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Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – September 4

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

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

LABOR DAY WEEKEND, BROUGHT TO YOU BY THESE FLORIDA LOBBYISTS AND POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS

Amid the parades and barbecues the meaning of Labor Day often gets lost on contemporary Americans, particularly in Florida, where unions scarcely carry political or cultural clout outside of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

But as we celebrate the holiday, let’s take a moment to honor those who persevered through both dangerous working conditions and violent hostility from robber barons and Pinkerton agents in order to bring us the abolition of child labor, the minimum wage, and the 40-hour work week – though in the political industry, the latter is a luxury few enjoy.

Besides feeling grateful for them and folks putting away their white jeans for a while, here are a few things to consider over the long weekend.

The Broward Police Benevolent Association made news earlier this week when it called for a national boycott of Arby’s after an employee in Pembroke Pines refused to serve a uniformed officer. So much for solidarity?

In Tallahassee, however, law enforcement enjoys solid representation in the Capitol. Between in-house consultants and contract lobbyists the statewide PBA alone employs almost ten influence professionals on their behalf.

The lobbying corps heavyweights at Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney look after the interests of the Florida Police Chiefs Association while Lisa Henning of Timmins Consulting has the legislative backs of Florida State Fraternal Order of Police – who in turn, have our backs.

And though they’re under fire seemingly every year in Tallahassee, there’s always Florida’s teacher’s unions. Case in point, the Florida Education Association (FEA) is the largest union in Florida, with more than 125,000 members and with a lobbyist list 13 members long. Among these teacher’s union lobbyists are FEA President Andy FordAlbert BalidoTina DunbarRonald Meyer, and Jeff Wright.

Miami-Dade County teachers also have six lobbyists, including Karyn CunninghamFedrick Ingram, and Joseph Minor, representing their interests through the United Teachers of Dade. And the faculty of Miami Dade College continues to get its lobbying done through Ana Alejandre Ciereszko.

Other membership unions in Florida approach the political process with fewer hands on deck. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen has David Lavery as its solo lobbyist; the International Longshoreman Association Local #1416/1922/1526/1408 lobbies through David Caserta;

Then there’s the SEIU — the Service Employees International Union — whose purple and yellow presence is regularly felt through the halls at 400 S. Monroe Street, though much more loudly in states north of here — are now down to just one registered lobbyists: Alexander Samuel Ring.

Harbor pilots are an overlooked but vital part of the American infrastructure – after all, were it not for their intricate knowledge of Florida’s waterways and shorelines, how would we get all the hot dogs and brewskis we enjoy during the first weekend in September?

Sarah Bascom and the Bascom Communications shop represents the Florida State Pilots Association as do the folks at Smith Bryan & Myers, while the able hands of Ron Book handles Tallahassee business for Biscayne Bay PilotsPort Everglades Pilots Association ponies up for Tallahassee representation as well, which they receive from PooleMcKinley.

Finally, the United Transportation Union has lobbyist Andrew Trujillo registered for its cause; and the Teamsters Joint Council 75 & Affiliates work with  Margaret “Missie” Timmins and Ron Silver to work its political agenda with Florida lawmakers.

So as you enjoy your extra day off, spare a thought for all the labor that goes into speaking of for labor – and indirectly, all of us.

GOOD NEWS FROM THE GOV THIS LABOR DAY WEEKEND — LICENSE-FREE SALTWATER FISHING DAY ON SATURDAY via MyFWC.com

Gov. Scott declared Saturday, September 5 as a license-free saltwater fishing day for Florida residents and visitors … one of eight total license-free fishing days the FWC offers each year. All bag limits, seasons and size restrictions apply on license-free fishing days. More information is at MyFWC.com/License.

HIGHER TRAFFIC EXPECTED ACROSS FLORIDA WITH LABOR DAY WEEKEND, COLLEGE FOOTBALL KICKOFF via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News

The Labor Day weekend is about to kick off and AAA expects more than 35 million Americans and 1.8 million Floridians to hit the road … the highest traffic on the Labor Day weekend since 2008. Florida is expecting higher traffic as the college football season kicks off. Florida State University, the University of Central Florida, the University of Florida, the University of Miami and the University of South Florida are all hosting home games on Saturday as their seasons begin. St. Augustine is expecting high traffic as the nation’s oldest city marks its 450th anniversary.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam highlighted lower gas prices across the Sunshine State, noting that the last time gas prices were this low over the Labor Day weekend was 2004 … warned about increased fraud at the pump as skimmers, devices that steal credit and debit card information at the gas pumps, are on the rise.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Sunburn will likely be sunset Monday and Tuesday next week, returning to inboxes Wednesday. Enjoy the holiday.

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DONALD TRUMP SIGNS PLEDGE, WON’T TEAR IT UP via Nora Kelly of National Journal

Trump signed a pledge stating he would not run as a third-party candidate if he loses the Republican nomination. At a press conference afterwards, Trump told reporters he sees “no cir­cum­stances un­der which I would tear up” the document.

NEW RIGHT TO RISE AD COMPARES TRUMP AND HILLARY CLINTON via Brian Crowley of the Crowley Report

Moments after Trump signed the Republican pledge to support the party nominee and not start a third party, Bush’s Right to Rise PAC offered a new ad in an effort to once again suggest that Trump has more in common with Hillary Clinton than Republicans.

One conflicting note – Jeb Bush told Good Morning America … that he would support Trump if he were the GOP nominee. Apparently that support comes regardless of whether Trump once supported Clinton.

LIBERAL GROUP SEEKS TO TIE BUSH TO TRUMP via Jonathan Easley of The Hill

Liberal super-PAC American Bridge launched a paid social media campaign … with the aim of tying Bush to Trump on issues ranging from abortion to campaign tactics … JebTrump.com … redirects users to a quiz meant to show “the zero inches of space between Jeb Bush and Donald Trump.”

The quiz is a play on an ad campaign the Bush team launched a day earlier, which similarly included a quiz meant to highlight Trump’s past support for liberal causes … the first in a series of products American Bridge will launch with the intent of tying the two Republicans to one another.

A spokesman for the group declined to say how much money was behind the new ad campaign, but described it as a “classy buy.”

INSIDE JEB BUSH’S FALL STRATEGY TO DEFLATE TRUMP AND COURT CONSERVATIVES via Robert Costa and Philip Rucker of the Washington Post

Bush is sticking to the same strategy that he and his advisers laid out months ago: Establish himself as a tested ­conservative reformer who served eight years as Florida governor, ride out the chaotic pre-primary season and wait for the party to coalesce around him. Even as he shifts tactics over the short term to fight back against Trump, Bush is plodding forward, returning time and again in his appearances to the comfort zone of his years in Tallahassee … when he was an alpha leader and fellow Republicans showed him deference rather than defiance … deflating Trump is an urgent mission, necessary in the eyes of Bush confidants to give their candidate room to make his preferred pitch. Bush’s priority is to convince conservatives that he is one of them … laboring to introduce himself to conservatives unfamiliar with his Florida record of cutting taxes, downsizing bureaucracies and signing antiabortion measures.

— “How Team Bush divides in order to conquer” via Michael Bender of Bloomberg Politics

WOULD THE REAL JEB! PLEASE STAND UP? via Benjamin Wallace-Wells of New York Magazine

How the candidate is struggling to show the best version of himself.

WOMAN NODS OFF DURING JEB SPEECH via Nick Gass of POLITICO

One woman seemed rather low on energy during a town hall event for Republican candidate Jeb Bush on Thursday, struggling to keep her eyes open and yawning during part of Bush’s event. The Bush campaign identified the woman only as Tara, a working mom who woke up at 4 a.m. for a 12-hour shift to see the former governor of Florida speak.

A 108-second video posted to YouTube shows a woman seated behind Bush, sporting a Boston Red Sox cap. She is alternately closing her eyes and yawning as Bush discussed health care insurance at a town hall at Foss Manufacturing in Hampton, New Hampshire.

TWEET, TWEET@JebBush: “In awe of working moms like Tara who woke up at 4AM for 12 hr shift! Made me tired to hear about.”

LIBERAL GROUP SEEKS TO TIE BUSH TO TRUMP via Jonathan Easley of The Hill

Liberal super-PAC American Bridge launched a paid social media campaign … with the aim of tying Jeb Bush to Donald Trump on issues ranging from abortion to campaign tactics … JebTrump.com … redirects users to a quiz meant to show “the zero inches of space between Jeb Bush and Donald Trump.”

The quiz is a play on an ad campaign the Bush team launched a day earlier, which similarly included a quiz meant to highlight Trump’s past support for liberal causes … the first in a series of products American Bridge will launch with the intent of tying the two Republicans to one another.

A spokesman for the group declined to say how much money was behind the new ad campaign, but described it as a “classy buy.”

— “Jeb Bush announces Miami-Dade leadership team, satellite campaign officevia Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald

POLL DU JOUR: A new Monmouth University poll shows Donald Trump has increased his national GOP vote share since last month’s debate. Trump now leads the pack at 30%, followed by Ben Carson at 18%, Jeb Bush at 8%, Ted Cruz at 8%, Marco Rubio at 5%, Carly Fiorina at 4%,  Mike Huckabee at 4% and Scott Walker at 3%.

RUBIO BACKERS AMONG LEADING TV AD SPENDERS SO FAR via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio’s team is one of the biggest spenders so far in the TV race … We presume most of the $2.6 million for Rubio has come from the nonprofit Conservative Solutions Project, which has run Iran deal ads featuring the Florida Republican. All told there has been $16 million in TV spending this cycle vs. $2 million at the same point in the 2012 election.

RUBIO CALLS FOR LIFTING OF CRUDE OIL EXPORT BAN via CBS News

Rubio called for a drastic change in course for the United States’ energy policy, proposing to lift the country’s four-decade ban on crude oil exports if he’s elected president. “This ban is a perfect example of just how outdated Washington has become,” Rubio said …

The ban on most exports of raw, unprocessed crude oil was signed into law in the 1970s … Now, it’s up for a vote in the House as soon as this month, after legislation to lift the ban passed in the Senate this summer.

RUBIO DISAGREES WITH PUERTO RICAN BAILOUT, OPPOSING BUSH via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio opposes a bankruptcy bailout for Puerto Rico, he says in an op/ed, establishing a difference with Jeb Bush.

“Allowing Puerto Rican municipalities to reorganize their debts under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code would not solve Puerto Rico’s problems and should only be a measure of last resort considered if Puerto Rico takes significant steps to fix its budget and economic mess,” Rubio writes in Spanish, in El Nuevo Dia.

But Rubio, who campaigns today in Puerto Rico, takes a more cautious approach to statehood.

JOE BIDEN IMPRESSES AT DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ IRAN EVENT, WHILE HOSTESS REVEALS LITTLE via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida

With Joe Biden by her side … Debbie Wasserman Schultz convened a meeting of 32 Jewish friends and advisers … to discuss the president’s Iran nuclear deal. Wasserman Schultz, who has yet to take a position on the deal, said that she wanted “some integrity to this process.” In the end, the process yielded little – despite Biden’s advocacy … the majority of the room was opposed at the beginning and a majority remained opposed in the end.

Wasserman Schultz’s insistence on secrecy is consistent with her tight-lipped approach to the Iran nuclear deal, which potentially pits the Democratic National Committee chairwoman against either the Democratic president or against pro-Israel backers who have traditionally supported Florida’s first Jewish congresswoman … Her support or opposition would be symbolic at this point, as there aren’t enough no votes in Congress this year to kill the deal.

She made clear that her commitment to her party wasn’t a consideration – but that her Jewish identity was a key factor … said Biden was uniquely qualified to make the case to Jewish voters.

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PATRICK MURPHY REJECTS ALAN GRAYSON’S “PEOPLE’S PLEDGE” ON ACCEPTING THIRD-PARTY CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

Alan Grayson is calling on Patrick Murphy to … pledge as their Democratic senate campaign kicks into high gear. Grayson is calling on his supporters to sign a petition calling on both candidates to agree to keep Super PAC money out of the Democratic Senate race … it doesn’t exactly sound like he expects Murphy to agree … “Elizabeth Warren negotiated the original People’s Pledge in her 2012 U.S. Senate race. Patrick Murphy won’t even talk about it. That’s what I’d expect from my Republican opponents, but maybe that’s exactly what Patrick is: a Republican. I shouldn’t be surprised to see a former Republican like Patrick act like a Republican – an elephant can’t change its spots.”

DAVID JOLLY SIGNS PLEGE TO REPEAL OBAMACARE via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News

Independent Women’s Voice announced … David Jolly signed its pledge to repeal President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law. “Rep. David Jolly’s decision to take pledge shows he gets it when it comes to health care,” said Heather Higgins … CEO of Independent Women’s Voice. “This clearly demonstrates to voters his commitment to the full and complete repeal of Obamacare … understands the harm that Obamacare has already caused through increased premiums and costs, and a decreasing quality of care.”

“Washington-run health care is not the answer,” said Jolly … “We need to repeal and replace Obamacare with common-sense solutions that restores the freedom of all Americans to decide what health coverage is right for them and their family.”

TOP ED — HILLARY’S EMAILS ARE A NATIONAL SECURITY DISASTER via Ron DeSantis for Conservative Review

While serving in places like Iraq and the Guantanamo Bay detention facility during my time as an active-duty officer in the Navy, I handled classified information as a matter of course … should not surprise anyone that the compromise of confidential information regarding matters of military capabilities, operational tactics or security posture can immediately endanger men and women who are risking their lives on behalf of our country. Apparently, that was a risk Hillary Clinton was willing to take during her time as Secretary of State, as she recklessly allowed sensitive information to be disseminated to and from an unsecured server in her private home. She made a deliberate choice to risk the integrity of her communications – and of our nation’s security – simply so she could shield herself from public accountability and congressional oversight.

DCCC TARGETS CARLOS CURBELO IN LABOR DAY DIGITAL CAMPAIGN via Emily Cahn of Roll Call

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will begin a digital ad campaign over the Labor Day weekend, hitting 18 GOP incumbents on labor issues such as increasing the minimum wage and overtime rules … including first-term Carlos Curbelo … the paid digital ad campaign will run on Twitter … designed like coupons “good for one sellout on issues that matter to working families.”

Many of the Republicans on the receiving end of the DCCC ad campaign are in districts rated competitive by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.

NEW AD FROM UTILITY-BACKED GROUP OPPOSING SOLAR POWER AMENDMENT via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times

Consumers for Smart Solar … released an online ad attacking the amendment’s supporters … Called “Fine Print,” it echoes many of the arguments utility companies made in the Supreme Court … when they urged the justices to deny the group Floridians for Solar Choice access to the ballot in November. The ad walks through the language on the ballot initiative, which would prevent state and local governments from regulating a “local solar provider” — a company that puts solar panels on someone’s roof and then sells that power to them and their neighbors — as a traditional utility company.

“This is ridiculous. Shady solar contractors would become constitutionally immune to state or local consumer protection laws? … They could price gauge, make false promises, overcharge or outright scam consumers?”

***On September 17-18, Florida CHAIN will host its 1st Annual Conference, Moving Forward Together in a New Era of Health Care. It’s an opportunity to join national experts, advocates, consumers, navigators, health care providers, policy makers, and other stakeholders to learn about pressing health policy topics, acquire new skills, and network with other participants dedicated to improving the health of all Floridians. In addition to two plenary sessions, a keynote address, engaging workshops, and interactive trainings, an exciting awards dinner will be held the evening of September 17th. Learn more and register today at www.MovingForwardFlorida.org.***

ABORTION DOCTORS UNDER INVESTIGATION AFTER RICK SCOTT ADMNISTRATION PRESSES PLANNED PARENTHOOD CLINICS FOR DOCTOR NAMES via Christine Sexton of POLITICO Florida

Gov. Rick Scott’s office wanted to file complaints against doctors performing abortions at three Planned Parenthood clinics and used the regulatory power of his health care agencies to get the clinics to turn over the physicians name and the Board of Medicine to prosecute them; Scott’s push against the clinics and doctors is contained in hundreds of emails obtained from the Agency for Health Care Administration through a public records request by POLITICO Florida.

OBAMA REJECTS SCOTT’S FEDERAL DISASTER DECLARATION REQUEST via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times

The Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, who advise the president on disaster declarations, said in a letter to Scott on Thursday that the damage from the storms that saturated the area from July 25 to Aug. 3 was not of such severity and magnitude that state and local officials cannot handle it on their own – a standard phrase used in past disaster declaration denials.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: Gov. Scott will highlight Boeing’s job creation and expansion beginning 9:30 a.m. at the Commercial Crew Cargo Processing Facility of the Kennedy Space Center.

DCF LOSING TOP CHILD-PROTECTION OFFICIAL FOR JACKSONVILLE REGION via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics

A top state child-protection official who reportedly had a “frat house”-management style, disparaging and berating underlings and referring to some as “ho’s,” has quit his job … David Abramowitz was director of the Northeast Florida region for the Department of Children and Families … Abramowitz had been the subject of a DCF Inspector General’s report that cleared him of creating a hostile work environment and engaging in gender discrimination.

The 38-page report is rife with allegations of Abramowitz … getting angry and throwing people out of meetings, slamming doors, telling female workers they needed to “gain weight” and teasing them about their hair styles. He joined the department in 2012 … Abramowitz had joked that former Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo was Cuban and “swam to the United States.”

But others stuck up for Abramowitz, calling him “very open, very transparent, and very involved.”

DEP SAYS ANTI-PIPELINE GROUP’S CASE TO BE HEARD via Susan Salisbury of the Palm Beach Post

A conservation group seeking to stop the proposed 465-mile Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline from boring under the iconic Suwannee River has now been granted its request for a hearing … the case has been sent to the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings where it will be assigned to a judge. No date has been set for the hearing. The WWALS Watershed Coalition requested the hearing following DEP’s notice of intent in July to issue a permit for Sabal Trail. The permit would also allow the pipeline to use submerged lands.

UNIVERSITY BOARD APPROVES BUDGET REQUESTS via Legislative IQ powered by LobbyTools

The State University System’s Board of Governors approved its 2016-17 FY Legislative Budget Request at its Sept. 3 meeting.

It will be submitted for consideration by the governor and Legislature by a Sept. 15 deadline.

The request totals $4.66 billion and represents a 3.5 percent increase in state investments.

The board agreed to add $100 million in new state funds for performance funding. That makes the total $500 million — $250 million from the state and $250 million from base budget of universities.

… The board approved a $84 million request to continue work on 7 projects they say have a return on investment. The board also asked for $61.8 million in renovation and repairs. But it will discuss several other projects totaling $460 million for inclusion at its Sept. 22 workshop and amendments to the LBR will be considered at the November meeting.

The K-12 system asked for $175 million and the community college system asked for $97 million from that fund in the Legislative Budget Request approved by the State Board of Education last month.

BILL TO REFORM FLORIDA’S 10-20-LIFE LAW FILED BY AARON BEAN AND NEIL COMBEE via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

Polk City state GOP Representative Neil Combee and Jacksonville state Senator Aaron Bean have filed the “Self-Defense Protection Act,” a bill that they claim would reform Florida’s “10-20- Life” sentencing law … creates a narrow exception to otherwise applicable mandatory minimum sentences when a court finds a defendant had a good faith belief that using a firearm was justified … follows the “Threatened Use of Force Act” … that added a self- defense exception to mandatory sentencing for aggravated assault cases.

BILL WILL SEEK TO CONSOLIDATE HOA STATUTES via Legislative IQ powered by LobbyTools

Rep. John Cortes will propose legislation to consolidate three different statutes dealing with Homeowners Associations and gives HOAs access to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation for mediation purposes, reports WFTV 9.

A legal dispute in the town of Poinciana, where board members fired their property management company before moving $1.6 million into a new account before a judge ordered them to reinstate the company, drove Cortes to start drafting the legislation.

Roughly 4 million homes and condos are run by HOAs, according to WFTV 9’s Nancy Alvarez. Cortes said millions of members have little recourse when it comes to filing complaints.

Allowing disputes to go through DBPR could save both association’s and homeowners money.

“This way, it doesn’t have to go to court. They can settle out of court, be mediators,” Cortes said..

BILL WOULD BAN CONVERSION THERAPY FOR GAY TEENS via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics

Florida’s only openly gay lawmaker has filed a bill to outlaw conversion therapy, a treatment program usually to change one’s orientation from homosexual to heterosexual, on those under 18.

State Rep. David Richardson, a Miami Beach Democrat, filed his bill (HB 137) on Thursday.

The legislation would forbid anyone who does “professional counseling” to use conversion therapy on minors.

That includes “medical practitioners, osteopathic practitioners, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and licensed counselors.”

Anyone who breaks the proposed law would be “subject to disciplinary proceedings by the appropriate regulatory board,” the bill says.

Similar laws have been enacted in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon and the District of Columbia, according to the Movement Advancement Project, which bills itself as an independent LGBT think tank.

DON GAETZ TALKS GUNS, GAY MARRIAGE, BP MONEY via Kaycee Lagarde of the Pensacola News-Journal

It seemed no topic was left untouched … as State Sen. Don Gaetz paid a visit to Santa Rosa County, candidly sharing his thoughts about everything from gun laws and gay marriage to billions of dollars in BP oil spill money.

Gaetz said he’s personally “not comfortable” with the gay lifestyle, but added that there’s a notable difference between a clerk of court and a Baptist preacher … also addressed the $2 billion economic damages claim settled between the state of Florida and BP … 75 percent will be required to benefit the eight coastal counties of Northwest Florida, including Santa Rosa County — the result of a bill sponsored by Gaetz.

The topic of gun control and open carry laws … Gaetz said there is no easy answer … does not think further limiting gun laws or repealing the Second Amendment is the solution … Gaetz is co-sponsoring an open carry bill with his son, Rep. Matt Gaetz, which he said would not expand who can legally carry firearms, but simply allow them to be carried unconcealed.

LEGISLATORS APOLOGIZE THROUGHOUT FLORIDA FOR SESSION ‘DYSFUNCTION’ via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post

While leaders of the Florida House and Senate continue to clash publicly over redistricting, many rank-and-file legislators are making appearances around the state bearing a red-faced message to voters … Sorry.

Patrick Rooney … decried the “dysfunction” that has marred this year’s Legislature … Joe Negron … was “disappointed that the Legislature met for two weeks and couldn’t redraw (district) maps.” … Jack Latvala … said, “There’s a lot of disappointment out there, being expressed by a lot of people. Voters aren’t happy. I don’t know why we can’t find compromise.” Similar sentiments have coursed through legislative meetings around the state.

MAYBE JEFF BRANDES IS RIGHT: ROBOT CARS REALLY ARE COMING via Michael Van Sickler of the Tampa Bay Times

When he served in the House in 2012, Brandes sponsored a law that helped make Florida one of three (at the time) states to serve as a testing ground for autonomous cars. Sure, it opened Brandes up to easy political attacks, but he didn’t back away and now serves as the chair of the Senate’s transportation committee, where he’s made autonomous cars a top priority.

One of the region’s top transportation agencies, Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, seems to be all in on the experimental technology, applying for a federal grant of up to $12 million to design an Automated Vehicle (AV) roadway system here in Tampa Bay. There’s even an Automated Vehicle Institute operated by the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research.

Florida’s not alone. Connected and Automated vehicles are one of the hottest topics in transportation circles with cities racing to compete for federal money to develop an AV roadway system.

… Read all it about it in this … story. Maybe Brandes is on to something.

MOTOROLA WINS $21M RADIO CONTRACT via Wayne Washington of the Palm Beach Post 

Palm Beach County will award a radio communications contract worth up to $21 million to Motorola, despite objections from one of that firm’s competitors. Harris Corp. has complained that the county wrote its request for proposal in a way that favored Motorola, which has provided communication services to the county for 15 years. Motorola was going to win the bid “no matter what Harris offered, no matter what Harris did,” said Jose Luis Vazquez, south Florida sales manager for Harris Corp. Audrey Wolf, the county’s director of facilities development and operations, denied that the bid was written to favor Motorola.

PORT TAMPA BAY CEO PAUL ANDERSON ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF THE FLORIDA PORTS COUNCIL via FlaPorts.org

At the Florida Ports Council annual board meeting … Port Tampa Bay CEO Paul Anderson was elected chairman of the Council. Anderson will be chairing the Board of the Florida Ports Council, which is the professional association of Florida’s 15 public seaports, providing advocacy, leadership and research on seaport-related issues at the state and federal level.

LONGTIME VERIZON LOBBYIST WOODY SIMMONS RETIRES via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics

Woodrow “Woody” Simmons, Verizon Communications’ longtime lobbyist in Florida, is retiring.

Simmons, based in Tallahassee, withdrew his lobbyist registration effective this week, state records show.

“Woody’s excellent work on Verizon’s behalf to ensure a fair and competitive communications market accrues to the benefit of our customers now and well into the future,” Verizon’s South Area Vice President Michelle Robinson said.

“His personal integrity and commitment to excellence made working with him a pleasure,” she added. “Now that he is retired, he will be missed.”

He didn’t respond to calls to his office earlier this week.

NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS

Brady Benford, Ballard Partners: Hernando County School Board

Jeffrey KivettJeffrey Sumner: South Florida Water Management District

Jason Unger, GrayRobinson: Allergan USA

CONTEXT FLORIDA: JOE BIDEN TOURS FLORIDA, TWO MARCO RUBIOS AND DONALD TRUMP, DEMAGOGUE

On Context Florida: Vice President Joe Biden visited Florida this week supposedly to do what Bob Sparks says vice presidents do. He came to raise money for Democrats and talk about a college-readiness policy initiative on behalf of President Obama. Free community college is not why the media showed up. With the vice president in town, it’s all about the potential contest between the sitting vice president taking on the former secretary of state and the rest of the field. Marco Rubio likes to say he’s representing the future of the Grand Old Party. (An oxymoron, wonders Chris Timmons.) Poke around a bit, he says, and you find two Rubios — issues where the divide between the future and the past make Rubio a bit incoherent. Former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp says the recent history of presidential elections shows Donald Trump is unlikely to win nomination. What happens when the social conservative Iowa voters start to truly examine Trump’s record of supporting the Obama stimulus plan, of shifting jobs to China and India for his clothing line, of supporting many Democrats – including Hillary Clinton – not to mention that he is pro-choice? Martin Dyckman also says we have seen Donald Trump’s type before — a demagogue. He’s living out the dictionary definition of a demagogue as one who “makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.” Dyckman believes such a person cannot — should not — be trusted with the leadership of any country.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

ON THIS WEEK’S EDITION OF THE ROTUNDA

Trimmel Gomes’ newest episode of The Rotunda is all about the life and career of longtime Tallahassee prosecutor Willie Meggs. With his office giving one of the best views of Florida’s Capitol complex, even better than Gov. Rick Scott’s office; the lawman talks with Gomes about throwing the book at state lawmakers for taking freebies from lobbyists and his high-profile probe into rape allegations against FSU star quarterback Jameis Winston.

At age 72, with a career spanning more than three decades, Meggs reveals to Gomes that his decision to retire was due in large part to his reelection campaign opponent crossing the line with personal attacks. Meggs says that left him with a nasty taste in his mouth for the way political races are conducted today.

The Rotunda podcast is available every Friday via iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud. Subscribers receive free automatic downloads of episodes to their devices. Follow on @RotundaPodcast for daily updates.

WEEKEND TV

Black Almanac with Dr. Ed James on WWSB, ABC 7 in Sarasota: Dr. Eddy M. Regnier on the themes of guns, public policy and mental illness.

Facing Florida with Mike Vasilinda: Virginia news crew shooter had Florida ties and Pamela Langford on how step therapy is robbing patients’ health.

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Republican consultant April Schiff, Democratic strategist Barry EdwardsTampa Tribune reporter Joe Brown and ABC 28 anchor Brendan McLaughlin.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando: Rep. Jennifer Sullivan on her first legislative Session and recent retrictions on abortion, analysts Michelle Ertel and Jeremiah Jaspon talk Jeb Bush 2016, and PolitiFact’s Joshua Gillin scrutinizes a recent claim by Bush about defense spending under President Barack Obama.

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

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

***Smith, Bryan & Myers is an all-inclusive governmental relations firm located in Tallahassee. For more than three decades, SBM has been working with our clients to deliver their priorities through strategic and effective government relations consulting that has led us to become one of Tallahassee’s premier governmental relations firms today.***

WELCOME TO THE WORLD: Rosalia Belle Spellman, daughter of Amanda and Chester Spellman. Coming in at a health 8 lbs. 5 oz.

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.

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