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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 2.19.19

Rise ‘n’ shine. Wake up to the best blurbs on politics and policy in Florida.

Breaking overnight — Although Sunburn is not yet ready to head out onto the 2020 presidential campaign trail, when there’s important news we have to share it.

All signs are pointing to announcement this morning from Bernie Sanders, who is expected to confirm that he’s entering the 2020 race. CNN’s Brian Stelter says the announcement could come during an interview with John Dickerson on “CBS This Morning.” You can read more about Sander’s expected rollout plan here.

OK, now back to Florida politics…

Formerly known as “Capitol Days,” The Florida Chamber of Commerce will host its 2019 “Legislative Fly-In” to Tallahassee starting today through Thursday.

This event will provide attendees with an overview of the upcoming 2019 Legislative Session with a focus on the 2019 Florida Business Agenda.

“Job creators from across Florida will gather to focus on making Florida more competitive during the upcoming legislative session, and will also hear from the state’s top elected leaders,” according to a news release.

Key speakers include Attorney General Ashley Moody, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Gov. Ron DeSantis Chief of Staff Shane Strum, and many more.

Click here for a full agenda. While most meetings will be at the Turnbull Conference Center on the campus of Florida State University, a few sessions will be in different locations. See the agenda for details.


It’s that time again: AndrewAndyReiss is adding some names to the lunch menu at Andrew’s restaurant.

Folks in The Process frequent the downtown Tallahassee eatery. Some have been fortunate enough to have menu items named after them.

As the local newspaper once explained: “The restaurant enjoys a tradition of creatively naming menu items after public figures in appreciation for their service.”

On the menu: You know Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey has made it big time with a new dish at Andrew’s restaurant named in his honor.

Coming soon: Dishes taking the namesake of Gov. DeSantis and Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey, among others.

Reiss has said about 40 percent of his yearly sales happen while the Legislature is in town.

“This year’s edition includes new names or titles, including Gov. DeSantis’ DeLicious Salad Bar Buffet and Mayor Dailey’s Caprese Burger,” a news release said.

Cabinet members, lawmakers, and other city and state officials are expected to join Reiss to unveil the menu at 11 a.m.

For a sneak peek at the menu, click here.


Fat Tuesday — 14; 2019 Legislative Session starts — 14; Tampa mayoral election — 14; ‘Captain Marvel’ release — 17; Players Championship begins — 23; St. Patrick’s Day — 26; Jacksonville municipal first election — 28; Major League Baseball season begins — 37; Scott Maddox corruption trial begins — 38; Final season of ‘Veep’ begins — 40; Final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ begins — 54; Easter — 61; 2019 Legislative Session ends (maybe) — 73; 2020 Democratic presidential primary debates start — 108; 2019 General Election — 262; Iowa Caucuses — 349; 2020 General Election — 623.


Fort Lauderdale-based law firm Becker, which has a robust lobbying presence in Tallahassee, will announce today that Mike Grissom is joining its capital city office.

At Becker, the former Enterprise Florida VP will work as the firm’s senior government relations director in its Government Law and Lobbying Practice, where he’ll be able to flex his knowledge on economic development issues.

Mike Grissom

Making the big move: Congrats to Mike Grissom, who goes from Enterprise Florida to the Becker law firm.

“I have had a great relationship with Becker’s founding shareholder, Alan Becker, since his time as Vice Chairman on the board of EFI. I look forward to collaborating with the rest of the top-notch Becker team and assisting our new and existing clients with their economic development issues,” Grissom said.

AT&T Joe York, who is EFI’s Vice Chair added: “Mike has been a powerful advocate of EFI’s mission and a great asset to the organization over the last four years. I have no doubt that his strong relationships and knowledge of economic development policy will serve the Becker firm and its clients well.”


Ron DeSantis posts recommended budget implementing bill — The Governor’s recommendation on an implementing bill is here, along with other revenue-related reports. The suggested legislation include spending details on his education policy proposals, as well as on the elimination of the Agency for State Technology, and moving environmental policing functions from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Ron DeSantis, shown here arriving at a Monday event at Florida International University, has announced his ideas for implementing the 2019 budget. 

Assignment editors — DeSantis will be hosting a NASA Downlink viewing session joined by Frank DiBello, president of Space Florida, 1:15 p.m. Eastern time, Governor’s Large Conference Room, The Capitol. Later, DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez will speak at Space Florida’s Space Day Reception, 5 p.m. Eastern time, 22nd floor.

With Common Core set to go, Florida opens survey on new math, language arts standards” via Lesley Postal of the Orlando Sentinel — Florida’s version of Common Core — called Florida Standards — spells out what students should learn in language arts and math classes, kindergarten through 12th grade, from fractions in fourth grade to conventions of English grammar in seventh grade. The Florida Standards Assessments, dubbed FSA, will have to be replaced, too, once new standards are adopted. The education department, in a memo, said FSA would remain in place through 2019-20 school year, and the state will hold off adopting new math or language arts textbooks until agreeing upon new standards.


Hurricane budget proposals continue piling up” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — As of Monday morning, more than 100 proposed projects seeking nearly $500 million were directed at recovery from the October hurricane, along with other projects to bulk up facilities statewide against future storms. Rep. Jayer Williamson proposed about $85 million in storm-related requests during the past week. That included requesting $21 million for Panama City municipal operations (HB 4349), $6.25 million for road repairs and traffic safety in Bay County (HB 4359) and $8.5 million to repair the city of Mexico Beach pier (HB 4453).

Big ask: Jayer Williamson is seeking around $85 million in storm-related aid for his Panhandle area district.

Tax break bill for hurricane victims still in the works” via Patrick McCreless of the Panama City News-Herald — The House bill, filed last week and expected to be signed into law within a few weeks, would provide penalty-free early access to retirement savings and make it easier to qualify for personal casualty loss deductions. The bill would also provide tax relief to help businesses retain employees and let taxpayers refer to earned income from the previous year for determining earned income tax credits and child tax credits. Co-sponsored by Republican Reps. Neal Dunn, and South Carolina’s Tom Rice.

No bailout for industry needed, dog racing ban backer tells lawmakers” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — One of the main proponents of the state’s recently passed ban on dog racing is now telling legislators it’s “not necessary” to pass a bill “implementing” Amendment 13 — and that includes a bailout for the greyhound industry. But an industry lobbyist says it’s absolutely needed — and required. Dogs “are personal property, and property has value,” says Paul Hawkes, a former appellate judge and now a lobbyist for the Florida Greyhound Association. Carey M. Theil, executive director of GREY2K USA Worldwide, a greyhound protection group, says “such legislation is not necessary by any means.”

Debbie Mayfield looks to tie vaping, smoking tobacco” via the News Service of Florida — Sen. Mayfield wants to define vaping products with tobacco products, a move that would allow lumping electronic cigarettes into anti-smoking marketing efforts. Mayfield said she wants to change the definition of tobacco products in state law to extend to all “recreational” nicotine products, including electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine. “Currently, retailers that sell electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine products do not have to comply with the same restrictions and requirements that tobacco retailers do,” the news release said. “This bill will require the same accountability, allowing law enforcement to verify that the retail businesses are only selling tobacco products to patrons that are 18 years of age and older.”

Searching for a definition: Debbie Mayfield wants to define vaping, and lump it with tobacco products, as a part of the state’s anti-smoking marketing effort. Image via Phil Sears.

Will Robinson wants lottery sales over the counter, not the internet” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — State Rep. Robinson wants to make sure every ticket for the Florida Lottery gets purchased over a retailer counter, not through a shady website. The Bradenton Republican said the Lottery shouldn’t venture in that direction. He cited a proliferation of third-party websites claiming affiliation with the state-run gambling enterprise but which actually just mark up prices.

Lawmakers target insurers over genetic tests” via the News Service of Florida — A House Republican filed a proposal that would mostly block life-insurance companies from using genetic-test results in deciding whether to cancel, limit or deny coverage to customers.  HB 879, filed by Republican Rep. Williamson of Pace, also would apply to long-term care insurers and is identical to a measure (SB 258), presented last month by Republican Sen. Aaron Bean of Fernandina Beach. Lawmakers will consider the proposals during the Legislative Session. The change would take effect with policies issued or renewed in January 2020.

Bill would allow students to ditch advanced math for industry certifications” via Travis Gibson of the St. Augustine Record — State Sen. Travis Hutson introduced a bill that would dramatically change traditional four-year graduation requirements for high school students by doing away with the requirement to pass some advanced math and science courses. Under the proposed bill, SB 770, students would be able to replace high-level courses with various industry certifications that are already in place. The option would help students find an alternative to the college track, Hutson said, and allow them to be workforce ready upon graduation.

Bills would allow storm migrants to obtain Florida licenses” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — People fleeing natural disasters to Florida would be able to more easily obtain driver’s licenses and professional licenses in the Sunshine State under bills filed by Democratic state Sen. Victor Torres and Democratic state Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil. Under Senate Bill 978 and companion House Bill 391, if someone flees to Florida because of a hurricane or other natural disaster that person could apply for a Florida driver’s license or a professional license and have the existing license from the previous state or U.S. territory recognized for a transfer of jurisdiction without fees or applications.

Sneak preview: Film industry funding’s first take comes today” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Sen. Joe Gruters has picked up the mantle with SB 526, which would create the “Film, Television, and Digital Media Targeted Grant Program.” Under that proposal, Movies with a $1.5 million-plus budget, shows spending more than $500,000 per episode, TV pilots weighing in at $1 million and up, or streaming content projects backed by at least $1.5 million would be eligible for tax credits, so long as 60 percent of that cash was spent in Florida and 60 percent of those working on them were state residents. That bill will go before its first Senate panel, the Gruters-chaired Commerce and Tourism Committee.

Today’s legislative committee meetings

The House Ways & Means Committee will receive a presentation about Florida’s corporate income tax and federal tax reform, 8 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building.

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee will hear presentations from Ken Lawson, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, and Jamal Sowell, president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, 10 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building.

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee will take up a bill (SB 540), filed by Sen. Lauren Book, that would take a series of steps to try to curb human trafficking, 10 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building.

The Senate Health Policy Committee will consider a series of bills, including a proposal (SB 366), filed by Sen. Oscar Braynon, to expand a needle-exchange program for intravenous drug users, 10 a.m., 412 Knott Building.

The House Education Committee will hold a panel discussion on school choice, 11 a.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building.

The House Health & Human Services Committee will hold a workshop on suicide prevention, with speakers expected from the Department of Children and Families, Florida State University and the University of Central Florida, 11 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building.

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will take up a bill (SB 322), filed by Sen. David Simmons, to provide a contingency for people with pre-existing medical conditions if the federal Affordable Care Act is ever repealed or invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court, 12:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building.

The Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee will consider a proposal (SB 128), filed by Sen. Bean, to make changes in child-abuse laws, including addressing cases in which children die or suffer more-severe injuries because they were not properly restrained in vehicles, 12:30 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up a bill (SB 168), filed by Sen. Gruters, that seeks to prevent “sanctuary cities” in Florida, 12:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building.

The House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee will hold an investigative hearing on the University of Central Florida’s improperly using operating funds to pay for building projects, 2 p.m., 404 House Office Building.

The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee will consider a proposal (SJR 362), filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, to abolish the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, 2:30 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building.

The House State Affairs Committee will take up a bill (HB 75), filed by Rep. Clay Yarborough, to expand the circumstances in which law-enforcement agencies can use aerial drones, 3 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building.

The Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee will consider a proposal (SB 76), filed by Sen. Wilton Simpson, to allow law-enforcement officers to pull over motorists for using cellphones while driving, 4:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building.

Assignment editors — Freedom Partners Chairman Mark Holden will join state Sens. Brandes and Keith Perry, as well as criminal justice advocates, for a news conference on Senate Bill 642 and House Bill 705, also known as the Florida First Step Act, in front of the Senate chamber, 4th floor Rotunda.

Happening today — Brandes will take part in a screening of the HBO film “The Sentence.” The screening, hosted by the Project on Accountable Justice and FAMM, will be preceded and followed by a panel discussion on criminal-justice reform, 5:30 p.m., Challenger Learning Center, IMAX Theatre, 200 South Duval St., Tallahassee.

Governors Club Tuesday lunch buffet menu — Potato leek soup; mixed green salad; sweet potato and apple salad; Tuscan bean salad; deli board with charcuterie, cheese, bread and accompaniments; Ronnie’s fried chicken; roast pork loin with warm applesauce; blackened snapper; mashed potatoes; squash casserole; green beans; and lemon meringue pie for dessert.


Heartland Parkway is the toll road that wouldn’t die” via Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times — Former Gov. Charlie Crist killed it in 2007. The Florida Department of Transportation killed it in 2011 and again in 2015. Then Crist’s successor, Rick Scott, nixed it one more time in 2016. It is supposed to be kaput. Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Ann Howard said last week: “Officially, we don’t have it in the works.” Yet somehow the big highway with a folksy name keeps clawing its way back out of the grave. Bill Galvano said he wasn’t specifically thinking of the Heartland Parkway, but something following that same route that would also bring in water and sewer lines to rural areas now using wells and septic tanks. He wants $125 million to get the planning started.

Brightline’s options less clear than its need for capital” via Jeff Ostrowski of the Palm Beach Post — Despite growth in ridership, Brightline’s revenue from fares remains below projections. Financial experts say it’s unclear how long Virgin Trains USA can continue to operate after putting the brakes on a stock offering that would have raised nearly $500 million. “As we explored a public offering, a number of alternative financing sources became available that allow us to keep the company private and meet our growth strategies,” said Ben Porritt, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Virgin Trains USA. With a cash flow of negative $6.8 million per month, the money-losing parent of the Brightline train service must look outside passenger revenue for a financial lifeline.

Alternative financing: Brightline is working to amass the private funds for its planned expansion. Image via Brightline.

State challenges pot dispensary ruling” via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida — Attorneys for the Department of Health filed a notice that said they were challenging a Feb. 1 ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers. Gievers sided in the case with the medical-marijuana firm Trulieve, finding that the limit on dispensaries violated a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana. The 2017 law, in part, limited the number of licenses for marijuana operators and set an initial cap of 25 dispensaries for each operator. The cap, which gradually increases as the number of eligible patients in a statewide database increases and is now at 30, is slated to end in 2020.

Stop using our name, The Florida Bar says — The Bar is suing a for-profit company that’s calling itself “The Florida Bar Association” on claims of trademark infringement and unfair competition, according to a complaint filed this month in Leon County. The firm is selling “goods and services,” including online continuing education courses, under a “confusingly similar name” to the Bar that “improperly implies association and endorsement.” The Bar officially regulates the state’s 100,000-plus lawyers. (In fact, the Bar’s emails often end with the disclaimer: “Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and “Association” is not part of our name.”) The defendant company’s address goes to a ‘virtual office’ store in downtown Tallahassee. Its registered agent rebuffed the Bar’s requests to change its name, the complaint says. The Bar, which seeks a court order forcing the company to change its name, is represented by Greenberg Traurig’s Barry Richard and Michael Moody.


Ron Book led the pack in 4Q legislative lobbying pay” via Florida Politics — Pound for pound, Book, Rana Brown and Kelly Mallette consistently earn more legislative lobbying fees than any other trio in the Capitol. That usually earns them the No. 3 spot behind much larger firms, such as Ballard Partners and Southern Strategy Group. Not so in the fourth quarter — Book and Co. collected more legislative lobbying fees than any other firm (no caveat or asterisk required). Their fourth-quarter report shows $2.25 million in legislative lobbying fees, edging out the No. 2 finisher by $180,000. Range reporting usually leads to a lot of variation between minimum and maximum compensation figures. In Book’s case, there’s no speculation needed about $885,000 of those estimated earnings, as seven clients cracked the top end of the top range.

Leader of the pack: Ron Book is consistently among the top earners in legislative lobbying fees.

Adams St. Advocates earned $745K in 2018” via Florida Politics — According to newly filed compensation reports, the three-member team at lobbying firm Adams St. Advocates collected an estimated $745,000 in fees last year. if their 21 legislative and 18 executive contracts measured in at the max, Claudia DavantRebecca Roman and new addition Amanda Gorman could have earned nearly $1.25 million for their efforts. … Two clients shared the top spot on the cumulative legislative report: Florida Pharmacy Association and Quidel Corporation. Each paid $60K for legislative work, and Florida Pharmacy Association pitched in another $60,000 for exec work, making it the firm’s top client overall.

Greenberg Traurig snags $7.7M in 2018 lobbying pay” via Florida Politics — When lobbying compensation reports hit, international firm Greenberg Traurig typically posts one of the top-5 earnings reports among Florida’s many consulting shops. Last quarter was no different. Thanks to robust performance in the October through December reporting period — and the three preceding it — the firm is boasting total earnings of $7.7 million in 2018. Insurance industry clientele dominated the top of the earnings report — Heritage Property & Casualty Insurance Company was the top-paying client overall No. 1, paying $185,000 for GT to work its magic in the legislature and another $170,000 for exec lobbying. … top-end estimates indicate Greenberg Traurig could have earned more than $11 million last year.


Jacksonville faces ‘urgency emergency’ as community leaders, lawmakers seek help after six homicides” via Dan Scanlan of the Florida Times-Union — Sen. Audrey Gibson joined community leaders and city politicians to urge Sheriff Mike Williams to “step up and speak up and tell us what’s going on.” Gibson also said a curfew for young and old should be instituted, and that she would like to see the Florida Highway Patrol invited to help the Sheriff’s Office, saying our city “is on fire.” “I believe the funeral homes, and no disrespect to them or any deceased person, are the biggest business in Jacksonville right now. I am so over it,” Gibson said.

City on fire: Audrey Gibson talks with community leaders and the media to urge Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams to address a troubling trend of recent murders. Image via WJCT.

Why is the United Arab Emirates flying Florida swat teams to Dubai?” via Ben Conarck of Florida Times-Union — Dubai police have come under criticism for arresting people for posting videos to social media that are critical of the government or otherwise deemed offensive. Undeterred, sheriff’s offices from Flagler, Alachua, and Osceola counties — along with the New York Police Department — recently flew to Dubai to learn from those police agencies on trips subsidized by the UAE’s Interior Ministry. The three Florida agencies and the NYPD were the only four American law enforcement agencies invited to the competition, which stretched from February 4 to 14, according to the event’s agenda.

Hialeah least diverse among large American cities, study says” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — A study of U.S. cities puts Hialeah dead last in terms of ethnic and cultural diversity, according to numbers gathered by WalletHub. The researchers collected data on 501 U.S. cities, measuring diversity in three different categories: ethnic makeup of the population, what types of languages were spoken, and from what regions the residents hailed. With 96 percent of its residents identified as Hispanic or Latino, Hialeah — population 239,673 as of 2017 — was the most homogeneous of any city the study looked at.

Hillsborough educators are poised to reject state efforts to allow armed teachers” via Marlene Sokol of the Tampa Bay Times — No one has voted yet, but it looks like Hillsborough County is giving the idea of armed teachers a hard no. In response to a bill that allows districts to introduce armed teachers into the schools, the Hillsborough School Board plans to vote Tuesday on a resolution opposing it.

Six names forwarded to Governor to replace Karen Gievers” via Florida Politics — Two lawyers who lost recent judicial elections are among the six finalists to replace outgoing Circuit Judge Gievers of Tallahassee. Fred Dudley, a former lawmaker and Tallahassee attorney who chairs the 2nd Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, released the list. Gov. DeSantis now has 60 days to make the appointment. To find out who made the cut, click here.


Donald Trump pleads with Venezuela’s military to back Juan Guaidó” via Zeke Miller of The Associated Press — “You will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything,” Trump said in a speech at Florida International University in Miami before large American and Venezuelan flags. “We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open.” The Venezuelan military could play a decisive role in the stalemate but has largely remained loyal to Nicholás Maduro. In remarks on state television, Maduro accused the U.S. president of speaking in an “almost Nazi-style” and lashed out at Trump for thinking he can deliver orders to Venezuela’s military. “Who is the commander of the armed forces, Donald Trump from Miami?” Maduro said.

Ron DeSantis addressed the Venezuelan community at Florida International University and joined Donald Trump to speak directly to Venezuelans about the ongoing situation in the country and the need for humanitarian aid.

Man with banner scales crane before Trump speech in Florida” via The Associated Press — The man spent about two hours atop the crane at the edge of Florida International University’s campus in the Miami suburb of Sweetwater. Sweetwater Police Chief Placido Diaz said the man forced his way onto the construction site and scaled the crane to make a political statement. He faces multiple charges, including trespassing. WPLG-TV reports the man’s banner read, ″Mr. Presidente, Please have mercy for E. Arocena.” The words “Cuban exile” were written at the top of the banner.

Give South Florida Venezuelans protected status, congress members urge” via Yvonne H. Valdez of the Sun Sentinel’s — Just hours before President  Trump was to discuss the crisis in Venezuela with South Florida exiles from that country, four local Democratic Congressional representatives said he shouldn’t visit the region without a plan to grant protected status to Venezuelans. ‘The president should have nothing to do in South Florida if he does not plan to extend a TPS for Venezuelans,” said U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, who challenged Trump not to come to Florida without solutions.”

Census fight could affect political numbers” via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida — The Supreme Court agreed to take up the U.S. Department of Commerce’s appeal of a lower-court ruling that would prevent the census from using a question about citizenship. Opponents of asking about citizenship argue it would lead to noncitizens and groups such as Hispanics were less likely to participate in the census because of concerns the information could be used against them or family members. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman wrote in a wide-ranging ruling last month that including the citizenship question could hurt Florida and other states with large immigrant populations in the once-a-decade congressional reapportionment process that will follow the Census.

Neal Dunn pushes for Amazon consideration of Panama City/Tallahassee HQ via TaMaryn Waters of the Tallahassee Democrat — Dunn on Friday wrote Amazon with the hopes of nudging interest in a Panama City/Tallahassee HQ2 after the world’s largest online retailer announced plans to back away from a New York location. A day after the company’s announcement, the Republican Congressman sent Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos a one-page letter describing how the Florida Panhandle is coming back after Category 4 Hurricane Michael’s devastation and is rebuilding “better than ever.”

Happening today — U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and other members of Congress — including Frederica Wilson and Donna Shalala — will visit the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Migrant Children and then hold a news conference and a roundtable discussion; shelter visit at 10:30 a.m. and news conference at 11:30 a.m., Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children, 960 Bougainville Blvd., Homestead. Roundtable at 1:15 p.m., 12851 S.W. 42nd St., Miami.


DeSantis redefines public education” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — What is remarkable is the rhetoric coming from the governor. DeSantis actually stood at a private school in Orlando and said, “If the taxpayer is paying for education, it’s public education.’’ That is absurd. It redefines the meaning of public education in Florida and the nation. It also flies in the face of the Florida Constitution. Exactly where does the state Constitution say the governor and the Florida Legislature can meet that “paramount duty’’ by diverting public tax dollars to private religious schools?

Joe Gruters: Sanctuary bill not a base issue” via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — The Herald-Tribune recently ran a disappointing opinion piece criticizing me for introducing legislation banning sanctuary cities in Florida — legislation that would stop any municipalities from freeing criminal illegals or just refusing to cooperate with immigration officials enforcing the law. Apparently, the Republican base is considerably larger than anyone knew. Banning sanctuary cities has consistently had overwhelming support from the American people and Floridians. A Harvard-Harris Poll in 2017 found 80 percent of Americans believe communities should comply with federal immigration authorities. A 2018 IBD/TIPP Poll found nearly two-thirds of the public oppose sanctuary cities, including 44 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Hispanics. So, the suggestion that this is about pandering to the base is just obviously incorrect.


Anne Corcoran joins Nelson Mullins in TallahasseeCorcoran, wife of former House Speaker and now Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, joined the law firm’s Tallahassee office. “She will focus her practice on project development and finance, with an emphasis on industrial development projects,” a news release said. Corcoran, who’s spent almost 20 years in private practice, also has been an assistant state attorney in the 5th Judicial Circuit for Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion, and Sumter counties. “She founded and managed a charter school, overseeing all legal issues, including … charter school law compliance, for a charter school with more than 90 employees and 1,000 students, (and) a budget of more than $6 million,” the release said. She’s also a board member of Tallahassee Classical School, part of the Hillsdale College Barney Charter School Initiative.

Rob Lorei fired at WMNF after 40 years” via William March of the Tampa Bay Times — Lorei, an iconic figure in Hillsborough County politics and broadcasting, has been fired from his job as news and public affairs director at WMNF, the nonprofit “community radio” station he helped found some 40 years ago. Lorei, 64, said he intends to continue, at least for now, the “Florida This Week’’ political panel show he hosts on Tampa’s WEDU. “I don’t contemplate any legal action,’’ Lorei said. “What I hope is that the board and the listeners will recognize how much I put my heart and soul into making WMNF a success and I hope they don’t take this lightly.”

Rob Lorei is leaving WMNF, the public-supported radio station he helped found 40 years ago.

— ALOE —

Joe Henderson: Publix formula for success: cleanliness, competence & consistency” via Florida Politics — Fortune magazine has ranked the Lakeland-based grocery behemoth No. 12 on its list of the 100 best places to work in the country. It also ranked Publix No. 1 in the big-company category. In its review, Fortune said: “This gargantuan grocer offers aisles full of perks: tuition reimbursement, a stock purchase program (that is) open to all employees, and even on-site ESL (English as Second Language) classes at many locations.” The magazine reported that 89 percent of its employees say it’s a great place to work.

Super Snow Moon: What you need to know to see Tuesday’s lunar spectacle” via Josh Fiallo of the Tampa Bay Times — February’s offering will be slightly less exciting — it will remain its standard white color — but will still give good reason to look up. The moon’s diameter will appear to be about 14 percent greater than an average full moon, while its brightness is expected to be near 30 percent more than usual. The moon will technically reach peak fullness Tuesday morning around 10:54 a.m. but won’t be visible to Floridians at that time. Instead, viewers will have to wait until moonrise. Tuesday’s Super Snow Moon will be the second of three projected supermoons in 2019, with the third coming in March.

Super Snow Moon: On Tuesday, the moon will look about 14 percent larger than normal — the second of three projected supermoons in 2019.

What Mike Griffin is reading: “Bern’s Steak House heads to New York City to cook third James Beard House dinner” via Michelle Stark of the Tampa Bay Times — Chad Johnson of Haven and the Epicurean Hotel’s upscale restaurant Élevage, Jonathan Atanacio of Elevage, Habteab Hamde of the flagship Bern’s Steak House and Courtney Orwig of Haven are the chefs representing Tampa’s storied steak house in Manhattan this week. Menu items include foie gras torchon with pear, Thai peppercorn and Jamison B Breadhouse (an Ybor City bakery) brioche; Tasso-style duck breast with cèpe chaurice, egg and collard green gumbo; dry-aged beef chateaubriand with foie gras flan, bacon, wild mushroom, fingerling potato and Brussels sprouts; and chocolate hazelnut marquis with passion fruit, brandied cherries and chestnuts. Plus, wine to complement each course, chosen by Bern’s sommelier Gregory Mayer.


Best wishes to our man in Las Vegas, Andy Abboud, as well as Michael Williams of CoreMessage. Belated wishes to former state Rep. Marlene O’Toole.

Today’s Sunburn was written by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.

Written By

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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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

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