Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 7.3.18
A general view of the Florida Capitol early in the morning Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 in Tallahassee, Fla. (Photo by Phil Sears)

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

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel McAuliffe, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.

Because we took a few days off during #AreTheSchorschesOnAnotherDisneyCruise?, we won’t begrudge our rivals at POLITICO Florida mailing it in just because one of them is on #CaputoVacation.

That said, we begin the morning, with two first-on-#FlaPol items …

The first is about how the Sunshine State is dominating Maverick PAC’s Future 40 list.

Four of the Sunshine State politicos making the 2018 list should be familiar to the Tallahassee crowd: AT&T Florida Vice President Governmental Affairs and Policy J.C. Flores, Anheuser-Busch Companies Region Vice President for State Affairs Jose Gonzalez, RightNOW Executive Director Bettina Inclan and former Volunteer Florida CEO and current Director of AmeriCorps Chester Spellman.

Also making the list were Nicole Gomez, Chief of Staff to the City of North Miami Beach Mayor and Commission; Alexander Gray, Special Assistant to the President for the Defense Industrial Base at the White House Office of Trade & Manufacturing Policy; Audrey Henson, the founder and CEO of College to Congress; and Roy Milan Schultheis, an entrepreneur who started a financing and real estate company, while simultaneously working as chief strategist and partner at a business consulting firm.

The second item is about Sean Spicer making a pair of visits to Florida for new book tour.

Spicer’s book, “The Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President,” is set for release later this month. Spicer is scheduled to hold a book signing in The Villages on August 9 at the Barnes & Noble in Lake Sumter Market Square. Then, on August 10, Spicer will sit down in West Palm Beach at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches.

The new book is set to detail Spicer’s time as press secretary, “shedding new light on the headline-grabbing controversies of the Trump administration’s first year,” according to a release promoting the book tour.


@DTOhi: President Donald Trump has denied Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley’s request to lower flags to half-staff to honor the @capgaznews victims.

@KlasfeldReports: NEW: The government received more than 1.3 million of Michael Cohen‘s files not designated as privileged, partially privileged or highly personal today. The Trump Organization is reviewing the 22,633 remaining files, with a deadline of Thursday.

@ForecasterEnten: So from what I can tell based off an average of live interview of polls over the last month that yes, 2018 would be the largest gender gap on record since at least 1958 for a midterm election.

@BradHerold — Over 800 people in Sanibel this morning to see ⁦@SeanHannity⁩, @RonDeSantisFL and ⁦@MattGaetz⁩. Only thing getting barbecued today is ⁦@AdamPutnam⁩’s record.

@JeffWeinerOS: Today in Very Florida News: an incident report from a local law enforcement agency just arrived, informing that an alligator trapped a 15-year-old girl in a tree, so a deputy shot it with an AR-15.


Democratic gubernatorial candidates debate in Fort Myers — 5; MLB All-Star Game — 14; Deadline for filing claim bills — 29; ‘The Race for Governor’ Democratic gubernatorial debate in West Palm Beach — 30; Start of the U.S. Open — 55; Primary Election Day — 56; College Football opening weekend — 58; NFL season starts — 56; Future of Florida Forum — 85; ‘Before You Vote’ Florida U.S. Senate debate — 112; ‘Before You Vote’ Florida Governor debate — 113; General Election Day — 126; ‘Hamilton’ comes to the Straz Center — 226; 2019 Legislative Session starts — 245.


Bill Nelson expects to oppose Trump’s Supreme Court nominee” via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times — “Obviously I have to wait and see who the nominee is, but if, as President Trump has suggested, he’s going to have a litmus test — and he said this over and over — on Roe V. Wade, then I’m not going to be voting for some justice who’s going to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Nelson said following a Tampa news conference with local environmental advocates. Abortion is not the only key issue Nelson worries about with a new Supreme Court justice. “How about upholding the Affordable Care Act that has given health insurance and health care to 23 million people in this country that never had it before?” Nelson said.


Rick Scott charges Nelson with being Democratic ‘rubber stamp’ on judicial votes” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics — A new ad, “Rubber Stamp,” levies the charges related to judicial votes, asserting that “President Obama nominated more than 300 judges … Nelson did not vote against a single one.” The ad deems Nelson to be “a complete party line politician … a rubber stamp for party leaders [who] voted against Supreme Court Justice [NeilGorsuch.” … “Bill Nelson’s voting history shows that he puts partisan politics before Floridians, even when it comes to something as important as judicial nominations,” said Lauren Schenone, press secretary for Scott for Florida.

To watch the video, click on the image below:


Nelson: Feds must provide answers about reuniting migrant children with parents” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times — “We are deeply concerned by reports of chaotic attempts to reunify parents and children that have been separated at the border,” read a letter to the head of the Department of Health and Human Services signed by Nelson and other Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker. “To help us better understand the current status of reunification efforts, as well as your agencies’ plans to improve and hasten reunification, we request that you provide us with the following information by July 6, 2018, with weekly updates and briefings on your progress until all families are reunited.”


Sean Hannity brings star power to Governor’s race” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — “I want people like Congressman [RonDeSantis, they are the people who have delivered, please help them,” the Fox News host told a crowd of nearly 500 at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott as he kicked off a string of three Florida appearances with DeSantis. Hannity brings some star power to the race and could give DeSantis — who has been trailing in the polls and in fundraising against Adam Putnam — a badly needed boost. According to Ad Week, Hannity had the largest audience of any cable news host in May, with 3.3 million viewers on average. While Hannity offered general praise for DeSantis, he mostly focused on the national political climate and rallying Republicans to get out and vote in November.

Tweet, tweet:


Putnam, Ashley Moody top another Central Florida straw poll” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — This poll was taken Saturday evening among 191 attendees of the Red White & Blue BBQ hosted by three Central Florida Republican women’s clubs: Republicans in Action, Orlando Republican Women Federation, and the Winter Park Republican Women Federation. Putnam easily topped Republican gubernatorial primary rival U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis 125-40, with Bob White and Bruce Nathan each picking up a few votes. Former Circuit Court Judge Moody beat state Rep. Frank White 115 to 41 among top Republican candidates for the Florida Attorney General’s job. Those preferences and margins are consistent with the straw polls conducted last week by the Casselberry Chamber of Commerce and the Seminole Republican Executive Committee.

First on #FlaPol —George Soros’ quarter-mil benefits Andrew Gillum political committee” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics — Gillum has the help of two prominent billionaires, with one of them (Soros) again in late June ponying up $250,000 to Gillum’s Forward Florida political committee. This is the second quarter-million contribution made by Soros to the committee; he has given $700,000 total since the beginning of the campaign cycle, with Alex Soros giving an additional $50,000. Soros’ support shows that Gillum, whose campaign has been bottom-of-the-pack in terms of fundraising throughout much of the 2018 cycle, is enjoying timely help from left-wing billionaires just as voters begin to pay attention.

PolitiFact Florida: Gillum’s largely accurate attack on Philip Levine’s record” via Allison Graves of PolitiFact Florida — Under Levine, Miami Beach “passed a resolution to ban assault rifles, which was not enforceable and never enforced. He passed a resolution to raise the minimum wage, which actually no one got the benefit of because it was not enforced,” Tallahassee Mayor Gillum said June 9 in a debate. Gillum’s claim is largely accurate. He could have been more precise in describing the legislative action Miami Beach took, but his general idea for both initiatives is accurate. The assault weapon “ban” that Levine talks about was a symbolic resolution, not an actual ban. And the minimum wage increase was struck down before taking effect in 2018. We rate this claim Mostly True.

Bob Graham endorses Sean Shaw for Attorney General” via Florida Politics — Graham, Florida’s former Governor and U.S. Senator, on Monday endorsed state Rep. Shaw to be the next Attorney General. The two Democrats appeared at a news conference in Miami. Graham mentioned Shaw’s father, the late Florida Supreme Court justice Leander J. Shaw Jr., as a “pillar of the legal profession in Florida.” He appointed Shaw, who went on to become the state’s first black chief justice, to the court in 1983. His “service on our state’s Supreme Court was a model in what it means to use the law as our great equalizer,” Graham said in a statement. “Sean Shaw is the embodiment of the values his father put into action each day … I am proud to endorse him to be Florida’s next Attorney General because I know he will put those values into action by fighting for common sense gun safety legislation, smart criminal justice reforms, and more resources to fight the opioid epidemic.”

Family ties: Surrounded by local faith and community leaders, former U.S. Sen. and Gov. Bob Graham endorsed Sean Shaw to be Florida’s next Attorney General at a Monday news conference in Miami. Graham had appointed Shaw’s dad, the late Leander J. Shaw Jr., to the state Supreme Court in the 1980s; his daughter Gwen also is running for governor this year.

Assignment editors — U.S. Rep. Al Lawson holds an open house at his campaign headquarters, 4:30 — 7 p.m., 1680 Dunn Avenue, Jacksonville.

An early voice in the ‘abolish ICE’ movement, congressional candidate Chardo Richardson sees profile bump” via Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times — Richardson just got credit from The New York Times for helping start the movement to abolish ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, and he’s gotten an endorsement from the new progressive hero Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “People are finally ready for change. They’re ready to stop corporations from controlling legislation,” Richardson told the Orlando Sentinel after her victory. “If anybody had the ability to win, it was her. And I’m feeling the same here.” The two are members of Brand New Congress, a liberal group that is taking aim at centrists such as U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy. Ocasio-Cortez appeared alongside Richardson at the University of Central Florida last year, where they discussed DACA.

Tweet, tweet:


Florida’s top labor union endorses Lauren Baer” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Florida’s chapter of the AFL-CIO is endorsing Democrat Baer in her bid to unseat one-term GOP Rep. Brian Mast in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. The AFL-CIO is the largest federation of unions in the country. The Florida chapter represents more than 500 local labor unions, ten councils, and more than one million union members, retirees and their families in the state. “Lauren Baer is committed to fighting for workers’ rights,” said Pat Emmert, president of the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast AFL-CIO. “She has the right experience and approach that is required to get things done for workers. Lauren understands that everyone is better off when workers are treated fairly and with respect.”

Alan Grayson puts up ‘Dump Trump’ billboard for CD 9 race” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The former Democratic congressman seeking to win his seat back in Florida’s 9th Congressional District is putting up billboard’s declaring, in huge writing, “DUMP TRUMP,” as a campaign slogan. At least one has appeared, on U.S. Highway 27 in Polk County, featuring Grayson’s picture and the message: “VOTE FOR ALAN GRAYSON AUG. 28 PRIMARY.” It could attract angry Democratic voters in a primary election who might otherwise not be doing much to compare Grayson with his August 28 Democratic primary opponent, incumbent U.S. Rep. Darren Soto.

New TV ad urges Carlos Curbelo to find a solution for families separated at the border” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — Equity Forward Action, a group that seeks to protect access to abortions and reproductive care, is running a television ad in Miami Republican Rep. Curbelo‘s district, urging him to find a solution for families separated at the border. The weeklong, six-figure ad-buy begins today and will run in English. “The U.S. government separated thousands of children from their families,” the ad said. “At every turn, Congressman Curbelo has failed to deliver results. Now we need him to act. Families need to be reunified. Call Congressman Curbelo, tell him to help clean up this mess and hold the administration accountable.” Curbelo tried to pass an immigration bill in the House of Representatives this week that allowed families to be detained together at the border, but the measure failed after all Democrats and nearly half of House Republicans voted against the bill for different reasons.

To watch the video, click on the image below:


—“Humane Society legislative fund endorses Curbelo” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

First in Sunburn — Florida retailers endorse Ed Hooper for SD 16 — The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) PAC is endorsing Hooper, a Republican and former member of the Florida House, in the race for Senate District 16, a Pinellas/Pasco County seat formerly held by Jack Latvala. “As a member of the House, Representative Hooper supported legislation that enhanced Florida’s job creation efforts, including our retail industry,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “As a Senator, we know he’ll continue this effort and work toward ways to make Florida the best state for business.” As a legislator, Hooper focused on reducing taxes and ensuring Florida has the right economic environment for small businesses to flourish, Shalley added. As a state Representative, he was named Deputy Majority Whip and has helped secure billions of dollars in tax relief.

Janet Cruz raises $61K, refunds $10K in June” via Florida Politics — Cruz raised just over $31,000 for her campaign account and another $30,000 for her political committee, Building the Bay PC, during the reporting period ending June 22. Those contributions were offset by about $2,500 in spending and a further $9,300 in refunded contributions. Before Cruz filed for SD 18 in mid-April, she was a candidate for the District 1 seat on the Hillsborough County Commission. She raised nearly $66,000 for the campaign before quitting and moving about $63,000 in unspent funds to her Senate campaign. Those refunds are due to a state campaign finance law that requires candidates to offer prorated refunds to their donors if they switch from one race to another. Since filing for SD 18, 13 donors have asked Cruz for their money back, a dozen of them in June.

South Florida pols back Daphne Campbell’s re-election bidvia Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — As state Sen. Campbell tries to fend off a tough primary challenge from Miami attorney Jason Pizzo, her campaign announced a new round of endorsements from four city commissioners. Commissioners Robert Shelley of Aventura, Anthony DeFillipo of North Miami Beach, Maxwell Chambers of Miramar and Luciano L. Suarez of West Miami all say they’re throwing their support behind the incumbent. They add to the list of local officials backing Campbell as she fights to hold onto her Senate District 38 seat.

Teacher union backs Jason Pizzo for SD 38” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — The state’s largest teacher union is backing Miami attorney Pizzo over incumbent Sen. Campbell in the Democratic primary for Senate District 38. “On behalf of the 140,000 members of the Florida Education Association, we applaud Jason Pizzo’s decision to seek public office. FEA chose to endorse his candidacy as a recognition of his advocacy for teachers and support professionals, as well as his support for neighborhood public schools in Florida,” said FEA President Joanne McCall. … The FEA endorsement comes a few days after Pizzo landed the endorsement of the United Teachers of Dade. Other unions backing his campaign include AFSCME and the Florida AFL-CIO … “For the state of Florida to realize its greatest potential, we must support our educators and school staff so that they can deliver on the promise of a better future,” Pizzo said. “With FEA’s support, we add a trusted partner in the fight to raise teacher pay and provide them the tools and resources they need to shape the next generation of leaders.” … Pizzo was the second-place finisher in the 2016 Democratic primary for SD 38, taking 24 percent of the vote to Campbell’s 31 percent. … The pair were the only candidates to qualify for the ballot in SD 38, meaning all voters, regardless of party affiliation, will get to vote in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary.

Wyman Duggan closing in on Tracye Polson in HD 15 money race” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics — Polson brought in $3,647 to her campaign account, which now has roughly $115,000 on hand; the account of her political committee added another $800, pushing that tally to $14,000 on hand. Polson still leads the money race, but on the strength of his best reporting period since Oct. 2017, Duggan is closing in. Duggan brought in $13,800 to his campaign account in June (pushing the total near $121,000 on hand), driven by establishment support from J.B. Coxwell, W.W. Gay, and CSX Transportation. Running behind Duggan and Polson: the two other Republicans in the race.

—“Clay Yarborough maintains money lead in HD 12 re-election bid” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics

—“In HD 16, incumbent Jason Fischer expands money lead over Democratic challenger” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics


Democratic federal lawmakers from the mostly blue state of Massachusetts have noticed an extreme uptick in intern applications. 

And, writes James Sullivan for The Boston Globe, that could mean more than an excess of coffee and copies on Capitol Hill. 

Per Sullivan, “These young people, part of a generation formerly considered largely unengaged politically, appear primed for action.”

‘No surprise’: A Pew Research Center survey “found that the president’s approval rating is lower among millennials than Generation X’ers or baby boomers.” Similarly, the Harvard Public Opinion Project reported recently that young voters could increase turnout by nearly 30 percent this midterm, compared to 2014. 

The offices: U.S. Representatives Katherine Clark, Joe Kennedy III, Seth Moulton, Jim McGovern and Bill Keating all reported a surge in intern applications. Likewise for Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey. 

Florida connection: Young, wide-eyed students aren’t just looking to work on the Hill. One source in the story works for HeadCount, a group aiming to register young voters. The Parkland survivors who recently launched a two-month tour around the U.S. will coordinate with HeadCount. 


Scott orders money for homelessness preventionvia Florida Politics — Gov. Scott says he instructed “the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to file a budget amendment to redirect funding for homelessness prevention services.” Scott announced the move in a Monday news release. “The Florida Legislature provided DCF spending authority in the FY 2018-19 budget, but did not provide dollars needed to fund these important services,” the news release said. “DCF has identified $3.1 million in funding that may be redirected to help fill this gap — a process which requires legislative approval through the Legislative Budget Commission.” “While it’s concerning that that this funding was not provided in this year’s budget, I am proud that DCF will be able to redirect money to combat homelessness,” Scott said in a statement. “I encourage the Legislature to quickly approve this budget amendment that will fund programs that served nearly 13,000 Floridians last year.”

Scott awards final batch of ‘job growth’ dollars” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — Scott’s office announced more than $16 million from the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund would be set aside for six applicants, with the largest amount, $5.5 million, going for water, sewer and roadway improvements to assist the Florida Crossroads Commerce Park in Marion County. The state’s 2017-2018 budget year ended Saturday. And with the new fiscal year starting Sunday, a second pool of $85 million immediately became available to Scott and — depending on how much he uses — his successor after Scott leaves office in January.

Rick Scott makes money moves.

Pam Bondi up, Carlos Lopez-Cantera down in new wealth report” via the News Service of Florida — With much of her wealth in her home and a condominium, Attorney General Bondi reported a net worth of $1.84 million as of the end of 2017, according to a financial-disclosure report filed last week. Bondi’s net worth was up from about $1.7 million at the end of 2016. Her only reported income was $128,871 from the state. Lt. Gov. LopezCantera had a net worth of $8 million at the end of 2017, down slightly from a year earlier, according to a newly filed financial-disclosure report. A large part of Lopez-Cantera’s assets came from stakes in real estate partnerships in Miami-Dade County. He also reported a $1 million residence in Coral Gables. His $124,256 in state pay was by far his largest source of income during the year.

Latvala prosecution decision will likely come next week” via Florida Politics — The capital area’s top prosecutor said Monday a decision whether to press charges in the Latvala investigation wouldn’t come till next week at the earliest. A spokesperson for State Attorney Jack Campbell said Friday a decision could have come as early as this week. Campbell called Florida Politics Monday morning to say he was now “getting deeper” into the 90-page report. “I am off the Fourth and taking off Thursday and Friday, so I can promise I will not offer an opinion before then,” he said. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has delivered its findings to Campbell, the chief elected prosecutor for the 2nd Judicial Circuit, which includes Tallahassee. Latvala, a former state Senator from Clearwater, was under investigation for months following complaints of sexual misconduct that led to his resignation from office in December.

Teachers union sues over contentious education bill” via Florida Politics — The Florida Education Association (FEA) is asking a court to declare unconstitutional the Legislature’s controversial education bill that could lead to some teacher unions across the state being decertified. Among other things, HB 7055, which took effect July 1, expands the use of voucher-like scholarships to send more public-school students to private schools. But it also “unfairly targets teachers unions — and teachers unions alone — for decertification as local bargaining agents,” the association said in a news release. Its suit, filed in Leon County Circuit Civil court, names members of the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission as defendants because they are charged “with implementing and enforcing the provisions” of the law.

State finally makes progress on 32nd day of SunPass disaster” via Noah Pransky of WTSP — Sources in Tallahassee confirm the Florida Department of Transportation is close to fixing its broken SunPass tolling system. The Florida Turnpike Enterprise (FTE) has slowly started processing a backlog of approximately 100 million toll transactions … larger numbers of transactions are likely to start posting after the July 4 holiday. The electronic tolling upgrade, designed to consolidate many of the state’s large tolling authorities on a single billing system, was supposed to last from June 6-11. However, the state’s chosen contractor, Conduent, had failed to get the system to work properly the entire month.

Families of 17 killed in Stoneman Douglas Shooting to receive $400K each” via NBC Miami — The Broward Education Foundation and the Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund Steering Committee announced they would begin disbursing the money on July 16. The $10.5 million was raised through the official GoFundMe set up after the Feb. 14 tragedy and includes gifts from nearly 37,000 individuals, companies, foundations and organizations. In addition to the money paid to the 17 victims’ families, $1.63 million will go to each of the people injured by a gunshot. Another 434 people who were in the 1200 building when the shooting happened will receive $2,500, and 1,048 who were on campus but not in the building will each receive $1,000.

80 percent of Lake Okeechobee smothered in blue-green algae bloom” via Ed Killer of TCPalm — A European satellite orbiting the Earth captured images showing the algae bloom has grown to encompass nearly all open water on the 730-square-mile lake. “As you can see, the bloom has gotten worse and is more intense,” wrote Michelle Tomlinson, an oceanographer with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the agency distributing the imagery. “We estimate that 80 percent of the lake is covered on June 29, based on the pixels visible in the imagery.” The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said the algae tested in the lake is toxic with microcystin … the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would suspend discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the C-44 Canal for nine days, which began June 30.

NOAA satellite images show Lake Okeechobee is nearly 80 percent covered by a cyanobacteria bloom. (Image via NOAA)

Relocation of Confederate general statue receiving some pushback” via Sasha Cordner of WFSU — A new law took effect allowing a statue of civil rights activist and educator Mary McLeod Bethune be placed in National Statuary Hall, replacing Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith. To get that change over the finish line during the 2018 Legislative Session, the Florida legislature directed the Department of State to make sure Smith’s statue got a proper home that was open to the public … the Lake County Historical Society and Museum won the right to relocate Smith’s statue. Not everyone from St. Augustine agrees with Lake County winning the bid … Tom Graham is the Historic St. Augustine Research Institute Coordinator for Flagler College. He’s also a member of the Confederate Monument Contextualization Advisory Committee in St. Augustine. Graham had hoped his city could win the bid. Others don’t even want Smith’s statue removed from the U.S. Capitol. That includes Kelly Crocker with the Florida Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans … he understands the good intentions behind those who petitioned to have the statue brought to their Florida location. “And, I’m sure that they mean well, but I don’t believe our state property — General Smith’s statue — should be sold to the highest bidder.”

Hearing date set in Rick Fernandez ethics case” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — The hearing is scheduled for Aug. 21-23 at the DeSoto Building before Administrative Law Judge W. David Watkins. However, it’s possible the trial-like proceeding will be pushed back. The Florida Commission on Ethics advocate, Elizabeth Miller, who serves as prosecutor in the case, and Fernandez‘s lawyer, Bucky Mitchell of Tallahassee, indicated in a jointly filed document that they might seek a later date for the hearing. “It is likely the parties may file a joint motion to continue for the court’s consideration,” Miller wrote.

Tasered teen sues FSU, campus copvia Florida Politics — A Jacksonville man is suing Florida State University and FSU Police Officer Christopher Blair for a traumatic brain injury he says he suffered after being zapped by a stun gun. William Wilcox filed his suit in Tallahassee on Friday. Wilcox was one of about 40 people who ran from Blair in July 2014 after he encountered a group breaking a “wooden parking lot barrier arm,” the complaint says … Blair singled out Wilcox, then 18, firing at him with a stun gun … Wilcox fell to the ground, his suit says, striking his head on pavement and suffering “brain bleeds as a result of head trauma.” He now says he suffers “decreased coordination, strength, and communications skills, including writing,” and seeks compensatory and punitive damages from the university.

Local environmentalists marshaling forces to challenge Wakulla Springs protection plan” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat — The Wakulla Springs Alliance has scheduled three meetings over the next 10 days to talk about how to fight a Department of Environmental Protection plan to restore the iconic spring 17 miles south of Tallahassee. And they’ll try to figure out how to pay for it if they do. Critics say the Basin Management Action Plan the Legislature ordered DEP to write to reduce the flow of nitrates into the spring is narrow in scope and weak on enforcement. They have 21 days to decide whether to go to court to get a new plan.


As deadline looms, Trump officials struggle to reunite migrant families via Ted Hesson and Dan Diamond of POLITICO Florida — With a July 10 deadline looming, staffers at the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the division within HHS that oversees the care of unaccompanied children, have received no instructions on how to proceed, the sources say. “It’s been really difficult to start the reunification process because we just don’t have a lot of direction from leadership,” said one official at the refugee office, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “That’s been slowing things up because there’s just been a lot of confusion.” U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw ruled last week that the Trump administration had until July 10 to reunite migrant children under 5 with their parents, and until July 26 to reunite the rest. But the refugee office is still struggling to answer basic questions such as how many children in its custody were separated from their parents.

The Trump administration has only days to start reuniting migrant families. (Image via Getty)

Marco Rubio, Nelson urged election officials to seek help” via the News Service of Florida — Rubio and Nelson encouraged Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and county elections supervisors to use federal Department of Homeland Security resources to protect equipment from “hostile foreign government” interference. In a joint letter to officials across Florida, Rubio and Nelson said “county election boards should not be expected to stand alone” against foreign governments that try to interfere in elections. “DHS (The Department of Homeland Security) will follow your lead and meet your needs with a tailored set of options,” Rubio and Nelson wrote. The letter noted that “Russian government actors” targeted Florida in the 2016 election and that in findings by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, “Russia was preparing to undermine confidence in our voting process and that, in a small number of cases, cyber-actors affiliated with the Russian government accessed voter registration databases.”

Miami-Dade Democratic chair ‘just says no’ to 2020 convention in Miami Beach” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Miami Beach is on the latest shortlist for possible 2020 Democratic National Convention hosts. But now the chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party says the event should be held elsewhere. Juan Cuba released a statement Monday on Twitter bashing Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez for cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in detaining suspected undocumented immigrants. Until that practice ends, Cuba says, the county should not be rewarded with the party’s nominating convention. “It’s been a dream of mine to have a @DNC convention in Miami,” wrote Cuba in a message to the head of the Democratic National Committee. “But, Mr. Chair @TomPerez, it’s with great regret that I urge you to remove Miami from contention until they reverse their anti-immigrant policies of cooperating with ICE to deport our friends & neighbors.” He called out the Miami-Dade mayor by name, saying “Republican @MayorGimenez has made Miami an unwelcoming city for tens of thousands of residents by cowardly cooperating with @realDonaldTrump anti-immigrant executive order.”


Ruth-Ann Spinosa and Laura Spears: Gov. Scott leaving state’s environment in worse shape” via the Gainesville Sun — For instance, with the passage of the 2016 water bill, SB 552, Scott indicated his intention to deregulate critical management of Florida’s water supply, saying that this was “to accommodate our explosive growth and ensure that our state, residents and visitors thrive.” Those deregulatory actions allow increased levels of carcinogenic chemicals like benzene, a contaminant of fracking, into the rivers, lakes and springs that we boat on and in which our kids swim. Worse, an analysis revealed Scott’s financial portfolio, a convenient blind trust, “included several million dollars invested in the securities of more than two dozen entities” that either produced or transported natural gas … Floridians must preserve our gator-laden swamps, cool springs, and miles of sandy beaches … The choice should be as crystal clear as the spring waters that feed our aquifers.


Mali government inks deal with Ballard Partners” via Florida Politics — The West African nation signed a one-year, $300,000 contract with that will see Ballard Partners promote them as “a close working partner of key western countries in the struggles against Islamic extremism and the war against global terrorist groups, such as al-Qaida.” The firm will also spread awareness of Mali’s peace efforts to the American public and attempt to secure funding for the republic via the Millennium Challenge Corp., a federal foreign aid agency set up by Congress in 2004.

— ALOE —

Special Olympics USA Games kicks off — More than 39,000 fans welcomed 4,000 athletes and coaches to the Emerald City — Seattle — for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, a weeklong competition featuring 14 sports, the Healthy Athletes program, and other non-competitive events. With the exception of Washington, Team Florida is bringing the largest delegation to Seattle, with 234 members and 129 athletes. Florida participated in the Parade of Athletes during the Opening Ceremony in the University of Washington’s famous Husky Stadium, followed by a special interview with Shaquem Griffin, former UCF Football captain and current NFL Seattle Seahawks player. Team Florida joins 3,500 competitors from across the country and the District of Columbia to participate in basketball, bocce, bowling, swimming, track & field and Unified soccer events at the premier national sports event for Special Olympics programs in the United States, which runs through Friday. To support or donate to athletes from Florida, visit

The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games begins in Seattle.

Disney announces details on new Star Wars land, Mickey and Minnie and Cars rides” via Sharon Kennedy Wynne of the Tampa Bay Times — Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy will be an “up-close experience” according to Senior Vice President at Walt Disney Imagineering, Kathy Magnum. Visitors will train to become racers alongside the stars of Pixar’s Cars franchise. The new show will be located near Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and also will feature Mater and Cruz Ramirez. Walt Disney World released an artist’s image of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway currently under construction at Hollywood Studios. It looks to be a dark ride with an animated Mickey and Minnie in their own car riding alongside your vehicle. Senior creative director Charita Carter said the ride “is going to break the laws of physics and put you in the animated world.” The previously announced Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will sit on 14 acres and be “the most immersive world” created yet, said Scott Mallwitz, Walt Disney Engineering’s executive creative director. It will put riders in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance and also as a pilot of the Millennium Falcon in a changing interactive experience. The setting of Galaxy’s Edge is the planet of Batuu, and the village of Black Spire Outpost, the largest settlement on that planet.

Happy birthday to Fatima Perez and former state Rep. Dan Raulerson.

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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