Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – June 19

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

CARLOS LOPEZ-CANTERA ANNOUNCING U.S. SENATE CANDIDACY SATURDAY NIGHT?

Miami political circles are buzzing that Lopez-Cantera will be making a major announcement Saturday at the Republican Party of Miami Dade County 67th Annual Lincoln Day Dinner. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will deliver the keynote address, but the headline may be the LG making his U.S. Senate campaign official? Or will it be a pre-endorsement from Rubio? Keep an eye on the Twitters to find out.

JEB BUSH, MARCO RUBIO NECK-AND-NECK IN Q-POLL OF FLORIDA PRIMARY via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News

Florida Republicans are closely divided between two favorite sons running for the GOP’s presidential nomination, a new poll finds.

Quinnipiac University released a poll … showing former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio running neck-and-neck in their home turf. Bush leads the poll with 20 percent followed by Rubio at 18 percent.

The other candidates are all in single digits. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin takes third with 9 percent followed by Dr. Ben Carson with 7 percent. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, who moved to Florida after his 2008 presidential bid, pulls 6 percent, followed by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul … with 5 percent and former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas with 4 percent.

Florida Republicans generally have high opinions of the leading candidates. Rubio is seen as favorable by 75 percent of those surveyed while only 9 percent view him unfavorably. Bush also does well with 68 percent seeing him in a favorable light while 18 percent see him as unfavorable. Huckabee also gets good marks with 65 percent viewing him as favorable while 20 percent see him as unfavorable.

While not as well known, Walker and Carson are in good shape with Florida Republicans. Walker is seen as favorable by 59 percent and unfavorable by 8 percent. Carson is viewed as favorable by 54 percent and unfavorable by 7 percent.

BUSH LOOKS FOR IOWA RESET via Eli Stokols of POLITICO

Before Bush arrived this week for his first visit to Iowa as an official candidate, his campaign blasted out a list of local supporters to counter the perception that he’s not playing to win in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

While it included more than a dozen current and former elected officials — some of them highly sought after — the list didn’t exactly inspire confidence. It wasn’t especially long or deep for a member of a political family that’s been toiling in the Iowa caucuses for over three decades; to some local political hands, it was simply more evidence that Bush’s early efforts here haven’t been enough.

On Wednesday, Bush did try to really work it as he made his third Iowa visit of the year. At his side was a new top hire, David Oman, a long-time GOP operative in the state and former chief of staff to Gov. Terry Branstad.

(Bush) was a candidate desperate to be seen pressing the flesh, working hard, making his case – a candidate who gave every impression that he’s committed to Iowa despite his middle-of-the-pack standing there.

The trouble is many Iowans — even those who liked what they heard — aren’t ready to take him at his word. Nor are they ready to commit to the former Florida governor, who is fighting for positioning in a crowded Republican primary field against several rivals who’ve spent much more time on the ground here.

Yet Bush is up against Republicans like state Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa who, when asked by the Bush campaign, declined to have her name attached to the supporters list. Hanusa, who worked in the White House for George W. Bush, complained publicly last month that Jeb Bush hadn’t been making the rounds or reaching out to the influential Iowa Republicans who are critical to rallying support. The campaign heard her grievances and arranged a 10-minute meeting with Jeb before the Iowa GOP’s Lincoln Dinner last month in Des Moines.

During that meeting, Bush politely asked for her support; his staff did the same and has continued to do so in a “more pushy” manner than the candidate himself, she said.

BUSH FIGHTS TO KEEP FAMILY LEGACY GOING IN S.C. via Andrew Shain of The (Columbia) State

Some S.C. backers of George H.W. Bush in 1988 and 1992, and George W. Bush in 2000 have not returned to the family fold… [Warren] Tompkins, the S.C. campaign strategist for both Bush presidents who chose to go with Rubio … said Jeb … ‘will have a problem reaching over to crack Tea Party voters and has problems with social conservatives’…

Courting vets: Since … launching … Bush has been holding town-hall meetings in early-voting primary states. But only in South Carolina has the town-hall meeting been billed as being for veterans … South Carolina has 417,500 veterans, seventh-most per capita in the nation and the highest among the early primary states.

TRUMP: JEB BUSH IS AN ‘UNHAPPY PERSON’ via Nick Gass of POLITICO

Bush is an “unhappy person,” according to fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“I think that Bush is a nice man,” Trump said in a portion of an interview … on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“He’s a man that doesn’t want to be doing what he’s doing. I call him the reluctant warrior, and warrior’s probably not a good word. I think Bush is an unhappy person. I don’t think he has any energy, and I don’t see how he can win.”

Trump also blasted Bush’s Common Core stance and called the former Florida governor “weak on immigration.”

On Marco Rubio, Trump said the Florida senator lost him after his “water bottle” moment following the 2013 State of the Union address, calling him “highly overrated.”

“And by the way, I have much better hair than he does. And you know it’s my hair,” Trump added.

VATICAN SAYS BUSH SHOULD HEED POPE ON CLIMATE CHANGE via Bloomberg News

The Vatican reprimanded Republican presidential hopefuls — including Bush and Rick Santorum — for their reluctance to listen to Pope Francis on climate change.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, a papal adviser who helped write the encyclical issued Thursday urging drastic reductions in fossil fuel use, said politicians should think twice before telling religious leaders to keep out of the debate on the environment.

By joining the growing chorus of scientists speaking out about climate change, the Pope’s message puts conservative politicians in the difficult position of having to pick between their traditional support for religion and their own doubts about the causes of global warming.

“We talk about these subject matters not because we are experts on those matters, we talk about them because they concern the impact on our lives,” Turkson said at a news conference in the Vatican Thursday where he presented the encyclical. “The Republicans and presidential figures who say they will not listen to the pope, it is their freedom, freedom of choice that they can exercise.

“Their decision not to listen to the pope is based on the fact they think the pope is talking about something the Pope is not an expert in,” Turkson said.

The remarks add to strain between the church and conservatives in the U.S., who have sought to minimize the impact of the pope’s message. Republicans, who traditionally opposed measures to cap greenhouse gases, more recently have attempted to sidestep the debate on global warming, with many saying they lack the scientific background to comment.

BUSH NO LONGER SCHEDULED TO ADDRESS MEDIA AT HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY GOP LINCOLN DINNER TONIGHT via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

When it was announced back in April that Bush would be headlining the Hillsborough County Republican Party at its annual Lincoln Day Dinner tonight … local party chair Deborah Tamargo said that there would be time set aside for local reporters to get a chance to ask questions of the former Florida Governor before he addressed the estimated 500 local Republicans pegged to attend the fundraiser.

But that was before Bush became an “official” candidate for president earlier this week, says Tamargo, meaning that his campaign team is handling his appearance at the Pepin Hospitality Center, not the local Executive Committee. And that means as of now that availability with the press is now no longer in the cards.

In fact, members of the press will no longer even be in the same hall as the presidential candidate to hear him speak to local Republicans … reporters will be segregated from the general audience at the event, and be stationed at enclosed patio area in at the Pepin Hall, where they’ll be able to watch and hear the speech via a video transmission.

Although Bush has engaged in question and answer sessions with the public in many public events this year and said he hopes to hold as many such exchanges as possible with the public, there are no plans for him to do that … He is scheduled simply to be the keynote speaker at the event.

The Hillsborough County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m.

COMMON CORE OPPONENTS TO PROTEST via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times

Common Core opponents — as many as 200 — plan to protest outside … Terry Kemple, president of the Community Issues Council, a local conservative activism group, said at least nine or ten organizations are slated to attend the rally, with several others likely to join.

Although Bush’s support for the education program has given him problems with conservatives before, Kemple stressed his and other groups would probably be protesting Common Core near the HCRP dinner regardless of the event’s keynote speaker … he worries Common Core opens the door for a federal takeover of education. He also criticized the curriculum associated with Common Core as poorly-vetted, anti-God, anti-American exceptionalism and a promotion of the “homosexual agenda.”

MORE 2016 READS

LATINO LEADERS HELD A CONVENTION, BUT ONLY ONE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE CAME via Philip Rucker of the Washington Post

Out of the GOP’s 16 declared or likely presidential candidates, only one — retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — showed. The absence of the others — including former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who made outreach to Latino voters a central theme of his Miami campaign launch … illustrates the gulf between the GOP’s urgent need to present a more welcoming face to Hispanics and how far those running to be the party’s standard-bearer are willing to go to do so.

Many campaigns cited “scheduling conflicts” for skipping the 32nd annual convention of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). Instead, at least 13 GOP candidates plan to be in Washington this week to address the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to the Majority” conference, the latest in a busy series of cattle-call events for social conservatives.

The two programs underscore the dueling priorities for Republican presidential hopefuls: the hot competition to court white evangelicals in the primaries and the imperative for the eventual nominee to improve his or her image among minority voters, especially Hispanics, in next year’s general election. The party’s 2016 candidates have been particularly bedeviled by how to handle immigration reform, which is strongly opposed by parts of the Republican base but broadly favored by Hispanic voters.

Gay rights group ‘cautiously optimistic’ on Jeb Bush’s comments on transgender troops” via Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post

Rubio supporters cancel Sarasota fundraiser” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

ASSIGNMENT EDITORSBush will speak at the Faith and Freedom’s “Road to Majority” conference beginning 9 a.m. at the Omni Shoreham Hotel 2500 Calvert St. NW in Washington. Later, he will host a fundraiser at the Columbus Club in Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Avenue, NE. Guests include Republican fundraiser Jack Oliver, Republican National Committeeman Ron Kaufman, and lobbyist Dirk Van Dongen.

2018 WATCH — BOB BUCKHORN SCHEDULED FOR CAPITAL TIGER BAY IN TALLAHASSEE ON JUNE 26 via Richard Danielson of the Tampa Bay Times

Here’s another sign — not that anyone needed it — that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is open to raising his statewide profile: On June 26, he heads to Tallahassee for an appearance before the Capital Tiger Bay Club.

Buckhorn, a second-term mayor, is seen as a possible Democratic candidate for governor in 2018.

The CTB event is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on the morning of Friday, June 26 at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, about a quarter of a mile from the state Capitol building.

ALAN GRAYSON CALLS HOUSE TRADE DEAL VOTE “UNPARDONABLE OFFENSE” TO WORKERS  via Mitch Perry of FloridaPolitics.com

Six days after Democrats deserted President Barack Obama on the signature trade issue of his administration, the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday to grant presidential “fast track” authority to negotiate trade deals, including the Trans Pacific Partnership, a controversial 12-nation agreement with Pacific Rim nations.

The passage of the measure, by a 218-208 vote, is one of several that need to wind its way through Congress for Obama to get all that he needs regarding the TPP. In a statement, an angry U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson called the vote “an unpardonable offense against America’s workers, the American economy, workers in other nations, our environment, and American sovereignty.”

“We just ceded our ability to ensure that our trade deals actually benefit America,” the Orlando-area Democratic congressman said.

Grayson is with the majority of House Democrats to oppose all aspects of the trade deal. If Obama is to see the legislation get to his desk, he has to rely primarily on House Republicans, usually his ideological foes.

Grayson released his statement while political observers in the Sunshine State await his possible entrance into the Democratic race for U.S. Senate next year. He has told reporters that he will probably get into the contest, where Democrats Patrick Murphy and Pam Keith have already declared their candidacies.

“Despite the outcome, I want to thank the thousands of people who called our office, and other representatives, to urge us to vote against this bill,” Grayson said. “The fact that this vote was so close shows that their voices were heard. And I promise them, and America’s workers, that I will continue to fight against trade giveaways that do not improve our economy or improve the lives of our workers.”

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RICK SCOTT SHOWCASES FLORIDA’S RISING GDP via Kevin Derby of Sunshine State News

Gov. Scott said … Florida’s real gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014 stood at almost $770 billion, up 2.7 percent from the year before, higher than the national increase of 2.2 percent, making Florida the state with the fourth largest GDP in the nation.

“With our focus on creating a low-tax, business-friendly environment, it comes as no surprise that Florida’s real GDP is exceeding the national growth rate,” Scott said on Thursday. “Florida’s annual private-sector job growth rate has also exceeded that of the nation’s since April 2012. We will continue to cut taxes and make important investments that will make Florida the best state in the country to create jobs and raise a family.”

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov.  Scott will announce May’s jobs numbers at a 10:00 a.m. press conference at Photon-X in Kissimmee, 1925 E. Irlo Bronson Highway.

STATE SET TO APPROVE NEARLY $80 BILLION BUDGET via Gary Fineout of the Associated Press

Following a drawn out, contentious battle that saw the state flirt with a partial government shutdown, the Florida Legislature is poised on Friday to approve a nearly $80 billion budget.

The final budget is full of winners and losers.

Legislators bumped up money for schools and set aside more than $400 million for tax cuts. Republican leaders were able to secure millions for hometown projects, including money to create downtown campuses for universities in both Tampa and Orlando. They also agreed to boost funding for the state’s scandal-ridden prisons system and tripled money available for therapy, tutoring and other services provided to children with disabilities.

But the budget has no pay raises for state employees and critics contended that the GOP-controlled Legislature ignored the wishes of voters who last fall approved an amendment called for setting aside money for land conservation. Democrats pointed out the boost in school funding came largely because of an expected surge in home values that will trigger a rise in property taxes.

Some legislators also remained opposed to the spending plan because the House rejected a plan to extend health care coverage to as many as 500,000 Floridians.

The final vote is coming a few days before the end of the state’s fiscal year. State agencies had already warned that they would have shut down parts of state government if a budget was not in place by July 1.

HOUSE OPENS DEBATE ON BUDGET WITH SENATE TO FOLLOW via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

The Florida House opened floor debate on the state’s new $79 billion budget … while senators adjourned for the day and will debate today. This Tallahassee two-step format gives both chambers — and both parties — time to amplify familiar talking points on The Florida Channel without competing for air time.

… House Democrats immediately zeroed in on the fact that the budget eliminates funding for programs for adults with disabilities and that a large chunk of the school funding increase that’s being touted by Republicans is on the backs of Florida homeowners who must pay more in property taxes to support schools next year. Thanks to growth in real estate values, more than half of the increase in public school spending, $426 million, will come out of taxpayers’ pockets. That’s a 6 percent increase, in a year when total school spending will rise by 3 percent.

In a highly scripted process, the only mystery remaining is how many lawmakers will vote against it. If the Legislature immediately sends the budget to … Scott, he will have a maximum of 11 days to act on it.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Tom Lee … said he “absolutely” expects Scott to use his line-item veto power to eliminate parochial projects that were added to the budget after 11 p.m. Monday — literally at the eleventh hour — with virtually no public discussion.

— “Budget tidbits: From gangster-house renovation to golf course seawall” via the Orlando Sentinel

TWEET, TWEET: @GucciLoafing are you gonna stand for being replaced by @Ferragamo today on the floor of the House?

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy will join members of the Legislature, including State Senate Democratic Whip Joseph Abruzzo, Minority Leader Mark Pafford, and State Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, to blast the Florida Legislature for failing to pass Medicaid Expansion. Press availability will be at 10:15 a.m. Historic Capitol Building steps facing Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee.

SSN’S WINNERS AND LOSERS FROM 2015 SPECIAL SESSION via Allison Nielsen, Kevin Derby, and Nancy Smith of the Sunshine State News

Unlike the 2015 regular session which ended in collapse, the special session morphed into redemption for many lawmakers who returned to the scene of the crime … here is Sunshine State News’ list of 2015 special session winners and losers.

WINNERS: Gov. Rick Scott … It wasn’t all he wanted, but in the session’s last week, less than 24 hours after the Legislature sent the governor a $400 million package of tax cuts, he enthusiastically signed the bill into law. … Americans for Prosperity … Chris Hudson and his team didn’t let go after the regular session ended. … Rep. Richard Corcoran … Having led budget efforts on the House side, Corcoran showed every indication of being a strong speaker when he takes the gavel after the 2018 elections. … House Speaker Steve Crisafulli … The House speaker had a lot riding on stopping Medicaid expansion this year and he was able to keep his caucus in line while also insisting on a respectful, cordial conference demeanor among House members. … Florida Retail Federation … Rick McAllister and his team scored a big win for retailers as the Legislature agreed to the Senate’s plan for a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday starting Aug. 7.  Sen. Dorothy Hukill … Even though she did not get all she wanted in her efforts to cut the Communication Service Tax (CST), this veteran legislator did well in the special session to cut the tax on cellphones and TV services. Rep. Mia Jones … This Jacksonville Democrat brought out the Senate’s Medicaid expansion proposal in the House. … Sen. Don Gaetz … proved even though he may not be Senate president this year, he can still have a thumping impact on the legislative process. Rep. Matt Gaetz … Like father, like son when it comes to establishing himself as the commanding presence in his chamber.

LOSERS: Sen. Tom Lee … This former Senate president took the reins as budget chair this year and failed to create a budget during the regular session. Senate President Andy Gardiner … The Senate president was at the center of the Legislature’s debate over Medicaid expansion, an issue which became the clear defining point of this year’s session. Rep. Mark Pafford … Considering he’s his party’s leader in the House, this Democrat had a pretty unremarkable legislative session. The Everglades Trust/Foundation/Coalition … This Paul Tudor Jones-financed environmental group muscled up in an effort to convince legislators to spend $500 million of Amendment 1 proceeds on land south of Lake Okeechobee to store and flow water — preferably the U.S. Sugar land option. But when lawmakers showed no interest and South Florida Water Management District took the sugar option off the table, the group launched an attack-mailer campaign aimed at three environmentally active South Florida representatives “who didn’t do enough.” The result was a spectacular backfire. Florida’s Water and Land Legacy … By a 75 percent super majority, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 1, the Water and Land Conservation Amendment, to “fund the Land Acquisition Trust Fund.” But lawmakers provided less than $100 million for land and even before the session ended had made their first raid on the trust fund.

FILM, GAME BACKERS REGROUP AFTER LEGISLATORS DROP INCENTIVES via Marco Santana of the Orlando Sentinel

Florida filmmakers hope an effort to create an incentive program that offers tax breaks to production companies has not seen its final act. In a late-night session last weekend, state lawmakers resolved a budget impasse but did not include the entertainment tax-incentive program, which supporters say would attract more filmmakers to the state.

The bill was intended to provide millions of dollars in incentives for digital media, though it did not outline specifics before the effort died. That money also would have helped the state’s growing video-game industry. John Reseburg, vice president of corporate communications for Electronic Arts, said the company will work with the state Legislature on future programs.

Electronic Arts has supported the tax credit, on behalf of its Tiburon video-game studio in Maitland. … Proponents had reduced the request from $50 million over four years to $10 million for one year last weekend, in an effort to make it more agreeable. The proposal … a “we’re open for business” gesture, was dropped last week.

An annual report released by the Florida Office of Film and Entertainment in November 2014 said that the state’s film industry completed 342 projects from 2010 to 2014, paying Floridians $926 million in wages. A separate study by the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research placed the industry’s economic impact at $4.1 billion annually.

One obstacle facing supporters is the track record of a program approved in 2010, which quickly depleted $296 million by awarding the money on a first-come, first-served basis, rather than targeting potentially lucrative projects. For the last three years, advocates have been trying to get a new program in place.

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY GETS IT via Nancy Smith of the Sunshine State News

Most Florida environmental groups this special session made a lot of noise — you heard them — and spent a lot of money, but in the end, came away empty-handed and bitterly unhappy.

Not The Nature Conservancy … the largest private conservation landowner in the world, including more than 60,000 acres in preserves from the Keys to the Florida Panhandle, walked its own path during both legislative sessions, never putting the U.S. Sugar Corp. option on its wish list.

What it did is quietly win record funding for its own top priority — land management.

Florida has a total of 9 million acres of conservation land, a colossal number — more conservation land than the total land in four states. “We should be proud of that,” TNC Associate Director of Conservation Kristina Serbesoff-King told me. “We are quite fortunate in this state. But it also means we have a heavy responsibility.”

This is why I say The Nature Conservancy gets it … It’s always seemed to me land management is the cost of doing business. You can’t buy land if you’re not going to pay to take care of it. It’s like buying a business, putting all your money into the big-ticket item without leaving room to pay for rent, utilities, advertising, insurance — the recurring cost of doing business. If you don’t take it all into account, the business fails.

The Nature Conservancy is wise to this because that’s what they do. Conservation means what it says. Have a look at their website.

GAMBLER-TURNED-CONSERVATIONIST DEVOTES FORTUNE TO FLORIDA NATURE PRESERVE via Melissa Block of NPR

You might think you know what frogs sound like — until, that is, you hear the symphony of amphibians that fills the muggy night air at Nokuse Plantation, a nature preserve in the Florida Panhandle.

There, about 100 miles east of Pensacola, a man named M.C. Davis has done something extraordinary: He has bought up tens of thousands of acres in the Florida sandhills and turned them into a unique, private preserve.

In the largest block of privately owned conservation land in the southeastern U.S., Davis is restoring ecosystems that agriculture and timbering have destroyed.

Davis is thinking 300 years into the future with his wildlife restoration project, even though he knows he doesn’t have much time left. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in November.

Davis grew up poor in the Florida Panhandle, and he just wanted to get away. So he set out to make his fortune through gambling. Eventually, he started buying land and mineral rights, and he made hundreds of millions along the way.

Now, 70-year-old Davis proudly calls himself a tree hugger. He’s in love with this land. Davis has bought up 54,000 acres of land — mostly from timber companies — and he’s restoring it to a longleaf pine forest, which is a rich center of biodiversity.

About 40 million acres of longleaf pines once covered the South, but by the 1930s that original longleaf forest was all cut down — lost to timbering, and lost to memory. “I’d never even heard the word longleaf,” Davis says.

NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS

Rodolfo Garcia, Florida Governmental Affairs: Topp Solutions

Nicole Graganella, Colodny Fass: Osceola Legislative Effort

Yolanda Cash Jackson: Becker & Poliakoff: Haitian Neighborhood Center, Sant LA

Thomas Lewis: United Healthcare Services

APPOINTEDDina A. Keever and Scott Ira Suskauer to the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Court.

APPOINTEDNirlaine Tallandier Smartt to the St. Lucie County Court.

FPL CHIEF ERIC SILAGY JOINS U.S. CHAMBER BOARD OF DIRECTORS Full story here

Florida Power & Light CEO Eric Silagy was appointed to the board of directors of the influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Silagy, a former chair of the Florida Chamber, is now one of a group of 100 prominent business leaders tapped to promote pro-business legislation and issues nationwide. The U.S. Chamber represents more than 3 million businesses from across all industry sectors and regions of the country. Silagy has a two-year term.

Juno Beach-based FPL is nation’s third largest electric provider and state’s largest utility with more than 4.7 million customers. Silagy has been with FPL, and parent company NextEra Energy, for more than a decade, in a range of positions, including senior vice president of regulatory and state governmental affairs, chief development officer, and vice president of business development.

As Florida continues its economic rebound, Silagy said he looks look forward to sharing with colleagues what has worked in “ensuring a robust business climate here in the Sunshine State.”

MORE GOOD NEWS FOR FPL, GETS APPROVAL FOR NATURAL GAS PLAN via the Associated Press

State regulators have given Florida Power & Light permission to invest up to $500 million a year in natural gas drilling projects and to pass those costs onto customers.

The Florida Public Service Commission unanimously approved guidelines Thursday to allow FPL to invest further in natural gas drilling projects. This allows the company to charge its more than 4.7 million customers for the investment over a 30-year period.

The company had been asking for a $750 million cap. The commission approved a $191 million investment in Oklahoma last year.

FPL has said the investment would help it stabilize fuel prices and save its customers money in the long haul.

BARBARA SHARIEF BEGINS TERM AS FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES PRESIDENT via Phil Ammann of FloridaPolitics.com

Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief has begun her term as the first African-American female President of the Florida Association of Counties. Sharief was sworn in at a … luncheon ceremony during the 2015 FAC Annual Conference and Educational Exposition in St. Johns County.

Sharief is the first black female president to serve in the nonprofit Association’s 85-year history.

“Counties are the backbone of this great state,” Sharief said in a statement. “Every county, whether they are large or small, must meet the needs of their citizens and it is our diversity that makes our collaboration strong.”

In her role as President, Sharief will be in charge of Association policy, which represents the interests of Florida’s 67 counties. The FAC goal is to strengthen and preserve county home rule through advocacy, education and collaboration.

ON THIS WEEK’S EDITION OF THE ROTUNDA

Trimmel Gomes’ newest episode of The Rotunda delves into Bush’s official entry into the 2016 presidential race. Gomes explores how both Bush and Marco Rubio are being forced to address immigration on their campaign stops. Gary Fineout with Associated Press discusses some of the last-minute maneuvers leading to approval of Florida’s nearly $80 billion dollar budget while Will Abberger with the Trust for Public Land who helped get Amendment One on the ballot, tells Gomes the legislature violated the will of the voters by misusing its funds.

Also, are Millenials disengaged and disillusioned with politics? Democrat Edward James III is proving otherwise as he begins his campaign for a 2016 run in Florida’s House District 72 currently held by Rep. Ray Pilon.

The Rotunda podcast is available every Friday via iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud. Subscribers receive free automatic downloads of episodes to their devices. Keep up with the program on twitter @RotundaPodcast.

WEEKEND TV

Black Almanac with Dr. Ed James on WWSB, ABC 7 in Sarasota: Dr. James in discussion with local members of the clergy on the recent shooting in Charleston.

Facing Florida with Mike Vasilinda: Rep. Irv Slosberg on the public health threat posed by drunk driving.

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Former CFO Alex Sink, columnist and former state Sen. Paula Dockery, ABC anchor Brendan McLaughlin, and Punditfact editor Aaron Sharockman.

On Point with Shannon Ogden on WFCN in Jacksonville: Reporter Garin Flowers, UNF professor Michael Binder on Jeb Bush’s announcement, and local bookstore owner Rona Brinley.

Political Connections on Tampa Bay’s BayNews 9: Reporter Troy Kinsey hosts a Special Session update.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando: Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge LaBarga will discuss the role and duties of the state’s high court, plus PolitiFact will put an Emily’s List claim about Jeb Bush’s governorship under the microscope.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: Jacksonville University professor Stephen Baker, Marcella Washington, Clay County and Florida Clerk of the Year Tara Green, plus an interview with former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.

WHAT DADS REALLY WANT FOR FATHER’S DAY IS YOUR TIME via Florence Snyder of Florida Politics

Hey kids! Just two more shopping days until Father’s Day. Step away from the tie counter, please, because your father does not want another tie, unless it’s the one Jim Morrison wore at his high school graduation.

Here are some other things your father does not want: belts, bathrobes, T-shirts, cuff links, coffee mugs, and electronic devices that were on the shelves before Mother’s Day and cost less than $500.

If you’re old enough to be reading this, you’re old enough to get it through your head that what you father wants from you is time. Give him as much of that as you can spare, because God counts the years, and you never know when his number — or yours — will be up.

Here’s some stuff your father wants you to ask about: What’s the first thing you remember? When did you decide to become a butcher (or baker or candlestick maker)? What’s your favorite movie? What are you most proud of?

For best results, have these conversations in person, and remember to shut off your father’s device, as well as your own.

And kids, while you’re home, don’t forget to clean up your room. Your father is very tired of hearing your mother wringing her hands about whether it would be ok to give away your stuffed animals.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.