Last Call for 8.28.17 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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Last Call – A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

There was no news for Attorney General Pam Bondi Monday, as a Tallahassee judge heard argument but didn’t immediately rule on her motion to toss out a lawsuit against her.

She’s been accused of improperly forcing businesses to donate millions of dollars to unregistered charities. Those donations are part of settlements in consumer protection cases her office pursues.

Orlando entrepreneur John D. Smith, who was investigated on a consumer fraud allegation by Bondi’s office, filed suit over the practice.

Circuit Judge Charles Dodson asked both sides to file proposed orders for summary judgment in the case; such motions allow parties to win a case without a trial. Those papers are due in two weeks, by Friday, Sept. 8.

Russell Kent, Bondi’s Special Counsel for Litigation, told Dodson the attorney general has “broad discretion” under Florida law to direct contributions in settlements, whether the donations are asked for or not.

Charities don’t have to be registered; indeed, organizations that get money don’t even have to be charities, he added.  

But Scott Siverson, Smith’s attorney, countered that the AG’s office can’t have “unfettered discretion,” saying “the Legislature could never have possibly intended such a result.”

Depending on which way the judge rules, “either we crank up discovery or we don’t,” Dodson said, referring to the gathering of information in preparation for a trial.

Evening Reads

Pam Bondi applauds Trump move to give surplus military equipment to local law enforcement via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times

How Richard Corcoran prepares for possible run for governor” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times

Jack Latvala urges Rick Scott to fill mental health, drug abuse funding gap” via Alexandra Glorioso of the Naples Daily News

Confederate statues must go, Florida Dems for governor say at forum club lunch” via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post

Chris Nocco, Lauren Book asking constitution revision commission to put Marsy’s Law on ballot” via Florida Politics

Duval School Board mulls lawsuit against state over ‘schools of hope’” via Denise Smith Amos of the Florida Times-Union

White supremacist banner placed on I-4, taken down by police” via Scott Powers of Orlando Rising

Quote of the Day

““You don’t skip around to find a part of the Florida Statutes you like better.” Russell Kent, special counsel for AG Bondi, telling a judge that one state law governing charities doesn’t apply to her practice of directing contributions in settlements in consumer fraud cases.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights 

Wake Up Early

It’s Election Day in the race to become the next mayor of St. Petersburg. Polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. On the ballot are incumbent Rick Kriseman, and challengers former Mayor Rick Baker, Ernisa Barnwell, Anthony Cates III, Paul “The Truth” Congemi, Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter, and Jesse Nevel.  

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will visit two Tallahassee schools, according to her official schedule. DeVos will be at Holy Comforter Episcopal School at 10:30 a.m. and the Florida State University School at 12:30 p.m.

State Sen. Aaron Bean, a Fernandina Beach Republican, is scheduled to discuss the 2017 legislative session during a meeting of the Rotary Club of South Jacksonville. The meeting will be 12:30 p.m., at River City Brewing Company, 835 Museum Circle, Jacksonville.

A funeral service will be held Tuesday for former state Sen. Greg Evers at 1 p.m. (Central time), at the First Baptist Church of Milton, 6797 Caroline St. in Milton. For more information, visit here.

The 2017 Child Protection Summit, convened by the Department of Children and Families, kicks off at 1 p.m. at JW Marriott Grande Lakes Orlando, 4040 Central Florida Parkway in Orlando. “The Summit offers an extraordinary program of current and relevant training topics to further advance the knowledge base of child welfare staff in many critical areas of importance,” according to a press release.

The University of Florida’s Board of Trustees will meet after a series of committee meetings. The committees start at 3 p.m., public attendance is at the University of Florida, 123 Tigert Hall, Gainesville.

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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