Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
Today’s SachsFact is brought to you by the public affairs, integrated marketing and reputation management experts at Sachs Media Group: First-time visitors are often amazed by the sugar-white sand of Florida’s Panhandle beaches. The sand along the state’s “Forgotten Coast” and “Emerald Coast” is some of the whitest in the world. But it didn’t begin there – its origin is hundreds of miles away, in the Appalachian Mountains. Eons ago the finely ground quartz crystals flowed down the Apalachicola River before being deposited into the Gulf of Mexico and settling on the Panhandle beaches. Thanks to its alluring sand and emerald-green waters, this coast is forgotten no longer.
DAYS UNTIL Jacksonville’s Mayoral Election: 8; Debut of Mad Max: Fury Road: 3; Special Session 20; Sine Die: 40; Major League Baseball All-Star game: 63; Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuts: 221; First Day of 2016 Legislative Schedule: 246; Iowa Caucuses: 266: Florida’s Presidential Primary: 308; Florida’s 2016 Primary Election: 477; Florida’s 2016 General Election: 548.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to … I know it’s one of my best friend’s birthday, but I can’t remember who … I know Ashley Ligas, Alison Berke Morano and former Senator Robert McKnight are celebrating today … Belated wishes to Ambassador Mel Sembler. I know Ryan Wiggins’ bday was also on Sunday … oh wait, it’s this guy. Happy birthday, Alan.
FACEBOOK STATUS OF THE DAY via Skylar Zander, now engaged to Lindsey Perkins: “So happy to be marrying my best friend and the love of my life! She just said yes!!!!”
TWEET OF THE DAY: @MattGaetz He might not be alone 🙂 “@[email protected] eyes Congress if @ runs for U.S. Senate”:
COLUMN YOU WON’T READ IN SUNBURN: “Crisafulli’s not to blame – you are” via Daniel Ruth of the Tampa Bay Times; Who writes this kind of crap: “Doing his job just got too darn hard for Crisafulli, R-The Red Badge of Porridge, and his aide-de-chump of whining, Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Milksop, to honor the oath of office they took after they were elected.”
NEW POLL SHOWS TREND IN NH — MARCO RUBIO RISING, JEB BUSH FALLING BACK via Mitch Perry of FloridaPolitics.com
For the second time in the past week, a New Hampshire presidential poll shows Marco Rubio ascending in support there, and Jeb Bush dropping back.
The new Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm New Hampshire Poll released on Sunday shows four Republicans in a virtual tie at the front – Rand Paul and Scott Walker get 12 percent support, with Bush and Rubio right behind at 11 percent.
But as was the case in a WMUR poll conducted and published a few days ago, it’s Rubio who appears to be gaining momentum in the Granite State, which will host the first presidential primary election sometime early next year. The Florida Senator more than doubled his level of primary support since the last time Bloomberg polled back in February. Rubio announced his candidacy for president on April 13.
Jeb Bush, on the other hand, dropped five percentage points since February, his lowest level of support since the poll started tracking the state’s voters in November. The pollsters say that Bush’s support among independents in New Hampshire is weak, as he is gathering only 6 percent support from indies.
Rubio, Bush and Rand Paul are also faring better against potential Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in one-on-one matches now than in February.
BILLIONAIRE NORMAN BRAMA LIFTS RUBIO, POLITICALLY AND PERSONALLY via Michael Barbaro and Steve Eder of the New York Times
[A] billionaire auto dealer named Norman Braman … has bankrolled Rubio’s campaigns. He has financed Rubio’s legislative agenda. [H]e has subsidized Rubio’s personal finances … Braman is poised to … become Rubio’s single biggest campaign donor … Braman, 82, … hired Rubio, then a Senate candidate, as a lawyer; employed his wife to advise the Braman family’s philanthropic foundation; helped cover the cost of Rubio’s salary as an instructor at a Miami college; and gave Rubio access to his private plane. …
[In the Florida House,] Rubio quickly emerged as a dogged champion of Braman’s most cherished cause: state funding for a Miami cancer institute that bears the Braman family name. Florida’s governor, Jeb Bush, had vetoed the funding in 2004, incurring Braman’s public fury. ‘Frankly, as a very active Republican, I’m ashamed of him,’ Braman said then of Bush. … The next year, [Rubio] secured the cancer funding over Bush’s objections.”
FOR RUBIO, A QUESTION OF FRIENDSHIP VS. POLITICS via Ben Terris of the Washington Post
As an underdog candidate for the U.S. Senate going nowhere in the polls, Rubio thought about dropping out. Then his close friend David Rivera showed up at his house, armed with giant sticky notes to paste reasons not to quit all over Rubio’s living room
[A]s Rubio pursues another audacious, uphill campaign, this time for the Republican presidential nomination, the man he has called his “most loyal friend and supporter” could be a big political problem … Rivera — a fellow South Florida pol who won a U.S. House seat in 2010, the year of Rubio’s come-from-behind Senate victory — has left politics under an ethics cloud.
Rivera, who failed to win reelection, has been a target of state and federal investigations looking into his alleged failure to disclose income as well as his alleged role in support of a 2012 shadow campaign designed to undercut his chief Democratic rival for Congress.
Rivera has never been charged with a crime and has said he did nothing wrong. But the revelations have been embarrassing. A former girlfriend, for instance, told prosecutors that Rivera recruited her to help with the shadow campaign and then helped her flee to Nicaragua — allegations denied by Rivera.
Last month, a Florida ethics commission slapped Rivera with a $58,000 fine for routinely billing the state for travel and other expenses while paying himself back out of campaign accounts when he was a state legislator.
Rubio, meanwhile, has begun to gain traction as a White House contender. Since announcing his candidacy last month, he has been a consistent presence in polls near the top of the GOP pack.
So far, Rubio has largely stood by Rivera. But, as the campaign grows heated and rivals begin to take aim at his potential weaknesses, Rubio may face a quandary: whether to minimize his ties with a potential liability or remain true to his best friend in politics.
HOW RUBIO’S AGGRESSIVE SOUTH CAROLINA STRATEGY THREATENS BUSH via Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post
The critical early-voting state of South Carolina is emerging as a crucial front in the rivalry between Rubio and Bush. Expectations for Rubio are soaring, Republicans say, putting pressure on Bush in a state his brother and father won — a state which has earned a reputation as a firewall protecting front-runners from insurgent underdogs.
Rubio, an underdog for the nomination who faces opponents with longer political resumes and deeper roots in the GOP, is in some ways an unlikely bet for South Carolina. As of now, he is averaging under 5 percent support there in recent polling.
But for years, he has been laying a foundation, often informally, in the vital early nominating state where he will officially campaign for president for the first time.
Rubio’s team is being led by a small army of seasoned South Carolina operatives. Bush is relying in South Carolina on two strategists who have spent most of their professional careers outside the state.
… Beyond staffing, Rubio’s political platform presents Bush with a challenge. His attempt to appeal to both ends of the GOP spectrum — he was elected to the Senate as a conservative rebel but has since also endeared himself to the establishment wing — and his aggressive national security posture is ideal for South Carolina, Republicans say.
JEB COURTS EVANGELICALS IN LIBERTY UNIVERSITY ADDRESS via Katie Glueck of POLITICO
Bush … made a major overture to evangelical voters, seeking to reassure a skeptical voting bloc that when it comes to core beliefs about religious freedom and Christianity’s role in the world, he’s with them. [Bush] … made his pitch at a commencement address at Liberty University … a routine campaign stop for presidential hopefuls. Bush aimed to connect with evangelical voters — many of whom have been wary of his potential candidacy — by decrying progressives who, in his characterization, see no role for religion in public life.
“I am asked sometimes whether I would ever allow my decisions in government to be influenced by my Christian faith,” Bush said, building on a spirited defense of the First Amendment and the importance of free exercise of religion. “Whenever I hear this, I know what they want me to say. The simple and safe reply is, ‘No. Never. Of course not.’ If the game is political correctness, that’s the answer that moves you to the next round. The endpoint is a certain kind of politician we’ve all heard before – the guy whose moral convictions are so private, so deeply personal, that he even refuses to impose them on himself.”
Last week he appeared at a conference hosted by Hispanic evangelicals in Texas, where he discussed his personal faith, and his Liberty speech was seen by his team as building on that address. He used the platform to castigate the Obama administration for creating a political climate intolerant of religious people, a view embraced by many observant Christians who feel that religious freedom is under assault in a time of contraception mandates and rising support for gay marriage.
But many conservatives — including evangelicals in Iowa — believe Bush is far too moderate. He has taken more middle-of-the-road approaches than the conservative grassroots orthodoxy supports on immigration, educational standards and same-sex marriage, in tone and on policy (though some evangelicals are more supportive of immigration reform than are other conservative activists).
[H]e avoided delving deeply into policy discussions and didn’t mention traditional marriage, something he’s said he supports, but is deferring to the Supreme Court as it weighs a same-sex marriage question. Instead, he kept the focus on religion and accusing liberals of setting up an “us-versus-them” dynamic, between people who are “enlightened” and those who don’t want to “genuflect to secular dogmas.”
HOW IT PLAYED: JEB’S LIBERTY UNIVERSITY SPEECH
Associated Press, Jeb Bush: Stronger ‘Christian voice’ needed in world – “’the Christian voice’ isn’t heard enough in the world … lashed out at the Democratic president’s administration for ‘demanding obedience in complete disregard of religious conscience.’” Washington Post, Jeb Bush hopes to sway evangelicals with Saturday speech at Liberty University – “… called on fellow Christians to stand up for their values and against what he described as a federal government meddling in matters of faith, making a direct appeal to religious conservatives …” Wall Street Journal, Jeb Bush Lauds ‘Christian Conscience’ in Speech – “… animated but lacked the fiery rhetoric favored by some potential rivals for the GOP nomination. He didn’t mention gay marriage and alluded only briefly to abortion … ” Tampa Bay Times, Jeb Bush defends Christian views in speech to Liberty University graduates – “ defended Christian beliefs in public life and criticized the Obama administration as ‘small-minded intolerant’ …” POLITICO, Jeb courts evangelicals in Liberty U. address – “… many conservatives — including evangelicals in Iowa — believe Bush is far too moderate. His allies believe that if and when conservative activists take a closer look at Bush’s record and message, they will find his anti-abortion, pro-school choice views acceptable, and his deeply held faith relatable.”
WHY BUSH CAN’T SPEND HIS WAY TO THE WIN via Alex Roarty of the National Journal
The GOP could have a dozen deep-pocketed presidential contenders, and they’ll all learn next year that when it comes to actual votes, that extra money doesn’t buy what it used to.
Already, super PACs are arming second- and third-tier candidates with tens of millions of dollars while the supposed GOP front-runner, Jeb Bush, promises a record-setting haul. This combined fundraising guarantees that by the time Republicans have picked their nominee in summer 2016, the candidates will have spent more to reach voters than ever before.
But to what end? At some point – after the candidates make an initial investment of tens of millions of dollars for voter outreach in paid media and the ground game – the money available to spend simply can’t buy the advantage it once did. And that’s because the primary contest will still depend mightily on the outcomes of each of the first four contests, all of which provide invaluable momentum and none of which are held in large or expensive states where candidates have to invest heavily to have an impact.
We’re talking about races in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, where candidates are competing for mere thousands of voters who will be inexpensively inundated with TV ads, political mailers, and front-door conversations with paid staffers. In these decisive contests, the difference between spending $10 million and $15 million yields a minuscule advantage, if any at all.
Certainly, money will still be essential in 2016, and it remains an advantage to have more of it than anyone else. In an extended primary, when the race moves on to larger states for votes held on the same day, an outsized bank account could yet play an important role.
But diminishing returns on cash investments undoubtedly shift the burden of securing the win back on to the candidate and his or her skills: These contenders will need to demonstrate an ability to click, in real time, with voters and offer a compelling message rather than simply relying on slick strategy to sell them digitally. In effect, the Republican presidential primary could become like the general election for the presidency, where the massive amounts of money spent by each party cancels itself out and rarely leads to substantial returns with voters.
That’s bad news for the candidates who are struggling to connect—namely Jeb Bush, whose current front-runner status hinges mostly on the expectation that he will outraise, not outperform, his rivals.
MARTIN O’MALLEY MAKES MIAMI PIT STOP FOR PRIVATE FUNDRAISER via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald
Martin O’Malley, a relative unknown in the 2016 Democratic presidential race, will likely remain that way for a while — by his own choosing.
O’Malley, the former Maryland governor who wants to mount an underdog challenge to juggernaut candidate Hillary Clinton, spent a morning in blue, voter-rich Miami — not with average voters, but at a private fundraiser.
He met behind closed doors at Perricone’s Marketplace & Café in Brickell with a robust crowd of suits assembled by former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, a 2008 Clinton supporter who now backs O’Malley, his friend from when O’Malley was Baltimore mayor.
O’Malley posed for photographs and made his pitch about bringing executive experience and urban agenda to the White House if he runs, according to several people in attendance. A Miami Herald reporter who showed up and was initially let into the fundraiser was kicked out before O’Malley’s remarks. His campaign said he would not hold any public events or media interviews while in South Florida, though he has been accessible to reporters so far during his unofficial campaign.
Attendees described O’Malley as forceful, optimistic and eager to “stay in touch” with them. He asked people to raise their hands if they were better off than their parents. Most did. When he asked again if their children would be better off than them, most didn’t.
RON DESANTIS VS. PATRICK MURPHY AND THE YOUNGEST U.S. SENATE MATCHUPS IN HISTORY via Eric Ostermeier of Smart Politics
With 30-something Congressmen Ron DeSantis and Patrick Murphy seeking Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat, Smart Politics situates the potential matchup among the youngest pairs of candidates to run for the nation’s upper legislative chamber in history:
- Out of the approximately 1,700 general and special U.S. Senate contests held during the direct election era, Smart Politics identified just two matchups in which major party nominees were collectively younger than Pat Murphy and Ron DeSantis: Massachusetts’ Ted Kennedy vs. George Cabot Lodge in 1962 and New Jersey’s Bill Bradley vs. Jeff Bell in 1978.
- On Election Day next year, Murphy (33 years, 7 months, 10 days) and DeSantis (38 years, 1 month, 26 days) will be a combined 71 years, 9 months, and 6 days of age – more than five years shy of the all-time record set by Democrat Ted Kennedy and Republican George Cabot Lodge in Massachusetts’ 1962 special election. Kennedy (30 years, 8 months, 16 days) and Lodge (35 years, 4 months) were a combined 66 years and 16 days old at the time of the election.
- The second youngest pair of nominees faced each other in New Jersey’s 1978 election in a race between Democrat Bill Bradley (35 years, 3 months, 11 days old) and Republican Jeff Bell (34 years, 10 months, 26 days) who were a combined 70 years, 2 months, and 7 days old.
— “Can links to Pinellas bolster North Florida candidates’ efforts in Senate race?” via the Tampa Bay Times.
— “Patrick Murphy’s Senate campaign rakes in Wall Street cash” via Political Fix Florida.
GREG EVERS EYING JEFF MILLER’S SEAT IN U.S. HOUSE via Tom McLaughlin of NWFDailyNews.com
Political history is almost certain to repeat itself if U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller decides to jump into the race for Marco Rubio’s Senate seat.
Greg Evers said he’s strongly considering running to replace Miller in the U.S. House, just as he ran to replace him in 2001 when Miller left the state House for Washington.
“I would like to follow in his footsteps,” said Evers, presently a state senator with three years left in his second term.
Miller, a Republican congressman since 2001 and the current chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, is eying the Senate seat Rubio is leaving to seek the presidency.
Evers … said he will support Miller in whatever he decides to do, but believes if Miller does run that he is the man to continue his legacy of strong conservative leadership.
DEMOCRATS MAY PROFIT FROM GOP FEUD IN ’16 via Matt Dixon of Tribune/Naples Daily News Capital Bureau
When the Republican-dominated House unexpectedly left Tallahassee three days before the end of the legislative session, it gave political ammunition to a group low on bullets in recent years: House Democrats.
But as House Democrats try to capitalize on dysfunction in the 120-member chamber and a presidential election that will draw a lot of Democratic voters to the polls, they will run up against GOP-drawn maps that leave maybe one-third of the seats winnable for their party.
House Democrats lost six seats during the 2014 election cycle, cutting their number to 39. That year, Republicans outspent Democrats on House races by a 3-1 ratio, which allowed them to run TV ads in low-level House races that usually don’t see that kind of attention.
House Democrats’ are so far in the minority that they can’t use procedural challenges to slow Republican bills they oppose. In short, they are not even a policy speed bump.
Now, though, they are hoping to capture some momentum after House Speaker Steve Crisafull sent his members home on April 28 after a dispute with the Senate over Medicaid expansion that halted budget talks.
“Middle-class families and veterans don’t get to quit work when times get tough,” was part of a robo call that immediately went to the districts of 11 House Republicans after the shutdown.
The calls, and a later round of political mailers, were the work of the Florida Democratic Party and targeted districts in Orlando, Tampa and Miami that are seen as vulnerable in 2016. Those areas are not dominated by either party and can be fertile territory in a presidential election cycle when Democrats vote in much larger numbers than in off-year elections.
DEMOCRAT MIKE REEDY EYES GETTING HD 63 BACK INTO THE D COLUMN via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics
Ever since Ed Homan was termed out of his House District 60 seat in North Tampa in 2010, it’s bounced back and forth in terms of political affiliation over the three subsequent elections. With Hillary Clinton the presumptive nominee next year, Democrats throughout the state and certainly in Hillsborough have been showing uncommon enthusiasm about running next year, and that’s why Mike Reedy is optimistic this early out.
Reedy, a state organizer for the LGBT group Equality Florida, announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the seat back in January, and he’s beginning the work now to unseat Harrison.
“Shawn Harrison and his gang in the Republican leadership have let us, the taxpayers, down once again,” he said in a statement issued last week. “I, along with my fellow citizens of District 63, call for you, Representative Harrison, to return your paycheck. You work for us, not the Republican leadership.
“When you ran, you committed to do a job for the people who elected you,” Reedy added. “When the going got tough, you quit. In the private sector, if you decide to stop doing your job, you get fired. We can’t fire you until November 2016, but we can demand you repay us for deciding to not do your job.”
NO PAFFORD DYNASTY: HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER’S WIFE DROPS HER 2016 BID via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post
Tracy Pafford, wife of term-limited state House Minority Leader Mark Pafford, is ending her 2016 campaign for his mid-Palm Beach County seat.
Tracy Pafford opened a Democratic campaign for her husband’s District 86 seat in January and got endorsements from Palm Beach County Commissioner Paulette Burdick, Tax Collector Anne Gannon, Clerk ‘n’ Comptroller Sharon Bock and others.
In an interview … and in posts on her campaign website and Facebook page, she said she was ending her campaign due to “unforeseen circumstances.”
Democrats have a 43-to-28 percent registration advantage over Republicans in District 86. Wellington Councilman Matt Willhite and Royal Palm Beach businesswoman Tinu Pena have opened Democratic campaigns for the seat. Republican Stuart Mears, who got 40.2 percent against Mark Pafford in 2014, has also opened a 2016 campaign.
JESSE MANZANO-PLAZA TAKES PAID ROLE IN GIMENEZ REELECTION EFFORT via Doug Hanks of the Miami Herald
Jesse Manzano-Plaza, who ran Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s 2012 reelection campaign, has signed on as spokesman and senior consultant for the candidate’s political committee.
Miami-Dade Residents First, the political committee indirectly dedicated to Gimenez’s 2016 reelection effort, will pay the longtime political consultant $7,000 a month, Manzano-Plaza said. Miami-Dade Residents First already has a professional fund-raiser under contract, Brian Goldmeier, whose Miami firm is earning about $12,000 a month, according to prior financial reports.
Manzano-Plaza, 37, is a registered lobbyist for Genting, the Malaysian casino giant that wants to build a large resort in downtown Miami. The company also runs a ferry out of the county’s PortMiami.
He also works for a firm, LSN Communications, wit corporate ties to the partners behind Llorente Heckler, a top lobbying firm in Miami. Llorente Heckler partners represent some large players when it comes to development and contracts in the county, including American Airlines, Duty Free Americas and Turnberry. LSN Communications and Llorente Heckler share office space in Miami Beach.
Manzano-Plaza noted LSN Communications is a separate corporate entity, and that his representation of Genting is also through a different corporation. He added that his contract with Miami-Dade Residents First is separate from his work for LSN.
Also, Manzano-Plaza said that should his role shift to an actual campaign post — rather than on contract with a political committee — he would take another look at his business ties in terms of Miami-Dade connections.
Gimenez has yet to officially file reelection papers, but he has said publicly he is running for reelection. So far, he faces one official candidate: school board member Raquel Regalado. County Commissioner Xavier Suarez, who holds Gimenez’s former commission seat, said he is considering a run for mayor in 2016 as well.
HAPPENING TOMORROW NIGHT: Lenny Curry’s final fundraising push will be Tuesday at San Jose Country Club located at 7529 San Jose Blvd. The event begins 8:00 a.m. Organizers are asking each host to raise or give $1,000; the suggested contribution is $500 per person $1,000 per couple. RSVP with Melissa Langley at [email protected] or (904) 358-2757.
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ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott visits Fort Myers for a 9:30 a.m. press conference to highlight job growth at NeoGenomics Laboratories, 12701 Commonwealth Dr.
LAWMAKERS RETURNING JUNE 1 TO BANG OUT A BUDGET via James Rosica of the Tampa Tribune
With the House and Senate returning to the Capitol in June to bang out a state budget, it’s going to feel like “a long, hot summer,” as Keith Urban sang. But it’s unlikely either side is thinking “we should be together.”
Lawmakers are getting back together in a 20-day special session starting June 1. That’s because they didn’t finish the state’s annual spending plan by the end of the regular legislative session on May 1.
Actually, they never really got started. Each side came up with its own budget and that’s where the trouble began. The Republican-controlled Senate dug in on a new funding plan to reimburse hospitals for charity care and taking federal money to expand Medicaid. The GOP-controlled House is adamantly opposed to those ideas, leaving the two chambers more than $4 billion apart.
Time is of the essence: A budget must be in place by July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.
Aside from one side caving and calling it compromise, political watchers can’t predict the path to a budget in less than three weeks and in the midst of an intraparty dust-up.
IS THERE A WAY TO BRIDGE THE LEGISLATURE’S HEALTH CARE DIVIDE? SOME NEW THOUGHTS via Mary Ellen Klas of the Times/Herald bureau
Florida legislators may have ended their stalemate last week when they agreed to convene a three-week special session to resolve the budget crisis in June, but they didn’t agree on the hard part: how to resolve stark differences over health care.
Some compromise ideas are emerging — from using $600 million intended for tax cuts to bail out hospitals that treat poor patients, to seeking a one-of-a-kind federal waiver, to drawing federal money without passing it through Medicaid.
But finding the middle ground won’t be easy because of the deep ideological divide between House and Senate Republicans over whether or not to expand Medicaid to draw down federal money to provide healthcare for more than 800,000 uninsured residents who must otherwise rely on charity care.
Among the ideas emerging to bridge the divide: bypass Medicaid, bypass hospitals, seek a new federal waiver or just plug the hole and buy time.
MESSAGING FIGHT: RICHARD CORCORAN USES POLITICAL COMMITTEE TO FUND ANTI-MEDICAID EXPANSION WEBSITE via Matt Dixon of Tribune/Naples Daily News Capital Bureau
House Budget Chief Richard Corcoran is using his political committee to fund a new website featuring anti-Medicaid expansion opinion pieces and statistics backing the House’s opposition to expansion.
The site does not mention the House, Senate or individual members, but is the latest in a messaging fight between the two chambers over Medicaid expansion. That disagreement, in part, has forced a June special session.
The site’s most prominent picture is of two children with the words “isn’t their future more important than a lobbyist’s paycheck?” Corcoran has been vocally critical of health care lobbyist all session.
The site is funded by Florida Roundtable, a Corcoran-controlled political committee. He could not raise money for it during session, so the most recent contributions are from early March. On March 2, the committee raised $183,000, including $25,000 from the Harris Corporation and $50,000 from Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell, a Pensacola law firm.
ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Congresswoman Lois Frankel will call on Gov. Scott and the Legislature to close the coverage gap on Medicaid at a press conference beginning 10 a.m. at the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, 423 Fern Street #200 in West Palm Beach. Joining Frankel will be Florida House Minority Leader Mark Pafford, State Sen. Maria Sachs, and representatives from the Legal Aid Society and the Health Care District of Palm Beach County.
FLORIDA KNEW YEARS AGO LIP FUNDING WAS IN JEOPARDY via Tia Mitchell of the Florida Times-Union
The federal government has made clear that it will decrease or eliminate the money it gives Florida to treat the uninsured through the Low Income Pool — which goes to hospitals that typically treat large numbers of the poor — because many of those people would have coverage if the state expanded Medicaid.
Gov. Rick Scott not only criticizes that stance, he describes it as last-minute and last-ditch effort in Washington to force Florida to embrace Obamacare. LIP was the brainchild of former Gov. Jeb Bush, and the $2.2 billion program requires periodic federal approval to continue.
Scott now accuses the feds of turning their back on Florida.
In reality, Florida has known for years that President Barack Obama’s health-care reforms would likely have impact on its existing health care system and Low Income Pool specifically.
In November 2012, the Jacksonville-based Jessie Ball DuPont Fund issued a report called “Florida’s Medicaid Choice: Understanding Implications of Supreme Court Ruling on Affordable Health Care Act.” It mentions the uncertain future of LIP beyond the June 2014 expiration date that was in place at the time and during a period when the Legislature was first beginning to debate whether or not to expand Medicaid.
Even the state’s own economists and budget wonks have been aware of the issue for years. Florida’s long-range financial outlook was updated in a fall 2012 report released jointly by the House and Senate budget committees and the Legislative Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
The report mentioned that “LIP funding may change significantly” after the anticipated — it was later extended to June of this year — LIP expiration date.
The information was out there if Gov. Scott was looking.
MEANWHILE … SEA RISE THREATENS FLORIDA COAST, BUT NO STATEWIDE PLAN via Jason Dearen and Jennifer Kay of the Associated Press
America’s oldest city is slowly drowning.
St. Augustine’s centuries-old Spanish fortress and other national landmarks sit feet from the encroaching Atlantic, whose waters already flood the city’s narrow, brick-paved streets about 10 times a year — a problem worsening as sea levels rise. The city has long relied on tourism, but visitors to the fortress and Ponce de Leon’s mythical Fountain of Youth might someday have to wear waders at high tide.
St. Augustine is one of many chronically flooded communities along Florida’s 1,200-mile coastline, and officials in these diverse places share a common concern: They’re afraid their buildings and economies will be further inundated by rising seas in just a couple of decades. The effects are a daily reality in much of Florida. Drinking water wells are fouled by seawater. Higher tides and storm surges make for more frequent road flooding from Jacksonville to Key West, and they’re overburdening aging flood-control systems.
But the state has yet to offer a clear plan or coordination to address what local officials across Florida’s coast see as a slow-moving emergency. Republican Gov. Scott is skeptical of man-made climate change and has put aside the task of preparing for sea level rise, an Associated Press review of thousands of emails and documents pertaining to the state’s preparations for rising seas found.
Despite warnings from water experts and climate scientists about risks to cities and drinking water, skepticism over sea level projections and climate change science has hampered planning efforts at all levels of government, the records showed. Florida’s environmental agencies under Scott have been downsized and retooled, making them less effective at coordinating sea level rise planning in the state, the documents showed.
The issue presents a public works challenge that could cost billions here and nationwide. In the third-most populous U.S. state, where most residents live near a coast, municipalities say they need statewide coordination and aid to prepare for the costly road ahead.
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APPOINTED: Eric Chase Roberson to the Duval County Court.
APPOINTED: John Burns to the Early Learning Coalition of Florida’s Gateway.
NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS
Brian Ballard, Greg Turbeville, Ballard Partners: MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry)
Lawrence Gonzalez: Electrolysis Association of Florida, Inc.
Kenneth Granger, Capital City Consulting: SPDS, Inc.
CONTEXT FLORIDA: SCOTT’S COMMISSIONS, COMMENCEMENTS, CHEATERS AND SECRECY
On Context Florida: Daniel Tilson wants in on Rick Scott’s new healthcare commission. Poetic justice aside, Tilson believes he is uniquely qualified to help the cause. The cause he’d push to get lots more reasonably intelligent and relevantly experienced everyday people sitting on commissions like this one. Because the more we get folks from all walks of Florida life involved in public policy development, the less that hidden agendas in high-priced suits can control the process. It’s commencement season, but Ed Moore asks what actually are we ‘commencing.’ Catherine Durkin Robinsontalks about Mike Rossi, the Boston Marathon, cheaters and ‘attention whoring.’ Those who lose the stomach for public scrutiny will one day put those skills or talents away, for whatever they’re worth, and choose an anonymous life instead. Their social media accounts will be shut down, permanently. Enough secrecy, declares Bruce Ritchie. A group calling itself ACF Stakeholders was formed in 2010 with great promise in trying to create consensus among the various user groups along the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint (ACF) rivers. But when the group meets in Florida next week, Ritchie says they should vote to disband.