Sunburn for 6.2.17 – Another Uber win; Ashley Moody for AG; new House candidates galore; Aramis Ayala on the record; the Marlins can’t draw

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

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

ANOTHER COURT WIN FOR UBER IN FLORIDA

A former Uber driver has lost his bid to have class-action litigation against the company centralized in a South Florida federal court.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation this week ruled against Sebastian A. Rojas, who claims Uber wrongly classified him and other drivers as independent contractors and not as employees.

Travis Kalanick, co-founder of Uber, speaking during the opening of the Digital Life Design (DLD) Conference in Munich.

Rojas wanted his and two other suits consolidated in the Southern District of Florida, saying “they are nearly identical.” Uber and the other plaintiffs had objected, however.

Among other things, Rojas wants Uber to pay its drivers minimum wage and overtime pay, as required by federal wage law.

The San Francisco-based ride booking service already has been waging a multi-state legal battle not to be considered an employer so it doesn’t have to pay certain benefits under state labor laws.

The Multidistrict Litigation panel found that “centralization will not serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses or further the just and efficient conduct of the litigation.” Two other suits are in North Carolina and Tennessee.

There are “significant” questions of “state-specific” employment law, the panel said,  and noted the volume of similar cases in the judicial pipeline: “13 related actions involving FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) claims.”

“Additionally, the Panel is aware of at least four pending actions alleging similar claims under state law,” it said. “… Voluntary coordination remains practicable.”

In February, Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled that a former Uber driver wasn’t entitled to unemployment benefits because he was an independent contractor, not an employee.

That court said “drivers exercise a level of free agency and control over their work different from that of the traditional … employer-employee relationship.”

Last year, the company settled lawsuits for millions of dollars in California and Massachusetts, allowing it to keep classifying drivers as contractors.

On Thursday, Uber spokesman Javi Correoso said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

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— NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL —

Former Hillsborough judge Ashley Moody files for Attorney General” via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – Moody, a Republican, was elected to the 13th Judicial Circuit in 2006. At the time, she was the youngest judge in Florida. … Back in April, when Moody resigned from the bench, she hinted to the Times’ Sue Carlton about a big announcement in the future. “I felt like it was time to serve our community and system of justice in different ways,” she said.

It’s early days, so Ashley Moody has not yet started raising money. However, she has lined up Tampa accountant Nancy Watkins, who handles many prominent Republicans’ books, as her treasurer.

Andrew Gillum-crafted city contracting program cost $320K — and got no results” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — In 2006, his third year on the commission, Gillum helped take the lead in crafting the city’s Charitable Contribution Vendor Incentive Program, which was aimed at giving a leg up to vendors seeking city contracts who gave to a list of certified local charitable organizations. … The program was deemed a complete failure. Commissioners unanimously voted to kill it in 2014 after spending $40,000 annually over a period of eight years. … City records show that companies gave just under $1 million in charitable contributions between 2008 and 2014 through the program. Contributions given in 2006 and 2007 did not go through an auditing or official verification process, so might not be accurate, officials said. The lone vendor that got credit for winning a city contract because of the program was Jimmie Crowder Excavating and Land Clearing, according to records.

Gillum said the program’s aim was good but that its execution was bad. “The program looked to help companies operating in the city to be better corporate citizens,” he said in a statement issued Wednesday through his campaign. 

Bobby Powell backs Gillum for Governor — The state Senator and chairman of the Palm Beach County legislative delegation announced Thursday he was throwing his support behind Gillum for governor. In a statement, Powell said he has known Gillum for more than 15 years and said he is passionate and committed to the citizens of Florida. “Andrew is the only candidate capable of rebuilding Florida’s economy so that it creates better-paying jobs at every rung of the income ladder, and his bold proposal to protect the healthcare of Floridians with a pre-existing conditions is the kind of solution we need,” said Powell in a statement. “I’m excited to endorse him so we can best serve the people of Florida together.”

Gwen Graham declares support for Competitive Workplace Act” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – Graham expressly announced she would push hard for the “Florida Competitive Workforce Act,” which would extend nondiscrimination practices to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer Floridians. She also vowed to sign an executive order as governor to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. “I am proud to live in a state with vibrant LGBTQ communities from Key West to Pensacola,” Graham said. “Despite facing institutionalized discrimination and bigotry, and the heartbreak of the terrorist attack at Pulse, LGBT Floridians have never given up in their fight to make Florida a more equal and welcoming home for everyone. This month, we celebrate the progress we have made and recommit ourselves to the fight for equality.”

Is this really a thing? “Orlando or Winter Park? Chris King’s campaign gets it wrong” via Steve Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel – King’s campaign refers to the affordable housing investor as an “Orlando small businessman,” while his campaign releases are datelined “Orlando.” King’s official campaign bio also states that he and his wife “are raising their three children in Orlando.” But King, 38, lives in Winter Park, his campaign acknowledged. His campaign and his business, Elevation Financial Group, are also based in Winter Park. Hari Sevugan, a King campaign consultant, said while King is a Winter Park resident, he was born in Orlando and has roots throughout the area.

A campaign spokesperson joked that Chris King still considers the Orlando Sentinel his hometown paper, despite the story questioning his residency. Photo via Orlando Sentinel.

’Name ID v. money:’ Alex Diaz de la Portilla leads Jose Felix Diaz in early polls of bareknuckle state Senate race” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida — Díaz de la Portilla, a veteran of tough campaigns, is better known than Diaz in the district, partly due to his record and that of his two brothers who have also held state and local elected office. As a result, a poll paid for by his campaign shows he leads Diaz 48-12 percent among likely GOP voters. Attorney and former Spanish-language Trump campaign surrogate Lorenzo “Larry” Palomares-Starbuck is in third with 10 percent. Diaz said he’s not worried because Díaz de la Portilla’s support is a mile wide and an inch deep; each of the three brothers lost their last election.

Prosecutor Elle Rudisill announces HD 37 run” via Mitch Perry of Florida Politics – Rudisill, an assistant state attorney for the 6th Judicial Circuit in Pinellas/Pasco county since the fall of 2014, will seek the being vacated by term-limited Richard Corcoran in 2018. “Today, I embark on an incredible journey of running as a Conservative Republican candidate for the Florida House of Representatives … For the past few years, I have had the privilege of serving as a Prosecutor right here in Pasco. Now is my chance to make even more of a positive impact for my hometown of Land O’ Lakes and Central Pasco County. Growing small businesses, educating all of our youth, and protecting Pasco will be my aim in Tallahassee.”

— “Bill Gunter to take another stab at HD 37 seat” via Florida Politics

Jeff Ramsey announces HD 51 run — The Merritt Island Republican announced Thursday he was throwing his hat in the race to replace Rep. Tom Goodson in House District 51. “I have spent my career fighting to make sure our country stays free and safe for future generations, and I look forward to continuing the fight in Tallahassee,” said Ramsey. “We must continue to push for policies that cut taxes and promote job growth as well as protect our freedoms, especially our Second Amendment rights. And Florida must ban sanctuary cities.” An Air Force veteran, Ramsey said he planned to make veterans a priority.  Goodson can’t run for re-election because of term limits.

“Democrat Emma Collum announces HD 93 bid” via Florida Politics— Collum, the founder of Women’s March FL and the national head of field operations for the National Committee of Women’s March, announced Thursday she was running in House District 93. “Over the last year, my work on both Women’s March FL and the National Committee of Women’s Marches has brought a new sense of purpose and resolve to fight for the things I believe in,” said Collum in a statement. “Part of the lesson of those marches is to channel our anger and disappointment about government into movements and change. I’m excited to take this straight to Tallahassee.”

An early organizer of the Women’s March, Emma Collum played a key role in getting thousands upon thousands of Floridians to Washington, D.C. and regional marches.

She is currently the executive director of the twenty-chapter statewide group, as well as a field director for the national organization. Collum is the third Democrat to throw her hat in the race to replace Rep. George Moriatis, a Fort Lauderdale Republican who can’t run again because of term limits. Jonathon May and Stephanie April Myers have also announced their runs.

Will Weatherford backs Jose Mallea in HD 116 — The Mallea campaign announced Thursday that Weatherford, who served as speaker from 2012 to 2014, has endorsed the Miami Republican. “Jose Mallea is a principled conservative, committed to limited government and lower taxes,” said Weatherford. “I’ve known Jose for many years. He’s a strong leader with a solid work ethic who will promote policies to create jobs and safer communities. District 116 will be well served by his fresh, conservative voice in Tallahassee.” Mallea is vying to replace Rep. Jose Felix Diaz in House District 116. Diaz resigned, effective Sept. 26, to run in the Senate District 40 special election to replace Sen. Frank Artiles, who resigned earlier this year amid scandal. “Speaker Weatherford is one of Florida’s most effective conservative leaders, and I am honored to have his support,” said Mallea in a statement. “I look forward to following his model of servant leadership and commitment to increasing opportunity for everyone by keeping taxes low and supporting pro-growth policies.” Mallea faces Daniel Anthony Perez in the special Republican primary.

Mallea gets enough signatures to qualify for ballot — The Miami-Dade Republican has received 305 verified signatures, pre-qualifying him to run in the House District 116 special election. “Our campaign’s momentum is strong, and I am so encouraged by the support we are receiving all around the district,” said Mallea. “I plan to keep working hard to get our conservative message out, and I look forward to meeting and speaking with as many voters as I can.” The abbreviated qualifying period for the special election runs from June 5 through June 6. Mallea needed 240 signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Democrat Ross Hancock running in HD 116 — LobbyTools Legislative IQ reported that Hancock, a perennial Democratic candidate, has filed to run in the special election to replace Rep. Jose Felix Diaz in House District 116. Hancock previously challenged Reps. Erik Fresen and Michael Bileca. A graduate of the University of South Florida, he works for a Miami-based manufacturing company.

— CAPITOL INSIGHT —

“Rick Scott interviews DOT candidates” via Florida Politics – The Governor interviewed the three finalists Thursday for secretary of the Department of Transportation, his public schedule shows. Florida Transportation Commissioner Ron Howse was at 2:40 p.m.; former deputy DOT secretary Richard Biter at 3:40 p.m. and current DOT chief of staff Mike Dew at 4:40 p.m. The interviews are likely for show: Sources tell FloridaPolitics.com that Dew got a phone call from the Governor’s Office in April telling him the job was his. The open position was created when former Secretary Jim Boxold resigned in January to join Tallahassee’s Capital City Consulting firm.

Backstage talks heat up as Rick Scott, Richard Corcoran try to save priorities” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – As Scott trains his veto pen on the new budget and decides the fate of Corcoran‘s priority omnibus education bill (HB 7069), the speaker sounds more open to preserving Enterprise Florida in some form. Corcoran remains opposed to an Enterprise Florida that “picks winners and losers” and doles out incentives to specific companies, but says the House supports job training and an infrastructure program that spurs jobs. “We’ve said all along we’re not against economic development,” Corcoran told the Times/Herald. But what if the House meets Scott halfway on keeping Enterprise Florida alive and maybe tosses in a $50 million sweetener to restore VISIT Florida’s ad budget?  “There’s discussions going on all the way around,” Corcoran said. “Everyone wants something, and everyone doesn’t want to lose something, and everyone wants to get along. The discussions are good. So we’ll see.”

— What’s the Speakers Office is really thinking: “If the inference is that there are negotiations to add incentive money for anything, that is way off. Any jobs programs or infrastructure program would not be money directly to any companies and would be infrastructure owned by the public for the public good that can be utilized by multiple companies or entities. That isn’t EFI and incentives are dead.”

Medical marijuana special session appears all but certain” via Michael Auslen of the Tampa Bay Times – Two high-ranking state senators close to President Negron say they believe he will join the call for a special session to implement the voter-approved medical marijuana constitutional amendment. House Speaker Corcoran has already publicly supported doing so. Negron and Corcoran have begun talking to lawmakers about how to resolve disagreement between the two chambers on a medical marijuana bill that broke down in the final hours of the legislative session last month. A special session — likely slated for the week of June 19 — would allow them to implement a constitutional amendment passed by 71 percent of voters in November. It would also give them a chance to rewrite sections of the state budget if needed or override Gov. Scott’s impending vetoes.

State Rep. Al Jacquet accused of using position to get parking ticket dismissed” via Skyler Swisher of the Sun-Sentinel – Jacquet is facing ethics charges that he misused his former position as Delray Beach vice mayor to have a $35 parking ticket voided by the city’s police department. An ethics panel announced Thursday after meeting in a closed-door session it had determined probable cause existed to hold a public hearing on whether an ethics violation occurred. Jacquet said he didn’t do anything improper, and he will present his side to the ethics board at the hearing. He declined to discuss the specifics of the complaint filed against him.

— ASSOCIATED INDUSTRIES RELEASES 2017 VOTING RECORD REPORT —

Released this week, the Associated Industries 2017 Voting Record report calculated more than 208,966 votes on 1,955 bills with 848 legislators.

“This session, AIF faced a variety of tough issues on behalf of Florida’s business community, including opposing any measure that would have made it more expensive for businesses to operate, such as prejudgment interest and fighting to preserve the insurance premium tax salary credit,” said Tom Feeney, the president and CEO of AIF, in a statement. “Additionally, AIF was a proud advocate for Florida’s business community, actively engaging on measures, such as reducing the business rent tax, addressing the workers’ compensation system, making 5G wireless technology a reality and protecting productive private agricultural land.”

Feeney said while AIF accomplished many of its priorities during the 2017 Legislative Session, “this year’s Voting Records vary from what (AIF has) seen in years’ past.”

The report shows the lowest percentages since 2002 for both the Senate and House, with the Senate voting in favor of the business community 74 percent of the time. The House, according to the report, voted in favor of the business community 79 percent of the time.

According to the report, five House Republicans — Colleen Burton, Holly Raschein, Eric Eisnaugle, Jay Fant and Charlie Stone — voted with AIF at least 90 percent of the time. Burton and Raschein voted with AIF 91 percent of time.

The report showed eight Senate Republicans — Keith Perry, Doug Broxson, Denise Grimsley, Dennis Simmons, Aaron Bean, Jeff Brandes, Tom Lee and Greg Steube — voted with AIF at least 80 percent of the time.

“Although Florida’s business community had to fight back initiatives that would have negative impacted our state’s small and large businesses, we did make some headway this session; and, we thank Governor Rick Scott and the Legislature for continuing to give our state the opportunity to have a vibrant, competitive business environment,” said Brewster Bevis, the senior vice president of state and federal affairs at AIF, in a statement.

Tweet, tweet:

— STATEWIDE —

Enterprise Florida reduces marketing ahead of potential cuts” via Arek Sarkissian of the Naples Daily News – Enterprise Florida’s executive board Thursday discussed ways the agency can do more with less as the economic development partnership braces for a 23 percent budget cut that Gov. Rick Scott has railed against. The $16 million Enterprise Florida could receive from the $83 billion budget under review by Scott would mean cuts in marketing the state.

— “Would I like us to have a bigger budget so we can do some very targeted marketing during certain specific times when you would do TV? We don’t have that, so we’re going to focus on digital and print,” said Eric Silagy, president and chief executive officer of Florida Power & Light and chairman of Enterprise Florida‘s Marketing Committee. “We’ll leverage wherever we can. … It’s going to have to be very, very specific. But limited.”

How many counties are doing better now than before recession? EFI is stumped” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – The question from Florida Chamber of Commerce chief economist Jerry Parrish seemed innocent enough for the quarterly board meeting of Enterprise Florida … How many counties have more jobs now than before the recession? The audience of executives was stumped … Parrish had to ask it twice and then someone volunteered an answer: 50. “Wrong,” responded Parrish. The real number of counties that have more jobs today than they had before the Great Recession “is stunning,” he admitted to the group that has pegged its future and fate on job creation in Florida. The number is 31. That leaves 36 counties that still have not returned to pre-recession employment levels, a sign of an uneven and incomplete recovery in an era when Gov. Scott has made job creation his singular focus.

Florida Supreme Court revising death penalty jury instructions” via Katie Pohlman of the Ocala Star-Banner – Comments have rolled into the court over the past month about its proposed amendments to the jury instructions in first-degree murder cases, which the court originally posted for public viewing April 13. The commenting period ended May 29. Five commenters have entered requests for oral arguments in the case. None have yet been scheduled. State Supreme Court justices are faced with revising jury instructions after Gov. Scott signed new regulations in March requiring a unanimous jury decision in death penalty cases. The regulation also requires that juries, not judges, find the aggravating factors in a case worthy of sentencing the defendant to death.

Hurricane season is prime time for scams, price gouging, Pam Bondi warns” via Florida Politics — It’s hurricane season. Brace for rip-offs. Following Hurricane Matthew last year, Attorney General Bondi’s office drew more than 3,100 complaints of price gouging, resulting in 21 investigations and four lawsuits. As the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season opened … Bondi referred Floridians to her 2017 Hurricane Preparedness Guide. It’s a primer, containing easy-to-use checklists and definitions of terms — plus warnings against scams of every color. Like tree-removal scams, building repair scams, debris-removal scams, disaster relief scams and water testing and treatment scams. … The investigations opened last year have netted more than $60,000 in restitution and $70,000 in penalties paid to the state to date, Bondi said. You can report a scam or price gouging to Bondi’s office at (866) 9-NO-SCAM or via MyFloridaLegal.com.

New hurricane advisories will give deadlines for storm prep” via Jennifer Kay of The Associated Press – Some coastal residents always put off emergency preparations until storm clouds loom on the horizon. The National Hurricane Center is going to try giving those people a deadline this year, issuing experimental advisories showing when tropical-storm force winds may hit particular communities to help them understand when it’s too late to put up storm shutters or evacuate. The forecasters’ advisories will be fueled by more data than ever, thanks to new weather satellites and an expanded network of underwater gliders. To help people understand when storm preparations should be completed, the hurricane center will experiment with advisories showing the times when sustained tropical-storm force winds are estimated to hit land. If a tropical disturbance nears shore, forecasters also could post advisories or warnings before it develops into a tropical depression or named storm.

CareerSource centers dealing with their own layoffs as economy rises” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – In an ironic economic twist painful to some, Florida’s agencies charged with helping unemployed people find jobs are facing budget cutbacks because of the state’s declining unemployment rate — and some now are forced to lay off a few of their own workers. CareerSource Florida‘s 24 regional agencies are facing budget cuts, some deep, and in many cases that means layoffs of those people who help other people who’ve been laid off. “It’s kind of a Catch 22 for us when the economy improves. The unemployment rate is 3.7 percent, so that’s great for the economy, but our funding is based on a formula that takes into account the levels of unemployment,” said Tonya Elliott-Moore, CareerSource Central Florida’s director of communications and community relations. “That’s something that workforce boards across the country, not just in Florida, have to deal with.”

Study: Last year’s St. Lucie River blooms contained 28 kinds of blue-green algae” via Tyler Treadway of TCPalm – The more types of algae in a bloom, said Barry Rosen, a USGS biologist and lead author of the study, “the more types of toxins might be produced.” Blue-green algae, known scientifically as cyanobacteria, is naturally occurring microscopic organism. A combination of high levels of nutrients from fertilizer runoff; long, hot days; and low salinity can cause it to explode into a full-tilt bloom. A species called Microcystis aeruginosa was the primary blue-green algae in last year’s blooms. It produces a toxin called microcystin that’s known to cause nausea and vomiting if ingested; rash or hay fever symptoms if touched or inhaled; and liver disease if drank.

— A CONVERSATION WITH ARAMIS AYALA —

In an interview with Scott Powers published Thursday on Orlando Rising, State Attorney Aramis Ayala defended her anti-death penalty position as “evidence based” and charged that the Florida Legislature’s $1.3 million cut to her budget will hamper anti-human trafficking and domestic violence prosecutions.

The interview, which Ayala provided written responses to written questions, marks some of the most comprehensive public statements Ayala has made since her March 16 announcement that she had decided Florida’s capital punishment laws are unjust to all and she would not pursue them. Here are a few excerpts from the conversation.

OR: Did you ever imagine your decision to refuse to seek death penalties would erupt into such legal, political, and cultural firestorms?

AA: I would have expected research from the legislators that challenged the validity of findings prior to cutting $1.3 million from my office budget. An evidence-based decision should have a response that is evidence based… not emotional or political. … What I did not anticipate is the governor overstepping his authority by inserting himself in a prosecutorial decision and removing 23 cases from my office. I believe what Gov. Scott has done is an attack on the U.S. Constitution, the Florida Constitution, the rule of law, the separation of powers and our criminal justice system. Scott’s move is unprecedented and solely based on his own political beliefs. … did not anticipate the Legislature cutting my office budget $1.3 million and eliminating 21 positions from my office. This move will severely impact this agency’s ability to effectively prosecute crimes, threaten public safety, and ultimately have an economic impact on the Central Florida community. …I also did not anticipate racist responses including someone sending a noose to my office because they disagree with how my administration will handle death penalty cases.

OR: The Florida legislature said, essentially, that if you’re not going to pursue death penalties, which are expensive cases, you won’t need as much money, and so took $1.3 million from your office in next year’s budget. How would that affect your operations?

AA: To be clear less than .01 percent of all cases in the 9th Circuit are death penalty cases. The other 99.9 percent include non-capital homicides, sexual batteries, sex crimes against children, domestic violence, drug and human trafficking, carjackings, robberies, burglaries, DUI’s thefts, aggravated assaults, batteries, and other violent and non-violent crimes. It is also important to note… my office will also be footing the bill for every single case Scott removed from this office. … The impact of cutting $1.3 million and eliminating 21 positions will have a devastating effect on existing efforts to prosecute widespread human trafficking and domestic violence offenders in this circuit. As one of the biggest tourism hotspots in the world, Orlando is a prime location for human trafficking, ranking third in the nation, and first in the state. … The 9th Circuit has 23 ongoing human trafficking investigations and 15 cases pending prosecution. This unit has also handled 209 sex trafficking tips, 13 labor trafficking tips, and has rescued 21 human trafficking victims. If these funds are not continuing, the human trafficking epidemic in the 9th Circuit will continue to grow in this Circuit at an exponential rate.

OR: Have you or anyone on your staff or campaign had any contact with George Soros or his representatives, who ran an independent election campaign on your behalf, and who oppose capital punishment?

AA: No, I do not know George Soros nor have I ever spoken to Mr. Soros. While campaigning for this position, I was running on a platform centered around justice reform and integrity. I wanted to bring change to the office. I talked about eliminating racial disparities, and I advocated for smarter data-driven policies to improve public safety. I understand that Mr. Soros invested in around a dozen prosecutor campaigns across the country, both Republicans and Democrats, as supporters and opponents to the death penalty. He supported candidates like myself who were committed to bringing change and reform to prosecution. My values and goals were very clear before Mr. Soros ever supported my campaign. I appreciate the support he gave, but I never solicited it nor did it change my platform.

The complete interview can be found on Orlando-Rising.com.

— MOVEMENTS —

Personnel note: J.D, White joins Mercury — The bipartisan public strategy firm announced Thursday that John David “JD” White is joining its Florida office as a senior vice president. “We are excited to welcome JD to the Mercury team,” said Mercury Partner Ashley Walker. “Mercury’s Florida operation is comprised of the state’s top strategists across party lines. JD’s public policy expertise, as well as his political experience will be an asset to our work here in Florida and globally.” White most recently served as former Rep. David Jolly’s chief of staff in Washington, D.C. and Tampa Bay. In that role, he directed all policy objectives, strategies, and legislative initiatives, while overseeing all offices and operations. Previously, White served as director of government affairs at WellCare. He also advised Premier Healthcare Alliance’s 2000 member hospitals and health systems to Congress, and previously served as a legislative assistant to former Rep. Porter Goss. A Florida native, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Florida State University.

Personnel note: Laura Cassels joins Rowland Publishing via Florida PoliticsCassels, a veteran journalist and public relations professional, will become the managing editor at Tallahassee-based Rowland Publishing, publisher of Tallahassee, Emerald Coast and 850 magazines. Cassels joins the company on June 12. As managing editor, she will oversee “editorial processes, edit copy and produce stories” for the magazines and the two dozen other publications that Rowland produces for others, according to a press release.

New and renewed lobby registrations

Stuart Brown, SKB Consulting Group: Study Edge

Kelly Horton, Heffley & Associates: FFT Technologies

— ALOE —

As pythons invade Florida, professional snake hunting becomes booming industry” via Phil Keating of Fox News – An estimated 100,000 pythons are living in and ravaging Florida’s Everglades. In Miami-Dade County, the South Florida Water Management District decided Florida’s python problem has become so big and so bad, paying for a “python posse” to find and kill them could be the answer. It’s a two-month, $175,000 pilot program. Twenty-five python hunters get paid $8.10 an hour to drive, hike and crawl in the hot and humid Everglades, looking for snake dens and wrestling the big beasts to the death. In seven weeks, the 25 pros have killed and removed 149 pythons. The longest one was a 16-footer. Most are in the 7-, 8- and 9-foot range. The hunters also get $50 for every snake they bag, and for each foot longer than 4, there’s an additional $25.

 “Nobody went to Wednesday’s Marlins-Phillies game in Miami” via Jon Tayler of Sports Illustrated – A midweek afternoon game in Miami between the Marlins and the Phillies—the fourth- and fifth-place teams in the National League East, respectively—was never going to draw much of a crowd, given the matchup, the time and the fact that the Marlins have successfully chased away most of their fans over the last six years … But even by the low standards the Marlins have set for themselves, the dearth of spectators for Wednesday’s 10–2 Miami win was shocking to see. For the record, those 1,590 souls would be the lowest attendance for an MLB game since Sept. 5, 1989.

Associated Press reporter Steve Wine counted just 1,590 fans at the Miami Marlins Wednesday afternoon game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park. It was the least-attended MLB game since Sept. 5, 1989.

Happy birthday today to my friend Chris Ingram, as well as Jim Gill and Daniel Tilson.

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.



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