Sunburn for 5.25.16 – Rick Scott heads to Hogwarts to cheerlead for education


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

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry, Ryan Ray and Jim Rosica.


Think of it as a jobs summit, with an education twist.

Gov. Rick Scott kicks off his 2016 Degrees to Jobs Education Summit at 8:30 a.m. at the Loews Portofino in Orlando. The two-day summit, according to the Governor’s Office, is meant to bring together business and education officials help Florida students find jobs once they graduate.

“We want each graduate to be prepared with the skills they need to get a job and succeed in Florida,” said Scott in a video announcing the summit.

Going to the summit? Expect to hear from Cissy Proctor, the executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunity, about the state of jobs in Florida. Senate President Andy Gardiner is slated to be the headliner during lunch; and Gloria Flach, the chief operating officer of Northrop Grumman will round out the day’s presenters.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is scheduled to speak Thursday, as is General Lloyd Austin III, the former commander of Central Command. Like college football? Then the panel on leadership with Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher, Florida Coach Jim McElwain and Miami Coach Mark Richt on Thursday afternoon will be the place to be.

Sprinkled throughout the two-day event are several panels, including ones on college affordability, public private partnerships, and recruiting Florida graduates.

Missing from the agenda? Well, maybe a few educators.

The United Faculty of Florida, the union that represents Florida’s college faculty, was not invited to the event; and on Monday slammed the summit. In a statement, the group said the “mission of higher education is much more than jobs,” and scolded the governor for not inviting faculty members.


Event begins at 7 a.m. with breakfast, followed by welcoming remarks from Scott at 8:30 a.m.

— 8:35 a.m.: DEO Executive Director Cissy Proctor talks about how “Florida is Flourishing.”

— 9 a.m.: Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup.

— 9:30 a.m.: Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Education & Workforce Development for Gallup.

— 10:30 a.m.: Florida 1st for College Affordability.

— 11:15 a.m.: Florida 1st for Personnel Management.

— 12 p.m.: Lunch with Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner.

— 1 p.m.: Breakout sessions – Florida 1st for Effective Trustees; CareerSource Florida and Your Company.

— 2:45 p.m.: Scott provides keynote speech.

— 3:30 p.m.: Business Executive Panel

— 4:45 p.m. Gloria Flatch, COO of Northrup Grumman.

— 6 p.m.: evening reception.

UFF SLAMS SUMMIT via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Florida’s college faculty union is taking a jab at Scott’s “Degrees to Jobs” Summit. The United Faculty of Florida wasn’t invited to the event … The mission of the summit is to “bring together Florida business leaders and education officials to better connect Florida students with meaningful jobs when they graduate.” But the UFF called the summit “problematic” because “the mission of higher education is much more than just jobs.” Higher education “is about developing educated, well-rounded citizens and future leaders who are able to communicate and write effectively, think critically and solve problems — skills that are also important criteria for those who do the hiring,” the union’s statement said. “If Gov. Scott is serious about improving higher education, then he would have a real summit that includes our faculty members, who are critical stakeholders in any discussion of higher education and higher education curriculum,” it added.

STATE WINS EPIC LEGAL FIGHT OVER EDUCATION SYSTEM via John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post – A Gainesville-based organization lost an epic challenge first filed in 2009 to Florida’s entire system of education, with a Leon County judge ruling it failed to make its wide-ranging case … the lawsuit brought by Citizens for Strong Schools … featured testimony from dozens of witnesses, including Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. [The] 179-page order … dismissed the organization’s wide-ranging claim that Florida had failed its duty to provide every student with a high quality and uniform education, as required by the state constitution since a voter-approved 1998 amendment. Jodi Siegel, executive director of Southern Legal Counsel, a nonprofit law firm representing Citizens, said it would appeal the ruling. Almost every element of Florida’s education system was on trial: private school vouchers, standardized testing, K-12 funding, and graduation rates were all analyzed in testimony from legal experts on both sides. Citizens essentially argued that virtually all the changes enacted at Florida schools since roughly the late 1990s detracted from the adequacy of education.

FACEBOOK STATUS OF THE DAY via Ron Matus (Director Policy and Public Affairs at Step Up For Students) — “Amazing breaking news: A Florida judge dismisses the 7-year-old “adequacy” lawsuit against Florida’s education system, pointing to a suite of indicators showing significant progress in academic achievement & finding #schoolchoice programs have “no negative effect on the uniformity or efficiency of the State system of public schools” (and, in fact, are likely to be improving the system). For all of us who have been watching the rising trend lines for years, this is validation. For all who stood up for #edreform & #edchoice, this is a victory.”


House Speaker Steve Crisafulli: “One of the Florida House’s top priorities is to ensure every child has the opportunity to receive a quality education. Today’s ruling affirms that to be true. Judge Reynolds acknowledges this when he says, ‘The weight of the evidence shows that the State has made education a top priority both in terms of implementation of research-based education policies and reforms, as well as education funding.’ Florida’s education policies have resulted in all-time high graduation rates, an overall increase in student achievement, and our low-income and minority students closing the “achievement gap” at a rate faster than the rest of the nation. Today’s order ensures our children will continue to receive the high quality education they deserve.”

Patricia Levesque: “Today we celebrate a ruling that, above all else, is a victory for families. Thanks to Florida’s education reforms our students are performing better than ever, becoming national leaders in any number of academic categories, including closing the achievement gap. The data presented at trial was overwhelming in this regard — data that shows the greatest beneficiaries of reform are our most disadvantaged children. Judge Reynold’s ruling was thoughtful, comprehensive and based on irrefutable evidence. There could not be a more ringing, nor credible endorsement of a bold reform effort that began in 1999 and continues today.”

James Madison Institute’s William Mattox: “The James Madison Institute applauds Judge George Reynolds’ decision today in the “adequacy” lawsuit concerning Florida K-12 education. Over the last quarter-century, student performance in Florida has improved dramatically, thanks to a number of innovative education reforms — including many which required little or no increases in per-pupil spending. This helps to explain why a research team from Harvard and Stanford recently found that Florida delivers greater “bang-for-the-buck” in K-12 education than every other state in the nation. We are pleased to see Judge Reynolds recognize this fact. While we still have work to do to improve education in our state, Floridians have reason to be proud of what has been accomplished.”

JEB BUSH RETURNS AS CHAIR OF EDUCATION FOUNDATION via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel – The Foundation for Excellence in Education, or ExcelinEd, announced that Bushwas elected chairman and president of the board of directors. Bush had originally founded the conservative foundation in 2008 to lobby for school choice and reform. He left in December 2014 to launch his presidential bid, with former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice serving in his absence. Rice remains on the board of directors.

FIRST IN SUNBURN — ASSOCIATED INDUSTRIES OF FLORIDA ANNOUNCES 2016 ‘CHAMPIONS FOR BUSINESS’ – The state’s premier lobbying group gives the awards every year to state lawmakers “whose extraordinary efforts provide model leadership on key legislation for the success of Florida’s business community.” On this year’s list are: Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican and four-time award recipient, for championing business incentives that ultimately stalled in the House; Sen. Dorothy Hukill, a Port Orange Republican and five-time award winner, for her role in this year’s tax cuts; Sen. Charlie Dean, an Inverness Republican who won his second award, for “defending the state’s water resources”; Sen. Aaron Bean, a Fernandina Beach Republican and three-time winner, for preserving tort reform measures this past session; Sen. Garrett Richter, a Naples Republican and six-time winner, for carrying ‘fracking’ legislation “aimed at growing Florida’s onshore energy industry while providing safeguards for the environment”; Rep. Jim Boyd, a Bradenton Republican and three-time winner, for “successfully sponsoring an Economic Development package”; Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican and three-time winner, who fought for Gov. Scott’s 2016 tax cut package; Rep. Matt Caldwell, a Lehigh Acres Republican and four-time winner, for “exhibiting significant leadership in sponsoring environmental resources legislation”; Rep. Frank Artiles, a Miami Republican and twice award-winner, who “took the lead in sponsoring Information Technology legislation that will bring the state’s cyber security measures up to date”; and Rep. Ray Rodrigues, a Fort Myers Republican, receiving his second award, this year for his companion bill to Richter’s ‘fracking’ legislation. “At AIF, we proudly honor those elected officials who defend Florida’s competitive climate and continually strive to keep the Sunshine State a place where businesses and families can prosper,” said AIF President & CEO Tom Feeney in a statement.

DAN GELBER WILL REPRESENT ANTI-GAMBLING AMENDMENT via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Miami attorney Gelber filed a notice of appearance on behalf of Voters In Charge, the committee behind the amendment. Gelber, 55, also was Democratic leader when he served in the House and unsuccessfully ran for attorney general in 2010, losing to Republican Pam Bondi. He also has been general counsel to Fair Districts Now, the coalition behind constitutional amendments aimed at preventing gerrymandering in political redistricting. The Voter Control of Gambling amendment would give Floridians more control over the expansion of gambling in the state. It’s aiming to get on the 2018 statewide ballot.

WILTON SIMPSON URGES CONTRACTORS TO STUDY UPDATED PUBLIC RECORDS LAW via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Make sure you understand the law. That’s the message Simpson sent to the business community … In a memo to business leaders, the Trilby Republican said businesses that have contracts with local or state government “need to understand the change that was made to the public records law.” Under a new law … a person seeking records dealing with contract services can no longer make the request directly of the contractor. Instead, the request must be made to the public agency that contracted with the business. The agency is required to fill the request if it has the records. If not, the agency is required to notify the contractor, which is then required to provide the records or allow access in a reasonable amount of time. Simpson said the law was meant to stop records requests he said were being filed “for only one purpose: creating confusion for the business owners that leads to frivolous lawsuits to obtain cash settlements.”

FLORIDA’S ‘AUBURN TAG’ OVER HALFWAY TO REQUIRED PLEDGES via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – A website set up to promote the drive showed 2,480 people had pledged to buy the tag if approved. New plates need 4,000 “pre-sales” before they can be produced. The plate is backed by two Auburn grads: Democratic PR man Kevin Cate and state Rep. Jamie Grant, a Tampa Republican. “We knew when we started this effort that the members of the Auburn Family who call Florida home and who continue to make a tremendous impact on our state would rise to the challenge,” Grant said in a text message.

FLORIDA COST FOR OPPOSING GAY MARRIAGE? $213,000 AND RISING via Gary Fineout of The Associated Press – State officials have agreed to pay that much to the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida to cover attorney fees and other costs. Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s office is also actively negotiating a settlement with another group of attorneys involved in the case. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ordered the state in April to pay the fees of attorneys who successfully sued the state … state officials agreed to pay the $213,000 because the “settlement amount was appropriate under the circumstances of this case.” Lawyers who filed federal lawsuits challenging gay marriage in other states wound up collecting more than the ACLU lawyers. But the state could still wind up paying substantially more. That’s because two federal lawsuits challenging the ban were consolidated into one case. The ACLU represented eight couples who got married in other states and challenged the ban. Attorneys representing two other same-sex couples that challenged the ban have asked for Hinkle to award them as much as $460,000 in the case. Bondi’s office last week asked Hinkle for extra time to negotiate a final settlement, saying they were “making headway” on a deal.

FLORIDA LAWYERS VICTIMIZED BY SPAM ATTACK via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – The Florida Bar is warning members: Be careful when opening email that looks like it came from us. A handful of attorneys have recently reported “spam emails containing malicious malware” infecting their computers, according to a Bar alert sent to the state’s lawyers … The subject lines of the emails, which were sent from “” addresses, claimed that membership fees were past due or that the receiving attorney had a complaint filed against him or her … It confirmed that its own computer system “has not been compromised.”

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DAYS UNTIL: Federal candidate qualifying papers accepted – 11; Federal qualifying closes – 29; State candidate qualifying closes – 29; Domestic absentee ballots go out in primary – 61; Primary elections – 96; Deadline to register to vote in Primary Election – 67; Deadline to register to vote in General Election – 138; Absentees sent in General Election – 157; General Election – 167.

HILLARY CLINTON’S COMPLICATED PATH TO THE CENTER via Gerald Seib of the Wall Street Journal – Clinton is trapped at the moment defending her left flank against continuing attacks from [BernieSanders, and that figures to be the case right up until the Democratic convention at the end of July. So to the extent she moves to the center, she risks losing her already-tenuous hold on Sanders voters. She will need those liberal Sanders voters at least as badly — perhaps more badly — than she will need moderates in a general-election matchup against Trump. Moreover, any shifts in position Clinton makes as the campaign goes on will risk exacerbating her broader problem, which is that many voters don’t see her as honest and trustworthy. That is a potential trap. Heading toward that trap, Clinton would find that her standing in the political center isn’t as strong as one might expect, given her background and profile. Among political moderates, she leads Mr. Trump by a mere 2 percentage points, 45 percent to 43 percent. By contrast, [Barack] Obama won moderates by 15 percentage points over Republican Mitt Romney in 2012, exit polls indicated.

DONALD TRUMP IN 2006: I ‘SORT OF HOPE’ REAL ESTATE MARKET TANKS via Jeremy Diamond of CNN – “Two years before the housing market collapsed in 2008 and millions of Americans lost their homes, Trump said he was hoping for a crash. “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy,” Trump said in a 2006 audiobook from Trump University, answering a question about “gloomy predictions that the real estate market is heading for a spectacular crash.” The U.S. housing bubble burst two years later, triggering the stock market crash of 2008 that plunged the U.S. economy into a deep recession, leaving millions of Americans unemployed. Trump was speaking with Jon Ward, a marketing consultant who “masterminded all the initial education programs for Trump University,” according to his website. The audiobook is available on iTunes.

BOB BUCKHORN BLASTS TRUMP’S DECADE OLD COMMENTS ON EXPLOITING THE HOUSING MARKET COLLAPSE via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Citing reports about Trump rooted for the housing market to collapse a decade ago, Buckhorn called such sentiments “shameful” and “disqualifying” during a short conference call organized by the Hillary Clinton campaign … “I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure how you make America great again by rooting for it to fail so that you can make a quick buck, or to advise people that in the wreckage of the hopes and aspirations of millions of Americans in their most vulnerable moment, that you can make money at their loss,” said Buckhorn. “It’s not great to pay nothing in taxes while schools and infrastructure go underfunded. It’s not great to take taxpayer dollars meant to help small businesses bounce back from 9/11. It’s shameful, and it’s disqualifying.”

TRUMP SET TO HEADLINE FIRST CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISER IN ALBUQUERQUE via Matea Gold of The Washington Post – The event, which requires a $10,000 donation, is being hosted by Kevin R. Daniels, the owner of a funeral services company and prominent GOP donor …  Daniels said he was putting on the fundraiser at the request of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “I am a pretty big supporter of Republican causes and the United States, and always vowed to support whoever our nominee is,” Daniels said. Between 20 and 25 people are expected to attend the reception, which includes a photo line with the candidate. “I’m sure it’s going to be one of many,” Daniels said.

JETS OWNER WOODY JOHNSON SAID TO BACK TRUMP via Jennifer Jacobs and Bill Allison of Bloomberg Politics – Johnson, who was finance chairman for Jeb Bush‘s failed presidential campaign, plans to raise money for the Republican National Committee and Trump through a joint fundraising committee … Johnson met with Trump and is prepared to lean on potential donors to get on board. He joins the ranks of a small but growing number of wealthy Republicans who have voiced support for Trump, including Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and investment manager Foster FriessFred Eshelman, the North Carolina pharmaceutical investor … is also backing Trump but hasn’t yet decided how much he’ll spend.

TRUMP HAS DONE THE UNTHINKABLE: UNITE SILICON VALLEY via Evan Halper of the Los Angeles Times – Technology leaders, including Republicans, call his ideas a threat to their business … The masters of [the innovation economy] complain that his ignorance about their work and its relationship to the global economy is horrifying. … The grievances that innovation leaders have with Trump are almost too many to list. They are baffled by an immigration policy that they warn would be disastrous for their workforce. Trump‘s trade agenda, they say, threatens to tear apart global business relationships crucial to tech industry success. The candidate’s threat to boycott Apple as it tussled with law enforcement over encryption technology will not soon be forgotten.

WALL STREET LOBBYISTS DECIDE AGAINST PUSHING TRUMP FOR SPECIFICS – FOR NOW via Kevin Cirilli of Bloomberg Politics – The banking industry is flummoxed on what to do about Trump, even as their fears grow that his likely opponent has moved too far to the left … Trump announced plans to unveil an alternative to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Law in the coming weeks … The announcement caught the industry—which has spent months pressing lawmakers in hopes of defining the debate surrounding financial services regulation—off guard, suggesting that one of the most powerful lobbying networks in the nation is struggling to come to terms with the brash billionaire’s G.O.P. takeover. At a private meeting last week in Washington, representatives from the largest financial institutions in the nation discussed Trump’s candidacy at a gathering that focused on the latest developments on Dodd-Frank …  A few key questions emerged: Would Trump’s agenda be aligned with the forthcoming proposal from [JebHensarling and House Speaker Paul Ryan? And should they reach out to Trump’s campaign staff to inquire about his economic agenda?

FLORIDA GOP BUNDLER FOR TRUMP (MEL SEMBLER) ONCE SAID HE FEARED HIM AS NOMINEE via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida – Mel Sembler once said he had a “fear” of Trump becoming his party’s presidential nominee, but he now will serve as a vice chairman of the national effort to bundle $1 billion in contributions for him. Aside from once fretting about Trump, Sembler is a staunch opponent of medical marijuana, which Trump says he favors. The decision by Sembler … is yet another sign of the institutional Republican support coalescing around the former outsider, whose nomination had seemed to terrify Sembler, a developer from St. Petersburg. “I kept telling myself that won’t happen, that can’t happen,” Sembler told the Tampa Bay Times in February. “I now fear it may happen.”

REINCE PRIEBUS: SENATE GOP IN A GOOD POSITION WITH TRUMP AS NOMINEE via Burgess Everett of POLITICO – Priebus told Senate Republicans that the GOP is in far better position than expected with Trump as its presumptive nominee. Though the room was filled with Trump critics who remain wary that the business mogul could affect down-ballot Senate races, there were no fireworks between Priebus and Republican senators. That could be a sign the party is either becoming united or, perhaps, merely resigned to life with Trump as the nominee. Priebus, of course, has been one of the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for Trump. Priebus also played up how well-organized he believes the GOP is in battleground states.

SPOTTEDRoger Stone in “As Trump and Clinton clash, 2 operatives duke it out in their shadows” via Amy Chozick of The New York Times – [Stone] has a portrait of Richard M. Nixon tattooed on his back, boasts that he owns more shoes than Imelda Marcos and traffics in conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination … The 2016 election … features two central antagonists known for their colorful traits and devotion to the dark arts of politics … On the wall of Stone’s office in South Florida, which has an undisclosed address because of the death threats he said he had received, hangs a ‘Spy vs. Spy’ cartoon, which young staff members titled ‘Brock-Stone’ after the two battling operatives.

MARCO RUBIO: ‘IT’S NOT THAT WE LOST, IT’S THAT DONALD TRUMP WON’ via Sabrina Siddiqui of the Guardian – Rubio comes to grips with a moment that many feel was an inflection point for his campaign: the seemingly robotic repeat response to Chris Christie‘s badgering during a GOP debate in New Hampshire. But Rubio said that while he could have handled the situation differently (and perhaps should have) he didn’t think it swayed voters – just drove media coverage. But – thanks media! – Rubio also seems to think coverage changed things a bit: “I do think it impacted media coverage in the days leading up to the New Hampshire vote, which I think ultimately hurt us,” Rubio said. “I think we would have finished very strongly in New Hampshire had it not been for that, and it might have led to a different outcome in South Carolina and maybe changed the trajectory of the race.”

RUBIO TO HOST HEROIN EPIDEMIC FORUM IN DC via Larry Griffin of Orlando Rising – Rubio, in his position as chair of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues, will oversee the hearing, which will be titled “Cartels and the U.S. Heroin Epidemic: Combating Drug Violence and Public Health Crisis.” Rubio met with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs recently to discuss the epidemic. Jacobs has been a tireless advocate for fighting the heroin epidemic, and will appear at the panel … Also appearing at the panel will be Daniel L. Foote, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, Kemp Chester, Associate Director for the National Heroin Coordination Group and Steven Dudley, co-director of Insight Crime.

ASSIGNMENT EDITORS: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, chair of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, will convene a subcommittee hearing titled “Improvements in Hurricane Forecasting and the Path Forward.” Hearing begins 2 p.m. Eastern in the Senate Russell Building Room 253 in Washington D.C. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a livestream will be available on

PATRICK MURPHY TOUTS BP OIL CLEANUP WORK, BUT HIS RECORD RAISES QUESTIONS via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times – Though oil never reached the Keys, Murphy has used the experience to cast himself as an entrepreneur with an environmental conscience. “Immediately following the BP oil spill, Congressman Murphy spent six months in the Gulf of Mexico leading cleanup efforts with his small business, Coastal Environmental Services,” reads his official House website. But a review raises questions of whether Murphy exaggerated his role in the catastrophe. Coastal Environmental Services — an arm of Murphy’s father’s construction business — was formed in 2010 and said it “specializes in oil skimming and cleanup efforts as well as other disaster relief and recovery services.” But last September, he told CBS Miami reporter Jim DeFede that he secured “several” contracts and “we did OK.” Pressed for details, Murphy said, “I’d be happy to get you those documents. It’s been five years, so we did well.” While Murphy’s bio says he spent “six months in the Gulf of Mexico leading cleanup efforts,” a timeline provided by his campaign contradicts that.

CARLOS BERUFF: VA SECRETARY IS A “MORON” via Jeremy Wallace of the Tampa Bay Times – Beruff … ratcheted up his criticism of VA Secretary Robert McDonald for talking about wait times at Disney theme parks as a way to deflect questions from reporters about how the VA tracks wait times for veterans seeking care. “The guy should be fired,” Beruff said in an interview in the Florida Panhandle … “He’s an idiot. He’s a moron.” Beruff’s comments come a day after he called McDonald’s comments disgusting in a press release.

IRS IMPEACHMENT LEADER (RON DESANTIS) UNDER FIRE OVER FUNDRAISING via Rachael Bade of POLITICO – Ron DeSantis … recently tapped to lead the IRS impeachment hearings, has been raising campaign money off the high-stakes inquiry into the tax chief’s alleged misconduct — a move that’s prompting bipartisan condemnation on the Hill. Although many congressional investigators at least try to give the impression that their probes are not politically motivated, DeSantis seems to have little reservation about mixing his Senate run with a politically explosive action like impeaching the head of a major federal agency … Privately, a number of Republicans said it’s cause for concern. “You don’t fundraise off investigations,” quipped one member who declined to go on-record criticizing a colleague. “The criminality of this administration and their hubris of defying fiduciary law is broadly something that drives voters and, by definition, drives their participation … but it’s not what my committee was about,” said former Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, who spearheaded the last Congress’ GOP investigation into the IRS, when asked about the matter. “We weren’t about looking for fundraising. We never fundraised on our investigations.” Democrats were more direct with their criticism. “If you’re going to be a phony, At least try to act sincere about it,” snapped Rep. Gerry Connolly, who defended the IRS as a member of Issa’s panel during the two-year Oversight investigation of the way conservative nonprofits were treated. “He’s not even pretending to be sincere about the substance of this process.”

U.S. SENATE TRACKER: Beruff will be in Delray Beach. ]Carlos Lopez-Cantera will be in Orlando. Todd Wilcox will be Tampa and Winter Haven.

IN DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ RACE, TIM CANOVA FIXING PLAGIARISM PROBLEM via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida – Canova’s campaign pledged to update the “On the Issues” section of his campaign website … when the two instances — one involving a New York Times piece about voting rights and another from a consultant’s analysis of alternative energy — were brought to his attention …  “In putting together our campaign website to inform Florida voters about Tim’s positions on the issues, we failed to properly quote and attribute a couple sentences. We are appreciative that this error was pointed out and are fixing it promptly,” campaign manager Richard Bell said in a statement … the incident is indicative of how every word of his will be scrutinized in the glaring light of his nationally watched congressional campaign against Wasserman Schultz … a sign of the vetting to come for Canova, a political newcomer in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. Online snafus aren’t unique to Canova. In Florida, for instance, a staffer for U.S. Senate candidate and Congressman Patrick Murphy embellished his academic credentials online. And U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was snared in a controversy in 2011 over his online biography.

— “Barney Frank to host fundraiser for Debbie Wasserman Schultz” via Amy Sherman of the Miami Herald

VERN BUCHANAN CALLS ON HOUSE AND SENATE LEADERS TO RESOLVE ZIKA DIFFERENCES via Lloyd Dunkelberger of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune – The Senate has backed a $1.1 billion proposal, while the House has passed a $622 million plan, which Buchanan opposed and which has been declared inadequate by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Obama has asked for $1.9 billion to fight the virus, which can cause severe birth defects and other medical problems. “With funding levels still undecided in the fight against the Zika virus, it is imperative that Congress heed the warnings of our nation’s top health experts and move swiftly and forcibly stop the spread of the mosquito-borne disease,” Buchanan wrote. “The politicians in Washington should listen to the experts who spend their entire lives fighting outbreaks like this. Every second counts if we want to protect the public from the devastating impact of this disease,” Buchanan wrote, noting Florida leads the nation in travel-related Zika cases, claiming more than a fourth of the nation’s total.

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LET’S GET TO WORK ADDS ANOTHER $70K SO FAR IN MAY via Florida Politics – The contributions came in through just five contributions, with $50,000 of that money coming from the political committee of prison contractor the GEO Group, which operates many detention centers across the country, including the Broward Transitional Facility. Also contributing were telecom company Motorola Solutions, which gave $7,500, and the company’s CEO Gregory Brown, who wrote a check for the same amount. Miami Lakes real estate investor Lewis Swezy added $5,000 and Fort Lauderdale law firm Waldman, Trigoboff, Hildebrandt, Marx & Calnan gave $100. Scott’s committee has spent $40,391 in May … with $24,000 of that money heading to Tallahassee-based consulting shop Calvery Strategies. The Maryland-based firm On Message, which has produced ads for Scott for years, also got about $14,000 this month from the committee.

HAPPENING TONIGHT: Republican State Reps. Jay Trumbull and Halsey Beshears are holding a joint fundraiser in support of their re-election efforts in House District 6 and House District 7, respectively. Event begins 6 p.m. at the Fox and Stag, 1122 Thomasville Road in Tallahassee.

ETHICS FINE AGAINST BEN PARKS COULD BE WAIVED via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Staff at the Florida Commission on Ethics is recommending waiving an $800 fine against former lobbyist Parks. Parks had been automatically fined $50 a day for late-filing his third-quarter lobbying compensation reports last year, according to a proposed order. Parks appealed, saying he suffers from “depression, anxiety and high blood pressure” and his home had been burglarized hesing a loss of his documents. He also said his bank account was frozen this May after fraudulent checks had been written on his account. Those and other reasons constitute “unusual circumstances” that merit a waiver of the fine, staff said. Parks, 62, recently pleaded no contest to a charge that he ran a drug house out of his Tallahassee home, according to Leon County court dockets.

KAREN SKYERS NAMED DISTINGUISHED FAMU LAW ALUMNA via Florida Politics – Skyers, now with the Government Law & Lobbying Practice Group at Becker & Poliakoff, received the award May 14. It “recognizes alumni who have excelled in the legal profession while contributing to the community and school,” according to a press release. She graduated from the law school in 2010. Skyers, who also speaks Spanish, was secretary of the Black Law Student Association and a leader in the Hispanic Law Student Association during her time at FAMU Law in Orlando. She was a legislative aide to state Sen. Arthenia Joyner, the Tampa Democrat who rose to Senate Democratic Leader in 2014-16.

COMING SOON TO TWITTER: MORE ROOM TO TWEET via The Associated Press – The social media service said that in coming months, photos, videos and other media won’t count toward Twitter’s 140-character limit. Now, for example, when a user posts a photo, it counts for about 24 characters. That means slightly more wordy tweets are on the way. The change … is yet another attempt by the San Francisco company to make its messaging service easier to use, and to attract new users. Twitter did not, as many had speculated in recent months, abolish its character limit. Nor are weblinks exempt from the 140-character limit, which was also rumored. But replies to another user, which start with the “@” symbol and the user’s name, will not count against character limits. Names with the @ symbol in the middle of a tweet, however, will still count against the limit. And people will be able to retweet and quote their own tweets. In another change, any new tweet beginning with an @name will be seen by all followers. Previously, a tweet that started with a person’s handle did not become part of their feed. If a user wanted this to happen, they had to put a period before the @ symbol.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

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