Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.
Another week, another House member wants to be Florida’s chief legal officer.
Today at 11 a.m., state Rep. Sean Shaw, a Tampa Democrat, “will hold a news conference outside the Florida Supreme Court to make an announcement,” he said in a Friday.
Shaw didn’t say what the “announcement” was about, but it’s a sure bet he too is running for Attorney General.
That will bring to six the number of candidates, and add to the three state representatives already running: Pensacola Republican Frank White, Jacksonville Republican Jay Fant and Dover Republican Ross Spano.
Raise your hand if you’re a Florida House member running for Attorney General pic.twitter.com/m8b7DsEs4w
— Matt Dixon (@Mdixon55) January 12, 2018
Shaw, son of the late Florida Supreme Court Justice Leander J. Shaw, Jr., is the first Democrat in the House to declare an AG candidacy and the second Democrat: Tampa attorney Ryan Torrens filed last May.
He will also be the first African-American in the race. Former Hillsborough circuit judge Ashley Moody is arguably the leading Republican in the field.
Sean’s entry in the race is not happening in a vacuum, coming after months of courting by high-profile donors and politicos, including a recent (very positive) encounter with Orlando attorney John Morgan, a longtime Democratic donor.
In addition, Shaw’s candidacy should provide a boost to the other statewide Democratic candidates, particularly Bill Nelson, Gwen Graham and Phil Levine (sure to generate a sigh of relief at the DSCC and DGA) and Jeremy Ring, who will now have a young, charismatic, African-American candidate to campaign with this fall.
Not only can Shaw help with African-American turnout in a gubernatorial cycle, he’s extraordinarily well-suited to capture the energy and excitement of the Democratic electorate.
Another key factor in Shaw’s entry in the A.G. race is his relationships with the donor community. He a former member of the Florida Justice Association board, and close with the South Florida federal donors who rarely get involved in state-level races.
For Shaw to be successful, both groups need to be fully engaged in the race.
In an election cycle in which both parties are fractured — and the Florida Democratic Party is in a tough situation, struggling to find its footing — Shaw presents a real opportunity to offer a unifying campaign across all factions of donors, elected officials, and activists.
When Shaw jumps in the race, he would also be able to bring about $41,000 with him from his HD 61 re-election campaign.
He’s a lawyer and former state insurance consumer advocate, who ran for and lost the House District 61 seat in 2014 to fellow Democrat Ed Narain. Narain later left the House to run for a Senate seat, which he lost, and Shaw took his seat in 2016.
Amid speculation that Shaw would declare, another Democrat — Byron Keith Henry — has opened a campaign account to run in Shaw’s House district.
Tuesday’s announcement is on the Duval street side of the Court in Tallahassee.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
— @Salon: Pope Francis warns that nuclear war is on the horizon
— @FrankLuntz: In 1966, just 33% of Americans had a favorable opinion of Martin Luther King. Today, more than 90% do.
— @RealDonaldTrump: Senator Dicky [Dick] Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting. Deals can’t get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military.
— @JebBush: Mitt would make a phenomenal addition to the U.S. Senate. I hope he runs.
— @VernBuchanan: Florida is not out of the woods yet when it comes to preventing another catastrophic oil spill. We need to pass my bipartisan bill extending the current offshore drilling moratorium.
— @AGlorios: The Florida Senate simply gives zero Fs this week. No committee meetings? No problem.
— @Fineout: So after seeing the news about Times-Union, that means in about last 2 years 4 news organizations in Fla have gotten rid of full-time reporting positions in Tallahassee. 1 of those organizations is no longer in existence. 1 has decided to have a reporter during Session.
— @FLDEO: Florida was selected to be a part of the # initiative which aims to close the talent gap. Apprenticeships are ideal for teaching workers the skills they need to succeed.
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Days until: Florida Capitol Press Corps Skits — 6; Super Bowl LII — 19; Pyeongchang Winter Olympics — 23; Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training — 27; Valentine’s Day — 28; Sine Die (maybe) — 51; Major League Baseball Opening Day — 71; Solo: A Star Wars Story premier — 128; Close of candidate qualifying for statewide office — 156; Primary Election Day — 223; NFL Draft — 259; General Election Day — 293.
— DAY OF A THOUSAND PRESS CONFERENCES —
Assignment editors — For National Religious Freedom Day, legislators in at least 30 state capitols and many congressional leaders will be gathering throughout the day to stand in a unified voice declaring we must “Keep Faith in America.” News conferences and gatherings will be aired on Facebook: /Keep Faith in America from Noon — 8 p.m. ET. Rep. Mel Ponder and Sen. Dennis Baxley, joined by other legislators for a news conference on why we must stand for religious freedom beginning 9 a.m. at the Florida State Capitol on the 4th Floor Rotunda.
Assignment editors — GOP Reps. Tom Leek and Katie Edwards-Walpole will be joined by industry associations for a news conference to roll out an educational campaign on ‘drive-by lawsuits,’ which critics call “an abuse of the Americans with Disabilities Act by law firms.” The presser will take place at 10:30 a.m., in the House Media Room (333 The Capitol).
Assignment editors — Right on Crime and the Charles Koch Institute will host a news conference in front of the Florida Senate Chamber on the fourth floor of The Capitol. The conference will highlight the recent release of the Reforming Criminal Justice report by the Academy for Justice, a consortium of more than 100 top criminal justice scholars in the country. Among those expected to attend are Chelsea Murphy, Florida State Director of Right on Crime; Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican; and Greg Newburn, State Policy Director for Families Against Mandatory Minimum. Right on Crime is a national campaign to promote successful, conservative solutions on American criminal justice policy — reforming the system to ensure public safety, shrink government and save taxpayers money, a news release said. The Charles Koch Institute is an educational organization focused on the importance of free societies and how they increase well-being for the overwhelming majority of people. The presser begins at 11:00 a.m.
Assignment editors — Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, and Rep. Mike La Rosa, a St. Cloud Republican, will hold a news conference today at 11 a.m. on the west side of the Capitol (think ‘dolphin fountain’) to discuss SB 1400 and HB 773. “The bills’ intent is to protect private property rights of vacation rental owners who have been unfairly targeted—and often illegally—by a growing number of local regulations,” a news release said. Members of the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association, the Airbnb host community and HomeAway and their owners also expect to be present.
Assignment editors — Democratic Sen. Lauren Book and GOP Sen. Dana Young will hold a news conference to discuss their bill related to workers’ compensation benefits for first responders who suffer from PTSD as a result of the trauma they experienced in their jobs. That’s at noon, Senate Media Room, 304 The Capitol.
— CAPITOL INSIGHT —
“Jack Latvala’s latest accuser: ‘He unbuttoned my jacket and he felt me up.” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – The woman whose testimony led to the resignation of one of Florida’s most powerful politicians did not plan to speak out. Even after McLeod read the Nov. 3 Politico account of the six anonymous women who accused Latvala, 66, of sexual harassment — and noted that the claims were strikingly similar to her own experiences — the long-time lobbyist and now legislative aide remained quiet. … Latvala was re-elected to the Senate for his second eight-year tenure in 2010, but it wasn’t until he chaired Senate committees that held power over McLeod’s clients, from January 2015 to April of last year, that he pursued her for sex, she said. Feeling trapped, she agreed. McLeod recalled having sex two times in 2015 and once in 2016, and said he groped her dozens of times more. Now their complicated relationship, and Latvala’s treatment of a woman he considered “one of my best friends,” may have become the kill shot in the Senate investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him. “I knew it was true,” she recalled in an exclusive interview with the Times/Herald. “It was like, yeah, yeah and oh, yeah. I hated when we were in an elevator by ourselves.”
“Jimmy Patronis backs expanding PTSD benefits for first responders” via Ana Ceballos of Florida Politics — Patronis, the head of the state agency that ensures businesses have workers’ compensation coverage for employees, is backing a bill that would give first responders diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder workers’ compensation benefits even if they don’t have physical injuries. The proposed legislation would benefit first responded who suffer from PTSD due to a work-related event. “I’m putting the full weight of my office to increase benefits this legislative session,” Patronis said. The bill’s sponsors and supporters will hold a news conference on Tuesday to advocate for the proposal.
“Americans for Prosperity-Florida releases priority list for 2018 Legislative Session” via Florida Politics — A sampling of the “support” column of the 97-bill priority list: Rep. Danny Burgess and Sen. Tom Lee’s plan to stop direct primary care agreements from being regulated as insurance (HB 37/SB 80); another of Lee’s bills, sponsored by Rep. Bryan Avila in the House, that would ban pro sports teams from building stadiums on public land (HB 13/SB 352); and a proposal from Rep. Manny Diaz and Sen. Keith Perry that would add a “one-in, one-out” rule when it comes to new rules in the Florida Administrative Code (HB 791/SB 1268). And a handful from the “oppose” list: Rep. David Silvers’ and Sen. Annette Taddeo’s bills to create a new film incentives program (HB 341/SB 1606); A measure by Sen. Lauren Book that would require 75 percent of the students in a “School of Hope” to come in from a low-performing school (SB 216); and Sen. Kevin Rader’s “Florida Teacher Fair Pay Act,” which would bump the minimum salary for teachers up to $50,000 a year (SB 586).
Tobacco bond cap bill clears House panel—but is it fair? — A bill to repeal the state’s tobacco bond cap is moving in the Florida House. Whether it’s fair is another story. The measure (HB 6017), carried by GOP Rep. Cord Byrd of Neptune Beach, cleared its first committee last week by a unanimous 14-0 vote and moves to Appropriations. A companion bill (SB 124) is in the Senate. The aim is to do away with the limit in state law on the amount of money tobacco companies have to put up as appellate bonds after trial-jury verdicts. Tobacco companies have opposed a repeal; the state’s trial lawyers back it. An attempt last year died during the committee weeks leading up to the 2017 Legislative Session.
“Senate panel to consider juvenile ‘Fight Club’ reforms” via Ana Ceballos of Florida Politics — Two measures that would provide more oversight to the state’s juvenile justice system, which is under scrutiny for its widespread use of unnecessary and excessive force on youth detainees. Sen. Brandes, the Pinellas County Republican, is sponsoring both bills. One that would expand responsibilities of the Florida Correctional Operations Oversight Council to include monitoring daily operations of correctional and juvenile facilities, and another one that would give lawmakers the power to the visit any of the 21 state youth detention centers “at their pleasure.” The proposals come in the wake of the Miami Herald “Fight Club” series that found systemic problems over a 10 year period.
Key committees to watch:
House considers hurricane report — The House Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness will consider the final 12-page report with dozens of recommendations. Meeting begins 9 a.m. in Room 404 of the House Office Building.
Senate debates disaster preparation tax holiday — The Senate Finance and Tax Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a proposal for a sales tax holiday in early June for disaster preparedness purchases (SB 620), filed by Naples Republican Kathleen Passidomo. Meeting begins 10 a.m. in Room 401 of the Senate Office building.
Senate eyes offshore drilling moratorium — On the agenda for the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee is SR 550, from Gulf Breeze Republican Doug Broxson, which extends the federal moratorium on offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, areas the military uses for air and sea training. Meeting starts 10 a.m. in Room 37 of the Senate Office Building.
House targets human trafficking — a bill in front of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee (PCB CRJ 18-03) seeks to set minimum mandatory sentences for human-trafficking crimes. Meeting begins 11:30 a.m. in Room 404 of the House Office Building.
House considers expanding pharmacist powers — The House Health Quality Subcommittee will discuss HB 431, filed by Naples Republican Byron Donalds an Orlando Republican Rene Plasencia to allow pharmacists the ability to test and treat patients for influenza and Streptococcus. Meeting starts 11:30 a.m. in Room 306 of the House Office Building.
Senate committee talks workers’ comp expansion — The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee will discuss SB 376, from Plantation Democrat Book to expand workers’ compensation insurance benefits for first responders, addressing issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Meeting begins 1:30 p.m. in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building.
Lawmakers look to close fireworks loophole — The House Careers & Competition Subcommittee will consider closing a long-standing loophole in Florida fireworks sales HB 6037, from Tampa Republican James Grant, would end the prohibition on fireworks sales. Consumers have circumvented the ban through a loophole that allows the purchase of fireworks for agricultural purposes and frightening birds. Meeting starts Tuesday, 3 p.m. In Room 216 of the Capitol.
House considers changing laws on commercial vehicles — The House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee will consider HB 1189, from Palatka Republican Bobby Payne, to make several changes to laws regulating commercial motor vehicles. Meeting begins 3 p.m. in Reed Hall of the House Office Building.
Senate talks windshield damage rules — The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will consider a proposal (SB 396) from Port Orange Republican Dorothy Hukill that seeks to require required inspections before damaged auto windshields are repaired or replaced. The bill is one element of “assignment of benefits” insurance reform. Meeting starts 4 p.m. in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building.
Senate seeks to ban Venezuela investments — A bill (SB 538) scheduled for the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee from Hialeah Republican Rene Garcia would ban state investments in companies doing business with Venezuela’s govenrment. Meeting begins 4 p.m. in Room 401 of the Senate Office Building.
Senate committee debates opioid epidemic — The Senate Health Policy Committee will debate a bill (SB 8) from Fort Myers Republican Lizbeth Benacquisto which tries to curb the state’s worsening opioid crisis. Meeting starts 4 p.m. in Room 412 of the Knott Building.
Governors Club Tuesday buffet menu — Tuesday’s lunch menu includes mixed green salad with assorted dressings, grilled vegetable salad, cucumber lime and cilantro salad, tomato basil soup, wild mushroom ravioli with Bolognese sauce, fried chicken, rosemary pork loin, grilled salmon Puttanesca, “Risi Bisi” rice, Tuscan white beans, Italian squash and Panna Cotta flan for dessert.
— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL —
“Poll: GOP satisfaction with U.S. direction highest in 10 years” via Khorri Atkinson of Axios — 61 percent of Republicans are satisfied with the direction of the country, the highest level of satisfaction in a decade, according to a new Gallup Poll … 1 in 4 Republicans are “very satisfied” with how things are going. Overall, 29 percent of Americans are satisfied, including 9 percent “very satisfied” and almost 7 in 10 Americans (or 69 percent) dissatisfied. 7 percent of Democrats are satisfied; less than 1 percent “very satisfied.” 7 percent of Independents are “very satisfied” while 38 percent “very dissatisfied.” The poll was conducted between Jan. 2 and 7 among 1,024 adults. Gallup noted that it was done after the passage of the GOP’s sweeping tax overall bill, which it says appeased the Donald Trump base.
Bill Nelson raises $2.4 million in fourth quarter 2017; $8 million on hand — The $2.4 million fourth-quarter haul means the state’s senior senator now has more than $8 million in the bank heading into the election year. Nelson received more than 30,600 contributions from more than 21,500 donors during the last three months of 2017 alone. Nelson’s campaign also picked up another key endorsement earlier this month when the League of Conservation Voters announced its endorsement of the Florida Democrat for re-election … In announcing its endorsement of Nelson, LCV noted Nelson’s long-standing opposition to offshore drilling near Florida’s coast and his effort to ensure clean air and water for all.
— “Nelson believes Trump administration trying to help propel Rick Scott toward Senate run” via John Rogers of WFLA-TV
Assignment editors — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King will take part in a Broward County Democratic Executive Committee meeting and townhall event. Meeting begins 1 p.m. at the Edwin F. Deicke Auditorium, 5701 Cypress Road in Plantation. Townhall begins 2 p.m. at the Wynmoor Village, 1310 Avenue of the Stars in Coconut Creek.
— “Val Demings picks up Democratic primary challenger in CD 10” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics
Elected officials and local leaders endorse Lauren Baer for Congress — Baer was endorsed by state Sen. Kevin Rader, state Rep. Matt Willhite, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon, and former Congressional Candidate Jonathan Chane. “True leaders find solutions, work with people from all backgrounds to get things done, and fight for what they believe in. Lauren Baer is a true leader. I trust that she will take her experience and fight every day for the residents of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.” Rader said. “I trust that Lauren is the best candidate to represent this District’s values in Washington. She has spent her career fighting for others and not only does she have the experience, but she has the passion to advocate for the residents of CD 18 in Congress. I look forward to working closely with her to best serve our constituents,” Willhite added.
“Jason Brodeur continues to lead Central Florida state Senate candidates in fundraising” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Brodeur raised more than $21,000 in December for his official, 2020 campaign for the Florida Senate, and another $59,000 for his unofficial Friends of Jason Brodeur political committee. Brodeur’s hauls bring his official fund to about $217,000 raised, with $141,000 left in the bank at the end of December; and Friends of Jason Brodeur to nearly $1.20 million raised and about $353,500 in the bank. He does have an opponent, Frederick Ashby, an Oviedo Democrat who did not report any campaign finance activity in December. Ashby’s state senate campaign had about $300 in it at the end of the year.
— “Bernie Fensterwald: Democrat wants to be true ‘citizen legislator’” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics
— STATEWIDE —
“Mario Diaz-Balart won’t say if Trump disparaged immigrants in White House meeting” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — A high-stakes White House immigration meeting has devolved into a debate on whether Trump used the terms “shithole” or “shithouse” to refer to immigrants, and Rep. Diaz-Balart isn’t offering his version of the meeting, even though he was in the room. Diaz-Balart hasn’t said whether he sides with Sens. Durbin and Lindsey Graham, who say Trump used disparaging language, or Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue, who said they didn’t hear it. The Miami Republican has not confirmed or denied either of the accounts.
“Airbnb touts El Salvador, Haiti, Africa; speaks out against discrimination” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — “2.7M guests from Airbnb decided that countries in Africa, El Salvador, and Haiti were beautiful enough to visit. When we embrace the world, we see its beauty,” tweeted Brian Chesky, co-founder and chief executive officer of Airbnb. “We want to empower the Airbnb hosts who call these communities home and encourage more travelers to visit these special and beautiful places,” the company stated in a news release. “At Airbnb, we believe in an open society and the power of connecting people from different communities and cultures,” the company stated. “We have opposed discriminatory policies that would limit travel and have urged Congress to protect Dreamers. Going forward, we will continue to advocate for policies that open the world and bring us all together.”
“Rick Scott announces funding to help Puerto Rican Hurricane Maria refugees find work in Florida” via Drew Dixon of the Florida Times-Union — Scott said a $1 million “investment” has been established for 12 state workforce development organizations to help some of the nearly 300,000 Puerto Ricans enter the Florida workforce after they relocated to the state following Maria … Much of the money is distributed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and will go to CareerSource Florida, which is a job development agency. Multiple CareerSource bureaus in the state will receive the funds to assist Puerto Rican refugees, including CareerSource in Flagler County.
“Anti-smoking campaign could be trimmed” via Christine Sexton of the News Service of Florida — By a 3-2 vote, the Finance and Tax Committee of the Constitution Revision Commission backed a proposal that would cut from the state constitution a requirement that 15 percent of the funds from a landmark tobacco settlement be used for Tobacco Free Florida. The proposal would instead direct money toward cancer research. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association testified against the proposal, offered by state Rep. Jeanette Nunez, a Miami Republican who serves on the Constitution Revision Commission. Chris Smith, a Constitution Revision Commission member and former state lawmaker … said he didn’t think it was appropriate to place spending requirements for an advertising and education campaigns in the state constitution. Smith said he considers each proposed constitutional amendment by asking himself the question: “Can this be done legislatively?”
“Controversial CRC environmental proposal is dead” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — After drawing widespread opposition from business and agriculture groups, a proposal to redefine legal standing for Floridians on environmental issues won’t go before voters in November. The Judicial Committee of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission unanimously rejected the proposal (P 23), filed by commission member Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, with opponents saying it was too broad. Thurlow-Lippisch, a former mayor of Sewall’s Point, acknowledged after the meeting that while the proposal may be “a little extreme,” she will continue to work on improving it as a citizens’ initiative. Under the proposal, “any person” would have a right to clean air and water, which includes the ability to “enforce this right against any party, public or private, subject to reasonable limitations, as provided by law.” The “any person” language is what raised hackles of critics.
Assignment editors — A Florida Economic Estimating Conference will analyze the state’s economic issues starting 11:30 a.m. in Room 117 of the Knott Building of The Capitol.
“Lee County sees alarming increase in opioid overdoses” via The Associated Press — Lee County saw 955 overdose cases in 2017, eight times more than the 171 overdoses reported in 2013, according to medical provider Lee Health … heroin and fentanyl deaths accounted for 61 deaths in 2016 in the Fort Myers area, while in Naples, they accounted for 27 deaths. Nearby Port Charlotte had eight deaths. Throughout Florida, the opioid epidemic claimed 5,725 lives in 2016, a 35 percent increase from the 4,242 Florida deaths in 2015, according to a Florida Medical Examiners report.
“Red tide reemerges along Florida’s southwest coast” via The Associated Press — Medium counts of red tide organism were recorded in Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota counties last week. Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s Rick Bartleson says he found 700,000 cells per liter near a preserve west of Fort Myers although he said he hasn’t heard of any fish kills there … scientists have counted high levels of the algae linked to red tide in recent weeks along southwest Florida beaches.
— IN THE CABINET —
With two term-limited members looking to leave legacies and one up for reelection, the state Cabinet will be active in pushing a few priorities this Legislative Session.
Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Patronis are tackling some tough problems, too, according to recent Associated Press interviews.
Opioids, wildfires and PTSD are among the issues prioritized by the Cabinet. Though the body cannot craft legislation themselves, their leadership in state government makes them a powerful and pragmatic voice, helping to guide legislators through the 60-day lawmaking process.
Here are some bits of each member’s agenda:
Bondi: The state’s top cop wants to make sexual misconduct, intimidation and harassment by state officials an ethical violation — a provision absent from current statutes. She’ll also continue her fight against the opioid crisis by supporting legislation that slaps more regulations on opioid prescriptions.
Putnam: The ag commissioner has a hot take — literally. Putnam believes Hurricane Irma’s wreckage could lead to more wildfires in the upcoming dry season. He says the leftover brush will be dried out and vulnerable to blazes. He’ll champion wage increases for firefighters this Session, along with equipment upgrades and money for preserving agricultural lands. He’s also asking for funds to research citrus-greening and taking steps to foil credit card skimmers.
Patronis: Also the state’s fire marshal, Patronis wants to expand workers’ compensation benefits to cover PTSD for firefighters and police officers. He also wants to help veterans with firefighting experience transition to related careers post-military service.
Dream team: Patronis and Putnam are working together to prevent companies from charging credit-freezing fees.
— OPINIONS —
“Kasha Bornstein, Austin Coye: Expand syringe exchange; all Florida deserves Miami miracle” via Florida Politics — The 2016 IDEA bill allowed for only a single pilot program in Miami-Dade County … Nevertheless, in this short time, we’ve seen veritable miracles occur at the IDEA Syringe Exchange. Each case of HIV we prevent saves the state and taxpayers more than the cost of running a single syringe exchange in one year; and saves another family from untold anguish. However, the opioid crisis is not limited to Miami-Dade. Families throughout the state have lost parents, children, siblings and spouses to this scourge. Our results at the Miami IDEA Exchange reflect a basic tenet of public health policy: harm reduction saves lives. The rest of Florida deserves the results we’ve seen work in Miami. We need our legislators in Tallahassee to do the right thing and make syringe exchange available for the people of Florida.
— MOVEMENTS —
“Marine Le Pen worked with Trump’s campaign pollster in the closing days of the French election” via Jules Darmanin of BuzzFeed — Le Pen hired Tony Fabrizio, a renowned pollster who worked on famously poll-obsessed Trump’s presidential run … Fabrizio exchanged ideas with Damien Philippot and Philippe Vardon, two members of Le Pen’s official campaign staff, as well as Frédéric Chatillon and Paul-Alexandre Martin, two other campaign aides. Vincent Harris, a U.S. campaign strategist that Le Pen had also brought onboard, also took part in the emails. One thread Fabrizio participated in took place in April 2017, just after a terrorist attack on the Champs-Elysées killed a police officer, days before the first round of voting opened. “Was he an immigrant?” Fabrizio asked in the email. “If he was an immigrant and committed crimes, had he been deported he couldn’t have attacked last night.” The day before, Fabrizio and Harris discussed conservative François Fillon‘s end-of-campaign strategy and the appropriate Le Pen response.
— ALOE —
“FSU sold fewer bowl tickets than USF” via Noah Pransky of Shadow of the Stadium — A post-bowl report by Florida State University reveals the Seminoles’ disappointing football season resulted in the school having to “buy out” the overwhelming majority of tickets it was tasked with selling ahead of its Independence Bowl appearance. According to the FSU report, the school sold just 1,132 of the 6,000-plus tickets it was required to sell to the Dec. 27 game in Shreveport, La. — fewer than the disappointing number of tickets the University of South Florida sold to the Birmingham Bowl, held four days earlier. FSU’s total allotment for the game was 6,064 tickets, so the school gave 2,126 tickets away to local charities and members of the armed forces; 2,438 tickets went unused, and the remaining 400 or so were used by the university … poor showings at a bowl box office, where ticket guarantees can sometimes climb north of 10,000 tickets, can still eat away at hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue a school would have otherwise been able to put back into its programs.
Happy birthday to a great leader who is sure to have a second act, Jose Felix Diaz.