Richard Corcoran – Page 7 – Florida Politics

Lottery ends appeal over multi-million dollar contract

As expected, the Florida Lottery has withdrawn its appeal of a lawsuit over a multi-million dollar agency contract launched by House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

A “notice of voluntary dismissal” was filed in the case at the 1st District Court of Appeal Wednesday.

“The issues raised on appeal were mooted by the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2018-2019, and this matter is therefore resolved,” the filing said.

In December, the Lottery agreed to tweak a multi-year deal—for new equipment and other items—to require legislative oversight and approval.

The Lottery, which reports to Gov. Rick Scott, released redacted documents detailing changes in what was originally a contract worth $700 million over an initial 10-year period, with three available 3-year renewal options.

Among others, the changes include reducing the number of “full-service vending machines” and requiring the vendor, International Game Technology (IGT), to “support the Lottery’s marketing efforts” by kicking back $30,000 a month.

Corcoran had sued last February, saying the Lottery was guilty of “wasteful and improper spending” and “signing a contract that spends beyond existing budget limitations.”

The contract was for new retailer terminals, in-store signage, self-service lottery vending machines, self-service ticket checkers and an upgraded communications network.

Corcoran’s lawsuit said the Lottery “cannot enter into a contract that obligates the agency to pay more in subsequent fiscal years than its current budget authority allows.”

Tallahassee-based Circuit Judge Karen Gievers agreed with Corcoran and invalidated the deal in March. The Lottery then appealed. Both sides asked the appellate court to put a hold on the case as they worked on a resolution.

Lottery proceeds go into the state’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, which helps pay for public education.

Richard Corcoran: ‘Grave concern’ about gun-related CRC measure

House Speaker Richard Corcoran is telling the Constitution Revision Commission that a pending gun proposal is “inappropriate for inclusion in the state Constitution.”

The speaker sent a one-page letter to commissioners Wednesday.

He pointed to “an ‘assault’ weapons ban, a ban on specific magazines, and an extended waiting period,” saying he had “grave concern.”

An amendment, filed by CRC member Chris Smith, to Proposal 3 (P3) would prohibit “sale or transfer of assault weapons,” among other things. Smith, a former Senate Democratic Leader, is an appointee of Republican Senate President Joe Negron.

The underlying proposal, by Commissioner and former South Florida U.S. Attorney Roberto Martinez, would “remove a provision authorizing laws that regulate or prohibit the ownership, inheritance, disposition, and possession of real property by aliens ineligible for citizenship.”

“As you know, the Legislature recently made changes to aspects of firearm policy, including the age to purchase firearms, and the regulation of a device known as a “bump stock,’ ” wrote Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican and likely candidate for governor.

The Legislature recently passed and Gov. Rick Scott signed a school safety, mental health and guns measure after the February shooting at Broward County’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Gun-related policies “are matters that are best left to the purview of an elected legislature in a constitutional republic,” Corcoran said.

“The Constitution protects the right to keep and bear arms. All firearm policies flow from that fundamental right and should remain policy matters for the Legislature,” he added. “I would respectfully request that the CRC reject calls to codify firearm policy in the state Constitution.”

Smith and CRC chairman Carlos Beruff were unavailable for comment as the commission was meeting Wednesday morning.

The letter, in trying to exercise influence over a proposal, is an unusual move for an elected leader who has appointees on the panel.

Negron, a Stuart Republican, has said he favors proposals that would raise the retirement age for judges and help with K-12 education “flexibility.”

But though he added he had “general conversations” with his appointees on his “guiding principles,” Negron said he trusts their “good judgment.”

Corcoran’s letter follows a recent call to action by the National Rifle Association with an email from former NRA President Marion Hammer asking supporters to contact Commissioners and “tell them to OPPOSE gun control amendments!”

Updated at noon — State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an Orlando Democrat, responded to the letter in a statement, saying Florida NRA lobbyist “Marion Hammer has Richard Corcoran running scared.”

“Speaker Corcoran just opened the door for future legislatures to fully reverse even the weakest gun safety provisions signed into law after Parkland. His ‘grave concern’ over making any gun control permanent, exposes what we already knew. Florida Republicans are not committed to addressing gun violence over the long term and are eager to continue implementing the NRA’s extreme agenda once the attention has shifted elsewhere. Just like Adam Putnam, Richard Corcoran is nothing more than an NRA sellout.”

 

Joe Henderson: Do we really need amendment about teaching civics? Maybe

When someone complains the government did something they don’t like, I sometimes engage in a fun little exercise known as “name your lawmaker.”

Sure, everyone knows Donald Trump, and Stormy Daniels is on the way to becoming a household name.

However, the laws that most directly affect our lives are made closer to home. So, I’ll ask someone to name the state representative or senator from their district. Or the county commissioner that represents them. Or who is running for those offices in November from both major parties. Most of the time they can’t.

I’ve had people look at me blankly when I mention outgoing House Speaker Richard Corcoran in a conversation. It’s clear they don’t know who he is, or that arguably he has been the most powerful person in the state for the last couple of years.

Usually, the conversation ends with “well, I don’t really care about politics” and that’s the problem.

In about seven months, these same folks are going to be asked to help choose Florida’s next governor, a U.S. senator, and a whole bunch of other important positions that will determine the state’s course for the next several years.

That’s why it’s interesting that the Constitutional Revision Commission is considering a proposal to place an amendment on the ballot in November to ensure public schools continue teaching how the government works. A final decision on that will be made in April.

Yes, sponsor Don Gaetz — a former senate president – noted, there already is a civics requirement in public schools. And his proposal admittedly is short on specifics, and schools already grapple with enough mandates from Tallahassee.

It’s also true that adding another amendment for voters to consider shouldn’t be taken lightly.

But as we have seen, the Legislature (I’m looking at you, Mr. Corcoran) can’t resist messing with public education.

“The Legislature changes its mind,” Gaetz told the Tampa Bay Times. “Especially education issues go in and out of fashion. … The constitution enshrines what we don’t change our minds about.”

That’s a strong point.

How much longer until someone in Tallahassee gets the bright idea that it’s a lot better for their job security to eliminate that messy how-it-works requirement and just add on more math and science, lest future graduates decide to vote them out of office.

Given recent events, I imagine some of them look at the determined and well-informed students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and wish they had never heard of civics.

Without their raised voices, I seriously doubt the gun-control bill would have even been considered, much less passed, by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

It’s normal to complain about the influence of money on politics, but people can and sometimes do make a difference.

Yes, politics can be more than a little tedious and can go deep into the weeds. As the high school students learned on their trip to Tallahassee, not every lawmaker is willing to listen.

I mean, who can forget the rude brushoff state Rep. Elizabeth Porter gave on the House floor when she said lawmakers should ignore students because they lack the “wisdom” to make the laws.

But the point of all this is to learn how things work — and, if need be, work around those who think they have a copyright on “wisdom” and knowledge.

That’s a lesson everyone needs to learn.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri to lead Douglas High commission with Lauren Book, three fathers

Three fathers of murdered students, three sheriffs, and state Sen. Lauren Book are among the appointees to the newly created Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission established to investigate the Feb. 14 massacre and identify and address what could have been done differently.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri will chair the commission established through Senate Bill 7026, the Florida Legislature’s comprehensive response to the massacre in Parkland. The commission will include two fathers of slain students appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, and one appointed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

The 16-member commission also includes one lawmaker who helped craft SB 7026, Book, appointed by Senate President Joe Negron.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen will serve as a member, and four other state officials will serve as ex-oficio members: Florida Department of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart; Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll; Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina Daly; and Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Justin Senior.

Scott’s appointments are: Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley; Brevard County Schools Superintendent Desmond Blackburn; Miami Shores Police Chief Kevin LystadRyan Petty of Parkland, father of Aliana Petty, who was murdered at Stoneman Douglas: and Andrew Pollack of Parkland, father of Meadow Pollack, who also was killed in the school shooting.

Negron’s appointments are: Book, who has a master’s degree in education and is an internationally renowned child advocate; Citrus County School Board Member Douglas Dodd; Indian River County Undersheriff James Harpring, who serves as general counsel to the department; Melissa Larkin-Skinner, a licensed mental health counselor who is chief executive officer at Centerstone Florida; and Martin County School Board Member Marsha Powers.

Corcoran’s appointments are: Gualtieri; Max Schachter, father of Alex Schacter, who was killed at Stoneman Douglas; Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd; Chief Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett; and Auburndale Police Chief Chris Nelson.

“I’m proud to appoint five dedicated Floridians to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission including fathers of two of the victims who were critical in helping a bill get passed quickly,” Scott stated in a news release. “Since the shooting in Parkland, our number one focus has been to make our schools safer while doing everything possible to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again. I’m confident that these appointees will continue the work that has already started in our state to keep our students safe.”

“The Senate appointees include a former classroom teacher and nationally-recognized child advocate, a school board member, a law enforcement officer, a retired school resource officer, and a renowned mental health treatment clinician,” Negron stated. “This diverse cross-section of professional experience and subject matter expertise, will serve the state well as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission embarks on the critically important task before it. We can never replace the 17 lives lost, and we can never erase the traumatic experience that lives on in the memories of those who survived this horrific attack. However, this Commission will help ensure we do everything we can to reduce the possibility of a tragedy like this ever happening again.”

“I’m honored to appoint five members to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission. The work and recommendations of this commission will, I believe, serve as a model for the nation in addressing school safety and protecting individual liberty,” Corcoran stated. “The appointees to the commission bring decades of experience in law enforcement, prosecution, and training civilians to handle firearms and protect a school. Most importantly, an appointee, Max Schachter, brings the tragic experience of being a father who lost his son in that day’s awful events and who is driven to ensure it never happens to another family ever again. I thank those willing to participate, I commend the courage of the family members who will take on this task, and pray that all the efforts of this commission will meet with success.”

 

CRC won’t consider tax measure

The sponsor of a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the ability of the Legislature to increase taxes and fees is withdrawing the measure from consideration by the state Constitution Revision Commission.

The Legislature has decided to place an identical measure (HJR 7001) on the November ballot. In light of that decision, Constitution Revision Commission member Fred Karlinsky of Weston said he will withdraw his proposal (Proposal 72), which had been scheduled for consideration by the commission this week.

The Legislature’s ballot measure, which was supported by Gov. Rick Scott, and Karlinsky’s proposal would require two-thirds votes by the House or Senate to pass tax or fee increases in the future.

Under current law, taxes and fees are generally subject to majority votes — an easier standard than requiring two-thirds votes. The Legislature’s ballot proposal will need support from at least 60 percent of voters in November to be enacted.

A poll released last week by the Tallahassee-based firm Clearview Research showed the measure had support from 64 percent of likely general-election voters.

Joe Henderson: NRA drops Hammer on Richard Corcoran, but will it matter?

Outgoing Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran is a savvy and, if needed, ruthless political operative.

With that in mind, I can only conclude he knew what he was doing when he helped steer the recent gun-control bill through the Legislature. Gov. Rick Scott signed it, and now Mama Gun is very angry with her boys.

Mama, of course, is Marion Hammer, the National Rifle Association lobbyist extraordinaire who is savvy and ruthless herself.

Under the headline We Were Born at Night But It Wasn’t Last Night, Mr. Speaker, Hammer urged NRA members to let Corcoran know how they feel about his declaration that the new law was “one of the greatest Second Amendment victories we’ve ever had” because it allows schools to arm selected personnel in the name of security.

Hammer scoffed at that and piled on with what she called a violation of “the rights of young adults aged 18-20 by denying them their constitutional right to purchase a firearm.”

That’s an interesting interpretation of the Constitution, since I don’t know anywhere in that document where it is written that “young adults age 18-20 have the right to buy the kind of high-powered weapon that was used to murder 17 people in Parkland.”

And before NRA supporters scream that the Second Amendment says the right to own such a weapon “shall not be infringed” – um, it has been “infringed” in Florida for years.

People have had to be 21 years old to own a handgun, for instance. And if we’re not in the infringing business, then I guess the NRA is saying that age doesn’t matter.

Following that through to its logical conclusion, I guess the NRA would supportive of the “right” of a 10-year-old to buy a gun.

But I digress.

Corcoran and Scott have been staunch NRA supporters for a long time. They have happily accepted Hammer’s endorsements and all that comes with that, but the political reality for both men is that having NRA support may not be helpful right now.

I guess we’re going to find out.

Republican gubernatorial candidates Adam Putnam and Ron Desantis have taken care not to distance themselves from the NRA. Desantis predicted an NRA lawsuit against the new Florida gun law has a good chance of succeeding.

Obviously, the NRA’s influence on state policy will be a major issue in the upcoming Republican primary and in November’s general election.

Most people expect Scott to run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, while Corcoran has considered running for governor.

Hammer’s usual threat for those who stray from the NRA’s rigid interpretation of the constitution is to find a primary challenger who will see things her way.

With Scott, though, that tactic may not work. He is expected to have little or no serious primary opposition, and with the growing anti-gun sentiment in Florida he can campaign on the new law in the statewide race.

Corcoran, on the other hand, was always going to face a tough primary battle if he gets in the race, so the NRA’s angst with him may not make much difference. He can reasonably tell voters that schools are safer because a common-sense age restriction was put in place.

Since Parkland, polls have shown Americans increasingly believe something needs to be done about high-powered weapons like the AR-15.

Corcoran seems to be betting that enough gun-rights supporters will agree with what he did and reject Mama Gun’s anger.

It’s a good gamble.

Ron DeSantis’ campaign touts poll showing him on top

The Republican gubernatorial campaign for U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis is touting new poll results from Gravis Marketing Tuesday morning that show he has taken the lead.

The same poll also is being cited by the Democratic gubernatorial campaign of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum as it shows him moving up into second place on the Democrats’ side.

Both party races are tight and the vast majority of likely voters are still undecided, according to the poll.

“What’s clear from every poll we’ve seen since the president endorsed Ron DeSantis for governor, is that Ron is trending up and Adam Putnam is trending down,” DeSantis’ Campaign Press Secretary David Vasquez said in a news release issued by the campaign. “It’s clear Florida conservatives want a proven leader who has the support of the President and not a career politician who’s beholden to special interests.”

The survey was conducted from Feb. 26 through March 19 of a random selection of 2,212 likely voters across Florida. Gravis is reporting a margin of error of 2.1 percent.

The poll put DeSantis in the lead on the Republican side with 19 percent, followed by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Putnam at 17 percent and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who has not entered the Governor’s race but is expected to, at just 3 percent. Sixty percent of Republican voters said they were uncertain whom they would vote for.

On the Democratic side, the poll put former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine atop the Democratic field with 13 percent support, followed by Gillum with 11 percent, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee with 9 percent, and Winter Park businessman Chris King with just 2 percent. Another 64 percent of Democratic voters were uncertain whom to vote for.

DeSantis’ camp notes that Gravis Marketing Managing Partner Doug Kaplan said that on the GOP side “DeSantis has gained in each poll.”

Rick Scott signs bill targeting opioid addiction

Saying it is critical to “stop the addiction in the beginning,” Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed a high-profile bill designed to prevent patients from getting hooked on powerful opioids.

Flanked by House leaders and law-enforcement officers at the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Scott approved the measure as the state continues grappling with drug overdoses that have surged in recent years. The bill is designed, at least in part, to prevent patients from getting addicted to prescription painkillers and then turning to street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.

“I’ve met a lot of families all across the state who are dealing with drug abuse,” said Scott, who declared a public-health emergency last year because of the opioid issue. “I have a family member that’s dealt with both alcoholism and drug abuse, and I can tell you it’s very difficult for a family.”

Lawmakers unanimously passed the bill (HB 21) on March 9, the final full day of the annual Legislative Session.

Perhaps the highest-profile part of the bill would place limits on prescriptions that doctors can write for treatment of acute pain. Doctors in many cases would be limited to writing prescriptions for three-day supplies, though they could prescribe up to seven-day supplies of controlled substances if “medically necessary.” Cancer patients, people who are terminally ill, palliative care patients and those who suffer from major trauma would be exempt from the limits.

Some physicians objected during the Legislative Session to such limits. But House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican who took part in Monday’s bill-signing event, defended the approach.

“It (the bill) also says no longer will we prescribe just blanketly 30-day prescriptions. Now we’ll say it’s a three-day prescription, and then you have to come back and warrant (it),” Corcoran said. “Is that an inconvenience? Yes. Is an inconvenience worth saving 50,000 lives nationwide? Absolutely.”

Another high-profile part of the bill will require physicians or their staff members to check with a statewide database before prescribing or dispensing controlled substances. In the past, Florida has not required physicians to use the database, known as the prescription drug monitoring program. The goal of the database is to prevent addicts from visiting multiple doctors or pharmacies to get supplies of drugs.

Opioids have caused thousands of deaths in Florida in recent years. In 2016, for example, fentanyl caused 1,390 deaths, heroin caused 952 deaths, oxycodone caused 723 deaths, and hydrocodone caused 245 deaths, according to a House staff analysis.

House Commerce Chairman Jim Boyd, a Bradenton Republican who sponsored the bill, described it as “another step to curbing this epidemic.”

“I grew passionate about this a couple of years ago because I just saw what it was doing,” Boyd said during the bill-signing event at the sheriff’s office. “There’s not a person in this room who doesn’t have a family member or a friend of a family that hasn’t been affected by this epidemic.”

The Schorsch governing theory of Florida politics — Part 1

Once the hanky dropped on the 2013 Legislative Session, my family headed to St. Augustine Beach to recuperate from the 60 days of working in that pressure cooker.

Michelle and I had been married for just over a year and our daughter, Ella Joyce, was only months old. Our business was just starting to take off. It was an exciting time.

For whatever reason, we thought it would be interesting to complicate our lives by Michelle running for a state House seat.

The Republican Party of Florida was looking for a candidate to challenge Dwight Dudley, a one-term incumbent who was not particularly well-liked in Tallahassee and was considered vulnerable in a non-presidential election cycle.

Michelle would have been the perfect challenger to Dudley. She’s a moderate Republican woman with strong connections to the Tampa Bay area and a reputation for loyalty and deeply-held convictions. That she had worked as a special adviser to then-Gov. Charlie Crist (and was based out of the USF St. Pete campus) only made her more attractive as a potential candidate.

For a moment, Michelle was excited by the idea, so we took the temperature of some of our friends in the political process. All of them thought Michelle would be a strong candidate. However, one friend informed us that incoming leadership of the House was recruiting another potential candidate they thought could win in a walk.

We spoke with then Speaker-designate Steve Crisafulli and, indeed, the GOP was hoping that Bill Young Jr., son of the local legend C.W. “Bill” Young, would enter the race. It’s probably best if Michelle stands down, Crisafulli told us.

Fortunately for our family, that’s exactly what Michelle did, although she said then that it was a mistake to think Young would beat Dudley.

She was right, of course, about that: Billy Young turned out to be a very bad candidate. In fact, he’s one of the very few candidates for office I’ve ever met who gained weight, rather than lost it, on the campaign trail (an indication he was not opening enough time walking door-to-door.)

Michelle and I talked a lot about our future that week in St. Augustine. A point I made then to her was that as busy as the 2014 and 2016 election cycles would be for us (and, Jesus, had they been busier than we could have ever imagined), the 2018 election cycle would actually be even more chaotic.

What I predicted then is only more accurate today. It is already shaping up to be the busiest election cycle in Florida’s modern history. Busier even than 1994, when Jeb Bush emerged from a brutal gubernatorial primary to eventually lose to Lawton Chiles.

As it stands now, here’s the rundown:

— A competitive race for the U.S.  Senate likely pitting Democrat Bill Nelson against Republican Rick Scott.

— A wide-open race for the Governor’s Mansion, with competitive primaries on both sides of the ballot.

— Three competitive statewide races for spots on Florida’s Cabinet: Agriculture Commissioner, CFO and Attorney General.

— Four statewide voter initiatives.

— As many as a dozen constitutional questions put on the ballot by the once-every-twenty-years Constitutional Revision Commission.

— More competitive congressional and state legislative races than at any point since Republicans took over the state in the mid-1990s.

The ballot this November will take the average Floridian twenty to thirty minutes to read and complete.

And that’s what we know about today.

As has been said many times, Florida is the Chinatown of politics. Forget about trying to understand it.

But if you run a political website titled “Florida Politics,” this is a wonderful time to be alive.

Our site’s traffic was busier last week than all but one other week in our history. Last month was busier than any other month in our history. This month looks like it will be busier than last month. And there’s no reason to think next month won’t be busier than this month.

And yet … what happens in December 2018? The campaigns will be over. The 2019 Legislative Session will be months away. The presidential campaign, while talked about daily, won’t be for real for almost another year.

Won’t feast turn to famine?

No.

And not just because the average bear is more interested in politics than in half-a-century.

This is the first part of the Schorsch governing theory of Florida politics.

It all starts to go back to normal today.

Gov. Scott signed the $88 billion fiscal plan sent to him Wednesday. He is now officially a lame duck.

Don’t get me wrong, Scott still has enormous power. And it’s not out of the range of possibilities that the Legislature will be called into Special Session for some sort of crisis.

But, for the most part, the sun has begun to set on Rick Scott’s time in Tallahassee. And with that, everything will start to change.

Because none of the seven candidates expected to run for Florida governor can write a $72 million check to buy the Governor’s Mansion, as Scott did in 2010, the four pillars of political life in Florida will now begin rebuilding their stature in the state.

The lobby corps, the news media (as enervated as it is), the fundraising community, and the political parties should see their influence return in the coming months and next four years.

Lobbyists have been of little use to Scott because they were against him in 2010 and he’s never really forgotten that. Only a handful of big-name lobbyists have had access to Scott himself: Brian Ballard, Nick Iarossi, Fred Karlinsky, Bill Rubin, among a few others.

Most governmental affairs firms have relied on a strategy of focusing on the Legislature while staying under the radar during the gubernatorial veto period. Some firms — Southern Strategy Group, GrayRobinson — have succeeded in their efforts to lobby the executive branch, but, for the most part, this is an administration that has been indifferent to Adams Street.

Before today, the lobby corps would have been unwilling to choose sides in the upcoming gubernatorial race, especially with Richard Corcoran looming as a possible candidate. But the smart firms will start making more significant investments in the candidates so that they are in on the ground floor with who they think will win.

Some firms will win, some will lose, but at least the game is being played again. Scott didn’t even roll out the ball.

The media has been kept at arm’s length by Scott ever since his early communications director, Brian Burgess, positioned velvet ropes between the Governor and the Capitol Press Corps. If Scott didn’t need the lobby corps, he needed the press corps even less.

The math was simple: He could write a check larger than the amount of earned media written against him. Also, the Governor’s Office made two smart decisions. One, it prioritized interactions with TV reporters, preferably those who were not plugged in enough to ask difficult questions, and two, it created a reverb chamber with the wire services.

By this I mean, most major announcements by the Scott administration were funneled to the Associated Press (which can’t editorialize the way Florida Politics, POLITICO, or the Times/Herald can and do). It is, in turn, relied on by many TV stations for their state government content. Once a TV station aired the AP version, the Governor’s Office would push out an ICYMI press release touting the story.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Don’t believe me. Consider this: Point to the one process story written about the Scott administration that details how the Governor makes a decision. You probably can’t. Because this is one of the most leak-proof administrations ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY. Donald Trump would give away Ivanka if he could have a White House that operates in the quiet way Scott’s office has.

More double-negative evidence: Point to the feature about anyone in Scott’s administration that includes an on-the-record response from the person profiled. Floridians knew/know virtually nothing about the chiefs of staff, key advisers, etc. who are in Scott’s orbit.

Because none of the seven gubernatorial candidates can’t rely just on paid media to get their message out, they have to create earned media. This instantly makes the press, specifically the Capitol Press Corps and other political journalists, relevant again.

Instead of being kept in the dark, as most journalists have been during the last seven years, now outreach to most favored reporters and bloggers is again part of the communications strategy. What Marc Caputo, Matt Dixon, David Smiley, myself, and others say about the gubernatorial and other races is more important than it was under Scott. A takedown in the press becomes fodder for fundraising emails and digital videos.

Speaking of fundraising emails, get ready to be inundated with them.

Not that you weren’t already, but none of the candidates running for Governor can self-finance in a way that allows them to bypass the need for small donors.

Under Scott, a meeting with him cost an interest group at least $50,000. Only a handful of Floridians or companies can afford that. But Putnam, Gillum, Graham, Levine, etc. are already touting the support they are receiving from donors who can only afford to write checks for $25 or $50.

Whereas Scott was only interested in receiving a $500,000 check from a utility company, almost all of the candidates running in 2018, whether it be for governor or state House, would be happy to receive a check for $500 or $1,000. This returns power to the fundraisers who specialized in bundling, say, 30 checks from a group of local professionals. The entire campaign finance system reverts to pre-2010 levels without Scott and his checkbook.

This brings me to my final point: Look for the return of the political parties.

No, they’ll never be as powerful as they were 20 years ago, but they certainly won’t do any worse than they have the last eight years. Especially the Republican Party of Florida, which has been so neglected by Scott that there are constant rumors that the party can barely make payroll.

Whoever wins their party’s nomination this fall will need the parties if they want to win the general. They will need the activists. They will need the party’s imprimatur. That shifts power back to the Republicans’ Blaise Ingoglia, the Democrats’ Terrie Rizzo, and the party chairs who will follow them.

I wanted to roll out this theory on the Ides of March because Scott’s tenure reminds me of a line from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.”

“Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world like Colossus, and we petty men walk under his huge legs and peep about.”

Scott, armed with his checkbook, has bestridden Tallahassee like Colossus, while we petty men and women have walked under his indifferent legs and peeped about.

With Scott’s exit, it’s time again for all of those in The Process to, as Cassius told Brutus, be masters of our own fates.

FHCA gives Rick Scott thumbs up on budget

Gov. Rick Scott got some praise from the Florida Health Care Association on Friday for signing the 2018-19 budget.

Shortly after Scott put pen to paper the group put out a statement lauding the $88.7 billion plan, specifically the funding bumps it will bring to nursing homes, nearly 600 of which are represented by FHCA.

“FHCA appreciates the Governor for signing a budget that makes the quality care of our frailest elders a priority. The nearly $130 million in increased Medicaid funding for nursing homes included in the budget will support facilities as they continue making measurable improvements to residents’ health and well-being,” FHCA said.

“The Budget will also help to continue improving the quality of life for nursing home residents by increasing their personal needs allowance which helps pay for personal items like beauty services, clothing, and other personal items.

“Florida is a national leader in providing long term care services and supports to its senior population. On behalf of the thousands of long term caregivers working in our member centers, we commend Governor Scott for signing a budget that ensure nursing homes can achieve their goals of providing exceptional care and services to our state’s seniors and people with disabilities.”

Last week, the group’s executive director, Emmett Reed, heaped praise on Senate President Joe Negron, House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate budget chief Rob Bradley for their role in getting those measures through the Legislature.

Also lauded in last week’s statement was a $10 million appropriation to help support nursing centers as they transition to the Prospective Payment System in October.

That measure also made it through Scott, who vetoed $64 million worth of line items in the spending plan.

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