Happy Independence Day. Be safe out there, Florida Man and Woman.
Like many of you, we’re taking off tomorrow and Friday. The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics will return to inboxes on Monday, July 8.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@RealDonaldTrump: Big 4th of July in D.C. “Salute to America.” The Pentagon & our great Military Leaders are thrilled to be doing this & showing to the American people, among other things, the strongest and most advanced Military anywhere in the World. Incredible Flyovers & biggest ever Fireworks!
—@gregpmiller: Trump says July 4 celebration will have “brand new Sherman tanks.” Sherman tanks haven’t been in service since 1957.
—@SenJackReed: The granddaddy of all #4thofJuly parades (est 1785) doesn’t have any tanks. But it’s packed with hometown heroes, civic-minded citizens, & a patriotic community that rallies around our shared values & ideals. Can’t wait to see everyone in Bristol for the 234th annual celebration!
As we celebrate #IndependenceDay this week, please consider helping to give the gift of freedom and independence to severely injured Veterans by donating to @homesforourtrps, a nonprofit that builds and donates specially adapted custom homes: https://t.co/I3IJkUuJ0o #4thofJuly pic.twitter.com/UR6181cckd
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 2, 2019
—@GovRicketts: Our flag is the symbol of our country’s freedom, which Americans across the country will proudly celebrate this week on #IndependenceDay. @Nike’s decision not only disrespects our flag but also the free enterprise system that made their brand great.
—@ForestService: We all love fireworks on #IndependenceDay, but please keep them out of your public lands. #SafetyFirst
—@mattsgorman: OH: revealing FL political analysis from some liberal Boomers: “[The Villages] is profoundly disturbing.” “They’re all from ohio, michigan, wisconsin. it’s the rust belt emptying out in Florida. And they all vote Trump. And that’s why we’ll never get Florida back again.”
—@TroyKinsey: Calling @SenRickScott a “bonehead,” Roger Stone this evening is saluting @NikkiFriedFL& @GovRonDeSantis for working to “undo the damage” he says Scott did on #MedicalMarijuana legalization.
—@Fineout: During remarks today at Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition annual convention @said that ex-felons should be allowed to vote w/o “any hoops” or “any fees” or w/o “what they are doing in Florida that amounts to a modern-day poll tax.”
—@emdrums: In the last few weeks, Mayor [Lenny] Curry has called @reporters (myself included): sloppy, lazy, unbalanced, etc. But after DAYS of asking for specific examples of inaccurate reporting, we’re met with radio silence — not counting Jay-Z lyrics, obvi. The truth DOES matter.
—@SteveLemongello: Didn’t everyone saying they’re boycotting Nike say they were boycotting Nike months ago? Are they boycotting it harder?
— Brett Kelman (@BrettKelman) July 2, 2018
— DAYS UNTIL —
Independence Day — 1; Robert Mueller testifies to Congress — 14; 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing — 17; “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” premieres — 23; Second Democratic presidential debates in Detroit — 27; “Beverly Hills 90210” reboot premieres — 34; Taylor Swift’s new album, ‘Lover,’ released — 51; Florida Gators opens vs. Miami football — 52; St. Petersburg primary election — 54; UCF Knights football opens vs. Florida A&M — 57; USF Bulls football opens vs. Wisconsin Badgers — 58; FSU Seminoles football opens vs. Boise State — 59; Labor Day — 61; First Interim Committee Week for 2020 Session — 75; Morning” Joe Scarborough releases “This Ends Badly: How Donald Trump Conned America” — 76; “Joker” opens — 93; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 117; Scott Maddox trial begins — 124; 2019 General Election — 127; 3rd Annual Florida Internet and Television FITCon starts — 127; 2020 Session begins — 195; Iowa Caucuses — 215; New Hampshire Primaries — 223; Florida’s presidential primary — 258; 2020 General Election — 489.
— FACTS ABOUT THE FOURTH —
As you celebrate July Fourth, keep in mind, it was July 2 which got the shaft. On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress of the 13 American colonies voted to formally separate from Great Britain (New York abstained). On that occasion, John Adams, a future president of the renegade United States, wrote to his wife, Abigail, “The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” Continued Adams, “It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” It was not to be.
Two days later, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence written by a showoff named Jefferson. (Psst! Look over here!) Ahem … The rest is history. So Happy Independence Day, otherwise known as the Fourth of July. Just remember, it’s Adams who eventually got the HBO miniseries.
—“Independence Day comes only once a year, or does it?” via Brent Batten of the Naples Daily News
“Getting the facts straight about the Founding Fathers” via PolitiFact — Invoking the Founding Fathers on Independence Day to celebrate our nation’s birth is a fine thing to do. Invoking them to score political points? Watch out. Take, for example, a Facebook post about Benjamin Franklin that circulated in May, a post that was actually aimed at making fun of tea party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann. The meme quotes Bachmann as saying, “This country could use a president like Benjamin Franklin again.” Of course, Franklin was never president. And we think Bachmann knows that, as well, because she never actually said the quote. We rated the fabricated Facebook meme Pants on Fire. It’s not just claims on social media. Pundits and politicians get things wrong time and time again when they use the Founding Fathers to support their political views. Over the years, PolitiFact has found numerous errors about what the Founding Fathers supposedly said or did, especially when it comes to constitutional issues and civil rights.
— “Fathers in chief” via Tevi Troy of the Weekly Standard
— “The 7 most badass Founding Fathers” via Dave Forsmark of PJMedia.com
— “5 forgotten Founding Fathers” via Daniel Holzel of Mental Floss
— “4 more forgotten Founding Fathers” via Erik Johnson of Mental Floss
“Even George Washington had to fight fake news” via Angie Drobnic Holan of the Tampa Bay Times — Forged letters from before his presidency claimed to show in his own words that he privately sympathized with the British monarchy and thought the American cause was doomed. The letters also suggested that Washington thought Americans weren’t ready for democracy. The letters were clever forgeries, but they dogged Washington. They circulated in pamphlets, during both the American Revolution and Washington’s presidency — until Washington grew tired of hearing about them and issued an adamant fact-check of his own. Whoever forged the letters worked to make them believable, including details about Washington’s life as a Virginia farmer. The letters were immediately recognizable as fakes to Washington’s inner circle.
The truth about Paul Revere’s ride brought to you by the Florida Medical Association — “The FMA wishes Sunburn readers a happy Independence Day! We hope you’ll celebrate safely. We also encourage all Floridians to thank our nation’s Veterans and their families for protecting the freedoms upon which our country was founded.” — FMA Executive Vice President Timothy J. Stapleton. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out this fascinating Paul Revere factoid involving a doctor (on message!) — a young physician was most likely the only Patriot who reached Concord during the famous “midnight ride” of Paul Revere.
The History Channel tells us that “Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1861 poem about Revere’s ride got many of the facts wrong. For one thing, Revere was not alone on his mission to warn John Hancock, Samuel Adams and other patriots that the British were approaching Lexington on the evening of April 18, 1775. Two other men, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, rode alongside him, and by the end of the night, as many as 40 men on horseback were spreading the word across Boston’s Middlesex County. Revere also never reached Concord, as the poem inaccurately recounts. Overtaken by the British, the three riders split up and headed in different directions. Revere was temporarily detained by the British at Lexington and Dawes lost his way after falling off his horse, leaving Prescott — a young physician who is believed to have died in the war several years later — the task of alerting Concord’s residents.”
“10 U.S. historical facts to rain on any July 4 party” via Florida Politics — Every party has a pooper, that’s why some people go to Fourth of July parties armed with trivia that casts doubt on conventional wisdom — especially in American history. When partygoers are lighting fireworks, exclaiming “Isn’t America beautiful?” these historical fact checkers rain the truth on their parade. Here are 10 “truth firecrackers” to liven up (or put a quick end to) any Independence Day festivities: 1. Baseball, the “All-American” sport, likely came from England; 2. Apple pie is British, too; 3. The melody of the American national anthem comes from an old English drinking song; 4. The Pledge of Allegiance was created for one reason — to sell more flags; 5. Canadians own the Mall of America; 6. Bald eagle screeches are much weaker than the iconic sound, which is actually from the red-tailed hawk; 7. Settlers didn’t tame the American frontier; it was already pretty tame; 8. Hot dogs on the Fourth? Lewis, Clark and the “Corps of Discovery” ate over 200 dogs during the trip; 9. Speaking of wieners … President Lyndon Johnson would frequently pull his out his own “Johnson;” and 10. Independence Day is actually July 2 (see above).
— TOP STORY —
“Donald Trump and RNC raised $105 Million in 2nd Quarter, Outdoing Barack Obama” via Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times — Trump and his committees raised $54 million, they said, and the Republican National Committee raised $51 million. The campaign officials did not say how many individual donors had contributed, or how many gave money in increments of $200 or less. The official report, which will include spending, will be filed with the Federal Election Commission on July 15.
— DATELINE TALLY —
“Jimmy Patronis should be investigated for posting report, lawyer for harassment victim says” via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times — Attorney Tiffany Cruz is representing a woman who complained to the state’s banking regulator, Ronald Rubin, on May 10. Patronis, in an apparent attempt to pressure Rubin to resign, issued a news release announcing Rubin’s suspension that included a link to the woman’s redacted complaint. Florida law seems clear: Employee complaints are “confidential and exempt” until they’ve been investigated. That warning was at the very top of the woman’s complaint form that Patronis released. It’s a first-degree misdemeanor to knowingly and willingly violate the confidentiality statute.
“Voting rights group raising money to pay felons’ fees” via Mike Schneider of The Associated Press — Advocates WHO
“Legislative leaders see boosts in net worth” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — House Speaker José Oliva posted an 11.3 percent increase in his net worth as of Dec. 31, while Senate President Bill Galvano recorded a 6 percent increase, according to financial-disclosure reports filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics. Rep. Chris Sprowls, who is slated to take over as House speaker after the 2020 elections, posted a net worth of $351,632 in his new report. Sprowls had reported a net worth of $232,879 a year ago. Sen. Wilton Simpson, who listed a net worth of nearly $25.92 million, is in line to take over as Senate president after the 2020 elections. Simpson has seen his net worth grow 66.5 percent since being elected to the Senate in 2012.
Tidbit from latest financial disclosures: @FLSenate President @BillGalvano owns a $25K stake in the company behind JAGGED LITTLE PILL, the Broadway musical inspired by the @Alanis Morissette album. #FlaPol https://t.co/q4Pzz6A3qv
— Jim Rosica (@JimRosicaFL) July 2, 2019
“Family of lawmakers celebrates first day of Florida’s texting and driving ban” via Jay O’Brien of CBS 12 News — Rep. Emily Slosberg, joined by her father and predecessor Irv Slosberg, celebrated the first day of Florida’s texting and driving ban. The two, joined by local leaders from Palm Beach and Broward counties, held a ceremonial bill signing along a roadway in West Boca. “Ever since I got into the Legislature, I filed [the texting ban] as a local bill,” Slosberg said. “I filed it as a regular bill. I filed it as an amendment. I filed it every which way you could possibly file this bill.” Both she and her father were driving forces behind the legislation for years.
— NON-FOURTH NEWS —
“Feel good or nah: Survey shows consumer sentiment mixed bag in June” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics — The University of Florida polled 453 people that represent a “demographic cross-section of Florida.” What they found: Floridians feel good about their financial situations, but are apprehensive about the future. People are markedly more positive about their finances: the index increased 6.7 points from 87.8 to 94.5, the most significant increase of any reading this month. Men, those under 60, and those making over $50,000 per year feel especially good. “Overall opinions are split by income level and age. Those with income level above $50,000 reported an increase in consumer sentiment, while those with income under $50,000 reported a decrease,” said Hector Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
“’Tremendous workload’: Amendment 4 law creates bureaucratic puzzle in Florida” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat — The Legislature’s bill to establish procedures for Amendment 4 has created a bureaucratic puzzle supervisors have to solve while they prepare for a presidential election. Lawmakers said it applies only to people who no longer owe court-ordered restitution, fines and fees. But information about fines and fees is scattered across 67 Florida counties and potentially 50 other states. And no one tracks court-ordered restitution. “It used to be more clear cut whether a person had regained their voting rights because there was a clemency process. And you could check. You could verify. Now there’s this new category, where voting rights are restored automatically and everyone is trying to figure it out,” said David Stafford, Escambia County Supervisor of Elections.
“’Close the Camps’ rally draws dozens of protesters to the Old Capitol” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat — The group of mostly retired public schoolteachers, university faculty and state workers answered a call by the activist group Move On to protest conditions at U.S. immigration centers. Rallies were planned at 186 sites across the country, including Fort Myers, Port. St. Lucie and Daytona Beach, according to a Move On website. In Tallahassee, the protesters said they were provoked by reports that migrant children are being taken from their parents at the southern border, kept in dire conditions in detention camps and denied medical care. What was a group of fewer than a dozen sign waivers shortly before noon grew with the addition of state workers and college students once downtown offices broke for lunch.
“Admissions to Florida’s public universities are getting more competitive. But schools still admit students lacking basic qualifications.” via Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel — Nearly 1,000 students who lacked the grades or test scores to get into the state’s four-year universities were admitted and enrolled in the fall 2018 freshman class, data obtained through a records request shows. These so-called “alternative
“Small districts wary of Parkland legal fight” via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida — A coalition of largely rural districts filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold a lower-court decision that would put a $300,000 limit on the Broward County School Board’s potential liability in lawsuits stemming from the shooting. Attorneys for the coalition, the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium, wrote that a Supreme Court rejection of the strict limit could have a “devastating” financial impact on small districts if they ever face catastrophes such as school shootings. The issue centers on the state’s sovereign immunity law, which limits how much government agencies can be forced to pay in lawsuits, and how the liability limits should apply when multiple people are killed or injured in incidents.
“DCF worker stole identities of those seeking help, cops say. There were at least 2,000 victims” via The Miami Herald — Seven people are in custody after what Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight called a “significant” data breach at the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). Col. Kurt Hoffman told reporters that more than 2,000 identities of Florida residents were compromised and there are likely more victims. One of those arrested was an employee with the Department of Children and Families in Miami. Authorities said she made this “crime ring” possible. Bertanicy Garcia, 48, was a data entry clerk at the DCF’s Miami office; authorities say she used her position to steal personal information.
FWC seeks input from Florida landowners — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is conducting a survey of Florida’s private landowners across the state. “The survey is an important tool for the FWC to understand private landowner perspectives and decisions around fish and wildlife, and natural resource conservation,” it said in a news release. Landowners are encouraged to respond to provide the FWC insights into landowner preferences and priorities. “Results from the survey will help improve educational materials, services, and programs that benefit landowners, and fish and wildlife habitat across the state.” To participate, click here.
What state Sen. Jeff Brandes is reading — “Digital driver’s licenses could become a real option in some states” via RouteFifty.com — People with digital wallets on their smartphones, holding everything from credit cards to airline tickets, may soon be able to add a new feature: Their driver’s licenses. While many lawmakers are excited about the potential of the technology to be used in a wide variety of situations, privacy experts are wary … Gemalto, a software vendor that has piloted this kind of technology with five states (not Florida), designed their app
— A FLORIDA FOURTH —
“Florida was off center stage in American Revolution despite some important events“ via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News — As the nation celebrates this Fourth of July … Floridians can look back at the strange and almost entirely forgotten role their state played in the American Revolution. A Spanish colony for nearly 200 years, the English gained Florida at the Treaty of Paris in 1763, which ended the Seven Years War. People in the U.S. call it the French and Indian War. Dividing the peninsula into East Florida and West Florida, the British attempted to develop plantations in their new holdings but generally used the Floridas for military purposes. The strong military presence helped ensure that the Floridas would not join the 13 colonies to the north in rebelling against George III. … rebellious Americans looked at the Floridas as a threat since the British could launch attacks into Georgia and South Carolina from the south. Colonists loyal to the British crown fled to the Floridas and helped form military units, like the East Florida Rangers, to fight against the American forces. While they did not play a leading part in the American Revolution, Florida and Floridians provided some dramatic moments. James Grant, who served as governor of East Florida from 1764 until 1771, played a crucial part in British successes in capturing New York, and would capture St. Lucia from the French later in the war. American prisoners were held in St. Augustine — including Arthur Middleton and Edmund Rutledge, two South Carolinians who signed the Declaration of Independence. One recent Florida politician with a keen interest in his state’s role in the American Revolution was longtime U.S. Rep. Charles E. Bennett … who represented the First Coast in Congress from 1949 until retiring in 1993. Bennett wrote several books on the Revolution, including a book on battles as well as a biography of Robert Howe with Donald Lennon.
“Florida retailers expect a dip in sales this Fourth of July” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics —“ Anytime the July 4 holiday lands midweek, we expect there to be a slight dip in spending, but a per person average of $73 is still incredibly high and we fully expect most Floridians to celebrate with themed food, clothes, decorations and of course fireworks,” said Florida Retail Federation President and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “Sunshine State retailers should expect significant sales leading up to the fourth, and we look forward to seeing the creative deals and discounts that Florida’s 270,000 retailers come up with to drive traffic to their stores.” Still, nationwide spending this year is expected to be one of the highest on record at more than $6.7 billion. If that forecast holds, it will be the third highest in history.
Nikki Fried, Florida Forest Service provide fire tips for Independence Day — “The potential for wildfire is always heightened when fire and sparks exist outdoors,” Fried said. Follow these safety tips: Light fireworks in a cleared area free of vegetation or dry debris; clear debris from around campfires, grills and all fire sources; remove debris from any location where fireworks could land; always have a water source available; aim fireworks away from people, homes and wooded areas; never use homemade fireworks; discard used fireworks in a bucket of water; store unused fireworks, matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children; never leave a fire unattended and ensure it is entirely out before leaving it; report any fire immediately to 9-1-1.
FWC promotes safe, sober boating this weekend for Operation Dry Water — During the national Operation Dry Water campaign, officers will focus on removing impaired operators from the water and educating boaters about safety. There are over 950,000 boats registered in the state and an estimated 1 million additional nonregistered boats enjoying Florida’s waters. Boaters should know that operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and can lead to severe injuries and consequences. In Florida, it is unlawful to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher — the same as it is to operate a vehicle. The national Operation Dry Water weekend will take place July 5 through 7.
— ROCKETS RED GLARE —
“Fireworks are America’s favorite face exploding, dog torturing, bird murdering way to celebrate its birthday” via Caitlin Gibson of The Washington Post — You could argue that “fireworks gone wrong” (Google it: 37 million results) serve a kind of Darwinist function, reappropriating the anatomical inheritance of whoever can’t be bothered to follow the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s advice to “NEVER LAUNCH FIREWORKS OFF YOUR BODY.” But leaving aside that fireworks themselves can malfunction and that many of the wounded are just kids, consider the collateral damage of humankind’s fascination with these over-the-counter explosives. The National Fire Protection Association reports that roughly 18,500 fires are started by fireworks every year — housefires, vehicle fires, even wildfires, like the guy who set ablaze 47,000 acres in Arizona and caused more than $8 million in damage after he detonated fireworks as part of a “gender reveal” party.
“Fireworks! The science and psychology of fireworks“ via PBS — NOVA presents the colorful history of pyrotechnics and reveals how high-tech firing systems are transforming public displays into a dazzling, split-second science. Here’s what you’ll find online: Name That Shell … Watch video clips of fireworks bursting in air and find out how well you know your chrysanthemums from your peonies, your roman candles from your palm trees. Anatomy of a Firework … Where you see brilliant light and vivid color, a pyrotechnician sees a successful lift charge, black powder mix, time-delay fuse, bursting charge, and other essential ingredients. Pyrotechnically Speaking … Dr. John Conkling, adjunct professor of chemistry at Washington College and former executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, describes what it is about fireworks that gets him, well, all fired up. On Fire (Hot Science) … This virtual laboratory lets you explore the basics of combustion, including how a fire ignites, what a flame is made of, and how burning molecules rearrange themselves.
An oldie but goody — “Florida’s bizarre fireworks law still in place” via Florida Politics — It’s almost Independence Day, which in Florida means: Time to scare some birds. Although you can buy fireworks in the state, they’re not actually legal here. Indeed, the Tampa Tribune once called fireworks sales in Florida an “institutionalized charade,” leading one lawmaker to call for “more freedom (and) less fraud.” Retail sales are allowed only because of a six-decades-old loophole in the law, the only known one of its kind in the country.
—”July 4th Fireworks in Florida: What is legal and what is not?” via Ginny Beagan of FLORIDA TODAY
“A wink, a nod and a boom” via Michael Bates of the Citrus County Chronicle — Most people know buying fireworks is a wink-wink, nod-nod proposition. The seller agrees to use the explosives for arcane applications like scaring birds on their farm or signaling railroad trains. The seller has the purchaser sign a “restricted fireworks verification” agreement, absolving themselves of any legal ramifications, and the latter goes on his or her way. The vendors know not all — in fact, almost none — will follow the law, and the customer knows they know it. Don’t look for the legal loophole permitting the sale of Florida fireworks to go away anytime soon. Most people seem happy with the way things are. While the county prohibits most tent sales, such as the ones automobile dealers used to set up in parking lots, it has an exception for seasonal sales for July 4 and New Year’s Eve fireworks, as well as Christmas trees. The county has issued eight temporary permits, at $190 each, to fireworks vendors this month.
Galaxy Fireworks calls for ‘safe and fun’ Fourth of July celebrations — As residents of the Tampa Bay area are preparing for the backyard and citywide fireworks displays this Fourth of July, Galaxy Fireworks, a member of the American Pyrotechnics Association, is urging consumers to remember all safety tips before fireworks use. “Fireworks use is expected to hit an all-time high this year, and we remain committed to educating the public on their proper use,” said company president Sharon Hunnewell-Johnson. A full list of safety tips is here.
“’They think they’re going to die’: How to keep dogs safe and calm during Fourth of July celebrations” via Jorge Ortiz of USA TODAY — It’s not too hard to tell your dog is scared if you know what to look for. Shivering, shaking, panting, salivating, yawning, and trying to hide are some of those indications. Frightened dogs may also lick their lips repeatedly or get stiff. Depending on the pitch fireworks that may seem distant can still elicit stress. Music, preferably classic or reggae, can block out some of the offending sounds. A familiar surrounding would also provide a sense of comfort. It’s best to leave pets behind in a secure place. If they’re outside, a leash is advised. The ASPCA points out alcoholic drinks can poison pets, which may get weak and depressed or even go into a coma after ingesting alcohol.
— ‘MERICA —
“American pride hits new low; Few proud of political system” via Megan Brenan of Gallup — While 70 percent of U.S. adults overall say they are proud to be Americans, this includes fewer than half (45 percent) who are “extremely” proud, marking the second consecutive year that this reading is below the majority level. Democrats continue to lag far behind Republicans in expressing extreme pride in the U.S. These findings are explored further with new measurements of the public’s pride in eight aspects of U.S. government and society. American scientific achievements, military and culture/arts engender the most pride, while the U.S. political system and health and welfare system garner the least.
“Poll: On the 4th, what symbolizes the best (and worst) of America? It depends whom you ask” via Susan Page and Merdie Nganza of USA TODAY — A new USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll about patriotism finds an overwhelming majority of those surveyed say they are proud to be Americans. But they split almost down the middle, 42 to 39 percent, when asked whether they are proud of America right now. This year, a holiday that is designed as a moment of national unity also underscores the country’s deep divisions and the broad dissatisfaction with its government. A long-term trend toward partisanship and the superheated presidency of Trump have sharpened a debate over what defines America and what it means to be patriotic. In the survey, most say they are proud to be Americans, although Republicans feel that way more strongly (90 percent) than Democrats (61 percent). There is no consensus when asked about the country’s current course, though: 71 percent of Republicans but just 22 percent of Democrats said they are proud of America right now.
“6 peculiar Fourth of July celebrations across the country” via Natalie Compton of The Washington Post — Bet on lobster races in Bar Harbor, Maine; Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s 10-acre Strawbery Banke Museum celebrates Independence Day with a naturalization ceremony for more than 100 new citizens from more than 30 nations; see Willie Nelson and friends in Austin; take in the golf cart parade in Catalina Island, California; run up a mountain in Seward, Alaska; cheer on lumberjacks in State College, Pennsylvania — the Central PA 4th Fest, a big buffet of American activities, including, but not limited to, ax-throwing, free hot dogs, foot races, roller-derby entertainment and a big community parade.
“Misunderstood ‘patriotic’ songs for the Fourth of July” via Maeve McDermott of USA Today — “Born in the USA,” Bruce Springsteen: Perhaps the most famous song to be widely mistaken for a patriotic anthem, Springsteen’s famous 1984 single has been used by political candidates from Presidents Ronald Reagan to Trump. Yet, listen past the song’s booming chorus, and its lyrics tell the story of a young American kid sent against his will to fight in Vietnam, only to return home to a country arguably as hostile. “Fortunate Son,” Creedence Clearwater Revival: The song has been similarly treated as a patriotic working-class anthem, but listen past its star-spangled opening lines — “Some folks are born made to wave the flag/Ooh, they’re red, white and blue” — for John Fogerty‘s anti-establishment storytelling about how the poor were sent to fight and die in Vietnam while the wealthy were spared. “This Land Is Your Land,” Woody Guthrie: It wasn’t intended as such when the singer-songwriter, irritated by radio stations playing Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” on a constant loop, wrote the song in 1940.
“Feeling unpatriotic about this year’s dumb midweek Independence Day? Spain has a long-weekend solution: The puente.” via Rachelle Hampton of Slate — The puente — or bridge — weekend is a beloved Spanish tradition that entails canceling work or school on the day between a holiday and a weekend. If a holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, the preceding Monday or following Friday are absorbed into a long puente weekend. Spanish puente weekends are officially condoned and don’t require workers to take any of their paid time off. Other European countries have their own versions of the puente, including the French faire le pont (making a bridge) and the German Brückentag (bridge day). And while most bridge weekends are a result of holidays falling on a Tuesday or Thursday, it’s easy to imagine a supersized U.S. model that wouldn’t require workers to show up in the fits and starts we’ll be experiencing this week — especially for a holiday that is as ostensibly important to our government as Independence Day. Puente. It should become the new American way.
“The case for a Fourth of July Seder” via Alan Burdick and Eliza Byard of The New Yorker — Independence Day should be restful, yes, but it could also be more purposeful. What the Fourth of July needs, we think, is a Seder. For those unacquainted with it, the Seder is the meal served at the beginning of Passover, the Jewish holiday that recalls and celebrates the flight of the Israelites from bondage in ancient Egypt. It is a ceremony replete with symbolic foods (bitter herbs, invoking the bitterness of slavery; matzo, the bread of affliction) and ritual acts (hand-washing, blessings over wine). It’s also an adaptable holiday, responsive to its audiences through the ages and to changing historical tides. What would a good Fourth of July Seder look like? One core ritual, easily carried out in ten minutes, should be to read the Declaration of Independence out loud. It’s a declaration; let’s declare it. And one more thing: a proper Seder requires that you invite a stranger to your celebration, someone who is wandering alone in the desert, beyond the borders of your community. That shouldn’t be hard to find.
“The Statue of Liberty” via Miss Cellania of Neatorama.com — The story of the statue begins with the American Civil War. When fighting broke out in 1861, the rest of the world watched with rapt attention: Could the grand experiment in democracy survive? The United States had been an inspiration to the French, who were locked in a cycle of extremism, swinging between bloody democratic revolutions and imperial autocracy. When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated April 15, 1865, the French were crushed. More than 40,000 grieving citizens contributed to a fund to award Lincoln’s widow a gold medal … It was in this climate, in the summer of 1865, that a group of prominent Frenchmen were discussing politics at a dinner party given by Edouard René de Laboulaye, a prominent historian and law professor … He proposed that France give America a monument to liberty and independence in honor of her upcoming centennial. After all, tens of thousands of Frenchmen had just contributed to a medal for Mary Todd Lincoln-how much harder could it be to pony up for a statue? Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, an up-and-coming sculptor … wanted his monument to be just as inspiring, and his sketches leaned on the popular imagery of the time-broken chains, upheld torches, crowns meant to represent the rising sun … Bartholdi didn’t want “Liberty Enlightening the World” to be just a tribute to American freedom. The statue had to send a pointed message to France that democracy works. It didn’t take long for Bartholdi to perfect his vision for the sculpture. Getting the statue actually built, however, was another matter … Given the statue’s message, backing from the French government seemed unlikely … Laboulaye had an idea: What if he and Bartholdi pitched the project as a joint venture between the two countries? As a show of their shared friendship, France could provide the statue and America the pedestal … Bartholdi’s workmen started by creating a 4-foot model. Then they doubled the size. Then they quadrupled it to create a 38-foot-tall plaster model. The workmen then broke down the structure into 300 sections, taking each piece and enlarging it to precisely four times its size. The result? A full-scale model of the final statue — in pieces! On October 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was finally ready. New York held its first-ever ticker tape parade for her unveiling. And while hundreds of thousands cheered from Manhattan, only 2,000 people were on the island when she was finally opened to the public — a “tidy, quiet crowd,” an officer on duty told The New York Times.
“Forget plain ketchup: Try making these nine condiments for your Fourth of July cookout” via Michelle Stark of the Tampa Bay Times — Kranch. Mayocue. Mayomust. Three “new” condiments introduced by Heinz this year, all kind of weird until you really think about it. We’re not going to defend the names, but mixing classic condiments is a no-brainer. If you squint, Kranch resembles Russian dressing. In fancier circles, Mayomust might be called “mustard aioli.” For this year’s Fourth of July food spread, we are going all in on condiments. Keep the food simple. Heat up a grill, cook up some meats and veggies. And ahead of time, whip up a number of accompanying creations. We’ve broken it down by three of the most common condiments, bases onto which you can build: ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard.
— D.C. MATTERS —
“Trump says delayed immigration raids will start after July 4” via Shannon Pettypiece of Bloomberg — Trump announced the timeline for the plan to reporters gathered in the Oval Office. He had postponed the action about two weeks ago to see if lawmakers from both parties could work out a solution to U.S. asylum policies. Before the delay, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents had been poised to start attempting to round up about 2,000 people in 10 cities, including Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and Baltimore, according to media reports. Trump said the raids were to start in the coming week.
“Trump touts July 4 military ‘salute;’ critics see politics” via Robert Burns, Lolita Baldor and Darlene Superville of The Associated Press — Under White House direction, the Pentagon was scrambling to arrange for an Air Force B-2 stealth bomber and other warplanes to conduct flyovers of the celebration on the National Mall. There will be Navy F-35 and F-18 fighter jets, the Navy Blue Angels aerial acrobatics team, Army and Coast Guard helicopters and Marine V-22 Ospreys. Trump, casting the extravaganza as a “Salute to America,” tweeted that military leaders are “thrilled” to participate. If so, they were hiding it well. Pentagon officials referred questions to the White House. Military officials would not even say on the record whether Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, plans to attend.
Looks like some of the seating and rally-style big screen TV’s are going up for Trump’s July 4th event at the Lincoln Memorial. Bike racks in place to keep most folks out of this area. Some views of the Memorial will be obstructed by the equipment. pic.twitter.com/MGMAXIWOal
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) July 2, 2019
“White House gives tickets to Trump’s July Fourth extravaganza to GOP donors” via Juliet Eilperin, Dan Lamothe and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — The Republican National Committee confirmed on Tuesday that it had received some passes to Trump’s address at the Lincoln Memorial, which it described as standard for presidential events. The speech will kick off the “Salute to America,” a revamped Independence Day observance designed by the president that will also include a military flyover and an extended fireworks display. The awarding of tickets to GOP supporters has exacerbated tensions between the Trump administration and lawmakers who have been pressing for a full accounting from federal agencies. The White House has also provided a select number of tickets to top staffers at federal agencies, who are free to distribute them as they would like.
“Everyone loves a parade? Veterans say the troops don’t.” via Howard Altman of the Tampa Bay Times — “There is not a soldier ever alive who loves a parade,” said Rob Schaefer, a retired Army Green Beret lieutenant colonel now living in St. Petersburg. “There is nothing new about that. It goes back to the days of the Roman legions.” The main reason for parade-phobia is the time and effort it requires of troops, who have plenty of other duties and already spend plenty of time on parade. “When I was an artillery officer stationed in Germany, every time there was a major movement, we were writing checks for millions of dollars to the Germans for the damage we caused chewing up roads and bridges,” said Greg Celestan, a retired Army lieutenant colonel now living in Tampa.
“’Baby Trump’ balloon gets permit to be present for July 4 in D.C.” via Devan Cole of CNN — The group, Code Pink, got approval from the National Park Service to have the balloon present between 4 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET on July 4 on a section of the National Mall near the Washington Monument. The permit states that “all balloons are prohibited” on the National Mall, but that the service would allow the Trump balloon to be present if it adhered to certain conditions, including being “filled with cold-air only and unable to achieve flight.” In a statement, the group expressed frustration with the permit, saying that it “is not in the location we requested — within line of sight of the Lincoln Memorial where President Trump will be speaking.”
“’I don’t believe there will be a deal’ between U.S. and China, Rick Scott says” via Elliot Smith of CNBC — Scott told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” that he did not believe there would be a deal at the end of the drawn-out trade war between the two nations, and reiterated the contention that Huawei represents a threat to U.S. national security, a claim the company has vehemently denied. “Think about this — they’re stealing technology, they negotiated a deal and then walked back — I mean how many times do you negotiate a deal, somebody walks back, and the deal ever closes?” Scott said.
“Feds send immigrant girls to Lake Worth-area facility” via Chris Persaud and Wayne Washington of the Palm Beach Post — As many as 141 children described in zoning documents as “unaccompanied minors” can be placed into the facility, located at 4445 Pine Forest Drive off of Military Trail south of Lake Worth Road. The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants is managing the facility through a contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. The term “unaccompanied minor” has generally been used to describe children who have left their homes and attempted to gain entry into the United States on their own. It is not known if the facility will house only such immigrants or if it also will be used to house children separated from their parents At the border.
“Stephanie Murphy bill takes on ‘deepfakes’” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Murphy is one of three original co-sponsors of a bipartisan bill that would instruct the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to assess the threat from “deepfakes,” internet-spread information hoaxes that go as far as a widely-circulated, computer-generated animation video fictitiously showing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg claiming to be taking control of the world’s data. Murphy’s fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer of Washington introduced HR 3600 … the “Deepfakes Report Act of 2019.” The bill calls for Homeland Security to publish annual reports on the rising threat of digital information forgeries, or “deepfake” technology,” and the ramifications for national security and democracy.
— 2020 —
“Record advertising wave heading for swing states in 2020” via Elena Schneider of POLITICO Florida — Advertising Analytics, a political ad-tracking firm, expects the total cost of TV and digital ads for the next election to hit over $6 billion — a 57 percent increase over the total in last year’s hotly contested and expensive midterm elections, driven by a huge jump in digital video advertising. Over one-quarter of the $6 billion total, $1.6 billion, will be spent on digital video platforms, primarily Facebook and Google, while broadcast and cable TV stations will take in a whopping $4.4 billion. And the firm expects to see Democratic presidential candidates and their allies spent $971 million on TV and digital ads in their primary, before the party even gets to the business of running against Trump.
“Republican abortion bills inspire EMILY’s List targeting effort” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Florida is one of 20 states the organization will be focusing on in the upcoming elections, recruiting, coaching and supporting Democratic women with pro-abortion choice platforms toward the goal of flipping at least one legislative chamber, in a new program called Focus 2020. “As we went through the list of states, what we’ll be doing is we’ve already got staff and we’ll be adding additional staff on the ground, recruiting challengers to pick up opportunities, as well as working with incumbents WHO are in challenging districts to hold seats,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List. Schriock made a point of noting the wave of abortion bills across the country, including in nine states that significantly restricted access to abortions
— THE TRAIL —
“Florida Democratic Party says they’re returning private prison contribution” via Mitch Perry of Florida Phoenix — Reacting to severe criticism from activist groups and other party members, the Florida Democratic has decided to give back a $10,000 donation to a political action committee for the private prison company G4S Secure Solutions. G4S subcontracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to transport undocumented
“Alcee Hastings, battling pancreatic cancer, says he’ll run for reelection and see Trump’s defeat in 2020” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — “I am going to run,” Hastings said in a brief interview after a late-June speech at the Deerfield Beach Democratic Club. “I’m going to be well enough to do that.” Hastings, 82, is a singular figure in South Florida politics, beloved by Democrats and vilified by Republicans. He was a crusading civil rights activist, a Florida circuit court judge, and a U.S. district judge WHO was impeached and removed from that job. Hastings has never held back about Trump. Just before the presidential election, he called Trump a “sentient pile of excrement.” He said Trump is regularly “denigrating the dignity of the office” and characterized what comes from the president as “bull,” but used an earthier version of the word.
“Jason Pizzo files for 2022 reelection in Senate District 38” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Pizzo took over that seat in the 2018 election after ousting incumbent state Sen. Daphne Campbell in the Democratic primary. Pizzo went unchallenged in the general election. In his inaugural Legislative Session, Pizzo’s most high-profile legislation was a bill requiring prison staff to provide women with necessary hygiene products (SB 332). The Legislature approved the House version of that legislation (HB 49), which was pushed by Reps. Shevrin Jones and Amy Mercado. DeSantis signed the measure into law in early June.
“National pro-veteran group backs Fiona McFarland in HD 72” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — New Politics endorsed the Sarasota Republican in her run for Florida House District 72. McFarland is one of two Republicans looking to unseat state Rep. Margaret Good, a Sarasota Democrat. “We’re thrilled to endorse Fiona because we need to elect more leaders like her who know what it means to put mission first,” said Emily Cherniak, executive director and founder of New Politics. “Fiona has dedicated her life to serving our country and solving tough problems, and she’ll put people over politics to do what’s right for Sarasota.” McFarland served in the Navy and remains a reservist. She has worked in the Navy Office of Information as assistant news director.
“Miami Springs Councilwoman Mara Zapata files for Miami-Dade School Board seat” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Zapata sent out a release noting she was jumping into the contest. “I’ve dedicated the last 30 years of my life to helping children receive the best education possible, working with new teachers to help them be the most qualified and prepared teachers they can be and guiding parents to make the best decisions for their children,” Zapata said. “I see serving on the school board as a continuation of my dedication to the betterment of our children through education.” In addition to her teaching experience, Zapata has worked as a curriculum specialist for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She also has served as an administrator at Miami Dade College, working as chairperson of K-12 teacher education programs.
— LOCAL —
“No charges filed in Scott Maddox groping complaint because of statute of limitations” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — Sgt. Cleveland Allen, a spokesman for the Tallahassee Police Department, confirmed the department recently closed its investigation into the matter because too much time has passed since the alleged incident. Earlier in the day, State Attorney Jack Campbell said the allegation, as described by the woman to the Tallahassee Democrat, couldn’t be prosecuted for the same reason. Lisa Traupane Nolan, a former Leon High classmate of Maddox, filed a report with TPD on June 26 alleging Maddox reached inside her dress and touched her breast in a bathroom during a class reunion in July 2016 at Goodwood Museum & Gardens.
“Rays sign on to SCOTUS brief backing LGBTQ rights” via Ernest Hooper of the Tampa Bay Times — The Rays joined more than 200 major American corporations signing on to an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting workplace rights for the LGBTQ community. The landmark brief calls for the court to rule that current federal civil rights law bans job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A coalition of five human rights groups submitted the brief this week ahead of oral arguments the justices will hear on Oct. 8 regarding three cases involving the issue.
“Tampa Electric, Duke Energy Florida rank in top 10 for trust by local businesses” via Malena Carollo of the Tampa Bay Times — Tampa Electric Co. and Duke Energy Florida were named “trusted business partners” in a survey of how much businesses trust their utilities. According to the survey conducted by behavior and analytics firm Escalent, Tampa Electric earned 775 points out of a possible 1000, ranking No. 6 for utilities in the South, while Duke Energy had 769 points, ranking No. 7 in the region. Florida Power & Light ranked No. 3 (789 points) in the southern region. The average score of all 78 utilities included was 744 points.
“Here’s who’s sponsoring Jane Castor’s ‘Boom by the Bay’ on July 4” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Combined, the companies and nonprofit organizations contributed more $250,000. The private Downtown Tampa Partnership is facilitating funds and spending for the event. The city of Tampa’s contribution is for extra personnel including police and fire. Contributors include several sports teams including the New York Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays and Rowdies and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Several Tampa Bay radio stations including Wild 94.1, 99.5 QYK, 98.7 The Shark, Q105 and 92.5 Maxima also contributed. Two e-scooter companies, Bird and Lime, also kicked in. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority is offering free rides on all of its routes for the event.
“Celebrating the Fourth on St. Pete Beach? Give black skimmers a break.” via Ben Leonard of the Tampa Bay Times — The most dangerous threat is fireworks. They can startle the birds and cause the adults to abandon their chicks, leaving them unprotected. That is why volunteers will be out in force, just as they are every Fourth of July. They’ll put up a fence around the colony of 600 birds nesting along the beach behind the Lido Condos at 4450 Gulf Blvd. and spend the evening trying to keep revelers from disrupting the cycle of raising chicks that have taken place since May. This is the second largest nesting colony in Florida this year.
“Inside the Terri Schiavo case: Pinellas judge who decided her fate opens up” via Tampa Bay Times — The hearing on whether to remove Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube was to start at noon. But Judge George Greer, always punctual, wasn’t there. Hours before, he and his wife had packed up their Yorkie, Mr. Bailey, and gotten on an airplane. The Pinellas County sheriff was that worried about Greer’s safety.
“Amendment 4 law on ex-felon voting rights brings confusion. Here’s what it says and means.” via Orlando Sentinel — A war of words has broken out over the Amendment 4 bill signed into law Friday by Gov. Ron DeSantis, which requires former felons to pay off all fines and fees included as part of their sentence before their right to vote is restored. Here is what the law says and does.
— DOE DATA DIP FOR MSD —
Student standardized test performance is up across the state according to test data released by the Florida Department of Education Friday.
Scores on the Florida Standards Assessments English and language arts test have gone up a full percentage point year-over-year for third through 10th graders, and scores on the various FSA math tests are also improving.
Brevard County Schools have the most to celebrate — their students outpaced the state in nearly every metric. The district school boards in Collier, Indian River, Lee, Marion and Martin are also heralding improvements.
In Bay County, which was ravaged by Hurricane Michael a couple of months into the 2018-19 school year, students persevered and posted a 4-point improvement on the FSA English test, while middle and high schoolers saw a 7-point jump on the science assessment.
While Broward County students showed modest improvement overall, there was a major dip at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
MSD students were excused from taking the FSA tests last year due to the Feb. 2018 massacre that left 17 dead, so the new results are the first window into how that tragedy has affected the students’ academic performance.
MSD students’ pass rate on the Algebra 1 End-of-Course exam fell from 74 percent to 59 percent, while U.S. History scores fell 8 points, from 87 percent to 79 percent. The English, biology and geometry test result dips were less pronounced, only dropping a couple of points apiece.
— OPINIONS —
“Joe Henderson: A question for Marco Rubio: Where is the love for migrants?” via Florida Politics — A couple of days ago Rubio quoted from Paul’s letter to the Galatians, noting: “For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love.” That’s a noble sentiment, for sure. The King of Kings declared we’d all be judged one day by how we care “for the least of these.” So, how is Rubio doing these days on that command? It’s a question worth asking amid the growing condemnation for conditions at migrant detention centers — including a privately-run facility in Homestead?
“Ardian Zika: American optimism” via Florida Politics — American optimism is a unique phenomenon in the history of humankind and very contagious around the world. The high degree of optimism is derived directly from our Founding Fathers, that Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is given by God and embedded throughout their early writings. The fundamental belief that tomorrow will be better than today is the underlying force that drives us as Americans to give our best today. Overcoming adversity and challenges with the unapologetic attitude of optimism is unique to American society. Be wary of sources that want to undermine American optimism and our belief in a better future. We must preserve and defend unapologetically individual liberties which are at the core of American optimism.
“A ‘poll tax’ by another name is just as unjust” via South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — The issue belongs in court. No legislative action should go unchecked that affects voting rights. The cases were consolidated and assigned to U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee. He has repeatedly ruled against the state in election law cases, including his dismantling of a “fatally flawed” pre-Amendment 4 restoration of rights system last year. The tenacious and fearless Walker will act in Floridians’ best interests. This challenge to SB 7066 marks at least the eighth time in recent years that a legal challenge to state voting laws is before a federal court. Some may find this trend troubling, but we find it reassuring that the fate of Floridians’ basic constitutional rights must survive intense legal scrutiny.
“A mistake in my past cost me my right to vote. Now I’m grateful to have my voice back.” via Lance Wissinger for the News-Press.com — I made a terrible decision one night to drive home after having some drinks with friends. That moment and lapse of judgment have been a part of me ever since. I carry with me the guilt of knowing that I took a life. I promised that I would live my life to the best of my ability because it’s not fair that he can’t live his. I took that attitude with me through my incarceration. Now thanks to the passage of Amendment 4 and the many returning citizens like myself that made this happen, I am able to vote. I am able to feel like a full citizen again.
“Matthew Popejoy: Whether on the battlefield or here at home, highly skilled CRNAs are saving lives” via Florida Politics — Overall, CRNAs are required to have a minimum of seven to eight years of education, training and experience. For me, hands-on clinical experience in hospitals and other care settings was an integral part of my training and placed a strong emphasis on working autonomously. Even as I look forward to my new CRNA role, I know that my fellow CRNAs are facing an important challenge. Well over half of the states in our country allow CRNAs to practice autonomously, with no requirements for supervision by a physician. Florida, however, has not yet modernized its laws to allow CRNAs to practice independently to the full extent of their training and expertise. I fully support removing barriers for CRNAs in Florida.
“Taking scholarships from low-income kids doesn’t help anyone” via Doug Tuthill of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell’s latest attack on a remarkably successful 18-year-old scholarship serving underprivileged students ostensibly derive from a concern over potential discrimination against LGBTQ+ scholarship students in a small number of schools that express disapproval of homosexuality in their codes of conduct. (Over the last six months we’ve identified 38 schools with such policies out of 1,800 reviewed.) An email campaign launched by Maxwell to encourage donors to question their commitment has already caused 20 students to lose their scholarships this fall. How does taking scholarships from disadvantaged children fix a complex national issue with deep social roots and entanglement in state and federal law and court precedent?
“Hillsborough’s smart move to honor Amendment 4” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — The amendment voters approved in November is crystal clear: Felons not convicted of murder or sex crimes shall have their voting rights restored “upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation.” Republican lawmakers interpreted the restriction expansively, declaring it requires the payment of all court fines, fees and restitution. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren wants to address this injustice en masse. Warren is exploring the possibility of having judges waive court costs in favor of community service for many cases. A so-called “rocket docket,” or special court, could transform the debts that hundreds of thousands of defendants owe to the criminal justice system. It would correct this legislative abuse and provide community service benefits in return.
— MOVEMENTS —
Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers announces 2019-20 leadership — The new board of directors was installed during the organization’s annual summer conference, this year held at the Omni Championsgate. Led by incoming President and Polk County Clerk of Courts and County Comptroller Stacy M. Butterfield CPA, board members will serve one-year terms. The terms for all officers and board members began July 1, 2019. Executive Committee officers include Clay County Clerk Tara S. Green (President-Elect), Manatee County Clerk Angelina “Angel” Colonneso, Esq., Martin County Clerk Carolyn Timmann (Treasurer), and Suwannee County Clerk Barry Baker (Secretary).
New and renewed lobbying registrations:
Douglas Bell, Metz Husband & Daughton: SMA Healthcare
Michael Corcoran, Jeff Johnston, Anita Berry, Matt Blair, Amanda Stewart, Corcoran & Johnston: Women of Tomorrow
Brian Ballard, Chris Dorworth, Ballard Partners: Centurion Insurance Services Group
Macy Harper, Capitol Linked: Crypto Records
David Harvey, David F. Harvey & Associates: Union County Sheriffs Office
— ALOE —
“Farewell, firecracker: Daytona’s summertime NASCAR race on the move” via Ken Willis of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — “July in Daytona” has been part of NASCAR since 1959. In 1988 when the race was moved from July 4 to the first Saturday in July, and in 1998 when it was moved to nighttime after the installation of lights at the Speedway. In the first big effort to shuffle the scheduling landscape, the Coke Zero Sugar 400 leaves its midseason, Fourth of July-themed home to become the 26th race on a 36-race schedule. Next year, it will be the final race of NASCAR’s 26-race regular season and will officially set the table for the 10-race playoffs.
“Florida’s Coco Gauff, 15, continues making history at Wimbledon” via Ryan DiPentima of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Delray Beach’s Gauff defeated five-time Wimbledon champ Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4 in what was just the third tour-level match of her career. She did so while also making history as the youngest competitor to ever qualify for the tournament’s main draw in the professional era. Williams, at 39, entered as the oldest in this year’s tournament. “Honestly I don’t really know how to feel,” said Gauff — ranked No. 313 in the world entering Monday — in a post-round interview. “This was the first time I ever cried after a match. While winning, obviously.”
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Happy birthday to Fatima Perez. Happy Independence Day birthday to Rep. Barbara Watson. Happy birthday this weekend to state Sens. Janet Cruz and Joe Gruters, Rep. MaryLynn Magar and Stan McClain, Ron Barnette, Susanne Dudley, Brad Herold, our friend James Kotas, Tim Nungesser, Tim Parsons of Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, Van Poole, and Tim Stapleton of the Florida Medical Association.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.