Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Mitch Perry, Ryan Ray, and Jim Rosica.
The lead for today’s Sunburn was originally slated to be about the state Senate redistricting trial.
But that was before photographer Kim DeFalco submitted this photograph.
Pictured here are sisters Cindy Powell and Janet Greil, who rode their bikes for two hours to reach the 21st Annual Farm Share Holiday Food Giveaway at Faith Baptist Church in New Port Richey. Their car was repossessed and Cindy lost her job at a pig farm. They struggle to afford basic necessities. After waiting in line with the 600 other families, the two loaded a wagon with a cooler and rode the seven miles back on their tricycles.
DeFalco also submitted this photo.
That’s Minister Tony Locacio, 74, of Hudson, who along with Katie, his 11-yea-old rescue Border Collie/Australian Cattle Dog, arrived 9 p.m. Thursday evening to be the first in line at food giveaway. Locacio has fallen on hard times with health issues in recent years and moved in with his widowed sister-in-law Caroline to help her with her dire health issues and to keep a roof over both of their heads.
Over 600 families showed up at Faith Baptist Church in New Port Richey Friday morning so they could give their families something unattainable before: Christmas dinner.
Initiated by former state Rep., Sen. and current Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano 21 years ago, Friday’s annual Farm Share Holiday Food Giveaway drew needy residents from throughout Pasco County.
Many arrived in barely operating cars, on rusty bicycles and tricycles and a few by public transportation. They drew from a well of woes as they told their stories to their destitute fellows and the 75 or so volunteers orchestrating the event. Bankruptcy, illness, job loss, death and repossessed cars described their varied reasons to line up as early as Thursday evening. Their common bond, though, was a need to feed their families over the holidays.
There are less than two weeks before Christmas. As you settle in to celebrate the holiday, please remember these faces and these stories.
Here’s to the Florida politicos who are giving their time to make this a better Christmas for those in need, including:
***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Bright House Networks for Business, your trusted provider of industry leading communications and networking services for any size business – from startup to enterprise, and everything in between. We offer a full portfolio of products and services, including Business Phone and cloud-based Hosted Voice, Business Internet at speeds up to 325 Mbps to fiber-based Dedicated Internet Access, several tiers of high quality HD Video programming, and an array of advanced cloud and managed IT services. Our solutions are customized to fit your business, your budget, and your industry. We own, manage and maintain our network, which means we are 100% accountable; and we’re locally based, which allows us to be immediately responsive to our customers. Find out why so many businesses in your area trust their communications needs to Bright House Networks. Learn more.***
It’s another post-committee, pre-session week in Tallahassee, meaning the hottest ticket in town (we mean that oh-so-relatively) will be the trial to decide state Senate redistricting.
Circuit Judge George Reynolds is scheduled to kick things off Monday, and could hear testimony from lawmakers, staff members, expert witnesses and others.
Reynolds will have to pick one of four suggested maps submitted by the plaintiffs or one from the Senate itself.
One of those plaintiff maps theoretically could break the GOP’s 26-14 hold on the chamber, with redrawn districts that could result in a 50-50 split of Democrats and Republicans in the 40-member state Senate.
The League of Women Voters of Florida and others had sued the Legislature, alleging the current Senate district map was rigged to favor Republicans and incumbents.
The Senate settled the case by admitting fault and agreeing to redraw the lines with the House.
Both chambers, however, were at odds over the best way to do that and came to impasse during a recent Special Session, ensuring that the courts would have to figure it out.
Reynolds now must figure out a configuration that abides by the state constitution’s Fair Districts amendments. They’re aimed at ending gerrymandering, or the drawing of political boundary lines to benefit particular parties or people.
Of course, whatever Reynolds decides, it will have to go back to the Florida Supreme Court for final approval.
Other than that, we’ll have to wait till Friday to see what surprises House Speaker Steve Crisafulli plans to drop at his pre-session media availability at the Capitol.
— THE LATEST FROM THE 2016 TRAIL —
POLL DU JOUR – PART 1: A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Donald Trump leading the GOP field nationally with 27%, followed by Ted Cruz at 22%, Marco Rubio at 15%, Ben Carson at 11%, Jeb Bush at 7% and Carly Fiorina at 5%. No other Republican candidate gets more than 3%.
POLL DU JOUR – PART 2: A new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll in Iowa finds Cruz leading the GOP presidential race with 31%, followed by Trump at 21%, Carson at 13%, Rubio at 10%, and Bush at 6%.
POLL DU JOUR – PART 3: A new Fox News poll in Iowa shows Cruz leading the GOP field with 28%, followed by Trump at 26%, Rubio at 13%, Carson at 10%, Bush at 5% and Rand Paul at 5%.
POLL DU JOUR – PART 4: Trump’s lead in the New Hampshire Republican primary is only growing, a new WBUR poll finds. He tops the field with 27%, up four points from mid-November. Christie jumped six points in the past month to 12%, followed by Rubio with 11% and Cruz with 10%. Bush is next with 8%, followed by John Kasich with 7%, Carson with 6% and Carly Fiorina with 3%.
CHRIS CHRISTIE RETURNS TO MAIN GOP PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE STATE via the Associated Press – CNN is inviting Christie back to prime-time in the upcoming Republican presidential debate. … The New Jersey governor, who had been dropped from the main stage during the last debate, is one of nine Republican presidential candidates to qualify for the network’s prime-time event on Tuesday. Also among them: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who was “on the bubble” of qualifying late last week, the network said. … Front-runner Trump will appear at center stage, flanked by Carson and Cruz … Other GOP hopefuls who qualified for the main stage include Rubio, Bush, Fiorina and Kasich.
WILL FERRELL’S GEORGE W. BUSH RETURNS TO SNL TO BASH DONALD TRUMP via Matt Wilstein of the Daily Beast – “This is an important day,” Bush began “I made a big decision: I’m entering the race for the President of the United States of America.” … “The field of Republicans out there is so messed up, I figure it makes you miss me, doesn’t it?” he continued.
Ferrell’s Bush proceeded to mock the current field of GOP candidates, including Ben Carson, who he didn’t think could handle a trip to China, where “you have to talk loudly so they will understand.” As for being a brain surgeon, he added, “I got news for him: running the country is not brain surgery.”
JEB BUSH TALKS DONALD TRUMP, THE ECONOMY AND ISLAMIC STATE via Mike Salinero of the Tampa Tribune – “In New Hampshire, we’re making really good strides,” said Bush … “You break the back of … Trump and it’s totally wide-open in terms of electoral process … It’s created this catalyst of a guy who just comes in and says whatever he wants, but he raises the volume and that’s the definition of strength temporarily … It’s a dangerous time for our democracy in that regard.” He defended his much-publicized position that the United States should focus on taking in Christian refugees from Syria, a statement Obama called “shameful” and “not American.” Bush said Christians in Syria are in danger of being slaughtered by ISIS or Assad. They also face danger if they are kept in foreign refugee camps where they would be outnumbered by Muslims … he also would shift financial incentives so more people will want to work longer instead of retiring early. And, for those who continue working after their retirement age, Bush would eliminate their payment to the Social Security payroll tax
TO HELP BUSH CONNECT, AIDES LOOK TO MITT ROMNEY’S MISSTEPS via Ashley Parker of The New York Times – In conversations months ago about … Romney‘s vulnerabilities and weaknesses, the Bush team tried to learn from Romney’s mistakes … tweaking elements like press strategy and campaign style. When Romney ran in 2012, his strategists cast him as a repairman for the country’s floundering economy. But many voters never warmed up to him or came to believe that he cared about them. The documentary “Mitt,” released after Romney lost … captured a man his friends and family knew — a fun-loving husband and father, loyal church servant and turnaround expert. Bush’s aides, some of whom believed Romney would have benefited if that documentary had come out before the election, assigned a videographer to capture the quirky — dorky but affable —Bush in videos posted frequently on YouTube from the campaign trail, like one in which he describes stumbling upon “Sharknado 3” late one night in his hotel room … Right to Rise … recently released a 15-minute documentary introducing Bush to voters.
— “Bush, not John Kasich, is first on Ohio ballot” via Eli Stokols of POLITICO
COCAINE CASE BROUGHT ANGUISH TO MARCO RUBIO’S FAMILY via Manuel Roig-Franzia and Scott Hingham of the Washington Post – Todd Harris … said Rubio ‘was just 16 at the time of the arrest and views this as a private family matter involving events that occurred almost 30 years ago.’ … Rubio declined to answer written questions about whether Orlando Cicilia ever provided financial support to him or his family, or if he took any steps to help secure the early release of his brother-in-law from federal prison. … Harris sent an email after this story was published online Saturday night saying that Rubio did not help Cicilia win early release. Harris did not address the financial support question.
RUBIO HITS TED CRUZ AS AN ISOLATIONIST via CNN – Rubio says he isn’t buying Ted Cruz’s tough talk on national security. The Florida senator hammered Cruz for opposing the U.S. government’s bulk phone data collection and voting against spending bills and defense authorization acts — suggesting Cruz’s voting record is that of an isolationist — in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. … “He talks tough on some of these issues. For example, he was going to carpet bomb ISIS. But the only budget he’s ever voted for in his time in the Senate is a budget that cut defense spending by more than Barack Obama proposes we cut it,” Rubio said of Cruz.
DONALD TRUMP SAYS CRUZ IS A MANIAC via Politico – “I don’t think he’s qualified to be president… I don’t think he has the right temperament. I don’t think he’s got the right judgment… You look at the way he’s dealt with the Senate, where he goes in there like a — you know, frankly like a little bit of a maniac. You’re never going to get things done that way.”
ADAM SMITH’S LOSER OF THE WEEK IN FLORIDA POLITICS: RON DESANTIS via the Tampa Bay Times – The northeast Florida congressman campaigning for the U.S. Senate as a bold, tea party conservative couldn’t muster even enough courage to utter any opinion, pro or con, on Trump’s Muslim proposal. He seemed more like yet another timid, finger-in-the wind, Washington pol than a gutsy outsider.
TODD WILCOX’S UNIQUE BACKGROUND MAY GIVE U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE AN EDGE via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune – A former CIA agent in the Middle East who later worked on a counter-terrorism taskforce in Florida before starting his own defense business, U.S. Senate candidate Todd Wilcox has a background that is especially relevant in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. … As a businessman and political outsider in a race against three elected officials, Wilcox would have been a unique figure in Florida’s GOP Senate primary even without his military and intelligence careers. But the Orlando resident’s counter-terrorism experience could help him stand out even more as the issue gains new prominence.
FIREEWORKS IN CD 2 GOP PRIMARY
— “Republicans, bewared Medicaid expansion-confused Neal Dunn” via Eric Giunta of Sunshine State News
— “Mary Thomas leans hard on “conservative” label while omitting ties to Charlie Crist” via Florida Politics
ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Congressman David Jolly will participate in an F-35 cockpit demonstrator event beginning 1 p.m. at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, 9320 8th St., North in Pinellas Park. Lockheed Martin executives will be on hand for interviews. Participants can arrange interviews and “fly” the cockpit demonstrator by calling Andrew Wright at (585) 771-0598 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: KEVIN MCCARTHY IN SARASOTA TONIGHT FOR FUNDRAISER: U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s bid to be House speaker may have been unsuccessful, but the second-ranking Republican in Congress still has a friend in U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, who his hosting a fundraiser for McCarthy tonight. … The event at Buchanan’s Gulf-front mansion is raising money for the McCarthy Victory Fund. H/t Zac Anderson of the Herald-Tribune
***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Jamestown Associates – Winning tough campaigns. The record to prove it. Jamestown produces persuasive TV, radio, mail and digital advertising that breaks through the clutter and gets votes. We help our clients in Florida and the nation perfect their message, create powerful ads, micro-target the media buy and WIN. Jamestown’s work has been recognized with 50 Pollie and Reed awards. See our work at www.JamestownAssociates.com/work***
CORRINE BROWN TO RUN IN ORLANDO? via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel –… political scuttlebutt was all about … Corrine Brown … contemplating a move to Orlando — to run for Congress here. This would absolutely blow apart the race. Right now, the “Orlando” seat is gerrymandered (all the way out to Lake County’s Green Swamp to make it conservative) and held by Republican Dan Webster … The redrawn Orlando district is expected to go blue again. Webster is still fighting to keep things gerrymandered. So is Brown (who prefers her snake-like district that runs from Jacksonville to Orlando). But if Fair Districts prevail … Brown plans on moving to Orlando and running “where she already has broad support.” That would shake up the race that already includes Democrats Val Demings, Geraldine Thompson and Fatima Fahmy.
WILL JACK LATVALA RUN FOR CONGRESS? AGAINST CHARLIE CRIST? Via William March of the Tampa Bay Times – Asked in a public meeting about his loss of a campaign for the Senate presidency, and what he hopes to accomplish despite that loss, Latvala said, “I think that I’m going to sort of paraphrase what Mark Twain said — rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated. I don’t think that we’ve written the last chapter of what I’m going to try to do in the public service arena. So stay tuned.” … Latvala hasn’t previously expressed much interest in leaving Florida to go to Washington … But his loss of the Senate presidency frustrates a goal he’s had for years, and he has no love for the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for the D-13 seat, Charlie Crist.’
A TOM LEE VS. BILL GALVANO FLA SENATE PRIMARY? Via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times – … common speculation is about another … Republican primary: Tom Lee … versus Bill Galvano. It’s not necessarily likely, but it is plausible and generating a fair amount of anxiety among Republicans … conventional wisdom now has it that [Jack] Latvala‘s district will shift slightly northward (more Republican), while Brandes’ district will lose its Hillsborough County component. That would leave [Jeff] Brandes with a competitive, swing district, much as he currently has. It could invite a potential challenge from … Dwight Dudley … but Dudley and any other Democrat would have to consider whether he or she wants to take on an incumbent who can write himself a multimillion check.
WILL DENISE GRIMSLEY RUN AGAIN via Bill Rufty of FloridaPolitics.com – Speculation recently has been over state Grimsley, a Sebring Republican, and her 2016 re-election campaign in Senate District 21. Rumors ask is she thinking of leaving?
Grimsley has no trouble in funding her re-election campaign. She had a campaign war chest of $338,291 at the end of October. And like Sen. Kelli Stargel, a Republican from Lakeland in the adjacent Senate District 15, she has no opponents. Not only that, but many Senate observers had said they feel she is being groomed to become chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. It was the post she held in her last two years in the House when her Senate counterpart was the tough formidable Sen. J.D. Alexander. She held her own and got concessions to the House’s position on many money matters.
So why the rumors of her thinking about not running again?
A health care professional, whose expertise has been sought by many members of the Florida Legislature, Grimsley is also the administrator for two hospitals, Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center Lake Placid and Florida Hospital Wauchula. … In addition, the trial on redrawing Florida’s Senate districts is just under way. Currently, Grimsley’s District 21 includes parts of Polk, Highlands, Martin, Osceola and St. Lucie counties and all of Okeechobee County. It is unlikely a largely rural district like 21 would wind up with fewer counties than Grimsley currently has, because of the relatively sparse populations.
With the two medical facilities to manage and a large Senate district she may not have the time she needs to do both, the rumor mill claims.
MONTREAL RESIDENT DAVE TROTTER ANNOUNCES BID IN HD 44, HOPES TO POKE FLORIDA DEMOCRATS via Florida Politics – Former writer for the Florida Squeeze and other liberal blogs Dave Trotter announced his candidacy to challenge Rep. Eric Eisnaugle … Trotter made the quixotic announcement from Montreal … in an attempt to highlight perceived problems with the state Democratic Party’s strategy, long the object of his ire as a one-time journo and operative. “The third and the most pressing reason I am running is because the Florida Democratic Party is not running a candidate in this race … That, in itself, is a mistake, as Democratic voters should always have a candidate to represent them on the federal, state and local ballot, especially with only six months until the qualification period ends.” Trotter is a graduate student in political science At McGill University in Quebec.
***Capital City Consulting, LLC is a full-service government and public affairs firm located in Tallahassee, Florida. At Capital City Consulting, our team of professionals specialize in developing unique government relations and public affairs strategies and delivering unrivaled results for our clients before the Florida Legislature and Executive Branch Agencies. Capital City Consulting has the experience, contacts and winning strategies to help our clients stand out in the capital city. Learn more at www.capcityconsult.com.***
ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam joins Congressman Carlos Curbello and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez for a news conference to discuss agricultural losses due to recent flooding in Miami-Dade County. Event begins 2:30 p.m. at the Dade County Farm Bureau, 1850 Old Dixie Hwy. in Homestead.
STATE GAVE CHARTER SCHOOLS MILLIONS BEFORE THEY CLOSED via Gary Fineout and Terry Spencer of the Associated Press – Charter schools … have received more than $760 million from state taxpayers since 2000 according to an Associated Press analysis of state Department of Education records. Schools can use the money for construction costs, rent payments, buses and even property insurance. … Yet charter schools in 30 districts have wound up closing after receiving as much as $70 million combined in such funding, the AP’s analysis showed. … Taxpayers usually can’t recover the capital money invested in those schools because most of it has been spent on rent or leasing costs. The Department of Education reported it has taken back just $133,000 in the last three years from schools that closed.
STUDY: FLORIDA PRISONS UNDERSTAFFED AND DETERIORATING via Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press – Florida’s prisons are understaffed, lack adequate prison programs, have deteriorating facilities and fences and have a high turnover rate that’s led to inexperienced officers being responsible for some of the most important duties … Over the last decade, the number of correctional officers has dropped from 12,099 to 10,973 despite a growth in the prison population … Prison housing units are often staffed at a bare minimum, and even then officers are often pulled from those assignments for secondary duties … leads to one officer being left responsible for keeping an eye on more than 100 inmates … The average age of the facilities is more than 30 years. “Many facilities are in poor condition. The correctional facilities reviewed have experienced years of neglect.”
BARTERED SEX, CORRUPTION AND COVER-UPS BEHIND BARDS IN ANTION’S LARGEST WOMEN’S PRISON via Julie Brown of the Miami Herald – Casey Hodge stepped from the prison van, trembling under the weight of her thick handcuffs and leg shackles. The slight 25-year-old was led with a group of other women into a small room and ordered to strip naked. “Show me your pink,” said a female corrections officer, instructing her to squat and cough so that they could peer between her legs and certify that she wasn’t concealing anything.
Hodge, who has been legally blind since she was 16, then was told to remove her glass eye. “They wanted to make sure I wasn’t hiding anything in my socket,’’ she remembers. So she pulled it out with her fingers. The officers nearly fell off their chairs, she said, mocking her like children and pretending to vomit. “I felt like I was a kid, being bullied all over again,” said Hodge, who had never been in trouble with the law before her arrest on drug trafficking charges in 2012.
Hodge once dreamed of growing up to be a photographer. Now she was inmate No. 155778, sentenced to three years to be served at Lowell Correctional Institution, a state prison that houses the five women on Florida’s Death Row — and has the distinction of being the largest women’s prison in the United States.
With 2,696 inmates in a sprawling maze of drab gray, un-airconditioned buildings, the institution sits amid rolling green hills and pristine thoroughbred horse farms in Central Florida. But the women who have done time here say Lowell’s quiet veneer belies the corruption, torment and sexual abuse within.
JUDGE: DEP SHOULD ISSUE ENVIRONMENTAL PERMIT FOR SABAL TRAIL PIPELINE via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – In October, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it had “very significant concerns” about the proposed route posing a threat to the Floridan Aquifer, the drinking water supply for much of the region. But the state joined Sabal Trail Transmission LLC in requesting that Administrative Law Judge Bram D.E. Canter not take judicial review of the EPA’s letter … Canter wrote in his recommended order that there was no competent evidence to refute expert testimony presented by the company and state Department of Environmental Protection showing the pipeline was not a threat to the environment, health and safety.
3 FLORIDA NURSERIES FILE PROTESTS OVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA LICENSES via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – …TropiFlora of Sarasota, San Felasco Nurseries of Gainesville and Perkins Nursery of LaBelle … The rationales behind each protest vary. TropiFlora … is objecting to the fact that four of the five licenses went to nurseries that also sat on the department’s “negotiated rulemaking” committee … Perkins’ filing says it should have received a “default license” because its application wasn’t approved or denied in a timely fashion and instead was seemingly hung up in Health Department bureaucracy … San Felasco … argues it was the highest-ranked applicant to grow and process medicinal pot in its region, but that another bureaucratic bungle caused it to be wrongly knocked out of contention. The purported reason was that a low-level employee at the nursery flunked a background check … a half-dozen Florida nurseries that had applied but failed to become growers “are thinking seriously about protesting.”
ODDS ARE AGAINST GAMBLING PROPOSAL via Lloyd Dunkelberger of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Despite the financial incentives, lawmakers, who will ultimately have to approve the agreement, know reaching a deal on a global gambling pact that would include not only the Seminoles but the existing jai alai frontons, dog and horse tracks, the state lottery and new entrants like daily fantasy sports websites, such as DraftKings, is in the words of House Speaker Steve Crisafulli “a heavy lift” … “There are no guarantees in this process,” said Senate President Andy Gardiner … “We’ll just have to wait and see, to see what happens” … “I have some experience in this area so I knew what a big undertaking it was to start to bring all these interests together,” Galvano told senators last year. “You’re dealing with an industry that frankly is just as much interested in what the other guy doesn’t get, as they are in what they can get … You’re also dealing with an industry that has so many different levels and different types of product.”
DRAFTKINGS, FANDUEL BATTLE NY BAN AS KEY FLA. LAWMAKER SAYS PLAY ON via Charles Elmore and Jeff Ostrowski of the Palm Beach Post – A judge booted DraftKings and FanDuel from New York before an appeals court let them operate through Jan. 4 in a wild legal melee … but Florida’s next Senate president said the burgeoning sports fantasy leagues should be cleared to play in his state. “I respect New York’s ability to make their own rules, but it doesn’t carry a lot of weight with me,” said … Joe Negron … “I don’t know why Florida would want to criminalize a game millions of Floridians enjoy.” A committee associated with Negron accepted $10,000 from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association in September … part of more than $135,000 steered to Florida legislators this year from the group representing fantasy leagues … Negron said he has also accepted contributions from givers who oppose the fantasy leagues.
NO DAILY FANTASY ADS TO RUN DURING COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF via The Associated Press – ESPN has agreed to not use advertisements for daily fantasy sports websites during broadcasts of the biggest postseason games … College Football Playoff officials discussed the matter with ESPN executives and both sides determined that given uncertainties about daily fantasy sports sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel, it “would be best to allocate the available spots to others.” The NCAA and FBS conferences asked DraftKings and FanDuel to stop offering college versions of their games because they consider them gambling.
SLOTS FOR PBKC COULD LEAD TO $150 MILLION CASINO, 2,000 JOBS via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post – If the Palm Beach Kennel Club wins state approval to operate 750 slot machines, Patrick Rooney Sr. envisions a hefty investment in his venerable gambling facility. … The dog track would spend $100 million to $150 million to build a new casino on its property, and hire 1,500 to 2,000 people, said Rooney, chief executive of Palm Beach Kennel Club. … The dog-racing track also would be authorized to add 750 video racing terminals considered not as lucrative as slot machines, for a total of 1,500 slot-like gambling machines.
— “Compact is a bad deal for Florida” via John Sowinski for ContextFlorida.com
— “Gaming compact keeps Naples-Fort Myers on track to oblivion” via Brent Batten of the Naples Daily News
JOE NEGRON SIGNS ON TO JEFF BRANDES CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE REFORM BILL via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – The legislation would stipulate assets or property may only be seized under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act after a criminal defendant has been convicted of a crime. Up to that point, assets suspected to be connected to a crime may be only temporarily revoked under a provisional title obtained by police. Under current law, police can seize assets without even bringing charges against a defendant. Unlike criminal asset forfeiture, however, with civil forfeiture, a property owner need not be found guilty of a crime—or even charged—to permanently lose her cash, car, home or other property.
SPOTTED last week at the Clay County Court investiture of The Fiorentino Group lobbyist Joe Mobley’s wife Kristina: Senators Rob Bradley and Audrey Gibson; Representative Travis Cummings; former State Representative Mark Mahon and now chief judge of the 4th Judicial Circuit; and lobbyists Mark Pinto and Marty Fiorentino who spoke at the event.
— “The 25 most Florida things that happened in Florida in 2015” via Max Knoblauch of Mashable
Football fans got a surprise look at the first trailer for next year’s Independence Day: Resurgence. Starring Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman (but with no sign of Will Smith), the film will show the alien threat from the original film returning with full force to Earth. And even though the planet has worked for the last 20 years to stand up to the inevitable attack, it may not be enough. Independence Day: Resurgence hits theaters on June 24th, 2016.
Fox has released the official trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse, the culmination of the “First Class” trilogy of films. Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, and Michael Fassbender all return, along with Oscar Isaac, who plays the big bad known as Apocalypse.
CONGRATULATIONS to Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christy Daly and Rep. Jason Brodeur on their nuptials.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY from this weekend to always-a-gentleman Hayden Dempsey. Celebrating today is Julie Ingoglia, Kyra Jennings, and our favorite jurist, Terry Lewis.