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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 3.1.19

Florida politics and Sunburn – perfect together.

In case you haven’t heard, state Rep. Kristin Jacobs of House District 96 will not be present for the opening of the 2019 Legislative Session on Tuesday.

But the Coconut Creek Democrat’s absence will be more than understandable — Jacobs is facing daily chemotherapy and radiation treatments for a reoccurrence of colorectal cancer.

Godspeed: We wish all the best to Kristin Jacobs, the Coconut Creek Democrat who is finishing up her treatment for colorectal cancer. She is expected back at The Capitol for the 2nd week of Session. Image via the Florida House.

Both treatments, which Jacobs has undergone twice per day, were supposed to end Friday, but an extended hospital stay earlier in the week delayed the treatment schedule. She now plans to wrap the chemo and radiation treatments next week.

Fortunately, doctors say her cancer has not metastasized. Once treatments are completed, she will be available to return to The Capitol for Session.

A separate surgery to completely remove the remnants of the tumor is set for some time after Session ends.

While she is away, several of Jacobs’ colleagues have committed to help her navigate several of the bills she filed, which include measures on sober homes and an effort to set up a compensation fund for victims of the Parkland shooting.

“All of the leadership knows, and different members and chairs of committees have stepped up to move my bills along which is amazing,” Jacobs said.

“I’m really humbled and blessed.”

Jacobs’ cancer was first spotted in 2016. Her original treatment schedule did not cause her to miss any legislative assignments, and she had thought the cancer was gone for good.

“But it turns out that they didn’t get all of it,” Jacobs says of the original battle. “Some little part that was missed grew back.”

“It hasn’t metastasized anywhere else in the body,” she added. “So, if there’s any good news in all of this, it’s that it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.”

All of us at Florida Politics wish Jacobs the best and a speedy recovery.


@MarcoRubio: the last few hours another 156 Venezuelan soldiers have defected & pledged support to the interim government of @jguaido. Over the last five days, 567 members of the Venezuelan military have abandoned the Maduro Regime.

@SamanthaJoRoth: .@SenRickScott on @mattgaetz [Michael] Cohen tweet: “It’s embarrassing, he shouldn’t be doing that up here. He shouldn’t be trying to intimidate anyone

@FLCaseyDeSantis: Today I had the opportunity to meet firsthand with those affected by Hurricane Michael. @FLSERT Director Jared Moskowitz, @katiepatronis and I heard directly from government officials, business leaders, community members and students about the ongoing efforts to rebuild.

@SMarstiller: I don’t know about you, but I’m going to miss my #BlackHistoryMonth tweets. Seriously, I not only learned something new with each tweet, but I also was inspired over and over again by each person’s determination to succeed despite seemingly insurmountable barriers.

@NewsBySmiley: .@TomPerez had hoped to announce a 2020 convention host site by the end of February. Ain’t happening

@DrNealDunnFL2: Recently, I met with Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried & State Forester & Director of the Florida Forest Service Jim Karels. We discussed how the state & federal governments can work together to help our farmers, foresters, and ranchers recover from Hurricane Michael.

@JamesGrantFL: I’m old enough to remember when @CPAC was known for attracting intellectually honest and thoughtful conservatives.

@JimRosicaFL: Condolences to state Sen. @VicTorres_FL on the recent loss of his mother. Services will be held in New York and Puerto Rico over next several days, spox says.

@GNewburn: Wondering what will happen if you, a Republican legislator, hop off the fence and become a real, *vocal* champion of criminal justice reform? Not much, I guess, except you’ll be lauded as a hero everywhere you go. If you’re into that sort of thing, consider joining us!

@Daniel_Sweeney: By the way, for South Florida folks who want to track what’s happening during the legislative session, follow the @SunSentinel’s @SkylerSwisher, who will be there for the duration. Godspeed, Skyler!


Fat Tuesday — 4; 2019 Legislative Session starts — 4; Tampa mayoral election — 4; ‘Captain Marvel’ release — 7; Players Championship begins — 13; St. Patrick’s Day — 16; Jacksonville municipal first election — 18; Major League Baseball opening day — 27; Scott Maddox corruption trial begins (maybe) — 27; Final season of ‘Veep’ begins — 30; Masters Tournament begins — 41; Final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ begins — 44; Easter — 51; 2019 Legislative Session ends (maybe) — 63; Mother’s Day — 72; Memorial Day — 87; 2020 Democratic presidential primary debates start — 98; 2019 General Election — 252; Iowa Caucuses — 339; 2020 General Election — 613.


Pro-choice billboards will greet lawmakers driving to Session” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — It’s part of a campaign by the Floridians for Reproductive Freedom coalition. The billboards will be concentrated on the major roads leading into Tallahassee, with more on Interstate 10, Interstate 75 and Florida’s Turnpike. “Our goals are to support the one in four women who have had, or will have an abortion in this country, and remind leaders in our state that abortion care is health care,” said Charo Valero, state policy director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. The English and Spanish-language billboards are part of coordinated messaging that also includes online advertising, college campus promotions and a social media blitz. There will also be a mobile billboard at the Capitol.

Welcome to Session: A pro-abortion group has purchased several billboards in the Tallahassee area — as well as along I-75, I-95, and I-10 — to greet lawmakers as they arrive for the 2019 Legislative Session, part of a renewed push for women’s reproductive rights.


Ron DeSantis pins the blame on sheriff for shootings” via Dara Kam of the News Service of Florida — The bill of particulars in Scott Israel’s case, filed by DeSantis lawyer Nicholas Primrose, includes specific allegations related to the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and an attack at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. “Mr. Israel neglected his duty and/or was incompetent in failing his paramount statutory responsibility to be the ‘conservator of the peace’ in Broward County,” in violation of Florida law, Primrose wrote. The bill of particulars also charges Israel with “failing to protect the life” of each of the 22 shooting victims, identifying them individually by name. The “scandalously false allegations that the sheriff is responsible for the deaths of any of these victims is outrageous,” Kuehne said Israel’s attorney, Benedict Kuehne.

‘Incompetent’: Ron DeSantis is resting much of the responsibility for two recent mass shootings squarely on the shoulders of suspended Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.

DeSantis meets with N.Y. financial leaders to tout Florida’s business climate — The Governor held meetings with TIAA, Macquarie, Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company, LLC, BDO, JPMorgan Chase and DTCC to discuss the additional steps the administration is taking to “deregulate and increase investment our state.” DeSantis said in a statement: “I want companies and institutions in the financial and banking sector … to know that Florida is a place where businesses can do well without having to face some of the political hostility that they deal with in other parts of the country. Our posture here is one of welcoming, not one of demagoguery and prejudice.”

Water district returns John Miklos, other members to board” via Dinah Voyles Pulver of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — Turns out the St. Johns River Water Management District acted too quickly in removing the names of three people from its board member webpage after DeSantis rescinded 167 appointments by his predecessor. District officials decided that the trio included in the governor’s list released were not supposed to be booted from the board after all. Its controversial chairman, John Miklos, and board members Allan Roberts and Janet Price are all to remain on the board and could serve through the end of the Legislative Session.

Florida education department creates new post to focus on ‘innovation’” via Jeffrey Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times — Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has created a new post in the Department to deal with some of the state’s most high profile education initiatives. Eric Hall, who grew up in Tampa and holds several University of South Florida degrees, will become the state’s first chancellor for innovation. The news was first announced by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, where Hall had been deputy state superintendent of innovation for just less than a year. The year before that he ran the state’s Innovative School District, which oversees one struggling elementary school that has been taken over by an outside operator. Before that, Hall led Communities in Schools North Carolina for four years.

Casey DeSantis tours Northwest Florida, hosts Hurricane Michael listening session — First Lady DeSantis toured areas affected by Michael and hosted a recovery listening session at Lynn Haven Elementary School. She was joined by Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz and Katie Patronis, a Panama City resident and wife of CFO Jimmy Patronis, The First Lady heard directly from government officials, business leaders and community members concerning the ongoing recovery efforts. DeSantis and Moskowitz met with students and teachers who were impacted by Michael. “Each person’s story and perspective is important … the long-term recovery efforts and community impacts will continue far into the future,” she said. “To all those affected by the storm, know that Ron and I hear you and we will never stop fighting for Northwest Florida.”

Never stop fighting: First Lady Casey DeSantis joined Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz and Katie Patronis, wife of CFO Jimmy Patronis, for a roundtable listing event in Lynn Haven focusing on Hurricane Michael recovery.

Epilogue — The end: Adam Putnam’s personal goodbye to state workers” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — It’s more of a historical footnote now, but former Agriculture Commissioner Putnam recorded a farewell video to his workers during his final days in office. The three-and-a-half-minute clip was distributed internally to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services employees … Putnam served eight years as the commissioner before losing the GOP primary for Governor last year to DeSantis. “I’ve often said that culture eats strategy for lunch and so it is here. Our culture must be preserved. Never lose sight of the people, the industries, the traditions, the heritage that we all fight and work for every day.”


José Oliva calls women the ‘host body’ while supporting restrictive abortion legislation” via the Daily Beast — “Well the challenge there is that there are two lives involved,” House Speaker Oliva told CBS Miami. “So, where I believe that we should stay out of people’s lives, I don’t believe that people’s lives should be taken. It’s a complex issue because one has to think, well there’s a host body and that host body has to have a certain amount of rights because at the end of the day it is that body that that carries this entire other body to term. But there is an additional life there … And the question that we have to ask ourselves is: What is the limit to which we are going to give one person complete power over the life of another?”

Bill Galvano ends legal battle over botched budget website — With more than $5.5 million in state money down the drain for the never-launched “Transparency 2.0” website, Senate President Galvano agreed to a settlement to avoid further litigation costs. As reported by Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO Florida, a firm run by former legislative staffer Anna Mattson was given a no-bid contract by then-Senate President Mike Haridopolos to develop the website, which was supposed to help lawmakers and staff connect the dots across various line items in the state budget. The site never worked, so Senators refused to pay the final $500,000 of the contract, which spurred a legal battle. Galvano settled the dispute in December, agreeing to pay the firm and its attorneys $450,000.

Let’s settle this: Senate President Bill Galvano is ending a lawsuit over a ‘Transparency 2.0’ website in 2016 that never materialized.

DEP could get law enforcement duties” via the News Service of Florida — The bill (SB 1502), filed by Senate Appropriations Chair Rob Bradley would transfer the commission’s duties related to an investigation of environmental crimes and enforcement of such laws. In announcing an environmental plan last month, DeSantis included transferring the duties, which his office said would move 19 positions to the Department of Environmental Protection. “This will move the investigations and criminal enforcement back to DEP to align resources focused on environmental protection, allowing DEP to address both civil and criminal investigations for the environmental laws that fall under their purview,” the governor’s office said at the time.

Plastic straw ‘preemption’ considered in Senate” via the News Service of Florida — The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee will consider the bill (SB 588), filed by Sen. Travis Hutson. It would give regulatory power over single-use plastic straws to the state — a practice known as “preemption” of local government authority. “A municipality, county, or other local governmental entity may not adopt, enforce, or implement any ordinance, rule, or law that would further restrict a food service establishment from distributing single-use plastic straws to customers,” the bill says. The bill restricts restaurants and other establishments from only providing single-use straws if customers request the straws. Rep. Randy Fine and Rep. Anthony Sabatini filed an identical bill (HB 603) in the House. 

Lawmakers take first step to lure back film, TV industry” via Jamie Holmes of WFTV News — State Sen. Joe Gruters is pushing for up to $2 million in grants for production companies that do 70 percent of their film in Florida. According to the Georgia governor’s office, the Peach State’s film business generated more than $9.5 billion in 2017. Compare that to another Florida’s big commodity, oranges, which make the state $8.6 billion a year. “We just want to work with the state to create one of the most conservative programs out there so that we can put our people to work,” Gruters said. For Orlando, it could mean bringing back a workforce that’s now in Georgia and would potentially keep future film grads at Full Sail University and UCF in the state.

Single subject requirements sought for tax commission” via the News Service of Florida — The measure (SJR 690), filed by Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez would restrict the state Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, which meets every 20 years to propose constitutional changes involving tax and budget issues. The Rodriguez measure, which will be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee, comes after the Constitution Revision Commission last year placed proposals on the ballot that tied together seemingly unrelated issues.

Senate bill targets the use of genetic information by life insurers” via Abukar Adan of WJCT — Senate Bill 258, filed by Fernandina Beach Republican Aaron Bean, now has a companion bill in the House. Pace Republican Rep. Jayer Williamson recently sponsored HB 879. Bean said he’s sponsoring the bill out of concern that DNA companies, like 23andMe, are selling consumers’ private health information. “What worries me is life insurance companies that keep tabs on us and could, perhaps in the future, either deny or limit coverage based on a test — all without our knowledge,” he said.

Right to privacy: Aaron Bean is looking to ban life insurance companies from using genetic data to base policy decisions.

Lawmaker to skip first day of Session for CBN News” via Florida Politics — The Legislative Session begins Tuesday. But Rep. Kim Daniels won’t be there. She’ll be recording segments for CBN News on Session’s opening day, calling attention to her latest in a series of bills that bring catechism to the classroom. One bill would require — rather than just permit, as is the case now — high schools to offer an “objective study of religion” (Daniels), according to her aide, is “fasting, praying and seeking the Lord’s guidance” ahead of the appearance.

Florida arts groups lobbying for more money after big cuts” via Ashley Linesby of WLRN Miami — Members of the Florida Cultural Alliance want lawmakers to give millions of dollars more in grant funding for arts and cultural programs throughout the state after years of declining contributions. Alliance Lobbyist and Legislative Advisor Tony Carvalho said in a conference call with members that arts organizations should watch the legislature closely in coming weeks as committees make their budget proposals. “I would love to see $61 million, $62 million at that time, but I doubt we’re going to get there,” Carvalho said. “But it doesn’t mean the game is over because they always have reserves.”

AIF outlines Session goals — The “Voice of Florida Business” has an ambitious agenda this Legislative Session. Associated Industries of Florida recently unveiled its Session wish list with health care, the environment, education and insurance issues at the top.  “Among the many issues you can expect AIF to keep a watchful eye on and be voice for the business community include our state’s budget; health care reform, such as prior authorization, retroactive denial of claims and step-therapy protocols; insurance reform, such as assignment of benefits, bad-faith and workers’ compensation; and addressing environmental and science-based water projects, hurricane recovery efforts, and technical and STEM workforce development,” said Tom Feeney, CEO and president of AIF. The 28-page agenda is available online here.


Psychiatrist suspended for inappropriate relationship. He got a $196k state job” via Steve Contorno and Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times — Less than a year ago, Domingo Cerra Fernandez was suspended from practicing medicine in the state of Florida. The Ocala psychiatrist allegedly committed one of the cardinal sins of his discipline: He propositioned a patient to have a sexual and romantic relationship with him. He then continued to treat her.

“Irma loss ‘creep’ expected to fuel homeowner insurance rate hikes,” by Ron Hurtibise of the Sun Sentinel: “South Florida homeowners could be in for another round of property insurance rate hikes, thanks in part to ‘creeping’ loss increases from Hurricane Irma back in September 2017, experts are warning. Losses from Irma, the fifth-costliest Atlantic hurricane, are now 26 percent higher than originally estimated, according to data from Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group PLC, a London-based provider of insurance advice and brokerage services.”

Pulse nightclub shooting: FBI lab tests of bullets from victims inconclusive, report shows” via Jeff Weiner, Beth Kassab and Lisa Cianci of the Orlando Sentinel — Deborah Barra, the chief assistant for State Attorney Aramis Ayala, said that the FBI’s report “was compared to and analyzed with medical examiner reports, eyewitness statements, and video evidence” during the SAO’s probe. “There is not one singular piece of evidence that by itself tells the full story of the Pulse nightclub shooting,” she said. The ballistic report, she added, “is consistent with all of the other evidence and was helpful in establishing facts.” “FBI Tampa Division has nothing further to add to the ballistics report,” spokeswoman Andrea Aprea said, adding that the agency generally “lets the information contained in the files speak for itself.”

No easy answers: FBI ballistics data shows there is not one piece of evidence that by itself tells the entire story of what happened at the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Florida hemp production still a cloud of smoke” via Kevin Bouffard of the Lakeland Ledger — “The DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency) still considers cannabis and all cannabis products to be Schedule 1 substances,” said Zachary Brym, assistant professor of agronomy at the University of Florida’s Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, referring to the federal list of strictly illegal drugs. “It is still illegal to grow hemp in Florida without a permit.” Brym spoke at the Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference 2019. By definition, industrial hemp has less than 0.3 percent by weight of THC, the psychoactive compound in other forms of marijuana that produces intoxication, Brym said. “If you smoke hemp, you’ll get sick long before you’d get high,” he added.

Florida’s thoroughbred breeding industry still struggling” via the Associated Press — According to annual statistics compiled by the Jockey Club Fact Book, the number of mares bred in the state in 2018 fell below 2,000, and the number of stallions dropped below 100. Those numbers fall far short of the nearly 7,200 mares bred in Florida in 2005. Statistics for California, Louisiana, New York and Maryland showed similar declines. However, Kentucky’s breeding industry has held steady and accounts for more than half the number of mares bred in North America. Helen Barbazon of Pleasant Acres in Morriston said a passion for racing and lifelong experience in Florida’s horse racing industry keep dozens of smaller breeding stables like hers in operation.

What Marion Hammer is reading — “Permitless gun carry bill first signed by Oklahoma governor” via The Associated Press — Oklahoma residents will be able to openly carry firearms without a background check or training under a bill given final legislative approval Wednesday that quickly became the first signed into law by the new Republican governor. Dubbed “constitutional carry” by its supporters, the bill passed the Senate on a 40-6 vote with every Republican and one Democrat voting in favor. It already sailed through the GOP-controlled House.


Lynx CEO is out after WFTV reports about potential $21 million debt” via Shannon Butler and Kevin Williams of WFTV News — Lynx announced CEO Edward Johnson would step down as head of the transportation agency after a series of 9 Investigates reports about the agency’s financial struggles. Johnson’s severance includes three months of severance pay. It’s not clear who will lead the agency in the interim. 9 Investigates’ Shannon Butler began questioning Lynx’s finances in October when the agency dipped into its reserve funds for the current year. In January, 9 Investigates discovered that the agency would need to find $21 million next year to balance its budget.

Lynx CEO Edward Johnson is stepping down amid a $21 million shortfall for his agency. Image via the Orlando Business Journal.

Robert Kraft’s prostitution charges return a wary Palm Beach to the tabloids” via Patricia Mazzei and Ken Belson of The New York Times — The messier reality is that the history of this 18-mile barrier island, a playground for the rich for more than a century, is littered with stories of American aristocrats who failed to stay out of the local tabloids. Wall Street barons ran off with maids, star-studded couples scandalously divorced and, not surprisingly, high-priced escorts worked the upscale bars and hotels. The messier reality is that the history of this 18-mile barrier island, a playground for the rich for more than a century, is littered with stories of American aristocrats who failed to stay out of the local tabloids. Wall Street barons ran off with maids, star-studded couples scandalously divorced and, not surprisingly, high-priced escorts worked the upscale bars and hotels.

St. Augustine Mayor steps down after stroke” via Sheldon Gardner of the St. Augustine Record — Nancy Shaver is stepping down from the office to focus on her recovery. “Serving each and every one of you as Mayor of this magic city has been an amazing gift,” Shaver said. “It appears my health will not allow me to continue to serve the city and people I love.” Shaver, who has served as mayor since 2014, had a stroke on Monday night after the St. Augustine City Commission meeting. People were still with her at City Hall called 911. She is recovering at Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville, but the city didn’t provide further details on her condition.


Rick Scott: Matt Gaetz’s antagonizing tweet ‘embarrassing’ and ‘disgusting’” via Robin Bravender of Florida Phoenix — Gaetz made an apparent attempt to intimidate Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen ahead of Cohen’s Capitol Hill testimony. Gaetz has since apologized and deleted the tweet. “First off, it’s embarrassing,” Scott said. “We shouldn’t be doing that stuff up here. You might not like what someone’s going to say, but you shouldn’t be trying to intimidate them and talk about their family, things like that. It’s wrong. I think it’s disgusting. I’m glad he apologized, but I’m very disappointed.” Legal experts say the intimidating tweet to Cohen could make Gaetz vulnerable to charges of witness tampering.

Embarrassing, disgusting: Matt Gaetz is getting near-universal condemnation for a tweet — now deleted — that many considered threatening to Michael Cohen. Sen. Rick Scott called it ‘disgusting.’ Gaetz has apologized. Image via AP.

Dems want Alex Acosta out over Jeffrey Epstein. GOP wants to know more … Then there’s Gaetz” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — Democrats are calling for Labor Secretary Acosta’s resignation. Republicans support an internal investigation into Acosta’s role in a controversial plea deal for multimillionaire sex abuser Epstein in 2008. But Gaetz, one of Trump’s biggest defenders, is taking a different approach. Gaetz said re-examining Acosta’s handling of Epstein’s case sets a “dangerous” precedent for prosecutors. A federal judge ruled last week that prosecutors run by Acosta, then the U.S. attorney for South Florida, broke the law when they failed to inform Epstein’s underage victims of the plea agreement. The judge gave federal prosecutors 15 days to confer with Epstein’s victims and their attorneys to come up with a resolution.

Feds propose ‘Education Freedom’ scholarships to promote school choice” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The U.S. Department of Education is pushing for a $5 billion tax credit program that would expand access to school choice scholarships for residents of participating states. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama will introduce legislation to get the ball rolling. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says charitable donations to various scholarship programs would allow donors to qualify for a tax credit. Those donations would be capped at 10 percent of an individual’s gross income and 5 percent of a business’s taxable income. The issue of school choice is at the forefront here in Florida.

Getting the ball rolling: Ted Cruz is co-sponsoring Senate legislation that will kickstart federal support of ‘education freedom’ school choice programs, a big issue in Florida.

HHS demands apology from Ted Deutch for comments on abuse of migrant children” via Dan Diamond and John Bresnahan of POLITICO — Health and Human Services officials refused to meet with Rep. Ted Deutch, saying the House Ethics Committee chair must first apologize for stating publicly earlier this week that HHS staff sexually abused migrant children in agency custody. “By deliberately or negligently mischaracterizing the data during a televised hearing, you impugned the integrity of hundreds of federal civil servants,” Jonathan Hayes, the HHS refugee director, wrote Deutch in a letter. HHS has been seeking an apology for two days. Deutch said he stands by his remarks. “These allegations were all fully investigated and remedial action was taken as appropriate,” Hayes wrote to Deutch.

First in Sunburn — Four Florida Republicans among EMILY’s List’s top 2020 targets — EMILY’s List, which helps elect pro-choice women to Congress, is putting several Florida Republicans “On Notice” ahead of the 2020 election. U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz Balart, Brian Mast, Ross Spano and Michael Waltz have been named to the group’s “On Notice” program, which includes its top targets for the next cycle. “After flipping the House with Democratic women in 2018, we’re ready to send more Republicans packing in 2020,” said Stephanie Schriock, the group’s president.

Assignment editors — U.S. Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala will hold a news press to discuss the House passing two major common-sense reforms to curb gun violence in South Florida, 10:30 a.m., Gould’s Park Community Center11350 SW 216th St., Miami.


Florida must wise up on smart justice” via the Florida Times-Union editorial board — Florida’s tough-on-crime approach got out of control. Parole was basically eliminated during the 1990s, and laws were implemented to require prisoners to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences. In addition, the adoption of mandatory minimum laws removed discretionary power from judges when imposing sentences. Florida also went on a prison-building spree that began during the crack cocaine epidemic; now Florida has 43 prisons, 33 work camps, 15 annexes, 20 work release centers, and six road prison-forestry camps. Meanwhile, the conditions inside Florida’s prisons have largely been deplorable, leading to high levels of inmate violence and staff turnover rates that sometimes reach 50 percent. You can’t run any organization with that amount of turnover, let alone a prison.

Florida TaxWatch: Point of care testing works for influenza and streptococcus” via Florida Daily — Florida TaxWatch released an analysis, looking at point-of-care testing and treatment for influenza and streptococcus. The study supported a bill from state Sen. Jeff Brandes and state Rep. Rene “Coach P” Plasencia which allows pharmacists to “diagnose and treat influenza and strep at community pharmacies, using point-of-care tests that have approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” The legislation “has the potential to allow better patient experiences, improve the quality of care, and most importantly, encourage patients to take greater control of their medical conditions,” Florida TaxWatch noted. Florida TaxWatch found that the proposal could lead to major savings for Floridians.


Patrick Baskette, Shumaker Advisors Florida: Tampa Bay Rays 2020

Davis Bean, John Delaney, Shannan Schuessler, The Fiorentino Group: Five STAR Veterans Center, Jacksonville Aviation Authority, Jacksonville Port Authority, Jacksonville University, KIPP Schools, Loop’s Nursery and Greenhouses, Monique Burr Foundation for Children, North Florida School of Special Education, The PARC Group

Ronald Brise, Gunster Yoakley & Stewart: City of Chattahoochee, City of Gretna, City of Midway

William Bunkley: Florida Ethics and Religion Liberty Commission

Chris Carmody, Jessica Love, Kim McDougal, GrayRobinson: City of St. Cloud, Study Edge

Jorge Chamizo, Melissa Joiner Ramba, Floridian Partners: Reviver Auto

David Childs, Hopping Green & Sams: Sklar Exploration Company

James Daughton, Andrew Palmer, Pierce Schuessler, Metz Husband & Daughton: Emerald Coast Utilities Authority

Candice Ericks, Ericks Consultants: NUCO CITRUS

Matthew Harrell: Curaleaf Florida

Anna Walker Higgins, Walker Strategies: Florida Blockchain Business Association

Denise Lasher, Lasher Consulting: American Federation for Children

Neal McGarry: Florida Certification Board

Randy Osborne: Florida Eagle Forum

Leslie Reed, Darica Smith: Department of Environmental Protection

Teye Reeves, Smith Bryan & Myers: Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Florida Association for Child Care Management

Eric Singer, Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod: 13 Pista

Sam Wagoner, Sunrise Consulting Group: Lake Sumter State College


Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede on CBS 4 in Miami: The Sunday show provides viewers with an in-depth look at politics in South Florida, along with other issues affecting the region.

Florida This Week on Tampa Bay’s WEDU: Moderator Rob Lorei hosts a roundtable with Adam Smith, senior vice president of Mercury LLC; Aubrey Jewett, associate professor of Florida Politics, American Politics and Public Policy at the University of Central Florida; attorney Rochelle Reback; and state Sen. Joe Gruters, chair of the Republican Party of Florida.

In Focus with Allison Walker-Torres on Bay News 9: A roundtable of Mayors from across Central Florida and the Tampa Bay-area to discuss the state of local economies. Joining Walker-Torres are Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer; Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn; Largo Mayor Woody Brown; and Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando and Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: This week’s show will preview the 2019 Legislative Session with a look at DeSantis’ agenda, proposed legislation, and how the new administration is moving forward; PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter will rate a claim made by House Speaker José Oliva on health care as the top reason for bankruptcies.

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Host Gary Yordon will speak with pollster Steve Vancore and Dr. Ed Moore.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: This week’s guests are Dr. Tony Cummings, a Democratic candidate for Jacksonville Sheriff; Rick Mullaney, director of the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute; and Jared Rice, executive director The Players.

— ALOE —

The PGA’s return of the Florida swing and why it matters” via Bob Harig of ESPN — After two years of being interrupted by a trip to Mexico, the Sunshine State has retaken its place as a four-tournament run of events as the Masters draws closer. And now, the Players Championship is again part of the lineup. What does it all mean? There is no longer a World Ranking qualification that ends in Florida for a trip to the Masters, but of course, any player who is not otherwise qualified can get in by winning. It is also a chance to qualify for the WGC-Match Play, where a good week can move a player into the top 50 and get in the first major of the year.

Florida swing: The road to the Masters must now make its way through Florida, with the Players Championship part of the lineup. Image via PGA Tour.

What Kate MacFall is reading — “Rescue network sends Southern puppies north” via Pew STATELINE — The din of 27 howling puppies, waiting here for a ride to New York City, is the sound of lives being saved. The dogs, loaded onto a cargo van marked “Mississippi Mutts On the Move,” like at least tens of thousands of others making the trip northward might once have died for lack of shelter space. Before the Oktibbeha County Humane Society shelter started shipping puppies and dogs north a decade ago, half the dogs and cats in its care were put down — a “kill rate” of 50 percent. Last year, when the humane society transported 3,000 dogs north, 93 percent of its animals left the shelter alive.


Best wishes to David Christian of AdventHealth, former U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, our Rosanne Dunkelberger, smart guy Ralph Lair, Adrianna Sekula, Sally West, and Stephanie Grutman Zauder of Ballard Partners.

An early birthday shout-out to Sen. Manny Diaz, former Rep. Barrington ”Barry” Russell and James Miller of the Florida Retail Federation (and who had the misfortune of being my next door neighbor in Deviney Hall during our first year at FSU.)


Today’s Sunburn was written by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel McAuliffe, 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

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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