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.
BIG DAY AT THE COURTS
The third branch of government in Tallahassee has its work cut out today, with a trio of high-profile cases up for oral arguments.
First, the Supreme Court considers a case on whether to expand slot machines in the state. A small Gadsden County racetrack is seeking to add the machines.
It brought the matter against state gambling regulators. The track is run by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians as Gretna Racing.
The Creeks argue they should be allowed to offer slot machines because voters approved them in a local referendum in 2012. They’re supported by the county and the city of Gretna.
A favorable ruling by the court could expand slot machines to all six counties where voters passed slots referendums: Brevard, Gadsden, Hamilton, Lee, Palm Beach, and Washington.
Later, the justices will hear from an attorney for a man convicted of killing his infant son in 2013. Larry Darnell Perry is questioning whether juries in Florida need to be unanimous is recommending death sentences before judges can order them.
Also today, lawyers will argue a case at the 1st District Court of Appeal over who pays after undocumented immigrants show up at emergency rooms for treatment.
A federal law requires hospitals to treat everyone in ERs “regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay, but since its enactment in 1986 (the law) has remained an unfunded mandate,” according to the American College of Emergency Physicians.
The question is how much, if at all, should such care be paid for by Medicaid, the joint federal-state health care program for the poor.
Then later today, the 1st DCA also hears an appeal in the ethics case against former state lawmaker and Congressman David Rivera, a Miami Republican.
The Florida Commission on Ethics and an administrative law judge both found improprieties in his financial disclosures and travel reimbursements.
Rivera escaped charges in 2012 after an 18-month FDLE investigation into his campaign and personal finances that he called “a fishing expedition” and a “wild goose chase.”
ASSIGNMENT EDITORS — PROTESTORS TO RALLY OUTSIDE MICHAEL DUNN APPEAL HEARING IN TALLAHASSEE via Melissa Ross of Florida Politics – Dunn, the man convicted in 2014 in the shooting death of unarmed black teen Jordan Davis of Jacksonville, will draw yet another protest this week. The group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) says it will protest outside the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee at 8:30 a.m. … Dunn, the man convicted in 2014 in the shooting death of unarmed black teen Jordan Davis of Jacksonville, will draw yet another protest this week. “SDS is committed to the fight against racism. In Tallahassee we have rallied against the police murders of Corey Jones and Jeremy Lett. We stand against racist vigilantes like Michael Dunn, and we are demanding that his appeal be rejected by the court. We call on the people of Tallahassee to rally at the 1st District Court to reject Dunn’s appeal,” says a representative for the “Justice for Jordan Davis Rally.”
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AP: HILLARY CLINTON HAS DELEGATES TO WIN DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION — Clinton will become the first woman to top the presidential ticket of a major U.S. political party, capturing commitments Monday from the number of delegates needed to become the Democrats’ presumptive nominee. Clinton … reached the 2,383 delegates needed to become the presumptive Democratic nominee on Monday with a decisive weekend victory in Puerto Rico and a burst of last-minute support from superdelegates. Those are party officials and officeholders, many of them eager to wrap up the primary amid preference polls showing her in a tightening race with presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. Clinton has 1,812 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses. She also has the support of 571 superdelegates, according to an Associated Press count. The AP surveyed all 714 superdelegates repeatedly in the past seven months, and only 95 remain publicly uncommitted. While superdelegates will not formally cast their votes for Clinton until the party’s July convention in Philadelphia, all those counted in her tally have unequivocally told the AP they will do so.
TOP TALKER: AFTER JUDGE CURIEL, WHAT WILL ENDORSING DONALD TRUMP DO TO GOP CANDIDATES? via Rick Wilson for Heatstreet – Imagine it’s the Fall of this year and you’re a U.S. House or Senate candidate in a swing district or state. Your Democratic opponent is running a low-risk campaign, having pivoted to the slightly-center-left with aplomb. Regardless of their actual beliefs, they’ve got their masks bolted on tight, staying relentlessly on message as technocratic middle-of-the-lane moderates … Your pollsters and strategists are hunting for a message and a tone where you can capture the anger and unrest of the Trump voters without becoming Trump-like, because no matter who you are, you’re not Donald Trump … I hate to tell you this, but it’s not working … When you endorsed him, you bought all the problems Trump has with the voters and none of the assets. The resources you need from the donor community are a bright spot, because they’re certainly not giving the money to Mr. Self-Funder Billionaire, but you’re having to spend it basically as it comes in to defend yourself … You see it in your polling, every day. Trump’s poison brand has splashed over on you, like the reek of some political sewage you can’t wash off … As much damage as he does every day, he’s also giving you an out. Tear off the bandage. Take the short blast of pain and the stupid tweets from stupid people. Take the idiotic tweet he’ll hit you with and make fun of it. Wash the stink off, and you’ll feel like a human again. You won’t spend every day in fear of defeat, or in fear of losing your political soul.
DON’T KNOW IF I’D DO THIS — BUZZFEED PULLS OUT OF $1.3M ADVERTISING DEAL WITH RNC OVER TRUMP via Hadas Gold, Mike Allen and Alex Spence of POLITICO – … the main consideration was the site’s employees — that BuzzFeed could not countenance “having employees make ads, or working at the company and having our site promoting things, that limit our freedom and make it harder for them to live their lives.” Asked if the site would rule out any Trump advertising … The specifics would matter: “In general, we have taken the position that we won’t take ads for his presidential campaign.” BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti explained that in April, the RNC and BuzzFeed signed an agreement to “spend a significant amount on political advertisements slated to run during the Fall election cycle.” But since Trump became the nominee his campaign has proven themselves to be “directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States,” because of proposed bans on Muslim immigration and comments about descendants of immigrants, among other policies. “We don’t need to and do not expect to agree with the positions or values of all our advertisers. And as you know, there is a wall between our business and editorial operations. This decision to cancel this ad buy will have no influence on our continuing coverage of the campaign,” Peretti said in the memo.
RICK SCOTT AVOIDS CRITICIZING DONALD TRUMP FOR COMMENTS ABOUT FEDERAL JUDGE via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida – Rubio joined other Republicans in condemning Trump for saying that federal judge Gonzalo Curiel is biased in a case involving Trump University because of the judge’s Mexican parentage…” Burn on what team his mother for what is his I don’t defend what he says,” Rubio said, according to a tweet by WFTV reporter Christopher Heath. “I ran for president & warned you this is what was going to happen.” Asked by reporters whether, as a supporter of Trump, he considers the remarks racist, Scott said, “I know I can’t say that I would say the same thing any other candidate says.”
PAM BONDI, CALL YOUR OFFICE AGAIN — AG ASKED DONALD TRUMP FOR DONATION BEFORE NIXING FRAUD CASE via Jeff Horwitz, Gary Fineout and Michael Biesecker of The Associated Press – The new disclosure from Attorney General Bondi‘s spokesman … provides additional details around the unusual circumstances of Trump‘s $25,000 donation to Bondi. After the money came in, Bondi’s office nixed suing Trump. The money came from a Trump family foundation in apparent violation of rules surrounding political activities by charities. A political group backing Bondi’s re-election, called And Justice for All, reported receiving the check Sept. 17, 2013, — four days after Bondi publicly announced she was considering joining a New York state probe of Trump University’s activities. Marc Reichelderfer, a political consultant who worked for Bondi’s re-election effort and fielded questions on the donation at her request, told AP that Bondi spoke with Trump “several weeks” before her office publicly announced it was deliberating whether to join a multi-state lawsuit proposed by New York’s Democratic attorney general. Reichelfelder said Bondi was unaware of dozens of consumer complaints received by her office about Trump University filed before she requested the donation. The timing of the donation by Trump is notable because the now presumptive Republican presidential nominee has said he expected and received favors from politicians to whom he gave money. “When I want something I get it,” the presumptive Republican nominee said at an Iowa rally in January. “When I call, they kiss my ass. It’s true.”
BONDI’S OFFICE CAN’T RESOLVE TWITTER PUBLIC RECORD QUESTION via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – A list of everyone who has blocked, or been blocked by, an elected official on Twitter might be a public record, according Bondi‘s office. The opinion was requested by Gainesville City Attorney Nicolle Shalley. She wanted to know “whether a list or record of accounts which have been blocked from posting to or accessing an elected official’s personal Twitter feed is a public record,” according to the opinion. The reason why wasn’t clear … A spokesman for the city, which is in one of the areas affected by Tropical Storm Colin, could not be reached. Blocking another Twitter user means that person “will not be able to follow you,” according to the Twitter Help Center. “Accounts you have blocked cannot follow you, and you cannot follow an account you have blocked.” Moreover, “tweets from blocked accounts will not appear in your timeline. However, note that tweets from others that mention blocked accounts may appear in your timeline (for example, if you follow that account) or your notification timeline (if a tweet mentions you).” Senior Assistant Attorney General Gerry Hammond told Shalley “a determination of whether the list of blocked accounts is a public record requires resolution … of whether the tweets (that) resulted in the blocked accounts were public records.”
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FLORIDA GOP VOTERS WANT MARCO RUBIO TO RUN AGAIN, POLL SHOWS via Lloyd Dunkelberger of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Nearly eight out of 10 Florida Republicans say Rubio should reverse his position and run for re-election to his U.S. Senate seat, according to a new poll from Mason-Dixon Polling & Research … The poll shows 77 percent of the GOP voters want Rubio to run again, with 16 percent in opposition and 7 percent undecided. Among all voters, 49 percent want Rubio to run again and 39 percent are opposed, with 12 percent undecided. Rubio has announced he would not run for a second term, but he has been under enormous pressure to change his mind from national Republican leaders … Rubio faces a June 24 deadline, which is the end of the qualifying period for federal and state elections this year. Brad Coker, the Mason-Dixon polling director, said Rubio would be in a strong position to keep his seat if opts to get into the race.
— “Rubio pens op-ed on trip to Honduras” via Patricia Mazzei of the Miami Herald
— “Rubio speaks out against poor housing conditions in Global Ministries Foundation buildings” via Larry Griffin of Orlando Rising
THE EVENT TO KILL (YET AGAIN) RUMORS OF RUBIO RUNNING FOR SENATE? via Jeremy Wallace and Patricia Mazzei of the Times/Herald – On June 24, Rubio is set to attend a fundraiser at the ritzy Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables to help raise money for [Carlos] Lopez-Cantera to replace him in the U.S. Senate. That also happens to be the final day of qualifying to get on the ballot for the Aug. 30 GOP primary. Beyond Rubio the fundraiser also includes and all-star list of “special guests” to help Lopez-Cantera: U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Attorney General Pam Bondi.
— “Rubio is damaged goods” via Shripal Shah of The Hill
FORMER TOP RUBIO STAFFERS LAUNCH CONSULTING FIRM IN RESPONSE TO DONALD TRUMP via Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times – [Terry] Sullivan, the former Rubio communications adviser Alex Conant and a lawyer for Rubio, Will Holley, [have started a] new consulting firm, Firehouse Strategies. It’s based on the premise that Trump has rewritten the rules of modern communications strategy, and candidates and corporations need to take heed. The primary lesson: “The solution is always more content, not less,” Sullivan said.
CURSED BY HISTORY? RUBIO’S SENATE SEAT HAS A TROUBLED PAST via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – Anything can happen, as this seat’s past occupants have taught us repeatedly. What first put Rubio on a path to the Senate was Mel Martinez‘s shocking decision to resign in the middle of his first term in 2009. After Martinez quit, Gov. Charlie Crist appointed his former chief of staff, George LeMieux, following a series of awkward interviews with other Senate hopefuls, including the late U.S. Reps. Clay Shaw and Bill Young. A visibly indifferent Young showed up for his interview in sneakers and an untucked shirt. Before Martinez won in 2004, Democrat Bob Graham admirably held the seat for 18 years … Before Graham was elected in 1986, the “Rubio seat” had been a revolving door for three forgettable one-term senators: Republican Paula Hawkins, the “housewife from Maitland,” elected in the Reagan landslide of 1980; the harmonica-playing Dick Stone, a Democrat from Tallahassee, elected in 1974; and Republican Ed Gurney of Winter Park, relegated to the wrong side of history as President Nixon‘s most loyal ally on the Senate Watergate Committee … In 1968, Gurney defeated LeRoy Collins, considered Florida’s best governor … Gurney left the Senate after facing charges of influence peddling, but he was vindicated. Rubio appears to now be walking away from the same position that LeRoy Collins craved in 1968. The result is seven different senators in five decades.
POLL: PATRICK MURPHY AND CARLOS BERUFF LEAD via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida – Murphy and Beruff are both nursing leads in their respective primaries to replace Rubio, according to a new poll that also suggests Florida voters still prefer the outgoing incumbent. Murphy leads fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson 31-23 percent in their party’s primary. Political newcomer Pam Keith has 3 percent support. “I don’t see Alan Grayson winning in the end,” said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker. “Grayson makes a lot of noise, gets a lot of coverage. But when it comes time to make the adult decision, I think Democratic voters in Florida have shown time and again that they’re more of an establishment party and Murphy has the establishment with him” … Coker said the Republican primary “is pretty messy right now” because it has so many major candidates. So far, Beruff leads the five-person pack narrowly with 17 percent of the GOP primary vote, followed by U.S. Rep. David Jolly (13 percent), U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (10 percent), Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (9 percent) and defense contractor Todd Wilcox (2 percent).
MURPHY OVERSTATED LENGTH OF CPA EXPERIENCE via Daniel Ducassi of POLITICO Florida – Murphy has cited his “several years” as a certified public accountant when building his public brand, including running television ads touting his CPA status, but his CPA licensure records show he only worked as a practicing CPA for less than a year. “I spent several years as a certified public accountant working for Deloitte & Touche — one of the largest accounting firms in the world, going into numerous fortune 500 companies looking for inefficiencies, waste and fraud,” Murphy said, introducing himself in a candidate forum during his successful challenge to Allen West in 2012. Though he said he “spent several years” as a CPA for the firm, and his 2012 campaign website said he “joined the respected accounting firm of Deloitte and Touche as a CPA” after he graduated, he had his CPA license for about nine months while he worked for the firm at its Miami office, according to Murphy’s Colorado CPA licensure records and his LinkedIn profile. Portraying himself as a numbers-savvy CPA that could help cleanup Congress’ books was a part of his pitch to voters during his past campaigns.
MURPHY DOWNPLAYS DOCUMENTED DISCREPANCIES IN HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS via Kristen Clark of the Miami Herald – “This is just more baseless attacks by the Republicans who are clearly just trying to help my primary opponent, Alan Grayson,” Murphy said, speaking with reporters in Tallahassee after he filed paperwork to qualify for the 2016 elections. “They want him to be the nominee. They’re not even hiding that; they’re saying it straight up right now.” Republicans have mentioned they’d prefer Grayson win the primary, but that’s because polls show Grayson is more vulnerable to the Republican slate of candidates, while Murphy maintains a strong lead over each of them. “They’re digging right now, and they’re trying to find something that just simply doesn’t exist,” Murphy said, deflecting with campaign talking points.
U.S. SENATE TRACKER: Wilcox will be in Polk County.
MARY THOMAS BACKED BY HOUSE FREEDOM FUND via Florida Politics – Thomas got the nod from House Freedom Fund in her campaign for CD 2. Caucus chairman U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said Thomas was the most conservative candidate in a decidedly right-of-center GOP primary. “I’m proud to announce the House Freedom Fund’s endorsement of Mary Thomas (R-FL) for Congress in Florida’s 2nd district,” said Jordan. “She’s running to cut spending, repeal Obamacare, abolish the IRS, secure the border, and adopt term limits.” Former U.S. Attorney Ken Sukhia, urologist Neal Dunn, and businessman Jeff Moran are also seeking the redrawn seat, which is among the state’s most conservative-leaning.
TED YOHO COMPARES TRANSGENDER BATHROOM ISSUE TO ALLOWING DOGS TO PEE ANYWHERE THEY WANT via Florida Politics – Yoho has weighed in on the recent bathroom controversy, comparing transgender people to “dogs” peeing anywhere they want. The minutelong video, posted on YouTube … shows Yoho, who represents Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, telling a local audience that those “in between” are like dogs being allowed to urinate anywhere they want. “I know who I am,” Yoho says on the video. “Does it come down to … if I feel like a dog and I want to urinate on a tree outside can I do that? I mean, is that OK … Can I do that?” … “Good question,” an audience member responds. “That’s kind of where we’re going, boys are boys; and girls are girls,” Yoho said. “And the ones that are in between … I don’t want to be real insensitive … There the bathrooms that have both men and women on it. Does it have to get involved in the national debate?”
— “Steve Kaufman enters GOP battle royale in CD 4” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics
CLEAN WATER ACTION ENDORSES SUSANNAH RANDOLPH IN CD 9 – Clean Water Action (CWA) is supporting Randolph’s bid to represent Florida’s 9th Congressional District. CWA is known for its integral role passing the landmark 1972 Clean Water Act. “Clean Water Action endorsed Susannah Randolph for Congress because of her strong lifelong commitment to protecting public health and the environment,” said CWA National Managing Director, Kathy Aterno. “The Florida delegation needs Susannah’s leadership to help us tackle the tough water quality issues our state faces in the years to come.”
— “Val Demings campaign receives national interns in CD 10 race” via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising
DAN BONGINO READY TO RUN FOR CONGRESS IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA via the Sunshine State News – Conservative leader Bongino, an ally of former U.S. Rep. Allen West … filed paperwork with the FEC launching his candidacy for the Southwest Florida congressional seat held by retiring Republican Curt Clawson. Bongino joins Chauncey Goss and Francis Rooney in the GOP primary for what is considered a safe Republican seat. “We’re definitely exploring options in the 19th,” Bongino [said], “it’s a conservative district and they deserve an authentic conservative voice” … Bongino shocked the political world and almost pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the election cycle when he lost to U.S. Rep. John Delaney by a narrow margin in a district where the Democrats have the advantage. Since then, Bongino and his family moved from Maryland to Palm City on Florida’s Treasure Coast — and promptly started getting asked questions about his political future.
FRANCIS ROONEY OFFICIALLY KICKS OFF CD 19 BID via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics – Rooney, the former ambassador to the Holy See and a longtime Bush family supporter, kicked off at Mel’s Diner in Fort Myers … “I’ll fight for you, because we’re in this together to save our country … Together we can do more than send someone to fill a seat in Congress. We can put up there an outsider who will truly represent you and the public interest.” The congressional bid marks the first time Rooney has run for public office. He’ll face Chauncey Goss, who ran for the seat in 2012, in the Aug. 30 primary. “We know this election, and the elections to come, are not only about us. They’re about our kids; they’re about our future,” said Rooney. “We all know Washington is broken. The professional politicians have failed us. They just aren’t getting the job done, and I don’t understand how we pay them when they can’t even pass a budget. I’m not a politician; but I’ll tell you this, I am a committed conservative Republican.”
— “Rooney says he will support Donald Trump” via Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster of Florida Politics
ADAM PUTNAM HELPING BILL GALVANO RAISE COIN via Jeremy Wallace of the Miami Herald – Putnam … is lending his name to help Galvano raise money and build ties in Senate District 21, which now includes Brandon, Sun City Center and Wimauma, thanks to redistricting. Putnam … is listed as one of the hosts for a barbecue for Galvano in Wimauma. “I do know he is very popular in my new district,” said Galvano, who said he’s worked with Putnam in the past on citrus greening problems plaguing the groves throughout Florida. When Putnam served in Congress from 2000 to 2010, his district included parts of Hillsborough County that are now in Galvano’s new district.
SOURCES: MARIA SACHS NOT RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION via Florida Politics – Sachs would not comment about her political future. Instead, she said she will issue a statement this Friday about her plans. Two of Sachs’s colleagues in the Senate said that she has personally told them she is not running. Both Senators asked to remain anonymous so that Sachs could announce her plans on her own timeline. In addition to Sachs’ legislative colleagues, several local Democratic club officers as well as two prominent Democratic political consultants all say that Sachs has told them she does not intent to run.
TRIAL LAWYER MICHAEL STEINGER RAISES $211,500 IN 3 WEEKS FOR STATE SENATE BID via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post – Steinger posted his report early and showed $211,500 from donors and that $200,000 personal check. Steinger faces state Rep. Bobby Powell and attorney Tony Bennett in the Democratic primary for the north-county seat. The bulk of Steinberg’s money came from 183 donors who gave the maximum $1,000 contribution. As one might expect from a personal injury lawyer, Steinger raised $25,250 from chiropractors, $12,500 from MRI centers and more than $50,000 from other physicians and medical service providers. He got $37,280 from other lawyers. Democrats hold a 41.6-to-30.4 percent registration edge in District 30.
— “Democrat Rick Roach finds his mark with fix-education platform” via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising
SAVE THE DATE: Republican businessman Lange Sykes is holding a meet-and-greet Thursday, June 9, in his campaign for House District 54. Event begins noon at the Florida Realtors office, 200 S. Monroe St. in Tallahassee. RSVP with Daniela Bachman at 850-222-8156 or [email protected]
MANNY DIAZ TAKES IN NEARLY $27K IN MAY FUNDRAISING via Florida Politics – Diaz announced Monday that his campaign brought in $26,775 last month for a total of $243,475 raised for his HD 103 re-election campaign. “Our campaign is in high gear, and we are really grateful to the folks who are investing in our conservative message and values,” Diaz said. Diaz’s campaign didn’t release the whole May report, so it is unknown how much the second-term representative has on hand. Currently, Diaz’s only opposition is Coral Gables Democrat Ivette Petkovich, who filed for the seat in mid-October.
ERIK FRESEN MAY RUN FOR MIAMI-DADE COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD via Christina Veiga of the Miami Herald – Fresen, who is term-limited after serving since 2008 in the Florida House, would run for the district 6 seat left open by Raquel Regalado. She is stepping down to run for Miami-Dade mayor. “Throughout my career, reforming and improving access to quality public education for all families has always been my priority,” Fresen wrote. “As such I am seriously considering this opportunity to continue serving our community, but I have not made a final decision yet.”
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FLORIDA ZIKA VIRUS UPDATE via FloridaHealth.gov – As of Monday, there was one new travel-related case in Miami-Dade County, with five cases exhibiting symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms associated with the Zika virus last between seven to 10 days. There are now 128 total cases in Florida not involving pregnant women; by county (number of cases): Miami-Dade (51), Broward (19), Orange (10), Palm Beach (7), Lee (5), Osceola (5), Alachua (4), Pinellas (4), Brevard (3), Hillsborough (3), Polk (3), Seminole (3), Clay (2), Collier (2), St. Johns (2), Volusia (2) and a single case each in Martin, Pasco and Santa Rosa with 38 cases involving pregnant women. The DOH recommends women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant postpone travel to Zika-affected areas. The department also urges Floridians to drain standing water weekly, no matter how seemingly small. A couple drops of water in a bottle cap can be a breeding location for mosquitoes. Residents and visitors also need to use repellents when enjoying the Florida outdoors. Florida currently has the capacity to test 6,090 people for active Zika virus and 1,812 for Zika antibodies. The number for the Zika Virus Information Hotline is 1-855-622-6735.
FLORIDA TO HOLD FIRST CANNABIS INVESTMENT CONFERENCE IN FORT LAUDERDALE WEDNESDAY via Keith Morelli of Florida Politics – Viridian Capital Advisors is coordinating the conference, which begins Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale. The group says the event is the first cannabis investment conference in the state and will include presentations from companies, investors and scientists on how to make money on the burgeoning industry. Among the topics to be discussed: real estate, security, biotech, cultivation and retail, agricultural tech, lab testing, consumption devices, infused products and digital media. “In November 2016, Florida voters will have a second opportunity to vote for legalized medical marijuana,” said Scott L. Greiper, Viridian’s founder and president, in an announcement of the conference. “We thought it was the ideal time to bring the Viridian Cannabis Investment Conference to Florida, the first such investment conference in the state, and showcase some of the leading companies and thought leaders in the cannabis marketplace.” Hoban & Feola, a cannabis business law firm operating in several states including Florida, California, New York and Colorado, also is the conference sponsor and will present a detailed overview of the current investment climate and opportunities in the cannabis industry. Advice on hemp-based business operations, related litigation, and regulatory counsel will be discussed by managing partner Bob Hoban, who has litigated nearly every aspect of Colorado’s Marijuana Code and who has closed more than 300 marijuana-related business transactions.
RICHARD CORCORAN WANTS YOU TO READ ‘GRIT’ via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics – The concept of “grit” has become increasingly popular of late, aided and abetted by the release of a book (“GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance“) by MacArthur Genius Fellow Angela Duckworth … A former consultant who took a job teaching public school in New York City, learned that IQ was not the sole predictor of success for students. Rather, “grit” — or perseverance — is an essential factor. There has already been pushback on the importance of grit, as covered on NPR earlier this year … Corcoran is not a grit skeptic. Indeed, the Pasco County Republican endorsed the book recently in a note on speaker-designate letterhead to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, which accompanied a copy of Duckworth’s book. Corcoran, after telling Curry that “it was great to spend time with [him] at Mr. [Gary] Chartrand‘s a few weeks ago,” said he thought Curry would find this “new best-seller” to be “fascinating.”
FWC COMMISSIONER CLEARED OF ALL CONFLICT OF INTEREST COMPLAINTS BY FLORIDA ETHICS COMMISSION via Florida Politics – Aliese “Liesa” Priddy, vice chair of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, was unanimously cleared by the Florida Commission on Ethics of all conflict of interest complaints filed by three Floridians … the complaints, which were confidential until now per commission policy, were dismissed after a six-month investigation, where many of Priddy’s colleagues at the FWC, business associates and others were extensively interviewed. “From the beginning, these complaints held absolutely no water,” said Priddy, following the hearing. “I appreciate the Florida Commission on Ethics for seeing these complaints for what they really were — totally unsubstantiated claims rife with supposition and conjecture that were specifically designed to undermine my credibility and position as an FWC commissioner.” While the complaints largely centered around Priddy’s involvement in the drafting of an FWC position paper on the Florida Panther, these were dismissed with the commission concluding that there was insufficient evidence to show Priddy used her position to manipulate the FWC’s stance on panther policy.
REST IN PEACE – THE WOMAN WHO CHANGED HOW DISABLED PEOPLE ARE TREATED, MARCIA BEACH, HAS DIED via Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald – At the height of her political powers, then-Broward County Commissioner Beach stunned the county’s government leadership: She quit. Beach had just begun law school — a decision she made to ensure she earned enough to protect her teenage daughter, Shannon, who had been born with a devastating disability. And, at 40, Beach had been unable to juggle the demands of law school and public life. It was the kind of decision Beach would make again and again: Shannon came first, as did the millions of Floridians who were like her. “The reason Marcia went to law school was to change the system, because of Shannon. Always because of Shannon,” said Fort Lauderdale attorney Juliette Lippman, who worked with Beach on several class-action lawsuits at what was then called the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities. “She was a warrior for people with disabilities. She never took no for an answer. She made us redefine the universe in which we operated, making sure it was always the person who was seen first, not the disability.” Beach died of a probable heart attack Saturday at an independent living facility in Lakeland, where she had moved last year with her husband, Cecil, the retired founder of Broward’s library system. She was 71. It was at the federally funded Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities — now Disability Rights Florida — that Beach fashioned her most enduring legacy. She changed the way people saw, and spoke of, people with disabilities. She wrung millions in new dollars for Floridians with autism, intellectual impairments and cerebral palsy from a stingy Legislature. She shuttered most of the state’s large, antiquated institutions, where disabled people sometimes shared toothbrushes and were washed outside with hoses. Shannon … has been told of her mother’s death, but cannot understand. “She keeps saying, ‘When will I see Mommy?’ We tell her, ‘You’ll see Mommy at the funeral, but she won’t be able to talk to us or see us. She is in heaven now. She will see us from there.’”
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Christine Nicole McKinnell: Florida Ports Council
Terrance Wolfe, TC Wolfe: Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools
RSA CONSULTING, ALAN SUSKEY LIKELY TO BE NEXT PSTA LOBBYISTS via Anne Lindbergh of Florida Politics – A committee for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority has recommended RSA Consulting Group become the next state lobbyist for the county’s bus system. But the proposed deal comes with a string attached: Lobbyist Alan Suskey must be part of the contract. For the two — RSA and Suskey — the PSTA will pay up to $7,500 a month or no more than $90,000 annually. The contract will last for three years and will have two one-year extensions. The proposed contract is expected to go before the entire PSTA board for approval June 22. “I think it’s really a great path forward for PSTA,” CEO Brad Miller said. “RSA is a very strong firm.”
ON THIS WEEK’S EDITION OF THE ROTUNDA — Just a week into the 2016 Hurricane Season, Tropical Storm Colin, one of the earliest to form on record in the Atlantic basin, has caused Gov. Scott to cancel his meeting with Trump in order to oversee Florida’s Emergency Operations Center. Trimmel Gomes’ latest episode of The Rotunda is all about preparing for or managing the perfect storm. Bryan Koon, director of the state Division of Emergency Management, provides details on how his family prepares for possible hurricanes in addition to some of the challenges with educating new residents and visitors who’ve yet to experience Florida’s dynamic weather systems. Meanwhile, Gomes explores how Tropical Storm Colin could come as a welcome distraction to the menacing clouds hovering over Florida Attorney General Bondi’s office as the Orlando Sentinel calls for an independent investigation into Bondi’s dealings with Trump University. Gomes tackles Trump’s issue with race and ethnicity in addition to chatting with Broward County Clerk of Court Howard Forman, the only clerk out of Florida’s 67 to file a lawsuit against the state for underfunding court clerks.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY belatedly to Rep. Janette Nunez. Celebrating today is Rep. Jason Brodeur, Thomas Grimsby, and Nancy Stephens.
NEW DISNEY STAR WARS PARK PROMISES INTERACTIVE RIDES AND COSTUMED CHARACTERS GALORE via Larry Griffin of Orlando Rising – Disney Hollywood Studios is getting in touch with The Force as it opens up its yet-unnamed Star Wars theme park later this year. On ABC’s The Wonderful World of Disney 60 celebration earlier this week, some teasing details were released about the enigmatic new addition … One will be a Millennium Falcon ride “unlike anything Disney has done previously” … an interactive experience where guests will actually pilot the famed fictional science fiction cruiser … another ride will put visitors in the midst of a “climactic battle,” like the ones made famous in the movies, complete with laser blasts and flying enemy ships coming at them from all sides … many costumed characters roaming around while you’re walking outside a ride and lots of good, themed food and drinks at various eateries. One of them promised will have “jewel-toned hues, gilded lamps and tiled ceilings,” with a “definite Moroccan feel,” and some may catch glimpses of famous movie characters.