Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – 11.15.17
A view of the Capitol from Apalachee Parkway Wednesday morning, Oct. 11, 2017 in Tallahassee, Fla. (Photo by Phil Sears)

Florida Legislature

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

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.

Wasn’t yesterday nice?

Why was it so nice? Because for the first time in nearly three weeks, there wasn’t a new report about a lawmaker having an affair … or a lawmaker putting his hands where they didn’t belong … or a lawmaker finding a surveillance camera where it didn’t belong. Etc., etc.

Yes, there are some serious issues related to sexual harassment still in front of the Florida Legislature but yesterday was a much needed breath of fresh air. Committees met. Bill died. Fundraisers were held. Money was raised. Candidates preened. Lobbyists lobbied. Etc., etc.

Other than this blog post, nothing was written about Jack Latvala or Steve Andrews or Lizbeth Benacquisto. Marc Caputo did not publish a story. There were no crazy anonymous tweets. Bloggers blogged. Reporters reported. Editors edited. Etc., etc.

Yesterday was a perfect reminder to everyone working in the legislative process of how nice it would be to return to the (boring) days of Richard Corcoran running circles around the Florida Senate.

Programming note to SUNBURN readers in The Process: As Thanksgiving approaches, let us know what you’re thankful for. We will publish a selection of responses next week before the holiday.


@AODespair (David Simon): Let he among us who has not been banned from a shopping mall for harassing young girls throw the first coffee-maker.

@FrancesRobles: Dear Congress: Please stop mispronouncing the governor of Puerto Rico’s name.

@CarlosCurbelo: Regrettable that some @HispanicCaucus members are using my meeting with @RepLujanGrisham as an excuse to exclude me. At that meeting she stated that some Members had evidence that I was anti-Hispanic (crazy right?)… I responded explaining I am proud of my roots & sharing that I exclusively speak Spanish to my daughters. Somehow she was offended by this though no offense was intended. Later she was appalled at my feeling discriminated against… Dramatizing what happened at that meeting is a dishonest ploy to deflect attention from the fundamental question: Is the @HispanicCaucus open to all Members of Hispanic descent in Congress or is it only for certain Hispanics?

@RepTedYoho: Tonight, I voted to reform the National Flood Insurance Program. No longer can we allow this federal program to drain taxpayer dollars with no end in sight.

@Fineout: In his 1st year @FLGovScott recommended a $65.9 billion budget. In his final year Scott is asking legislators to approve a $87.4 billion budget

— @MDixon55: Current state budget is just over $82 billion. So, needless to say, this plan likely has something for everyone. For the holiday season, @FLGovScott unveils the Christmas Tree Budget

@MikeVasilinda: Strange to be in the middle of Jack Latvala and the Senate Leadership over an interview.

@DannyBurgess: Always look forward to @ #USFDATC! Keep up the great work! #GoBulls: Always look forward to @ #USFDATC! Keep up the great work! #GoBulls

— @FLGovScott: Spoke to Mayor @BobBuckhorn this afternoon. Florida continues to stand ready to offer any and all resources to help protect families in Tampa.

@CarlosGSmith: We did it! Together with patients, parents, + constituents, we convinced @OrangeCoFL Commissioners to UNANIMOUSLY support allowing medical cannabis dispensaries! @Mayor_Jacobs + BCC should be applauded!!! Full press statement!

— @JoeReedy: First time since 1959 #FSU and #UF have played in November and BOTH have had a losing record. (FSU was 3-5, UF 3-4-1)

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Budget roll-out: Gov. Scott visited Northern Tool+Equipment, an equipment supplier in Jacksonville, to debut his “Securing Florida’s Future” budget. Scott, facing his final year in office, harked back to his first year as governor when Florida still was recovering from the recession. In remarks, the former for-profit hospital chain executive laid claim to “turning around Florida’s economy.”

Click on the image below to watch footage from the event:

Gov. Scott gives up on one of his big promises” via Gary Fineout for his blog, The Fine Print – When he first ran for governor, Scott constantly touted his “7-7-7” plan that he said would lead to nearly 700,000 jobs if the plan’s seven steps were followed over seven years … A central plank of this plan to help the state’s economy was the elimination of Florida’s corporate income tax. Scott promised to completely get rid of it by 2018, starting with a $458 million reduction in year 1 and a $1 billion cut in year 2. Scott has tried to include further tweaks to the corporate income tax in his annual spending plans, but he has been unable to make any substantial progress on his initial pledge. And this year – ahead of a likely campaign for U.S. Senate – the governor didn’t even try. He recently rolled out a modest tax and fee-cutting package that includes tax holidays and a rolling back of driver’s license fees. His package was entirely targeted to residents and individuals and included no tax cuts for businesses … When pressed about it, Scott said recently that he still would like to cut the corporate income tax, but he did not express any disappointment that he was unable to achieve what once was a top goal.


Florida Democratic Party: “Governor Scott’s budgets have always reflected the same self-serving politics that have defined his career: slashing investment in our public schools, zeroing out funding for key environmental programs and cutting funding for veterans, healthcare and public safety – while giving huge handouts to his well-off and well-connected donors and friends. Today’s budget is more of the same – and more importantly, under Scott, Florida has cut investment in growth, leaving middle-class families with fewer well-paying jobs and fewer economic opportunities. At every turn, Scott is proving he’s only ever looking out for himself, and he can’t run away from seven years of budgets that have left hardworking Floridians worse off than when he took office.”

Adam Putnam: “I thank Governor Scott for his commitment to Florida’s first responders and for proposing pay raises for our department’s wildland firefighters and law enforcement officers. These proposed raises will help us recruit and retain the best law enforcement officers and wildland firefighters to keep Floridians and visitors safe.”

Joe Negron: “Governor Scott and I share many budget priorities, and I look forward to working with him this session. In particular, I appreciate Governor Scott’s leadership in ensuring that we make the best use of both state and federal tax dollars as we work to repair the Herbert Hoover Dike and build additional southern storage through the implementation of Senate Bill 10. These are important issues in my own district, as well as communities across South Florida, and I am grateful for the Governor’s continued focus on eliminating harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee. I am also pleased to see the Governor include funding to keep the Bright Futures Academic Scholarship funded at 100 percent of tuition and fees. In addition to the continued expansion of Bright Futures for our Academic Scholars, through Senate Bill 4 the Senate is also prioritizing expanding the Bright Futures Medallion Scholarship to cover 75 percent of tuition and fees as one component of comprehensive higher education legislation that makes the expansion of both the Academic and Medallion levels of Bright Futures permanent for the nearly 100,000 students who have earned this important scholarship.”

Richard Corcoran: “We appreciate the Governor’s recommendations on the budget and welcome working with him to do what is right for Florida taxpayers. We are confident that together with the Governor and Senate we can produce a budget that cuts taxes, imposes accountability and transparency and ensures the future fiscal health of the state.”

Janet Cruz: “Unfortunately for Floridians, every year can’t be an election year for Governor Scott. This year’s budget proposal from the Governor just continues his me-first attitude when it comes to running our state. When he was first elected, we got Tea Party-inspired budgets that he followed through on implementing that slashed billions from public education, gutted our environmental protections, and decimated our state workforce. Now that he’s apparently a candidate again, but in a different political climate, we get a proposal that seeks to hide all the harm he has already caused. There’s only one person politician Rick Scott is looking out for and it’s not the everyday Floridian.”

Andrew Gillum: “As Governor Scott closes out his second term and prepares to run for Senate, he’s desperately trying to cover up seven years of failed policies. No 11th hour budget proposal can cover up the facts that nearly half of our state’s households report struggling to make ends meet and many of our rural counties have lost jobs since 2007. Budgets reflect our values, and for seven years we’ve seen just what the Governor’s values are: cuts on top of cuts to programs that are critical for working families. As Governor, I’m going to put working families first from Day One with higher wages, paying teachers what they are worth, and expanding access to affordable health care.”

Gwen Graham: “Rick Scott can try to run from his record of education cuts, but the numbers don’t lie. In his first year as governor, Scott cut more than $1 billion from Florida’s schools and we still haven’t recovered from those massive cuts. Adjusted for inflation, per-student funding would still be less under Rick Scott’s new budget than it was when he took office. Budgets, whether they are made around a family’s kitchen table or in the Governor’s Office are a statement of priorities. As governor, I will prioritize education and work to restore our promise to public schools.”

Affordable housing crisis? Governor’s budget diverts $92 million elsewhere.” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald – In the last budget proposal of his term, the governor wants to sweep money from the affordable housing trust funds and use $92 million of it for other priorities. If the Legislature agrees, it will be the 17th time since 1992 that millions of dollars intended to lower the cost of housing in Florida will be swept into the general revenue account to fund pet projects, other spending priorities and tax breaks. The governor’s budget includes $230.3 million for housing programs — the most he has proposed since he was elected in 2010. That includes $20 million steered to workforce housing in the Florida Keys, $96.3 million to pay for projects funded by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation and $34 million for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership program, which works with local governments.

Budget takes it easier on hospitals” via Christine Sexton of the News Service of Florida –Scott‘s proposed $87.4 billion spending plan does not recommend replacing $50 million in state hospital funding that expires June 30 when the current fiscal year ends. Because the funding was matched with federal Medicaid dollars the total reduction hospitals face is $130 million … Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida Executive Vice President Lindy Kennedy said “it is a relief” to see that Scott didn’t recommend another steep round of cuts to Medicaid spending. “Currently, hospitals on average lose 40 cents on every dollar of care provided to patients enrolled in Medicaid,” Kennedy said in the statement. But Kennedy said her association will ask the Legislature to plug the potential hole. “To think Florida hospitals can continue to withstand these deep cuts without any workforce consequences or impact on services is shortsighted and wishful thinking,” she said. Scott’s budget also would approve upward of $1.5 billion in spending authority for the Low Income Pool program, which helps provide care for low-income and uninsured patients.

Blackjack cash bolsters state budget” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – Gov. Scott built gambling money from the Seminole Tribe of Florida into his proposed $85 billion state budget for 2018-19. The Tribe and the state this summer settled a lawsuit over its ability to exclusively offer “banked card games” such as blackjack. Since then, “the payments associated with banked card games that the state has held in reserve ($233.8 million) have been released into General Revenue,” according to the governor’s budget website.


Gun bills could get jammed again in Senate” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida – Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube said “at this time” he doesn’t plan to file two gun bills that have been among the more-controversial issues in recent sessions. One of those proposals would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns on university and college campuses. The other proposal would allow license-holders to openly carry handguns. Steube, a prominent gun-rights supporter, made the comments after his committee postponed two other firearm-related measures. One of the postponed measures (SB 274) would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns at private schools that are on the same property as religious institutions. Other than law-enforcement officers, people are now barred from carrying guns at schools. The second postponed bill (SB 148) would reduce penalties for people who inadvertently allow legally carried guns to be openly displayed.

Bill to tighten all aboard Florida rules gets approval – but so does train” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – A bill that would set tougher rules and safety requirements on the All Aboard Florida Brightline passenger rail train being developed along the East Coast got approval from the Florida Senate Transportation Committee … Most of them sounded like they like the train, or think it is inevitable, or needed for Florida’s future transportation. Still, the committee voted unanimously to support Senate Bill 572, which would require All Aboard Florida and the track owners, the Florida East Coast Railway, to adhere to state inspections, upgrade and maintain crossings, install security fencing and other restrictions that the railroads argue are covered by, and pre-empted by, federal law. The votes almost all came with assurances that the bill needs more discussion and more consideration, and that should happen down the line. Its next stops are at the Community Affairs and Appropriations committees.

The House media team is at it again, with a new clip on CRAs. Here’s the intro: “Ever heard of Community Redevelopment Agencies? Chances are you haven’t, but chances are you’re paying for one. Community Redevelopment Agencies, or CRAs, were meant to clean up slums and blighted neighborhoods. Instead they became another vehicle for local governments to take your money and spend it on their pet projects. That’s why your Florida House is is introducing legislation to bring accountability and transparency to CRAs in Florida.”

House starts moving again on ‘direct primary care’” via the News Service of Florida – A House health care panel approved a bill backing “direct primary care” contracts that would allow physicians to bill patients and collect payments in advance of providing care without having to obtain an insurance license. The proposal (HB 37), sponsored by Rep. Danny Burgess is being fast-tracked by House leaders. The House Health & Human Services Committee was the sole stop for the measure, which is now available to go to the House floor after the 2018 session starts in January. The bill would amend the insurance code to define direct primary-care contracts and allow physicians to enter the contracts with patients, patients’ guardians and businesses. The contracts typically would cover routine care and would cut out the role of insurers. The bill defines direct primary care and would make clear that the contracts could be canceled by the parties with 30 days’ notice.

House pressing on with workers’ comp reform” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – A ‘clean’ workers’ compensation bill is headed to the House floor after the Commerce Committee rejected a series of amendments pitched as worker-friendly Tuesday. The bill cleared the panel on a vote of 18-8. It closely follows legislation the full House approved during the spring Legislative Session, in that it encourages injured workers and carriers — and their attorneys — to attempt to resolve disputes amicably. But workers’ comp insurance premiums have fallen sharply since the spring’s panic over last year’s 14.5 percent increase in rates. The Office of Insurance Regulation approved a decrease of 9.5 percent just last week.

House AOB package clears committee despite some qualms” via Michael Moline of Florida Politics – House assignment of benefits (AOB) legislation cleared its sole committee Tuesday and appears headed to the floor, despite reservations. Judiciary Committee members also expressed skepticism about insurers pressing policyholders to accept their preferred vendors before approving the bill (PCB JDC 18-01) on a 13-5 vote … Rep. Erin Grall … complained that it’s not clear the legislation would allow policyholders and legitimate repair contractors to secure legal representation against low-ball claims offers by insurance companies — or would even solve the problems it seeks to address. “The bad actors will be able to do the math in order to get paid at the end of the day. The insurance companies will be able to figure out the math to either pay claims or not pay claims,” she said.

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Assignment editors – Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam will take part in the Florida Association of Counties Legislative Conference, which will focus on hurricane preparation and response. Conference begins 9 a.m., remarks begin at 9:15 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota, Sarasota Ballroom, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts in Sarasota.

Gwen Graham goes nuclear over recovery fees, fracking fees” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – The former congresswoman went nuclear denouncing the 2006 law that allowed Florida investor-owned utility companies to charge advance fees for nuclear power plants that were never built, something that the Florida Public Service Commission has allowed, to the tune of more than $3 million in fees, she said. She charged that the commission is out of control. “Floridians should not be forced to pay for nuclear power plants that are never built or for fracking exploration,” Graham stated in a news release. “For 20 years, the Republican politicians in Tallahassee have turned a blind eye to the Public Service Commission and utility companies as they’ve taxed seniors, small-business owners and families. That ends when I’m elected governor.”

Frank White makes financial splash in Cabinet race” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida –Bolstered by $1.5 million of his own money, state Rep. White in less than a month has made it a three-way race – in terms of money – among the Republicans seeking to replace Attorney General Pam Bondi next year. White posted $1.65 million in contributions in October, with $1.5 million of that coming from the candidate himself. White had $1.73 million on hand in his campaign account to begin November in a Republican primary contest that also includes Rep. Jay Fant of Jacksonville and Ashley Moody, a former Hillsborough County circuit judge. Besides his personal contributions, White picked up $51,000 from the Sansing family and their auto dealerships via 17 separate $3,000 contributions. The influx of cash put White’s fundraising total ahead of the $1.2 million collected the past five months by Moody for her campaign account and the political committee Friends of Ashley Moody.

Jimmy Patrons takes commanding fundraising lead in CFO race” via Florida Politics – Patronis added another $431,100 to his political committee last month surpassing his only major competitor, Margate Democrat Jeremy Ring, in cash on hand. Treasure Florida’s October numbers bring the committee to $653,850 raised since Patronis opened the account in August. Spending last month came in at just $2,306, leaving the committee with $642,639 on hand at the end of the month. That figure nearly doubles Ring’s on-hand total through six months in the race.

Lauren Baer raises big cash in October – but not from Florida donors” via Allison Nielsen of the Sunshine State News – Baer, a longtime Democratic activist, may not be a local face, but she’s got access to money, is willing to uproot her life to a new district and run for office. Her out-of-state connections haven’t dissipated since she stepped foot in Florida either – most of her contributions, according to recent data, are from out-of-state donors. Since announcing her candidacy for Florida’s 18th Congressional District in early October, Baer has turned heads. She has deep roots in the Democratic Party, with extensive connections among some of the country’s top Dems in recent years. Like any political campaign, money is likely to be a huge factor in the race – and Baer’s friends in New York have been quick to pitch in for her Florida-based bid. Last month, federal election reports found the new candidate raised $255,000 during October, with a significant chunk of that campaign cash coming from outside of Florida state lines.

Top Republican lawmakers scored big in October fundraising reports” via Florida Politics – Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson IS leading the pack with $645,000 raised. The Trilby Republican brought in 75 contributions through Jobs for Florida, including nine contributions of $25,000 or more. Topping the donor roll was the political arm of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association, which gave checks combining $67,500, followed by health insurer Florida Blue at $35,000. Following Simpson was Republican Rep. Chris Sprowls, who is set to become speaker in 2021. He raised $190,000 for his political committee, Floridians for Economic Freedom. Senate President-Designate Bill Galvano and House Speaker Designate Jose Oliva, both set to take command after the 2018 elections, also showed six-figure hauls for their political committees last month.

Is James Buchanan riding his father’s coattails? His logo sure is” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune – Being the son of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan gives James Buchanan stronger name recognition as he seeks the District 72 state House seat covering much of northern Sarasota County. But it also opens Buchanan to criticism that he hasn’t earned the seat and is simply riding his father’s coattails. Buchanan’s first mailer in the District 72 race hints at the pros and cons of having a congressman father. Buchanan doesn’t mention his dad in the mailer, avoiding directly raising the legacy issue and the baggage that it brings. But he subtly reminds voters of his dad by mimicking his branding. James Buchanan employs the same logo style in his first mailer, including a very similar font. The last name “Buchanan” also is emphasized in larger type with “James” in smaller type above. And there’s a star over the “h” in Buchanan with wavy lines coming out of it. It’s a balancing act.

All about the Benjamins: Progressives take back endorsement of Margaret Good” via Dara Kam of the News Service of Florida – Florida Progressives are rescinding their endorsement of Good … Who is facing Democrat Ruta Jouniari in a special election primary Dec. 5. The winner of the match-up will face Republican James Buchanan — the son of Congressman Vern Buchanan — in a Feb. 13 special election. The candidates are vying to replace former Rep. Alex Miller, R-Sarasota, who resigned from the HD 72 seat earlier this year, citing family and business reasons. Good, who’s whopping Jouniari in the fundraising department, has nailed down a number of endorsements from prominent Dems. But the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida took back their support because of Good’s stand on the minimum wage: “Margaret Good supports much of DPCF’s platform, however, we misread and then misrepresented her position of the $15 minimum wage. Good’s campaign contacted us to clarify that she favors an incremental wage increase, but not to the $15 level.”

Javier Fernandez files for Daisy Baez’s House seat” via Ana Ceballos of Florida Politics – Fernandez, a 42-year-old South Miami attorney, filed his candidacy to represent House District 114, and replace Baez. “I’m excited for this opportunity to bring much-needed change to Tallahassee, where priorities have become badly out of step with the voters,” said Fernandez, a first-time candidate.


Ruta Jouniari missteps show aimless, sure-to-lose campaign in HD 72

Jouniari is the second Democrat seeking the House District 72 seat vacated when Sarasota Republican Alex Miller abruptly resigned … But with a series of sloppy, rookie mistakes, it is becoming increasingly clear that Jouniari, a community activist, may not be ready to serve, suggesting she has little-to-no understanding of the process.

– Campaign materials she features prominently — shirts and literature, among others — have no corresponding financial records of expenditures listed either in her political committee or campaign account.

– On Nov. 2, Jouniari sent an email (poorly designed, at least from a visual standpoint) that expressly advocates her campaign — titled “Ruta Jouniari Democrat for House District 72” — making it a political advertisement as defined in Florida law, which requires all political advertisements paid for by a candidate to include one of the disclaimers – the “paid for by X” part. The email has no disclaimers.

– Further belying a political naiveté, Jouniari is quick to blast “establishment” support for fellow Democrat Margaret Good, a first-time candidate not tied to any major interest, party or otherwise.

All this goes to create a convincing portrayal: Ruta simply does not have her s**t together for winning the HD 72 race.


Right-leaning watchdog now wants judicial emails after ‘hot mic’ ” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – A conservative watchdog says it’s filed a public records request for emails from Justice Barbara Pariente and Chief Justice Jorge Labarga after what it calls “the justices’ overt political bias.” The D.C.-based Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) late Monday released a copy of its request to the Florida Supreme Court. It asks for copies of emails to or from Pariente and Labarga “that contain the phrases ‘Judicial Nominating Commission’ or ‘JNC,’ or any names” of members of the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission. The two jurists had been caught on a ‘hot mic’ immediately after a Nov. 1 oral argument in a case over Gov. Rick Scott‘s judicial appointment power.

Judge OKs release of abuse reports to Tampa Bay Times” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics – A Tallahassee judge has agreed to the release of Department of Children and Families (DCF) records on home health care abuses to the Tampa Bay Times. Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers last week OK’d an agreement between the newspaper and the department that would allow Times investigative reporter Kathleen McGrory access to certain redacted investigative records … The newspaper has said it aims to publish a “data-driven … examination of Florida’s methods of investigating and preventing maltreatment of the Florida families who rely on in-home health care providers.” It does not seek the identities of victims of such abuse. Gievers’ order says “the number of (verified) allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation … are necessarily matters of great public concern. DCF’s methods of investigating and dealing with verified maltreatment … warrant the significant scrutiny the Times and Ms. McGrory propose to conduct.”

Audit: No violations but ‘appearance of conflict’ in city contracts” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat – A special audit by city of Tallahassee Auditor Bert Fletcher into the awarding of nearly $450,000 in contracts to a firm that employs Commissioner Nancy Miller‘s brother-in-law found the appearance of a conflict of interest but no wrongdoing. The audit found that the awarding of work to DPB & Associates for city engineering services did not result in violations of state statutes or city policies. It also found no evidence that Miller’s husband, John Buss, the assistant general manager of Underground Utilities and Public Infrastructure, tried to secure a special benefit for his brother Rich Buss, who was part owner and managing engineer for DPB & Associates. “However, the approval of the award of work to DPB & Associates by (Buss) can be perceived as a conflict of interest by a reasonable person, due to the existing sibling relationship,” the audit says. “In order to preserve and encourage the public’s trust in the city, measures should be taken to avoid even the appearance of such conflicts in the future.”

FDOT could offer $6M in grants for driverless tech research” via Janelle Irwin of the Tampa Bay Business Journal – Sen. Jeff Brandes filed legislation to create an incentive program to increase autonomous, connected and electric vehicle access and readiness throughout the state. The Florida Smart City Challenge Grant Program would provide three awards up to $6 million each to cities developing innovative mobility solutions to local transportation challenges. “Transportation technology is evolving at an astonishing pace. In order for Florida to keep up, we must create a prototype culture within our communities,” Brandes said. “The Smart City Challenge encourages cities to embrace the future by implementing technology solutions to some of our most pressing mobility challenges. Cities must continue to be laboratories of innovation, and this program will serve as a catalyst for bold solutions.”

Borinquen bound: Gov. Scott on Tuesday deployed 50 Florida Highway Patrol members to Puerto Rico in response to an emergency request from the Puerto Rico Police Department.


Keyna Cory: What have you recycled today?” via Florida Politics – Florida Recycling Partnership invites all Floridians to join us when we host Florida Recycles Day Wednesday, Nov. 15, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Florida Capitol – Plaza Level in celebration of America Recycles Day, a Keep America Beautiful national initiative. Florida has a recycling rate of 56 percent, which is ahead of the national average of 34 percent. Together, we can certainly recycle more and recycle right …  the Florida Recycling Partnership wants to thank you for your efforts to recycle – at home, at work or school, and on the go. Join us in our effort to make our state environmentally and economically healthier by recycling more and recycling right.

Nancy Smith: Will Barbara Pariente’s 2012 campaign speech disqualify her from ruling on Rick Scott’s appointment powers?” via Sunshine State News – In May 2012, during a retention campaign speech, Pariente told a gathering at Temple Emeth Delray Beach that “a vote yes will be a vote to retain me and the other two justices [Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince]. A vote no will give Governor Scott the right to make his appointments, which will result in partisan political appointments.” Pariente’s speech drew an immediate response from anti-judicial activists, but none more outraged than Jack Thompson of Coral Gables. Thompson fired off a letter of complaint to the Judicial Qualifications Commission accusing Pariente of misrepresenting the judicial retention and appointment process. ” … Her attacks on a coequal branch of government make it a narrow argument about herself,” he said. It is that 2012 speech that compelled the government watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) to call for Pariente’s disqualification – along with Labarga’s – in the case deciding Scott’s appointment powers.


Personnel note: Katherine San Pedro joins Ballard Partners” via Florida Politics – Ballard Partners has hired San Pedro as its newest partner in the lobbying firm’s Tallahassee and Miami offices, according to a news release … San Pedro “will hone her extensive political, public relations and legislative experience to serve clients’ state government and issue advocacy needs,” the release said. She is joining the firm as its youngest Hispanic female partner.

New and renewed lobbying registrations

Jose Bermudez, Ellyn Bogdanoff, Jose Fuentes, Nicholas Matthews, Karen Skyers, Becker & Poliakoff: Univision Communications

Ellyn Bogdanoff, Becker & Poliakoff: Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, WestCare Foundation

Jim Boxold, Capital City Consulting: The City of Venice

Matt Brockelman, Southern Strategy Group: Kinder Morgan

Kimberly Broom: Florida Health Care Association

French Brown IV, Gary Hunter, Hopping Green & Sams: Lakewood Ranch Stewardship District

Michael Corcoran, Jeffrey Johnston, Anita Berry, Matt Blair, Amanda Stewart, Corcoran & Johnston: Jemmstone Group

Kimberly Fernandes, Kelley Kronenberg: Florida Justice Reform Institute

Marty Fiorentino, Joseph Mobley, Mark Pinto, The Fiorentino Group: Five Stars Veterans Center

Jennifer Green, Timothy Parson, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee: Scent Evidence K9

Ron Greenstein, Ron Greenstein: Emerald Coast Spa Academy

Will McKinley, Angela Dempsey, Fred Dickinson, Erik Kirk, Sophie Smith, PooleMcKinley: Tribridge Holdings

Jenna Paladino, Paladino Public Affairs: Gulf Coast Canna Meds

David Powell, Hopping Green & Sams: Association of Florida Community Developers, Seaside Community Development

Gary Rutledge, Jonathan Costello, Diana Ferguson, Rutledge Ecenia: Cypress Creek Renewables

Samuel Verghese, Don Yaeger, Jeanette Yaeger, One Eighty Consulting: DCI Group AZ on behalf of Dell Technologies

More time for Prudential Productivity Awards nominations – Florida TaxWatch on Monday said the deadline to send in nominations for the Prudential Productivity Awards has been extended to Dec. 31. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, the nonprofit watchdog said it “wanted to allow ample time for state employees to send in their nominations.” The awards program publicly recognizes and rewards state employees and work units whose work significantly and measurably increases productivity and promotes innovation to improve the delivery of state services and save money for Florida taxpayers and businesses. Submit your nominations here.

— ALOE —

Florida State needs to win out for 36th straight bowl trip” via Joe Reedy of The Associated Press – In a season where not many things have gone right, Florida State (3-6) does catch a break. Its remaining games are against teams that are a combined 9-19. The stretch begins Saturday with Football Championship Subdivision foe Delaware State (2-8), followed by a Nov. 25 trip to Florida (3-6) and the Dec. 2rescheduled game against Louisiana Monroe (4-5). “We know there is a bowl streak and we don’t want to ruin that. It’s in the back of our minds,” center will that said. The Seminoles would need to win four straight to avoid their first losing season since 1976, which was Bobby Bowden‘s first year at the school.

Happy birthday belatedly to Debbie Millner (you should really go read the amazing message her husband, Mike, wrote about her on Facebook). Celebrating today are Wayne Bertsch, Trimmel Gomes, The Chairman Evan Power, Rodney Barreto, and Max Steele.

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, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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