Takeaways from Tallahassee — A brewer gets bigger


One of the state’s premier breweries just got a lot closer to the Capitol.

Proof Brewing Company announced this week it would move its operations to an old Coca-Cola Bottling Company building on South Monroe Street, within walking distance of downtown Tallahassee and Cascades Park.

The brewery is now housed in a former warehouse in the capital city’s Railroad Square Art Park.

Proof Brewing Company is moving operations to an old Coca-Cola Bottling Company building on South Monroe Street.

The next 34,000 square-foot building marks an expansion for the brewery, which expects to increase production capacity to 30,000 barrels — up from 6,000 barrels produced in 2017.

Proof, which touts it has doubled production each year since 2012, will add more packaged brands in cans and employees with the move to Monroe Street. The new facility is expected to open as early as this winter and will let customers enjoy an expanded tasting room, retail store, private event space, kitchen, and — yes — beer garden.

“This will be a year of growth and development for Proof Brewing Company,” said Proof owners Byron and Angela Burroughs. “We are proud of our growth in Tallahassee and we’re thrilled to reinvest back into the community that has been so supportive of us.”

Tallahassee, with five brew houses, still has a way to go from challenging Tampa’s unofficial claim of craft beer capital for the state, though.

The Big Guava “has over 50 craft breweries to date,” according to the Tallahassee Beer Society. “But Tallahassee’s craft beer scene is growing … and faster than anyone ever expected.”

In a recent column in the Tallahassee Democrat, the group noted two more “breweries on the horizon”: Fool’s Fire Brewing in the All Saints District, and Tally Brewing Co., now looking for digs.

Coming up, the usual assortment of tidbits, leftovers and not-ready-for-prime-time moments by Andrew Wilson, Danny McAuliffe, A.G. Gancarski and Peter Schorsch.

But first, the “Takeaway 5” — the Top 5 stories from the week that was:

Rick Scott signs opioid legislation — Gov. Scott signed into law this week a bill aimed at curbing the state’s opioid crisis. Specifically, the legislation targets the practice of physicians overprescribing opioids to patients. The new law limits opioid prescriptions for acute pain to a three-day supply, and, when deemed medically necessary, a seven-day supply. Certain patients, such as those suffering cancer, will not be affected by the new prescription limits. Scott signed the legislation at Manatee Sheriff’s Office in Bradenton, a hotbed for opioid abuse in the Sunshine State. Accompanying the bill (HB 21) is more than $65 million in the state budget to target the drug epidemic.

Parkland fact-finding commission formed — State leaders announced the members of a 15-person panel charged with investigating the failures that led to the Valentine’s Day tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The commission, spawned through the passage of the landmark school safety and mental health package this Session, will be headed by Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. The panel also includes three fathers of students slain in the shooting and state Sen. Lauren Book, a Plantation Democrat.

Victims’ rights on horizon —  A high-profile proposal that would codify rights for crime victims won key approval in the Constitution Revision Commission and now heads to the CRC’s Style and Drafting Committee. The constitutional amendment, known as Marsy’s Law, would provide rights that are expected to shield victims from harassment. It also gives victims the option to speak in public proceedings and the right to be informed of the offender’s status in the judicial system. The measure will need to be approved by 22 CRC members after formal ballot language is drafted. It then must win 60 percent voter approval to be written into the state’s governing document. The CRC meets every 20 years to review the state constitution and propose revisions that are placed directly on the ballot.

Greyhound ban could reach ballot — After lengthy debate, the CRC narrowly advanced a proposed constitutional amendment that would effectively end greyhound racing if approved by voters in November. Commissioners pushed the amendment in an 18-14 vote. To appear on the ballot in November, it will need the approval of 22 members of the panel after the amendment’s language is finalized. Critics of the proposed ban say it could adversely affect businesses in the gaming industry and could open the state up to potentially expensive lawsuits. If the prohibition reaches the ballot in November and receives 60 percent voter approval, the amendment would phase out racing by June 30, 2020.

Gun amendments shot down — At the behest of public testimony, CRC Commissioner Roberto Martinez sought — but ultimately failed — to add gun control provisions passed by the Legislature this year to the state’s constitution. The language, which Martinez wanted to tack onto an existing proposal, would have mandated a three-day waiting period for all gun purchases, increased the age requirement to 21 and banned bump stocks. The provisions were in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act, but were deemed in violation of the body’s rules and were not considered by the commission. House Speaker Richard Corcoran told the CRC ahead of Martinez’ move that the gun laws were “inappropriate for inclusion” in the state’s governing document.

The week in appointments

Miami Dade College District Board of Trustees

Rolando Montoya is the retired provost of Miami Dade College. The 63-year-old Miamian is an alum of the Technological Institute of Monterrey, where he picked up his 4-year, and of Florida International University, where he earned his master’s and doctorate. He’s filling a vacant seat for a term ending May 31, 2021.

Florida Humanities Council

Dr. Sue Kim, 73, of Ormond Beach, is a retired psychiatrist. She is reappointed for a term ending Nov. 13, 2020.

Dr. Glenda Walters, 75, of Lynn Haven, is a community volunteer and retired teacher from Bay District Schools and adjunct professor with Gulf Coast Community College, Florida State University Panama City, and Barry University. She is reappointed for a term ending Nov. 13, 2020.

Thomas Lang, 74, of Orlando, is the owner of the Law Office of Thomas F. Lang. He is reappointed for a term ending Jan. 1, 2021.

Florida Housing Finance Corporation

Mario Facella, 50, of Loxahatchee, is a senior lender with TD Bank. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term ending Nov. 13, 2020. This appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Council

Pamela Tuscany, 62, of Melbourne, is the vice president of production at Universal Orlando Resort. She is reappointed for a term ending Aug. 19, 2019.

Pieter Bockweg, 43, of Miami, is the executive director of Midtown CRA. He is reappointed for a term ending Aug. 19, 2021.

Agency for State Technology, UWF launch new cybersecurity initiative

The state is leading an effort to protect digital records and data, keeping pace with the ever-evolving field of technology.

The Agency for State Technology and the University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity launched nuanced cybersecurity education and training this week for state personnel.

State workers tasked with handling information received primary education intended to increase awareness of cyber threats in the digital age. Other modules included cybersecurity incident management, network defense, operating system hardening, risk management and cloud security.

AST Executive Director and state Chief Information Officer Eric Larson.

“As the threats evolve, we must continue to train our information security and technology resources,” said AST Executive Director and state Chief Information Officer Eric Larson.

The Center for Cybersecurity at UWF will use its resources to provide simulations, ranges and training environments for state personnel. A national academic leader in the field, the center will use its Cybersecurity for All program to increase the number of qualified cybersecurity professionals throughout the state and later the nation.

“This program will position Florida as a leader in cybersecurity resiliency and innovation, enhance higher education and research, and serve as a best practice model for cybersecurity workforce development,” said Dr. Eman El-Sheikh, UWF Center for Cybersecurity director.

Dane Eagle touts under-the-radar school district reform

Legislation seeking to increase fiscal responsibility in the state’s school districts didn’t get much playtime in the media, but, according to state Rep. Dane Eagle, it could be a game changer for how tax dollars are spent in the state.

The bill (HB 1279) brings greater transparency to each district by requiring school districts to post financial summaries to their websites, Eagle — a Cape Coral Republican — said in an email to supporters.

Dane Eagle is seeking greater transparency for school districts by requiring financial summaries posted to their websites.

Those summaries will include data that measures the efficiency of per-pupil spending and other nuanced indicators of how well money is spent in each district.

The bill also will require each district to hire an internal auditor and caps school board member salaries to an amount no higher than that of a first-year teacher’s salary.

In instances of financial emergencies, the bill mandates that superintendent and school board member salaries be withheld until the issue is resolved. All changes go into effect July 1, 2019.

“I believe this bill ensures that our state’s public schools use your tax dollars in the most efficient and effective way possible,” Eagle said in the email. “I am proud to support legislation that gives Florida’s taxpayers the transparency and accountability they deserve from their elected officials.”

Bill Montford, Loranne Ausley secure funds for Big Bend food bank

When disasters strike, food banks are critical to recovery.

Tallahassee-area state lawmakers Rep. Loranne Ausley and Sen. Bill Montford highlighted that fact this week and stressed the importance of a $1 million state budget appropriation they successfully sponsored for Second Harvest of the Big Bend.

The Northwest Florida food bank serves the 11-county region of the Big Bend and will use the money to buy its warehouse facility, purchase and install a generator, and make facility upgrades ahead of the 2019 hurricane season.

Loranne Ausley joined Sen. Bill Montford in sponsoring a $1 million state budget appropriation for Second Harvest of the Big Bend.

One of three Feeding America centers in the state, Second Harvest of the Big Bend plays a critical role in disaster response. During hurricanes Irma and Hermine, it distributed more than 350,000 pounds of emergency food, water and supplies to affected areas.

“A hurricane disrupts everyday life, but for a family already facing food insecurity, it can be disastrous,” said Montford. Added Ausley: “I am honored to help Second Harvest continue to strengthen our statewide capacity to address food and water needs in the event of a disaster.”

Instagram of the week

Ads thank lawmakers for campus ‘free speech’ bill

Generation Opportunity-Florida is thanking lawmakers for greenlighting a proposal to ban “free-speech zones” on college campuses with a new mail campaign.

“When free speech was under attack on Florida’s college campuses…,” the mailer reads. “Your leaders stood up to protect the First Amendment.”

Bob Rommel and Dennis Baxley are getting accolades for their ‘free speech’ bill.

GO-FL didn’t list all the lawmakers who will get mailers in their districts, though earlier this year the group thanked Sen. Dennis Baxley and Rep. Bob Rommel for sponsoring the “Campus Free Expression Act” in the Senate and House. Also on the list are House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron.

“We are encouraging Floridians to thank the officials who stood up for their First Amendment rights by supporting legislation that finally brought an end to the unconstitutional practice of ‘free speech zones’ on college campuses,” Generation Opportunity Florida head Demetrius Minor said.

“Thanks to the efforts of these legislators, free speech will no longer be banished to the hidden corners of our state’s publicly funded campuses.”

Byron and Erika Donalds to headline JMI event

Husband and wife duo Rep. Byron Donalds and CRC Commissioner Erika Donalds will give a behind-the-scenes look at the 2018 Legislative Session and the Constitution Revision Commission during an April event hosted by The James Madison Institute.

Husband and wife team of Byron and Erika Donalds will give a behind-the-scenes look at the 2018 Legislative Session during an April event hosted by The James Madison Institute.

The Tallahassee think-tank event, titled “Inside Sources,” will take place at The Columns, 100 North Duval Street, on April 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Heavy hors-d’oeuvres and drinks will be provided.

Those looking to attend can contact The James Madison Institute at (850) 386-3131 or email JMI’s director of events and logistics, Jessica Brewton, at [email protected]

State bat eviction deadline approaches

Your taxes aren’t the only things due in the middle of April — it’s also the deadline for removing bats from buildings or other privately-owned structures.

Under Florida law, it’s illegal to remove bat colonies — a process known as ‘exclusion’ — from their roosts each year between April 15 and Aug. 15.

The Florida bat eviction approaches.

The reason? According to the Fish and Wildlife Commission, April 15 marks the beginning of bat maternity season, when young bats cannot yet fly and are essentially trapped at the roost.

“During bat maternity season, bats gather to give birth and raise their young,” said Terry Doonan, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologist and mammal conservation coordinator. “The season lasts until the young bats can fly and feed themselves. In Florida, this occurs from mid-April through mid-August for most bat species.”

It is illegal to harm or kill bats in Florida, although guidelines are available for those who want to evict or exclude the flying creatures from specific areas. Florida is home to 13 bat species, which help control insect populations. Across the nation, bats’ insect suppression results in benefits to agriculture valued in the billion-dollar range.

County officials back CRC prop protecting their jobs

County constitutional officers — sheriffs, tax collectors, clerks of the court and property appraisers — came out in support of a Constitution Revision Commission proposal requiring those jobs be chosen via elections.

CRC proposal 13 would bar counties charters from abolishing offices, transferring their duties, altering the length of terms, or eschewing elections.

County constitutional officers are in favor of a CRC proposal requiring those jobs be chosen via elections.

The county officials last year launched Constitutional Officer Resource Experts (CORE), to unite Florida’s constitutional officers and educated the public on their role in the state and the constitutional revision process.

“Proposal 13 will only improve the customer service constitutional officers provide to the citizens they serve. As an elected and independent property appraiser I am able to focus on the process, and if a problem arises, I can fix it quickly. I am able to do this because I am elected and directly accountable to the people,” said Lake County Property Appraiser Carey Baker.

Proposal sponsor and Martin County Clerk of the Court Carolyn Timmann echoed those sentiments, adding that the proposal “is about the framework of our state constitution; it is about trusting and allowing the voters to decide the qualifications and responsibilities for their elected officials.”

Florida Physical Therapy Association lauds opioid legislation

A state-backed move to address the opioid crisis drew praise this week from a group representing more than 6,000 physical therapists in the state.

The Florida Physical Therapy Association commended a comprehensive opioid bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Scott. The group played a supporting role in implementing into the bill mandatory training for physicians who prescribe opioids.

Citing a report released in November by the Florida Medical Examiner’s Commission that showed 5,725 opiate-related deaths in the state in 2016, FPTA President Jamie Dyson said the “seriousness of this epidemic cannot be understated.”

Florida physical therapists are applauding the state’s new opioid regulations.

“This bill which recently passed and was signed into law by Governor Scott hopefully will go a long way toward stemming the death rate by helping patients manage their pain and minimize their risk,” Dyson said. “We pledge that FPTA will continue its work on multiple advocacy fronts to support additional efforts to add to this initial legislation.”

The Florida Physical Therapy Association specifically thanked Gov. Scott and state lawmakers Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto and Rep. Jim Boyd, who championed the legislation through their respective chambers.

Florida No. 1 in building codes

Florida’s buildings can take a beating from hurricanes like no other, according to a new report released by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.

While the Sunshine State topping the list in hurricane hardening might seem like a no-brainer, the 2018 score moves Florida past Virginia for the top spot in the rankings.

Florida scored a 95, one point up from its 2015 score of 94, while the Old Dominion state did the inverse, slipping from 95 to 94 over the three-year stretch.

The report said: “Evidence shows that strong, well-enforced building codes reduce loss and facilitate recovery.”

“This was most apparent in Florida, where nearly 80 percent of homes subjected to Irma’s highest winds were built after adoption of building code improvements following Hurricane Andrew.”

The only thing needed to bring Florida to a perfect score is a continuing ed requirement, so builders and can keep up to date on the residential code.

FSU Law on the rise

Florida State University Law School is the 47th best in the nation, according to the latest batch of U.S. News and World Report rankings.

The new designation is up one spot from last year, showing the university continues to prove itself as a top destination for aspiring legal minds. The school came in at the 24 spot among the nation’s best public law schools.

Florida State University Law School is among the tops in the nation.

FSU and the University of Florida are the best law schools in the state, according to the report. UF ranked 41 across all law schools.

FSU law received the designation for its selectivity and graduation placement rates. It ranks among top law schools for graduate employment, and the 2017 incoming class had a median LSAT of 159 and a median GPA of 3.61.

“We are thrilled that U.S. News continues to rank us among the nation’s top law schools and that we continue to improve in these rankings,” said Dean Erin O’Connor.

It’s not just the law school, FSU says

Florida State’s law school took the No. 47 spot on U.S. News’ list, but that’s not the only fresh entry on the Seminole brag board: graduate programs in criminology, business, education, nursing and engineering all made significant jumps in the publication’s annual rankings.

“These new rankings reflect Florida State University’s ascent in national prominence as one of the top research institutions in the nation,” said Sally McRorie, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “This is evidence of the excellence of our faculty and students across a breadth of disciplines.”

The new rankings put the criminology and criminal justice school in the top-5 nationwide, a two-spot bump.

“We are pleased that our college continues to be recognized as a national and world leader in academic excellence with renowned faculty and highly gifted students,” said Thomas G. Blomberg, dean of the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

The nursing master’s program had the most impressive gain, rising 37 spots in the rankings, while the doctoral program gained 15 places. Both finished at No. 66 nationally. The part-time MBA program also had a dramatic gain — it rocketed up to No. 44 from last year’s No. 71 position.

Education graduate programs rose six spots to No. 46, while the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering climbed seven places. Its public finance and budgeting specialty in the public affairs category moved up eight spots to No. 15.

Leon County public works feted

Leon County picked up some awards from the Big Bend Branch of American Public Works Association earlier this month.

APWA says its awards program “promotes excellence in the management and administration of public works projects by recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, the consultant/architect/engineer, and the contractor who accomplished the projects together.”

Leon County Commission Chair Nick Maddox.

Leon County took home some hardware: The Lake Heritage Dam Improvements won for best Emergency Construction or Repair; the first phase of the Magnolia Drive multiuse trail topped the Multifunction category; the Robinson Road flood relief efforts was the best of the bunch on the Environmental and Stormwater front.

“These award-winning public works projects demonstrate that the Board of County Commissioners is committed to improving safety, protecting our community’s natural beauty, and investing in the future,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Nick Maddox.

Now for this week’s edition of Capitol Directions:

Staff Reports


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, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Daniel Figueroa, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Mike Wright, and Tristan Wood.

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

Sign up for Sunburn