Influence Archives - Page 4 of 337 - Florida Politics

Jose Mallea raises more than $50K toward HD 116 race

Jose Mallea brought in more than $50,000 in his race to replace Rep. Jose Felix Diaz in House District 116.

State records show Mallea, a Miami-Dade Republican, raised $50,640 between May 22 and June 8, bring his total raised to $140,156. Mallea faces Daniel Anthony Perez in the July 25 special primary to replace Diaz, who resigned effective Sept. 26 to run in the Senate District 40 special election.

Top contributors during the fundraising period include Andrew Card, who served as former President George W. Bush’s chief of staff and former Ambassador Al Hoffman. Other top donors include American Principles PAC; IRL PAC, which is affiliated with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; MCNA Health Care Holdings; and Sunshine Dade Investments.

Records show Mallea spent $50,018 during the fundraising period. He ended the fundraising period with $88,488 cash on hand.

Mallea has received the backing of former Gov. Jeb Bush and former House Speaker Will Weatherford. The owner of JM Global consulting, Mallea ran Sen. Marco Rubio’s successful U.S. Senate campaign in 2010. Prior to that, he served as chief of staff to former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz. He’s also served stints with the federal government, working at the U.S. Department of State and the White House.

State records show Perez raised $33,660 in the fundraising period. Top contributors during the fundraising period included JAC-RU Consulting Services, Doral Station II Corp, and Quintana & Associates.

Perez spent $45,128 during the fundraising period. He ended the period with $40,418 cash on hand.

The winner of the July 25 special primary will face Democrat Gabriela Mayaudon in the Sept. 26 special general election. Records show Mayaudon raised $1,800 and spent $1,781 during the fundraising period.

Personnel note: Greg Black joins Gunster

Greg Black is joining Gunster‘s statewide government affairs law and lobbying practice, the firm announced in a press release.

Black joins the firm with an extensive background advocating for a wide range of clients in the financial services, insurance, health care, biomedical research, pharmaceutical, and technology industries.

He previously represented the Florida Bankers Association where he advised financial institutions of all sizes. Black’s experience also includes procurement matters at the state and local levels.

Prior to joining Gunster, Black worked for a firm that specializes in legislative and governmental affairs.

“Gunster is strategically focused on recruiting and integrating top talent across all 13 of our Florida offices,” said Lila Jaber, regional managing shareholder and head of the firm’s government affairs practice. “Greg’s knowledge and experience in legislative law is a pivotal addition to our talented team as we continue to expand the services we offer to our clients.”

Black graduated from the Florida State University College of Law where he co-founded the Volunteer Student Law Project, a pro bono legal service partnership with the Legal Aid Foundation of the Tallahassee Bar Association.

Black has remained engaged with his alma mater by serving as director of the alumni board, and was recently appointed chair of the development committee. In addition, he frequently returns to the FSU campus to speak with participants in the Donald J. Weidner Summer for Undergraduates program.

Black also serves on the board for Take Stock In Children, Inc., a nonprofit providing opportunities for a post-secondary education to low-income students throughout all of Florida’s 67 counties.

Jose Felix Diaz raises about $450K for SD 40 race

Rep. Jose Felix Diaz has raised more than $400,000 in the special election to replace Sen. Frank Artiles in Senate District 40.

Diaz, a Miami Republican, said his campaign raised about $450,000 — about $280,000 for his official campaign and another $167,000 for Rebuild Florida, his political committee — between May 10 and June 8.

“Our goal was to talk to as many people as possible, to reach out to old friends, to see what the momentum was like,” said Diaz. “I was amazed to get as much support as I did.”

The deadline to report money raised in the Senate District 40 special election is Monday. Neither Rebuild Florida nor Diaz official campaign had posted campaign finance information to the state Division of Elections website as of Monday afternoon, however Rebuild Florida posted contribution data through June 6 on its website.

Records posted to the site show top donors include the Conservative and Principled Leadership Committee, a political committee affiliated with Rep. Carlos Trujillo, a Miami Republican and the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee; Free Markets Florida, a political committee associated with Rep. Travis Cummings, Rep. Manny Diaz, and House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues; and Friends of Matt Caldwell, the political committee associated with Rep. Matt Caldwell, who recently announced he was running for Agriculture Commissioner in 2018.

The committee also received contributions from the Florida Prosperity Fund, a political committee chaired by Ryan Tyson, the vice president of political operations for Associated Industries of Florida; Frontline Insurance; and Sunshine Gasoline Distributors.

State records show Rebuild Florida raised nearly $1.3 million through April. It ended the month of April with $825,082 cash on hand. All told, Diaz said he has raised about $1.25 million for his campaign.

Diaz said he has been in nonstop campaign mode while back at home, and said it has been “fun getting to know the voters.”

“It’s been an overwhelmingly fund experience,” he said.

Diaz faces former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Lorenzo Palomares in what is expected to be an expensive and contentious GOP primary. Outside groups are already pouring money into the race, and the battle is only expected to get more volatile as Election Day nears since Democrats see it as a must-win seat.

Diaz de la Portilla raised $22,500 during the fundraising period. Records show he loaned his campaign $50,000 during the same time period

State records show Palomares reported raising $9,000 during the fundraising period. Palomares, according to state records, also loaned his campaign $15,000. He spent $13,953 during the same time span.

Democrats Ana Rivas Logan and Annette Taddeo are battling it out for their party’s nomination. Rivas Logan raised $10,425 and loaned her campaign $2,500. As of Monday afternoon, Taddeo had not yet posted fundraised numbers to the state website.

The special primary election to replace Artiles, a Miami-Dade Republican who resigned in April amid scandal, is July 25. The general election is Sept. 26.


Florida declines to appeal decision striking down ‘docs versus Glocks’ law

After six years, health care providers scored a major victory Monday when Florida officials declined to appeal a federal ruling striking down the so-called “docs versus Glocks” law.

In 2011, Florida lawmakers passed a bill which prevents doctors from asking patients about guns. Since then, a federal court invalidated several parts of the law.

The National Rifle Association supported “docs versus Glocks,” which put several restrictions on doctors and other health care professionals.

According to Lobby Tools, the bill in part prevented physicians from entering gun ownership into medical records, especially if the info was not “relevant” to medical care or safety to patients or other people. The law also forced doctors to refrain from asking about gun ownership — of both patients or family members — unless there was a “good faith” belief the information was pertinent to medical care or safety.

Doctors could not “discriminate” or “harass” patients for owning firearms.

In a 90-page decision February, the full appellate court — two majority opinions from different judges as well as a dissent — struck down the law.

Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s office confirmed to reporters that there will be no appeal filed before the deadline lapsed last month.

Northeast Florida delivers $260K in May to Paul Renner committee

Back in May, we reported on Northeast Florida powerbrokers going “all in” for Rep. Paul Renner as the region’s best hope for Florida House Speaker.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, essentially the model Republican of his generation in this part of the state, delivered an altar call at a Duval fundraiser. And the donor class delivered something better than Hosannas: $261,500 for Renner’s political committee, Florida Foundation for Liberty.

The Speaker’s race is, by design, difficult to handicap. Yet what’s clear here is the financial commitment from donors, which span most of the meaningful names in the donor class in the region. And what’s between the lines: it is unwise for any House members to think beyond regional priorities in the Speaker’s race.

Pacing the field: local gambling concern Best Bet, at $25,000.

Coming in with $10,000, political committees associated with Senators Rob Bradley (“Working for Florida’s Families) and Travis Hutson (“Sunshine State Conservatives”).

Meanwhile, there’s more starpower in the non-elected donors than on the starting roster of the 1927 Yankees.

All the important local corporate donors: Summit Contracting, Vestcor, Florida Blue, Rayonier, Gate Petroleum, Florida East Coast Industries, Rayonier, and so on.

And all the big names: from Mike Hightower to Michael Munz, from Husein Cumber to John Rood, from John Baker to Steve Halverson.

The lobbyists, including Southern Strategy Group’s Deno Hicks and Marty Fiorentino, still experiencing momentum from the sea change in the White House and his work of late in D.C.

And the Jax Chamber, via “JAX BIZ”, is also on board.

The road to the Speakership runs through Northeast Florida, and Paul Renner is the best shot the region has had in 20 years.

An amazing journey for a candidate who lost by three votes less than three years ago to Rep. Jay Fant, then relocated to Palm Coast for his second run.

Northeast Florida consultants and politicos are looking for coalescence; it is said that if the region unites behind Renner, it’s game over.

We understand that there is one holdout: Rep. Cord Byrd, a regional anomaly in his support for Jamie Grant.

One assumes the donor class is watching which way Byrd goes on this one. Even though he’s in the deepest of deep red seats, only one man is going to win what looks like a binary Speaker’s race.

And for Northeast Florida, there is but one choice.

Ray Rodrigues, other SWFL leaders host fundraiser for Matt Caldwell’s bid for Ag Commissioner

Rep. Matt Caldwell is getting a little help from his friends in bid for Agriculture Commissioner.

Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, Rep. Dane Eagle, and Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen are among the more than three dozen Southwest Florida officials scheduled to host a fundraiser for Caldwell on Monday night.

The fundraiser, according to a copy of the invitation, is scheduled to kick off around 5:30 p.m. at Suncoast Beverage in downtown Fort Myers.

Rodrigues, an Estero Republican, was selected to serve as Majority Leader under House Speaker Richard Corcoran for the 2016-18 term; while Eagle, a Cape Coral Republican, serves as Majority Whip. Fitzenhagen, a Fort Myers Republican, is the chairwoman of the House Civil Justice and Claims Subcommittee. All three were elected to the Florida House in 2012.

The invitation also lists former state Rep. Gary Aubuchon; Lee County Commissioners Brian Hamman, Larry Kiker, Frank Mann, and Cecil Pendergrass; Lee County Clerk Linda Dogget; Lee County Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson; Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott; and well-known Lee County residents Sandy Stilwell and Bruce Strayhorn as hosts.

Caldwell faces Sen. Denise Grimsley and Paul Paulson in the race to replace Agriculture Adam Putnam as Agriculture Commissioner in 2018. Democrat Michael Damian Christine has also filed to run; and Republican Baxter Troutman is considering jumping into the race.

According to Caldwell’s campaign, the North Fort Myers Republican raised $101,1575 for his 2018 agriculture commissioner bid during a 20-day period in May. Caldwell is expected to report ending the month with $100,458 cash on hand, according to his campaign. His political committee, Friends of Matt Caldwell, will report raising $712,825 since January.

Florida law shifts burden of proof in ‘stand your ground’

Florida became the first state with a law that spells out that prosecutors, and not defendants, have the burden of proof in pretrial “stand your ground” hearings when Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Friday.

The measure was among 16 bills that Scott signed, including a bill that gives students and school employees a broader right to express their religious viewpoint in schools.

The “stand your ground” bill was fought by prosecutors who say it will make their job more difficult to convict people who commit acts of violence and claim self-defense.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that defendants have to prove in pretrial hearings that they were defending themselves in order to avoid prosecution on charges for a violent act.

That led Republicans to seek to shift that burden. They argued that it protects a defendant’s constitutional right that presumes they are innocent until proven guilty. But opponents said it will embolden people to shoot to kill, and then claim self-defense knowing that the only witness against them can no longer testify.

Only four of the other 21 states with “stand your ground” laws mention burden of proof – Alabama, Colorado, Georgia and South Carolina – and all place it on defendants.

Many states have long invoked “the castle doctrine,” allowing people to use deadly force to defend themselves in their own homes.

Florida changed that in 2005, so that even outside a home, a person has no duty to retreat and can “stand his or her ground” anywhere they are legally allowed to be. Other states followed suit, and “stand your ground” defenses became much more common in pre-trial immunity hearings and during trials.

The 2012 killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman opened a debate about the limits of self-defense, and it hasn’t let up since Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder after jurors received instructions on Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Special session ends after Florida Legislature approves deal

A whirlwind three-day special session is ending after the Florida Legislature approved a last-minute deal to boost money for public schools and money to repair the dike that surrounds Lake Okeechobee.

The Florida Legislature on Friday approved two-budget related bills that would also set aside more money to economic development programs championed by Gov. Rick Scott.

Lawmakers also passed a bill that puts in place rules for medical marijuana, which was approved by voters last November.

The special session nearly collapsed after Senate leaders insisted on winning approval for money for university projects that Scott vetoed last week.

The final deal includes $60 million for 17 university projects and also boosts spending to increase per-student funding by $100 for the state’s nearly 3 million school children.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Medical marijuana research, 16 other higher-ed programs restored in budget deal

The budget package deal that gave Gov. Rick Scott the $85 million he wants for a Florida Job Growth Grant Fund also restored cut funding sought by Florida colleges and universities for 17 different projects, including funding for medical marijuana research.

The research money, $1.69 million will go to the University of Florida Health Center for the College of Cannabis Research in Gainesville. UF also is getting $5.9 million for its Music Building.

Florida State University was a big winner from the special session, getting four projects totaling more than $12 million restored. FSU will get $6.8 for its Interdisciplinary Research Commercialization Building, $4.2 million for its STEM Teaching Lab, $846,000 for faculty and a scholarship program for FSU College of Law, and $515,000 for its Florida Campus Compact.

Another big winner was Florida International University in Miami, which is getting $12.7 million for its School of International and Public Affairs.

Also winning big was Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, which is getting $12.7 million for its Integrated Watershed and Costal Studies program.

Polk State College is getting $2.5 million to expand its Art Program.

Lake Erie College is getting $2.1 million for its Osteopathic Medicine School in Bradenton.

The University of Central Florida in Orlando is getting $1.69 million for its downtown presence initiatives.

Miami-Dade College in Miami is getting $1.2 million to rem ode its gymnasium into a Justice Center.

Florida Atlantic University is getting $1 million for its Tech Runway Initiative.

The University of West Florida in Pensacola is getting $931,0000 for its Archaeology Program.

Florida Gateway College of Lake City is getting $336,000 for its Olustee Campus Public Safety Facility

Lawmakers finally pass medical marijuana implementation bill

After a false start during the regular Legislative Session, lawmakers Friday passed a medical marijuana implementation bill on the last day of the Special Session, sending it to Gov. Rick Scott.

The wide-ranging legislation (SB 8-A) will give guidance to state regulators as they put the state’s constitutional amendment medical marijuana into effect.

Gov. Rick Scott said later on Friday he will sign the bill into law.

According to the bill analysis’ summary, the measure among other things:

— Grandfathers in seven existing providers, renames them “medical marijuana treatment centers” (MMTCs) and requires the Department of Health to license 10 new providers by October. The bill also allows four new MMTCs for every increase of 100,000 patients prescribed marijuana.

— Limits the number of retail locations each MMTC can open to 25 across the state, and divides that cap by region. As the patient count goes up, five more locations can be opened per provider for every new 100,000 patients in the state’s Medical Marijuana Use Registry. The limits expire in 2020.

A fight over the retail location cap hung up the bill during the session that ended in May.

— Requires laboratory testing of marijuana products and creates a certification program for medical marijuana testing laboratories.

— Exempts the sale of “marijuana and marijuana delivery devices” from state sales tax.

— Establishes “qualifications required to become a caregiver including requiring the Department of Health (DOH) to create a caregiver certification course that each caregiver must take.”

An accompanying public records bill exempts the personal identifying information of patient caregivers that is in the state’s “Compassionate Use Registry.”

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