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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 6.14.19

Scoop — Donald Trump raising money in Miami after Orlando campaign kickoff” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Trump will follow up his Tuesday night rally in Orlando with a big-dollar fundraiser in South Florida. The event invitation is sparse on details, beyond date and location — June 19 at the Trump National Doral. The host committee, meanwhile, is small but as connected as it gets: Republican National Committee co-chairs Ronna McDaniel and Tommy Hicks, Jr., along with Trump Victory Finance Chairman Todd Ricketts. The fundraiser offers two admission tiers … and both are six-figure spends. The incumbent is aggressively fundraising already. He raised over $30 million in Q1 and had $41.3 million on hand as of the end of March.

It’s so far in the future, it may be hard to see, but there is already developing a race to be President of the Florida Senate in 2024. We know, we know, Travis Hutson vs. Kathleen Passidomo isn’t even decided yet AND it’s probably 50/50 that the Republicans will still control the Chamber in 2024, but the angling is, in fact, well underway. Right now, the race is between Ben Albritton and Manny Diaz, who were elected to the Senate in 2018. As we said, it’s extraordinarily early to think about such things, but there has been at least one interesting development in this race within the last month. Albritton has retained fundraisers Kris Money and Trey McCarley to help him build his war-chest. There are a lot of talented fundraisers in The Process, but Money and McCarley are certainly among the best. Albritton’s hiring of the duo certainly sends a signal that he’s in the race to win it.

Welcome to the world, James Warren Brzozowski, the bouncing baby boy of the oh-so-talented Lyndsey (of Bascom Communications & Consulting) and Mike Brzozowski. He made his grand entrance on Friday, June 7.


@DavidAxelrod: I did 150 campaigns and did not accept “oppo” from ANY foreign government much less an adversary. Let’s not pretend this is normal. Or legal. Or right.

@Poniewozik: I’m not going to believe that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is leaving as White House press secretary until she denies it herself.

@SamanthaJGross: Bennet vs. Biden, Booker vs. Buttigieg vs. Castro vs. de Blasio vs. Delaney vs. Gabbard vs. Gillibrand vs. Harris vs. Hickenlooper vs. Inslee vs. Klobuchar vs. O’Rourke vs. Ryan vs. Sanders vs. Swalwell vs. Warren vs. Williamson vs. Yang totally rolls off the tongue, right?

@NewsBySmiley: So much for that story I wrote back in April passively predicting that @WayneMessam would make the Miami debates

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@NewsGuyGreg: Unpopular opinion, but can someone please explain to me the big deal about Publix subs? I don’t get it …


Father’s Day — 2; USA vs. Chile in 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup — 2; Rick Scott hosts a Hurricane Preparedness Conference in Orlando — 3; Trump formally announces his 2020 reelection campaign in Orlando — 4; Florida Chamber Learners to Earners Workforce Summit begins — 4; “Yellowstone” Season 2 premieres — 5; “Toy Story 4” opens — 6; First Democratic presidential debates in Miami — 12; “The Loudest Voice,” about Fox News and Roger Ailes, premieres — 16; “Spider-Man: Far From Home” opens — 18; Independence Day — 20; 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing — 36; “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” premieres — 42; Second Democratic presidential debates in Detroit — 46; Florida Gators opens vs. Miami football — 71; St. Petersburg primary election — 73; UCF Knights football opens vs. Florida A&M — 76; USF Bulls football opens vs. Wisconsin Badgers — 77; FSU Seminoles football opens vs. Boise State — 78; Labor Day — 80; First Interim Committee Week for 2020 Session — 94; “Joker” opens — 112; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 136; Scott Maddox trial begins — 143; 2019 General Election — 144; 3rd Annual Florida Internet and Television FITCon starts — 146; 2020 Session begins — 214; Iowa Caucuses — 234; New Hampshire Primaries — 242; Florida’s presidential primary — 277; 2020 General Election — 508.


Prominent governor shut out after final day to qualify” via Zach Montellaro of POLITICO — The DNC has said that no more than 20 candidates can participate in this first round of debates. Twenty candidates have met the qualifications so far, leaving no spots to spare, 14 have hit both the polling and grassroots donor threshold, effectively guaranteeing them a spot on stage: Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroTulsi GabbardKirsten GillibrandKamala HarrisJay InsleeAmy KlobucharBeto O’RourkeBernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang. An additional six candidates have only crossed the polling threshold: Michael BennetBill de BlasioJohn DelaneyJohn HickenlooperTim Ryan and Eric Swalwell. The four candidates who have not qualified are [SteveBullockMike Gravel, Wayne Messam and Seth Moulton.


Ron DeSantis says he won’t tolerate LGBTQ discrimination, doesn’t need ‘piece of paper’ to prove it” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — DeSantis said his administration wouldn’t discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. “I can tell you, my office, we do merit only, and I don’t need a piece of paper to tell me to do that. It’s in my best interest to do that.” The Governor’s Office this week dealt with some public outcry after initially releasing a proclamation remembering Pulse. Originally, the message failed to mention mostly LGBTQ people died in the attack on the gay club. But DeSantis, pegging the oversight on an unnamed staffer, issued a corrected proclamation stating Florida “will not tolerate hatred toward the LGBTQ and Hispanic communities.”

Paving the way: DeSantis signs bill allowing self-driving vehicles in Florida” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — “Signing this legislation paves the way for Florida to continue as a national leader in transportation innovation and technological advancement,” DeSantis said. The bill (HB 311), sponsored by Republican state Rep. Jason Fischer, defines autonomous vehicles as any car with hardware and software that make it capable of operating without a driver. Of prime importance, it makes it legal for autonomous vehicles to operate on Florida roads. “This means Florida takes the pole position in the deployment of autonomous vehicles in the country,” said state Sen. Jeff Brandes, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate. “You’re going to see more and more companies coming here.”

Ron DeSantis signs CS/HB 311 which removes obstacles to the development of autonomous vehicle technology and helping Florida’s position as a leading state for transportation innovation.

DeSantis announces $75M to help citrus recover from Irma” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — “I’m hoping this relief will help,” he told growers gathered in Bonita Springs. “We are in a much better position now than a year ago, and let’s keep momentum going.” It was welcome news to growers still hurting from the storm some two years later. State officials estimate more than 420,000 acres of citrus groves were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Irma. That resulted in $760 million in total losses. He lauded Jared Moskowitz, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, for helping expedite payments.

DeSantis to sign ‘sanctuary cities’ bill” via Ana Ceballos of the News Service of Florida — DeSantis will sign legislation to ban so-called sanctuary cities in Florida, one of the most controversial issues of the 2019 legislative session and a top priority of the Governor. A DeSantis spokeswoman confirmed he would sign the bill, and Senate sponsor Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican who doubles as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, said he would be in Okaloosa County with DeSantis and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, for a bill-signing ceremony. DeSantis promised to ban sanctuary cities during his campaign for Governor last year. The bill, which calls for one of the strictest bans on sanctuary cities in the nation, was formally sent to the governor Thursday.

Expecting large crowds, ‘sanctuary city’ bill signing switched Panhandle venues” via Samantha Gross of the Miami Herald — The bill signing for a piece of legislation to ban so-called “sanctuary cities” in Florida has generated quite a bit of public interest. So much so, that Okaloosa County had to find a bigger room. The bill, set to be signed by DeSantis, is expected to draw one of the largest crowds the Okaloosa County Commission has ever had, according to spokesman Christopher Saul. The piece of legislation was originally set to be signed at the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, but the signing was moved to the county’s commission chambers in Shalimar to accommodate more spectators. The sheriff’s office can only hold around 100 people, while the chamber can fit eight times that.

Drug database bill goes to DeSantis” via the News Service of Florida — DeSantis formally received 22 bills from the Legislature, including a measure that Attorney General Ashley Moody has sought to help in a legal fight against the pharmaceutical industry. The bill (HB 1253) would allow lawyers working for the state to have access to information in a prescription drug database that was created to prevent “doctor shopping” by drug addicts and traffickers. The information in the database could help provide evidence in civil cases, including in a lawsuit that Moody filed against the pharmaceutical industry to try to recoup money the state has spent because of the opioid epidemic.

Happening today — Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried will speak to the Capital Tiger Bay Club, 11:30 a.m., Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, 505 West Pensacola St., Tallahassee.

Chuck Clemons back in court for social media blocking” via Andrew Caplan of the Gainesville Sun — Clemons is being sued in federal court by Gainesville resident Peter Morgan Attwood after Attwood was blocked on Twitter by Clemons for asking the lawmaker to explain a 2018 vote. Clemons’ attorney argues that his social media accounts are protected by “legislative immunity.” In February 2018, Clemons voted to block discussion in the legislature on HB 219, a bill to ban assault weapons. Attwood retweeted Emma Gonzalez, a student and survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Attwood, a Gainesville videographer, added to the Feb. 20 tweet with “Hello @ChuckClemons21 I’m a constituent. Please explain this vote please. Thank you.” He was blocked soon after on Twitter and Facebook.

Special elections expected to increase GOP seats in Legislature” via Lloyd Dunkelberger of The Florida Phoenix — The House will be back at full strength next week, with upcoming special elections filling vacant seats … The Florida House went through the 2019 session with three vacant seats. DeSantis was responsible; he appointed three House members in January to lead agencies in his new administration … Republicans are favored to win the two contested races in North Florida and Pasco County, bringing the GOP’s total number of seats to 73, up from 71. The increase is significant in that it would give the GOP enough votes to pass proposed constitutional amendments out of the House in the 2020 session, which begins in January.

Happening today — Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, Reps. Byron Donalds, Bob Rommel and Spencer Roach will discuss the 2019 legislative session during a breakfast meeting of the Collier County Men’s Republican Club, 7:30 a.m., Pelican Marsh Golf Club, 1810 Persimmons Dr., Naples.


Shortfall leaves attorneys, court reporters in lurch as DeSantis ponders budget” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel — A $17 million shortfall at an agency that pays indigent criminal defendants for legal counsel means state vendors supplying court reporters, private investigators, and expert witnesses are going without pay for at least two months. The Justice Administrative Commission pays attorneys, investigators, forensics experts, and others on behalf of criminal defendants who can’t afford representation when there is a conflict with the public defender’s office. The agency ran out of money to pay vendors in mid-April but told them they would be paid when DeSantis signs the budget because the Legislature put in $15.6 million to backfill its coffers for the current budget year, which ends June 30.

Florida’s nontribal casinos set revenue record of $569 million in 2018” via David Lyons of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The money represented a 4.1 percent increase over 2017, and marked the ninth consecutive year on the upside, said the American Gaming Association of Washington D.C., in an annual survey. Nationally, the figure hit $41.7 billion, also a record. Florida’s state tax collectors went along for the ride, taking in $199.2 million in 2018, also a 4 percent boost. The commercial casinos are taxed at 35 percent of electronic gaming device revenue. By state law, all tax revenue from commercial casinos flows into the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund.

Nontribal casinos — like Hallandale Beach’s Big Easy Casino — also brought in record revenues.

Vendor for school social media monitoring contract drops protest — Social Sentinel, the vendor bidding on a statewide social media monitoring tool, is dropping its challenge to the Florida Department of Education, which has investigated the company’s flawed bid. First reported by POLITICO Florida, Social Sentinel and Abacode, a cybersecurity contractor based in Tampa, each challenged a DOE the decision in April to award a contract to NTT Data. Last week, after an administrative law judge combined the two protests into a single petition against the state, NTT intervened. The company asked Social Sentinel and Abacode to produce documents to support their claims denouncing NTT and the state’s selection process. Abacode responded to NTT, saying the answers are part of a DOE records request.

’System failure’: FAMU fires two finance officials, orders audit of athletics payments” via Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat — Two top financial officers of Florida A&M University have been fired as part of an ongoing investigation into monies transferred from auxiliary funds to cover deficits in the university’s Athletics Department. That practice is a violation of the Florida Board of Governors policy and has gotten FAMU in trouble in the past with the university’s governing board. The fired employees are Ronica Mathis, director of university budgets, and Tiffany Holmes, university controller and assistant vice president. The terminations come on the heels of last Friday’s sudden resignation by Wanda Ford, vice president for finance and administration and the university’s CFO.

UCF improperly transferred nearly $100M for construction, investigation finds” via Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel — The new dollar figure is nearly triple the amount the University of Central Florida spent to build Trevor Colbourn Hall, the project that was flagged by the state auditor general’s office last summer, kicking off a political firestorm involving the school. Lead investigator Joey Burby said his law firm has reviewed documents and interviewed more than 25 “witnesses” to the University of Central Florida’s spending practices involving leftover operating money. But some key figures, including former presidents John Hitt and Dale Whittaker, have refused to cooperate.

Justices reject challenge to FPL solar projects” via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida — The state Supreme Court rejected a business group’s challenge to a decision that allowed Florida Power & Light to recoup money from customers for a series of solar-energy projects. The Court unanimously ruled in favor of the Florida Public Service Commission, which in 2017 approved FPL’s plan to recover the costs of the projects through base electric rates. The Florida Industrial Power Users Group challenged the approval, contending, in part, that the projects would not be cost-effective. But Chief Justice Charles Canady, in a 16-page opinion, pointed to a 2016 settlement agreement that set base rates for FPL. Part of that agreement allowed FPL to go back to the Public Service Commission to seek increases for solar projects.


ICYMI from last night’s ‘Last Call’ — Those leading the effort to make the adult use of marijuana legal under Florida law say they’re still waiting to hear whether Orlando mega-lawyer John Morgan — specifically, his wallet — is with them. The “Regulate Florida” organization is behind a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize weed, and Tampa attorney Michael C. Minardi — its campaign manager — says many have asked him whether Morgan will support the effort … Morgan — who was instrumental in the 2016 passage of a medical marijuana state constitutional amendment — hasn’t yet responded, Minardi said. A request for comment was sent to Morgan earlier Thursday.

The ‘legalize marijuana’ crowd is looking to John Morgan to help get a constitutional amendment on the ballot under the new rules. 

Paul Renner continues strong fundraising with $54,500 May” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Touting the $854,000 raised between the election and Session, the HD 24 incumbent said: “When we can explain our side, we win.” The Palm Coast Republican, who will be Speaker in a few years, continued in May to marshal resources, bringing in $54,500 between one of his campaign committees and his campaign account. His Florida Foundation for Liberty political committee hauled in $44,000, mostly from the construction industry. The Florida Transportation Builders Association gave $10,000, in addition to $2,334 in in-kind contributions related to a fundraiser. Florida Blue donated $10,000, while the Keeping Florida Affordable political committee (largely a Jacksonville donor class vehicle) ponied up $5,000.

Florida Retail Federation endorses Randy Maggard for HD 38 — The Republican Maggard is running in the special election for the Pasco County seat against Democrat Kelly Smith. The Florida Retail Federation represents retailers in various industries throughout the state, including more than 270,000 retail establishments. “Randy has been a retailer for more than 30 years, so he knows firsthand what laws and regulations need to be changed to help enhance Florida’s retail industry,” said FRF President and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We believe his business knowledge, passion for his community and his service on local charitable organizations make him a terrific candidate, and we look forward to working with him to support Florida’s retail industry.”

Jesse Purdon joins race for Ray Rodrigues’ seat” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — “I have a record of fighting for limited and responsible government, and I’m ready to take that fight to Tallahassee,” said Purdon, a former U.S. House staffer. “When it comes to defending the ideals of free market capitalism, the Second Amendment, and the right to life, you will find no stronger advocate than me.” Purdon also announced a June 25 campaign kickoff at Bonita Village. The Bonita Springs grassroots activist now faces Sanibel City Council member Jason Maughan in the Republican primary for HD 76. Rodrigues cannot seek reelection because of term limits and is instead running for a Senate seat.

Shevrin Jones backs Brian Johnson as his replacement in HD 101” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — “District 101 will be in good hands! Let’s get behind Brian Johnson to take over #ThePEOPLES seat,” Jones wrote on Twitter. The endorsement comes after news Johnson added more than $20,000 to his campaign for the HD 101 seat for the second straight month. “For this people-powered campaign, there is no task too small nor a goal too big, and I am committed to doing the work that is required to win this race,” Johnson said in a release on those numbers. The other three HD 101 candidates, all Democrats as well, lagged behind Johnson’s May numbers.

Happening today — Candidates for June 18 special elections in House District 7 and House District 38 face a deadline for filing reports showing finance activity through Thursday. Port St. Joe Republican Jason Shoaf and Tallahassee Democrat Ryan Terrell are running in North Florida’s District 7. Dade City Republican Maggard and Wesley Chapel Democrat Smith are running in Pasco County’s District 38.

Buddy Dyer expands mayoral campaign war-chest” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Dyer posted $88,725 in campaign contributions in May, including 62 maximum-donation $1,000 checks, many from real estate development interests and companies that do business with the city of Orlando. He has three opponents in the nonpartisan November election. Among them, Orlando City Commissioner Sam Ings picked up $5,700 in May campaign contributions, and nonprofit director Aretha Simons gathered $4,915. That leaves Dyer with $355,393 collected and about $276,000 in the bank at the start of June. Ings has raised $33,474 so far and entered June with $25,125 in the bank. Simons has collected $41,079 so far but entered June with just over $12,000 left in her account.

— 2020 —

Trump 2020 campaign ad payments hidden by layers of shell companies” via Anna Massoglia of — The Trump 2020 campaign funneled money to a shell company tied to ad buyers at the center of an alleged illegal coordination scheme with the National Rifle Association (NRA) as recently as May 2019. The previously unreported ad buys for Trump’s reelection campaign routed through a secretive limited-liability company known as Harris Sikes Media LLC were revealed in Federal Communications Commission (FCC) records. The Trump campaign stopped reporting payments to ad buyers at American Media & Advocacy Group following allegations that the company facilitated illegal coordination between the campaign and the NRA through American Media’s affiliates National Media Research, Planning & Placement and Red Eagle Media Group.

Donald Trump is playing a reelection shell game, using shell companies.

Why the Trump campaign won’t pay police bills” via Dave Levinthal of The Center for Public Integrity’s Dave Levinthal — When Lebanon City Hall sent Trump’s campaign a $16,191 invoice for police and other public safety costs associated with his [Ohio] event, Trump didn’t respond. At least nine other city governments are still waiting for Trump to pay public safety-related invoices they’ve sent his presidential campaign committee in connection with his political rallies. Some invoices are three years old. In all, city governments say Trump’s campaign owes them at least $841,219. Must Trump pay? That depends on who you ask. The cities are adamant Trump should pay up. But in many of these cases, there are no signed contracts between the municipal governments and the Trump campaign.

Joe Biden can’t stop using the toxic ‘lock up your daughters’ joke” via Emma Roller of Slate — Another uncomfortable habit of his surfaced that almost as clearly shows the type of retrograde personal approach to interacting with women Biden refuses to relinquish. After meeting an Iowa voter’s 13-year-old granddaughter in Eldridge, Biden addressed the girl’s brothers, telling them, “You’ve got one job here, keep the guys away from your sister.” The subtext of these jokes … Biden wants to alert these girls and young women — and their families — to the fact that he finds them very attractive, and therefore they are in danger. These girls don’t have a say in when and how their sexual lives begin — that’s up to Biden and the designated guardians.


Federal watchdog recommends Kellyanne Conway be removed for Hatch Act violations” via Axios — The Office of Special Counsel has determined that White House counselor Conway repeatedly violated the Hatch Act and recommended she be removed from the federal workforce. The Hatch Act bars federal employees from engaging in political activity that could influence the results of an election while operating in their official capacity. The OSC determined that Conway violated the law by “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in an official capacity during television interviews and on social media.” The House Oversight Committee announced that it would hold a hearing with the OSC on June 26 to review the allegations. Conway will be invited to attend.

Rick Scott on FOX News: U.S. must stand up to China — Scott, Florida’s junior Republican U.S. Senator, appeared on “America’s Newsroom” on Thursday morning to discuss Trump’s ongoing trade negotiations with China and how “China’s growing influence in Latin America poses a threat to American families.”

To view the clip, click on the image below:

Charlie Crist not pushing impeachment” via Robin Bravender of Florida Phoenix — “I think we need to have our committees conduct their appropriate investigations, and thereafter we can probably come to a conclusion,” Crist told the Florida Phoenix during a brief interview on Capitol Hill. Asked whether Crist has specific questions he wants answered as the House continues its investigations, he said, “Just the facts.” Crist has been critical of Trump’s behavior as it was portrayed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. It is “clear the president attempted to obstruct the [RobertMueller investigation for fear it would undermine his presidency,” Crist said in an April news release.

Assignment editors — U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor meet with health care practitioners, experts, advocates and patients on strengthening protections for our neighbors with preexisting conditions. Afterward, she will hold a media availability, 10:45 a.m., Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, 1002 E. Palm Ave., Tampa.

Greg Steube introduces resolution for North Korea to return U.S.S. PuebloSteube, a Republican congressman from Sarasota, is asking the country to return the U.S. Navy ship it seized half a century ago. “Since 1968, North Korea has illegally held the Pueblo, and it is long past due that this vessel be rightfully returned,” Steube said. “There are veterans in my district and across the country that served valiantly on this ship, and we ought to honor their service by bringing this ship home.” North Korea seized the Pueblo and detained its crew during an intelligence collection mission in the Sea of Japan; the vessel in international waters. The crew was released, but the ship has remained in North Korean custody.

U.S. government fines companies over Cuba-related travel violations” via Hatzel Vela of — Three U.S.-based companies are paying the U.S. Treasury Department more than $1 million for providing “Cuba-related travel services” that violated regulations. Washington state-based Expedia agreed to pay $325,406 to avoid potential civil liability. Between April 2011 and October 2014, the Treasury Department said Expedia “dealt in property or interests in property of Cuba or Cuban nationals by assisting 2,221 persons — some of whom were Cuban nationals — with travel or travel-related services for travel within Cuba or between Cuba and locations outside the United States.” Florida-based Hotelbeds USA has agreed to pay $222,705 for providing Cuba-related travel services to 703 non-U. S. persons between December 2011 and June 2014. The third company, Cubasphere, agreed to pay $40,320 for Cuba travel-related violations.


First in #FlaPol — “Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis faces sexual assault allegations, files defamation counterclaim” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Ortis has been accused of sexual assault by an employee of Mayor’s Cafe and Bagel Emporium, a restaurant that Ortis co-owns. That’s according to allegations contained within documents filed in Broward Circuit Court as part of a year-old civil lawsuit. Ortis’ attorneys have denied those claims, asserting the alleged victim has “perpetuated a fraud upon the court” in “a clear effort at a money-grab” against him. They say that’s due, in part, to the alleged victim originally misstating the day on which the assault allegedly occurred. The lawsuit was filed March 2018 on behalf of Catherine Benjamin, who says she was hired to work as a cashier at the cafe on April 5, 2016. “Without saying a word, Mr. Ortis grabbed Ms. Benjamin’s left hand without her consent and forced it onto his pants in his pubic region,” the complaint alleges.

Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Oritz can’t seem to keep his hands to himself, some allege. 

Lenny Curry urges “eye toward 2020” for sales tax referendum” via David Bauerlein of the Florida Times-Union — Jacksonville Mayor Curry reiterated his opposition to a November special election for a half-cent sales tax referendum for schools, saying the School Board should have “an eye toward 2020” for the proposed referendum. “I’m open to 2020,” Curry said of possible election dates for the referendum. “The question is when and what. When should it be? I think they ought to make the case for November 2020, and then some questions need to be answered.” The City Council is on track to vote June 25 on the School Board’s request for conducting a special election this year. The proposed Nov. 5 election would have the referendum as the sole issue on the ballot.

Measles cases are on the rise, but some Tampa Bay parents won’t vaccinate their kids” via Justine Griffin of the Tampa Bay Times — A mother of three who lives and works in north Pinellas County, England Miano chose not to vaccinate her youngest after dealing with developmental issues with her second child. She believes vaccinations are the reason her son, Davis, has autism. Miano is part of a small but increasingly vocal slice of the U.S. population who distrust doctors and federal health agencies, and who often base their positions on misinformation from fringe sources. The medical community has sounded alarms. Miano sees this resistance and works to push past it. While Miano and her children have health insurance through her husband’s company, she said they don’t use it. It’s been years since any of her children have seen a pediatrician.

New Port Richey accepts settlement in lieu of wastewater spill fines” via Robert Napper of the Tampa Bay Times — The city will accept a settlement in lieu of fines stemming from a 300,000-gallon spill at the New Port Richey wastewater treatment plant last month. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued a June 10 letter to New Port Richey City Manager Debbie Manns that the spill May 4 violated Florida Administrative Code bringing fines of $2,990 in civil penalties and $250 in investigating costs. The state is offering a settlement to the city in which it can avoid paying the civil penalties by implementing an “in-kind penalty project” such as an environmental enhancement, an environmental restoration or a capital improvement project. Manns said she has agreed to the settlement.

Florida bigots plan to host a ‘Make America Straight Again’ event this week” via Colin Wolf of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay — Patrick Boyle of the Revival Baptist Church, which is located inside a rundown storefront at a Clermont strip mall, says the event will take place this Friday, just days after the three-year anniversary of 49 people getting gunned down at the gay nightclub Pulse. In a video announcing the bigot fest, Boyle says the aim is to expose “the reprobates” and “the sodomites and the filth that they’ve been spreading to the homes of families across the world and the United States of America.” He then incorrectly cites Ecclesiastes to argue that not only is homosexuality wrong, but members of the LGBTQ community cannot be saved.

Florida Pastor Patrick Boyle wants to ‘Make America Straight Again.’ Most call him a bigot.

Orlando’s Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center planning new $35 million facility” via Jason Garcia of Florida Trend — Thanks to the city of Orlando and Orange County, the 30-year-old Holocaust Center is planning to build a new $35-million home on the northern edge of downtown Orlando. At roughly 30,000 square feet, the new museum will be more than four times as big as the current facility in Maitland. It will be called the Holocaust Museum for Hope and Humanity. Orlando will lease the Holocaust land and a building — which once housed Orlando’s chamber of commerce and will either be substantially renovated or demolished — for 50 years for a dollar a year. Orange County is expected to contribute $10 million from its hotel-tax collections. That frees up the museum’s private donations to be used for operational purposes.

Defendant in face-biting attack challenges insanity rules” via Terry Spencer of The Associated Press — Austin Harrouff, 22, has said he was fleeing a demonlike figure when he ran to a home and attacked the couple living there, spitting out a piece of flesh when deputies arrived and were finally able to subdue him. An attorney for Harrouff told Circuit Judge Sherwood Bauer Jr. the law’s requirement that defendants prove insanity to a “clear and convincing” level of proof discriminates against the mentally ill because it is a higher burden than for defendants who claim self-defense or duress. Under self-defense, the burden is on prosecutors — they must prove it wasn’t. Defendants who claim duress must only prove that it is more likely than not that they acted out of necessity.

Florida State says privatizing athletics won’t change anything. Skeptics aren’t so sure.” via Will Hobson of The Washington Post — Florida State is creating a private nonprofit organization to oversee its athletic department, a move that will effectively shield athletic officials at one of Florida’s flagship public universities from having to comply with public records law. Once the transition is complete, Florida State athletics officials — just like their colleagues at Florida and Central Florida, who made similar structural changes years ago — will no longer be required by law to turn over internal financial documents, emails, text messages and other records to inquiring journalists and citizens. To Barbara Petersen and other advocates for government transparency, the announcement prompted concerns Florida State athletics officials are trying to avoid the public scrutiny and oversight that usually comes with working at a public university.


Every member of Team Trump is now enabling treason” via Rick Wilson of The Daily Beast — Mr. “No Collusion” welcomed collusion with and aid from any and all hostile foreign powers to ensure his reelection in 2020. Trump invited all comers to fuck America, good and hard, if it means he gets the goods — again, I may point out — on his Democratic opponent. Trump proved exactly what we’ve known about him for quite some time — he combines treachery, stupidity, and villainy in equal measure. After his disgusting performance in the Oval Office, I’d call Trump a political whore for foreign powers, but that would give whores a bad name. This is nothing new. Let’s not forget, Trump requested this kind of help in 2016. It wasn’t a joke. It wasn’t “Trump being Trump.”

The wandering MTV’s ‘Floribama Shores’ might be better off here than in St. Petersburg” via Frank Cerabino of the Palm Beach Post — Dear MTV executives: You may want to rethink your decision to move your reality TV show, “Floribama Shore,” from Panama City Beach to St. Petersburg this summer. St. Petersburg is more than 400 miles away from “Floribama” in the Florida Panhandle. That’s a six-hour drive. But like I said, that’s not your biggest problem with the move. And neither is the part about how St. Petersburg’s Mayor said he’s not crazy about your show tarnishing the “family friendly” image of his city. The beach is a key element of the show, which is promoted by showing the roommates walking along a shoreline together. You may not be aware of this, but summers on Florida beaches have become iffy.


Mike Griffin appointed to USF Board of Trustees” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Griffin will fill the vacancy created when Brian Lamb left the board earlier this year to join the Florida Board of Governors that oversees the state university system. Griffin’s appointment is effective immediately and runs through Jan. 6, 2020. The Florida Board of Governors had previously appointed Griffin, a Tampa real estate executive, chair of USF’s Consolidation Planning Study and Implementation Task Force. That committee oversaw details concerning USF’s consolidation of its three regional campuses into a singular accreditation. Griffin is Senior Managing Director for Savills Studley Occupier Services, a real estate solutions business in Tampa.

Jane Castor taps ex-Bill Nelson aide to help Tampa strategize” via Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times — Marley Wilkes will become the director of strategic initiatives, a position similar to one held by Christina Barker for former mayor Bob Buckhorn. Barker left the city in June 2018 to work for Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik as vice president of community partnerships and policy with the Vinik Family Offices, which manages Vinik’s independent business interests. “Marley is a consummate professional with years of experience executing major projects, building nonprofits and running campaigns,” said Castor. “Marley will be a pivotal player in my administration and an absolute asset to the entire city.” Wilkes was the executive director of Ruth’s List, which recruited Florida women to run for elected office. She served as Sen. Nelson’s campaign manager.

Jane Castor has tapped former Bill Nelson campaign manager Marley Wilkes to help her strategize Tampa’s future.

BaughmanMerrill brings on veteran Democratic consultant Bob Doyle — BaughmanMerrill, a national LGBTQ woman-led media consulting firm, is adding Doyle as Director of National Marketing and Media. Doyle brings 22 years’ experience as a national Democratic general and media consultant and as President and CEO of two national consulting firms. His victories include red-district congressional races in Florida, Indiana, Arkansas, Kansas and Kentucky as well as big wins on blue regions like Orlando, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and New Hampshire. “He has authored some of our party’s most impressive wins on the congressional and statewide battlefields over the last two decades,” said Duane Baughman. “Bob is one of the sharpest and most creative strategists I’ve ever worked with.” Doyle will split his time between Inlet Beach and California.


Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede on CBS 4 in Miami: The Sunday show provides viewers with an in-depth look at politics in South Florida, along with other issues affecting the region.

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Moderator Rob Lorei hosts a roundtable panel with Florida Politics publisher Peter Schorsch; attorney Rochelle Reback; Dan Ruth of the University of South Florida Honors College; and Sandy Graves, Pasco County GOP State committeewoman.

In Focus with Allison Walker-Torres on Bay News 9: A discussion of the legal accountability of School Resource Officers following the arrest of Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson in the wake of the Parkland shooting. Joining Walker-Torres are state Rep. Mike Beltran; Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood; and attorney Mark NeJame.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando and Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: This week’s show discusses details of Trump’s upcoming rally in Orlando; an interview with Trump reelection campaign manager Brad Parscale; and DNC Chair Tom Perez will share thoughts on the forthcoming Democratic Debate in Miami.

Politics on Your Side with Evan Donovan on News Channel 8 WFLA (NBC): Donovan speaks with House District 38 special election candidates Smith (Democrat) and Maggard (Republican).

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Gary Yordon speaks pollster Steve Vancore and attorney Sean Pittman.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: This week’s guests are Dr. Michael Binder of the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Laboratory and Daniel Henry, chair of the Duval County Democrats.


Retailers in the Sunshine State should expect record-high sales this Father’s Day.

The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) recently released a report showing the average consumer is expected to spend $139 ahead of Sunday’s holiday.

“Another big weekend and another spending record predicted, which continues to show the strength of our economy, with high consumer confidence, record-low unemployment, and other positive economic indicators,” said Scott Shalley, FRF president and CEO.

Positive trend: Nationwide, spending is expected to reach $16 billion, up from last year’s $15.3 billion. “Father’s Day spending has grown 70 percent, approximately $6.6 billion, since 2009,” an FRF news release said. “The biggest drivers of Father’s Day spending are growth in spending by consumers ages 35-44, and spending on clothing, special outings and gift cards.”

Where they’re buying: Traditional retail outlets remain the consumer’s choice of venue for Father’s Day. Thirty-nine percent of buyers will head to department stores, while 34 percent will shop online. More than half (57 percent) of consumers are using mobile devices to inform their purchases.

Recipients: Interestingly, 27 percent of consumers indicated they’re shopping for their husbands for Father’s Day. And 9 percent will purchase gifts for their sons. Meanwhile, 53 percent of consumers are shopping for their fathers or stepfathers.

— ALOE —

Three new books of Florida fiction capture the paradoxes and richness of the state” via Rebecca Renner of the Pacific Standard — Florida is firmly established in the American imagination as an oddball place. From Florida Man, the omnipresent, ever-meme-able epitome of stupid criminals, to weird fiction as full of Florida clichés as a golf course water hazard infested with alligators, to the swampy, mysterious genre known as Florida noir, in the last 30 or so years, Florida fiction has risen from the mires of regional lit into its own subgenre. This summer alone gives us three new excellent Florida books: Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, and Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett.

What FDACS Director of Cannabis Holly Bell is reading — “Kroger, nation’s largest supermarket, to carry CBD in nearly 1,000 stores” via — As the hemp and CBD market continues to evolve at hyper-speed, Kroger announced it is joining Walgreens, CVS, Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, and other major retailers that have all started carrying CBD products in their stores. Kroger, which made a “meaningful investment” in Boulder, CO-based natural foods chain Lucky’s Market, itself a leading seller of CBD products, announced it will now sell hemp-derived CBD topical products … in 945 Kroger-owned stores across 17 states. (The chain does not yet have any supermarkets in Florida.)

Florida State’s Mike Martin gets last shot at CWS title” via Steve Megaree of The Associated Press — Martin, 75, is retiring at the end of the season. His final team earned one of the last four at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament and is on a six-game win streak. He will be coaching in the College World Series for the 17th time when Florida State (41-21) faces Arkansas (46-18) on Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska. “For me to say that winning a national championship doesn’t mean that much to me, that would be a bunch of bull,” Martin said. “Obviously anybody that’s coaching wants to win a national championship. But I also understand the nuances of baseball. Anything can happen.” Former players say it would be poetic justice for Martin to cap his career.

The College World Series could be FSU Coach Mike Miller’s last hurrah.


Best wishes to Josh Aubuchon of Holland & Knight, Courtney DesistoAnnette Hansford, and Foyt Ralston.

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, Dan McAuliffe, and Drew Wilson.

The post Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 6.14.19 appeared first on Florida Politics – Campaigns & Elections. Lobbying & Government..