Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
FIRST AND FOREMOST … I hate you, Silver Airways. I simply hate you. Five times yesterday you delayed my flight to Tallahassee, only to eventually cancel it. Your customer service staff must have been trained in Tehran, they are that unpleasant. I don’t know which side of the jet fuel sales tax exemption issue you were on this Legislative Session, but know this, I am now on the opposite side simply because I hate you so much.
THE NOT-SO-SPECIAL SESSION CONTINUES…
SOME HOMETOWN PROJECTS APPEAR DOOMED AS BUDGET TALKS FORGE ON via Steve Bousquet & Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times
With much of a projected $1 billion surplus needed to plug holes in the health care budget and to boost per-pupil school spending, money for local pork barrel projects is shrinking.
“There’s going to be some shared pain,” warned Sen. Jack Latvala, who’s riding herd over an economic development budget that was stuffed with money for projects. “Some projects are going to live and some projects are going to die.”
The preliminary budget included hundreds of millions of dollars for libraries, marinas, airports, bike trails, research parks, cultural centers, theater and dance companies and YMCAs.
But the pot of money available for projects dwindled as other priorities surfaced, and Latvala has publicly acknowledged that his committee had overspent its budget allocation, which will force cuts.
Virtually every legislator has a wish list of local water projects, but the available money was only a tiny fraction of what’s being suggested.
BUDGET NEGOTIATORS AGREE TO DISAGREE ON CHARITY CARE FUNDING via James L. Rosica of the Tampa Tribune
A new way of funding the state’s charity care will be “bumped” up from subcommittee negotiators to the Legislature’s budget chairs, House Speaker pro tem Matt Hudson said Tuesday night.
“We were just about there towards having it all resolved,” Hudson said, holding up his thumb and index finger. “But when we realized we couldn’t quite resolve it, we wanted to focus on all the other issues.”
The Low Income Pool (LIP), now being litigated in federal court, is the $2.2 billion pot of federal-state money used to reimburse Florida hospitals for unpaid care, often to uninsured patients who show up in emergency rooms.
Legislators will have to use more general revenue to fill that fund as the federal government drastically cuts its contribution.
It’s pushing Florida to expand Medicaid, a move shot down by the House, essentially killing it for this year. That also spurred a lawsuit by Gov. Scott, who says the feds are illegally trying to coerce the state into expanding Medicaid.
“I think the big chairs will get this done,” said Hudson.
THAT TIME A MARINA IN PAHOKEE NEARLY BLEW UP FINAL BUDGET TALKS via Matt Dixon of the Naples Daily News
A powerful state senator’s push to secure marina funding sought by a congressional candidate he has political ties to contributed to a near collapse of negotiations over the state’s economic development budget.
The money to upgrade the Pahokee Marina was requested by Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, a Democrat who is running for the Southeast Florida congressional seat being vacated by Patrick Murphy. He is running for U.S. Senate as a Democrat.
“It’s that area’s only bright spot,” said McKinlay, who noted Pahokee’s unemployment rate is over 25 percent.
She is in the race against Rebecca Negron, a Republican married to state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart. Latvala and Negron have been in a heated battle to become Senate president for a two-year term starting in 2017.
The marina got approval Tuesday night for $1 million in state money, much higher than was originally requested. In March, Palm Beach County requested $200,000 for the project, which would help it draw down $800,000 in federal emergency management funds, according to state records. The money would be used to repair damage sustained in 2012 during Hurricane Isaac.
The money needed approval by a budget subcommittee whose top Senator is state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater. Through companies he owns and political allies supporting his bid to become Senate president, he helped raise thousands of dollars for McKinlay’s 2014 county commission campaign. She also paid a Latvala-owned mail firm nearly $8,000 for campaign work.
LAWMAKERS BACK OFF USING BUDGET AS SHIELD FOR UBER via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times
An effort to block cities and counties from enacting new ordinances aimed at ride sharing services like Uber did not last long during the Legislature’s special session.
Just about 20 hours after Republican leaders in the Senate proposed a 10-month moratorium on new ride sharing restrictions, the idea was pulled after objections from Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner.
The Tampa Democrat said she objected to the “creative way” Senate Republicans tried to slip the moratorium through “a back door” by attaching it to a budget dealing with civil and criminal justice appropriations on Monday night under the guise that riding sharing programs might reduce incidences of drunk driving. Joyner said there is no such data to prove that and says it was just a way to get it slipped into a seemingly unrelated portion of the state budget discussions.
“This was not the appropriate way to do this,” Joyner said.
Sen. Joe Negron, the Senate’s Justice Appropriations chairman, initially included the item in the budget, saying it was an idea Sen. Jeff Brandes had brought to him. Negron’s proposal would have committed $10,000 for the state to study the impact of ride sharing programs and whether they reduce drunk driving. While that study was being conducting, local government would have been barred from enacting new ordinances regarding ride sharing.
A $30 MILLION HOSPITAL ISSUE COULD GET TUCKED INTO MEDICAID CONFORMING BILL via Christine Sexton of FloridaPolitics.com
The House is taking its battle against hospitals on multiple fronts, including trying to revive a little-noticed bill from the 2015 Regular Session that cracks down on the ability for hospitals to challenge Medicaid reimbursement rates set by the state.
A staff analysis of SB 322 noted there were a number of hospitals that were challenging their rates and, if successful, the state could be on the hook for upward of $30 million.
Though the issue was heard only in the Senate during the Regular Session, it was offered up by the House during the Special Session budget conference process. The Senate deferred acceptance which means the issue will be hammered out by the House and Senate’s chief budget writers.
The House proposal makes clear that if hospitals prevail in their challenges to the rates they must secure an appropriation from the Legislature in order to collect the money.
“The agency may not be compelled by an administrative body or a court or pay additional compensation to a hospital” the language offered by the House in the Medicaid conforming bill, SB 2508 A, reads.
The offer also would change the rules with regards to rate challenges to make clear that written notification of the audited rates is a “final agency action” and that the hospitals may request and administrative hearing to challenge the rates by filing a petition with the agency within 180 days. Hospitals could challenge the methodologies set forth in the rules used to calculate the rates for a retroactive period of three years from the date of the challenge.
HOUSE ADVANCES HOSPITAL DEREGULATION PLAN, GETS RICK SCOTT’S SUPPORT via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald
Gov. Scott joined with House leaders and his former company Tuesday and put his support behind a plan to eliminate the controversial law that requires state approval for the building of new hospitals.
“Driving down healthcare costs is essential to expanding access to coverage and increasing quality,” Scott said in a statement.
The House Health Innovation Subcommittee voted 9-3 along party lines to eliminate the so-called “certificate of need” process that requires state regulators to review and approve the construction of any new hospitals, the replacement of existing hospitals, or the development of certain expansive medical services such as organ transplants.
“When you have a free market, you get a better product at a lower cost and that’s going to help the access,’’ said Rep. Jason Brodeur, sponsor of the bill.
Opponents, including the Florida Hospitals Association, warned however, that removing the regulation would discourage hospitals from building and expanding in poor areas, resulting in health care deserts as hospitals concentrate in affluent neighborhoods.
PBS DIGITAL LEARNING PROJECT STRUCK FROM BUDGET via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times
The budget being cobbled together by Florida legislators will have hundreds of winners and losers, and one unexpected loser is the state’s network of public television stations.
At the Senate’s urging, lawmakers have rejected a second non-recurring state appropriation of $1 million to continue an online digital learning program for use by the state’s 67 public school districts. It features a wide variety of educational content as well as PBS’ signature programming, from Sesame Street to Ken Burns’ long-form historical documentaries.
As Tampa Bay Times reporter Jeffrey S. Solochek notes in this explainer, Florida was the first state to get access to a PBS site with extensive materials customized to its own academic standards. But the project drew the wrath of the Senate’s chief education budget-writer, Republican Don Gaetz of Niceville, who criticized PBS for not charging a user fee to school districts. Offering the online curriculum for free, Gaetz said, means the state had to pay for it. (The $1 million was never in the House’s budget).
“It’s only valuable if it doesn’t cost anything, is the message,” Gaetz told the Times/Herald. “If yours is so valuable, why isn’t anybody interested in paying any money for it?”
Gaetz, who put the money in the current year’s budget, is a former elected county school superintendent and noted that he donates money to his local PBS station in Pensacola
JACKSONVILLE’S LENNY CURRY SECURES STATE MONEY FOR DOJ COPS MATCHING FUND via FloridaPolitics.com
Weeks before taking office, Lenny Curry is already advocating for Jacksonville’s public safety, leveraging relationships with state-level Republicans to make this happen.
As Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union reported last week, Mayor-elect Curry recently was in Tallahassee, touching base with key legislators and thanking some of those who had been key supporters in the mayoral race.
Of course, it wasn’t just a social call for Curry. He had some business to conduct, also.
One such piece of business: dealing with a federal grant that had lapsed under the Alvin Brown administration, which would help to keep police on the street.
Curry explained to the lawmakers that state dollars would help the city handle its end of the federal matching dollars. He followed that up with a letter to Senators Aaron Bean, Lizbeth Benacquisto, Travis Hutson, and Tom Lee.
“An untapped resource in Jacksonville’s recent budget years has been a matching grant program from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) within the U.S. Department of Justice,” Curry wrote.
With a “local/state contribution of $859,248,” Curry continued, the Feds would provide an additional $572,915. This money would allow for the hiring of fifteen new police officers by November 2015.
These officers would be directed to the hotbeds of violent crime.
Curry asked the legislators for $429,624, half of the total sum. The other half, he wrote, would be identified via a joint effort of Curry and Sheriff Elect Mike Williams.
Curry got $250,000 toward that total.
— “It’s not just Florida: Many states struggle to agree on budgets” via the New York Times
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FEDS: NO NEED FOR MEDIATION IN RICK SCOTT’S MEDICAID LAWSUIT via The Associated Press
The Obama administration says there’s no need for a judge to order mediation over federal hospital funds as Gov. Scott requested because they’ve been engaged in ongoing discussions with Florida.
In court documents filed Tuesday, federal health officials said they talked with Florida as recently as Monday and that the discussions are ongoing and have been productive. The Obama administration also said there is no basis for mediation because “(Secretary Sylvia Burwell) has already stated definitively that she will not deny a LIP (low-income pool hospital funds) extension based on the State’s failure to expand its Medicaid program.”
“Mediation is unlikely to accelerate, and may well delay, (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and Florida’s ongoing efforts to arrive at terms for a LIP extension,” the Obama administration argued in its motion.
IN FLORIDA, REPUBLICANS ARE AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY’S TOP TARGET via Scott Bland of National Journal
AFP, one of the main arms of the Koch brothers’ conservative political machine, is best known for its corporate titan founders and multi-million-dollar ad campaigns blasting congressional Democrats. The nonprofit helped GOP candidates up and down the ballot win elections in 2014, and you could practically hear Democrats biting their nails when the Kochs revealed their network’s 2015-2016 budget: a whopping $889 million.
But on that Wednesday, AFP’s volunteers were mobilizing against a Republican, blasting state Senate President Andy Gardiner’s proposal to take federal funds to put more low-income Floridians on Medicaid. The volunteers, armed with brochures and scripts (as well as lots of chilled Gatorade and water) were knocking on doors here in the hopes of driving conservatives to register opposition to the plan.
… (N)owhere is AFP’s fight with Republicans more intense right now than in Florida, where the politicians they are targeting are largely Republicans.
Chris Hudson, AFP’s Florida state director, is not shy about touting his group’s influence. Lawmakers “see people in their offices wearing buttons with little green torches, and they think, ‘I’m about to find out what my 2015 legislative agenda is,'” Hudson boasts.
… AFP recently opened its 12th field office in the state, its biggest presence anywhere in the country. Hudson says the established offices regularly have 25 to 50 volunteers coming through the doors to help out. And there are more staffers working in “floating” offices without a permanent location as the group’s reach grows.
… “I would have said eight weeks ago I didn’t understand what the House was doing,” said Tre’ Evers, a Republican consultant from Orlando. “But AFP has successfully branded this around Obamacare, and as a fight opposing that.”
Moreover, the grassroots work AFP does on policy issues helps build its growing volunteer base. Some eventually join as part- or even full-time staff members, fueling the growth that has AFP-Florida looking at new places to establish field offices.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE DAY via The Ledger.com
“An Open Letter to Rep. Colleen Burton and Sen. Kelli Stargel: I am writing you as a 50-year registered Republican who has recently changed to an independent. With more than 800,000 Floridians having no health insurance, mostly women and children, I find it inconceivable that the Florida House of Representatives is set to deny health insurance to the overwhelming majority of these people.
“I find it morally reprehensible that 100 percent of the representatives who will vote to deny other people health insurance would never dream of going without health insurance themselves. I ask you to vote to approve the Senate’s original budget bill.” — Bob Richenburg, Lakeland
FORMER SENATOR DURELL PEADEN STABLE IN PENNSYLVANIA AFTER OPEN HEART SURGERY via Christine Sexton of Florida Politics
Peaden is stable in Pennsylvania after having double bypass surgery June 2. Peaden was traveling with his wife when he had the heart attack and was admitted to the hospital.
Friends say he is in stable condition and should be able to return to Florida in the next few weeks.
Peaden is the chairman of the Florida Health Choices and since retiring from the Senate has kept an interest in graduate medical education. Florida Health Choices would have played a role in the expansion of Medicaid under the Senate’s proposed “FHIX” health plan.
Though he likens himself to an “old country doctor,” the image belied his political abilities where he quickly became a force in the area of health care policy. He was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1994. He switched parties to Republican in 1997 and was elected to the Senate in 2000. He was term limited out in 2010.
Peaden was the longtime architect of health care spending in the Senate and was influential in developing substantive health care policy. Peaden championed a medical school for Florida State University and was the driving force behind the college’s design, tapping into regional campuses across the state to teach students about geriatric care, primary care, and the challenges of providing health care in medically underserved areas.
Though he was a physician and saw patients until 2000 when he closed his practice, Peaden often was at odds with organized medicine during the medical malpractice Sessions and Special Session in Tallahassee in the early 2000s.
MIA JONES DOING WELL AFTER SLIGHT HEALTH SCARE via Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union
Jones was rushed to the hospital Monday but reported this morning that she has been released and is doing well. She did not go into detail about her hospitalization in posts on Facebook and Twitter this morning, but said she is now doing well.
It has been a busy special session for Jones, D-Jacksonville. She received praise from colleagues on both sides of the aisle for acting as the House’s de facto sponsor of the Senate’s Medicaid expansion proposal. As a result, she answered questions for nearly four hours Thursdaythen provided closing remarks after seven hours of debate Friday before House Republicans ultimately killed the deal.
The Legislature is currently in the process of finalizing the state budget, and members are poring over spreadsheets and protecting district projects behind-the-scenes. Jones is the House Democrats’ second-in-command one of the caucus’ most senior members.
Jones said in a statement: “I was released from the hospital yesterday and am comfortably resting in Tallahassee. I am thankful for all the prayers, visitors, calls and well wishes. I look forward to continuing my work during Special Session on behalf of the citizens of Florida.”
Off: Bobby Combs is no longer a district legislative assistant with Senator Brandes. He is replaced by Vanessa Thompson, who worked on the Brandes campaign and most recently as an executive assistant in Brandes’ Tallahassee office during Session 2015.
BEYOND THE CAPITOL
IN TAMPA BAY, A RARE ENVIRONMENTAL WIN MEASURED IN SEAGRASS via Letitia Stein of Reuters
When Tampa Bay was grappling with repeated fish kills and murky waters two decades ago, the scientists who set out to restore its health by bringing back once-bountiful underwater grasses were doubtful it could be done in their lifetimes.
Yet that mission has now been accomplished. New data show Tampa Bay’s seagrasses at levels not seen since the 1950s, before urban development exploded along Florida’s west coast and nitrogen pollution of its waters soared.
The rejuvenation of Tampa Bay is hailed as a model for the bays and sounds in other U.S. communities seeking to restore critical coastal habitat under the Clean Water Act, from the Chesapeake Bay in the mid-Atlantic region to San Francisco Bay.
These estuaries, where freshwater from rivers mixes with the salty sea, provide a home or nursery for a wide swath of marine life, including most commercially sold fish.
Experts say the sweeping recovery in Tampa Bay is made more impressive because it appears so far unmatched.
“It shows that you can actually do it,” said Rich Batiuk, associate director for science with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program. “Kudos to them for really seeing it through and providing a great shining example.”
— “Look beyond list of how much Florida hospitals charge to what Floridians pay“ via Peter Schorsch of FloridaPolitics.com
— “Poll on sexual abuse conducted by Lauren’s Kids offers some startling insights“ via Peter Schorsch of FloridaPolitics.com
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POLL DU JOUR – LIBERALS MAKE BIG COMEBACK IN 2015, POLL ANALYSIS FINDS via Janet Hook of the Wall Street Journal
A new analysis of [WSJ]/NBC News poll data finds a marked increase in the share of registered voters identifying themselves as liberals, and an even bigger drop in the share saying they are conservatives. In three national polls conducted so far in 2015, the analysis found that 26% of registered voters identified themselves as liberals – up from 23% in 2014.
At the same time, the share of voters identifying as conservatives dropped to 33% from 37% in 2014.
THE JEB WHISPERER via Marc Caputo and Alex Isenstadt
While Bush’s campaign for president had a reshuffling before it even officially became a campaign, one aspect of Jeb World remains as clear as ever: Sally Bradshaw is running the show. To the degree there was a shake-up in Bush’s political effort, it’s Bradshaw who did the shaking, the shot-calling and the tough decision-making.
With a gentle drawl and a penchant for perfection, it was Bradshaw who ultimately made the call to install a relatively young political operative, Danny Diaz, as campaign manager, instead of the more seasoned David Kochel, the Iowan who was widely expected to get the job.
Most sources agree that both Kochel and Bradshaw had different personalities that sometimes didn’t mix. “She’s a get-it-done-now-no-excuses person,” one knowledgeable source told us. “He’s more deliberative.”
But that doesn’t mean the two are warring, the sources said. They mutually agreed that he would serve a far better purpose as the campaign’s chief strategist – wholly focused at first on making sure Jeb wins at least one early state.
“The leading cause of professional death in the Jeb Bush entourage is Sally’s inability to control you,” said a political operative who has worked with Bradshaw in the past. “But she is fiercely loyal to Jeb, the point of the spear, no nonsense.”
JEB BUSH IS CLEAR LEADER IN LATEST NEW HAMPSHIRE POLL via the Daily Caller
The poll … asked 487 Republican primary voters who they would support in the crowded GOP field.
Bush … was the favorite for 21 percent of likely Republican primary voters. Scott Walker and Rand Paul tied in second with a 13 percent showing. Surprisingly, Donald Trump polled fourth with 12 percent of the tally.
BUSH’S CAMPAIGN — ‘JEB 2016, INC.’ — FILES CORPORATE PAPERS via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald
Bush’s presidential campaign legally exists.
Jeb 2016, Inc. was created June 4, according to adocument filed with the Florida Division of Corporations. The corporation, whose existence was first reported by the Washington Post, was created “to promote the candidacy of Jeb Bush for the office of President of the United States.”
It’s registered to attorney Raquel A. Rodriguez and lists the address of Bush’s headquarters at 9250 W. Flagler St.
BUSH IN BERLIN: REMEMBER MY DAD’S ROLE IN COLD WAR, NOT MY BROTHER’S IN IRAQ via Kate Conolly of the Guardian
Jeb Bush evoked the symbolic power of his father’s cold war ties with Germany during a speech in Berlin on Tuesday aimed at bolstering his foreign policy credentials ahead of the probable declaration of his presidential candidacy in Miami next week.
But he made no reference to his older brother, who is still widely vilified inGermany for ordering the invasion of Iraq and for the US surveillance programs exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In his first major international appearance since signaling his readiness to run for office, the former governor of Florida acknowledged that some might question the setting of his speech. “One possible question which might be asked is: why is an American politician who might run for president in Berlin, Germany? And not in places like Berlin, New Hampshire, or Berlin, Iowa?
“The short answer is, this journey has other purposes. America’s next president –whoever earns that responsibility – will have friendships here in Europe, committments here, that are vital as any we have in the world,” he told an audience of business leaders.
Berlin, he said, symbolized the “full story of America’s commitment” to its allies – “from liberation and post-war ruin, to bitter division, to peaceful unification and now, the most dynamic economy in Europe, whole and free”.
Jeb Bush was clearly hoping that some of his father’s magic might rub off on him, repeatedly reminding them that it was the elder Bush who – together with Germany’s then chancellor Helmut Kohl – had shown the foresight and courage to push for unification, despite the doubts of others in Germany and elsewhere.
“But Chancellor Kohl was adamant and my father was deeply supportive. The work was done. And today, because of that, Germany is whole and Germany is free,” he said.
SUPER PAC BACKING BUSH UNLIKELY TO HIT $100 MILLION BY END OF JUNE via Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post
The exact size of the war chest is closely held, but two individuals familiar with internal discussions believe the total that the Right to Rise super PAC will report in mid-July could be substantially lower than the nine figures that senior Republicans have anticipated.
That would be a major psychological blow for Bush’s operation, whose fundraising prowess has raised expectations about how much cash it has been amassing. Bush’s schedule for the past five months has been dominated by high-priced fundraisers for the super PAC, helping the group stockpile tens of millions.
While his aides never publicly declared that the super PAC would hit $100 million, they did little to tamp down such predictions — and in some cases privately fueled them, according to top GOP fundraisers.
Mike Murphy, the strategist overseeing the super PAC, declined to comment, except to say: “At the right time, we will release very formidable numbers.”
RIDICULOUS OPPO DUMP OF THE DAY via American Bridge: “Huffington Post: Jeb Bush In 1995: Unwed Mothers Should Be Publicly Shamed”
#RUBIOSPENDINGSPREE via The New York Times
Among the serious contenders for the presidency, Rubio stands out … for the persistent doubts about his financial management, to the point that Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign flagged the issue when vetting … Rubio as a possible running mate in 2012. … A review of the Rubio family’s finances … reveals a series of decisions over the past 15 years that experts called imprudent: significant debts; a penchant to spend heavily on luxury items; … a strikingly low savings rate; … and inattentive accounting that led to years of unpaid local government fees.
RUBIO LOOKS TO TURN SCRUTINY OF FINANCIAL HISTORY INTO CAMPAIGN CASH via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times
Rubio is trying to turn the New York Times story on his finances into campaign cash.
In a new fundraising appeal, the Republican presidential candidate asserts that the story suggests “I’m not rich enough to be president!”
Here is Rubio’s email:
Last week, our team told you about the New York Times attacking me for receiving four traffic tickets over the last 20 years. Now, today, the Times is out with a story suggesting that I’m not rich enough to be president!
According to the Times, “Rubio entered public life in a deep financial hole of his own making.” Sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? But what exactly was this deep financial hole of my own making? My student loans! I didn’t have the money for college, so I had to take out loans. And now the Times is attacking me for it.
As I have said many times, I am not poor, but I’m not rich either. It’s true, I didn’t make over $11 million last year giving speeches to special interests. And we don’t have a family foundation that has raised $2 billion from Wall Street and foreign interests.
TWEET, TWEET: @AlexConant If @MarcoRubio was worth millions, @NYTimes would then attack him for being too rich, like they did to Mitt Romney.
TWEET, TWEET: @dtoddharris Son of bartender & maid, inherits nothing, goes to college, buys home & boat for family & private school for kids? Only in America
TWEET, TWEET: @AdamSmithTimes: The campaign doth protest too much, methinks
GOOD READ — RUBIO IS NOW CHANNELING JFK via Shane Goldmacher of National Journal
Rubio has slipped a symbolically significant new passage into his stump speech, linking his candidacy to that of … John F. Kennedy.
In Iowa, Rubio presented the 2016 campaign as a generational pivot point, likening his vision for a New American Century … to Kennedy’s 1960 challenge to the nation to embrace a New Frontier. Rubio said: “Asked six decades ago, this nation and that generation chose to embrace a New Frontier. In fact, they took up the challenge of a then young president who said, “Ask not what your country can do, ask what you can do for your country.”
COOL INFOGRAPHIC: Breaking down how presidential campaigns spend $1 billion via National Journal.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA GROUP EXPECTS BIG PETITION DRIVE SOON via the Orlando Sentinel
United For Care, which last year put a failed constitutional amendment proposal on the November election ballot, expects to begin its main petition push in a matter of weeks to get a new proposal to voters in November 2016.
The organization, chaired by Orlando lawyer Morgan, already has a few volunteers pushing petitions. Yet it has raised little money so far for what would have to be a multimillion-dollar effort to get the issue on the ballot.
Still, it has resources from the failed 2014 campaign, including thousands of now-experienced, impassioned volunteers, ballot language that already has passed legal muster and Morgan’s checkbook.
We’ll make an announcement at some point here shortly,” said Ben Pollara, the campaign’s manager. “I’m going back and forth with Morgan. But I would expect that to launch sometime in June.”
That would put the organization about six months ahead of pace for last year’s initiative. That proposal to legalize marijuana for medical use ended up getting 58 percent of the statewide vote last November, but needed 60 percent to be adopted.
Pollara said he expects the organization to hire professional petitioners this summer. He hopes they will finish gathering 100,000 voter signatures within weeks to trigger a new review by the Florida Supreme Court, which is required before an issue can go on the ballot. Then the paid signature collectors would continue working Florida’s streets until they gather the other 600,000 to get the measure back on the ballot.
— “Medical marijuana backers gearing up for one more push” via John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times
WHAT JOHN RUTHERFORD COULD BRING TO THE U.S. CONGRESS via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics
Duval County Sheriff Rutherford is not a declared candidate in Congressional District 6’s race to replace Ron DeSantis yet. The only declared candidate so far is Adam Barringer.
If he does run, as is expected, he will have two problems to overcome.
The first problem: He’s not actually a district resident. Nor has he represented voters in that district. They will know him via Jacksonville media, mostly. It remains to be seen whether that will help or hurt him.
The second problem: What would he bring to the table?
That question, luckily for Rutherford supporters, is easily answered.
An analogue to Rutherford may well be a sheriff from the Pacific Time Zone: Washington Republican Dave Reichert, who is described by Roll Call as the GOP’s “point person on policing.”
“I view myself as a cop in Congress,” Reichert told Emma Dumain, the author of the piece, “versus a congressman who used to be a cop.”
BRIAN MAST STARTS GOP CONGRESSIONAL RUN WITH NATIONAL TV TIME via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post
Decorated Afghanistan war veteran and newly filed Republican congressional candidate Brian Mast has already scored something the seven other candidates in the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18 race have not: national TV time.
Mast, who had both his legs amputated after a 2010 roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan, was interviewed on Fox News this morning.
Mast is one of five announced Republicans for the swing district seat that Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, is leaving to run for Senate. And more GOP candidates are expected to enter the race soon. Three Democrats have also opened campaigns for Murphy’s seat.
SAVE THE DATE: CARLOS GUILLERMO SMITH TO KICK OFF HD 49 CAMPAIGN ON JULY 9
Democrat Carlos Guillermo Smith is hosting a campaign kick-off next month to launch his bid to regain state House District 49 for the “D” column in the competitive swing district. Smith was a legislative aide to former Rep. Joe Saunders — who was upset there in a conservative 2014 electoral wave — and also serves chair of the Orange County Democratic Party and policy director for Equality Florida.
The event will be at The Abbey on Eola Drive in Orlando and is scheduled to run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 9.
DAVID SILVERS RUNNING FOR STATE HOUSE AGAIN, THIS TIME IN DISTRICT 87 via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post
Boca Raton businessman David Silvers, the top-spending Democratic state House challenger in 2014, will try again in 2016 — this time by moving into a safely Democratic district.
Silvers lost by 5 points last year to state Rep. Bill Hager in District 89, a narrowly Republican seat in an overwhelmingly Republican year. Silvers last week opened a state House campaign in District 87, where Democrats have more than a 2-to-1 registration advantage over Republicans and Rep. Dave Kerner is leaving to run for Palm Beach County Commission.
Silvers raised $136,137 from contributors and put in $150,00o of his own money for his 2014 campaign. Additionally, his mother, Hollywood Media President Laurie Silvers, gave $606,500 to the Florida Democratic Party, which ran TV ads for Silvers.
The open District 87 seat is likely to attract other Dems. The district includes parts of West Palm Beach, Lake Worth and Palm Springs.
BOB BUCKHORN GIVES CHARITY $119,000 IN LEFTOVER CAMPAIGN FUNDS via Richard Danielson of the Tampa Bay Times
Back when he was running for re-election, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn raised gobs of money — $404,000 in all, more than he needed to beat his write-in opponent.
Going into the vote, Buckhorn said he was inclined to give as much of that money as possible back to his supporters. Candidates often give excess campaign funds to charity, but Buckhorn said that wasn’t likely in his case.
“I don’t assume to know what people’s charities are,” he said in January.
Five months later, Buckhorn has done just the opposite, giving nearly $119,000 to the nonprofit Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, according to a campaign finance report filed this month. It’s not a first: Former Mayors Dick Greco and Pam Iorio likewise donated surplus campaign funds to charity.
Buckhorn’s contribution went into the foundation’s “donor-advised fund,” meaning the mayor will make recommendations on the grants the money goes to, according to director of marketing and communications Wilma Norton.
“I want this fund to focus on a couple of things,” Buckhorn said Monday. One is scholarships for women or minority applicants who want to be Tampa police officers but need help attending the police academy. Another is grants to nonprofits that work on youth development, urban issues or initiatives that could help “mitigate what we’re seeing” in the inner city.
TWEET, TWEET: @BrianECorley: Truly honored to be installed as President of FL SOE’s who exist to be voter advocates!
FLORIDA CHAMBER APPOINTS QUINTIN KENDALL AS NE FLORIDA REGIONAL BOARD CHAIR via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics
On Monday, the Florida Chamber of Commerce announced its appointment of CSX executive Quintin Kendall to a one-year term as Northeast Florida Regional Board Chair.
“I am honored to serve as the Florida Chamber’s Regional Board Chair for Northeast Florida,” said Kendall in a statement. “CSX has long viewed the Florida Chamber as a highly effective partner in promoting a pro-business agenda. I look forward to engaging First Coast business leaders in our ongoing effort to secure Florida’s future.”
CSX has long been one of the leading businesses in Northeast Florida, growing with the region in ways that are obvious to those who know the region.
“Quintin Kendall is an accomplished leader who fully understands how essential Northeast Florida is to the continuous growth of Florida as a whole,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “In his role as a Florida Chamber Regional Board Chair, Quintin will volunteer his talent and resources in support of the Florida Chamber’s mission to secure Florida’s future.“
There are twelve regional board chairs total.
Kendall brings to his role a unique combination of experience dealing with legislatures, both on the state and federal levels.
NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS
Christopher Holland, Law Office of Christopher M. Holland: Scott Henderson
Frank Mayernick, Tracy Mayernick, Jodi Lea Stevens, The Mayernick Group: Parenting with Love & Limits
Robert Robey: Indivior, PLC
David Shepp, Southern Strategy Group: Mosaic Fertilizer
Todd Steibly, GrayRobinson: City of Hollywood
Alan Suskey, Suskey Consulting: Herdt Consulting
SPOTTED: Larry Williams of Gunster at Florida TaxWatch’s board meeting at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg.
***Metz, Husband & Daughton is a full-service firm dedicated to overcoming clients’ legislative, legal and regulatory challenges. An energetic team of highly-skilled members; MHD has the experience, expertise and reputation necessary to achieve clients’ diverse goals in the policy and political arena. MHD has proven proficient in achieving results through long-standing representation of Fortune 500 companies, major Florida corporations, and state-wide trade and professional associations. www.MetzLaw.com.***
DMV CHANGES LICENSE INFO TO STOP SEX PREDATOR MISTAKES via Mike Schneider of the Associated Press
The Florida agency that issues driver’s licenses has changed how clerks enter information into the computer system after two people were given licenses that wrongly labeled them sex offenders or predators.
An agency spokesman on Monday provided a memo outlining the changes, which were implemented three weeks ago.
Under the changes, the drop-down box checked for sexual offenders has been moved away from other boxes that are checked if the driver wants to donate an organ or is dependent on insulin.
Additionally, if the sexual offender or predator box is checked, a window pops up asking, “Is this correct?”
The family of a Jacksonville man whose license was mislabeled reached a $20,000 settlement after he died.
A Lake County woman also has threatened a lawsuit.
‘FROZEN EVER AFTER’: AN EXCLUSIVE LOOK AT DISNEY’S UPCOMING ATTRACTION via Ben Fritz of the Wall Street Journal
Anna, Elsa, Kristof, Olaf and even those adorable little Snowgies are taking residence in Epcot Center next year in a new ride Disney is calling “Frozen Ever After.”
Imagineers at the company’s headquarters in California gave Speakeasy a first look at the attraction, which will replace the 27 year-old Maelstrom ride at the Norway pavilion in Epcot next year. The tour came courtesy of Imagineering creative executive Kathy Mangum, who oversees the Walt Disney World Resort. She showed off storyboards for the attraction and a virtual tour in a room called the “DISH” that utilizes 3-D images projected on the walls, ceiling and floor to simulate a ride before it is built.
“What we try to do is take you back to the movie without retelling that story,” Ms. Mangum said of “Frozen Ever After.” “This is a celebration of the characters, a way for guests who love the film to experience it in a completely different way.”
While it doesn’t feature any new songs, there are several new lyrics to existing melodies written for “Frozen Ever After” by movie composers Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson Lopez.
Maelstrom, on which visitors ride a floating log on a tour through Norwegian mythology, has been “gutted,” Ms. Mangum said, and is currently getting “a whole new overlay with ‘Frozen.’” While the logs and the path will remain the same, everything you see along the way is being replaced.
The setting for “Frozen Ever After” is the winter festival that takes place in summer, when residents of Arendelle apparently celebrate their favorite season of the year in the midst of its polar opposite.
MAGAZINE SAYS FSU FOOTBALL WILL RULE THE STATE AGAIN, WIN ACC via Gary Shelton of SaintPetersblog
The oldest adage in sports is that a football season is not played on paper.
That’s true. But paper can get a fan through the off-season.
Take, for instance, the latest issue of Athlon Magazine, which predicts, among other things, that the state will still belong to Florida State this year.
Athlon says the Seminoles will win their fourth consecutive ACC title. It has FSU finishing ninth in the country, at 10-2. It has them playing in the Peach Bowl against Ole Miss. Not quite the season the Seminoles have had the last two years, but not bad.
The publication has Florida finishing 26th in the country at 8-4 in the first season under Jim McElwain. It has the Gators playing N.C. State in the Belk Bowl.
Miami will finish 43rd in the country at 7-5, says the magazine. It will play against Indiana in the Austin Bowl.
South Florida will barely crack the top 100, predicts the magazine. It has the Bulls at 4-8 and ranked 99th in the country without going to a bowl.
The magazine also says that FSU running back Dalvin Cook will be the top Heisman contender in the ACC and No. 9 overall.
SPOTTED at Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, representing the Blackhawks Caucus: Rich Heffley.
FACEBOOK STATUS OF THE DAY via Alia Faraj-Johnson: “Hey Rob Johnson – I can’t believe it has been 8 years! I love you and love our little Peyton. Thanks for being my biggest supporter — you are my best friend.”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to Rep. Erik Fresen. Celebrating today is THE MAN, Nick Iarossi as well is THE BETTER HALF, Amy Farrington.