Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – 3.14.18 – Florida Politics

Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – 3.14.18

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

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Ana Ceballos, Daniel McAuliffe, and Jim Rosica.

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A proposed constitutional amendment to ban betting on dog racing would lose at the ballot, according to a latest opinion poll.

The proposal (P67), now before the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) is polling at only 45 percent approval; it needs 60 percent at the November ballot box to be added to the state’s constitution.

“With the proposal to phase out greyhound racing, as with any ballot proposal, the language will be critical,” said Steve Vancore, president of Clearview Research, which conducted the poll.

The firm asked election attorney Glenn Burhans of Stearns Weaver Miller to “review the staff analyses and provide guidance on developing ‘neutral’ ballot language,” according to a press release.

“We know from other work that animal welfare is usually a very popular concept with Florida voters, and a measure that signals it is a proposal to protect dogs would likely have broader support,” Vancore said.

“However, the current iteration, while technically correct, almost perfectly splits respondents 45 percent to 44 percent,” he added. “As such, if the wording does not change, it will likely fail at the ballot.

“Given this confusion, versus the stated intent during committee discussions, we are relatively confident that changing this approach would have a profound impact on the results.”

We passed along the poll results to the proposal’s sponsor, Republican state Sen. Tom Lee of Thonotosassa, for comment.

Also included in this poll were two other CRC proposals, including one that would require a two-thirds ‘supermajority’ vote of each chamber of the Legislature to raises taxes or fees (P72).

“Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents supported this measure,” Vancore said. “This is a clear and easy-to-understand measure that seems to have enough support to pass, and without an organized campaign to defeat it, likely will.

And another would create a nursing home residents’ ‘bill of rights’ (P88).

“While there has been much talk about what should or should not be in the Florida Constitution, we see consistent support for the notion that ‘rights’ of citizens should be included,” Vancore said.

“This proposition is no exception with an astonishing 86 percent supporting this notion. If placed on the ballot and worded even closely to the language drafted by Mr. Burhans, we are confident this will pass by a comfortable margin.”

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

— @APDiploWriter: While in Africa, Tillerson was told only that there might be a presidential tweet concerning him coming soon. He didn’t know what it might be, when it might come, or even if it would come, He learned of his termination Tuesday morning from the tweet.

— @RepDeSantis: Mike Pompeo will do a great job as Secretary of State. He’s smart, tough, and works his tail off. Congrats to Mike and hats off to @POTUS for making an excellent choice!

— @TroyKinsey: The return of “deplorables”: as #flsen revs up, new @NRSC press memo on @SenBillNelson highlights importance of the Trump base to GOP prospects: “As one of Hillary’s biggest supporters, does Bill Nelson support the dismissive and insulting comments Clinton made about Floridians?”

— @LearyReports: Rubio acknowledges many Parkland families want more but calls bill a good first step. “We just want to get it done.”

— @CarlosGSmith: I’m not afraid to have a public dialogue on gun control. Trying to shout me down or ‘gunsplain’ things to me during a debate will not work. Where is the civil discussion? This is why we can’t have nice things!

— @NoahPransky: This morning in St. Pete, when asked about Florida’s weak texting & driving laws, @FLGovScott seemed unaware @joenegronfl killed the reform. “Our session just ended…so I’m reviewing that bill.”

— @RichardCorcoran: Here in Florida, I am committed to ensuring every student has a world class education. Proud to have passed an education bill that expands school choice and offers hope for students who have been victims of abuse.

— @AmySherman1: It is historic that Fort Lauderdale elected its first openly gay mayor. But this election was largely about water, sewer and development.

— @GBennettPost: There’s no #ElectionNight party quite like a Palm Beach Town Council election night party.

— DAYS UNTIL —

St. Patrick’s Day – 3; March For Our Lives/#NeverAgain gun violence protest – 10; Major League Baseball Opening Day — 15; Easter – 18; NFL Draft begins – 43; Close of candidate qualifying for federal office – 50; Mother’s Day – 60; Solo: A Star Wars Story premier — 72; Close of candidate qualifying for statewide office — 100; Primary Election Day — 167; College Football opening weekend – 171; General Election Day — 237; ‘Hamilton’ comes to the Straz Center — 337; 2019 Legislative Session – 356.

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— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL —

Scoop –Alec Baldwin, Alyssa Milano raising money for Andrew Gillum” via Florida Politics – Gillum heads to California this week to mingle with celebrities and Democratic activists at a high-profile fundraiser at the Santa Monica home of entertainment industry lawyer Skip Brittenham and his wife, actress and author Heather Thomas. Tallahassee’s mayor is one of three Democratic candidates for governor in 2018 to be featured at the Thursday reception; Stacey Abrams of Georgia and David Garcia of Arizona are joining the event, which will also benefit Gillum’s associated PAC, Forward Florida. Among those on the blockbuster host committee include actors Alec Baldwin, Alyssa Milano and Rashida Jones, Democratic consultant Van Jones, as well as producers Norman Lear (founder of People for the American Way), Susan Harris and Paul Junger Witt, who have been longtime Democratic supporters.

Gwen Graham workday with migrants in Immokalee – Graham’s latest Workday was at the Redlands Christian Migrant Association in Immokalee. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate spent a shift helping the early childhood education center to learn more about their pre-K and Head Start programs, and the needs of the migrant families. “Before the Redland Christian Migrant Association opened its doors, many farmworkers had no option but to take their young children into the fields with them,” Graham said. “Today, the RCMA serves nearly 7,000 children of migrant farmworkers and rural, low-income families in more than 68 centers throughout Florida. These early education and Head Start services for migrant families, who travel between states as the agriculture seasons change, are vital to Florida.”

Burnishing her sympathy cred: Democratic candidate for governor Gwen Graham spent Tuesday working at an early childhood education center in Immokalee to learn about “the needs of the migrant families” there.

Philip Levine launching new TV ads on gun violence” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – The 30-second spot “The Moment” is being released in both English and Spanish versions for English and Spanish television stations in all Florida television markets, part of a $1.3 million ad buy from his official gubernatorial campaign. His independent political committee All About Florida also has been spending millions of dollars on television commercials. With video cutting from shots of Levine speaking to rallies following the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Levine begins by declaring, “This is one of those moments when we lose something so precious to us, there is nothing we won’t do to make it right.”

First in Sunburn – Levine names Keith Fitzgerald as policy adviserLevine announced former state Rep. Fitzgerald will serve as the campaign’s policy adviser. “Keith understands what’s at stake in this election and why giving Floridians a bold vision is key to winning the Governor’s race this year,” Levine said in a statement. “Levine will be a Governor who I believe can truly bring the change we need to a state that desperately needs it,” Fitzgerald added. The former two-term Sarasota County state lawmaker currently serves as a professor of political science at New College in Sarasota.

Bob Buesing, Jason Pizzo rake in cash for Senate rematches” via the News Service of Florida – Buesing raised $63,616 last month for his bid to unseat Sen. Dana Young in Senate District 18 … Buesing, who lost to Young in 2016, entered this year’s race in mid-January and had raised an overall total of $81,464 as of Feb. 28. Young raised $271,194 for her campaign account as of the end of February. Meanwhile, in Miami-Dade County, Pizzo, an attorney, raised $50,169 in February for his Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Daphne Campbell in Senate District 38. Pizzo, who lost a 2016 primary to Campbell, also loaned $25,000 to his campaign in January … Campbell had raised $77,784 as of Feb. 28. In North Florida, Gainesville Democrat Kayser Enneking raised $24,446 in February, bringing the overall total to $179,107 in her bid to unseat Sen. Keith Perry in Senate District 8. Perry had raised $261,107 for his campaign account as of Feb. 28.

Jeff Brandes backs Ardian Zika for state House” via Florida Politics –  “[House District 37 frontrunner] Zika is a conservative Republican who knows what it takes to build a business, make payroll and grow our economy,” Brandes said. “Ardian’s story – how he left a civil war-torn country to seek freedom and opportunity in the United States – is an inspiration to me … I’m optimistic that the voters of House District 37 will also be inspired by Ardian’s story and will enthusiastically support him. Ardian’s life is proof that if you work hard and play by the rules you will have opportunity and be able to realize the American Dream. Ardian Zika has my strong support and endorsement this election and I hope he can count on you.”

— MUNICIPAL RACE ROUND-UP —

Dean Trantalis elected mayor of Fort Lauderdale” via Peter Burke of Local10.com – Voters in Fort Lauderdale elected the city’s first openly gay mayor Tuesday. Trantalis defeated Bruce Roberts in a runoff election to replace longtime Mayor Jack Seiler. With all but one precinct reporting, Trantalis received more than 5,600 votes than Roberts.

Bryan Nelson knocks Joe Kilsheimer from Apopka mayor’s office” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Nelson, a one-term county commissioner who previously served in the Florida House, defeated Kilsheimer 61 to 38 percent, with a voter turnout of about 20.5 percent, with just over 6,400 votes cast in Orange County’s second-largest city. In unofficial results by the Orange County Supervisor of Elections, Nelson drew 2,786 votes, and Kilsheimer 1,733. Nelson is an insurance agent with deep family roots in Apopka, who had eschewed the chance to run for a second term, to run instead for the Apopka mayor’s office, a gambit that paid off. He will be sworn in April 24.

Clearwater voters re-elect Hoyt Hamilton, usher in newcomer David Allbritton for two City Council seats” via Tracy McManus of the Tampa Bay Times – Incumbent Hamilton kept hold of Seat 5 with 78 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results. He bested challenger John Funk, a real estate broker, in a heated race marked by high tension and attack mailers. Retired building contractor David Allbritton defeated advertising salesman Tom Keller with 67 percent of votes in the tamer race for Seat 4, being vacated by the term-limited Bill Jonson.

Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary breezes to re-election” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – … garnering more than 70 percent of the vote in easily defeating Jim Fitch. Leary, first elected mayor in 2015 during a much more contentious growth period for Winter Park, sought re-election pointing to more controlled but still steady growth, while Fitch tried to contend that the city’s growth still was a problem. In unofficial results posted by the Orange County Supervisor of Elections website, Leary drew 3,301 votes, to Fitch’s 1,278. That is 72 percent to 28 percent. Voter turnout was just over 21 percent in Winter Park.

— “Mike Butler wins big in Hallandale Beach special election” via Susannah Bryan of the Sun Sentinel

— “Angelo Castillo reelected in Pines, Ismael Monroe out” via Brian Ballou of the Sun Sentinel — PARKLAND —

With help of Parkland survivor, Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson push school safety bill” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – The bill, led by Sen. Orrin Hatch, is the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act and the House companion is up for a vote this week. It’s sponsored by Rep. John Rutherford … The legislation provides Justice Department grants for schools to train people to identify warning signs of troubled students, improve school security infrastructure, including anonymous reporting system and created threat assessment and crisis intervention teams as well as facilitates coordination between schools and local law enforcement … The bill would authorize $75 million for FY 2018, and $100 million annually for the next 10 years. Joining a bipartisan group of senators was Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Kyle Kashuv, who has differed with some other students who have demanded more strict gun controls. “I truly believe if this act had been in place a month ago, Parkland wouldn’t have happened,” Kashuv said.

D.C. officials call on Rubio to withdraw bill that steps on local gun restrictions” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other officials, including Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Ted Deutch, will call on Rubio to withdraw a bill that would effectively gut local gun regulations, some of the toughest in the country. Rubio introduced the measure before running for president in 2016, pleasing the NRA, (and has since reintroduced it, with no co-sponsors) but the legislation has become a sore point after the Parkland shooting. Critics note that Rubio said at the recent CNN town hall that he would support raising the purchase age of riles, but that his bill allows DC residents under age 21 to buy assault rifles. “It is heartening that Rubio has recently expressed support for raising the minimum age for purchasing a gun and for comprehensive background checks, but for the residents of the nation’s capital, it is also confounding, because it is the height of hypocrisy to unveil and promote these new stances while simultaneously working to gut D.C.’s local gun laws,” Bower wrote in an op/ed last week for the Miami Herald.

Prosecutors to seek death penalty for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz” via Paula McMahon and Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel – The decision by prosecutors undermines a defense strategy that would have resolved the case without a trial — Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein and the defense team has offered to have Cruz plead guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in exchange for a sentence of life in prison. But the State Attorney’s Office wouldn’t take capital punishment off the table, listing seven “aggravating factors” that a jury can use to justify ordering Cruz’s execution for the Feb. 14 shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Those factors include the “heinous, atrocious and cruel” nature of the crime; the “cold, calculated and premeditated” manner in which it was carried out; and the fact that 17 victims were murdered and another 17 people were shot but survived.

Condition of wounded Stoneman Douglas shooting victim improves” via The Associated Press – Broward Health spokeswoman Jennifer Smith said Anthony Borges‘ condition has now been upgraded to fair. He had been in critical condition. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student is credited with saving the lives of 20 students by attempting to close and lock a classroom door during the Feb. 14 attack … The family’s attorney says that after surgeries, his intestinal area has been sealed off. Alex Arreaza says the student is breathing on his own after being taken off a ventilator. Borges’ family has filed notice that they will sue Florida authorities to seek money to cover the cost of his recovery.

— “Parkland parents, students take advocacy on road. Constitutional panel hears their pleas” via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

Thousands of would-be gun buyers failed a Florida background check last year. Here’s why.” via Thomas Tobin of the Tampa Bay Times – Lots of people, including fugitives and convicted felons, apparently do not know the rules for purchasing a gun going in … the FDLE last year received 990,314 inquiries for firearms transfers from licensed dealers, and 96 percent were approved at the time of the transaction. As for the other 4 percent, here are the reasons they were rejected: 4,170 for felony convictions; 717 for being under indictment; 556 for being a fugitive from justice; 920 for being user or addicted to any controlled substance; 871 for having been adjudicated as mentally defective or having been committed to any mental institution; 449 for being an illegal alien; 11 for having been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces; 3 for renouncing his or her U.S. citizenship; 1,185 for being subject to a restraining order; 1,174 for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence; 2,587 for a wide range of state offenses, from child or elderly abuse to human trafficking and stalking.

University CFO resigns rather than leave board of gun maker” via the Miami Herald – Anita Britt offered her resignation Tuesday from St. Thomas University. Britt joined the Miami-area Catholic school on Jan. 5. She joined the board for American Outdoor Brands, parent company of Smith & Wesson, on Feb. 6, eight days before a shooting left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in south Florida. The university’s president, the Rev. Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale, said last week that Britt’s role with American Outdoor Brands wouldn’t conflict with her CFO position. But he asked her to make a choice Tuesday after students and faculty expressed concerns.

— THE WALKOUT —

Seven thousand pairs of shoes, representing the children killed by gun violence since Sandy Hook, are spread out on the U.S. Capitol lawn by the global advocacy group Avaaz. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Local students to participate in national walkout” via Heather Osbourne of the NWFDailyNews.com –Students across Northwest Florida are preparing to participate in #ENOUGH National School Walkout Wednesday to protest gun violence and honor the 17 people killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. In Okaloosa County, School District Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson sent high school and middle school students home with permission slips March 7, so they too could participate in the walkout. The #ENOUGH National School Walkout is organized by the Women’s March Youth Empower and, according to the website, is led by youth in every participating school. Jackson, though, called the event “Students Stand for Safety.” She said in the permission slip that the district’s walkout is not a protest but “rather it is an opportunity to reflect and for all to show unity supporting school safety. … The position of leaders across our county is that student safety should always be a top priority.”

St. Johns County students will join thousands across nation in school walkout” via Colleen Jones of the St. Augustine Record – Inspired by student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre who have made public pleas to improve school safety, teenagers here in St. Johns County — mostly at the high school level — will join hundreds of thousands of other American students to voluntarily walk out of class at 10 a.m. that day. Many teachers, administrators and others are expected to join them in support. The goal of the national walkout is to appeal to lawmakers to “pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship,” according to Women’s March Youth EMPOWERS which is helping promote the event. But it will also be a time for reflection, and 17 minutes of dedicated silence at the beginning. While each of the students interviewed agreed that they wanted to honor the lives lost Feb. 14, not all of them said they wanted to make the protest political.

Students in local schools are planning to leave class for 17 minutes Wednesday. Here’s why” via Sara Nealeigh of the Bradenton Herald – In Manatee County, walkouts are planned at both State College of Florida and New College of Florida, according to EMPOWER, the youth branch of the Women’s March, website. The actionnetwork.org page also shows a walkout planned at Manatee High School, along with a moment of silence in honor of the victims. Walkouts aim to “protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods” … Manatee County schools are allowing students to participate in the walkouts … School officials expect it to primarily affect high schools. “Students can go to the courtyard or another designated area inside the campus.”

— “Tampa Bay students prepare for March 14 walkout, say it won’t be the last” via Isabel Mascareñas of WTSP

— “South Florida students to call for gun control during national school walkout Wednesday” via Phillip Valys of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Lee schools unclear on plans for nationwide student walkout Wednesday” via Seth Soffian of News-Press.com – In a one-page document … Lee schools “asks” that students and employees maintain “a normal operating day,” while outlining the consequences that students and teachers “may” be subject to for participating in the walkout. It reads, “The District respects individual viewpoints and is committed to recognizing the First Amendment rights of students and staff, however, we are concerned that walkouts may be a deviation to our schools’ standard supervision and safety procedures and may create a substantial disruption to the educational environment and could potentially create an unsafe situation for participants.” The memorandum to principals also cautions that “teachers do not have the legal right to engage in walkout or other work stoppages to support their students unless the district/school administration or other legal agreement has authorized the walkout.”

How young is too young for protest? A national gun-violence walkout tests schools” via Stephanie Saul and Anemona Hartocollis of the New York Times — With some parents wanting their children to get firsthand exposure to a nationwide political demonstration; others worried that the protests are stoking the fears of young children about a threat that remains uncommon; and still others objecting to the gun-control message entirely, one question has been weighing heavily on school administrators this past week: How young is too young for children to join the walkout? Many districts and schools that are tolerating, if not encouraging, participation in what organizers call the National School Walkout are also calibrating their approach for their youngest students. In New York City, middle and high school students may walk out of class with approval from a parent, such as with a permission slip, but elementary school students cannot leave unless a parent or guardian comes to check them out.

— CAPITOL INSIGHT —

Millions of dollars in local projects still must survive Rick Scott’s veto pen” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – They include roads, water and sewer repairs, festivals, fire stations, street lights, a manatee hospital, a cattle call, and even a quilting museum — all courtesy of Florida taxpayers. Many are championed by a single legislator or a powerful lobbyist. The $88.7 billion budget … pays for dozens of projects in the Tampa Bay region. They include a $1.5 million study of extending the Suncoast Parkway toll road from Crystal River to Georgia for use as a hurricane evacuation route; $1 million for the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority for a long-range regional transit plan; $1.5 million to move sediment from Lake Seminole in Pinellas; and $885,000 for a special needs emergency center in Hillsborough. Some other beneficiaries of the Legislature’s election-year largesse include Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, the Florida State Fair in Tampa and the Brooksville Fire Department. If Scott is faithful to his past record, many projects are doomed, because the two-term Republican governor will again use line-item veto power to reject them as wasteful and unnecessary.

Why are Florida lawmakers trying to get rid of this one ethics rule?” via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times – in the frantic final hours of the legislative session, Florida’s Ethics Commission issued an extraordinary press release expressing “deep concern” and warning senators not to pass a bill that would have gutted part of the state’s ethics rules. The bill didn’t pass, but commissioners are worried after lawmakers have tried three times in the last two years to get rid of an obscure ethics rule dealing with lawyers serving on city and county commissions. Currently, ethics rules say a lawyer with the Gunster law firm representing a trash company, for example, can’t go before a local board in which another Gunster lawyer is a member. The reasons are obvious and irreconcilable, ethicists say. Even if the board member discloses the conflict of interests, the board member could still easily influence the outcome of a bid in other ways, by giving his law partner advice on how to influence the board, or by influencing county staff about the bid. Even the board member’s presence could influence his or her fellow board members. “No matter which way you turn it, it’s just an inherent conflict,” Ethics Commission Executive Director Virlindia Doss said. Nevertheless, lawyers in the Legislature are making a bipartisan effort to do away with the rule.

Workers’ comp, health care bills go to Scott” via the News Service of Florida – Three health care-related bills, including one to expand workers’ compensation insurance benefits for injured first responders, were sent to Gov. Scott, who will have until March 27 to sign, veto or allow the bills to become law without his signature. One (SB 376) would expand benefits for police officers, firefighters, emergency-medical technicians and paramedics who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder … State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, a Scott appointee and supporter of the bill, said last week that Scott would sign it into law. Scott also received SB 660, which would broaden a law that exempts health care sharing ministries from Florida’s insurance codes. The bill, if signed by Scott, would benefit some large health care ministries, including Melbourne-based Christian Care Ministries and its health care cost-sharing program known as Medi-Share. The Legislature also sent to Scott an Agency for Health Care Administration bill (SB 622), that would change how the state regulates hospitals, assisted living facilities and clinical laboratories.

University money could help draw top researchers” via Lloyd Dunkelberger of the News Service of Florida – Florida universities will share $151 million in funding next academic year that will allow them to recruit top-level researchers and improve professional and graduate schools. The Legislature increased funding for the World Class Faculty and Scholar Program by $20 million to $91 million and the State University Professional and Graduate Degree Excellence Program by $10 million to $60 million. At the same time, Gov. Scott signed legislation (SB 4) that will make the world-class faculty and professional-degree programs a permanent part of the funding formula for the 12 state universities. Senate President Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican who made the “Excellence in Higher Education Act” one of his priorities, said codifying the new programs and other provisions in the law, including using four-year graduation rates to measure university performance, give “the universities tools they need to better serve students and increase their accountability.”

Six days after saying he was out, Larry Lee reconsiders re-election” via Ana Ceballos of Florida Politics — In the midst of an emotional last week of Session, a tearful state Rep. Larry Lee Jr. told his colleagues in the Florida House in a 40-minute speech that he would not seek re-election. Since then the phone has not stopped ringing, he said. Text messages keep blowing up his phone. And his mother has recommended to “close his ears,” search for solitude and reconsider the decision. So that is what he is doing, six days after making the announcement. Lee told Florida Politics on Tuesday that he was not in the “best frame of mind” when he decided to pull the plug on his political career. … Lee was one of the lawmakers who wanted to vote down the controversial gun and school safety measure and have Gov. Scott call for a special session to resolve the issue. … “That morning it all culminated,” Lee said. “It took those kids from Parkland to push me. I felt like we let them down. Some of our members said we should give them something, but I wanted to give them more.”

Retailers say blocking criminal justice proposal was among ‘biggest successes’” via Florida Politics – The head of the Florida Retail Federation said one of the trade association’s “biggest successes” was helping block a criminal justice reform that would have raised the threshold for a felony theft charge. “Keeping the threshold at its current limit of $300 will help to protect retailed by deterring theft, discouraging criminals from stealing larger amounts of merchandise and reducing the impact of organized retail crime,” said R. Scott Shalley, FRF’s president and CEO. Sen. Randolph Bracy and state Rep. Byron Donalds championed the bipartisan measure. The proposal intended to raise the threshold for a felony theft charge from $300 to $1,500. Florida has three of the lowest thresholds in the country and has not raised the amount since 1986. Shalley viewed the proposal as one that would have made retail more vulnerable. “Keeping the threshold at its current limit of $300 will help to protect retailed by deterring theft, discouraging criminals from stealing larger amounts of merchandise and reducing the impact of organized retail crime,” he said.

— STATEWIDE —

Rick Scott goes to appeals court in financial disclosure fight” via the News Service of Florida – Attorneys for Gov. Scott want an appeals court to block a Leon County circuit judge from moving forward with a case that alleges Scott has failed to properly comply with the state’s financial-disclosure requirements. Scott’s attorneys filed a petition last week at the 1st District Court of Appeal after Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers refused to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Tallahassee lawyer Donald Hinkle. The petition by Scott’s attorneys contends, in part, that the Florida Commission on Ethics – not the circuit judge – has authority over financial-disclosure issues. “The circuit court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the underlying action because the subject matter of the complaint below is committed to the jurisdiction of a separate administrative body: the Florida Commission on Ethics,” the petition said. Gievers issued a three-page order Feb. 26 denying the request to dismiss the case.

Assignment editors – Gov. Scott is traveling the state to highlight $10 billion in tax cuts during his two terms in office. This includes nearly 100 individual tax cuts, as well as nearly $500 million during the recently ended 2018 Legislative Session. Scott’s tour begins 9 a.m. with a visit to Cox Fire Protection, 7910 Professional Place in Tampa. At 11:45 a.m., Scott will be at Imeca Doral, 8400 NW 58th St. in Doral. At 3 p.m., the Governor will finish up at Stevens Construction, 6208 Whiskey Creek Drive in Fort Myers.

Backers push for Marsy’s Law—a crime victims’’ ‘bill of rights’ ” via Florida Politics – Before the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) convened its final public hearing Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Gov. Scott joined others to support Marsy’s Law for Florida. A proposed constitutional amendment would grant equal rights to defendants and convicted criminals, and to victims and their family members. “It’s very important that Marsy‘s Law becomes the law of the land,” Scott said. Most states have taken steps to amend their constitutions to enumerate victims’ rights. Fifteen have not – including Florida.

Tweet, tweet:

Assignment editors – Protect Tobacco Free Florida joins former Attorney General Bob Butterworth, experts and health advocates for a 10 a.m. conference call to make the case against Constitution Revision Commission’s Proposal 94, which would allow funds from the 1995 landmark settlement between the Sunshine State and Big Tobacco to be diverted away from prevention and be used for cancer research. Additionally, it would remove a requirement that one-third of the Tobacco Free Florida budget to focus on directly combating the marketing efforts of Big Tobacco. Conference line number is (888) 392-4560; Access code: 4536251.

AppointedRandall Ewers to College of Central Florida District Board of Trustees; JoAnn Rooney to Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board.

MOTOROLA WINS!

Florida has chosen Motorola Solutions for a contract to take over the Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System, a deal that could reach upward of $100 million.

“Florida’s selection of Motorola Solutions to build a new statewide public safety radio system is a vote of confidence in our decades of successfully building mission-critical communications solutions throughout the state and nation,” company officials said in a statement.

– In naming Motorola, the state dropped Harris Corp., which had held the contract since September 2000.

– Reasons for the change include concerns over spotty or failed service, as well as Harris’ problems with encryption meant to lock out non-law enforcement radios.

– Problems with communication gear have led to the deaths of several officers across the country.

– The deal comes after nearly three years of bureaucratic and legislative infighting, with some lawmakers — often benefiting from political contributions — backing one side over the other.

– Dozens of consultants and lobbyists were involved in the final agreement – Southern Strategy Group was on Motorola’s side; Harris had Brian Ballard of Ballard Partners, among other firms

The system, known as SLERS, is “a single, unified digital radio network that meets the radio voice communications needs of state law enforcement officers and other participating agencies throughout the state” and covers over 60,000 square miles (including 25 miles offshore) with 98 percent mobile coverage and portable coverage in selected areas.

— ALOE —

Larry Page’s flying taxis, now exiting stealth mode” via Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times – The airborne vehicle has been part of a series of “stealth” test flights by a company personally financed by Larry Page, the co-founder of Google and now the chief executive of Google’s parent, Alphabet. The company, known as Kitty Hawk and run by Sebastian Thrun, who helped start Google’s autonomous car unit as the director of Google X, has been testing a new kind of fully electric, self-piloting flying taxi. This is an altogether different project from the one you might have seen last year in a viral video of a single-pilot recreational aircraft that was being tested over water, and it’s much more ambitious. Imagine starting a network of autonomous air taxis, as Uber is planning to, but long before Uber actually does. That’s what Mr. Page is trying to do.

Snow joke: Weatherman named Meteorologist runs for office” via The Associated Press – A former TV weatherman who legally changed his name to Meteorologist Drew Anderson says there’s a 100 percent chance he’ll run for Congress in Pennsylvania under the new moniker … Anderson is collecting signatures to get on the Republican primary ballot for a run against U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker. Anderson says he’s looking for a climate change in Washington … the weatherman changed his name from Drew Anderson last year and left his job at WPMT-TV Fox 43 two weeks ago. Anderson also has worked for NBC affiliate WGAL-TV in Lancaster and as a science teacher … locksmith Bill Neff also is seeking to run against Smucker in the primary.

Why hundreds of female meteorologists are donning purple for Pi Day” via Ashley Williams of AccuWeather – Weather broadcasters from across the country will once again reunite on Pi Day to encourage the involvement of women and young girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). However, for the third annual #DressForSTEM, local and national female meteorologists are doing away with “The Dress” and instead invite people of all backgrounds to join them in wearing purple clothing March 14. Photos of meteorologists matching in the famous dress originally went viral in December 2015 and later merged with Pi Day, which celebrates the mathematical constant of 3.14. “We realized that we were limiting it to just ourselves when there are so many other STEM careers,” said AccuWeather broadcast meteorologist Julia Weiden, who originally proposed the idea of female broadcasters donning the same dress.

Why the liquor industry wants to get self-driving cars on the road” via Caitlin Dewey of The Washington Post – Two industry groups – one representing wine and liquor wholesalers, and another representing large producers – have thrown their weight behind coalitions lobbying to get autonomous vehicles on the road faster. Inherent in their support, analysts say, is an understanding that self-driving cars could revolutionize the way Americans drink. Brewers and distillers say autonomous vehicles could reduce drunk-driving. Without the need to drive home after a night at the bar, drinkers could also consume far more. And that will boost alcohol sales, one analysis predicts, by as much as $250 billion. “It makes a lot of sense that the industry is interested,” said Jim Watson, a senior beverage analyst at Rabobank, the multinational finance firm. “It’s a win-win for them: Self-driving cars could boost alcohol sales and simultaneously reduce drunk-driving.”

Happy birthday to Wilbur Brewton, Seth Platt, and Jeremy Susac.

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.

43 Comments

  1. I bet if you asked the 184,000 Grey2K followers what they didn’t like about greyhound racing most would say the cruelty and drugging of the dogs. Then, if you asked them where they got their information from they would say Grey2K. These followers have no knowledge of greyhounds except for what they read from Grey2K and Grey2K has no knowledge of greyhounds at all. They’ve never worked on a greyhound farm or in a greyhound kennel.

    When you have a problem with a tooth you go to a dentist. Then you have a problem with your roof you would call a roofer. When you want to know about greyhounds why would you get your information from Grey2K instead of the people that work and love those dogs every day?

    Grey2K can control what their 184,000 followers see, but they can’t control what 37 Florida commissioners see. So I ask at least some of you to go to the kennels in St. Pete tomorrow. Take Carey and Christine with you so they can point out all the atrocities they have told the world about for 18 years. Take your cameras and take a lot of pictures. Report whatever you see.

    The commission has been in a lot of cities and towns and some of them are in or near where a track is located. Didn’t you think it odd that Carey never said why don’t we go to the kennels and I will show you what I’ve been talking about for 18 years? If the 37 commissioners saw what Carey sees then the vote will be 37-0 yes.

    Makes you wonder why I am the one asking you to go see, doesn’t it?

    Vote no on Proposal 67.

    1. I came to greyhounds in 1997 when we adopted our first hound, at that time I was anti-racing. In 2003 I was invited to visit farms, kennels and the track. My b eyes were opened to the lies I had been told. I started my own adoption group in 2003. I now own 3 racers, one beginning her career at Jacksonville. I would ask the CRC members to take up the offer of visiting the kennels and track, you will see happy and healthy dogs and will realize you have been lied to by grey2k and their followers.

      1. We adopted our first greyhound from a group that told us the lies about how they were treated. The beautiful well-cared boy belied that description. It didn’t make logical sense. So I went on a research mission to find the truth. 23 adopted retired racers and over 200 fosters later, I know how well racing greyhounds are treated. Vote NO on P67.

  2. http://WWW.greyhoundsfacts.org

    Grey2K is a SCAM!
    40+ PERCENT of DONATIONS are used to LINE POCKETS. G2K is just an organization spewing lies and misconceptions all in an effort to drive donations. Just like the so called “Humane Society” and PETA.

  3. Please Vote Common Since and Vote NO on P67 The lies that the Anti’s spread just don’t cut it. Here is a saying always tell people about the welfare of the animal’s would you buy a 50 thousand dollar car and never change the oil that would be like not taking care of the dogs and asking them to perform to their highest level . Think about it use Common Since. The Leader of the Anti Group in Boston belongs to and used to be a board member of the Group Called Animal Liberation Front .com This Group is on the FBI’s Domestic Terrorist List look it up you will see this is a Fact. The dog people are good hard working folks and they need these jobs.

  4. My name is Matthew Schumitz and my wife and I reside in Massachusetts. We have adopted 7 greyhounds in a short time period of about 6 years. The dogs that are trained for racing have many characteristics that make them amazing pets for families.
    After adopting our first I believed alot of the anti racing rhetoric you hear from “animal welfare group’s” and wanted to help. We started to volunteer with a local Greyhound adoption group and I became enlightened. We are now board members of the group and play huge roles with the dogs entering our program and finding homes. I can truthfully say that in my time doing this all of the dogs have come in to us in great condition. Sure you get a tick and fleas here and there but anyone who has dogs will at sometime in there life have to deal with them.
    I was left a timeshare in Orlando when my grandfather passed away so each year we travel down and venture all over the state spending a lot of money going to various tracks and farms. I regretfully say that my yearly trips would most likely come to an end and I’m sure that goes for many people if greyhound racing ends.

  5. Vote NO on Prop #67. I run GST’s Sun State Greyhound Adoption. We are the track adoption group of Naples Ft. Myers and Flagler Greyhound Racing. Both myself and my volunteers are licensed to go in and out of the Kennels. We see happy, healthy, dogs. We adopt out 300 on the average a year. If this bill goes through we will have over 8,000 dogs the day after Racing ends. There is no way we can absorb that many dogs into the current programs. You will be lead to believe by the Animal Activists that they will help. Humane Society states on line that the number of dogs euthanized per year is 3 Million. Over 50 % of the dogs that go into shelters never get adopted, and never come out alive. Greyhound adoption is at 95% . The best breed adoption in the USA ! Both sides agree that the Retired Racing Greyhound makes a great pet. A dog that is not taken care of or is abused, does not make a great pet! Three Track adoption groups came out yesterday. All three see with their own eyes what happens on the track and how the Industry treats their dogs. We have NO ISSUE ! The groups that do, have been banned from the Industry for multiple reasons. It is like being fired from your job, and you now have nothing good to say about your previous employer. The same tune from the Animal activists prevail over and over again. I question where their knowledge comes from and if they have even touched a retired racer. This bill does not belong in the State of Florida Constitution.

  6. This is absurd that they are trying to single out greyhounds. Horse racing & jai-alai are wagered on thru pari – mutual wagering also, but they don’t want to ban that. This is a ploy by some the tracks to try & get rid of greyhound racing so they can use other forms of gambling, completely forgetting that the only reason they get card rooms & slots is cuz the GREYHOUNDS WERE HERE FIRST. & the greyhound industry agreed to help them get those cuz tracks promised they would continue to promote greyhound racing. Now, they got their simpleton forms of gambling & say greyhound racing is a dying industry when their the ones who stopped promoting it. The tracks that do promote their greyhounds are doing just fine. They should’ve passed Greyhound Saftey Act, Smith – Rader bill that retorted injuries AND made the tracks work too create better track surface conditions & update the rail/rabbit system to cover any electrical wiring & install a break away lure.

  7. Greyhound racing has been under fire for years and has not had time and financial resources to develop slick public relations campaigns that distort and manipulate the general public. I also urge anyone, especially elected officials, to speak directly racing professionals – including vets – and visit tracks, where you will find very healthy and happy dogs. What other animal welfare organization can boast of a 95%plus adoption rate (some are privately adopted directly from the track)? Why are retired greyhounds so loved and appreciated as pets? BECAUSE THEY ARE LOVED AND APPRECIATED FROM BIRTH. I’m not a professional, I’m an adopter who has been blown away by the care and concern of the dogs’ breeders, farm handlers, trainers and owners. Grey2K has smeared an industry that has risen to meet and EXCEED modern day animal welfare standards. There is no reason the government should be banning it!

  8. I have been around greyhounds since i was 4. Had them as pets since i was 6 (was unheard of then) i have raced whelped trained bred racing greyhounds for 32 years now and i can tell you they are handled with the utmost care and respect. The Ar people would have you believe that it is about profit and cruelty. That is not the case. Their concern is about how much money they can con the public out of. The track safety act was brought to the legislator with the hopes of improving safety conditions for the dogs. So why is it if they talk about injuries were they so against it. That is because a happy healthy race dog doesnt put money in the activist pockets

  9. I have owned 11 adopted, retired racing greyhounds. Almost all of them at one time raced in Florida. These dogs are well loved and cared for. One of my dogs I adopted is 2013 All American Team & 2012 Derby Lane Fall Sprint winner Venus Espinoza. Called Carlos by his trainers, won 70 career wins before his retirement in 2013. His former trainers and care takers loved this dog. I hear stories of how lovable and affectionate he was. A great example of how much these dogs love to run was last week when I was getting him ready to march with other greyhounds in a St. Patrick’s Day parade.
    I have a set of racing vests, a 4 & a 7. I pull these out once a year for the St. Patrick’s parade. It has to be at least 4 years since Carlos (Venus Espinoza) has been to the track. He went crazy with excitement. I jokingly put a racing muzzle to complete the ensemble. Carlos was jumping all over me thinking I was going to put him in the box to race a Derby Lane. I felt bad taking it all off & trying to explain to him we are not going racing. Even had to get his Harrison Hare (the name of the lure at Derby Lane) down off the shelf so he could catch the lure. The excitement was there. If these dogs were abused, then explain to me why Carlos looked like a kid at Christmas. Had to laugh though. I get the same happy, excited reaction out of all my greyhounds.
    Please Vote NO on CRC Prop 67 ending greyhound racing in Florida. Go see a farm. Go see a kennel. These dogs are loved and cared for.

  10. My name is Alan Hoffman. My wife, Theresa, and I have been fostering greyhounds for Heartland Greyhound Adoption for over 3 years now. I can echo the sentiments already expressed above. We have fostered over 60 dogs during that time. I would like to address the testosterone nonsense. It is no more than hormone treatment so the females don’t come into heat. If they did, there would be chaos in the kennels, and unregulated breeding. Theresa was on a similar treatment for years to control her periods. If giving dogs testosterone really changed them into males, how do they ever breed successfully? Two of our three hounds are retired breeders. That’s right, three. We adopted our first greyhound through our local Humane Society. We are on number four now. If these dogs are so abused, ask yourselves why they make such great pets. Please do not be blinded by a “non profit” who now pay themselves and their lobbyists a quarter of a million dollars per year. That’s not a non profit. That’s a marketing business. Thank you for your time, Al & Theresa Hoffman

  11. Why is the greyhound industry being held to a higher standard than any other breed out there? 400 deaths in 5 years. Yet humanewatch.org states that PETA kills over 90% of the animals in their shelter. And HSUS quotes that 3-4 MILLION dogs are put down in shelters EVERY YEAR!!! 3-4 MILLION. Let that sink in. Yet you’re willing to shut down an industry over 400 deaths over 5 years? Assuming just 8,000 dogs race each year, that’s a death rate of .01%!! LESS THAN 1 percent!!!

    This purpose of this proposal is to end the pari-mutuel gambling on greyhound racing. Rewording it to imply anything else is voter fraud. If you’re worrying about it passing, perhaps that’s because the people of Florida aren’t ready to see the sport go.

    And yet again, why are you singling out greyhounds?! You’re not proposing the end of ALL animal-based pari-mutuel gambling.

    Quite simply: this is not a constitutional issue. It’s a legislative one. Let the LAWS that are already in place govern this industry.

  12. Vote No on Prop 67. It has no business in the constitution. It is based on outright lies from animal extremists and HSUS and Humane Society data. Seriously? Have you not read about their horrific practices. Check the state of IL. And when did out of state groups tell us how to live. Florida is diverse and a state we are all proud of because it offers something for everyone around the world. The sandy beaches are top of the list but tourists love greyhound racing especially those in countries that are building new racing stadiums. Fact: Greyhounds are not crated 22 to 23 hours a day. Greyhounds are not fed substandard food.
    Another lie is they have little human contact. Really? Come to my kennel and get ready to be licked and jumped all over. What does anyone that has not been alongside of us know about the day to day operations? Please know your facts and not just repeat a he said-she said assessment that will have a negative impact on FL tourism, taxes, economy, FL charities that receive monies from racing and the many responsible employees and their families living in our state.

  13. Vote NO on Prop #67. Until a few years ago I was on the fence regarding greyhound racing. Then, as intelligent people do, I went to discover the truth myself. I went to race tracks, visited kennels, I’ve been to Greyhound farms and am happy to report that in NO WAY are these dogs abused. They are an ancient breed that was bred to run….and they love to do just that. Run. They receive high quality care, food and love from the time they are born until they retire and grace our couches. Be an inquiring mind….go see for yourself. The dogs are happy and well adjusted. You can’t force a greyhound to run, and the good people who look after these dogs work grueling hours 7/365 because of their love and dedication to greyhounds. Vote NO on Prop #67.

  14. When I knew nothing I was against racing in the 80s and early 90s. I’m at my first real Greyhound in the late 90s. And before I knew it I was seeing someone who ended up with a greyhound breeding farm. I was forced to learn more about the dogs, and what was going to happen to them when they left the farm. It did not take long to realize I had been duped into thinking some pretty awful stuff. It was lies and exaggerations that had nothing to do with the reality of Greyhound life at the track. Fire judge all members of the commission to please visit a kennel at a racetrack, and learn the truth. These dogs are loved appreciated and well taken care of. Vote no on Prop 67

  15. When I knew nothing I was against racing in the 80s and early 90s. I met my first real Greyhound in the late 90s. And before I knew it I was seeing someone who ended up with a greyhound breeding farm. I was forced to learn more about the dogs, and what was going to happen to them when they left the farm. It did not take long to realize I had been duped into thinking some pretty awful stuff. It was lies and exaggerations that had nothing to do with the reality of Greyhound life at the track. I implore all members of the commission to please visit a kennel at a racetrack, and learn the truth. These dogs are loved appreciated and well taken care of. Vote no on Prop 67

  16. I have worked in greyhound adoption for 17 years and don’t want to have betting on Greyhound racing banned. I have been to most of the tracks, in many many track kennels and to greyhound rearing facilities across the country. These dogs are elite athletes and treated as such. They get better care and exercise and have access to vet care all the time. They are checked by vets often. My adoption group works closely with many many trainers and owners and we don’t want to see them lose their way of living. The group behind this push to ban betting on racing in Florida is Grey2K. Grey2K is an extremist lobbyist group that does nothing to help greyhounds or adoption. They get millions in donations from good hearted people that are led to believe they are giving to greyhounds. The more drama Grey2K fabricates, the more donations they get. I have no idea why they are considered an authority on greyhound racing or why anyone in Florida would even ask the opinion of an extremist animal rights group based in Boston that has been linked to PETA . Greyhounds are the wonderful pets they are because of their upbringing and handling at the track. There are only around 10,000 greyhounds born a year. Some simple math will tell you that if there were only 50 adoption groups placing 200 greyhounds a year they would ALL be placed. My group alone places nearly 200 a year and others do more than that and many only place a few. There are actually multiple adoption groups in every state though and many more in Canada, waiting on greyhounds to retire. Most groups have waiting lists of people waiting on retired dogs. There are weekly dog hauls that go from racing states to adoption groups in non racing states funded by owners, trainers and tracks. Yet Grey2K claims you need to send them thousands of dollars to prevent greyhounds from being killed? The truth is that greyhounds are not discarded or killed after racing – they are adopted into loving homes by hundreds of adoption groups. They don’t go “missing”. Puppies aren’t “culled” if they can’t race, there are long waiting lists for those too. Greyhounds have been bred for thousands of years to chase, yet Grey2K claims greyhounds are “forced to race”. Think about that, does it even make sense? Greyhounds don’t have jockeys, they either race because they want to or they stop and get sent to an adoption group. Retrievers love to chase the balls, herding dogs love to herd, huskies like to pull and run long distances – it isn’t “work” it is what they do for fun. It makes no difference to them if someone makes money when they chase a lure or not. They don’t care of people are betting on them or not. My greyhounds were much happier when they were racing and getting to chase a lure every few days. All the petting, soft couches, walks, and play in their yard can’t compare to they joy of chasing a lure and doing what they were bred to do. Many adopters continue to let their dog chase a lure after adoption because of this. Racing is what they love to do most. Please don’t take this away from the dogs, do your own research and STOP listening to untruths spread by Grey2K.

  17. As president / founder of an adoption group (and with another group previously) I have 17 years working with owners / trainers / handlers of these magnificent creatures. I have never seen abuse of any kind. All I see is the love they have for the pups as they care for them and love them and I have been to the compound hundreds of times – maybe even 1,000 times over the years. The industry needs to be left alone. I would never support an industry that was not good to the dogs………… SAY NO TO PROP # 67

    1. Vote no to prop 67. The repercussions if racing were to cease will be catastrophic to many dogs and families as well as the state of Florida. I run an adoption group as well own racers who are well cared for and this isn’t a constitutional issue.
      Vote no to prop 67

  18. Vote NO on Prop #67. I adopted my first greyhound in 2001 and at that time believed the allegations and lies because that is all I had ever heard. Adopted my second greyhound in 2003. In her adoption packet was a note from her trainer saying – “please tell people we don’t abuse these greyhounds”. That simple note was the beginning of my journey into learning the truth about greyhound racing. Thru conversations with owners/trainers/track vets/kennel staff, track tours, visiting greyhound farms and watching them race – I learned about how well greyhounds are treated. I was so relieved when I learned the truth. By keeping an open mind – I was able to learn the truth and now believe that greyhound racing is good. We now have our 3rd and 4th adopted greyhounds – both former Florida racers. My 3rd dog lost all 4 of his races – the activists would want to you believe he would have been put down when he stopped winning. LOL – he never won a thing…but I can assure you that he is alive and adopted and adored. The original owner of my 4th retired greyhound sent me baby pictures of the entire litter. Who keeps baby pictures of their dogs – nobody except people who care about them. Come on people – if you have questions about greyhound racing – go to a track and talk to the people who work with the greyhounds. Please vote NO on Prop #67.

  19. I was at the hearing yesterday. I came down from Iowa to speak against P67. I don’t work in the industry, but have owned greyhounds, as pets, for over 25 years. In more recent years, I have been a volunteer for adoption groups. I really hope the commissioners will visit the kennels and see for themselves. If they don’t, how can they rightfully cast a vote of such importance?

  20. Please VOTE NO on P67
    I have been involved with Greyhounds since 1997 when our first hound came home to us from England. During the last 20 years, working in adoption and in and out of Greyhound racing kennels, I have seen first hand the care that is given to the Greyhounds from birth, through their racing career and on into retirement. I am disturbed by the constant flow of misinformation and lies that are promoted by Grey2K in an effort to end Greyhound racing. They use tactics that are very familiar in promoting their lies to the unsuspecting public to raise the money to pay lobbyists and line their own pockets with by using misleading or false tear-jerking photos, many from long ago and from other countries. With all the money they have made through this fraud, none goes to the betterment, rehoming or care of retiring Greyhounds. How sad is that!

    I have watched my hounds, some from the time of their birth, grow, play as puppies, go off to “racing college’ and come back to race and then retire to a couch in my home. I have had many over the years who were not interested in chasing the lure or were too slow to compete who have come home to early retirement. No, they were not disposed of because the didn’t race well as Grey2K would have the public believe! Grey2K has followed the plan of “if you tell the lie often enough, it will be believed”. I have spent time in the regulation sized kennels with a hound with my pillow and a book to help a shy hound or to just hang out with a favorite “kennel pup”. So yes! The have plenty of room in there “personal kennel condo” to move about and be comfortable. In watching the CRC hearings, I was horrified as one speaker blamed racing for bone cancer and kidney failure in Greyhounds with no medical/clinical proof to back up that claim. Where do they make this stuff up from?? I have spent time in racing kennels seeing the care given to these precious hounds and the genuine love given by their trainers. I have seen my hounds jump for joy and run into the hugs of their trainers years after leaving the racing kennels. They do not forget! As with people personalities, I have had several hounds who were quite shy but were certainly not abused. Injuries at home seem to be greater in numbers than those that happen on the track. If the anti-racing factions wanted to help the Greyhounds, why did they fight against the Greyhound safety Act and the Smith Rader Bill… which would have made the track safer for the hounds. Why would they NOT want to make racing safer??

    My observations could go on and on but I think that I have made my point. The hounds that we see going to adoption and into loving homes are the way they are, sweet, loving and a joy to add to the house because of their upbringing and training before they come to us a adopters. They have been raised with care and love and dedication. It takes a village to raise a child and Greyhounds are raised by their owners, trainers, kennel helpers and leadouts. In other words…their “Greyhound racing Village”

    It is not cheap to raise a puppy to racing age. Why would the racing industry abuse these hounds as stated by Grey2K? Common sense is obvious here – An abused hound does not win races. Please see past the misleading and untrue statements and misinformation thrown out by those who would see racing done away with. And please consider the thousands of Florida jobs that would be affected by this proposal.

    Again, I ask for a NO vote on P67

  21. Good day, my first response is No to bill 67. Now I will briefly explain. I spend thousands of dollars on dogs every year. Now why would I spend my money on something and let others destroy it? That is just stupid and I am not stupid. All my racers where ever they have been have been taken care of and have gone to our wonderful adoption groups.

    My second point, I think it is a shame you as elected officials are putting this gambling/greyhound business before the needs of your people who elected you into office. I have watched the live meetings and have seen teachers asking for help on a bill, families asking for help on a hospice bill, nurses asking for help and you are putting the dog racing before them? Once again, shame on you, how embarrassing for your state. Here in Illinois they are already talking about it, really sad. Racing should just be there, untouched because it gives jobs to your people, taxes and revenue to the state. To even put this on your plate, before the needs of your constiuants who elected you into office to take care of them makes me glad I don’t live in your state. Parimutual wagering should include all forms, which you are not doing. You are excluding the horses which is not fair to the dogs. Why is that any different? If it is a go for one it should be a go for all and this has no business being decided by influence of people or groups who have nothing to do with this industry, do not reside or pay taxes in your state, peoples stories in which they know nothing first hand about what goes on and the worse, a group being investigated for their wrongful use of donation money. Very sad you will not see for yourselves how the industry works and if you have to make a decision, make it on your own facts you see for yourselves. If any of you really cared about this bill, you would just say no to bill 67 and go to the farms and track kennels, unannounced and see facts for yourselves instead of listening to people that have never (fact) set foot in any kennel or farm in the US. All the pictures you have seen have been stolen, the info given is not the whole story and you as elected officials should check this out for yourself when you are dealing with the thousands of jobs that will be lost and revenue that will be lost in your state. Tourism is a big deal there, don’t destroy that for yourselves!

  22. I have been involved with greyhound adoption for 13 years. I have fostered 63 greyhounds over those 13 years. I have adopted 8 of those 63 greyhounds over those 13 years. Each and every one has been healthy, well balanced in demeanor, friendly and loving. It is evident they are very well cared for during their racing life. If these dogs were not well cared for and treated kindly with love, it stands to reason that they would not race well !! They race because that is what they are born and bred to do and they love it..they are not forced to race. These hounds also would not be the happy go lucky loving dogs that are placed into their forever homes after their racing career is over. I have visited puppy farms, kennels and race kennels. These dogs are live better and thrive more than some humans in our country do! I love these retired racing dogs. Please vote NO TO PROP#67.

  23. I am 75 years old and raised and raced greyhounds for over 30 years. While many years ago there were a lot of things I didn’t like about the way many of the greyhounds were treated after they were done racing, I have seen with my own eyes how the people and adoption and greyhound racing rules have changed for the better for the lives of greyhounds after they are done racing. As far as how greyhounds were treated even before all the improvements and rules over the past 30 years I never did see any mistreatment of the dogs while they were racing. The dogs were given as good of care as possible just because commonsense shows that the better care you give a racing dog the better it will race which means the more money it will earn for the owner, trainer and kennel. Today there is no bred in the United States that even comes close to finding homes for there bred that the racing greyhounds do after they are retired from racing. Go to any kill type shelter and you won’t see any NGA Reg greyhounds (a greyhound has to be a reg NGA greyhound to be able to race at any track in the United States) like you do other breeds.

  24. Here in the UK we are so envious of the USA’s fantastic 95% adoption rate for greyhounds! I cannot understand why these activists constantly turn down repeated invitations to visit tracks and kennels-what are they so afraid of? Is it because they would fail to find anything remotely like the state of affairs they claim exists? Are they afraid the public will realise they have been ‘had’ by groups only interested in self promotion and garnering donations (of which nearly nothing ends up being used to help dogs) by completely misrepresenting Florida’s racing community and that of the wider world? These groups rely on people being too lazy or stupid to go and find out the truth for themselves rather than being spoon fed activist propaganda. You will see the comments from people who initially believed their version of things. You will also see that they found out the truth and it was very different from the picture they had been told was true. You will also see that the activist groups turned on these people who refused to be sheep. What is it that they do not want the public to find out? It is the fact that your racing greyhounds are loved, looked after, revered and respected both in their racing careers and afterwards. They are so popular and make such excellent pets because of the care and love and respect they receive whilst they have a ‘job’ NOT in spite of it. Please use common sense and don’t be a ‘sheep’ -go on that track visit, go visit that trainer, use your own eyes and don’t let anyone else tell you what to think-would you let them tell you how to live your life or raise your children? Please say No to this ill conceived, propaganda led bill-don’t let these marvellous animals we call racing greyhounds down!

  25. I have worked with adoption groups for close to 13 years. I have also owned a racer – who basically ran straight to the couch and is laying at my feet as I write this. I have her littermate here as well, along with four others. None of them have ever seen any bad conditions from birth to retirement. I am a frequent un-announced visitor at several kennels around the state and I would be the first to speak out if I saw something I believed was not good for the dogs. We make major investments in each dog, emotionally and economically, and that is before they set foot on a track. The economics of putting thousands of people out of work, closing a tourist attraction, and then re-homing over 8,000 dogs does not bode well for the taxpayers of Florida. Also, the petitions that have been circulated by a number of out of state anti-racing groups do not represent the citizens of Florida as they contain an overwhelming number of out of state signatures.

  26. NO to prop 67.

    As a tourist to Florida I wish to experience the thrills of greyhound racing and admire the decades of breeding that had gone into this majestic athletic breed.
    Florida should retain its rich culture and history of greyhound racing. Racing Proud,

  27. Greyhounds make wonderful pets because of their racing lives, not in spite of it. They receive love and care during their racing lives. Please don’t destroy this with prop#67. Vote NO NO NO.

  28. Vote NO for proposal 67!! This is not a constitutional issue. How can it be about the welfare of the greyhounds when animal shelters destroy more pets in a year than the number of greyhounds that race in Florida during the same 12 months? This is about expanding gambling in the state of Florida. There is already a gambling issue that has petitioned enough signatures to make it on the ballot. The tracks should step up safety provisions and promoting the sport along with refusing to participate in ADW.

  29. Why are we even considering letting people, the vast majority of whom are entirely removed from the day to day lives of racing greyhounds in Florida, make the rules? These people have no expertise in the care of greyhounds, or in the management of large colonies of them. Consequently, why should they have any say whatsoever in how they are cared for? And why should their claims of “abuse” and “neglect” be taken seriously, when in fact, in almost every case, they are nothing but hearsay? Photos of greyhounds taken half a century ago, from another time and culture, and stories of abuse in other countries should have no bearing at all on the management or existence of Florida’s greyhound population.

    Ideology does not matter to greyhounds. Ideological zealots do not have the best interests of the greyhounds at heart, they promote only their slash-and-burn agenda. They have no future vision for the breed, as a genetically diverse population of high functioning canines, any more than they have a plan to re-home the tens of thousands who will be disenfranchised and displaced, if something as patently anti-greyhound as this proposed stature should ever pass.

  30. Please vote no to proposal 67. Greyhounds are the most loyal, loveable and athletic breed and they just love to run and they also make fantastic pet’s.

  31. Please Vote NO on Prop 67. Florida ~~ you are too smart to be duped by the lies and misinformation (however dramatic) being put forth by the “Animal Rights /Animal Liberation Activists” and their “sheeple people” followers and their paid protestors !!

    My family, friends and neighbors choose Florida as a vacation place that allows them to see Greyhound Racing. I have four greyhounds, all of whom have retired from Florida tracks. They are the most loved and loving pets I have ever had. I have been to breeding farms, met trainers and visited kennels when I owned a racing greyhound.

    Please do not believe the lies that are being spewed by the people who are opposing Greyhound Racing. Especially people who run slick TV ads late at night to bilk money
    from well meaning people who REALLY care about animal welfare. You know what you
    need to do….

    Protect your Greyhounds and your Greyhound Racing Industry – it is a staple of Florida tourism and tradition. Would you allow these people to attack Sea World ? or Charter Fishing ? or Disney World ? Protect your hard-working citizens, and their livelihoods. The
    dogs are loved and well cared for.

    Vote NO on Prop 67 !!!

  32. Vote NO on proposal 67! This should not even be considered as a constitutional amendment in the first place. It’s all a scam created by the out of state lobbyists to line their pockets and nothing else. Go see for yourself instead of listening to all the lies.

  33. My name is
    Patrick Ryan I am from Ireland, I have worked in the Greyhound Racing Industry for 46 years. Before that I was a Breeder/Owner/
    Trainer of greyhounds. I have always had an interest in Florida Greyhound Racing, We as a group visited Derby Lane Greyhound track and alot of the attached Racing Kennels. We were delighted to see the way greyhound racing was conducted and regulated in Florida. The greyounds were looked after very well and fed much better than alot of people throughout the world, I have followed a number of trainers and constantly see their efforts to rehome any ex racers they may have. I have seen people asking to rehome greyhounds long before they end their racing career,
    Greyhound Racing properly Regulated is a great sport. It shoud be fully supported and ask you to please support Greyhound Racing, Ireland is a very small country and we have Sixteen Greyhound Stadia.
    Between Breeders,Owners, Trainers, Sponsors, Food Companies, Stadia Staff, etc up to 10,000 people are employed between full and part time employment. I ask you to please support
    Greyhound Racing Florida.
    Thank you for reading my request to you.
    Kind Regards
    Patrick Ryan
    Former Managing Director
    Shelbourne Park
    Greyhound Stadium
    Dublin Ireland.

  34. I got my first greyhound, a 9 month old, from a breeding farm, after she had broken her leg in the puppy pen. She had been cared by a vet, who told the owner she would never be a racer. He rehabbed her after the cast came off, and then gave her to me. This was in 1991. She lived a full life, running around with children in the neighborhood, my grandchildren, traveled and moved 4 times. Shortly before we lost her I got involved in adoption, and transporting racers to adoption groups and to their adoptive homes. At this time, I then wound up behind the scenes at track kennels by a friend who was a trainer. I spent a lot of time behind the scenes, in a number of tracks, walking into kennels without warning..with him, without warning…so he could introduce me. I helped clean kennels, played in the turn out pens, got mobbed by ‘all the boys’ who in their exuberance, knocked me down, and wanted to play and give kisses. I was IN the crate/kennel with a dog, who wanted his belly rubs IN HIS BED THANK YOU. I helped cook food. I watched massages given by the trainers, and the hugs. I had my grandson, age 3 in the kennels at tracks.

    As I got more into adoption, I would up placing dogs from the tracks into assisted living facilities.. because they are so attuned to people. Two weeks at my house, all vetting done, personality check, visits, and now my next greyhound, Casey, a retired racer (GRADE A) had a playmate when he went visiting at the assisted living facilities. The 2 dogs made a ‘race track’ in the enclosed atrium, where everyone could watch them..

    I have dealt with some Anti racing groups, and watched some of them deliberately starve a dog, and then take a picture and post it..so we told the trainers to take pictures of each dog as they loaded up the dogs with any group… One group tried telling everyone in a state park that Casey’s scars came from being beating at the track and they ‘knew all about him’. My vet would disagree with that, as he was the one who had to glue the skin flap down AFTER he got silly in my yard and jumped into a thorny flowering quince shrub.

    Please vote NO on Proposition 67; these dogs do what they love to do..run and race, and they show it.. They have NOT be abused..and I am tied of the lies spewed by teh Anti-racing people .

  35. Please Vote No to proposal 67.
    Legislators should visit Greyhound rearing and racing facilities and see how well they are looked after. They are gentle friendly dogs who love to chase and race.

  36. I NEVER say we “rescued” a Greyhound from the track. Our Greyhounds were retired from racing. Which if you don’t know Greyhounds love to do naturally. Our Greyhounds found their way into our homes and hearts and STILL do what they love to do….now running in our backyard! 🙂

    Please vote NO to Proposal 67.

    All of us who have adopted know a lot more than the Grey2K folks, who line their pockets with donations. Ask to see how much of their donations actually go to the Greyhounds they so “dearly” want to protect. Look at how much money go from the adopters to the Adoption groups to make sure these retired athletes find their much deserved retirement home…with people like me and my husband.

  37. Our first greyhound came into our home in 1995. That dog changed our lives. You see, when we got her, we believed all the lies spread about greyhound racing. We believed that the dogs were horribly abused. We wanted greyhound racing banned. Then, we learned differently.

    About a year after we got Lindsay, we were invited to an adoption group greyhound get together at the now closed Mile High Greyhound Park in Denver. We went. It was there, we started to develop doubts about the stories we were told. Why? Lindsay’s old trainer & kennel owner came to the get together. When she saw him, an elderly man sitting down, she went nuts, dragging us over to him. She climbed up into his lap, overjoyed at seeing him. He started crying while holding her, asking, “How’s my party girl? How’s my Lindsay?”
    Watching them interact, I began to realize that these dogs are much loved and they are the great pets they are because of that love. It was shortly after that, I started an adoption group to place hounds into homes.

    I suggest the Legislators & Commissioners visit a greyhound kennel, a greyhound farm, and/or a greyhound track. Go see for yourself how these dogs are treated & loved. See how well they’re looked after. Greyhounds are outstanding pets. Some are being trained for service work. Go look & then decide for yourself whether or not you’ve been sold a bill of goods by Grey2K. Please vote NO on Prop 67.

    Thank you…

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