong against the usual pressures of powerful lobbyists and special interests.”

“WHISKEY AND WHEATIES” REDUX IN 2016 via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics

A legislative push to commingle whiskey and Wheaties will be back for a third time before Florida lawmakers next year. … A coalition of national big-box stores and their allies will meet within the next two weeks to work on this year’s strategy, spokesperson Christina Johnson said.

“Every indication leads me to believe we will be doing this again … We still believe this prohibition is an archaic law that needs to be brought into the 21st century.”

The initiative has had a strong backer in state Sen. Bill Galvano, the Bradenton Republican in line to become Senate president in 2018-20.

JEFF BRANDES FILES BILL TO (ONCE AGAIN) REPEAL THE USE OF RED-LIGHT CAMERAS IN FLORIDA via Florida Politics

Jeff Brandes … introduced SB 168 … (to) repeal the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act and eliminate red light cameras in Florida.

“Red light cameras are another example of taxation by citation, and Florida cities are in full retreat as municipalities from Tallahassee to Ft. Lauderdale continue to shutter their programs … As soon as a city starts to lose money they shut down their camera program. We’ve heard the claims that these programs are focused on safety, but the numbers demonstrate that this has almost always been about raising revenue.”

The 2016 session will make the fourth in a row where Brandes is proposing such legislation … he’s not been able to end the program outright … has been able to get measures passed requiring municipalities to adopt proven safety measures, such as yellow light extensions and better intersection signage, before they are able to consider the installation of a red light camera.

LEGISLATIVE STAFFING MERRY-GO-ROUND via Legislative IQ powered by Lobby Tools

With a tip of the hat to Legislative IQ powered by LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round.

Off: Shirley Proctor is no longer administrative assistant to the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

On: Joyce Butler has become the new administrative assistant for Judiciary.

Off & On: Ned Luczynski has become policy chief for the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee after leaving his role as policy chief for the House Business & Professions Subcommittee.

Off: Tom Cooper is no longer policy chief for Insurance & Banking.

On: Kristen Nyman is now the legislative assistant for Miami Republican Rep. Frank Artiles.

On: George Fossett is now the district secretary for Plantation Democratic Rep. Katie Edwards.

On: Franchezka Rosso is now the district secretary for West Park Democratic Rep. Shev Jones.

Off: Mary Gilligan is no longer the district secretary for Jacksonville Republican Rep.Lake Ray.

Off: Jasmine Villanueva has stepped down as district secretary for Estero Republican Rep. Ray Rodrigues.

Off: Laurel Bolderson is no longer the legislative assistant for Boca Raton Democrat Rep.Irv Slosberg.

Off: Nicolette Castagna left her role as legislative analyst for the House Health & Human Services Committee.

Off: Abby Ross is now the legislative assistant for Lantana Democratic Rep. Lori Berman.

Off: Kelsey Gorry is no longer the district secretary for Cape Coral Republican Rep. Dane Eagle.

On: Melissa Thompson is now the district secretary for Fort Myers Republican Rep.Heather Fitzenhagen.

On: Isabela Dorneles has become the new district secretary for Coconut Creek Democratic Rep. Kristin Jacobs.

On: Andrew Green is now district secretary for Winter Park Republican Rep. Mike Miller.

Off: Amanda Geltz is no longer district secretary for Gainesville Republican Rep. Keith Perry.

On: Joseph Fluriach has taken over as Perry’s district secretary.

Off: Libby Maxwell is no longer district secretary for Avon Park Republican Rep. Cary Pigman.

On: Justin Morgan is now Pigman’s new district secretary.

Off: John Kotyk is no longer legislative assistant for St. Johns Republican Rep. Cyndi Stevenson.

On: Morgan Miller is now the district secretary for Mount Dora Republican Rep. Jennifer Sullivan.

NEW ON THE TWITTERS: @FLHouseAide – “What all aides wish they could tweet”

STATE WORKER CUTS ‘MADE US FEEL LIKE WE DIDN’T MATTER’ via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat

Dozens of state-agency workers lost their jobs under Florida’s nearly $79-billion budget for fiscal year 2016, approved by the GOP-led Legislature … signed by Scott … More than 1,235 full-time-equivalent positions were slashed and nearly 420 positions were added, for a net decrease of about 815 … about 170 of the positions eliminated … estimated to have been filled. The vast majority of those — nearly 157 — were within the Florida Department of Health.

Scott has taken credit for creating about 900,000 private-sector jobs since taking office … in July, he bragged that Florida had seen 44 consecutive months of private-sector job growth. But he has simultaneously slashed positions in the state-agency workforce at a faster clip than any other governor in recent memory, cutting nearly 11,000 positions during his first term alone.

As part of his “Keep Florida Working” budget … Scott asked state agencies to trim their payrolls by 5 percent, which, he said, would save the state more than a quarter-billion dollars … Scott has said he expects state agencies to make “productivity gains” both now and in the future.

The most recent state workforce report, for fiscal year 2014, said Florida had the lowest ratio of state employees to population — 108 per 10,000 residents — and that state personnel costs the average Floridian $37 a month, less than half the national average of $76

In May and June … state agencies sent more than 125 notices to workers that they were losing their jobs, not including notices involving poor conduct, failure to complete probationary periods or related reasons … ranged from janitors to attorneys, in towns from Tallahassee to Miami.

The reasons stated in the layoff notices were many: budget cuts, outsourcing, revenue reductions, lapsing grants, changes in business practices, revenue reductions, a loss of local, state or federal funding. Some of the notices gave no reason at all.

POLICY NOTES via Legislative IQ powered by LobbyTools

CITIZENS MEETS TO DISCUSS RATES 

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation will hold a public hearing on proposed 2016 insurance rates starting 9 a.m. in the Sen. Jim King Committee Room 401 in the Senate Office Building in Tallahassee.

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION MEETING

The Florida Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting to share preliminary ideas for the Florida Transportation Plan and address question about the department’s Strategic Intermodal System Policy Plan at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel in Orlando starting at 1:30 p.m.

MIA, FPL TO EMBARK ON MAJOR ENERGY CONSERVATION PROJECT via Emon Reiser of South Florida Business Journal

Miami International Airport and FPL Services say they are undertaking one of the largest energy-savings programs ever in Florida – one that’s expected to create hundreds of jobs and save the airport more than $40 million in utility costs over 14 years.

The companies will officially launch the $32 million project Tuesday and over the next two years, the airport will receive new energy-efficient lighting, air conditioning and ventilation upgrades, water conservation retrofits and other green initiatives. The energy-saving equipment is expected to reduce MIA’s carbon emissions by the equivalent of 5,110 cars and decrease water use by 28 million gallons annually. The installation phase will also create 300 jobs.

The Sustainability Project is expected to save the airport $2.2 million each year.

MIA, among the busiest airports in the world, welcomed 21.9 million passengers from January to June. The airport is on pace to host more than 43 million passengers this year.

UBER CUSTOMERS FLOOD PALM BEACH COUNTY WITH EMAILED THANKS via Andy Reid of The Palm Beach Post

Uber’s smartphone app schedules rides and, apparently, inspires thank-you notes.

Hundreds of form letter thank-you’s from Uber riders have flooded the email inboxes of Palm Beach County commissioners.

The wave of Uber gratitude comes after the County Commission last week agreed to scrap proposed vehicle-for-hire regulations.

Uber had warned that if those rules were enacted, the popular alternative to taxis would pull out of Palm Beach County just as it exited Broward County on July 31.

To keep Uber, a majority of commissioners agreed to backtrack from proposed fingerprinting requirements and new insurance standards for the company’s drivers.

***On September 17-18, Florida CHAIN will host its 1st Annual Conference, Moving Forward Together in a New Era of Health Care. It’s an opportunity to join national experts, advocates, consumers, navigators, health care providers, policy makers, and other stakeholders to learn about pressing health policy topics, acquire new skills, and network with other participants dedicated to improving the health of all Floridians. In addition to two plenary sessions, a keynote address, engaging workshops, and interactive trainings, an exciting awards dinner will be held the evening of September 17th. Learn more and register today at www.MovingForwardFlorida.org.***

MY TAKE: CHRIS DORWORTH AN EARLY FRONTRUNNER FOR WINNER OF THE WEEK IN FLORIDA POLITICS?

Say what you will about Chris Dorworth — and I have said a lot — but the former Republican state lawmaker is having a banner week.

An Orange County judge has upheld an October decision throwing out a charge of breaking state public records laws against Dorworth, reports Dan Tracy of the Orlando Sentinel.

Judge Alicia L. Latimore in Orlando issued a one-page opinion last week agreeing with the ruling last year of Judge Tanya Davis Wilson that Dorworth was allowed to speak with members of the then Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority.

Dorworth was accused of acting as a go-between between two ex-members of the authority in an effort to oust then-director Max Crumit.

On the opposite side of this case is the State Attorney for Orange and Osceola Jeff Ashton, who said Sunday that he signed up on AshleyMadison.com, the website for married individuals seeking extramarital affairs. Ashton said he signed up because he was curious but insists he did not have an affair.

Crumit’s name also appears in the Ashley Madison data files, although it has not been verified whether he paid for the website’s services.

With another exoneration from the judicial system, while two of his bete noires find themselves on the wrong end of a burgeoning scandal, Dorworth is an early frontrunner for Winner of the Week in Florida politics.

WOULD MORE LOBBYING IMPROVE AMERICA? via Kevin Hartnett of POLITICO

Lobbyists get a lot of bad press for pushing the causes of corporations and other special interests on Capitol Hill … could it be the real problem is that they actually don’t push those interests enough?

Political scientist Thomas Holyoke … has been studying the internal dynamics of lobbying … has come to believe that the US would be better off if lobbyists did more effective work for their clients.

The problem … isn’t that corporations don’t get enough representation: It’s that lobbyists are slippery, and don’t work for their clients as much as they claim … they tell their clients what they want to hear, while chiefly acting to stay tight with their contacts in Congress.

“It becomes more important to lobbyists to maintain these relationships than to accurately represent the wishes and concerns of people they’re supposed to be representing,” he says.

(Good) and even forceful lobbying serves an important role: it’s a direct channel for information and expertise to reach government, and one of the best ways we have of keeping Washington responsive to America. Holyoke and other scholars see lobbying as enshrined by the Founders in the First Amendment’s “petition clause.”

BLOG POST OF THE DAY: TALLAHASSEE’S ‘GOOD OLD DAYS’ MOSTLY GOOD FOR GOOD OL’ BOYS via Nancy Smith of Sunshine State News

Term limits happened in Florida for a reason … for the average Floridian, there was something very wrong with the good old days and the good ol’ boys entrenched in the state’s narrow and sometimes seedy corridors of power.

If you haven’t seen the latest edition of Influence magazine, dial it up online and read Florence Snyder’s most entertaining interview piece, “Lions in Winter” … a great back-and-forth with … liberal Democratic attorney Sandy d’Alemberte … and conservative Republican lobbyist Van Poole …

I read it and I’m almost embarrassed for these guys … the only part of their good old days I see as better for Florida is the fact that back in the 1970s, campaign money hadn’t escalated to the ridiculous level it is today … What a picture d’Alemberte and Poole paint of legislative life in the good old days.  They resurrect the cute and the folksy, but conveniently excuse the sleazy.

“We had legislative trail rides. We had weekend trips to Cedar Key and Pensacola and Sarasota, all of us, and our families,” said Poole … Who paid? “Chambers of Commerce” … Yes, but not just chambers. Lobbyists of every description up and down the state paid. It was all about access to lawmakers — it was then, it is now. But in the good old days, it was perfectly above-board.

IDEOLOGICAL BLOGS STILL INFLUENTIAL, SURVEY FINDS via Tarini Parti of POLITICO

Communications firm Mair Strategies details the findings of a survey of mainstream journalists on their media consumption. Nearly 84 percent of those surveyed said they read ideological blogs and websites for research … “Ideologically-oriented blogs and online media, as well as social media more broadly appear to exert significant influence with reporters in the political space, and offer the potential for arguments, facts, anecdotes and other information to reach mainstream political reporters in an organic fashion and without aggressive pitching by communications professionals … (It) reinforces the need for political campaigns and organizations with particular issue positions they seek to advance to engage actively with the blogosphere as part of an overall media relations strategy, rather than treating this as a lower-ranking priority or something irrelevant.”

MARY SHEDDEN NAMED NEWS DIRECTOR AT WUSF

WUSF Public Media announced … Mary Shedden will become its new News Director … a journalist for more than 20 years, has been at WUSF since 2013, most recently serving as editor of Health News Florida … oversees health reporters based in Orlando, Miami, Tampa and St. Petersburg …

Before joining WUSF, Shedden served as a senior reporter covering health and business for The Tampa Tribune/TBO.com … also worked for Florida Today and the Gainesville Sun … honored by professional organizations including the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press Sports Editors and the Florida Society of News Editors … on the board of directors for the national Association of Health Care Journalists.

***Smith, Bryan & Myers is an all-inclusive governmental relations firm located in Tallahassee. For more than three decades, SBM has been working with our clients to deliver their priorities through strategic and effective government relations consulting that has led us to become one of Tallahassee’s premier governmental relations firms today.***

— BACK TO SCHOOL —

— “As school year starts, Miami-Dade rolls out a new approach to student discipline” via Christina Veiga of the Miami Herald

Bill Nelson wants federal review after Tampa Bay Times investigation into failing schools” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times

Pasco superintendent favors Seminole’s testing proposal for Florida” via Jeffrey Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times

NEW COLLEGE OF FLORIDA WELCOMES RECORD NUMBER OF NEW STUDENTS via Kevin Derby of Sunshine State News

The New College of Florida welcomed its largest incoming class … almost 300 new students, most of them first-time freshmen but a few transfers and international students … most of the freshman class graduated in the top 10 percent of their high schools and did well on the SAT.

More than 80 percent of the new class comes from the Sunshine State and 63 percent of the new students are female.

— @AbelHarding: In hindsight, offering unsolicited feedback to a mom on how she handled the first day of middle school drop off was an unforced error.

— @ColleenLBurton: Join me in wishing all of our Polk County teachers and students a great First Day of School!

— @DavidJollyFL: As a new school year begins, I want to wish all students great success!

— @DorothyHukill: Back to school @lakeschools @volusiaschools Be careful out there!

— Jose Felix Diaz (via Facebook): The mayhem behind the ‪#‎DiazTornadoes‬ is not the zombie apocalypse, it’s worse, BACK TO SCHOOL!

— @KurtSBrowning: I am excited about welcoming our students back to school tomorrow. Our great teachers are ready to take them to new heights!

— @MarcACaputo: Idea: how about my kids’ 2 teachers who insisted on 50 lbs of school supplies each should both SHOW UP ON TIME ON 1st DAY OF SCHOOL

— @SenatorJohnLegg: May this B the best school year yet! Our prayers 4 learning, safety & passion 4 all our students & teachers as they head back 2 school 2day.

— @ZackSampson: Honestly it’s like a 3:1 Frozen-to-everything else backpack ratio.

FSU RB DALVIN COOK FOUND NOT GUILTY OF MISDEMEANOR BATTERY via Brendan Sonnone of the Orlando Sentinel

FSU running back Dalvin Cook was found not guilty of misdemeanor battery … trial lasted for more than 10 hours … jury of six took less than 30 minutes to reach a verdict … “I’m just blessed the truth came out,” said Cook, who was suspended indefinitely from team activities after being charged with misdemeanor battery on July 11. “I’m trying to go work back on the field. I’ve been working, but it’s time to get at it now. Cook was accused of punching Madison Geohegan … outside of a Tallahassee bar June 23.

TWEET, TWEET: @Fineout: FSU announces it is immediately reinstating RB Dalvin Cook following his acquittal today

HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to Rep. Dave Kerner.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.

Latest from Statewide

Go to Top