Gov. Rick Scott Archives - Page 4 of 109 - Florida Politics

Personnel note: Christy Daly Brodeur joins Ballard Partners

Christy Daly Brodeur, formerly Secretary of Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice under Gov. Rick Scott, has joined the Ballard Partners influence firm in Tallahassee.

The move was first reported in Tuesday’s SUNBURN.

“Christy’s successful track record of partnering with key stakeholder groups to achieve favorable outcomes for all parties is a tremendous asset for our firm, our clients and our team,” said Brian Ballard, president of Ballard Partners, in a news release.

“Above all, Christy is a passionate and dedicated advocate for the causes in which she believes, making her the perfect person to partner with our clients and help them accomplish important policy goals at the Capitol.”

Brodeur has two decades of experience working with the Florida Legislature and the Executive Branch on public policy for children and families, the release said.

She joins Ballard Partners after spending more than 11 years at Juvenile Justice, most recently as Secretary.

“I am proud and humbled to be joining Florida’s most prestigious lobbying firm,” she said in a statement.

“The team at Ballard Partners has created a dynamic and powerful firm that is extremely successful in achieving the goals expressed by clients both at the state and national level,” Brodeur added. “My life’s work has focused on improving the lives of Florida’s families and I look forward to bringing my passion and expertise to Ballard Partners.”

In addition to leading the Department of Juvenile Justice, Brodeur also held key advocacy and governmental affairs positions with the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services as well as Capital City Youth Services.

She’s a member of Leadership Tallahassee Class 24, holds a degree from Florida State University, and sits on the board of directors for Inspire of Central Florida, a nonprofit organization serving adults with developmental disabilities.

Ballard Partners, a Florida-based lobbying firm, has offices in Washington, D.C., Tallahassee, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa.

Marijuana smoking ban case smolders in appellate court

The state constitution “creates a procedural right to seek treatment with smokable marijuana,” according to a new filing in an appeal by patients seeking to light up medicinal cannabis.

Attorney Jon Mills filed a 48-page answer brief late Thursday, in response to the state’s 57-page brief last month arguing that the smoking of medical marijuana should remain outlawed.

The 1st District Court of Appeal case followed a May ruling by Tallahassee Circuit Judge Karen Gievers, who said the smoking ban violates the 2016 constitutional amendment, passed by 71 percent of voters, that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

The next year, lawmakers passed and Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a measure to carry out the constitutional mandate and included a smoking ban.

Prominent Orlando entrepreneur and lawyer John Morgan, who bankrolled the amendment, organized a lawsuit last year challenging the ban. Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office, behind the appeal, filed an initial brief in an attempt to overturn Gievers’ ruling.

In part, Gievers had agreed with Mills that the amendment “recognizes there is no right to smoke in public places, thereby implicitly recognizing the appropriateness of using smokable medical marijuana in private places.”

In his brief, Mills said the constitution’s marijuana provision “permits physicians to certify treatment using medical marijuana— including in a form for smoking—to qualifying patients. That is all (it) does. Nothing less. Nothing more.

“However, (the state law) explicitly prohibits the smoking of medical marijuana as a treatment. It is clearly an enactment contrary to (the amendment).”

The state contends the amendment “does not create a ‘right to smoke’ medical marijuana,” and Mills agreed it “does not in itself create an individual right for anyone to smoke.”

But, he added, the “constitutional framework authorizes treatment with medical marijuana when a physician determines such treatment to be medically appropriate for a specific patient with a debilitating medical condition.”

As of Friday, the court had not ordered oral argument in the case.


Background provided by The News Service of Florida, republished with permission.

Florida Supreme Court

Apply within: Panel starts process to replace Supreme Court justices

The Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission on Wednesday announced it would start accepting applications to fill three upcoming vacancies.

Justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, and Peggy A. Quince face mandatory retirement on the same day that term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Scott will leave office.

Under the state constitution, judges and justices face mandatory retirement at age 70. In Florida, judicial vacancies are filled by appointment by the Governor, from a list of applicants vetted and submitted by judicial nominating panels.

“Based on the Supreme Court’s current composition, one seat must be filled by a qualified applicant who resides in the Third Appellate District (based in Miami); the other two seats are at-large,” a press release said.

The next justices will likely determine the ideological balance of the state’s highest court: Pariente, Lewis, and Quince are regarded as the court’s liberal-leaning contingent; Chief Justice Charles Canady and Justices Ricky Polston and Alan Lawson are the conservatives. Justice Jorge Labarga is often a swing vote.

On Tuesday evening, Scott said he would agree to confer with the next governor-elect on the three justices. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is the Democratic nominee; Ponte Vedra Beach congressman Ron DeSantis is the GOP nominee.

Quince was the last justice to be appointed that way in 1998, and was the consensus candidate of then Gov. Lawton Chiles, a Democrat, and Gov.-elect Jeb Bush, a Republican.

A Gillum spokesman has all but spurned the idea, saying that “in our understanding of the constitution, the next Governor will appoint the next three Supreme Court justices.”

Scott, now running for U.S. Senate, says he will announce the new justices on Jan. 7, his last day in office, which coincides with their retirement date.

Scott’s insistence on replacing the three spurred a legal challenge earlier this year by the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause. The progressive organization’s implied concern was that Scott would pack the court with more conservatives.

In a 6-1 decision, the Supreme Court said in December that it couldn’t step into the controversy because the Governor hadn’t taken any action yet.

The lone dissenter? Lewis, who said Scott’s plan to make the appointments on his way out the door was “blatantly unconstitutional.”

The application form is here. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Oct. 8.


Capital correspondent Michael Moline and Senior Editor Jim Rosica contributed to this post.

Flags at half-staff to honor victims of Sept. 11, 2001

Gov. Rick Scott ordered flags at half-staff on Tuesday “in honor and remembrance of the victims of 9/11.”

The governor directed the U.S. and state flags to be flown at half-staff “at all local and state buildings, installations, and grounds throughout the state of Florida,” he said in a statement.

The flags will remain at half-staff until sunset. His Patriot Day proclamation is here.

Flags ordered at half-staff for George Sheldon

Gov. Rick Scott ordered flags at half-staff on Saturday for George Sheldon, a longtime children’s advocate and former state official who died last month. 

Scott directed the U.S. and state flags to be flown at half-staff at the Miami-Dade County Courthouse, City Hall in Miami, City Hall in Plant City, and at the Capitol in Tallahassee from sunrise to sunset on Sept. 8.


Sheldon, 71, most recently had been head of the Our Kids nonprofit that provides child services in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

Before that, he was director of Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services, and was acting assistant secretary in 2011-13 for the federal Administration for Children and Families under President Barack Obama.

Gov. Charlie Crist selected him to be Secretary of Florida’s Department of Children and Families in 2008-11.

Over a long career, Sheldon also served in the state House, was an aide to then-state Sen. Reubin Askew, and was a deputy to Attorney General Bob Butterworth.

He represented House District 69, which covered parts of Pinellas County from 1974 to 1982.

His work was not without controversy. In Illinois, he faced ethics investigations and scrutiny over contracts he had granted to past campaign donors and consultants before resigning in mid-2017.

“This is all part of being in the public eye,” Sheldon told Florida Politics last year.

Keith Ward, chairman of the Our Kids board of trustees, sent out a memo Aug. 6 that said Sheldon had sustained a neck injury while exercising and had surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. The memo indicated the surgery had been successful.


Background provided by The News Service of Florida, republished with permission.

RIP ‘Every day hero’: Flags at half-staff for Taylor J. Galvin

Gov. Rick Scott ordered flags at half-staff for Taylor J. Galvin, a U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3). 

Galvin died after an Aug. 20 helicopter crash in Iraq. His wife’s family live in Cedar Key.

Scott directed the U.S. and state flags to be flown at half-staff at the Levy County Courthouse in Bronson, Town Hall in Cedar Key, and at the Capitol in Tallahassee.

Galvin, of Spokane, Washington, was assigned to Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Services for Galvin are being held Friday morning and he will be laid to rest at Cedar Key Cemetery.

A tribute to him written by his wife and in-laws is in the Cedar Key News.

“Taylor was an Every Day Hero,” it says. He “shook hands with the homeless and sat by their side offering friendship and much needed supplies (such as sleeping bags). When Taylor was a teenager, he volunteered … raising money to fulfill the last wishes of terminally ill children.

“… Taylor was not a Special Operations Aviator just because he loved what he did. Taylor did it because he truly believed it was the right thing to do and because it would have significant impact on bettering our world regardless of what sacrifices needed to be made.

“In Taylor’s final letter he wrote, ‘If I died at work, I want you to know that I died doing what I believe in and what I believe is right.’ “

Oral arguments ordered in state office complex ‘bat poop’ case

An appellate court has granted a request for oral argument in a dispute between the owners of a Tallahassee office complex and several state agencies who bolted on the master lease.

Dockets reviewed Thursday show an argument date of Oct. 9 before the 1st District Court of Appeal in a lawsuit over Northwood Centre, a former shopping mall-turned-office complex that had been home to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and others.

Northwood Associates, owners of the property, appealed after Circuit Judge Karen Gievers ruled in favor of the agencies.

Critics called the complex a “biological hot zone” after inspectors discovered 10 pounds of bat feces in the ceiling above the desk of then-DBPR Secretary Ken Lawson. Mold and more animal droppings were also found.

The complex’s ownership denied the allegations, saying it “performed air quality testing” and contracted with “two expert consulting firms to address all issues.”

But Gov. Rick Scott approved stopping rent payments in the 2016-17 state budget, and the state relocated some 1,500 workers. Northwood Associates filed suit.

The court later allowed the House of Representatives into the case to defend the budget proviso language nixing the lease payments.

FOX News on Ron DeSantis’ ‘monkey’ comment: ‘We do not condone this language’

FOX News announced that Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum would appear on the network later Wednesday as it distanced itself from a controversial statement made by Republican candidate Ron DeSantis on an earlier program.

After that appearance, host Sandra Smith did a follow-up segment on “America’s Newsroom.”

“A little while ago we had Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee for governor in Florida, on for an interview to discuss the Florida election,” she said.

“During the interview, he made what some are calling an inappropriate comment about his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum.”

DeSantis, a Congressman from Ponte Vedra Beach, had said, “To make sure that we continue Florida going in a good direction, let’s build off the success we’ve had (with) Gov. (RickScott.

“The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases, and bankrupting the state. That’s not going to work; that’s not going to be good for Florida.” (A previous story is here.)

DeSantis is white; Gillum is black. Comparing African Americans to apes or monkeys usually is considered disparaging.

Sandra Smith went on, saying a DeSantis campaign spokesman “has since clarified his comment.”

In a statement, Stephen Lawson said DeSantis “was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses.

“To characterize it as anything else is absurd. Florida’s economy has been on the move for the last eight years and the last thing we need is a far-left Democrat trying to stop our success.”

Sandra Smith then added: “We do not condone this language and wanted to make our viewers aware that he has since clarified his statement.”

She also announced that Gillum is scheduled to be interviewed by host Shepard Smith at 3 p.m.

Personnel note: Rebecca Kapusta made interim DCF Secretary

Rebecca Kapusta will become interim Secretary of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) after the resignation of Secretary Mike Carroll, who’s leaving the post Sept. 6.

Gov. Rick Scott announced the move Tuesday afternoon. He did not say when he expected to name a full-time replacement, if any; the term-limited governor departs office in January.

“Rebecca has served the Department for more than 10 years, and I’m sure she’ll continue to work to better our communities and protect Florida’s most vulnerable citizens,” Scott said in a statement.


Kapusta was most recently Assistant Secretary for Operations after being the department’s General Counsel.

Before that, the decade-plus department veteran was Chief Counsel for DCF’s SunCoast Region in Children’s Legal Services, as well as Assistant Regional Counsel and Assistant General Counsel.

Kapusta, who once was a general magistrate in the 12th Judicial Circuit, received her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Central Florida and a law degree from Stetson University College of Law.

She follows Carroll, whose “tenure as secretary is the longest in DCF’s 21-year history,” Scott has said. Carroll was appointed in December 2014.

He inherited a system documented earlier that year, by the Miami Herald’s “Innocents Lost” investigation, as “clearly broken, leaving children unprotected and at risk.”

And a 133-page internal review commissioned by Carroll in 2016 depicted a dysfunctional agency, with workers feeling “unsupported,” “overwhelmed,” and “defeated.”

But a previous press release from Scott’s office said Carroll oversaw “expanded substance abuse treatment services statewide, including medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders; achieved record numbers of adoptions; (and) championed anti-human trafficking efforts,” among other achievements.

Rick Scott names lawyers to Florida Elections Commission

Gov. Rick Scott appointed two Tallahassee attorneys to the Florida Elections Commission, his office announced Friday night.

Coincidentally, both specialize in representing automotive dealers.

Martin Hayes, 62, is a partner at the Akerman firm. Hayes fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning Aug. 24 and ending Dec. 31, 2020.


Hayes, a litigator, mainly works with motor vehicle dealerships “in all aspects of the motor vehicle dealer-manufacturer relationship,” according to his firm bio.

He “represents auto dealers in litigation, mediations, and informal settlement conferences on issues as diverse as acquiring additional dealerships, warranty audit issues, facility upgrades, terminations, and buy-sell turndowns.”

Hayes received his undergraduate and law degrees from Florida State University. He was nominated by Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon II of Miami Gardens.

Jason Allen, 39, is a partner at Bass Sox Mercer, which “represents automobile, truck and motorcycle dealers in complex commerical transactions,” its website says.


Allen got his undergraduate degree from Florida State, where he was a member of the golf team, and his law degree from Mercer University School of Law, his bio says.

He served as a staff attorney for then-House Speaker Marco Rubio, now the state’s Republican U.S. senator, and later as a clerk for state Supreme Court Justice Ricky Polston.

Allen succeeds Commissioner Sean Hall and is appointed for a term beginning Aug. 24 and ending Dec. 31, 2020. He was nominated by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican.

The appointments are subject to state Senate confirmation.

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