Peter Schorsch, Author at Florida Politics - Page 4 of 286

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including, 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.

Sunburn for 10.11.17 — HD 44 & 58 results; Closing the Charlie Crist loophole; Frank White for A.G.?; A must-read from the Miami Herald; Pepi Diaz for prosecutor?; Happy b’day Lucy Morgan

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

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

Tuesday was a very big day for political consultants Anthony Pedicini and Tom Piccolo.

The Tampa-based duo known for their sharp elbows and close connections to House leadership began the day seeing one of their clients, Daniel Perez sworn in as the new state Rep. from House District 116. Perez on Sept. 26 won a special election, replacing former Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, a Republican who made an unsuccessful bid for an open Senate seat.

Later in the day, Jose Oliva, which will count on Pedicini’s Strategic Image Management as one of his go-to firms as he works to keep a Republican majority in the House, was officially sworn in as Speaker-designate of that chamber.

Less than an hour after Oliva was sworn in, SIM clients in House District 44 and 58 won their special elections.

Winter Garden Republican Bobby Olszewski, of Winter Garden, won by a 56-44 margin over the Democrats late-entry replacement candidate, businessman Eddy Dominguez of Dr. Phillips, in the special election to replace Republican state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle.

Olszewski was sworn in Tuesday night and immediately departed for Tallahassee, where he expects to begin participating in committee action representing HD 44 starting Wednesday.

Looking to join Olszewski as a redshirt freshman in the House is Lawrence McClure, who defeated the well-regard Yvonne Fry, 55 to 45 percent. The two Hillsborough County natives ran a contentious campaign for the GOP nomination to fill the seat of former Rep. Dan Raulerson, who stepped down in August for health reasons.

McClure’s win is especially satisfying for Pedicini, who was inexplicably featured in a mailer attacking McClure. If you’re a big enough target that your client’s opponent is wasting money on a mailer criticizing you, then that says something.

But so too does the scoreboard. And on that, Pedicini and Piccolo are big winners.

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House panel concludes there’s probable cause to punish Daisy Baez for not living in her district” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — Baez, a Democrat, was elected last year to House District 114 after having lived in her Coral Gables home, located in House District 112, since 2009. The five-member bipartisan House Select Committee on Member Conduct made its unanimous recommendation of probable cause, after hearing a presentation by House investigators. The House Committee on Ethics and Elections will take up the issue again Thursday when it will give Baez her first hearing, and decide whether she should be punished. A complaint was filed in May after the Miami Herald reported that Baez appeared to continue to be living in her home on Malaga Avenue, a half mile away from the district she was elected to serve. Baez said at the time that she had two residences, including an apartment in her district on Anderson Avenue that she was renting.

“Dana Young will try for fracking ban again” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — Democrats and Republicans from both sides of the Capitol rotunda came together Tuesday to back Sen. Dana Young‘s latest try to ban fracking in Florida. Also known as hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technique involves shooting water and chemicals deep underground, breaking up the rock to get at oil and natural gas that’s unreachable by conventional drilling. “Advocates insist it is a safe and economical source of clean energy,” the LiveScience website explains. “Critics, however, claim fracking can destroy drinking water supplies, pollute the air and contribute to the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.” In Florida, the process “makes no sense,” said Young, a Tampa Republican, at a Tuesday news conference. It is the second year she’s run a fracking ban bill (SB 462). “It puts our drinking water supply, and everything we build our economy on, at risk,” she said.

“Daisy Baez residency investigation moves to trial” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — A House investigative panel on Tuesday found that Miami-Dade Rep. Baez likely broke member residency rules. The Select Committee on Member Conduct decided to refer Baez’s case to the Public Integrity and Ethics Committee for the equivalent of a trial. A finding of “probable cause,” required for further proceedings, means it is more likely than not that a violation occurred. Baez, a Democrat, was elected last year to represent South Florida’s House District 114, but questions soon arose whether she really lived in the neighboring District 112, represented by Democrat Nicholas Duran.

Senate Democrats urge governor to waive KidCare payments through November” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — The governor and the KidCare agencies have refrained from asking for a federal waiver, preferring instead to give families who lost jobs, income and homes in Hurricane Irma an extension of the Oct. 1 deadline. As a result, families must make two payments by Oct. 31 to make sure their children remain insured under the state and federal program. “Thousands of Florida families were hit hard by the hurricane and are working to get their homes, jobs and lives back in order,” wrote Sen. Oscar Braynon, the Senate Democratic leader in a letter to Gov. Rick Scott. “Merely extending the time to pay a premium until the end of the month, and then compounding it by asking for a double payment, adds to the financial hardships with which many of them are currently struggling. Given the ongoing emergency situation, these fees should have been waived.” KidCare covers about 160,000 children ages 5-18 and charges most families $15 to $20 a month depending on their family size and income.

Sports franchise bill passes only committee, heads to House floor” via Florida Politics — Florida sports franchises will be banned from constructing or renovating facilities on leased public land under a bill advanced by the House Committee on Government Accountability. HB 13, sponsored by Republican state Reps. Bryan Avila and Manny Diaz, is identical to HB 77, which died in the Senate during the 2017 Legislative Session. As for HB 13, Government Accountability was the bill’s only committee of reference, meaning it now heads to the House floor for consideration by all members during the 2018 Session.

A Senate committee advanced the bill tweaking Florida’s resign-to-run law that prevents politicians from running for two offices, closing a “loophole” used by former Gov. Charlie Crist in 2007 when he was seen as a possible vice presidential candidate.

“Change to resign-to-run law clears first committee” via Florida Politics — A bill that would require state and local officeholders to resign if they qualify to run for federal office cleared its first committee on Tuesday. The bill (SB 186), filed by Sen. Travis Hutson, a St. Augustine Republican, got a unanimous ‘yes’ vote from the Senate’s Ethics and Elections Committee without debate. The resign-to-run law now only applies to state and local officeholders who run for other state and regional elective offices. Lawmakers in 2008 had repealed the part of the resign-to-run law about federal offices. The bill “also makes a conforming change to clarify that state and local officers seeking to run for U.S. President or Vice President must resign their office if the terms overlap,” a bill analysis says. The measure next heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

– “GOP’s attack on ‘Charlie Crist loophole’ loaded with intrigue” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

Senate begins search for consensus on AOB reform” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics — Assignment of benefits reform was among the first topics tackled by the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee as it began preparing for the 2018 Legislative Session. A panel of interested parties, invited to debate points of contention, appeared to agree that so-called AOB agreements ought to be in writing, and that a deadline should be imposed for delivering them to insurance carriers. Working out the details could be tricky, however, not least over which parties could sign AOB contracts. The policyholder, certainly. But what if a divorcing couple holds the policy jointly? Should mortgage-holders have a say? “That’s why we’re doing this rather methodically — putting the issues out, giving everybody their time,” committee chairwoman Anitere Flores said following the hearing. “There is more that the sides agree on than they disagree on. So, let’s try to get something passing.”

Venezuela divestment bill filed in House” via the News Service of Florida — Florida would have to divest from companies doing business with the Venezuelan government, under a proposal filed by Rep. Bill Hager. Hager’s proposal (HB 279) is similar to a measure (SB 70) filed in August by Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez. The bills are filed for the 2018 legislative session, which starts in January. “The people of Venezuela are suffering under the Maduro regime,” Hager said. “Florida has the ability to ensure that our state’s monies are not used to benefit this tyrannical regime.” On Oct. 2, Gov. Scott announced he would push for legislation to expand a Cabinet directive against conducting state business linked to the Maduro regime.

Law would make ‘political beliefs’ subject to hate-crime criteria” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Joe Gruters — a freshman Republican from Sarasota and co-chairman of Donald Trump’s Florida campaign — wanted Florida to punish people more harshly if they commit crimes based upon “political beliefs.” He said he’d seen people intimidated for wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and felt he needed to do something to curb political violence “on all sides.” So he filed House Bill 209, calling for harsher punishments for crimes “based on political affiliation or beliefs.” That means if you’re a Red Sox fan who punches a Yankees fan for wearing an Aaron Judge jersey, you could get 60 days in jail. But if you’re a Donald Trump supporter who punches a Hillary Clinton fan for wearing a “Trump’s an idiot” T-shirt, you could get imprisoned for a year. So, Democrats would be a protected class. As would Republicans, communists … even Nazis. Yes, under Gruters’ bill, you’d get a harsher penalty for smacking a Nazi than an old lady. (If you smacked the Nazi for being a Nazi, anyway.)

Assignment editors – State Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez and Rep. Nicholas Duran will join other members of the Legislature and health care professionals for a news conference on changes to this year’s open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act. Event begins noon outside the House Chambers on the 4th Floor Rotunda of the Florida Capitol.

Committee meetings to watch

— Slavery Memorial debated — On the agenda of the House Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee is HB 67, filed by Rep. Kionne McGhee, to establish a slavery memorial at the state Capitol. Meeting begins 9 a.m. in Morris Hall, House Office Building.

— House panel talks education-budget requests — The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee will hear presentations on 2018-19 budget requests by the Department of Education and the Office of Early Learning. Meeting begins 9 a.m. in Reed Hall of the House Office Building.

— Tourism marketing discussed — The House Tourism & Gaming Control Subcommittee will get updates on tourism marketing. Meeting begins 9 a.m. in Room 212 of the Knott Building of the Capitol.

— Prison population updates — The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will receive updates on Florida’s prison population. Meeting begins 10 a.m. in Room 37 of the Senate Office Building.

— Water infrastructure presentations — The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee will hear several presentations on the state’s water infrastructure needs. Meeting begins 10 a.m. in Room 301 of the Senate Office Building.

— Senate talks `Job Growth Grant Fund’ — on the schedule of the Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee our presentations from the Department of Economic Opportunity about the state’s newly launched Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. Meeting begins 10 a.m. in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building.

— Electricity restoration updates — The House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee will receive updates on storm restoration efforts by electric utilities. Meeting begins 1 p.m. in Room 212 of the Knott Building in the Capitol.

— House updates on medical marijuana — The House Health Quality Subcommittee will receive updates on the laws passed to enact a 2016 constitutional amendment legalizing some forms of medical marijuana. Schedule speakers include Christian Bax, director of the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use. Meeting begins 1 p.m. in Room 306 of the House Office Building.

— House discusses transportation, tourism budgets — The House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee will address 2018-19 budget requests. Meeting begins 1 p.m. in Reed Hall of the House Office Building.

— Senate addresses nursing home generator rules — The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee will receive updates on emergency rules to require generators at nursing homes and assisted living facilities to run air conditioning systems during power outages. Meeting begins 2 p.m. in Room 401 of the Senate Office Building.

— Senate considers ending fireworks ban — A bill in front of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee seeks to end a decades-old ban on fireworks sales. SB 198, filed by Sen. Greg Steube, would end the need for consumers to use the loophole allowing fireworks sales only for agriculture-related purposes. Meeting begins 2 p.m. in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building.

— Storm damage to agriculture assessed — The House Agriculture & Property Rights Subcommittee will receive updates from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on storm-related agriculture damage. Meeting begins 3:30 p.m. in Room 12 of the House Office Building.

— Low-Income Pool updates — The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will receive updates on the Low-Income Pool, which reimburses hospitals and other health providers for caring the care of poor and uninsured people. Meeting begins 3:30 p.m. in Room 404 of the House Office Building.

— House panel considers Greg Evers memorial — The House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee will discuss a bill (HB 171) to name a stretch of road in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties as the “Senator Greg Evers Memorial Highway.” Filed by state Rep. Jayer Williamson, the bill honors Evers, a former Republican senator and House member, who died Aug. 21 in Okaloosa County. Meeting begins 3:30 p.m. in Reed Hall of the House Office Building.

Fundraising roundup — Starting 11:30 a.m., state Rep. Bob CortesTom Leek, and David Santiago will host a joint fundraising event at the Governors Club. At noon, Rep. Rick Roth will also be fundraising at the Club. Later, Reps. Randy FineSam Killebrew and Ralph Massullo will host a Club event beginning 5 p.m. At the same time, state Sens. Dorothy Hukill and Kathleen Passidomo will be in the Club’s Board Room. Beginning 5:30 p.m., Republican candidate James Buchanan will be fundraising at 115 East Park Avenue, second-floor conference room, in Tallahassee. Buchanan is seeking to succeed former state Rep. Alex Miller in HD 72. Finally, at 6:30 p.m., Senate Democrats will hold a “welcome back” event in the Governors Club Plantation Room. The Governors Club is at 202 S. Adams St. in Tallahassee.

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Florida Democrats report $3.5M haul, likely raised much less” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — FDP would not comment on the funding breakdown, but almost certainly including $607,000 in contributions from political committees run by the party’s highest priority campaigns, which is money not raised by the party and is generally spent on the specific campaign that raised the money. Each campaign’s aligned political committee is giving money to the party. That money, though, quickly flows through the party and is in turn spent on the campaigns, not other races or FDP expenses. It’s a common practice for campaigns, especially at the statewide level, to send money through the party to fund things like staff. Because statewide parties have human resources departments, they are better positioned to be the entity actually funding staffers for a campaign. That money shows up as a contribution to FDP but is mostly raised by outside political committees.

Ron Sachs says Andrew Gillum threw city under ‘campaign bus;’ mayor calls it a ‘cheap shot’” via Jeff Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat — Sachs has taken to social media to push back at Mayor Gillum for his recent remarks about the racism he sees every day in Tallahassee. And Gillum pushed right back. Posting on his Facebook page, Sachs, the CEO of Sachs Media Group, said he was disappointed that Gillum “essentially trashed the very community that propelled his political career by electing him repeatedly to the city commission and most recently as mayor.” Speaking at the University of Tampa last week, Gillum said, “There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by in my city where I’m not driving behind a truck on my way to work that has a big old Confederate flag.” Gillum also said he saw institutional racism in the prison system and even in the awarding of contracts at City Hall. Sachs defended the capital city noting that it has been designated as an “All-American City” twice in the past 30 years, most recently while Gillum was mayor.

Chris King surpasses $2.6 million raised King, an Orlando-area entrepreneur and Democratic candidate for governor, announced that his campaign and political committee took in $148,044 in September. The political newcomer’s campaign and political committee, Rise and Lead Florida, has raised more than $2.6 million since launching the campaign, and finished the month with over $1.7 million cash on hand. “Chris continues to remain competitive with career politicians with deep institutional and establishment support,” campaign spokesperson Hari Sevugan said. “… This consistent fundraising has also demonstrated that Chris is positioned to be the clear alternative to Gwen Graham.”

– “Is Philip Levine winning the Caputo primary in Florida governor’s race?” via Peter Schorsch

Utility companies give $800K, funneling up to $2.5M, to Adam Putnam’s campaign” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — A review of campaign finance data shows Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy have been major contributors to Putnam’s Florida Grown, the political committee supporting his Republican gubernatorial candidacy. Gulf Power Co. and TECO, the natural gas company, also have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Florida Grown. All totaled, they’ve provided $795,560 directly to Florida Grown since the start of 2015, when Gov. Scott‘s second term began, and the cycle for the 2018 gubernatorial race officially began. Counting contributions from utility companies made to other business groups, which then cut checks to Florida Grown around the same time or shortly after, the amount of money passing from utilities to Florida Grown may be more than triple that amount, as much as $2.5 million.

Seminole County Sheriff backs Ashley Moody for AG — Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma is the latest law enforcement leader to endorse Moody in her bid to succeed Attorney General Pam Bondi. “The safety and security of our local community is the top priority of each Sheriff in Florida. It is important that Sheriffs have a supporter and ally in the next Attorney General,” Lemma said in a statement. “As a former federal prosecutor and a wife of a fellow law enforcement officer, Ashley Moody understands firsthand the dangers and challenges of those who wear a uniform. I can think of no other more qualified to be our next Attorney General.”

Ag Commissioner hopeful Matt Caldwell holds oyster ranch workday – Caldwell continued his campaign for Agriculture Commissioner with a statewide #2LaneTravels Work Days Tour, including a recent visit to Saucey Lady Oyster Company to harvest oysters in the Gulf. Caldwell is using the Work Days Tour to highlight Florida businesses that are vital to the state’s economy. Founded in 2014 by Tim Jordan and Walt Dickson, Saucey Lady is a charter member of an oyster growing program that promotes aquaculture and creates jobs in Wakulla County.

Click on the image below to watch the video.

“Frank White ready to join GOP race for Attorney General” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – White, a first-term state House member from Pensacola, told the Times/Herald he’ll make a final decision in a few days. “We need a proven conservative,” White said. “We need someone who has experience managing a large organization.” He said the state needs a leader who can “protect the Constitution from liberal attacks.”

Disney pumps more money into gambling measure” via the News Service of Florida — Disney Worldwide Services sunk another $575,000 in September into a proposed constitutional amendment that could make it harder to expand gambling in Florida. The political committee Voters In Charge, which is spearheading the proposal, had submitted 285,526 valid petition signatures to the state … It needs to submit 766,200 signatures to get the measure on the November 2018 ballot. The initiative would change the state constitution and give voters the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling” in the state. It would require voter approval of casino-style games in the future. Efforts to get the measure on the ballot have been mainly bankrolled by Disney, which had contributed $2.325 million as of Sept. 30, according to the committee’s newly filed finance report.

Republican planning run against Ted Deutch raising Washington cash” via Anthony Man of the Sun-Sentinel — Javier Manjarres, who is exploring a candidacy for Congress against U.S. Rep. Deutch, is raising money in the nation’s capital. And he has the help of a conservative freshman, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz … Gaetz is the draw for the Wednesday evening event in Washington. A member of Congress helps draw attention — and contributions from lobbyists, who are the biggest source of contributors to Washington, D.C., fundraisers. Along with the prospective candidate’s picture, the invitation states simply “Javier Manjarres U.S. Congress in Florida’s 22nd District.” Checks and credit card payments go to the America First Agenda PAC, which is nominally independent but is a fundraising vehicle that can help Manjarres who said in June that he’s considering a challenge to Deutch, a five-term Democrat who represents most of Broward and southeast Palm Beach County.

Pride Fund endorses David Richardson for Congress — Pride Fund to End Gun Violence PAC — America’s only national LGBTQ political organization focused solely on gun violence prevention — is endorsing Richardson in Florida’s 27th Congressional District … for his commitment to championing LGBTQ equality and support of common-sense gun safety reforms. “David is running for Congress because he knows we need to finally end senseless gun violence — not ignore it,” said Jason Lindsay, Pride Fund Executive Director. “Last week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas brought gun violence to the forefront of the conversation on the national level yet again, but David has been leading this conversation in Florida’s State House for years. We’re excited to get involved in this race early because we’re confident David will be a leader on both common-sense gun reforms and LGBTQ equality in the United States House of Representatives, just as he has been at the state level.”

David Rivera uses personal cash to boost House race as congressional debt remains” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — Former congressman Rivera’s congressional account remains littered with more than $130,000 in debts to ad houses and political fundraising firms three years after his last attempt at returning to Washington. The Miami Republican’s current race for House District 105 was boosted by $150,000 in personal loans he gave to his campaign, and another $100,000 contribution he wrote the campaign. Rivera is running in the GOP primary against Ana Maria Rodriguez for the seat being vacated by term-limited Republican Carlos Trujillo. He also loaned his failed 2016 bid to join the Florida House $50,000, of which he has paid back $18,238, according to campaign finance records.

Who gave foreign money to Beach PAC? Prosecutors are asking this Norwegian millionaire.” via Nicholas Nehamas and Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — Add a new name to the strange cast of characters caught up in the downfall of Miami Beach Commissioner Michael GriecoPetter Smedvig Hagland, a member of a billionaire Norwegian shipping-and-oil family, has been contacted by Miami-Dade public corruption investigators seeking to track the foreign money they believe was illegally funneled into People for Better Leaders, a fundraising group tied to Grieco’s campaign. Hagland, 37, might know about a $25,000 donation to the political action committee, according to sources familiar with him and the ongoing state investigation. Hagland lives primarily in London and Stavanger, Norway. He has invested millions in Miami Beach real estate, although with poor results: He took a bath on one deal and is involved in litigation over another.


Nearly three weeks after Hurricane Maria, distributing aid across Puerto Rico is a mess” via Oren Dorell of USA TODAY — The barriers range from a lack of communication to blocked roads. As a result, one Port of San Juan terminal is storing 3,400 containers — more than double the usual number, said Jose “Pache” Ayala, vice president and general manager for Puerto Rico at Crowley Maritime Corp. Because of tangled power lines across roads, washed out bridges and highways and knocked out cellphone towers and radio antennas across the island, materials are leaving the Crowley terminal gate at 70 percent the normal rate before the storm, Ayala said. The backlog affects goods and equipment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, such as food and bottled water, bucket trucks, front-end loaders and 275,000 gallons of diesel and 75,000 gallons of gasoline. “That relief cargo has priority,” Ayala said. It also affects commercial cargo such as building materials and medications that are also in great demand, he said. “It’s easier to help internationally than it is in Puerto Rico,” said Neil Frame with Operation USA in Los Angeles. The nonprofit, which ships donated medical supplies into disaster areas around the world, has not yet found a way to deliver goods onto the U.S. territory.

Nearly 3 weeks after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is still a mess.

Puerto Rico’s economy at ‘a near standstill’ ” via McClatchy DC Bureau – Economic activity has skidded to a near halt in significant parts of Puerto Rico, leaving the hurricane-smashed island on a knife’s edge between slow recovery and partial collapse. Thousands of small businesses are teetering toward insolvency, unable to operate. Heading into the fourth week since Hurricane Maria slammed into the island, barely one out of six clients of the island-wide electric utility has power. The rest remain in darkness. The hum of generators has become the new soundtrack of island life.

Radios headed to info-starved Puerto Rico, thanks to broadcasters” via Dara Kam of the News Service of Florida — The National Association of Broadcasters is donating 10,000 battery-operated radios to Puerto Ricans impacted by Hurricane Maria. The effort is being funded by NAB, the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations, and multiple U.S. broadcasters, according to a press release issued by NAB. The broadcasters are working with Federal Emergency Management Agency and local Puerto Rican authorities “to ensure that the radios are properly distributed to those most in need,” the release said. Florida U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, and Congressman Darren Soto “were instrumental in coordinating this effort,” according to the release.

Senators eagerly waiting for hard facts on how the power grid stood up to Irma” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics — Will Hurricane Irma inspire the Legislature to light a fire under the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) efforts to buttress the electric grid against powerful storms? Likely. But it’s too soon to know what changes might help. That picture emerged during hearings before the Senate Committee on Communications, Energy and Public Utilities: Regulators won’t have digested the data situation in time for opening day in January. Chairman Aaron Bean put the question directly to Cayce Hinton, the PSC’s director of industry development and market analysis, during a presentation on that agency’s 10-year infrastructure “hardening” efforts. “How did we do? Cut to the chase. Did it turn out? Did we get our money’s worth?” … “So, we don’t know yet?” Bean said. “We don’t know yet.”

“Don’t get duped by insurance scams or you’ll fall victim to Irma again” via The Miami Herald – Hurricane season isn’t over and therefore neither is consumer scam season, which has gone into hyper mode following Irma’s destructive sweep through Florida. Homeowners are particularly vulnerable to fast-talking, document-waving con artists who promise to help with repairs, insurance claims and FEMA payments. “Hurricanes bring out a lot of good in people and also the worst in those few bad actors preying on homeowners whose most prized asset has been damaged,” said Jon Moore, spokesman for Florida’s Department of Financial Services. “We’re trying to educate and protect Floridians so they don’t fall victim to Irma for a second time.”

Postponed by Irma, Florida restaurant show returns” via Kyle Arnold of the Orlando Sentinel — The annual Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show makes a comeback through Friday at Orange County Convention Center, featuring demonstrations from prominent Florida chefs such as Art SmithMichelle Bernstein and Jeff Philbin. It will also have more than 400 exhibitors and dozens of classes on everything from liquor to legal requirements. The show was originally scheduled for three days beginning Sept. 10, just when Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida and knocked out power and transportation to much of the state for days.

Assignment editors – Gov. Scott and Ag. Commissioner Putnam will visit Washington D.C. to update Florida House members on Hurricane Irma recovery efforts and the state’s influx of Puerto Rican evacuees from Hurricane Maria.

Assignment editors – AshBritt Environmental Chairman Randy Perkins will make a major announcement on post-hurricane Irma pricing during the Parkland City Commission meeting beginning 5 p.m. at 6600 University Dr. in Parkland.


Florida survey on gun control in Sunshine State shows big divide” via Wayne Price of FLORIDA TODAY — The 2017 University of South Florida Nielsen Sunshine State Survey found 49 percent of those questioned believed gun restrictiveness in Florida is “about right,” while another 40 percent took the position that they’re not restrictive enough. About 8 percent said current laws were too restrictive. Interestingly, the question about gun restrictions being “about right” rose to 49 percent from 42 percent — the last time they asked the question was in 2015. Of those content with current gun measures, more men are more content with current gun laws than women — 54 percent versus 44 percent. More whites and Hispanics favor current measures than African-Americans — 53 percent versus 31 percent. Regionally, support is highest in the Orlando area — 57 percent and North Florida 56 percent.

“Rick Scott wants generators required at nursing homes” via Florida Politics – Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday directed state agencies to “immediately begin the formal rulemaking process to permanently enact a rule requiring emergency generators at assisted living facilities (ALFs) and nursing homes.” His edict went to the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Department of Elder Affairs. “An emergency rule adopted Sept. 16 requires all ALFs and nursing homes to obtain ample resources, including a generator and the appropriate amount of fuel, to sustain operations and maintain comfortable temperatures for at least 96 hours following a power outage,” according to a press release. “The formal rulemaking process will permanently codify these life-saving measures and allow for extensive public comment ….”

Scott says Lake Okeechobee dike must be fixed or algae blooms will continue” via Chad Gillis of — One message from Gov. Scott, who flew into Clewiston to talk about the response to Hurricane Irma and the future of the Herbert Hoover Dike: “We’ve got to put this lake in the position that we don’t have to do these discharges … If the (Army Corps) has to do these discharges, we’re going to see these algae blooms.” … “We see the algae blooms in the Indian River Lagoon, and we see the dirty water coming out of the Caloosahatchee River, so we’ve got to fund this,” Scott said of an Army Corps rehabilitation project that’s ongoing. Scott said the federal government is about $900 million behind on fixing the dike and funding for Everglades restoration projects.

Changes slated for state worker health insurance” via Christine Sexton of the News Service of Florida — As many as 2,000 obese state employees who suffer from conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure can enroll online for a program that provides coverage for treatment and management of obesity and related conditions. The offering is one of the several changes legislators authorized to the state group health insurance plan during the 2017 Session. Available to employees enrolled in Aetna, AvMed, Florida Blue or UnitedHealthcare plans in 2017, the benefit is available for 2018. Foster & Foster also will assist the state as it moves forward with two new health care offerings that will be made available in the 2019 plan year: an online tool to shop and compare the quality of available in-network providers; and a service that offers employees access to comprehensive pricing for surgery and other medical procedures. Both of those benefits also will include a “shared savings program,” where employees can receive a portion of any savings attributable to their health care choices.

State seeks to scuttle marijuana-smoking case” via the News Service of Florida — Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s office is asking a judge to toss out a challenge to a new law that bars patients from smoking medical marijuana. A 39-page motion filed last week in Leon County circuit court argues that a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana did not require smoking to be allowed and that lawmakers had good reasons to approve a smoking ban. Orlando attorney John Morgan, who largely bankrolled the medical-marijuana legalization drive, filed a lawsuit in July contending that lawmakers violated the constitutional amendment by barring smoking … The law allows medical marijuana to be used in other ways, including by allowing patients to vaporize, or “vape,” marijuana products. The motion to dismiss the lawsuit said lawmakers pointed to health reasons for approving the smoking ban. “The Legislature considered several significant health-related factors and reasonably determined that the harms caused by smoking were ample reason to exclude smoking from the definition of `medical use,’ “the motion said. It also contended that the constitutional amendment did not specify that smoking would be allowed.

Visit Orlando discloses it spent $76,500 to advertise on the Fox 35 AccuWeather forecast … to people already in Orlando. 

What Richard Corcoran is reading — “Visit Orlando discloses it spent $76,500 on Fox 35 advertising” via Gabrielle Russon of the Orlando Sentinel — Visit Orlando said the deal brought it exposure in several markets across the state and no conflict of interest existed, even though a Fox 35 executive serves on its board. The agency said it sent the letter to “clear up any misunderstandings” with [House Speaker RichardCorcoran [who] demanded to know whether the marketing organization spent taxpayer money for a Fox 35 traffic and weather camera after Visit Orlando CEO George Aguel and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs refused to release the terms at a recent public meeting.

Worst story you’ll read today — “Florida couple accused of prostituting child in exchange for drugs” via Sarah Elsesser of the Palm Beach Post — Kevin Wyatt and Celeste Chambers, of the Florida Panhandle, were both arrested last week … The couple is said to have traded sexual acts with a child for drugs, and the abuse started when the girl was 3 years old, according to WTXL. Sunday afternoon, Wyatt was captured while hiding on a houseboat on the East River near Apalachicola, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.


In “Fight Club,” the Miami Herald’s latest must-read investigative seriesCarol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch uncover the dark secrets behind the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice’s philosophy of “tough love” — and its emphasis on “tough.”

What the investigative team discovered was not a system designed to reform juvenile delinquents, but one where “already troubled youths have been further traumatized,” often turning into hardened felons.

Though a decade of records, documents, interviews and surveillance videos, a pattern of abuse emerged — regular beatings, poor health care, underpaid staff, neglect, coercion and staging fights for wagering and entertainment. Reporters also examined a dozen suspicious deaths of youths since 2000.

Among the explosive findings in the six-part series:

— For years, youths have complained of staff turning them into mercenaries, offering honey buns and other rewards to rough up fellow detainees. It is a way for employees to exert control without risking their livelihoods by personally resorting to violence. Criminal charges are rare.

— Of the 12 questionable deaths since 2000, including an asphyxiation, a violent takedown by staff, a hanging, a youth-on-youth beating and untreated illnesses or injuries, none has resulted in an employee serving a day in prison.

— The public defender’s chief assistant for the juvenile division, Marie Osborne, said detainees are turned into enforcers by outnumbered staff, and that “in here, a honey bun is like a million dollars.”

— The official response via DJJ Secretary Christina K. Daly, who said her agency does not tolerate the mistreatment of youth in its care. “The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has been and continues to be committed to reform of the juvenile justice system in Florida. We have worked over the past six years to ensure that youths receive the right services in the right place and that our programs and facilities are nurturing and safe for the youths placed in our custody,” she said.

— One of the main problems: The state offers starting detention officers $12.25 an hour to protect and supervise youths often dealing with mental illnesses, drug addiction, disabilities and the lingering effects of trauma. That’s $25,479.22 a year for a recruit. The Legislature hasn’t seen fit to raise the starting pay since 2006 — although it did give current staff a $1,400 raise on Oct. 1.

— Another problem: Having a violent or sexually abusive past has been no bar to employment with the Department of Juvenile Justice and the private agencies that operate Florida’s residential compounds for kids.

— Why nothing gets done: Over the past 10 years, DJJ has investigated 1,455 allegations of youth officers or other staffers failing to report abusive treatment of detainees — or, if they did report an incident, lying about the circumstances. That’s nearly three times a week.

— The long-term issue: If harsh treatment is meant to deter youths from reoffending, it doesn’t seem to be working. The state says 45 percent of all detainees wind up back in the justice system within one year, many as adult offenders. Although no precise tracking data could be found, it is clear that Florida’s juvenile justice programs have become an on-ramp for the adult prison system.


Is Trump’s chief of staff trying to bar him from Mar-a-Lago members?” via the Palm Beach Post — According to Vanity Fair, Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly has developed a “Mar-a-Lago strategy” to prevent Trump from getting advice from club members and friends. The plans, citing sources, included trying to keep Trump “out of the dining room.” In one memorable dinner there, Feb. 11, as Trump and Melania were hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife on the terrace, it was learned that the North Koreans had launched a missile. As staff members and heads of state huddled at the table, printed reports were passed around and examined by the light of cell phones or flashlights. The scene played out in front of at least 100 people, members or guests of The Mar-a-Lago Club. The Washington Post referred to the incident as an “open-air situation room.”

Social media shows Donald Trump and staff members during the Mar-a-Lago “open-air situation room” in February.

8 things I’ve learned from nearly 30 years in Congress” via Ileana Ros-Lehtinen as told to Rebecca Nelson of Cosmopolitan — Listening is an underrated leadership quality … “When you participate in a congressional hearing, it is amazing to me how members are so quick to put in their opinion and their view and their analysis, and they’re not really taking the time to listen to what the witnesses are saying. And so many times — especially the male members, if it’s some topic that they’re not as familiar with — they just presume to know what the female witness is talking about. And I’m thinking, did you not hear anything that this presenter said? Because it’s actually the opposite of what you’re portraying to us.” Don’t be afraid to speak your mind — even if it means going against your party … Or, for that matter, against your president. Don’t tolerate mansplaining … “When I first got to Congress many years ago, there weren’t that many female members of Congress. And now there’s so many more of us, and I think the male members have understood the changing nature of society. They’re more cognizant that maybe what they’re thinking and their points of view are not the Magna Carta.”

Carlos Curbelo, Seth Moulton file bill to ban ‘bump stocks’ like ones used in Las Vegas shooting” via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald — The bipartisan effort to draft the bill began last week after the Las Vegas shooting, where the shooter, Stephen Paddock, killed 58 people using, at least in some cases, weapons outfitted with bump stocks. Under the bill, violating the ban would be a felony offense with increased penalties for offenders. “For the first time in decades, there is growing bipartisan consensus for sensible gun policy, a polarizing issue that has deeply divided Republicans and Democrats,” Curbelo said in a statement. “This common-sense legislation will ban devices that blatantly circumvent already existing law without restricting Second Amendment rights. I’m proud to join Rep. Moulton to lead our colleagues in this important first step to address gun violence in our country and show that Congress is capable of working constructively in a bipartisan way to make Americans safer.” The legislation has 20 original co-sponsors — 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats. Additional members of Congress can only sign on if a lawmaker from the opposing party also inks their name to the bill. Among them is Miami Republican Rep. Ros-Lehtinen.

“Matt Gaetz using NFL ‘knee’ controversy for fundraising appeal” via Florida Politics – The freshman GOP congressman from northwest Florida sent a fundraising email Tuesday on pro football players who “continue to disrespect the American flag by taking a knee during the National Anthem.” Gaetz has filed legislation to take away what he calls “special tax breaks” for National Football League teams, which pay taxes as for-profit businesses. The league itself was once tax-exempt, but gave up that status in 2015. Gaetz wrote: “We need to keep fighting back to let the NFL and their millionaire players and billionaire owners know what we really think about their outrageous behavior … I need your help to win this fight. Can you donate $25, $50, $100, $1,000 or more to help?”

“Pepi Diaz again in consideration for South Florida prosecutor job” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida – In gameshow-like fashion, former state legislator and one-time “Apprentice” contestant Jose Felix Diaz is again in the hunt to be the top federal prosecutor for the Southern District of Florida, which covers President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. Diaz once looked like a leading candidate to be U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, but his name faded from consideration when he decided to run a special election last month for Florida’s 40th Senate District. … But almost as soon Diaz lost his race, his name began circulating again in Miami legal circles and, in a sign that Diaz is under serious consideration, the normally talkative and affable Republican didn’t respond to a text message from POLITICO Florida.


Bill Herrle: Joint employer standard stifles entrepreneurship” via Florida Politics – Small businesses and entrepreneurs are facing troubling challenges due to a recent 2015 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision. The decision … dismantles the way small businesses work with one another and prevents entrepreneurs of all trades from following their dreams. The NLRB’s decision in the Browning-Ferris Industries case brought sweeping changes to the joint employer standard and posed a direct threat to businesses striving for growth. Joint employer is a legal theory that seeks to more broadly define who is an employer, particularly in certain instances where two companies may have a working relationship. The most common example is the franchise model, under which franchisees operate independently of the parent company except for the branding. Under the NLRB’s ruling, the franchisor is the “joint employer” of the franchisee’s employees, and is thus liable for the franchisee’s employment law violations. If forced to assume such additional liability exposure, or spend more money and time overseeing their franchises, why would companies continue to use the franchising model as a method of business growth? This new standard has sown so much confusion with small business owners we work with on a day-to-day basis, leading to higher legal and compliance fees, and it has held back further investment given the legal limbo that has been thrust into existing contracts.


Personnel note: Nicole Stookey Albers Joins Florida Municipal Electric Association — Albers will be the association’s new public affairs manager, managing legislative affairs and social media. “Having been a part of state government and the political process for nearly 15 years, Nicole brings a wealth of legislative and governmental affairs experience to FMEA,” said Amy Zubaly, FMEA Executive Director. “She will be a great asset to our members as we work to advance the legislative agenda of the association.” Before joining FMEA, Albers was deputy director of the Office of Legislative Planning at the Florida Department of Health and has been deputy legislative affairs director at the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Rick Scott reappoints Chip Diehl to HCC Board of Trustees – The governor announced Diehl’s reappointment to the Hillsborough Community College District Board of Trustees. The 63-year-old Tampa resident is the managing director of Diehl and Associates and a retired brigadier general with the U.S. Air Force. He is reappointed for a term beginning Oct. 10 and ending May 31, 2021. This appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

Palm Coast drops lobbyist of 17 years to hire Southern Strategy, mayor’s former employer” via — For as long as it’s existed, Palm Coast government has employed the same lobbying firm: Pennington, Moore, Wilkinson, Bell & Dunbar, which has had numerous clients in the region. That reign is over. The Palm Coast City Council last week voted 3-2 to replace it with Southern Strategy Group for $45,000. Southern Strategy is Mayor Milissa Holland’s former employer, though that never entered into the 10-minute discussion preceding the vote last week, the culmination of discussions through meetings going back to September, when the council sifted through four firms and heard presentations from three of them, including Southern Strategy.

New and renewed lobbying registrations

Jason AllisonRobert Hosay, Foley & Lardner: CBRE

Robert BeckBryan Cherry, PinPoint Results: Broward County

Anita Berry, Corcoran & Johnston: Florida Independent Glass Association

Joanna Bonfanti, Gunster Yoakley & Stewart: South Florida Museum

Ed Briggs, RSA Consulting Group: Florida Association of Community Health Centers

David Bronstein, Bronstein & Carmona: Florida Justice Reform Institute

Kevin CabreraEdgar Castro, Southern Strategy Group: City Year

Rosanna Catalano, Capitol Energy Florida: City of Punta Gorda

Dean Cannon, GrayRobinson: National Lightning Protection Corporation

Michael Dobson, Dean Mead: B.J. Alan Companies

James DaughtonWarren HusbandPatricia GreeneAimee Lyon, Metz Husband & Daughton: Orexo US

Pamela Fort, The Commerce Group: American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Florida State Conference of NAACP Branches

Kevin Guthrie: Division of Emergency Management

Jonathan Kilman, Foley & Lardner: Innovative Psych Solutions d/b/a Innovative Interactive Therapies

Steven Marin, Marin & Sons: Hexagon

Jenna Paladino, Paladino Public Affairs: Gulf Coast Canna Meds

Karl RasmussenJoy Ryan, Meenan: Brookdale Senior Living,

Sydney Ridley, Southern Strategy Group: Locust Branch

Cari Roth, Dean Mead: Lee County Mosquito Control District

Joseph Salzverg, GrayRobinson: Florida Nurses Association

Corey Staniscia, Tripp Scott: Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea

Alan Suskey, Suskey Consulting: TmaxSoft

— ALOE —

Adults spend 12 hours per day with media” via Sara Fischer of Axios — According to eMarketer’s latest media time spent figures … adults will spend an average of 12 hours, one minute per day with major media this year. Here’s the breakdown by medium, in hours: Digital: 5:53 (3:17 on mobile; 2:03 desktop/laptop; 0:33 on other connected devices); TV: 3:58; Radio: 1:26; Print: 0:24; Other: 0:21. “People have become more efficient at multitasking, thanks largely to mobile devices (excluding voice),” according to the study. “Multitasking via mobile is primarily responsible for the overall increase in time spent with media.”

A Celebration of Harry Potter returns to Universal via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising — On Jan. 26-28 …  Stanislav Yanevski (Viktor Krum) will attend the special event and participate in festivities throughout the weekend, alongside returning fan-favorites James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley). During the three-day celebration, guests will also have the opportunity attend Q&A sessions with film talent and visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida — plus, ride the Hogwarts Express between the two lands with a park-to-park ticket.

A Celebration of Harry Potter returns to Universal Orlando.

Disney’s big bet on streaming relies on little-known tech company” via Brooks Barnes and John Koblin of The New York Times — With Disney’s board exhorting speedy action, Robert Iger, Disney’s chief executive and chairman, proposed a legacy-defining move. It was time for Disney to double down on streaming. And that was how the Disney board … came to bet the entertainment giant’s future on a wonky, little-known technology company housed in a former cookie factory: BamTech. In August, Disney announced that it would introduce two subscription streaming services, both built by BamTech. One, focused on sports programming and made available through the ESPN app, would arrive in the spring. The other, centered on movies and television shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, would debut in late 2019. “We’re going to launch big, and we’re going to launch hot,” Iger promised at a subsequent investor conference. Based in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market, a former factory for the National Biscuit Company, the 850-employee company has a strong track record — no serious glitches, even when delivering tens of millions of live streams at a time. BamTech also has impressive advertising technology (inserting ads in video based on viewer location) and a strong reputation for attracting and keeping viewers, not to mention billing them.

Happy birthday to Pulitzer Prize winner Lucy Morgan. They don’t make ’em like her anymore.

Sixty Days for 10.10.17 — A prime-time look at the 2018 Legislative Session

Sixty Days — A prime-time read of what’s going down for Florida’s 2018 Legislative Session.

The Last 24

Annette Taddeo was sworn into office following her victory last month in District 40. Her fellow Senate Democrats sent a letter to  Gov. Rick Scott urging him to waive KidCare health insurance premium fees in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. A Senate committee approved a bill that could spur the use of “direct primary care” agreements in Florida.

The House Committee on Government Accountability advanced Reps. Bryan Avila and Manny Diaz’s bill prohibiting sports franchises from constructing or renovating a facility on leased public land. The House Appropriations Committee gave the green light to Avila’s bill that would repeal the use of red light cameras.

The House Commerce Committee cleared a bill to remove regulations on hair braiders and labor organizations, among others.

Florida might have to divest from companies doing business with the Venezuelan government under a new bill filed by Bill Hager.

Sen. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican, proposed a measure that would create a President Ronald Reagan specialty license plate.

Quote of the Day

“We should put science first.” —Sen. Keith Perry, a Gainesville Republican, speaking Tuesday in support of a fracking ban filed in the Legislature.  

Bill Day’s Latest

3 Questions

Here’s an odd couple: Florida Conservation Voters on Tuesday joined with legislative Republicans to oppose fracking in the state. Sen. Dana Young of Tampa and Rep. Kathleen Peters of South Pasadena are sponsoring this year’s ban, which would prohibit the drilling technique used for extracting oil or natural gas from deep underground. Aliki Moncrief, executive director of Florida Conservation Voters, said passing a ban this year is vital.

FP: Isn’t fracking safe?

AM: Fracking poses too big of a risk for the millions of Florida families and visitors who trust that our groundwater is safe and clean … Protecting Floridians from hazardous activities like fracking is the right thing to do, and no one should be intimidated by unsubstantiated claims that this good bill interferes with existing property rights. It simply doesn’t.

FP: Who is pushing fracking here?

AM: Those who speculate in the oil and gas process, but it’s not limited to any one company. Also interested are “wildcat” operators from outside the state.

FP: What’s the worst that could happen?

AM: For those who live near a fracking site, their drinking water will be at risk of contamination … we need to be forever protecting our sources of water.

Lobby Up

The Florida Municipal Electric Association said Tuesday that Nicole Stookey Albers is taking over as the trade group’s head of public affairs.

The new job makes Albers the point woman on not only FMEA’s social media and public outreach, but it’s legislative affairs as well, which is familiar territory considering her previous job was serving as deputy director in the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Legislative Planning.

To that end she’ll be working side by side with FMEA’s contract lobbying team, which includes former House Speaker Dean Cannon, Kirk Pepper, and Joseph Salzverg, of GrayRobinson; Bill Peebles and John Smith of Peebles & Smith; and Eduardo Gonzalez of Sun City Strategies. FMEA Executive Director Amy Zubaly, who ditched the “interim” tag over the summer, is also registered to rep the public power group in Tallahassee.

FMEA represents a consortium of public utilities in the Sunshine State and says its membership provides power to 3 million Floridians.

While the team is large, FMEA and other utility groups have a lot on their plate going into the 2018 Legislative Session, especially in the wake of Hurricane Irma which raised questions about how prepared utilities were for storms as well as their power restoration priorities after the winds die down.

Breakthrough Insights

The Next 24

Aides to Gov. Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis will discuss issues in advance of an Oct. 17 Cabinet meeting. That’s at 9 a.m., in the Cabinet meeting room, the Capitol.

The Task Force on Involuntary Examination of Minors will discuss issues related to the use of the state’s “Baker Act” for minors. It begins 9 a.m., Orange County Sheriff’s Office, 2500 West Colonial Dr., Orlando.

The Florida Commission on Offender Review is scheduled to meet in Manatee County and discuss numerous parole cases related to crimes committed in the 1970s and 1980s. The meeting should begin at 9 a.m., Manatee County Sheriff’s Office District III Location, 616 67th St. Circle East, Bradenton.

The Central Florida Regional Planning Council is scheduled to meet at 9:30 a.m., Okeechobee County Courthouse, 304 N.W. Second St., Okeechobee.

Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, Rep. Nicholas Duran, other members of the Legislature and health care professionals hold a press conference to discuss changes to this year’s open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act. That’s at noon, outside the House Chamber, 4th floor Rotunda, The Capitol, Tallahassee.

Get Out Your Checkbooks Dep’t

Lawmakers are prohibited from raising campaign cash during legislative sessions but can do so during committee weeks. Several fundraisers are set for Wednesday, all in Tallahassee.

— 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Reps. Bob Cortes, Tom Leek, David Santiago at Governors Club.

— 12 noon-1 p.m.: Rep. Rick Roth at Governors Club.

— 5-6 p.m.: Reps. Randy Fine, Sam Killebrew, Ralph Massullo at Governors Club.

— 5-7 p.m.: Sens. Dorothy Hukill, Kathleen Passidomo at Governors Club.

— 5:30-8:00 p.m.: Candidate James Buchanan, running for HD 72, at 115 East Park Ave., 2nd floor.

— 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Senate Democrats’ Welcome Back Party at Governors Club, in the Plantation Room.

Expanding Bright Futures makes good policy, better politics

Florida families by the millions are aspiring to a new American dream – debt-free college education for their children.

Considering the myriad challenges facing the Sunshine State, Senate President Joe Negron believes nearly everyone can agree that improving opportunities for Florida students must be placed at the top of the list.

That is why the Stuart Republican has become a driving force behind the effort to expand scholarships for 44,000 Bright Futures Scholars under SB 4, a bill approved Monday by the Senate Education Committee.

Sponsored by Bradenton state Sen. Bill Galvanothe “Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act” – one of Negron’s top priorities – is set for the 2018 Legislative Session.

SB 4 seeks to increase the scholarship available for “medallion scholars” attending state universities, raising it from the current $77 per credit hour to $159, about 75 percent of tuition cost and fees. The legislation will also extend need-based aid programs, doubling the state’s matching funds for “first generation” students in the college scholarship program.

Currently, Florida offers a 1-to-1 match for private donations, providing an average scholarship of $1,270 for the 8,361 participating students during the 2016-17 academic year.

Negron calls the expansion of Bright Futures part of Florida’s commitment to ensuring children have access to “world-class education opportunities” where “no student who earns entry to one of our state colleges or universities is denied that opportunity simply because they can’t afford the cost of tuition.”

If passed, the bill will make permanent Bright Futures Scholarships for approximately 94,000 students, which Negron said will lead to a significant boost in the number of productive individuals entering the workforce to contribute to Florida’s economy.

Expanding Bright Futures also makes good political sense, regardless of party. With some luck, Negron hopes SB 4 can avoid becoming a political pawn, held hostage during the upcoming 60-day legislative work session set to begin in January.

Let’s not forget, politics is an art of connecting not only based on similarities, but also aspirations. It’s the aspirational part that so many seem to forget.

To that end, Negron is challenging a bipartisan group of lawmakers who will soon face Florida voters – namely Republican 2018 gubernatorial candidates Adam Putnam and Jack Latvala, Democrats Chris King and Gwen Graham, as well as a few undeclared names like John Morgan, Richard Corcoran, and potential U.S. Senate hopeful Rick Scott – to take a stand and fight for Florida Bright Futures Scholars.


Jack Latvala makes it rain during hurricane-impacted September, raising over $800K for 2018 bid

Jack Latvala did not let a pesky hurricane or two stand in the way of him raising some serious dollars for his 2018 gubernatorial bid.

The Republican state senator announced Tuesday that he raised more than $650,000 in September, the first full month of fundraising since he launched his campaign. A press release from Latvala’s campaign stated that contributions came from residents in 39 different Florida counties.

On top of what was raised for his campaign, Latvala’s Florida Leadership Committee raised $156,670 last month.

“Since entering the governor’s race, I have been overwhelmed by the positive response from residents around the state,” Latvala said. “From the first responders who are already lining up behind our campaign, to the small business and tourism community leaders who are expressing support, to the very first person who contributed to my campaign — a veteran in the panhandle, I am excited about the next 12 months and eventually leading this great state moving forward.”

Politicians across the state all but suspended their campaigns in preparation for and recovery from Hurricane Irma, which impacted several different parts of the state. Latvala held a fundraiser in his home county of Pinellas right before Irma struck, but then had to scale back a handful of other fundraising events.

All told, Latvala has more than $4.67 million cash on hand.

Latvala, who opened a campaign account in August, joined Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in what could be a crowded GOP primary in the race to replace term-limited Gov. Rick Scott. House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Congressman Ron DeSantis also are considering bids for the governor’s mansion.

Latvala, 65, serves as the powerful chairman of the Senate budget committee and has racked up more than 15 years of legislative experience during two stints in the state Senate.

Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this post.

Is Philip Levine winning the Caputo primary in Fla. governor’s race?

On Tuesday morning, news of Phil Levine retaining a veteran fundraiser for his political committee All About Florida was broke by Marc Caputo, the mile-a-minute POLITICO Florida reporter based in Miami.

The item was clearly a dish from Levine’s camp to Caputo, who led his must-read Florida Playbook with a blurb about Courtney Whitney‘s hiring.

There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about campaigns doling out scoops to morning newsletter writers. Heck, that’s what this “Sunburn” author lives for. But in the case of the Levine fundraiser scoop, it begs a larger question …

Is Levine winning the Caputo Primary?

The Miami Beach mayor, who made a fortune through a business that provided media content to the cruise industry, is expected to join the 2018 gubernatorial race at some point in the coming months. Already in the race are Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, and Winter Park businessman Chris King.

The race between these three candidates has been in stasis the past few months for a variety of reasons: Graham can’t raise enough money to land a knockout blow to her opponents; Gillum knows no matter what the FBI does with its investigation into the City of Tallahassee, the overwhelming majority of black Democratic primary voters will stick by him, and King is still unknown to (at least) 95 percent of voters.

Also freezing the race was Hurricane Irma, which shut down campaigning for most of September and Hurricane Morgan, i.e., John Morgan, the wealthy Orlando trial lawyer who for so long as he says he is considering running in 2018 will soak up the media’s attention and voters’ imagination.

Enter Levine, who has raised $4.7 million for his committee since February, although $2.6 million of that came from his own checkbook.

Levine began to look the part of a candidate when toured the state as part of his “A Day in the Sun” bus tour. He paints himself a businessman focused “radical centrist” policies — something important he said for Democrats to capture votes outside South Florida. He also likes to remind reporters about door-knocking efforts from his mayoral contests as he said traveling and listening to Floridians helps to better understand the people and the state.

The last month has been an especially busy one for Levine, both politically and on the home front. He recently signed a long-term agreement with the internationally-recognized Art Basel show, which pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy. He led his city’s preparations for and recovery from Irma, then spearheaded relief missions to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Jose devastated that island. And last week, his fiancee gave birth to their son, Henry Joel.

Caputo accompanied Levine on one of the mayor’s trips to Puerto Rico, then framed the Democrat’s efforts as the ‘perfect fight’ for a Democrat. Caputo offered a balanced assessment of what Levine was doing, citing Republicans who accused Levine of using the tragedy for political gain.

Fast-forward to today’s story about Levine hiring a fundraiser and it’s no exaggeration to say that Caputo has spent as much, if not more, time recently writing about non-candidate Levine than he has any of the other announced candidates.

As difficult as this is for me to admit, there’s no more influential political reporter in Florida. There may not be a better one, either. With his morning email and his legion of Twitter followers, Caputo can be a one-man wrecking crew. Just look at what he did to Jeb Bush during the presidential primary.

Caputo can also be an effective house organ for a politician, as he is for Marco Rubio.

Because he’s an old-school journalist, Caputo will say he doesn’t take sides in political campaigns. But he does play favorites. And he famously will refuse to even write about a news item if a PR flak does not first dish it to him.

The 2018 gubernatorial race will be one of the most high-profile contests in the country. There’s simply no way Caputo will sit it out. But, among the current crop of candidates, it’s likely none of them strikes Caputo’s fancy.

Graham, despite her establishment ties, is the kind of centrist candidate Caputo tends to abhor. Gillum is a bad bet, although his campaign’s communications team will push news to POLITICO because it thinks the Tampa Bay Times and Florida Politics are lined up against the mayor. And King’s D.C. connected team would love to get Caputo’s attention, but it’s not at that level yet.

The frontrunner to win the Caputo Primary would be Morgan were he to enter the race. The two are simpatico in their politics and worldview. And many of those close to Morgan are reliable Caputo sources.

But if Morgan doesn’t run, Caputo’s thumb still has to go on the scale. And, right now, it looks like Levine is leading in this all-important race.

Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this post.

Trump challenges Rex Tillerson to compare IQ tests

President Donald Trump is challenging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to “compare IQ tests” if Tillerson did indeed ever call Trump a “moron” as reported.

Trump tells Forbes magazine: “I think it’s fake news. But if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”

The president spoke with the magazine Friday. A story was published online Tuesday.

Trump’s tense relationship with Tillerson burst into public view last week. An NBC News story claimed Vice President Mike Pence had to talk Tillerson out of resigning this summer, and that Tillerson had called Trump a “moron.”

Tillerson said he never considered resigning. His spokeswoman said he never used such language. Trump and Tillerson are scheduled to have lunch Tuesday with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Tampa Bay lawmakers file bills that would ban fracking

A pair of Tampa Bay Republicans filed bills in the House and Senate over the past week that would slap Florida with a full-on fracking ban come.

Fracking, shorthand for hydraulic fracturing, is a method of natural gas extraction that sees drillers inject a concoction of water and various chemicals into fault lines deep underground and at high pressure to force fossil fuels to the surface for collection.

Treasure Island state Rep. Kathleen Peters filed the House version, HB 237, last week, and Tampa state Sen. Dana Young followed it up with a Senate companion, SB 462, on Monday, the first day of interim committee weeks before the 2018 Legislative Session kicks off in January.

Their bills would prohibit all forms of “advanced well stimulation treatments,” meaning no high-pressure injections aimed at cracking the bedrock in search of black gold. Acid fracking – similar to hydraulic fracturing, with chemicals subbed in for water pressure to break through the rocks – is also expressly banned in the bills.

Non-fracking wells can carry on as usual, even if cleaning and maintenance requires operators to up the water pressure or use chemicals to restore ground permeability. So long as the pressure or pH doesn’t put a crack in the bedrock, it won’t be affected.

This isn’t Young’s or Peters’ first rodeo with fracking bills, which has become one of the major issues dividing Republican lawmakers the past few years.

Some lawmakers, including Republican Reps. Mike Miller and Ray Rodrigues, say a ban would be “foolish” before a scientific study on how fracking could affect the Sunshine state, while others say they’ve seen enough from the states that embraced fracking – or heard enough from their constituents – and want the ban on the books post-haste.

Young fought for the ban in the spring, but the measure sputtered out in the middle of the 2017 Legislative Session mainly due to the study-first camp.

Young was on the pro-study train in the 2016 Legislative Session when she was in the House, but in 2017 was trying to make good on a promise she made to voters during her campaign against Bob Buesing last fall.

Peters also backed the study bill, sponsored by former Naples Republican Sen. Garett Richter, and got pawed at by her 2016 opponent as well.

“The only bill that was presented to any legislator to stop fracking in Florida was that bill,” Peters said at the time. ”So in my opinion, anyone who opposes that bill, then supports what happened and now anyone can come into this state and do fracking. Anyone who voted no was absolutely irresponsible, because we do not have a moratorium on it.”

While fracking has unlocked wells of energy leading to rock-bottom natural gas prices, it has also been implicated in ground and surface water contamination and is likely a direct cause of earthquakes, including the string of shakers that vaulted Oklahoma well past West Coast states in total number of earthquakes in the 2010s.

Pro-fracking groups rebut those claims, but the scientific community has been consistent in linking the drilling technique to environmental damage.

Anti-fracking groups say Florida’s aquifer and the soluble limestone foundation much of the peninsula rests on would make the state even more vulnerable to damage from fracking, especially compared to low-population states such as South Dakota.

Rick Kriseman, Kerry Kriseman, GOTV Oct. 9, 2017

Rick Kriseman pounds the pavement as ballots hit the streets

Mail ballots have started to hit the streets in St. Pete cend incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman has started to pound the pavement again ahead of the second round of his re-election battle against former two-term Mayor Rick Baker.

Kriseman and his wife, Kerry, joined their corps of volunteers and staffers kicking off their get-out-the-vote efforts ahead of the Nov. 7 election.

Kriseman and co. knocked on doors across the city and talked one-on-one with voters to plead their case for another four years. The mayor also pitched in at the phone bank to give voters a heads up that the first mail ballots are on the way.

“We’ve come a long way in 4 years. Crime is down, big projects are moving forward, and our city is preparing for climate change,” Kriseman said in a Monday press release. “This November’s election is going to come down to conversations between neighbors in their front yards and living rooms. August turnout was record high, and we’re here to earn every vote to keep St. Pete moving forward.”

Despite polls showing him behind by as much as 7 points three days before the election, Kriseman edged out Baker by a hair in the August primary, which saw the field whittled from six candidates down to two. The slim win wasn’t lost on Kriseman, whose campaign acknowledged it was indeed a “come-from-behind” victory.

That doesn’t mean they see it as a meaningless win, either.

Even though both candidates had to turn around and fund raise their hearts out to reload for the what’s become the most expensive mayoral election in city history, the mayor’s campaign said Monday that the primary win brought forth “a surge in grassroots enthusiasm with volunteers from all over the bay area committing their time and energy to re-electing Mayor Kriseman.”

While the St. Petersburg mayor position is officially non-partisan, Kriseman was a Democrat in the Florida House before becoming mayor. He has picked up endorsements from top elected Dems, including U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and Congressman Charlie Crist.

The Florida Democratic Party has also been in his corner and treated the city election as a bellwether for 2018, while multiple left-leaning groups such as the Sierra Club have also flocked to his side.

One of the deciders in the August election was undoubtedly the 11th hour endorsement he received from former President Barack Obama.

Kriseman is historically an underachiever with black voters, who make up 15 percent of the city’s electorate. Baker, on the other hand, is one of the rare Republicans who excells at making inroads with the community. The Obama nod put a thumb on the scales, though, and may have been what shunted Baker’s chances of winning it all in the primary.

The Kriseman camp also pointed out Monday that the mayor bested every pre-primary poll in his 69-vote August win, and he may have to do it again in the general election. A St. Pete Polls survey released last week showed Baker with a 1-point advantage over Kriseman, 46-45 with about 9 percent undecided.

All St. Petersburg voters will get a chance to pick one of the Ricks on Election Day, set for Nov. 7, but voters in City Council District 2 and District 6 will also pick the replacements for Jim Kennedy and Karl Nurse, respectively, while District 4 voters will decide whether to give Darden Rice another term.

Sunburn for 10.10.17 — Election Day in HD 44 & 58; Jack Latvala tees off; Andrew Gillum’s walkback; AHCA eyes $ cuts; Andrew Marcus’ new gig

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

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

In Florida, it seems like every other Tuesday is an Election Day, as it is today in House Districts 44 and 58.

Bobby Olszewski and Democrat Eddy Dominguez are competing to replace former Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, a Republican who resigned this spring to become a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal. Dominguez entered the race last month after Democratic candidate Paul Chandler withdrew amid questions about his eligibility for the seat.

Yvonne Fry and Lawrence McClure are seeking to replace former Rep. Dan Raulerson, a Plant City Republican who resigned this summer for health reasons. The winner of Tuesday’s Republican primary will move on to a Dec. 19 special general election in House District 58.

Special Election time: Republicans Yvonne Fry and Lawrence McClure face off Tuesday in HD 58; Republican Bobby Olszewski and Democrat Eddy Dominguez battle for HD 44.

The last-minute changes:

— Precinct 753 will vote at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 McClendon St., Plant City, according to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office. It is a change from the mailed notice recently sent to voters. Precinct 763 will vote at Faith Temple Assembly of God, 4240 N. Frontage Road. This move was made necessary this week by long lines of people signing up for Food for Florida benefits at Plant City Stadium in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

The latest fundraising:

— Olszewski raised $21,201 between Sept. 8 and Thursday, according to a newly filed finance report. That brought his overall campaign total to $127,530, with that amount also including money raised for an August Republican primary. Dominguez raised $6,507 from Sept. 19 through Thursday.

— Fry and McClure have each raised more than $100,000, according to newly filed finance reports. Fry raised $44,025 between Sept. 8 and Thursday, bringing her overall total to $112,790, according to her new report. Contributions to Fry during the period included $3,000 from Realtors political-action committees. McClure, meanwhile, raised $28,280 during the period, bringing his total to $135,485. Contributions to McClure during the period included $3,000 from political committees linked to the health care firm HCA.

The latest polling:

— An automated phone poll on election eve of 358 registered voters in HD 58 gave McClure an 18-point lead, 54 to 36 percent.

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Bill to permanently expand Bright Futures passes first legislative hurdle” via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News — … when the Senate Education Committee gave it the green light. SB 4, sponsored 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. 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. At least 41,000 students qualified for the top scholarship tier this year. Funding would also be reinstated for the Bright Futures Medallion Scholar award, which awards 75 percent of tuition and fees for the fall and spring semesters.

Lawmakers look at limits for opioid prescriptions” via Dan Sweeney of the Sun-Sentinel — Patients would only get a week’s supply of opioids on their initial prescription for the drugs under a bill filed by state Sen. Aaron Bean … meant to limit the oversupply of opiates for temporary pain. It would allow for 30-day renewals of opioid prescriptions after the initial seven-day prescription. It includes a requirement that doctors consult the state’s prescription drug monitoring database before prescribing controlled substances. Doctors would also be required to complete a two-hour continuing education course on prescribing opioids for their biennial license renewal. No similar measure has been filed in the state House.

“Water bills already on the move in the Senate” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — The Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee OK’d the measure (SB 204) … The bill, by committee chair Rob Bradley, a Fleming Island Republican, would approve spending at least $75 million a year on springs projects and $50 million annually on projects related to the restoration of the St. Johns River — the longest entirely within Florida — and its tributaries, as well as the Keystone Heights Lake Region. Bradley said it’s “incredibly important” that the river remain healthy: “It really defines the character of so much of our state” … The committee also took up a bill (SB 174), filed by Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala. It would set aside at least $50 million a year to help address issues such as beach erosion … The bill, supported by the affected coastal counties, cleared the committee without opposition.

Not one to hold back, Jack Latvala tees off on tourism. business and electric utilities.

Jack Latvala tees off on business and tourism groups during Hurricane Irma hearing” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — Latvala’s sometimes gruff personality was on display as he teed off on business and tourism officials who were giving an update on the state’s efforts following Hurricane Irma. The panel was assembled by the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee as part of a weeklong look at the storm and its impact on the state. Among the officials he targeted was Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. During his presentation, Wilson said one of the biggest reasons power was knocked out by the storm was that trees tumbled into power lines. “One thing we need to look at is local policies on tree removal,” Wilson told the committee. “I don’t know whose responsibility it is, but it’s something we need to look into.” Afterward, Latvala asked him about those comments. Wilson again continued to stress he was not sure who was responsible for tree removal. “Let me help you with that,” Latvala said pointedly. “The responsibility is with the utility companies.” Latvala has been publicly feuding with utility companies for weeks. During the meeting, he also was critical of Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Cissy Proctor, for her department’s decision to set up a $25 million bridge loan program for the citrus industry hammered by the storm, but not other areas of the agriculture industry. “You could have just as easily set it up for watermelons, beans, corn, tomatoes or any other industry,” Latvala said.

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“Senate committee passes on search bill for now” via Florida Politics — Should Florida law enforcement be required to inform subjects of their right to refuse a search? A Senate panel says that’s a question for another day. The Senate Criminal Justice Committee Monday postponed a bill (SB 262), filed by Sen. Gary Farmer, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, that seeks to prevent police from conducting searches without first informing subjects they have a right to decline. The bill’s language will need to be revised before the committee reconsiders it — Farmer intended to have the requirement apply strictly to consent searches, but the language doesn’t quite specify that enough. The measure says an officer would have to inform the subject of their right to refuse “unless the law enforcement officer is carrying out a valid search warrant or the search is based upon another legally sufficient justification.”

Today’s fundraiser lineup State Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. and Senate candidate Ed Hooper are hosting a joint fundraising event beginning 5 p.m. at the Florida Retail Federation, 227 S. Adams St. in Tallahassee. Diaz, a Hialeah Republican, is seeking re-election to House District 103; Hooper is seeking to replace term-limited Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater in SD 16. Also at 5 p.m., Republican Reps. Byron Donalds and Jayer Williamson hold a joint fundraiser at the Governors Club Capitol Room; Sen. Dana Young will also be at the Club’s Board Room. At 6 p.m., Republican Reps. Byron Donalds and Bob Rommel join HD 89 candidate Matt Spritz to raise funds at the Club’s Plantation Room. At 6:30 p.m., newly elected Democratic Sen. Annette Taddeo will hold an event at the Club’s Capitol Room. Also at 6 p.m., Democratic Reps. Ramon AlexanderLoranne AusleyBen DiamondSean Shaw and David Silvers will be fundraising at the Ology Brewing Company, 118 East 6th Avenue in Tallahassee.

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Andrew Gillum campaign rethinks environmental claim” via Allison Graves of the Tampa Bay Times — In his bid for governor, Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Gillum once took responsibility for reducing the city’s carbon footprint in a short period. “Under his leadership, Tallahassee reduced its carbon intensity by roughly 40 percent,” his campaign website said. This was an exaggeration. PolitiFact Florida did not find evidence that supported a carbon cut of that size under Gillum’s watch. But if you check the website now, you won’t find that claim … “You brought it to our attention, and we wanted to make sure it was accurate, so we made the change when you reached out,” said campaign spokesman Geoff Burgan said. “We’re trying to get people the accurate information they need.”

— “In Tampa, Gillum speaks frankly about race” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics

“Gillum raises $78,000 in September via Florida PoliticsGillum for Governor raised $72,000, and the aligned-political committee “Forward Florida” raised $6,000, the campaign and committee announced Tuesday. Spokesman Geoff Burgan said Gillum, a Democrat running for governor, had “paused” fundraising emails and activity. That was so Gillum, also mayor of Tallahassee, “could focus on Tallahassee’s robust response to Hurricane Irma.” Despite that, “we are pleased that grassroots and small-dollar donors continue showing Mayor Gillum strong support throughout Florida,” Burgan said. “These regular people are the ones funding and powering our campaign, not wealthy corporate donors.”

Gwen Graham vows to enact clean power plan” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — With President Trump‘s announcement he would be ending the federal clean-power plan initiated by his predecessor, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Graham vowed she would enact a “Florida clean power plan” to continue to seek carbon reductions and increase renewable energy. Graham says she’ll specifically stick to the goals former President Barack Obama had set with his federal order, to work toward a 32 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, compared with what Florida was producing in 2005. That would require significant decreases in coal-fired power. She said that would save the average consumer $85 a year in power bills. Arguing that an aggressive and comprehensive renewable energy policy would combat climate change, protect clean air, create jobs and lower energy prices, she added, “Florida can’t afford to wait for the federal government to act. As governor, I will implement a renewable energy standard, cut carbon emissions and create clean energy jobs.”

Gwen Graham installs solar panel during one of her recent campaign ‘Workdays.’

Hiring fundraiser, Phil Levine takes big step in deciding gubernatorial run” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida – Levine brought on veteran Democratic fundraiser Courtney Whitney ahead of what he intends to be an intensive month of fundraising for his All About Florida political committee. Levine, in a previous interview, told POLITICO that he intends to make an official decision in November on whether to join the crowded Democratic primary for governor in 2018. “Mayor Levine possesses a unique entrepreneurial background, with a robust network of international business leaders,” Whitney said in a written statement that foreshadows the likely themes Levine will stress as a candidate. “This won’t be a traditional fundraising operation, and I am thrilled to be a part of the team at All About Florida for this one-of-a-kind opportunity.”

“Ashley Moody breaks the $1M fundraising mark” via Florida Politics — Moody, a former Hillsborough circuit judge running as a Republican for Attorney General in 2018, reported on Monday she had raised more than $1 million in contributions. “We’re proud and excited to hit this important fundraising milestone, particularly in the first four months of our campaign,” she said in a statement. “It is a testament to our statewide network of grassroots supporters, community leaders, and well-respected law enforcement professionals who’ve enthusiastically embraced our message of strong, conservative leadership.” Moody said she’d collected over 950 contributions, “outpacing her Republican opponent by a margin of over 5 to 1 in both numbers of contributors and total contributions,” according to a release. Moody also enters October endorsed by over a dozen of Florida’s Republican sheriffs as well as state attorneys from throughout Florida.

September slog in House fundraising for northeast Florida” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics — The leader among state House hopefuls: Wyman Duggan with $10,650 for HD 15. HD 11 Republican Cord Byrd raised $400 in September, against $2,549 spent; Clay Yarborough continued his consistent fundraising in his HD 12 re-election … $7,500 he brought in last month pushed Yarborough up to $63,675 raised. In HD 16, $4,000 brought Jason Fischer over $55,000 cash on hand. In HD 17, Republican Cyndi Stevenson raised $3,603 and spent $1,052; all told, she has just over $44,000 on hand. HD 18 incumbent Republican Travis Cummings added $2,500 … roughly $52,000 on hand. HD 19 incumbent Republican Bobby Payne raised $2,500, pushing him over $28,000 on hand.

Kionne McGhee backs Emma Collum in three-way HD 93 primary” via Florida Politics — Minority Leader Designate McGee weighed in on the three-way Democratic Primary in House District 93 with an endorsement for Women’s March FL founder Collum. “She is the ideal candidate for Broward County and today’s political environment,” McGhee said in a news release “Floridians urgently need more women in leadership, especially with experience in both business and civic engagement. Emma is a staunch advocate for Democratic values, and I look forward to working alongside her to fight for the interests of working families in South Florida and across the state.” In addition to running the 20-chapter Women’s March group in Florida, the City University of New York law school alumna works as the in-house counsel for JL Audio, a family owned business based in Miramar.

Orlando mayor endorses Robert Stuart” via Terry Roen of Orlando Rising — Buddy Dyer has endorsed District 3 Commissioner Stuart, asking voters to continue the strong leadership to ensure the city’s future remains bright. The plea was made as voters received their absentee ballots in the mail. “Robert has been an effective advocate and champion for safe neighborhoods, fiscally responsible budgeting, for finding solutions to Orlando’s homelessness challenge, and for increasing and renewing our parks and green spaces,” Dyer said. “As a supporter of Orlando’s Main Street programs, Robert has helped us renew and revitalize neighborhood commercial districts and create thousands of new jobs.” Dyer also talked about Stuart’s lifetime of service to Orlando in the letter. “Even before he was elected to the city council, Robert has been serving people and building community,” Dyer said. “For 46 years, he has been a volunteer coach and umpire for Little League Baseball.” Stuart has worked closely with Dyer during the past 12 years.


Gov. Rick Scott toured the Herbert Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee on Monday. Earlier this year, President Trump committed to providing federal support to fix the federally-operated dike and Scott worked with lawmakers to set aside $50 million to speed up needed repairs.

Assignment editors — Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam will visit Broward County to help serve lunch to elementary school students for National School Lunch Week. Event begins 10:30 a.m. at Discovery Elementary School, 8800 NW. 54th Court in Sunrise.

AHCA eyes hospitals for budget cuts” via Christine Sexton of the News Service of Florida — Gov. Scott‘s administration continues to target hospitals for potential Medicaid spending reductions in the coming year. The Agency for Health Care Administration’s top four proposed budget cuts for the Legislature to consider during the 2018 session would reduce Medicaid payments to hospitals by nearly $1 billion. Those reductions would be on top of nearly $500 million in recurring cuts made to hospitals during the 2017 session. “It would be devastating, for goodness sakes,” said Jan Gorrie, a hospital lobbyist and managing partner of the Tampa office of Ballard Partners. “I’m surprised to see the magnitude of the cut. It’s mind-blowing. It’s like, whoa.” In addition to a list of proposed reductions for the Legislature to consider, AHCA also submitted its proposed budget requests for the upcoming year. It includes a request for an additional $66 million to cover a deficit in the Children’s Medical Services managed-care plan for the current year. The gap is a result of lower enrollment in the Medicaid specialty plan than anticipated.

“Mega Millions email is a scam, Florida Lottery says” via Florida Politics — If you got an email saying you won $1 million in Mega Millions, it’s a scam, the Florida Lottery said Monday. Scammers are behind the email, seeking “to obtain personal and financial information,” the Lottery said in a news release. “Do not respond to these emails. If you have not purchased a ticket, you cannot win a prize,” it said. “Individuals are asked to provide general information about themselves in order to participate.” But Lottery players “will never be required to transfer funds to secure their winnings for … any Florida Lottery game,” it said.


White House lets Jones Act waiver expire for Puerto Rico” via Melanie Zanona of The Hill — The White House has let a 10-day shipping waiver expire for Puerto Rico, meaning foreign ships can no longer bring aid to the hurricane-ravaged island from U.S. ports. A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the Jones Act waiver, which expired Sunday, will not be extended. U.S. lawmakers and Puerto Rican officials had been pushing the administration for an exemption from the Jones Act, a century-old law that only allows American-built and -operated vessels to make cargo shipments between U.S. ports … the White House did not initially lift the shipping restrictions for Puerto Rico, sparking widespread public outcry and fueling accusations that Trump is treating the U.S. territory differently than the states hit by hurricanes … officials have warned that the biggest challenge for relief efforts is getting supplies distributed around Puerto Rico once they arrive, while the U.S. shipping industry maintains that there are adequate domestic companies available to assist with Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts.

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If Puerto Rico were a state, its health care system would recover faster from Maria” via Anna Maria Barry-Jester of — The problem for Puerto Rico is not only that it’s in debt, but also that it is responsible for paying a much larger share of Medicaid costs than it would if it were a state. Across the U.S. — in both the territories and the states — the federal government reimburses a share of the cost of the program. In poorer states, the federal government pays more — Mississippi, the poorest state, is reimbursed for 75.7 percent of the cost of providing care, while 14 states are reimbursed for 50 percent, the lowest level allowed. But in the territories, the amount is set at 55 percent. If Puerto Rico were reimbursed using the same poverty formula as the states, the federal government would cover 82 percent of the cost, according to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, a nonpartisan agency that provides policy recommendations to Congress. There’s also a limit on how much the federal government spends each year in the territories. Their reimbursement comes from a block grant and, at less than $400 million, the amount is far below 55 percent of the current annual cost of running the program.

Agents from the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico with personnel from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Department of Law Enforcement to assist with hurricane recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria.

Irma insurance claims near $4.6 billion” via the News Service of Florida — 703,671 claims, totaling $4,571,183,588 in insured losses, had been filed … Of the claims filed, payments had been made on 103,994, while 69,432 had been closed without any compensation for policyholders. The Office of Insurance Regulation website does not break down the numbers by the insurer. Claims had been filed in all 67 counties, with Miami-Dade County having the largest number, 87,334. There had been 57,670 claims filed in Orange County and 52,821 in Lee County.

They were married 61 years. They died weeks apart after their nursing home overheated” via David Neal of the Miami Herald — Cecilia Franco, 90, died at 3:45 a.m. Monday, becoming the 13th Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills resident to die from ailments suffered when the nursing home turned into a hotbox following Hurricane Irma. Franco lived only 26 days after her husband of 61 years, Miguel Antonio Franco, was among the eight Sept. 13 deaths at the overheated Hollywood Hills facility across a parking lot from Hollywood Memorial Regional Hospital. Cecilia Franco, one of the residents evacuated hours after residents began dying, was described by family lawyers as being in serious condition. She died at St. Catherine’s Rehab Hospital in Hialeah. “The Franco and Navarro families are now mourning the passing of their mother and grandmother Cecilia Franco, this on the heels of losing her husband of 62 years, their father and grandfather Miguel Franco, both of whom perished in a horrific avoidable tragedy which should never have occurred,” read a statement from Albert Levin, attorney for daughter Margarita Navarro. “Their pain cuts deeply having lost not one but two loved ones.” Navarro filed a wrongful death and negligence suit against Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills Sept. 22.

Irma assistance deadline extended” via the News Service of Florida — Cissy Proctor, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, said a deadline for the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program had been extended to Oct. 31. The original deadline had been Oct. 16. The assistance is available for weeks of unemployment beginning Sept. 10, when Hurricane Irma first made landfall in Florida, until March 17, 2018, so long as the unemployment continues to be a result of the storm. More than 27,000 claims have been filed; Proctor told members of the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee. The program offers assistance to employees or self-employed people who are temporarily or permanently out of work because of the hurricane. The money is supposed to cover the costs of food, clothing, shelter and other assistance.

Audit warned Florida’s hurricane response system was ‘ill-prepared’ for disaster” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — Long before Florida entered the deadliest hurricane season in a decade, auditors at the state’s Division of Emergency Management sent out a warning: the state was ill-prepared for a major disaster. A 23-page annual audit completed in December 2016 by the agency’s inspector general detailed a lengthy list of deficiencies needed to prepare and respond to a hurricane. Among them: Food and water supplies at the distribution center in Orlando were inadequate; contracts with companies that would supply cots to shelters had expired; the agreements many trucking companies had signed with the state’s emergency management agency to distribute supplies had lapsed; the agency was using “a spreadsheet created in the 1980s to help predict the amount of supplies and equipment that may be needed after a storm makes landfall,” as the state’s giant storage facility remained half empty. What’s worse, auditors warned, the state’s emergency managers didn’t know what they didn’t know. The report concluded: “The division’s ability to respond to disasters may be impaired.”


Eldercare watchdog referring fewer complaints for investigation” via Dan Sweeney of the Sun-Sentinel

— The state office charged with inspecting and investigating complaints against nursing homes has become less of a watchdog under Gov. Scott.

— Once well regarded as a patient advocate, the office of Elder Care Ombudsman has referred an average of 3 percent of complaints to investigative agencies annually since Scott came into office in 2011, a Sun Sentinel records review shows. Under the previous administrations, between 6 percent and 10 percent of complaints were referred each year going back to 2001.

— The quality of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities had come to the forefront after 12 residents at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died when Hurricane Irma knocked out the air conditioning. No complaints to the ombudsman’s office about nursing homes in Broward County have been referred for investigation in the past two years.

— But Brian Lee, who was ombudsman from 2003 to 2011 under governors Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist and is now executive director of an elder advocacy organization, doubts that the drop in complaints is due to an overall improvement in the nursing home industry.

***In the face of Hurricane Irma, Florida Health Care Association’s members successfully cared for more than 68,000 residents. Learn more about how FHCA member nursing centers’ emergency plans protect Florida’s most vulnerable citizens before, during, and after disaster situations.***


Florida lawmakers seek $27 billion for hurricane recovery” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times — The request covers the gamut, from money for citrus and livestock losses to funds for the Herbert Hoover Dike to the need for schools that could see migration from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The lawmakers, led by Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, laid out the request in a letter to the top Republican and Democratic members of the Senate and House appropriations committees. Congress has already approved $15 billion to respond to Hurricane Harvey and Irma. The White House last week requested an additional $29 billion, including $16 billion in debt forgiveness for the National Flood Insurance Program.

Marco Rubio went to Arizona to raise money for Jeff Flake” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times — Tickets for the lunch were $100 and VIP went for $500. Rubio and Flake were part of the Gang of 8 that produced the 2013 immigration bill, and they serve together on the Foreign Relations Committee. Flake, unlike Rubio, has been a proponent for the diplomatic thaw with Cuba. Flake has drawn the wrath of conservatives who see him as too moderate, and he’s also battled with President Trump. But Democrats think they can be competitive should Flake emerge from the primary with Rubio’s help.

Marco Rubio headed to Arizona to help raise money for Sen. Jeff Flake.

National Democrats launch Spanish-language campaign targeting Florida congressional Republicans via a news release from the DCCC — Claiming access to affordable health care is at risk as long as Republicans control Congress, the DCCC launched a bilingual ad campaign — the first of this election cycle — warning Spanish-speaking voters that Medicare is on the chopping block under the GOP. The 15-second ad will appear on Google and Facebook targeting the Florida congressional districts of U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (CD 25), Carlos Curbelo (CD 27) and the open seat formerly held by Ileana Ross-Lehtinen (CD 27).

Click on the image below to watch the ads.


Steve Schale: Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico and Florida politics” via Florida Politics — Like so many things, the answer to the Maria question lies in history. First, it is important to keep in mind just how much has changed in the last 15 years for Puerto Ricans. In 2000, the community was emerging, as was the community’s social and political infrastructure. Today is quite different. Puerto Ricans who come to Orlando now will find a ready-made community, with a social structure solidly in place, a growing job market, and in many cases, friends and family already here. In other words, while moving is never easy, migrating to Orlando following Maria will be a far easier adjustment than it was 15 or 20 years ago. And far more than a Hispanic immigrant, the Puerto Rican impact on the politics is acute. As long as a Puerto Rican migrates and takes up residence in Florida more than 30 days before a given election, they can vote. So while a significant migration from Maria will absolutely impact Central Florida politics, and those impacts will help Democrats statewide — it won’t “tip” the state any more than any other population shift that could occur, because well, Florida is gonna Florida.

An influx of refugees from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria could tip the political scales, but as Steve Schale says: “Florida’s gonna Florida.”

John Simmons: Florida’s nursing centers — setting the record straight on quality care” via Florida Politics — I always thought journalists were trained to avoid reaching a broad conclusion from just one specific example, no matter how shocking it may be. Yet in his guest commentary in the Tallahassee Democrat, opinion columnist Carl Hiaasen unfairly slammed Florida’s entire long-term care profession based on the shameful and inexcusable actions of a single nursing home. In Hiaasen’s view, the tragic deaths of 12 residents at a Hollywood Hills nursing home were the inevitable result of years of neglect, and worse, by a powerful industry that imposed its will on the Florida Legislature. While I certainly agree that the deaths at this facility are intolerable and need to be properly investigated, the assertion that this somehow represents the entire long-term care profession couldn’t be further from the truth. It also does a great injustice to the thousands of highly skilled professionals who dedicate themselves to caring for some of our state’s most fragile residents. I wish to be very clear about this: Nothing is a higher priority for our centers than the well-being of those entrusted to our care.


Lisa Edgar case could be headed to trial via Florida Politics — A pretrial conference has been set for next Wednesday on charges against Edgar, a former Public Service Commissioner and state parks director, who was arrested in Tallahassee after an alleged drunk-driving hit and run. The hearing will be before Leon County Judge J. Layne Smith, court records show. In June, local prosecutors filed an information, or formal criminal charges, against Edgar for the April 15 incident. Edgar, 53, is charged with driving under the influence causing damage to person or property, a first-degree misdemeanor, and leaving the scene of a crash with damage, a second-degree misdemeanor, court records show. She waived arraignment and pleaded “not guilty” in April.

Personnel note: Andrew Marcus, former insurance regulator, joins Holland & Knight government advocacy team” via Florida Politics — Marcus, a former senior attorney and deputy director of Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR), has joined it’s Tallahassee office as a member of the firm’s government advocacy team. “We are thrilled to have Andrew, a talented lawyer who is highly regarded at the OIR, join our team,” said Mark Delegal, co-chair of the firm’s government advocacy team in Florida. “Our clients will be well served by Andrew’s experience and insight as they navigate Florida’s insurance regulatory process.” Marcus was deputy director of Life and Health Product Review and assistant general counsel at the Florida OIR from 2013 to 2016, during the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Veteran Florida journalist, AP courts stringer dies at 88” via The Associated Press — Mort Lucoff, a longtime Florida journalist and Miami courts stringer for The Associated Press, has died. Joel Lucoff said his father died in his sleep Sunday. He had recently suffered from pneumonia and other ailments. A New York native, Lucoff grew up in Miami and earned journalism and history degrees from the University of Missouri and University of Florida. He worked for newspapers in Hartford, Connecticut and Buffalo, New York, where his son said Lucoff interviewed both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Lucoff covered local government for the Miami News from 1963-1988 and had a column, “Ins and Outs.” After that, he worked for the Miami-Dade County court clerk until 2000, when he began stringing for the AP until recently.

— ALOE —

Florida State finds itself playing for pride, not titles” via Joe Reedy of The Associated Press — With Florida State off to its worst start in 41 years, coach Jimbo Fisher is left doing something he could hardly fathom two months ago. The coach is fielding questions about what is left to play for the rest of the season. Florida State fell out of the rankings following its loss to North Carolina State on Sept. 16. This week’s poll is the first time since 2011 that Fisher’s program did not receive a vote. “No matter what your record is, you play,” Fisher said. “We’ve got everything to play for. What if you’re a junior-eligible draft guy or senior-eligible draft guy? What’s the NFL looking at?” Fisher is also dealing with increased scrutiny as the Seminoles are headed for their second straight disappointing season. Instead of contending for a conference title and a spot in the College Football Playoff, the Seminoles find themselves barely above .500 in their last 15 ACC games (8-7). They have also dropped their first two home games for the first time since 1974 and are 3-4 at Doak Campbell Stadium since having a 22-game home winning streak snapped.

Nobel Prizes are great, but college football is why American universities dominate the globe” via David Labaree of Quartz —Consider, for the moment, that football may help explain how the American system of higher education has become so successful. According to rankings computed by Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, American institutions account for 32 of the top 50 and 16 of the top 20 universities in the world. Also, between 2000 and 2014, 49 percent of all Nobel recipients were scholars at US universities … In order to support a large number of high-powered professors, US universities need to attract a huge number of tuition-paying students, and they need to turn those students into loyal lifelong donors. In order to draw state appropriations, they also need to extend their reach beyond their own alumni by attracting the political support of citizens in the immediate community and in the state at large. And they need to do so within an extremely competitive higher education market consisting of nearly 5,000 degree-granting institutions. Thus, one advantage that football brings to the American university is financial. It’s not that intercollegiate sports turn a large profit; in fact, the large majority lose money. Instead, it’s that they help mobilize a stream of public and private funding.

Happy birthday to Dave Mica and Jared Ross.

Sixty Days for 10.9.17 — A prime-time look at the 2018 Legislative Session

Sixty Days – A prime-time read of what’s going down for Florida’s 2018 Legislative Session.

The Last 24

​Gov. Rick Scott toured the Herbert Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee.

A 90-year-old woman named Cecilia Franco became the 13th victim of the Hollywood nursing home tragedy. 95-year-old Francesca Andrade became the home’s 14th fatality.

Sen. Aaron Bean filed a bill meant to limit the oversupply of opioids for temporary pain.

Sen. Linda Stewart proposed a statewide ban on bump stocks, the device law enforcement authorities said the killer in the Las Vegas massacre.

The Senate Education Committee cleared a bill, the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018, to expand state university and student financial aid, as well as Bright Futures Academic Scholar award and Bright Futures Medallion Scholar award.

Sen. Daphne Campbell and Rep. Al Jacquet filed legislation aimed at ‘holding President Trump accountable to campaign promises to protect Haitian-Americans.’

Rep. Patricia Williams proposed designating a stretch of road in Broward County as “President Barack Obama Highway,” reports the News Service of Florida.

Quote of the Day

“Everybody needs to beard up for appropriations this year.” — Sen. Rob Bradley at a Monday Senate committee hearing, explaining his new facial topiary with a nod to bearded Senate budget chief Jack Latvala, who added that “imitation is the highest form of flattery.”

Bill Day’s Latest

3 Questions

In case you missed it (and really, how could you?), the fall edition of INFLUENCE magazine hit the virtual newsstands earlier today. Among other features, Jim Rosica, our man in Tallahassee, sat down with Lori Killinger, an executive shareholder in the law firm of Lewis, Longman & Walker. She chairs the firm’s Legislative, Lobbying and Governmental Affairs practice in the state capital. Here’s a teaser:

FP: Are you treated differently than male counterparts?

LK: I don’t think there is overt discrimination. I never felt looked down upon in The Process because I was a woman. However, there are significant barriers because you’re a woman. The most obvious barrier is the way in which men and women relate to each other generally. For me to reach out to a male (lawmaker) and say “Hey, want to meet for a drink? Want to have dinner?” can easily be taken out of context.

FP: If not overt, what kind of subtle discrimination is there?

LK: I have had incidents over the years where a male lobbyist will try to correct me or tell me a different way to act (I’m often told to “smile” even in the most serious of situations) or even how to be “nicer” at the podium. I just had someone do this to me this past session.

FP: What else would you be doing now if you weren’t lobbying?

LK: I have not thought about what else I would want to do. I love this job. It’s changed a lot over the years, mostly due to term limits, the gift ban and just because politics has gotten really divisive. However, the job remains incredibly dynamic … just being this close to really heady policies that affect our state still fascinates and excites me to this very day.

Breakthrough Insights

The Next 24

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and Keep Florida Fishing will gather for its annual Sportfishing Summit taking place Tuesday through Friday. The four-day meeting will include guest speakers from across the country, along with Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican. It’s at the Opal Sands Resort, 430 S. Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach.

Two special elections will be held Tuesday:

— A special general election will be held in Orange County’s House District 44 The candidates are Republican Bobby Olszewski and Democrat Eddy Dominguez. Former Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, an Orlando Republican, left the seat after being appointed a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal.

— A special GOP primary will be held in Hillsborough County’s House District 58. Republicans Yvonne Fry and Lawrence McClure are battling it out, with the winner advancing to a Dec. 19 special general election. Former Rep. Dan Raulerson, a Plant City Republican, resigned from the seat because of health issues.

The state Elections Canvassing Commission will certify the results of a Sept. 26 special election in which Democrat Annette Taddeo was elected in Miami-Dade County’s Senate District 40. That’s at 9 a.m., Cabinet meeting room, the Capitol, Tallahassee. At the same time, Taddeo will be sworn in during a ceremony in the Senate chamber.

Julio Fuentes, President of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, holds a press conference with state Rep. Rene “Coach P” Plasencia, an Orlando Republican, and others on Puerto Rican evacuees coming to Florida. The event will be 10 a.m. in the 4th floor rotunda of The Capitol, Tallahassee.

Staff members for Sen. Denise Grimsley will hold “mobile” office hours in DeSoto County. They begin at 10:30 a.m., County Administration Building, 201 East Oak St., Arcadia.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam will visit Discovery Elementary in Broward County to help serve lunch to students for National School Lunch Week and highlight support available for Puerto Rican student-evacuees, including free school meals. He’ll be there 10:30-11:30 a.m., 8800 NW 54th Ct., Sunrise.

Sen. Dana Young, a Tampa Republican, and Rep. Kathleen Peters, a South Pasadena Republican, will debut legislation imposing a statewide ban on fracking. That’s at 1:30 p.m., in front of the Senate Chamber.

The Agency for Health Care Administration is scheduled to hold a administrative workshop about outpatient hospital services. It begins at 2 p.m., AHCA headquarters, 2727 Mahan Dr., Tallahassee.

James Buchanan, a Longboat Key Republican running in a special election in Sarasota County’s House District 72, is scheduled to speak to the Gulf Coast Republican Women’s Federated Club. That’s set for 5:30 p.m., Cafe Baci, 4001 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Program note: State candidates, political committees and parties face a midnight Tuesday deadline for filing reports showing finance activity through Sept. 30.

Get Out Your Checkbooks Dep’t

Lawmakers are prohibited from raising campaign cash during legislative sessions but can do so during committee weeks. A bevy of fundraisers is set for Tuesday, all in Tallahassee.

— 5-6 p.m.: Reps. Byron Donalds, Jayer Williamson, at Governors Club, Capitol Room.
— 5-7 p.m.: Rep. Manny Diaz, former Rep. Ed Hooper, at Florida Retail Federation.
— 5-7 p.m.: Sen. Dana Young at Governors Club, Board Room.
— 6-8 p.m.: Reps. Ramon Alexander, Loranne Ausley, Ben Diamond, Sean Shaw, David Silvers, at Ology Brewing Company, 118 East 6th Ave. in Midtown.
— 6-7:30 p.m.: Reps. Byron Donalds, Bob Rommel, hopeful Matt Spritz (running for term-limited Rep. Bill Hager’s seat) at Governors Club, Plantation Room.
— 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Sen. Annette Taddeo at Governors Club, Capitol Room.

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