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Just a perfect edition of Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

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

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

PROGRAMMING NOTE #1: I’ll be in Tallahassee Monday afternoon through Tuesday night. drop me a line if you’d like to get coffee or an adult beverage.

PROGRAMMING NOTE #2: Look for the debut of “The Influencer” — my new, twice-a-month column in this Sunday’s Tallahassee Democrat or online at

MARCO RUBIO’S CAMPAIGN SAYS ALL OF HIS GOP CREDIT-CARD SPENDING IS NOW OPEN TO INSPECTION. THAT’S NOT TRUE. via S.V. Dáte of the National Journal – Ru­bio’s pres­id­en­tial cam­paign re­leased 22 months of pre­vi­ously un­dis­closed Amer­ic­an Ex­press state­ments—and seemed to have got­ten the de­sired ho-hum re­ac­tion from a polit­ic­al press that failed to find a scan­dal which would ground the first-term sen­at­or’s rising star. Ex­cept it might not be the end of it, after all … two months’ worth are not—the two biggest spend­ing months, as it turns out … charges between mid-Oc­to­ber and mid-Decem­ber 2006 totaled $25,481 … The dark peri­od also in­cludes Ru­bio’s single biggest per­son­al ex­pense on his party card, a $10,000 fam­ily re­union that he later said was charged by mis­take.

SHOT: @Paul_Lindsay: Unmentioned in Politico story “absolving” Rubio of credit card: Rubio camp excluded 2 mths of spending #oops

CHASER: @MarcACaputo: I have all the months. Desperate Right to Rise orifice fails to mention Jeb endorsed Rubio, blew issue off then

RUBIO’S NEW ‘FAITH’ AD IN IOWA via David Brody of CBN News – Rubio will release a new TV ad in Iowa this weekend aimed at the state’s Christian conservatives … “Our goal is eternity, the ability to live alongside our Creator and for all time, to accept the free gift of salvation offered to us by Jesus Christ. The struggle on a daily basis as a Christian is to remind ourselves of this. The purpose of our life is to cooperate with God’s plan, to those who much has been given much is expected and we will be asked to account for that. Were your treasures stored up on earth or in Heaven and to me I try to allow that to influence me in everything that I do.”

RUBIO LAUNCHES NEW LINES OF ATTACK AGAINST CHRIS CHRISTIE via Daniel Strauss of POLITICO – [Rubio] unloaded about his GOP rival on Fox Business Network … first re-upping his attack on Christie’s past support for Common Core, then moving into new territory. “Chris Christie has supported gun control. Chris Christie supported an assault weapons ban. That’s the reason that he got into politics to begin with. Chris Christie personally contributed to Planned Parenthood. Chris Christie has done a number of things that are very similar to the Obama agenda, and I just don’t think this country can afford to elect a president that will not stand up and undo the damage that a Barack Obama has done to this country” … Rubio’s comments follow the release of an attack ad earlier this week from the pro-Rubio Conservative Solutions super PAC, that assailed Christie … as someone who “supported Common Core” and “liberal energy policies” as governor of New Jersey.

WHY RUBIO’S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGY IS CONSIDERED A GAMBLE via Lisa Mascaro of the Los Angeles Times – Besides his missed Senate time … on the campaign trail, Rubio isn’t exactly a workaholic either. Rubio’s strategy is built on a preference for made-for-TV rallies and cable news appearances … His approach has GOP strategists questioning whether Rubio is willing to do the grinding work of retail politics … The frequency of Rubio’s visits to the early-nominating states and the fly-by nature of some events have not been lost on his rivals, who have started poking fun at his work ethic.

FINANCIER HANK GREENBERG GIVES PRO-JEB BUSH SUPER PAC $10 MILLION BOOST via Beth Reinhard of the Wall Street Journal – Former AIG CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg has given $10 million to the pro-Bush super PAC “Right to Rise Super USA” … Greenberg would not elaborate, but did not deny making the contribution … could not have arrived at a better time for Bush … comes in the weeks before high-stakes Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, where Bush and his supporters need support more than ever.

— “Hank Greenberg’s big donation to Bush Super-PAC was made ‘months ago’” via Tim Higgins and Zachary Mider of Bloomberg Politics

BUNDLED-UP FLORIDA LAWMAKERS HEAD TO N.H. TO STUMP FOR JEB BUSH via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Richard Corcoran … is one of five Florida House members in New Hampshire … traipsing through frigid New England in support of … Bush‘s struggling presidential campaign. Joining Corcoran are three Republican House members from Miami-Dade: Reps. Jose Felix Diaz, Jose Oliva and Carlos Trujillo. Rep. Ray Rodrigues … All five are expected in Tallahassee by Monday for Tuesday’s start of the 2016 legislative session, and Diaz, Oliva, Trujillo and Rodrigues all have a campaign fund-raiser scheduled for Monday evening as well.

HOW JEB IS PLAYING IN NEW HAMPSHIRE – Portsmouth HeraldJeb Bush touts comprehensive, principled way – “Talking about things isn’t going to cut it anymore,” the former Florida governor said Wednesday morning. Bush pointed to his record of accomplishment, saying he’s the one person running “who’s done things in a comprehensive way, in a principled way.” Union Leader, Bush hits Obama on handling of ISIS, gun issues – “Bush was passionate in speaking before more than 100 Lakes Region supporters and many of the area’s Republican leaders. He spoke for about 30 minutes on issues such as how to deal with terrorism and the threat from ISIS.” Nashua TelegraphJeb Bush outlines his plan to control opioid use, abuse – “Bush presented a multi-faceted plan to increase drug prevention efforts in schools and strengthen resources for law enforcement to address the region’s massive heroin epidemic, which he said has been fueled by an increase in the prescription of potent painkillers. He mentioned his daughter’s battle with addiction, making the ongoing crisis in the state more personal for voters looking for solutions.” Laconia Citizen, Bush meets with voters in Meredith – “Former Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush spoke to a crowd of about 150 residents on Wednesday night at Church Landing, where he spoke about the nation needing a strong leader with a heart, destroying ISIS, enhancing educational standards and veteran affairs.”

SEEKING SOUTH CAROLINA FOOTHOLD, BUSH WINS ANOTHER LINDSAY GRAHAM BACKER via Michael Bender of Bloomberg Politics – In South Carolina [Bush collected] more than a dozen military veterans in the state and … another member of … Graham‘s national security coalition … Includes retired General Mick Zais, a former South Carolina education superintendent … retired Brigadier General Butch Kirven, retired Major General George Goldsmith, and retired Colonel David Lobb … also announced backing from Jim Roy, a retired chief master sergeant of the Air Force, and 14 other veterans. “The South Carolina endorsements are reflective of a campaign that’s worked hard at the grassroots level, and work is starting to pay off,” said [senior Bush adviser] Sally Bradshaw.

IN INTERVIEW, BUSH HITS CHRISTIE’S FISCAL RECORD via Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post – … Bush “conceded that the GOP primary” in New Hampshire “is now a race for the second place behind … Donald Trump.” Bush said he and four other candidates are competing for second: Chris ChristieTed CruzJohn Kasich and Marco Rubio. Bush went on the criticize Christie’s fiscal record. “I’ve got a proven conservative record of reform and we need to reform Washington,” Bush said. “If past is prologue, why wouldn’t you go with the guy who did the big things?”

BUSH DECLINES 4 TIMES TO COMMIT TO ENDORSING DONALD TRUMP via Eliza Collins of POLITICO – Bush ripped … Trump as an “isolationist” in a radio interview … repeatedly declined to support him if he’s the Republican nominee. “Trump is an isolationist. And I think it’s dangerous in this world. We see it, we see the unfraying happening,” Bush said to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt … And then things got awkward when Hewitt pressed Bush to say whether he would support Trump if he is the Republican nominee. Bush responded, “Donald Trump will not be the nominee, because of the reasons we’re discussing right now.” Hewitt asked him again, and Bush repeated the same point. “I have been a loyal Republican my entire adult life. I have supported and voted for every Republican candidate since Richard Nixon. That should give you some indication of my loyalty to the conservative cause … I’m just telling you, I don’t think it matters. I have been a loyal Republican, and if past is prologue, then I’m confident I’ll be supporting the Republican nominee.”

WHAT TRUMP SUPPORTERS ARE READING — HOW TRUMP WON: NOW HE JUST NEEDS THE VOTES via David Von Drehle Of TIME Magazine – Americans are unhappy about an economy that punishes workers … They are tired of politicians who don’t deliver on their promises. … These voters don’t want someone to feel their pain; they want someone to mirror their mood. Woe to the candidate who can’t growl on cue. … Voter anger in this sour season is less a data point than table stakes. … The GOP has awakened less than a month from the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary to find itself in bed between a bombshell and a kamikaze. It’s a sobering dawn for a political party that seemed … just a tweak or two away from glory. Republicans dominate America’s state legislatures and governors’ mansions. They control both houses of Congress. … The problem is that the [Republican] party is weak at the national level, deeply divided into hostile camps, while Trump has the strength of a technological epoch at his back. … They won’t stop Trump because they can’t stop Trump.

TRUMP ON RUBIO’S BOOTS: ‘I DON’T KNOW, THEY’RE BIG HEELS’ via Eliza Collins of POLITICO – Trump joined the media circus over Rubio‘s trendy, high-heeled boots … telling Boston radio host Howie Carr, “You won’t see me wearing them” … “It helps to be tall,” Trump mused. “I don’t know, they’re big heels. They’re big heels. I mean, those heels were really up there. But you know, it’s almost like it doesn’t matter too much. Probably, he would have been better off not going that route … I noticed he’s taken a lot of hits … I just hope it works out fine for him.” Rubio teed off on the coverage of his fashion choice at a rally in New Hampshire … calling it a troubling example of “where we are as a country” … “Let me get this right. ISIS is cutting people’s heads off, setting people on fire in cages, Saudi Arabia and Iran on the verge of a war, the Chinese are landing airplanes on islands that they built and say belong to them and what are international waters and in some ways territorial waters, our economy is flat-lined, the stock market is falling apart, but boy are we getting a lot of coverage about a pair of boots … This is craziness. Have people lost their minds?”

MEANWHILE, WHAT STEVE SCHALE IS READING — JOE BIDEN ON 2016 DECISION: ‘I REGRET IT EVERY DAY’ via Associated Press – Three months after bowing out of the 2016 competition, the vice president has a few second thoughts about his decision. “I regret it every day,” Biden said Wednesday. Still, he said he made the right call for his family and for himself. And he pledged to stay “deeply involved” in the race to replace President Barack Obama.

IF YOU READ ONE THING — EVERYTHING IS (EVEN MORE) AWESOME! Via Michael Grunwald of POLITICO – Ignore the downers. America is already great, and it’s getting greater … Unemployment has dropped from 10 percent during the worst of the Great Recession to 5 percent today … The past two years have been the best two years for job creation in the 21st century. … [T]he U.S. auto industry enjoyed record sales in 2015. The housing market has also rebounded from the crisis, and after-tax corporate profits are at an all-time high.

***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***

ALAN GRAYSON PLANS TO CHALLENGE LEGALITY OF TED CRUZ’S ABILITY TO BE PRESIDENT via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Grayson says he’ll file a lawsuit challenging … Cruz‘s eligibility to be president, stepping into the “birther” discussion that’s surfaced thanks to Trump. Grayson … told the Hill there are “legitimate arguments” on both sides of the discussion. He said he wouldn’t file a suit until Cruz became nominee. Experts have said Canadian-born Cruz is eligible. But the issue has come up from Trump, who was asked about it in interview, and from John McCain.

ANDREW GILLUM PUSHES BACK DECISION ON CONGRESSIONAL RUN via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat – The Tallahassee Mayor said his decision on whether he’ll run for Congress has been delayed by an apparent federal investigation involving … Corrine Brown … [Who] was served with a federal subpoena earlier this week. “What I don’t want to do is get out, make a declarative statement without having a complete set of what my full considerations have to be … And I think for us, the top consideration has to be — for this particular new district — who has the ability to run, win that seat and then be the best representative for the area.”

BOB POE ANNOUNCES CONGRESSIONAL RUN IN ORLANDO’S CD 10 via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Poe joins a Democratic field eager to run … Already in the race are former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings, state Sen. Geraldine Thompson, and lawyer Fatima Fahmy. U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, the Jacksonville Democrat, also is considering switching in from her Congressional District 5, because the CD 10 now covers much of her old constituency. First-time candidate Poe took veiled shots at Demings, Thompson and Brown in his remarks, decrying “the same old politicians who play the game of political musical chairs, running for one thing, and then another. They’re not going to fix things.”

FIRST ON FLORIDAPOLITICS.COM — LAUREN BOOK HITS ANOTHER FUNDRAISING MILESTONE IN SD 33, WITH $1.2 MILLION ON-HAND via Florida Politics – Campaign finance reports for candidates are due Jan. 11, but got a sneak preview of Lauren Book’s numbers, showing the Democratic Senate hopeful clearing a couple more milestones … more than $30,000 in December for a to-date total of about $505,000 for her campaign account … not counting her committee, Leadership for Broward. Donations have slowed over the past few months, but Book still started 2016 with more than $716,000 on-hand in her committee account. In all, Book has about $1.2 million in on-hand cash across her campaign and committee, making her one of the most prolific fundraisers without “future Senate President” in their title.

SENATE SEAT RENUMBERING HAS JASON BRODEUR EYEING PRIMARY AGAINST DAVID SIMMONS via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Among the potential changes to partisan matchups is the possibility … Simmons might draw a primary challenge from … Brodeur …. [who] has been contemplating running for Simmons’ seat in 2018 when they’re both term-limited out of their current posts. With the renumbering, the Seminole County district is Senate District 9, meaning it starts over next January with a fresh four-year term. So Simmons, should he win re-election this fall, would stay in office until 2020. That would leave Brodeur out of office for two years before he could run for that Senate seat. Or he could run now.

GARY FARMER DOUBLES DOWN, JIM WALDMAN “GOING TO THE BEACH” IN BROWARD STATE SENATE RACE via Florida Politics – … the only potential candidate currently living in what is now the coastal Broward seat — the newly-minted District 34 — appears to be the still undecided Evan Jenne … we have announcements from both the Waldman and Farmer camps indicating that they intend to move east into the open district. Farmer’s announcement was – in all candor – a robust justification why he is a good fit for the Hollywood to Deerfield Beach seat. Born in the district … office in and practices law in the district … Lived and went to multiple schools in the district … So what did we get from Waldman? He, too, is moving (good for him) but offered only that (and this is an actual quote as picked up by Buddy Nevins), “My wife is very happy … she always wanted to live on the beach.”

— “Jeremiah Jaspon considering run for State Senate” via Frank Torres of the Orlando Political Observer

VOLUSIA TEACHER ENTERS RACE IN DAVID SANTIAGO’S HD 27 via Florida Politics – Republican Zenaida Denizac joined the race for HD 27 against Rep. David Santiago, who is eyeing a run for Congress. Denizac was elected to two terms on the Deltona City Commission, and served as the city’s vice mayor before an unsuccessful run for mayor in 2015.

— “HD 16’S Dick Kravitz shows fundraising strength in December” via Florida Politics

— “Brian Hodgers tops $340k in race for HD 52” via Florida Politics

SAVE THE DATE: State Rep. Kathleen Peters is holding a “grab-and-go” fundraising luncheon for her re-election effort in Pinellas County’s House District 69. Event begins 11:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 11, at 113 East College Ave., third floor, in Tallahassee.

***A special message from Florida’s horsemen: While legislators debate using hard-earned taxpayer dollars for corporate relocation incentives, Florida employers who’ve been hard at work for decades could lose everything, thanks to “decoupling”— a Big Casino cash grab and gambling expansion plan tucked inside the Seminole Compact. It seems senseless to kill established Florida businesses, while spending public money in hopes new business may materialize. But Florida could do just that when “decoupling” leaves horse racing investors with NO WAY to do business and NO CHANCE to recoup financial return.  Gambling policy should be about growing Florida’s economy. Not padding the pockets of Big Casinos. Florida’s horsemen oppose decoupling in ANY form.***

SCOTT ADMINISTRATION UNHAPPY WITH HEALTH CARE ‘TRANSPARENCY’ BILL via Christine Sexton of POLITICO Florida – A bill that would make the costs of health care more transparent was filed by Rep. Chris Sprowls … the measure falls short of what Scott wants — the ability to file criminal charges against hospitals for what he calls “price gouging” … “The governor believes that any legislation that does not strictly prohibit hospitals from price gouging patients — through tough penalties and clear legal definitions — simply does not go far enough. “Too many in Florida have been victims of hospital price gouging and the governor is committed to bringing that to an end,” [said] Jackie Schutz, Scott’s communications officer.

WE PREDICTED THIS DEFEAT MONTHS AGO — While absolutely owning it as the Beast on Halloween, I accurately predicted the fall of the last rose petal on the latest Scott socialist scheme. Good for Sprowls. Good for Richard Corcoran.

To recap: Socialist swing and miss #1: Profit Sharing! Socialist swing and miss #2: Price Caps! Socialist swing and miss #3: TBD We all know why Rick Scott is channeling his self loathing at hospitals, so it’s kind of sad.

But it also makes you wonder, with all this socialism going around the Governor’s Office, maybe his next USA Today op-ed will explain why Bernie Sanders has the “pulse” of Rick Scott?

— “On Gov. Scott’s recent appointments to the Public Employees Relations Commission” via Florida Politics

LEGISLATURE LOOKING FOR A COMPROMISE ON HEALTH CARE via Kathleen McGrory of the Tampa Bay Times – The Medicaid expansion debate that paralyzed the 2015 legislative session isn’t likely to resume when lawmakers return to Tallahassee … But that doesn’t mean health care will be on the back burner in 2016. The issue will play a central role in the budget negotiations, largely because lawmakers must decide whether to backfill $400 million in federal cuts to a program that helps hospitals pay for charity care … leaders in both the House and Senate have said they want to improve access to health care while also driving down costs. Plans intended to accomplish that goal — including one that would let patients see primary care physicians without involving insurance companies — are already gaining traction.

WHEN OFFERED JOBS AND $ PROMISES – NOT GUARANTEES – FLORIDA VOTERS LIKE THE PROPOSED SEMINOLE COMPACT via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – In the face of widespread legislative opposition to the $3 billion gambling deal … the Florida Chamber conducted a statewide poll over the holidays that clearly shows that most Floridians have no idea about the issue but, when seeded with many unchecked claims, respondents overwhelmingly support it. One thing is certain: most people know nothing about the gaming compact. At least 51 percent didn’t know if the tribe had kept its agreement “to provide a minimum of $1 billion over five years in revenue to the state” and 63 percent knew nothing about the 20-year deal Scott just signed with the tribe … When pollsters pushed voters with information, the support then emerged … 80 percent liked the claim that if the compact is approved it will save 3,500 blackjack related jobs; 74 percent liked the claim that the tribe commits to giving the state $3 billion over seven years “three times more than the prior compact guarantee of $1 billion.” Other claims were predictably popular: “the Seminole Tribe has agreed to invest more than $1.8 billion dollars in improving its entertainment facilities, creating more than 15,000 new jobs in the state” and “this agreement not only creates a cap on the amount of gaming that can be offered by the Seminole Tribe, but it also empowers the legislature to limit the expansion of other gaming across the state.”

NO CASINOS BLASTS CHAMBER POLL ON SEMINOLE COMPACT via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – The … anti-gambling expansion group says a new Florida Chamber of Commerce poll “paints an inaccurate picture of public opinion” regarding a new proposed blackjack agreement between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida … the Chamber released poll results showing three-quarters of voters say blackjack “has been good for the state” and that lawmakers should approve a new deal that lets the Tribe continue to offer blackjack in return for a $3 billion cut over seven years. “The poll did not ask voters how they felt about expansions of gambling that the compact would allow throughout Florida, including introduction of slot machines outside of tribal properties,” [No Casinos President JohnSowinski wrote in an email. “But what the poll did find is that 72 percent of Floridians don’t want gambling expanded, which is exactly what the proposed compact does.”

JUDGE REJECTS BID BY FLORIDA TO TOSS SEMINOLE TRIBE LAWSUIT via the Associated Press – A federal judge is siding with the Seminole Tribe of Florida in an ongoing lawsuit that could affect the tribe’s casinos. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle … rejected a request by state officials to dismiss the lawsuit the Seminoles filed last October. The tribe filed the lawsuit after the expiration of a 5-year deal that allowed the Seminoles to have blackjack tables at their casinos. The Seminoles asserted they had a right to keep blackjack because Florida regulators violated the existing compact and had not negotiated in good faith.

PAM BONDI’S FANTASY DILEMMA via Gary Fineout of The Fine Print – What, if anything, does … Bondi plan to do about the murky legality surrounding fantasy sports in Florida … FanDuel and DraftKings started hiring lobbyists … as a legal theory began to emerge that fantasy sports … was not allowed under Florida law … 1991 opinion authored by then-Attorney General Bob Butterworth that concluded spending $100 on a season-long fantasy football team was illegal gambling … there are apparent signs of some prosecutors getting involved, namely that U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley in Tampa has reportedly launched his own investigation … There are also civil lawsuits being filed … State Attorney Bernie McCabe has taken an interest in the issue. But it’s hard to pin Bondi or her office down on how the state’s top legal officer (and whose office houses the statewide prosecutor) views the evolving situation even as other law-enforcement officials take action … she still supports the 1991 Butterworth opinion and has made no moves to rescind it or repeal it. But beyond that Bondi and her office continue to defer questions.

DON’T SWEEP AWAY PUBLIC HOUSING MONEY, LAWMAKERS URGED via Jeff Schweers of the Tampa Tribune – [The Sadowski Housing Coalition] called on Legislature to spend all $324 million of housing trust fund money on housing programs this year rather than sweep a huge portion of that money into the state’s budget. Spending the money would create 32,600 jobs and provide $4.6 billion in economic stimulus to the economy, members said. Last year, the Legislature swept $81 million — almost a third of the available housing trust money — into the regular budget while the housing programs got $175 million. This year, $226.5 million is available for SHIP and $97.4 million for SAIL.

ENVIRONMENTALISTS: WATER PROTECTION BILL HAS LOOPHOLES via William March of the Associated Press – A massive bill to protect Florida’s springs, waterways and groundwater appears headed for passage at the start of the coming legislative session, despite objections from environmentalists who say it’s been weakened by the influence of industry and agriculture interests. They say they still hope floor amendments will close loopholes in Senate and House companion bills SB 552 and HB 7005, and are trying to pressure legislators. Sponsors, including Rep. Matt Caldwell … say that after all the time and work spent on the bill, they oppose last-minute changes. “This has been debated, worked over and heard in committees for nearly three years … It has many fathers, many negotiations that have gone into it. Adding (amendments) at this point I don’t think would be productive.” The bill modifies dozens of areas of Florida law including controlling pollution and restoring natural water flows in springs and rivers; developing alternative water supplies; water use permitting; and restoring flows and preventing pollution around Lake Okeechobee and the northern Everglades.

JACK LATVALA WANTS TO CHANGE CONTROVERSIAL DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE PAY SYSTEM via Kate Irby of the Bradenton Herald – Just as the Florida Association of Counties had given up on changing what officials call a backward way of funding the Department of Juvenile Justice … Jack Latvala … gave the group some hope. Latvala filed a bill … to stop the prepayment system, with every county simply paying its share of the prior year’s cost starting in fiscal year 2016-17. It also would make counties pay 50 percent of juvenile detention costs while the state pays the other 50 percent. It does not have a matching House bill.

JEFF BRANDES BACKS “DIGITAL ID” BILL via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – … that would allow for digital versions of state-issued driver, hunting, fishing and boating licenses. The measure also would create the position of “Chief Data Officer” … overseeing “the transition of licenses and identification cards to digital proof of licenses and identification cards to be issued by state agencies, commissions and departments at the option of license holders and cardholders upon payment of a $5 fee” … The bill would appropriate $500,000 from the state’s general revenue fund for a pilot program.

FIRST ON FLORIDAPOLITICS.COM — CYNDI STEVENSON WITHDRAWS SUPPORT FOR ERIC EISNAUGLE IN 2020 SPEAKER RACE via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics – “My initial support was given in confirmation of the choice of a unanimous class that is now fractured and divided,” Stevenson said. “While I personally believe that the current method by which we select our speakers is flawed, I do believe in the foundational principle that you must have a majority of support from your own class and should only look to other classes to affirm the wise choice of that majority.  As Representative Eisnaugle has lost the majority support of his own class, I now believe it is in the best interest of our Republican caucus, my constituents in North Florida and the State of Florida to withdraw my support and encourage an end to this fractious leadership race so that we may all focus on the work of the people.”

***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.***

MISSOURI BILL DEFINES SEX BETWEEN LOBBYISTS AND LAWMAKERS AS A GIFT via Jason Hancock of the Kansas City Star – Lobbyists who have sex with a Missouri lawmaker or a member of a lawmaker’s staff would have to disclose it to the Missouri Ethics Commission under a bill introduced … in the Missouri House … sponsored by Rep. Bart Korman, a Montgomery County Republican, defines sex between lobbyists and legislators as a gift. As such, sexual relations would have to be included on monthly lobbyist gift disclosure forms.

*** Get a taste of The Edison! We offer internationally-inspired cuisine and stunning views overlooking the beauty of Cascades Park. Drop by on your next lunch break for a change of scenery, or enjoy a relaxing dinner with friends! Book your reservation today.***


Trimmel Gomes’ newest episode of The Rotunda features an exclusive interview with the CEO of Seminole Gaming, Jim Allen. As Gov. Rick Scott touts his new 3$ billion gaming compact deal with the Seminole Tribe, the odds of it passing the Florida Legislature is far from a sure bet. Gomes tackles one of the most heavily lobbied issues with POLITICO’s Daniel Ducassi. Also, the Executive Editor of the Tallahassee Democrat talks about the release of the ultimate guide to the 2016 Legislative Session, “Capital Impact.” The magazine includes unique feature stories and a directory of all legislative aides.

Black Almanac with Dr. Ed James  on WWSB, ABC 7 in Sarasota: Sarasota MLK Celebration Committee talks about a week of activities in honor of Dr. King’s struggle for justice.

Facing Florida with Mike VasilindaAudi engineer Thomas Mueller on his firm’s newest autonomous vehicles.

Facing South Florida with Jim Defede on CBS-MiamiPresidential candidate Jeb Bush, speaking from the campaign trail in New Hampshire.

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Democratic state Sen. Arthenia Joyner, Republican Sen. John Legg, Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, and Joe Brown of the Tampa Tribune.

On Point with Shannon Ogden on WFCN in Jacksonville: Tia Mitchell of the Jacksonville TImes-Union, attorney and constitutional law expert Brian Gowdy on President Obama’s recent executive order, and Folio magazine’s person of the year, Tony Allegretti.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando: Florida Legislative Session Preview Show, hosted by Ybeth Bruzual and Al Ruechel, with Troy Kinsey reporting from Tallahassee. Josh Gillin from PolitiFact updates the status of several Rick Scott campaign pledges with the Scott-O-Meter.

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Sean Pittman, Gary Yordon, Steve Vancore and Dr. Ed Moore.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: Rep. Lake Ray III and Sen. Audrey Gibson on turmoil in the RPOF and Ray’s bill banning Syrian refugees from entering Florida. Plus analyst and former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll on U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown’s recent subpoena.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Rep. Rene “Coach” Placencia, “30 under 30 Rising Star” Ron Bilbao, and Evan Ross.

THIS UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI RECRUITMENT VIDEO IS EVERY SORORITY CLICHÉ TAKEN TO THE EXTREME via Josh Kurp of Uproxx – At no point in the four-minute video above do you see a classroom, or even the university’s campus for longer than a few seconds. Instead, it’s all boats, and jumping off things, and oceans, and rooftop pools. That’s all fine and dandy, were this marketing for a time share in Key West. It’s for college … It makes Delta Gamma look like the greatest four-year vacation ever, one that only costs $59,464 per year.

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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