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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 8.22.19

For all the trouble President Donald Trump has with female voters, he manages to keep impressive women in his orbit.

That will be on display in Tampa tonight, when Kellyanne Conway and Pam Bondi headline a Women for Trump event.

The presidential adviser and former Florida attorney general each have served as high-profile surrogates for Trump. At the Tampa Convention Center, they will show other women conservatives how to organize ahead of the 2020 election season.

While polls show Donald Trump struggling with women, Kellyanne Conway remains faithful to the President.

Indeed, women throughout Trump world will appear at similar “Evening To Empower” events in swing states across the country. Presidential adviser Katrina Pierson will attend a similar event in Michigan. Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany plans to rally women in Atlanta’s suburbs.

The events serve to energize women and honor the 99th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which instituted women’s suffrage nationwide in 1920.

But the push for women voters isn’t just an historical acknowledgment. A new poll released by NBC News just Wednesday shows Trump losing the female vote significantly. 

Not only does he lag with college-educated women 63 percent to 30 percent, but he’s not underwater with non-college educated women, who favor a generic Democratic nominee to Trump by a margin of 49 percent to 43 percent.

Just don’t expect to find similar results if you take a survey at the gates of the Tampa Convention Center tonight.

Op-ed — Pam Bondi: President Donald Trump empowering women across America. Reelect him in 2020.” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Getting women to the polls in 2020 is not only a great way to commemorate what will be the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage, it’s also an opportunity for us to stand up for our own interests. The best way to celebrate the centennial anniversary of women’s suffrage will be to give Trump a victory in the 2020 presidential election, so he can keep implementing an agenda that empowers women and strengthens American families. Women who have experienced positive effects of the Trump presidency in their lives and in the lives of their families must stand up for the President, because if we don’t, the liberals will surely try to speak for us.


@BenjySarlin: There was an early 2000s craze of apocalyptic Christian fiction in which a charismatic world leader would usurp God and herald the end of the world. This was then echoed in [Barack] Obama-era conspiracies. Anyway, the president is literally tweeting about being the second coming of God.

@NikkiHaley: Enough of the false rumors. Vice President [Mike] Pence has been a dear friend of mine for years. He has been a loyal and trustworthy VP to the President. He has my complete support.

@ChrisHandJax: Dear @ABC: Please make it two nights even if nobody else qualifies. This might be the first debate opportunity for substantive discussions of policy issues. Ten candidates on stage will have the same challenges as the last two #DemDebates.

@USRepKCastor: I’m glad Republicans like @marcorubio are coming around to recognizing the scientific realities of the climate crisis, but we need real ideas to cut carbon pollution.

@FLSecofState: Thank you @GovRonDeSantis for your support of FL joining ERIC! From election security to voter registration, @GovRonDeSantis has taken action to put Florida in the best posture possible for safe and secure elections with accurate voter registration rolls and minimal voter fraud.

@JimmyMidyette: It’s a real shame to hear @JRutherfordFL, who I once admired, come unglued when talking about weapons of mass murder. As sheriff, he’d never have said these things about the guns and ammo used to kill civilians and police in America.

@ClairenJax: Sometimes it seems like #jaxpol is a Goodfellas reboot called Goodolboys

@PatriciaMazzei: TFW you have to look up appropriate newspaper style for “no-see-ums” #floridareporterproblems


Taylor Swift’s new album, ‘Lover,’ released — 1; Florida Gators opens vs. Miami football — 2; St. Petersburg primary election — 5; UCF Knights football opens vs. Florida A&M — 7; USF Bulls football opens vs. Wisconsin Badgers — 8; FSU Seminoles football opens vs. Boise State — 9; Labor Day — 11; CNN hosts candidate forum on the climate crisis — 13; TaxWatch Productivity Awards — 20; First Interim Committee Week for 2020 Session — 25; “Morning” Joe Scarborough releases “This Ends Badly: How Donald Trump Conned America” — 26; MSNBC hosts candidates event on climate in D.C. — 28; “Joker” opens — 43; Triple Force Friday: the next generation of Star Wars products arrives — 43; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 67; Brexit scheduled — 70; 2019 General Election — 75; 3rd Annual Florida Internet and Television FITCon starts — 77; TaxWatch 40th Annual Meeting — 102; 2020 Session begins — 145; Florida TaxWatch State of the TaxPayer Dinner in Tallahassee — 146; Iowa Caucuses — 165; New Hampshire Primaries — 173; Florida’s presidential primary — 208; 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo begin — 337; Florida primaries for 2020 state legislative/congressional races — 369; 2020 General Election — 439.


Florida set to execute serial killer Gary Ray Bowles” via Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press — Bowles was convicted of murder for the November 1994 slaying of Walter Hinton in Jacksonville Beach. Now 57, Bowles is scheduled to be put to death at Florida State Prison. Bowles began his killing rampage in March 1994 and ended it eight months later with the murder of Hinton, his sixth and last known victim, prosecutors said. The killings were sensationalized in part because Bowles targeted older, gay men. He has maintained he is straight but has acknowledged that he let gay men perform sex acts on him for money. Prosecutors said it was how the self-described hustler survived. They said he often used his targets for money or a place to stay, but eventually snapped and killed them.

Convicted serial killer Gary Ray Bowles has reached the end of the line — his execution is set for tonight.


Ahead of 2020, Florida will push to register voters, root out potential fraud” via Gary Fineout of POLITICO Florida — Florida, a political battleground that could make or break Trump‘s reelection, is joining a multistate partnership to combat potential voter fraud, a move that also could boost voter registration head of the 2020 election. Participation in the partnership had been a top priority of both Democratic and Republican election supervisors across the state. As a member of the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, Florida will be able to flag people registered to vote in more than one state, allowing election supervisors to expunge ineligible voters from the rolls. Florida, a haven of semi-residents who trek yearly from the North and Midwest, has long been hit with reports of people possibly voting in more than one state.

Early party-line votes on gun violence special Session” via the News Service of Florida — Initial voting for a legislative special Session on gun violence confirm House Democrats will have a tough time reaching the required 60 percent approval in both chambers. Of the 12 Senators who responded Wednesday, the first day Secretary of State Lauren Lee collected votes on whether to convene a special session, four Democrats voted in favor and eight Republicans opposed. Among the votes cast by House members, the results also ran along party lines, with 14 Democrats in support and 23 Republicans against the proposal. Without losing any of their own members, Democrats must convince seven Republicans in the Senate and 25 Republican in the House to support the call for a special Session.

Ron DeSantis: ‘Legislature not going to go for’ Special Session” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — DeSantis doubts that the Legislature will respond to the call from Democrats for a Special Legislative Session on gun violence The Governor said he would prefer to see the next Session build on his view of addressing threat assessments. DeSantis expressed no interest or concern for the Florida House Democratic caucus’s call on Tuesday for a Special Legislative Session “to address the epidemic of gun violence in our state.”

DeSantis: Keep up ‘momentum’ on water issues” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — DeSantis, proudly noting that legislators this year exceeded his environmental funding request of $625 million by $55 million, said local voices are needed to maintain the “momentum” on the effort to clean up and protect the state’s waterways. “Just keep talking about it and keep letting your legislators know that you appreciated the work of last Session, but you’d like to see momentum continue,” DeSantis said during his appearance at the Save Our Water Summit. “I think we probably have a lot of momentum now. But I think that will add to the momentum and I think it’s just going to be like, going forward, this is something that pretty much most people are going to agree needs to continue.”

Tweet, tweet:

Janet Cruz takes ‘Get the Lead out’ initiative back to the legislature” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — The bill (SB 168) is similar to the one Cruz filed last Session that would have required water filters on drinking fountains and other sources of drinking water at public schools. The legislation stalled last year amid questions about the fiscal cost to the state. This year’s bill also requires filtration devices on public schools built before 1986 that might be subject to lead contamination. The proposal notes that any level of lead in a child’s bloodstream is unsafe and presents potential health risks.

Bill would end time limit to report sexual battery on minors” via the News Service of Florida — A bipartisan group of state lawmakers has reintroduced a measure that would eliminate the statute of limitations on reporting sexual offenses involving minors. Sen. Linda Stewart filed a proposal (SB 170) intended to end the three-year window for minors aged 16 and 17 to report a sex battery. Sen. Keith Perry has co-sponsored the measure, which the lawmakers hope will be taken up during the upcoming Legislative Session which begins in January. “The bill was inspired by women such as Donna Hedrick, who was abused by a teacher and buried her secret for more than 40 years, and numerous others who could have reported and possibly stopped notorious repeat offenders such as Jeffery Epstein had the statute of limitations not run,” a news release from Stewart said.

Paul Renner, Bobby Payne to host 2019 St. Johns River Forum — The forum will be 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. next Monday at the St. Johns River Center, 102 North 1st Street, in Palatka. “This is the first step in re-establishing the St. Johns River Caucus founded by former state Sen. John Thrasher in 2010,” Payne said in a news release. “The caucus was established as a platform in the political realm to discuss ways to lower nutrient levels within the St. Johns River, establish funding mechanisms, and review current policies.”

Assignment editors — State Sen. Jason Pizzo and Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears will hold a town-hall meeting to discuss condominium issues, 6:30 p.m., Aventura Government Center, 19200 West Country Club Dr., Aventura.


Education board proposes status quo spending on teacher bonuses” via the News Service of Florida — Florida Department of Education officials’ latest budget proposal does not include any additional funding for a controversial teacher bonus program, which is currently facing a legal challenge. Instead, state education officials called on the Florida Legislature to keep funding the “Best and Brightest” teacher and principal bonus program at $284.5 million, the same amount as the current fiscal year. The funding proposal comes a month after lawyers slapped the state with a lawsuit alleging education officials improperly allowed school districts to deduct employer taxes from employees’ promised bonuses. Lawyers with the law firm Morgan & Morgan claim state officials shortchanged high-performing teachers and principals out of tens of thousands of dollars.

Ousted sheriff says he’s not to blame for mass shootings” via the News Service of Florida — In a final pitch to a Senate special master, former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s lawyer is insisting that the suspended law enforcement officer wasn’t to blame for two deadly mass shootings that led to his ouster by DeSantis earlier this year. In a proposed recommended order filed with the Senate, Israel’s lawyer, Benedict Kuehne, argued that the Senate should reinstate Israel and that he should be repaid for lost wages since his January suspension. “The totality of the evidence does not indicate any failure of significance on the part of Sheriff Israel in the faithful performance of his duties of sheriff of Broward County,” Kuehne wrote in the 30-page proposed order.

Former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel insists he is not responsible for two mass shootings during his tenure.

Company passed ‘Guardians’ who failed exams — A security company training armed guards to protect charter schools in Palm Beach County passed students who failed their firearm exams, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office said. As reported by Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO Florida, the Invictus School Security Guard Training Program also ran afoul of the rule requiring sheriffs to train school security officers. The school district paid Invictus $3,000 per Guardian candidate to staff charter schools. “This, of course, means that the Invictus training paid for by the School District to is being redone at an additional and duplicated cost and that the School District is also having to pay for sheriff’s deputies at charter schools while these security officers again attend the required training,” Gualtieri wrote.

Judge sides with doctors in cancer contracts dispute” via News Service of Florida — Siding with state lawmakers and doctors, a federal judge on Wednesday ruled against a major cancer center in the latest round of a bitter dispute between the treatment provider and its physicians. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker denied a bid by 21st Century Oncology to block a newly enacted law that voided no-compete clauses placed in contracts of doctors who worked for the center. In his ruling, Walker compared the happenings at the state Capitol to the famed black-and-white horror movie, “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” filmed at nearby Wakulla Springs. But the judge said that lawyers for the center had not presented evidence to justify a preliminary injunction.

DBPR opens entry period for annual quota liquor license drawing — The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s (DBPR) Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco will accept drawing entries for 45 days, ending at 5 p.m. on Oct. 2. A total of 51 licenses are available in 27 counties. Quota licenses allow the holder “to sell beer, wine, and distilled spirits, either for package sales only or for consumption on the licensed premises,” a news release said. State law limits the number of licenses by county population estimates, with no more than one license for every 7,500 residents. For details and the list of counties where available, click here.

First 2019-20 Florida orange crop estimate shows mild recovery” via Kevin Bouffard of the Lakeland Ledger — Florida citrus consultant Elizabeth Steger has predicted the state’s growers will harvest 73 million boxes of oranges in the 2019-20 season. If accurate, that would represent a 2 percent increase from the 71.6 million orange boxes harvested in the recently completed 2018-19 Florida citrus season. The harvesting season generally runs from October to June. Steger’s annual August estimate is the first indication of orange production for the coming season and is widely watched among Florida citrus industry officials. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release its first official crop estimate on Oct. 10. Because it comes so early, weather, including hurricanes and freezes, and other growing conditions often determine the final harvest.

—“State tourism boss pledges support for Citrus” via Michael Bates of the Citrus County Chronicle

Meanwhile … Tropical system near Florida has 20% chance of becoming 4th named storm” via Joe Mario Pedersen and Tiffini Theisen of the Orlando Sentinel — An area of low pressure still has a 20 percent chance of developing into a tropical storm and has its sights set on Florida, the National Hurricane Center said. The disturbed area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms was over the central and northwestern Bahamas on Wednesday afternoon and could gain strength over the next five days as it is projected to move along Florida’s east coast, the NHC said. If it develops, it will be the fourth named storm of the 2019 hurricane season donning the name “Dorian.”


What Tom Lee is reading — “Dog racing died without a funeral” via Isaac Eger of Deadspin — Back in November 2018, the people of Florida passed Amendment 13 with an overwhelming 69 percent of the vote. The amendment called for the banning of all dog racing in the state by the end of 2020. Florida was the sport’s last great refuge … The (amendment) ends a part of Florida history, the state where dog racing has its deepest roots. But it’s also the end of a way of life—particularly for the people who work in the kennels, and the thousands of other low-income workers who know no other profession.

Amendment 13 ends a part of Florida history, where greyhound racing has deep roots.

What Mike Hill is reading — “Ohio doctors ask judge to strike ‘heartbeat bill’ ” via — Pro-choice advocates asked a federal judge to strike down and permanently block an Ohio measure known as the “heartbeat bill,” which effectively bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Groups suing the state over the measure called it “a blatantly unconstitutional violation of patients’ rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.” Citing Roe v. Wade and other cases that came in the wake of the 1973 ruling, attorney B. Jessie Hill wrote that the nation’s high court “has repeatedly and unequivocally held that the government may not ban abortion prior to viability.”

What Florida legislative staffers are reading — “Report finds sexual harassment, bullying in Illinois House Speaker’s office” via Chicago Tribune — An outside investigation into Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office and his Democratic caucus found that people across the Capitol repeatedly faced sexual harassment and bullying, and feared retaliation if they spoke out. The report from attorney Maggie Hickey, a former federal prosecutor and state executive inspector general under former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, was released by Madigan’s office. House Democrats selected Hickey to investigate in June 2018, after a series of allegations of harassment and improper behavior and criticism of Madigan’s handling of those accusations.

What Craig Waters is shaking his head at — “Records open a rare window into Massachusetts’ ‘secret courts’ ” via The Boston Globe — Clerk magistrates and assistant clerks continue to differ widely in how they handle requests for criminal charges reviewed during confidential hearings, according to new court data provided to the Globe … The court data also suggested white defendants were slightly more likely to avoid charges last year than people of color. The hearings and files are typically closed to the public when cases are dismissed, so the statistics are a rare window into the uneven results inside the system.

— 2020 —

Breaking: “Jay Inslee withdraws from 2020 presidential race” via Rebecca Falconer and Zachary Basu of Axios — Washington Gov. Inslee told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that he is dropping out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race. Inslee was a longshot for the Democratic nomination, but his focus on climate change has helped elevate the issue to a degree unseen in prior cycles. He was the driving force behind what’s now a wider — though still unsuccessful — campaign for the Democratic National Committee to hold a debate on the topic. Inslee hit the donor threshold to qualify for September’s Democratic debates but did not meet the minimum polling requirements.

ABC releases new details for 3rd Democratic debate in Houston” via Orion Rummler of Axios — ABC News, in partnership with Univision, announced the network will host the 3rd Democratic primary debate Sept. 12 in Houston. The debate will take place over two nights — Sept. 12 and 13 — if more than 10 candidates qualify — but so far, only 10 have made the cut. September’s debate will be hosted at Texas Southern University. The moderators are ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir, correspondent Linsey Davis, and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos. Candidates who have qualified: Former Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Cory Booker; Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former HUD Secretary Julián Castro; Sen. Kamala Harris; Sen. Amy Klobuchar; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke; Sen. Bernie Sanders; Sen. Elizabeth Warren and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

ABC is announcing more details of the third Democratic debates.

Trump critics eye GOP primary race, even if defeating him seems ‘preposterous’” via Robert Costa and Philip Rucker of The Washington Post — The anti-Trump movement inside the Republican Party — long a political wasteland — is feeling new urgency to mount a credible opposition to Trump before it’s too late. With state deadlines for nominating contests rapidly approaching in the fall, potential candidates face pressure to decide on running within the next few weeks. So far, only former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld has declared that he is running, but he has struggled to gain traction. Republicans considering bids, as well as those trying to draft other candidates, acknowledge that defeating Trump appears to be nearly impossible but argue that a recession or an unforeseen change in the political climate could weaken him enough to make a primary challenge more than a Never Trump fantasy.

Parkland students unveil sweeping gun-control proposal and hope for a youth voting surge in 2020” via Jacqueline Alemany and Matt Viser of The Washington Post — Called “A Peace Plan for a Safer America,” the ambitious platform goes much further than the current debate over universal background checks and “red flag” laws, which would apply to people who could be a danger to themselves and others. The Peace Plan would create a national licensing and gun registry, long a nonstarter with gun rights advocates; ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; implement a mandatory gun buyback program; install a “national director of gun violence prevention” who would report directly to the president and coordinate the federal response to what advocates call a national public health emergency.


According to the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Chief Economist, Jerry Parrish, there’s a one in three chance the state will dive into a recession in the next nine months.

The odds have been growing for months. In April, there was a 21 percent chance of a recession in the near term. Last month, the odds stood at 30 percent.

Florida Chamber Foundation’s Chief Economist, Jerry Parrish, gives a one in three chance the state would fall into recession by 2020.

The Panhandle, specifically Bay and Gulf counties, are already experiencing recession-like symptoms — new jobs numbers show they’ve lost more jobs than other Florida counties. Each has lost 3.1 percent of their jobs over the past year as they continue to recover from Hurricane Michael.

By comparison, the statewide job growth rate stands at 2.6 percent, which outpaces the national average of 1.5 percent.

Parrish said the measurement “doesn’t mean we’re destined to have a recession, but the reduction in business investment that’s happening, along with the global slow down do increase the odds of it happening.”

Though a recession may be around the corner, there is a bright spot for Florida’s economy: it’s getting more diverse.

The state now has 18th most diverse economy in the country, with the Naples-Immolakee-Marco Island metropolitan statistical area leading the way.


After Trump blames mental illness for mass shootings, health agencies ordered to hold all posts on issue” via Yasmeen Abutaleb and William Wan of The Washington Post — A Health and Human Services directive on Aug. 5 warned communication staffers not to post anything on social media related to mental health, violence and mass shootings without prior approval. That alarmed some government mental health experts who said they felt muzzled at a moment when many Americans were searching for answers to the U.S. epidemic of mass shootings, said three agency employees. Many researchers and mental health experts said Trump’s comments contradicted well-established research. While mental illness is sometimes a factor in such shootings, it is rarely a predictor, according to a growing body of research.

Gag rule: Donald Trump is blaming mental illness for the recent mass shootings. Federal health agencies have been told not to post anything about the issue.

SpottedBrian Ballard in “Inside Donald Trump’s feud with Anthony Scaramucci” via Daniel Lippman of POLITICO — Allies have started spreading dirt on Scaramucci in right-wing outlets, and the word has gone out to people in Trump’s orbit to “go after him” … “To me, he’s a joke,” said Ballard, a Florida lobbyist who’s a top fundraiser for Trumps campaign. “He’s the most noncredible witness against this administration you can have. He’s just craving attention, and he was unworthy of the president’s graciousness in the past, and he’s unworthy of the public’s attention now.”

Marco Rubio calls for compromise, bipartisanship in politics” via Terry Spencer of The Associated Press — Addressing the Forum Club in West Palm Beach, the Florida Republican said people need to stop automatically thinking the worst about their political opponents because the Chinese and the Russians are exploiting those divisions. For example, he says the recent suicide of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein unleashed a thousand Russian trolls on social media who stoke conspiracy theories on the left that Trump ordered him murdered and, on the right, that his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton masterminded his death. He added that politics is the only sphere where people are criticized for changing their minds, with your allies accusing you of betrayal.

Stephanie Murphy calls foreign affairs aid part of America’s soul” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Democratic U.S. Rep. Murphy declared that America’s “soft power” foreign affairs programs including foreign aid are part of the American soul and must be continued for America’s interests and security. “I believe that every nation has an ethos, a national soul so to speak. And giving a damn about our fellow human beings in other countries and trying our best to empower them is a fundamental part of our soul,” Murphy said. Speaking at a Winter Park conference of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, the congresswoman made her own life story a humanitarian case-in-point for United States aid worldwide, and called such aid a critical tool in protecting American security.

Stephanie Murphy’s own story illustrates how foreign aid is a key part of America’s soul.

U.S. budget deficit set to hit $1 trillion 2 years earlier than expected” via Ursula Perano of Axios — The shortfall is expected to be widened by the recent budget deal reached by Trump and Congress to lift spending caps by $320 billion, as well as the emergency spending package that Congress passed to help manage the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. The U.S. budget deficit is expected to hit $960 billion this year and reach a $1.2 trillion average per year between 2020 and 2029. The CBO says Trump’s tariffs have affected business investment and are expected to make gross domestic product 0.3 percent smaller by 2020. Additional tariffs could curb growth even further. Trump’s trade wars are projected to reduce average income by $580 per U.S. household.


Assignment editors — The Financial Impact Estimating Conference will hold a workshop on potential financial impacts of a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban possession of assault-style weapons in Florida, 10 a.m., 117 Knott Building.

Jason Brodeur fundraiser set for Aug. 28” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — The Sanford Republican is holding a fundraiser dinner Wednesday. The invitation lists Zander Clem, Tiffany Faddis, Todd Copeland and Rich Newsome as event chairs. Brodeur, who served in the House from 2010 through 2018, is running for Senate District 9. Term-limited Republican Sen. David Simmons currently holds the seat. The seat is potentially competitive, but Brodeur has mounted a strong campaign in the early phase of the race, making the seat a hard sell to potential Democratic challengers. One candidate, Justin Miller, has already called it quits, citing Brodeur’s fundraising prowess.

Senate race in Seminole County could tip balance of power in Tallahassee” — The balance of power in the Florida Senate could hinge on the outcome of a race in Seminole County next year, but Democrats are already falling behind in their efforts to pick up the ostensibly swing seat. On paper, Democrats should have high hopes of winning Senate District 9, which includes all of Seminole County and part of southwest Volusia County. It’s currently held by GOP Sen. David Simmons, who can’t run again because of term limits. But 15 months away from the election, Republican Brodeur of Sanford is miles ahead in fundraising and name recognition.

Next week, Jason Brodeur will be holding a fundraiser for his Florida Senate bid.

Joe Gruters boosts Jim Boyd for neighboring Senate district” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — That’s no great shock, as Boyd remains the only Republican in the race. But it’s a further sign that the political forces in Southwest Florida and statewide favor Boyd for the seat. “Jim has a proven record of fighting for the conservative values shared by so many hardworking Floridians all across our state,” said Gruters. “From protecting our borders to balancing the budget, I am confident Jim’s special brand of leadership will keep Florida on a safe and prosperous path.” Gruters connection to Boyd has been strong for years. Both served together in the Florida House representing the Sarasota-Bradenton area.

Bruno Portigliatti picks up Rob Panepinto’s endorsement in HD 44” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Republican Portigliatti has received the endorsement of former Orange County mayoral candidate Panepinto in the 2020 contest for HD 44. Portigliatti is seeking to take on Democratic state Rep. Geraldine Thompson for the southwestern Orange County district. Before that, however, must get past Frank Blanco in a Republican primary. “I am a big proponent for candidates like Bruno who will bring business and private sector experience into government,” Panepinto stated. “Two of our biggest state challenges are education and housing, which are the two areas Bruno has focused on professionally. I believe he will be a great representative for West Orange County and Central Florida in Tallahassee. I am proud to support Bruno for State Representative in District 44.”

First in Sunburn: Broward County State Attorney candidate Joshua Rydell nabs 25 endorsements from local elected officials — Coconut Creek Commissioner Rydell is seeking to replace outgoing State Attorney Mike Satz. Endorsements include Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen and Commissioner Steve Geller; state Sen. Kevin Rader; state Reps. Kristen Jacobs, Michael Gottlieb, and Dan Daley; Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis and Vice Mayor Ben Sorensen; Coconut Creek Mayor Sandy Welch, Vice Mayor Lou Sarbone and Commissioners Mikkie Belvedere and Becky Tooley; Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky, Vice Mayor Ken Cutler and Commissioners Stacey Kagan and Bob Mayerson; Coral Springs Mayor Scott Brook; Margate Mayor Anthony Caggiano, Vice Mayor Tommy Ruzzano and Commissioners Arlene Schwartz and Antonio Arserio; Cooper City Mayor Greg Ross; Deerfield Beach Commissioner Bernie Parness; retired Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish; and retired Circuit Court Judge Geoff Cohen.

Candidates line up for sheriff 2020 race” via Andrew Caplan of the Gainesville Sun — The race for the next Alachua County sheriff is starting to heat up, more than a year out from Election Day. Sheriff Sadie Darnell has already filed her paperwork for reelection, a position she’s held since 2006. The 41-year law enforcement veteran, however, has a pair of challengers hoping to take her spot as head of law enforcement for the county. Rep. Clovis Watson Jr. filed his candidacy paperwork Tuesday, as has Republican Gainesville resident Steven Gordon. Watson, who is term-limited in the House and represents parts of Alachua and Marion counties, will be pinned against fellow Democrat Darnell in the primary.


Pasco mine fight ends amid rancor of new state law on citizen land-use challenges” via C.T. Bowen of the Tampa Bay Times — Residents contesting lime-rock mining in rural, northern Pasco County have given up their six-year fight, done in by a controversial new state law critics say will limit citizen challenges to local development orders. The bill is HB 7103; it included a late-in-the-session addition that drew no legislative debate nor public testimony, requiring losing parties in comprehensive plan challenges to pay the opposing party’s legal bills. The environmental advocacy group 1,000 Friends of Florida called the law “destructive’’ and said “a future of poor planning and development decisions looms in Florida.’’ The group had asked DeSantis to veto the bill and now wants legislators to rescind it in 2020.

Pasco’s Cotee River Elementary enters third day without air conditioning” via Jeffrey Solochek the Tampa Bay Times — The school district has added floor fans and some portable air conditioning units to the campus, to keep the air circulating. Officials said the buildings are habitable, and they have no plans to cancel classes while awaiting repairs. Spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said maintenance has been working “nonstop” to fix the problem. But they have run into obstacles. It appears that a leak in the system’s piping is the primary issue, she said. But its location, combined with rain, has made access to the leak difficult.

Pasco County’s Cotee River Elementary has been without air-conditioning for three days — in 90-degree temperatures.

Questions remain for Kids Hope Alliance board about CEO’s suspension” via Jim Piggott of News4Jax — The Kids Hope Alliance board of directors met for the first time since CEO Joe Peppers was placed on paid leave last week amid an investigation by the city’s inspector general. It soon became clear at the meeting that board members were upset that Mayor Lenny Curry’s office did not tell them about it. Peppers, who was suspended last Wednesday, made headlines when the Florida Times-Union published a memo he authored saying the Mayor’s staff pressured him to steer grant money to certain groups. At Wednesday’s meeting, board members were asked to approve Peppers’ suspension. Vice-Chair Dr. Barbara Darby had trouble with that because members were not told ahead of time about Peppers’ suspension.

Sarasota YMCA members jubilant over new deal” via Herald-Tribune — When the Sarasota Family YMCA Board splits with its members and staff on Sept. 14, they will become two separate entities, and the membership will celebrate with a brand new name: The Sarasota Y. The original board members will continue to operate the child welfare and youth development services, while a committee of Y members takes over custody of two floundering fitness centers in need of tender loving care. “Under the new organization, it’s going to be totally transparent, totally member-inclusive, so that everyone is working together on the same effort,” said Lucia Barrett, co-founder and spokeswoman for Save Our Y, the group that organized to preserve the SFYMCA in less than a month.


Matt Gaetz: Google’s information dominance is dangerous especially when it comes to voters” via Fox News — Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, stated before the House Judiciary Committee last year that “Our algorithms have no notion of political sentiment.” He said: “I lead this company without political bias and work to ensure that our products continue to operate that way.” That is not only false, but laughably false. We knew it was false even before whistleblowers came forward, putting their own safety at risk, revealing that Google constantly manipulates its search algorithms. We knew it was false before Google’s search blacklist was published. In other words, he suggested limiting conservative sites, because reading them might have convinced people to vote Republican. That’s not just chilling; it’s un-American.

Jeanette Núñez has forgotten the meaning of the accent, tilde in her name” via Fabiola Santiago of the Miami Herald — The Miami-born and raised Cuban American — these days, the darling Latina face of the anti-immigrant right-wing in Florida — has forgotten the proud bipartisan, pro-immigrant history of Hispanics who preceded her in state government. They worked on behalf of the Hispanic community — not against it. They worked on behalf of immigrants seeking refuge — not against them. They didn’t spin the racist political platform of white nationalists to make it more palatable to Hispanic voters but fought to open opportunities and celebrate heritage, multiculturalism, inclusion. Shame on her. Her recent appearance, sharing the billing at a GOP event with a representative from the misnamed FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) — an organization that vows to “defeat immigration anarchy” in Florida — is reprehensible.

Call for a Florida special Session on guns is a partisan ploy by Democrats” via Bill Cotterell of the Tallahassee Democrat — The idea of a self-starter Session illustrates the partisan divide between legislative Democrats and Republicans. Bottom line: Republicans win. On Tuesday, the Florida Democratic Party announced that 41 state representatives had petitioned Secretary of State Laurel Lee to poll the entire Legislature and find out if there is sufficient support to reconvene the House and Senate and consider firearms legislation. If three-fifths of each chamber’s membership respond favorably, a Session will happen. Even if Republicans didn’t control both chambers, there would be no chance of a special Session. Legislators are home with their families and their businesses, and nobody wants to come back to Tallahassee and be badgered by zealots on either side of an issue like guns.

Drug importation forces choice between price, safety” via Conwell Cooper for the Orlando Sentinel — A little over a year ago, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar joined the ranks of every other HHS Secretary in modern history opposing the idea of drug importation and referred to it as “a gimmick.” Unfortunately, we are now faced with a political gimmick after Secretary Azar announced an importation action plan that unfortunately will not lower out of pocket costs, and instead create great safety concerns for American patients. Drug prices are a major concern for senior citizens, but we cannot jeopardize the life of an older American by taking shortcuts. Importing prescription medications and risking counterfeit purchases is definitely not a prudent way to proceed.

‘Memba dis? — From 2014: “Tom O’Hara: I’m 67 years old, I smoke pot, and it’s time to make it legal” via Context Florida — I smoked some marijuana the other day and went to the beach in Fort Lauderdale. I eased back in my chair, looked up, and saw a lovely formation of wispy white clouds. The late-afternoon air had a hint of Florida autumn. The water was warm. The sounds of the beachgoers were soothing. I was in paradise, and I was stoned — again … I’m going to vote for Amendment 2 because it’s a step toward legalizing recreational marijuana.


Personnel note: Tony Carvajal named new head of Able Trust” via Florida Politics — Carvajal is moving from Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber Foundation to President of The Able Trust of Florida. The Foundation’s President, Mark Wilson, announced the news Wednesday in a staff memo. The Able Trust helps Floridians with disabilities find successful employment. It was created by the Legislature in 1990, under the Florida Endowment Foundation for Vocational Rehabilitation, as a nonprofit public-private partnership.

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Michael Corcoran, Jeffrey Johnston, Anita Berry, Matt Blair, Amanda Stewart, Corcoran & Johnston: Jack and Jill Children’s Center

Mark Flanagan: Citrus County Hospital Board

Natalie Kato, Lori Killinger, Martin Lyon, Lewis Longman & Walker: Navarre Beach Fire Rescue, Sebastian Inlet District

Andrew Love: Department of Health

Scott Matiyow: Personal Insurance Federation of Florida

Olivia Naugle: Marijuana Policy Project

— ALOE —

Epic Universe neighbors urge Orange leaders to gain commitments from Universal for $125M investment” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — About 100 future neighbors of the planned Epic Universe theme park urged Orange County leaders Tuesday to tie $125 million to assist the Universal Studios’ project to an agreement for good jobs, affordable housing and “real community involvement.” “If Universal is getting so much from us, we should be getting something back,” said Elias Rivera, 21, who grew up in Oak Ridge, works at Disney and formerly worked at Universal. “I think it would be great for their reputation as a company if they worked with the community, but we need an agreement.” Most urged commissioners to demand binding language in funding agreements with Universal to address their concerns about the theme park.

People living adjacent to the planned Epic Universe theme park are hoping Universal will become a good neighbor.


Happy birthday to Sen. Bill Montford, former Secretary of State Kurt Browning, former Clearwater City Commissioner Doreen Caudell, and scribe Mark Hinson.

Oh yeah … it’s Sen. Dennis Baxley‘s birthday today, too.

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

The post Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 8.22.19 appeared first on Florida Politics – Campaigns & Elections. Lobbying & Government..