Sunburn - The morning read of what's hot in Florida politics - 1.12.18 - Florida Politics

Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – 1.12.18

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

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Mitch Perry, Jim Rosica and Scott Powers.

A new statewide poll conducted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Florida Chamber Political Institute finds Floridians comfortable that the state is headed in the right direction and gives Gov. Rick Scott some of his highest approval ratings, with usual splits on those opinions between Republicans and Democrats.

The poll finds Republican Adam Putnam and Democrat Gwen Graham are leading their parties’ gubernatorial races, though half or more of the likely voters surveyed in each party have not made up their minds.

— 56 percent of likely voters believe Florida is headed in the right direction. Republicans are especially optimistic at 76 percent, while more than half of voters with no party affiliations [56 percent] believe Florida is moving in the right direction. Less than half of Democrats [34 percent] believe Florida is headed in the right direction.

— 57 percent of all registered voters approve of Scott’s job performance. Republicans approve by 82 percent, while 30 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of NPA voters approve.

— Among Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Graham leads with 14 percent. However, 64 percent of voters remain undecided. Philip Levine garners 7 percent; Andrew Gillum, 6 percent; and Chris King, just 1 percent.

— On the Republican side, Putnam gets 23 percent and Ron DeSantis 18 percent, with 50 percent undecided.

Among issues that matter most to voters, education ahead with 17 percent; jobs and economy drew 13 percent; health care, 12 percent; immigration, 5 percent; and global warming, 5 percent. Guns, terrorism and marijuana barely registered, the institute reported.

Amendment 1, calling for increasing the homestead exemption, got 61 percent overall, with the spread from Democrats, NPA voters and Republicans fairly tight, from 52 to 69 percent. Amendment 2, making permanent a cap annual non-homestead property tax increases, has 54 percent overall support, with the party spread ranging from 60 to 58 percent.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

— @DKElections: Generic congressional ballot in new QuinnipiacPoll is +17 Dems: 52 D, 35 R

— @MarcoRubio: Since his murder in 2015, I’ve worked to honor #BorisNemtsov by renaming the street outside the Russian Embassy in his name to remind Putin & his cronies they cannot use violence to silence dissent. Thanks to the DC City Council for making this a reality.

— @RepTedDeutch: Today, on #HumanTraffickingAwarenessDay, I introduced bipartisan bill to prevent human trafficking. The Visa Transparency Anti-Trafficking Act will stop traffickers from exploiting major gaps in our visa program. With so many different government agencies processing visas, our immigration system is failing to detect human traffickers who are abusing the system. By sharing the data, we can crack down on human trafficking and save trafficking victims from this modern form of slavery.

— @RepLoisFrankel: We’re wearing black at #SOTU to say #timesup. We stand with working people across this country who are demanding that men and women be able to work side-by-side, in dignity, in safety, and free of harassment

— @LedgeKing: At WH briefing, @PressSec Sarah Sanders denied politics played part in admin’s sudden decision to exempt FL from offshore oil-drilling plan after @POTUS ally @FLGovScott logged objections with @SecretaryZinke. Sanders: “I’m not aware of any political favor.”

— @MarcACaputo: DeSantis is 5 points behind Putnam now (18-23%) in FL gov GOP primary DeSantis was 23 points behind Putnam (6-29%) in September. So DeSantis, who has spent little, has gained 18 points through free media (mainly FOX hits).

— @TheDaraKam: Senate President @joenegronfl says he hopes anti-sanctuary cities bill gets a hearing the Senate this year. For 2 years, Senate refused to take up the measure, passed by House last year & poised to pass tomorrow. priority of @richardcorcoran.

— @KionneMcGhee: I’m officially calling on Miami Dade @MayorGimenez to declare a county emergency due to gun-violence epidemic in County.

— @Daniel_Sweeney: .@FarmerForFLSen with the first of what will likely be many references to “national champion” @UCF_Football this #flleg session.

— @JimRosicaFL: Only the first week of Session and I’ve already turned to dumping the coffee grounds into a bowl, pouring in milk, and eating it like cereal.

— @BuzzFeed: “Black Panther” sold more advance tickets in 24 hours than any other Marvel movie

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you by Spectrum Reach, the marketing platform of choice, connecting you to your target audience on TV, digital and mobile. With access to our powerful data and insights, solutions for every screen, and the best programming content on the top 50+ networks, we’ll help you reach the right customers for your business. SpectrumReach.com #NeverStopReaching***

— TOP STORY —

Rick Scott denounces Trump’s ‘shithole’ Haiti comments as Democrats see opportunity” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida — Gov. Scott distanced himself Thursday from President Donald Trump‘s undisputed comments calling Haiti and some African nations “shithole” countries — remarks that Democrats say could cost him if he runs for U.S. Senate. Scott … stopped just short of a blanket denouncement of the president’s comments by saying he condemned them “if” the media reports about them were true. Neither the White House nor a fellow Florida Republican who was in the room during an immigration reform meeting disputed the president’s racial remarks. … Trump’s remarks provoked a visceral response from Haitian-Americans. “The President’s ongoing war against immigrants appears to be solely directed toward those immigrants of color,” state Sen. Daphne Campbell, a Miami Democrat and the only Haitian-American member of the Florida Legislature said in a written statement. “I am appalled and disgusted that the man who stands as the symbol of a nation once offering refuge and sanctuary to all immigrants is doing his best to say: ‘nonwhites need not apply.'” … Former Gov. Jeb Bush … said on Twitter that “for every one step forward @POTUS takes when it comes to judgment and good, coherent policy decisions, he Inexplicably and without fail takes ten steps back. I hope today’s comments were just a crass and flippant mistake, and do not reflect the hateful racism they imply.”

Lil’ Marco — “Rubio’s reaction to Trump’s ‘s-hole’ remark avoids direct condemnation” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times — Instead of issuing a traditional response to questions about Donald Trump‘s “shithole” remark, Rubio issued a seven-part missive on Twitter that did not directly address the rhetoric … (and) … made an argument for merit-based immigration, vs. the family system his parents used, but also said people from “troubled” countries should be allowed in.

>>>Gubernatorial candidate Chris King posted a video Thursday in response to President Trump’s attack on immigrants. The video was taken during his speech before the members of Rise Up Florida in Coral GablesClick here to view the video.

— CAPITOL INSIGHT —

Why Rick Scott’s budget grew by $21 billion over eight years” via Langston Taylor of the Tampa Bay Times — For Scott’s first six years in office, he called for leaner budgets than he ended up signing. Since 2011, his proposals have grown by more than $21 billion, or 33 percent. So what’s going on? Well, state budgets across the country have increased during this same period. But Florida is near the top of the pack in terms of growth. According to the National Association of State Budget Offices, between 2012 and 2017 (the most recent national estimates available), the state’s total spending increased about 31 percent, making it the state with the eighth-fastest growing yearly budget. In that time, the median state spending increase was about 18 percent. If Scott ends up signing an appropriations bill similar to what he proposed, the state will spend almost as much as it did in 2006-2007, the height of the state’s spending under Jeb Bush, after adjusting for inflation.

Richard Corcoran to cities: Drop dead” via Steve Bousquet and Elizabeth Koh of the Tampa Bay Times — Corcoran‘s election-year strategy is coming into sharp focus as the full House scheduled action on more than a dozen issues in the first week of the 60-day session. They include a ban on so-called sanctuary cities, limits on public subsidies to sports teams, new barriers to local tax increases and higher ethical standards for local elected officials — all bills that restrict municipal power. Corcoran says his crusade will bring “transformational change.” Democrats say it’s an extreme ideologically-driven agenda that punishes minorities and immigrants and micromanages local government. It’s mostly for show. Most of the proposals are not new, and the state Senate is not likely to pass them. So they will never reach Gov. Scott‘s desk for his needed signature. Corcoran is primed to fault senators for inaction.

Corcoran expects to get through Session without losing budget chair” via the News Service of Florida — Corcoran, overseeing his final Session, said the pace of congressional confirmation should allow House Appropriations Chairman Carlos Trujillo to remain in his seat into March. “I was with him last night, I talked to him this morning, and it looks very favorable that he’ll be with us the entire session,” Corcoran said. “His nomination is with four others, and one of them is a sticking point, and they’re going as a package. It’s all about gamesmanship.” Trujillo was appointed in October by President Trump as U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States. At the time, Trujillo said upon confirmation he would resign his House District 105 seat … Trujillo, 34, who had a Nov. 30 confirmation hearing before the Foreign Relations Committee, awaits full U.S. Senate approval.

House moves fast to approve subpoena against VISIT FLORIDA Emeril show producer” via Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO Florida — Acting quickly on House Speaker Corcoran’s demand, the House approved a subpoena for the financial records of a Tallahassee firm hired by VISIT FLORIDA to produce a cooking show starring chef Emeril Lagasse. The House’s unprecedented action followed a unanimous vote earlier by the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee to force Tallahassee-based MAT Media and its owner Pat Roberts to provide the House with financial documents related to $11.6 million in taxpayer dollars he received to produce six seasons of the show. After the voice vote by the full House, Corcoran immediately signed the subpoena and handed it to chamber staff. A process server waiting in Corcoran’s office rushed it to Roberts’ office a few blocks away from the Capitol.

Tweet, tweet:

Senate passes permanent expansion of Bright Futures scholarship program” via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News — SB 4, spearheaded by Sen. Bill Galvano would expand the amount of financial aid and scholarship money Florida students could receive under the program, which began in 1997 and is expected to serve nearly 100,000 students this year. The measure passed by a unanimous vote, with all 34 senators voting in favor of the bill. As Galvano appealed to his fellow lawmakers to pass the bill, he emphasized Florida’s potential to rank among the best colleges and universities in the nation if lawmakers would only give students the opportunity to achieve that success. Galvano’s proposal would secure full funding for the Academic Scholar award, the top tier of scholarships in the program. Receiving the top award for the scholarship requires students to have at least a 3.5 GPA as well as a score of 1290 on the SAT or a 29 on the ACT.

Immigrant rights advocates protest as House takes up sanctuary cities bill” via Elizabeth Koh of the Tampa Bay Times — The bill, HB 9, which would prohibit communities from adopting sanctuary policies protecting undocumented immigrants at the risk of incurring penalties, would also compel Florida cities to comply with detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “They’re tired of seeing, year after year, anti-immigrant bills being introduced,” said Julio Calderon, a campaign manager for the Florida Immigrant Coalition, as he stood in front of demonstrators hailing largely from South and Central Florida. “We need to stop dehumanizing our communities.” The bill, a legislative priority of House Speaker Corcoran, is primed to pass the House, though unlikely to pass the Senate.

Florida poised to honor famed educator with statue in DC” via The Associated Press — Florida appears poised to replace the statue of a Confederate general with famed educator Mary McLeod Bethune. A Senate panel voted to place a statute of Bethune in the U.S. Capitol. The legislation (SB 472) heads next to the full Senate, and a similar bill is moving through the Florida House. Florida legislators two years ago voted to remove the statue of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith but did not at the time decide who should replace him.

What Jose Javier Rodriguez is reading — “Resign-to-run change goes to full Senate” via Lobby Tools — The Senate Rules Committee passed a change to the resign-to-run law (SB 186) requiring state and local politicians to submit their resignations before seeking federal office. A similar law exists for politicians who seek another state or local seat. It now heads to the chamber floor. An identical House bill (HB 105) has one more committee stop.

Panel rejects elected Secretary of State” via the News Service of Florida — A proposal to return Florida’s secretary of state to a statewide elected position was defeated by a Florida Constitution Revision Commission panel. Without debate, the commission’s Executive Committee voted 4-2 against the measure (Proposal 14), which was sponsored by former Senate President Don Gaetz. Gaetz said he filed the proposal, which would take effect in the 2022 election, to bring Florida in line with the majority of states that let voters pick the state’s top elections official. Florida had an elected secretary of state until 2003, when the elected position was eliminated as part of a constitutional amendment that shrank the state Cabinet from six to three members. The governor currently appoints the secretary of state.

Senate committee passes bill banning child marriages” via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News — Florida law currently allows people as young as 16 to get married, but a new measure, SB 140, would prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from tying the knot. An amendment to the measure would whack violators of the bill with a misdemeanor if they issued marriage licenses to underage children. Bill sponsor Lizbeth Benacquisto said marriage license “loopholes” had been used and abused to cover up sexual abuse of young women. The Senate Rules Committee unanimously passed the measure by a vote of 11-0.

Public record lawsuit bill heads to House floor” via Lobby Tools — The House Government Accountability Committee unanimously passed legislation (HB 273) barring state agencies from initiating civil lawsuits against individuals that make a public records request. Having passed its final committee stop, it now heads to the chamber floor. Normally, a resident makes a request and may choose to bring a suit if an agency denies it. If the individual wins, the agency covers the court costs and hands over the public record. But if the agency initiates, the individual is stuck with the court costs even if they win the case. An identical bill (SB 750) has started to move in the Senate.

Transmission line legislation heads to full House” via Lobby Tools — The Public Service Commission would have “exclusive jurisdiction” to decide whether underground transmission lines are required for power plant projects under a bill now headed to the House floor. HB 405 passed the House Commerce Committee. Miami-Dade said they opposed the bill, which pre-empts local regulations to the state level but noted they’d still have a “seat at the table.” The identical Senate version (SB 494) has one more stop.

Bill would help parents adjust funding for Florida special needs scholarships” via Travis Pillow of redefinED — Florida lawmakers are advancing bills that would make it easier for parents of special needs children who use vouchers to attend private schools to update their evaluations. Funding for students who receive McKay Scholarships is tied to the evaluations students can receive from school districts every three years. But state Sen. Dana Young said sometimes students who use the scholarships need to update their evaluations more often. It’s a minor tweak. It’s simple and uncontroversial. But it could hint at a larger, more complicated issue. Last month, when the bill cleared the Senate Education Committee, state Sen. Lauren Book said some school districts are concerned about the costs of evaluating children who don’t attend public schools — and therefore don’t generate funding for districts.

— PROGRESS FLORIDA THROWS AN ELBOW —

State legislation requiring public dollars be used for crisis pregnancy clinics has drawn the ire of activists.
A recent Progress Florida-funded ad campaign seeks to encourage lawmakers to vote against the legislation while educating voters on the dangers of what the group describes as “fake” abortion clinics.
The legislation would fund the Florida Pregnancy Care Network, a crisis pregnancy network with clinics that offer free pregnancy tests, peer counseling, referrals, classes on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting, and life skills — but do not refer or provide for abortion.
The bills: HB 41, filed by Tampa Republican Rep. Jackie Toledo and, SB 44, submitted by Jacksonville Republican Aaron Bean, make up the crisis pregnancy clinic-funding legislation.
The problem: Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo said, “By funding these anti-abortion fake clinics, Florida would put a stamp of approval on denying women the ability to make decisions about their own bodies and futures.”
The ads: One ad reads: “Florida’s Senate Bill 444 would send your tax dollars to fake, anti-abortion clinics that masquerade as ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ and harm Florida women.” Another reads: “Florida’s Senate Bill 444 will let so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ use YOUR tax dollars to deceive Florida women about abortion.”

***Don’t clutter the Florida Constitution with things that don’t belong there! Trial lawyers want more flexibility to sue nursing homes and drive up the costs of long-term care for our state’s seniors. State and federal laws already ensure residents’ rights, and hundreds of thousands of hardworking professionals dedicate their lives to serving those in their care. Urge the Constitution Revision Commission to vote NO on misleading Proposal 88 here.***

— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL —

— “Shock poll: Trump trounces Oprah Winfrey” via Jacob Engels of the Central Florida Post

So that’s that:

Targeting Florida Republicans in 2018 will be tricky for Puerto Rican leaders” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló intends to throw his political weight around in the 2018 elections, mobilizing Puerto Ricans who recently moved to the mainland to vote against lawmakers he says “turned their back” on the U.S. territory in its time of need. Rosselló’s threats are ostensibly aimed at Republicans in Congress tasked with doling out billions in disaster aid and in charge of an overhaul of the nation’s tax system, where Puerto Rico’s status as a U.S. territory creates rules that don’t exist on the mainland. He called out Sen. Rubio by name in December, saying he was “disappointed” in his tax bill vote, though Rosselló stopped short of offering any specific political retribution against the Florida Republican. But carrying out political advocacy in swing state Florida, where Puerto Ricans who are Democrats and Republicans hold elected office, is a tricky balancing act for Rosselló, a Democrat. Puerto Ricans in Florida could form a large enough voting bloc to affect statewide elections for governor and U.S. Senate in 2018. But Florida Republicans like Rubio and Gov. Scott enjoy widespread support among many members of Rosselló’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party, in contrast to heavily Democratic states with many Puerto Ricans, like New York, Illinois and Connecticut.

Betty Castor endorses Gwen Graham, takes shot at rival Philip Levine’s comments on work” via Amy Hollyfield of the Tampa Bay Times — Castor, the former president of USF, a former state senator, the former Florida education commissioner and really, a Florida icon, threw her support behind the former congresswoman and addressed comments Levine made this week on his statewide bus tour … the Tallahassee Democrat quoted him talking about what sets him apart in the Democratic field, saying, “The fact that I’ve had that weird thing in my background called a job, the fact that I’ve actually done something with my life outside the public sector is probably a big differentiator.” Here’s the statement from Castor: “Philip Levine can lecture women on what it means to have a job and ‘do something’ with your life after he raises three children while volunteering at their schools and working 50 hours a week. Not only does Levine not have the facts straight, his view that motherhood is anything less than a full-time job is exactly the kind of tone-deaf attitude we already see out of too many politicians in DC and Tallahassee.”

Check this out — “Podcast: Phil Levine says his campaign is different” via Rick Outzen of Rick’s Blog

Tom Lee continues planning challenge to Jimmy Patronis” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — Lee, who is prohibited from raising money during the ongoing legislative session, said he’s got a campaign team in place for a bid to replace Patronis. “I’m continuing to work in that direction,” Lee, a former Senate president, said. “I’ve got a campaign team. I’ve got a communications director. I built a team, a fundraising staff, I’ve got a team ready to move forward post-session.” Lee’s comments came as his political committee, known as The Conservative, was dwarfed in December fundraising by Patronis, a former state lawmaker and Panama City restaurateur who pulled in more than $350,000 during the month. Patronis … raised $120,288 for his campaign account and another $245,400 for his political committee, known as Treasure Florida.

ACLU sinks $400,000 into felons’ rights amendment” via the News Service of Florida — The political committee Floridians for a Fair Democracy, which is trying to get the measure on the November ballot, has raised about $4.6 million and spent nearly $4.3 million since being formed in 2014. The committee needs to submit 766,200 valid petition signatures to the state by a Feb. 1 deadline to get on the ballot. As of Thursday afternoon, it had submitted 692,134 signatures … The proposal, if approved in November, would automatically restore voting rights for all nonviolent felons who have served their sentences, completed parole or probation and paid restitution. Felons convicted of violent crimes, such as murder, would not be eligible.

Angie Chirino, daughter of Cuban pop icon Willy Chirino, running for Congress in Miami” via Jerry Iannelli of the Miami New Times — For one brief moment, it appeared the congressional race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in her Central-Miami district would be boring. Enter Angie Chirino, an accomplished songwriter and the daughter of Cuban pop sensation Willy Chirino. She quietly filed federal paperwork Jan. 3 to run for Ros-Lehtinen’s seat as a Republican. She also bought the website chirinoforcongress.com, which currently displays a blank page. It seems the Chrino family has been trying to keep this under wraps for a bit, but two Twitter bots designed to scrape campaign filings caught the news a few days ago. Angie Chirino is a successful songwriter. She’s won a Latin Grammy and worked with Jennifer LopezGloria EstefanCelia Cruz and Marc Anthony, perhaps most notably on his megahit “I Need to Know.”

DLCC highlights Margaret Good as ‘woman to watch’ in early 2018 — The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) is kicking off 2018 by highlighting six women candidates running in upcoming special elections around the country. These “women to watch” are running in some critical states like Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Florida where the DLCC will be focusing on flipping chambers in the midterm elections: “Good, Florida HD 72 — As the daughter of a priest and a nurse, Margaret found her commitment to serving her community at an early age. She’s spent her career fulfilling those values as an attorney and community leader, championing environmental protection, advocating for women’s health care rights, and fighting for equality and LGBTQ+ rights. She’s ready to flip this seat from red to blue and take her experience to the Florida House.”

— STATEWIDE —

Senator: Drilling plan carve-out for Florida may be illegal” via Matthew Daly of The Associated Press — Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s decision to give Florida a last-minute exemption while ignoring at least 10 other states that made similar requests may violate requirements of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which governs drilling in U.S. coastal waters. Zinke’s action is especially outrageous because Florida — unlike California, Washington and other states — did not expressly oppose the drilling proposal in written comments submitted to the Interior Department, Cantwell said. By exempting Florida but not other states, Zinke showed he is “more concerned with politics than proper process when it comes to making key decisions that affect our coastal communities,” said Cantwell, the top Democrat on the Senate Energy Committee.

— “California Republicans don’t embrace Florida counterparts’ fury over drilling plan” via Anthony Adragna and Ben Lefebvre of POLITICO Florida

Puerto Rico governor to host town-hall meeting Friday in Kissimmee” via Jennifer Marcial Ocasio of the Orlando Sentinel — Ricardo Rosselló will hold a town-hall meeting with the Puerto Rican community in Central Florida to urge them to get involved in Florida politics. The event, which will be live streamed by El Sentinel and the Orlando Sentinel, will be at the Kissimmee Civic Center, 201 E. Dakin Ave., from 10 a.m. to noon. Afterward, Rosselló will hold a news conference … the purpose of the meeting will be to raise awareness of the importance of political involvement and working toward fairer treatment of Puerto Ricans. Rosselló traveled to Washington, D.C., to continue his push for a supplemental disaster-aid package in the wake of Hurricane Maria and relief from the federal tax-reform bill. He has denounced what he considers unjust treatment of Puerto Rico by Congress and considers the island a colonial territory.

State board to take up ‘schools of Hope’ rule next week” via Travis Pillow of redefinED — The  Florida Board of Education is set to take up much-anticipated rules rolling out the welcome mat for prospective Schools of Hope. The goal is to attract more proven national charter school organizations into disadvantaged neighborhoods with low-performing schools. The draft rule would offer three ways for charter school organizations to qualify as “Hope Operators.” A charter organization could become a Hope Operator if it: Received a federal grant for the expansion of high-quality charters; received financial backing from the national Charter School Growth Fund; has been chosen by a local school board to turn around a low-performing district-run public school. Eventually, the state Department of Education is supposed to hammer out performance criteria that would allow charter school organizations to qualify as Hope Operators based on their academic track records and the characteristics of students they typically serve.

What Evan Power is reading — “Data shows Hurricane Hermine major driver of Tallahassee GDP growth, not local development” via TallahasseeReports.com — Based on research by Tallahassee Reports and lengthy discussions with Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) officials, information indicates that the rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Hermine, financed by millions of dollars in insurance payments, was the main driver of the 4.3 percent growth in GDP during 2016. From 2012 to 2015 the Tallahassee GDP growth was basically flat. In a previous article, Tallahassee Reports, with help from BEA officials, determined the main driver of the 2016 growth in GDP was the “Insurance carriers and related activities” category. This finding is in contrast to the comments of local officials who quickly pointed to local development projects as the reason for the jump in GDP. A simple review of the components of the GDP numbers, provided by BEA, showed growth in the construction category in the Tallahassee MSA actually ranked 17 out of the 22 Florida MSA’s in 2016. However, the BEA data showed the Finance and Insurance category jumped approximately 32 percent, which was ranked No. 2 among the 22 Florida MSA’s in 2016.

Reappointed — Ron Howse to the Florida Transportation Commission.

— FLORIDA GETS SAFER —

Rest easy, folks.

Florida, followed quickly by California, joined FirstNet last month. Now all 50 states are a part of the nationwide public-safety broadband network, created through a public-private partnership between FirstNet and telecommunications giant AT&T.

Inclusion in FirstNet gives Florida agencies currently running on Motorola Solutions Project 25 (P25) radio networks an immediate benefit by their addition to this high-speed broadband system.

A quantum leap for public safety: When Florida communities face disaster, as in the case of September’s Hurricane Irma, seconds matter. Milliseconds can be the difference between life and death. By sharing a common commercial communication network, first responders will no longer have to fret about systems becoming congested.

Can you hear me now?: Not being able to communicate in an emergency is devastating, and emergencies in Florida are, well, common. But the Sunshine State has joined America’s first interconnected network exclusively designed for first responders — that means no more lost calls when it really matters.

Countywide comms: Twenty-eight counties work under the P25 System. Motorola Solutions serves 25 of those counties as a vendor of choice for public safety radio communications, including Broward, Pinellas, Palm Beach, Orange, Leon and Columbia.

— WEEKEND TV —

Black Almanac with Dr. Ed James on WWSB, ABC 7 in Sarasota: “The Black woman’s role in the social revolution. Then and now.” Guests include attorney Shelli Freeland Eddie of the Freeland Eddie Law Group.

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 that affect the area’s citizens.

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Panelists will discuss the opening of Florida’s 2018 Legislative Session.

In Focus with Allison Walker-Torres on Bay News 9: A discussion on the benefits and disadvantages school choice. Joining Walker-Torres are Orange County School Board Chair Bill Sublette; Dr. Jodi Marshall, Florida Virtual School; Adam Miller, executive director, Independent Education and Parental Choice Department, Florida Department of Education.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando and Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: A breakdown of Gov. Scott’s State of the State address, which kicks off the 2018 Florida Legislative Session. PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter will fact check Scott.

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Host Gary Yordon speaks with pollster Steve Vancore and Bob McClure from The James Madison Institute.

This Week in South Florida on WPLG-Local10 News (ABC): Co-hosts Michael Putney and Glenna Milberg speak with Democratic candidate for Governor Andrew Gillum, a debate between candidates for Fort Lauderdale Mayor. Also, panelists will hold the weekly news Roundtable.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: This week, Justice broadcasts from the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee with guests House Speaker Corcoran, Florida State University President John Thrasher and Dominic Calabro of Florida TaxWatch.

— ALOE —

Facebook to show more content from friends, less from publishers and brands” via Seth Fiegerman and Laurie Segall of CNN — Facebook is changing the News Feed to prioritize posts from friends, family members and groups over posts from publishers and brands. The company will elevate posts that ignite conversations and meaningful interactions between friends while demoting the many videos, news stories and business posts that users consume passively — without commenting and sharing.

Naughty, explicit, racist: 2017’s rejected Florida license plates” via Josh Solomon of the Tampa Bay Times — You’ll never get DAMNED. Same with BAD ASS, KILL and LOL GTFO. Those were among the personalized license plates that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles rejected in 2017. And don’t even think about submitting tags with more sexually explicit and overtly racist messages, the ones that can’t be published on a family-friendly website. The state has a form for those who see their tags as creative outlets. It warns: “Requests with obscene or objectionable words will be rejected.” Most don’t test the rule. A few ignore it. In all, department officials nixed 51 plates last year. Some of the drivers whose requests were rejected seem preoccupied with the human anatomy. More than 10 made references to male or female genitalia.

Orlando Sentinel launching national soccer news website” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The Sentinel reported that its new site, ProSoccerUSA, will tap into the coverage the newspaper’s sports staff has provided of the league and Orlando City Soccer, and build upon that for national coverage, hoping to attract a national audience of fans looking for news on the Columbus Crew, the Orlando City Lions, the San Jose Earthquakes, and the rest of Major League Soccer. The paper’s former Orlando City beat reporter, Alicia DeGallo, has been named website editor. “No one really does what we do at the moment,” she said. “With the growth of Major League Soccer in the last decade and its projected growth for the future, there is no better time for a sports news site like ProSoccerUSA.com.”

Congratulations to Southern Strategy Group’s Brian Bautista engagement to Savanna Sherman.

Happy birthday to Rep. Charlie Stone and the First Amendment Foundation’s Barbara Petersen. Celebrating tomorrow are our friends Francisco Gonzalez and Chester Spellman, as well as Tony Glover.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, Florida Politics, Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also publisher of the quarterly INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, SaintPetersBlog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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