Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 5.3.19

Sunburn Orange Tally (2)
Commentary and links on Florida politics as crisp as your morning bacon.

As you’re driving home from Session — Please consider listening to the latest “He Said She Said” (or you can listen to it right now, if you prefer), in which we talk about the final days of the 2019 Legislative Session with former House Speaker Dean Cannon. We give an update on all the bills we’ve talked about so far on the podcast.

Cannon, now with GrayRobinson, talks about the budget appropriations process and Medicaid reform. Steve Schale also drops in to talk about “the boss” Joe Biden — who just announced his third attempt at the presidency — as well as the anniversary of Charlie Crist’s quixotic run as an independent for the U.S. Senate. Schale also explains the importance of the legendary #BusyBeeCaucus.

Michelle opens up about her own experiences with maternal mental health during Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week.

Also, fresh off a weekend Disney cruise getaway, Michelle and I discuss the cruising life, Avengers: Endgame, the impending end of Game of Thrones and blasting Cinco De Mayo.

Subscribe and listen to He Said She Said at iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher.

Tallahassee not the only town with ‘Sine Die’ traditions” via Florida Politics — Handkerchiefs are ceremonially dropped by the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms to mark the precise moment of session’s end. As the State Library and Archives of Florida explains, in the pre-technology days in the Old Capitol, the presiding officers of each chamber couldn’t see each other and weren’t in communication by phone. “The House and Senate sergeants would stand in the rotunda where they could be observed by the Senate President and House Speaker,” the website says. “The sergeants would drop a handkerchief at the moment agreed upon for adjournment and the gavels would fall in each house to formally signal the end of the Session.”

Tallahassee is rife with Sine Die traditions. Photo by Phil Sears

All Sessions must #CateSineDie” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The most important question about how the 2019 Legislative Session will end may already be answered. No, it’s not about health care or criminal justice reform or any of those policy-related questions only nerds and policy wonks ask. This is about who correctly will call the great #CateSineDie query. Each year, that special population of lobbyists, staffers, journos and other Tallahassee addicts take guesses at when the Legislature sergeants ritually drop handkerchiefs and send everybody home.


@JoeBiden: On Holocaust Remembrance Day, let us pause and reflect on the millions of Jews who lost their lives at the hands of the Nazi regime. The events of the last few months remind us that it’s not enough to just say never again — we must speak up and act against hate.

@RepMattGaetz: The Democrats are trying to do impeachment in drag. They want to dress up this deal as “impeachment,” without having to invoke that term, because they know it will excite the body politic and it will rally people to the President’s side.

@SamanthaJoRoth: EXCLUSIVE: @marcorubio tells me the federal government may have had information about hacking that occurred during the 2016 presidential election that they were unable or unwilling to share with individual counties impacted by the breach

@GovRonDeSantis: I thank the Florida Legislature for presenting me with a bill that upholds the rule of law and addresses sanctuary cities and counties in Florida. We are a stronger state when we protect our residents, foster safe communities and respect the work of law enforcement.

@JoseJavierJJR: Today the Legislature, pandering to the worse anti-immigrant impulses in the Republican Party, sends @RonDeSantisFL the divisive and racially motivated bill he demanded. Now families and communities must prepare for the sweeping & devastating consequences.

@KevinCate: Nobody act shocked that Ron DeSantis is down with #SB618 — turning police into ICE agents. He campaigned as @realDonaldTrump and division. He *won* with division.

@Fineout: In criticizing the pending Amendment 4 voting rights bill, @SenatorThurston says “Here we go again, FLORIDA-DUH.”

@GNewburn: Pretty strong stuff from Chair Bradley re: restitution as a necessary part of “completion of sentence.” For what it’s worth, restitution strikes me as an important part of restoring both victims and offenders.

@JohnMorganEsq: To limit THC, proposed by the Florida House, would undo all the goodwill @GovRonDeSantis gained by following the will of the people. This would reverse that, cause it to be more expensive and force people to the black market. @BillGalvano & @WiltonSimpson stay strong for FL!

@JimmyPatronis: Great work by @TravisJHutson and @BetterWFetter on ensuring high school students across our state are empowered with the tools they gain through financial literacy.

@SenMannyDiaz: Thank you to my colleagues in the @FLSenate for supporting efforts to really provide Toll Relief & Reform for our community. Looking forward @BryanAvilaFL passing this. We must come together & reform this for our county! This is not about one person, it’s about our community

@JacobOgles: .@FarmerForFLSen: The five words I’m getting tired of hearing are “Take up the House bill.”

@AnaCeballos_: I, for one, will miss the sweet man at Kleman Plaza who tells me to “take care and get some rest” every night now that late-night sessions are almost done.

@JChristianMinor: Working closely w/ Secretary @SMarstiller I can attest to her incredible passion for helping others. Her leadership is only surpassed by her fervent commitment to serving the families of Florida … the popped collars and off the chain Twitter game are added bonuses too.

@CrowleyReport: When a reporter has been in Tallassee far longer than most members of the Legislature…..don’t mess with @fineout


National Orange Juice Day — 1; Star Wars Day — 1; Kentucky Derby — 1; Mother’s Day — 9; Florida Chamber Florida Business Leaders’ Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity — 22; Memorial Day — 24; Florida Democratic Leadership Blue conference and fundraiser — 36; U.S. Open begins — 41; Father’s Day — 44; Florida Chamber Learners to Earners Workforce Summit begins — 49; First Democratic presidential debates in Miami — 54; Independence Day — 62; Second Democratic presidential debates in Detroit — 88; Florida Gators opens vs. Miami football — 113; St. Petersburg primary election — 117; UCF Golden Knights open vs. Florida A&M football — 118; FSU Seminoles open vs. Boise State football — 120; Labor Day — 122; “Joker” opens — 154; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 178; Scott Maddox trial begins — 185; 2019 General Election — 186; 3rd Annual Florida Internet and Television FITCon begins — 188; Iowa Caucuses — 276; Florida’s presidential primary — 319; 2020 General Election — 550.


Ban on ‘sanctuary cities’ to become law in Florida” via Samantha Gross of the Herald/Times Tallahassee bureau — The controversial bill’s passage comes after months and months of heightened emotional discourse, protests and deals made among stakeholders wishing to appease the Republican base. Under the bill, local law enforcement and other state agencies would be required to honor federal law enforcement’s request for an “immigration detainer,” meaning a request that another law enforcement agency detains a person based on probable cause to believe that the person is a “removable alien” under federal immigration law. The bill would essentially make the “request” a requirement.

Tweet, tweet:

Reax from Andrew Gillum: “The actions of the Florida Legislature today simply don’t represent the richness and diversity of our state. Republican legislators pushed through a vicious bill — despite bipartisan opposition — that brings shame to a state that prides itself in the richness of its cultures and its welcoming spirit to people from everywhere. The intent of SB 168 is to demonize, demoralize, and persecute, and it’s unworthy of the Governor’s signature.”


Ron DeSantis cautious about U.S. military move into Venezuela” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — “I want to stand for freedom, but some of that stuff can be touchy … if you look at it, [JuanGuaidó is fighting on behalf of the people against a colonial force, because [NicolásMaduro is propped up by Castro, the Castro regime, by the Cubans,” DeSantis told reporters. “The more we get involved overtly, that may mean the population has a tougher decision.” DeSantis continued: “Give whatever support we can, but obviously we would want it to be where the population is decisively swinging behind Juan Guaidó and then the military, although some of them have gotten in line with that, the rest of the military realizes that Maduro is not the way of the future.”

These South Florida projects are in the state budget, but what will DeSantis veto?” via Elizabeth Koh of the Miami Herald — When Florida lawmakers officially received the copy of the state budget Wednesday afternoon, it outlined vast swaths of $91.1 billion the state is expected to spend, from education and healthcare to the environment and dozens of other agencies. But the budget, as it is every year, is also studded with scores of local requests from lawmakers for projects back home.

DeSantis says he’ll sign opioid bill DeSantis said he expects to sign a bill that would allow the attorney general to more easily sue companies like Purdue Pharma, Walgreens, and CVS for their role in the opioid crisis, reports Alexandra Glorioso of POLITICO Florida. “There’s a bill that’s likely going to pass the Legislature today or tomorrow that is going to allow her to have more access to some of the underlying information that they need to do those lawsuits,” DeSantis said at a Brevard County Sheriff’s Office event. “And so that’s something that I’ll sign.”

Tweet, tweet:

DeSantis talks about his God, hypes upcoming Florida Cabinet meeting in Israel” via Michael Moline of Florida Phoenix — Pam Olsen, co-founder of Tallahassee’s Hilltop House of Prayer, led a prayer for the DeSantis family in which she remarked on the fact that the governor and Cabinet will be traveling next month to hold the Florida Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “The biggest part of the revolution in our country was the idea that our rights are God-given — not given by government. That we have natural inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Really, from the beginning of our country to the present, all the great triumphs in American history have really recognized that principle,” the Governor said.


Florida Republicans reach Amendment 4 deal: Felons must pay, but judges can waive costs” via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times — The agreement between the House and Senate, reached near the end of Florida’s Legislative Session, provides an unclear path for felons with financial obligations to vote. But the bill could prevent tens of thousands of felons — or more — from voting while creating an unequal system across the state for restoring their voting rights. The deal will go to a vote on the last full day of the legislative session. Sen. Jeff Brandes outlined the deal and said it had the support of Republicans in the House, who have taken a stricter stance on the historic constitutional amendment that passed last year after 5.2 million voters supported it.

Jeff Brandes outlines the new Amendment 4 implementation deal: ex-felons still have to pay, but a judge can waive the fees.

Bill passes to promote career training in schools” via Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press — Florida schools will help students plan for careers even if they don’t want to seek a four-year college degree under a wide-ranging education bill sent to Gov. DeSantis. The bill is a priority for DeSantis, who called for the changes in his State of the State speech that opened the 60-day legislative session. “This is the most transformational thing we have done in education since Gov. (Jeb) Bush presided over us,” said Republican Sen. Hutson. “There are so many good things in this bill.”

Legislative maneuvers over tax referendum money for teacher pay targeted Miami-Dade” via Emily Mahoney of the Tampa Bay Times — A last-minute change may save school districts from a new requirement that they share local referendum money, from voter-approved hikes in property taxes, with charter schools. But it’s not over yet. One district in particular, Miami-Dade, barely squeaked by with all their referendum money to themselves, after it appeared that the Florida Senate would exempt all school districts from the new requirement except Florida’s largest county. Sen. Kelli Stargel, the chair of the Senate’s education budgeting committee, filed an amendment that would have made the new requirement that districts share this money with charter schools apply only to referendums passed in the future, and not those already in effect.

Lawmakers support branch campuses at USF. Now it’s up to the Governor.” via Megan Reeves of the Tampa Bay Times — A bill requiring the University of South Florida system to preserve independence on its smaller campuses through consolidation is on its way to the Governor’s desk. Both chambers unanimously passed House Bill 7071. Now, it’s up to DeSantis. There has been debate about the post-consolidation makeup of USF in recent months, while the university works through plans to organize its three campuses under one accreditation by 2020 as requested by lawmakers last year. While some have suggested USF’s smaller campuses come under the authority of USF Tampa as a main campus, students, faculty and leaders in St. Petersburg and Sarasota disagree.

Electricity grid storm-hardening bill heading to Governor” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The Florida Senate took the last step in approving a bill that will require electric utilities to draw up and follow long-term plans to bury electric lines and harden the state’s power grid against hurricanes. The Senate voted 39-1 Thursday to approve SB 796 sent back by the Florida House of Representatives after it added a couple of amendments. The Senate sponsor, Republican Joe Gruters of Sarasota, support the House amendments as improvements, characterizing them to the Senate as creating more transparency in the state’s oversight. Under the bill, Floridians might expect fewer and shorter power outages in the future. But they also can expect to see power bills increasing.

Senate passes Lottery warning bill, drops technology language” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The Senate passed a potentially costly requirement to place warnings on Florida Lottery tickets. New statements on the tickets and marketing materials remind that the Lottery is a form of gambling. But the Senate disposed of House language governing electronic sales of tickets. Sen. Rob Bradley said it’s important to remind consumers, particularly those prone to a gambling addiction, that scratch-offs constitute gaming. “This isn’t ‘gambling lite,’ ” the Fleming Island Republican stressed. The bill (HB 629) ultimately provided a forum in the Senate for broader questions about the Lottery as a government function.

Lawmakers allow needle exchanges across Florida” via Elizabeth Koh and Joey Flechas of the Tampa Bay Times — The Florida Senate voted 40-0 to expand the successful Miami-Dade pilot program, an emotional landmark for advocates and families that some frankly admitted they never expected. Under SB 366, drug users will be allowed to exchange used needles for clean ones statewide if their county governments agree groups can establish their own needle exchanges. Sen. Oscar Braynon, the Senate sponsor, rattled off benefits of the program — “the AIDS test, the [hepatitis] C test, the naloxone, the treatment they receive” — before the bill passed unanimously. Afterward, outside the Senate chamber, his phone lit up with excited messages as friends and fellow lobbyists approached him with congratulations.

Occupational licensure deregulation ‘indefinitely’ postponed in Senate” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The bill to deregulate licensure requirements for a wide array of professions and occupations from talent scouts to barbers may be getting trimmed from the Florida Senate’s work this session. SB 1640 has been temporarily postponed three consecutive days on the Senate floor and on Thursday its sponsor, Republican Sen. Ben Albritton of Bartow, indicated he’s hoping at this point that it doesn’t come back. “Mr. President, I would like to permanently postpone this bill,” Albritton said Thursday when called upon. “Show the bill temporarily postponed, indefinitely,” responded Senate President Galvano.

Legislature backs creating four new judgeships” via The News Service of Florida — The bill (HB 5011), sponsored by Rep. Paul Renner, a Palm Coast Republican, would add one circuit judge in the 9th Judicial Circuit and one circuit judge in the 12th Judicial Circuit. The 9th Circuit is made up of Orange and Osceola counties, while the 12th Circuit is made up of DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Also, the bill would add county-court judges in Flagler and Citrus counties.


Jimmy Patronis calls Florida League of Cities ‘heartless’ — The state’s CFO and State Fire Marshal Patronis was joined by lawmakers to speak against the League’s letter to DeSantis requesting that he veto a bill passed unanimously to provide cancer coverage for Florida firefighters. “Florida lawmakers unanimously voted to provide essential cancer coverage for our brave firefighters, yet the Florida League of cities is pressuring Gov. DeSantis to veto the bill,” Patronis said in a statement. “I’m calling on each city across our state to stand up for our firefighters. Make it absolutely clear that cities across our state do not support this heartless request from the League of Cities.”

Shameful: CFO Jimmy Patronis expressed ‘surprise’ that the Florida League of Cities was urging Ron DeSantis to veto the firefighter cancer coverage bill.

Pre-existing conditions coverage weakens in bill passed for post-Obamacare Florida” via Elizabeth Koh of the Tampa Bay Times — The bill, Senate Bill 322, which the House approved by a 70-42 vote after the Senate passed it last week, would also expand short-term and association health plans and change requirements for “essential health benefits” covered by insurers, regardless of the status of the Affordable Care Act. The Senate must again approve it before it heads to DeSantis for his signature. The bill originally started as a proposal that would just require insurers and organizations that manage health care to offer at least one policy offering coverage regardless of a pre-existing condition. It also stipulated that the requirement would only go into effect if the federal law was repealed or struck down in court.

Florida lawmaker warns that arming teachers puts African-American students at risk” via Patricia Mazzei of The New York Times — The tension peaked when Rep. Shevrin Jones tried unsuccessfully to pass a pair of amendments on the House floor. One amendment would have required any teacher who volunteers for the so-called school guardian program to be trained in implicit bias. The other would have prohibited a teacher who shoots a student by mistake in a situation with an active shooter on campus from claiming self-defense under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. “We are talking about black boys and girls who are getting murdered by police officers!” Jones shouted into the microphone. “There are bad police officers and there are bad teachers.”

Blaise Ingoglia says water bills are dead — The Water Quality Improvements bill, HB 973, cleared its committees but can’t be brought up for a floor vote under House rules, state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia said Wednesday. “We think it was a great bill,” Ingoglia said. “We had a lot of groups believing that was a monumental leap forward.” As reported by Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida many environmental groups favored stronger language regulating sewage sludge — also called biosolids — in a Senate bill. They have blamed wastewater utilities for weakening the House bill, and ultimately killing it. The Senate passed its bill, SB 1278, last week but since the House companion wasn’t heard in its final committee reference, it is dead as well.

Loser-pays provision added to development bill — The Senate added a surprise amendment to a property development bill, HB 7103, that has left some environmentalists crying foul. As reported by Ritchie of POLITICO Florida, The provision, added Thursday, would entitle the prevailing party in a lawsuit to legal fees. In other words, citizen groups that sue developers would have to pay the defendant’s legal fees if they lose. The language was not part of any previous bill according to Thomas Hawkins, policy director of 1000 Friends of Florida. “The change has come without discussion or scrutiny,” Hawkins said. “This is bad policy and it is bad politics.”

Tallahassee may pass a law to kill Miami-Dade’s MDX toll board. Will a judge save it?” via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald — If Florida passes legislation to dissolve the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, the toll agency plans to challenge the law in court and fight a legal battle of survival, according to a report from a credit-ratings firm. Moody’s, which is in regular contact with MDX leadership while analyzing the agency’s ability to repay debt, stated on April 25 that the toll board plans to “immediately” sue to block enactment of bills that are on the verge of passing the Florida Legislature. The bills would dissolve the MDX and replace it with the Greater Miami Expressway Agency, a new entity that would take over the MDX’s five existing expressways and bar current MDX board members from joining the new board.

Senator’s objection kills bill that would stop Brenda Forman’s office from overseeing Broward’s finances” via Skyler Swisher of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Sen. Gary Farmer asked for the item to be pulled because he thinks more discussion is needed between Clerk of Courts Forman and the county. “I think the parties kind of got a little tribalistic, and they kind of went in their corners,” Farmer said. “I don’t like to see us do things like that in that manner. … In fairness, she is a constitutional officer. There ought to be a dialogue.” The county administrator has historically handled the county’s finances, but voters authorized moving those duties to the clerk of courts’ office starting in 2025. Forman, who is under criminal investigation, hired a lobbying firm to try to defeat a bill seeking to undo that change.

Carlos Smith, Anna Eskamani applaud eightfold increase in state arts funding” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — After embracing arts and cultural funding as their personal priority issues this winter, Democratic state Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Anna Eskamani are cheering the proposed 2020 state budget for including $21 million for the state’s competitive arts and cultural grants programs, eight times as much as the current spending plan. The money went into three funds, the Culture Builds Florida, $3 million; the Department of State’s Cultural and Museum Grants General Program, $12.3 million; and the Cultural Facilities Fund, $5.97 million.


Friday was to be the scheduled end of the 60-day Session. But alas, a delay in finalizing the 2019-20 state budget means lawmakers will have to come back Saturday to vote on it because of a constitutionally mandated 72 hour “cooling off” period. (The state’s fiscal year is July 1-June 30.)

Nonetheless, for now, the Senate is scheduled to hold a floor Session Friday beginning at 10 a.m., Senate Chamber; the House is set to hold a floor Session at 10:30 a.m., House Chamber.

The expected adjournment, or “Sine Die,” of the 2019 Legislative Session is Saturday.


She crab bisque; mixed garden salad with dressings; seafood pasta salad; Asian chicken salad; deli board; crispy fried jumbo with tartar and cocktail sauces; smoked BBQ beef brisket with sauces; spinach and artichoke stuffed chicken with boursin cream; Hoppin’ John; kickin’ collard greens; roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon; southern moon pie for dessert.


Pink garb is a meaningful tradition for some Tallahassee politicos on Sine Die. 

Why? It’s how they remember and honor the life of late lobbyist Marvin Arrington.

Lobbyists wear their pink, in honor of Marvin Arrington, an insurance lobbyist with an affinity for pink who died during the last week of the 2002 Session. Image via Phil Sears.

For those who can recall, Arrington had always donned a pink sports coat on the final day of the Legislative Session. He had in 2002 unfortunately succumbed to a heart attack in a parking lot a block north of the Capitol. 

Looking back: Shortly after his death (near the end of that year’s session), Arrington’s son, Reynolds, and nephew, Patrick, showed up at the Capitol wearing Arrington’s trademark pink jackets.

Today: The tradition continues. Influencers like Dave Ramba and Schale still sport pink when the hanky drops. 

More than fabric: “I wear a hideous pink jacket for Marvin; he was a great guy, a wonderful man,” Ramba told us last year. 


DeSantis-appointed Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony opposes arming teachers” via Skyler Swisher of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Tony sent a letter to the Broward County School Board and Superintendent Robert Runcie informing them he’s concerned that arming educators would be more likely “to create a tragic scenario where innocent people can get injured or killed.” “This program would place students, teachers, and first responders at risk, when our focus should be on keeping our children safe and making schools places where students feel they belong,” Tony wrote. The Florida Legislature approved legislation this week that allows school boards to authorize the arming of teachers. Asked about Tony’s letter, a DeSantis spokeswoman said the governor is reviewing the bill.

Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony has broken with the man who appointed him — Gov. Ron DeSantis — on the subject of armed teachers.

Health insurance changes eyed for state workers” via Christine Sexton of the News Service of Florida — Lawmakers are poised to overhaul how tens of thousands of state workers obtain prescription drugs, forcing employees to use a drug formulary starting in January. Lawmakers tacked the requirement onto a health-insurance bill with little debate. The measure would also allow state workers to obtain drugs from Canada under an importation plan pushed by DeSantis. The legislation also lays the groundwork for changing rules regarding how health maintenance organizations contract with the state’s mammoth health insurance program beginning in 2023. The late-session moves came as it remains unclear how officials plan to implement another set of changes to the state health insurance program that lawmakers authorized two years ago.

Raising Bright Futures requirements more likely to affect black students, data shows” via Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel — Under the plan, students would need combined math and reading SAT scores of 1330 out of 1600, up from 1290, to receive the top award. Qualifying for the second-tier scholarship, which covers 75 percent of expenses, would require a combined score of just above 1200, up from 1170. In Orange County, about 350 students wouldn’t get it under the proposed change. Sen. Anitere Flores said during a subcommittee meeting earlier in the Session: “Unfortunately, we’ve seen in some of the changes over the years that there’s a disproportionate effect on students of certain demographics and socioeconomic backgrounds, which is obviously not our intent and obviously not what we want to do, but you can’t ignore that fact.”

Remember him? —Former CEO of Naples-based company to pay $3.46M fraud settlement” via Liz Freeman of Naples Daily News — Gary Newsome, the former chief executive officer of Naples-based Health Management Associates, will pay $3.46 million to settle allegations of false billing and kickbacks, according to the Department of Justice. The settlement says Newsome, 67, caused HMA to knowingly submit false claims to the federal government by admitting patients who could have been treated on a less costly outpatient basis, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.


News matters most during times of disaster.

But reporters are people, too. A recent story in the Columbia Journalism Review highlights Justin Kiefer’s struggle to return to Florida and resume his gig as chief meteorologist for Panama City station WMBB-TV.

“Storm-related trauma, among other factors, can drive journalists to seek new coverage areas, or even new professions altogether,” writes Tiffany Stevens for CJR.

Trouble at home: “After the hurricane landed, the station lost five reporters, a producer, a part-time photographer, and Kiefer — eight employees overall … As of mid-April, still looking for four reporters, a part-time photographer, a morning meteorologist, a producer and a digital specialist.”

VISIT WMBB: To try to convince recruits to stay, the station “has rented out a three-bedroom condo on the beach where potential recruits and visiting Nexstar workers alike can stay.”

Numbers: The outlet’s starting salaries don’t cover the increased cost of living in Panama City, a result of the storm’s damage. “After the hurricane, some landlords increased rents by as much as 70 percent. … One apartment occupied by two former employees jumped from $1,300 per month to $2,100 per month after they moved out.”


Scot Peterson says he’s no coward, and he’s not to blame” via Brittany Wallman and Megan O’Matz of the Sun-Sentinel — Former Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Peterson says he was improperly blamed for the Parkland high school massacre and that he actually acted appropriately that fateful day. In a 14-page report, which Peterson sent to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, the former school resource officer says he isn’t the coward he was made out to be in the commission’s report. He says he followed the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s training and policies for handling an active-shooter crisis.

Pulse owners illegally transferred nightclub to hide value from massacre victims, lawsuit claims” via David Harris of the Orlando Sentinel — An attorney representing dozens of survivors and family members of victims killed in the Pulse nightclub massacre now alleges Pulse owners Barbara and Rosario Poma made the change to prevent those suing them from being privy to its value. The Pomas’ created two companies in October 2016 and sold the club to the new companies for $100, which was well below the value of $1.68 million. The transfer was fraudulent and was “intended to hinder, delay, and defraud victims of the attack knowing that (1) Pulse was a significant asset and (2) that by transferring the asset from Pulse would make it more difficult for Plaintiffs to receive Pulse or its value in resolutions of claims,” the lawsuit states.

A lawsuit against the owners of the Pulse nightclub was amended to reflect a possibly illegal transfer to hide the club’s true wealth.

Attorney General sues Tampa surrogacy firm for failing to deliver services” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Attorney General Ashley Moody filed suit to shut down a Tampa surrogacy firm that connects hopeful parents with paid surrogates. Moody claims The Surrogacy Group failed “to deliver services that consumers paid hefty deposits for in advance and failing to pay some surrogates’ medical costs.” The total estimated losses to clients total $270,000. “Couples invest a lot of time, money and emotion in the surrogacy process, and it is shameful that anyone would exploit this intimate and personal journey to steal their money,” Moody said in a news release. Moody is also seeking a permanent injunction against the company, run by Tampa resident Gregory Blosser, prohibiting it from providing surrogacy services.

Collier commissioner wants to take backyard gun ranges issue to AG” via Patrick Riley of Naples Daily News — Commissioner Bill McDaniel during a town hall Tuesday told the scores of residents in attendance that he wants to work with state Sen. Kathleen Passidomo and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office to solicit an opinion from the state’s top law enforcement official. Collier once had a variety of local ordinances that kept recreational shooting in neighborhoods in check, but a 2011 law backed by the National Rifle Association forced county officials to repeal those rules.

Central Florida school districts uninterested in arming teachers” via Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel — The Orange County School Board was so opposed to the idea that it unanimously passed a resolution stating its opposition to the proposal. The resolution said arming teachers would add to the responsibilities of “already overburdened teachers” and raise the possibility a student could access a teacher’s gun, creating a risk “where no risk currently exists.” Board members said they hoped the resolution would carry weight with lawmakers as they debated the issue in Tallahassee. The Seminole County school district hired school resource officers for all its schools three years ago, and the school board has not moved to alter that policy of allowing only officers to carry guns on campuses.

Orange School Board votes against arming teachers as Florida leaders have proposed” via Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel — Board members said they want trained police officers to be the only ones carrying guns on school campuses. “I’m a gun owner,” board member Melissa Byrd said. “But there’s a big difference between home and school.” In the event of a school shooting, she said, teachers have “a tremendous responsibility” to try to keep students safe. “The last thing they need to be concerned about is confronting a shooter.” Last year the Legislature created a school guardian program that allows some employees — but not classroom teachers — to receive weapons training and then carry guns on school property. Twenty-five of 67 Florida school districts are taking part in the program, including Lake County. Orange is not.

Fight over Confederate statue is far from over, opponents vow after fiery meeting” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — More than 250 people crammed into the Lake County historic courthouse this week for a meeting many hoped would derail an effort to bring a statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith from the U.S. Capitol to Tavares. But a clear majority came to advocate for the statue despite the county’s painful legacy of racial injustice. The clash between the two legions, won by those in the pro-statue contingent who outnumbered foes, led to finger-pointing, chants of “shame, shame, shame” and a promise that the fight to keep the statue out of Tavares will continue. “It’s far from over,” said Pastor Mike Watkins.

Moving the statue of Edmund Kirby Smith from Washington to Tavares is proving to be a challenge.

Builder of collapsed FIU bridge reaches deal to pay victims, families up to $42 million” via Nicholas Nehamas of the Miami Herald — The deal between Magnum Construction Management, formerly known as Munilla Construction Management, and the insurance companies is a step forward in resolving complicated litigation involving families of the six people who died on March 15, 2018 and eight injured survivors. “I hope this is the first major step in getting closure for these families that desperately need it,” said attorney Alan Goldfarb, who is representing the family of Alexa Duran, a student at FIU killed when the newly built pedestrian bridge collapsed on her car. “It’s terrible what they are going through. The court case has become a second punishment.”

Tax exemption upheld for Chamber of Commerce” via the News Service of Florida — Rejecting arguments of the Alachua County property appraiser and tax collector, a divided appeals court upheld a property-tax exemption for the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce because of the nonprofit organization’s “charitable” purpose. The Chamber had a property-tax exemption before 2014, but the property appraiser and tax collector then denied the exemption. At least in part, the denial stemmed from a decision that economic development has not traditionally been considered a charitable activity, according to the decision by a panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal.

Officials in Lee rally behind Nick Batos for County Commission opening” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The first mayor of Estero has applied for a vacancy on the Lee County Commission. But as he rallies support, some already question the appropriateness of official endorsements. Nick Batos, a member of the Estero Village Council, submitted his application Wednesday for an appointment to the late Larry Kiker’s commission seat. “It’s important to have someone representative of or some person who has been involved in South Lee County get this position,” Batos said.

Jeff Vinik easily the top donor to Jane Castor’s mayoral campaign” via Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times — Jeff Vinik, $196,000. Between personal donations and those from his firm American Investment Holdings, Vinik was far and away Castor’s biggest supporter. Jonathan Stanton, $51,000. An executive with St. Petersburg-based Lima Construction, Stanton donated $50,000 to Castor’s PAC as well as a $1,000 individual donation. Yerrid Law Firm/ Steve Yerrid, $37,000. The Tampa law firm, which specializes in state and federal civil trials, donated $35,000 to Castor’s PAC and $1,000 to her campaign fund. The DeBartolo family, $33,000. Former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. donated $10,000 to Tampa Strong. The Barkett family, $28,100. Nine members of the Barkett family, owners of Amalie Oil and hosts of one of the best parties along the Gasparilla parade, donated to Castor.


CNN poll: Donald Trump’s approval rating on the economy hits a new high” via Grace Sparks of CNN — Trump hits a new high on his economic approval ratings in a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS, reaching 56 percent of Americans saying he’s doing a good job on the economy. The result comes on the heels of the announcement that the U.S. economy grew at a much better rate than expected in the first quarter, and Trump’s performance on the economy becomes one of his prime selling points for next year’s general election. Trump’s previous high mark in CNN polling on handling the economy came in March 2017 when 55 percent approved. Since then, he’s edged above 50 percent four times, but this is the first time it’s been meaningfully over the 50 percent line.

Donald Trump’s handling of the economy is getting good marks, according to a new CNN poll. Image via Getty.

Marco Rubio, Rick Scott introduced tax relief bill for Florida’s fishing industry” via Nancy Smith of the Sunshine State News — Legislation would create excise tax fairness for potable, electronically-aerated bait containers to be the same as the parts used to assemble it. The tax code currently penalizes small businesses that manufacture these bait containers by applying the 3 percent rate if the parts are sold separately, but the 10 percent tax rate if the product is sold assembled. “This important legislation will provide meaningful relief to Florida’s fishing industry and ensure it continues to be a thriving piece of our state’s economy,” Rubio said. “Florida is the fishing capital of the world, and I take my responsibility seriously to protect our state’s environment and economy for future generations.”

Rubio: More than 200 days after Hurricane Michael, residents in the Panhandle have had enough” via Katie Landeck of the Panama City News-Herald — Four times Washington D.C. has failed to pass a bill, with all four votes along party lines. Most recently the Republicans voted no over objections to Democrats pushing for additional aid for Puerto Rico that Republicans say was above and beyond what was agreed. Trump also opposed additional aid for Puerto Rico. The government shutdown has derailed other measures or cut out of a larger spending deal. Last month, Rubio’s staff held office hours in Panama City Beach where they heard a loud chorus of complaints the gridlock on disaster relief. At the meeting, staff told residents that writing letters were not enough; they needed to make videos to show people what it looks like.

Senators near deal on disaster aid with Trump ‘on board’” via Caitlin Emma, Jennifer Scholtes and Marianne LeVine of POLITICO — Top senators negotiating a disaster aid deal are closing in on a compromise that could get a Senate vote as early as next week to unlock more than $17 billion in assistance to ailing communities. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby and ranking Democrat Patrick Leahy are nearing an agreement after Senate Republicans laid out a new offer behind closed doors this week to increase Puerto Rico’s access to federal recovery cash. Progress comes with tempered expectations as the two work to win support from other congressional leaders and Trump on one of the most politically fickle issues of the year.

Trump erases offshore drilling rules enacted after BP oil spill” via Ben Lefebvre and Eric Wolff of POLITICO — The Trump administration dismantled safety rules for offshore drilling put in place by the Obama administration after the disastrous BP oil spill fouled the Gulf of Mexico nearly a decade ago. The rollbacks are a major victory for the oil and gas industry that has criticized the Obama rules as too onerous and costly to comply with, but which supporters say have helped prevent a repeat of the accident that killed 11 workers and spewed more than 200 million gallons of oil in 2010. “Incorporating the best available science, best practices and technological innovations of the past decade, the rule eliminates unnecessary regulatory burdens while maintaining safety and environmental protection offshore,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement.

Florida could lose a congressional seat, millions in funding if 2020 Census asks about citizenship” via Steve Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — People filling out the decennial Census have not been asked to state whether they are citizens since 1950, but administration officials including former White House adviser Steve Bannon have been pushing for the addition since the beginning of Trump’s term. Two federal judges have ruled against allowing the question, deciding that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acted in “bad faith” in misrepresenting the reasons for adding the question. But the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case by June, and several justices have indicated during hearings they don’t believe the question is politically motivated despite Trump’s tweet last month attacking “Radical Left Democrats” for opposing the idea.

Stephanie Murphy, Michael Waltz seek FBI briefing on 2016 Russian hacking for entire Florida delegation” via Stephen Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — Murphy and Waltz sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr seeking the briefing for all 27 members of Congress from Florida. In a statement, Murphy said Florida voters “have the right to know the extent to which foreign actors may have breached our state’s election security systems, and what the federal government is doing to prevent it from happening again.” Waltz said the FBI “needs to brief the Florida delegation on exactly what Russia did and which counties were involved so we can protect our elections and the voters.” The redacted version of the Robert Mueller report stated the FBI believes “at least one Florida county” was infiltrated with malicious software sent out by Russian intelligence agents.

The White House wants to end TPS for Nicaraguans. Two Miami lawmakers want to keep it” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala introduced a bill that would provide TPS to Nicaraguan nationals already in the United States, a population concentrated in South Florida. Diaz-Balart and Shalala argued that recent violence related to President Daniel Ortega’s decision to cut government benefits and human rights concerns are justification for extending a program that’s been in place since 1999 and extended by presidents from both parties ever since. “The Nicaraguan people are demanding free, fair, multiparty elections and a government free of crime and corruption that respects basic human rights and liberties,” Diaz-Balart said.

With leadership by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, U.S. House spurns Trump on global climate accord” via Robin Bravender of Florida Phoenix — The U.S. House approved legislation from Castor that would force the Trump administration to remain in the Paris climate accord, despite the president’s plans to exit the pact. The House vote is a symbolic rebuke to Trump, who announced in 2017 that he’d withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris climate accord that the Obama administration helped broker in 2015. The bill was passed mostly along party lines by a vote of 231-190, with Republicans against and Democrats in favor. Three Republicans broke ranks to support the measure, including Florida U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, who represents a district that includes Sarasota and Bradenton.

Tiger Woods to visit White House on Monday” via Bill Speros of Golfweek — Masters champion Woods will visit the White House on Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday. Trump will honor Woods, who won his 15th major and fifth green jacket at Augusta last month. Trump earlier said he would honor Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest honor for a civilian. The came the day after Woods’ most-recent victory at Augusta National. Trump and Woods have been golfing partners in the past. Their most-recent public pairing came February at Trump National in Jupiter.

— 2020 —

Scott slams Joe Biden over China policies” via Florida Politics — U.S. Sen. Scott continues to tread an aggressive path when it comes to American defense of traditional geopolitical prerogatives. On Thursday, Scott offered a sharp critique of former Vice President Biden, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in recent polls of the 2020 field. Biden, who is still finding his sea legs as a candidate, said that the threat posed by communist China is no big deal during a stump speech this week. Scott said Biden had “lost touch with reality.”

Rick Scott is slamming Joe Biden over his stance on China, saying the former Vice President has ‘lost touch with reality.’

Biden wins endorsement of Florida Democrats in early show of force” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — The endorsements, from 23 of the Legislature’s 64 Democrats, were gathered over the past month by state Rep. Joseph Geller, a Broward County Democrat and longtime Biden supporter. Geller said Biden has the best shot at bridging a growing divide between progressive Democrats and those representing the party’s more moderate, traditional wing. “It’s a diverse list of supporters that without question shows his support here,” Geller told POLITICO. “Not only do I think he can win, but I think he can unite the factions of the Democratic Party.” The Biden campaign has yet to begin hiring Florida-based staff. Of the 23 endorsements, 19 are House members, and four are Senators.

Kamala Harris’s questioning of William Barr delivers a punch after an uneven campaign stretch” via Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post — Harris is capable of turning in deft performances — a skill on display at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing as she confronted Attorney General Barr with pointed questions. But she appears less comfortable when someone else is setting the agenda, as at a recent CNN town hall meeting. Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina state legislator who supports Harris and has campaigned with her, noted that at the CNN event, Harris skirted several questions by saying she wanted to “have a conversation” about the subject. Many Democratic strategists say Harris has one of the clearer paths to the party’s presidential nomination, if not necessarily an easy one.

Democrats are coming to Broward as part of a national voting rights effort” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — Democrats are coming from Washington to hold hearings in Fort Lauderdale as part of a national effort to examine voting rights and election administration issues. On Monday, four members of the Committee on House Administration, along with local Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Alcee Hastings will hold an official field hearing at the Broward County Governmental Center. Former gubernatorial candidate Gillum is among the witnesses.


Jeb Bush’s education plan comes full circle” via Bill Cotterell of the Tallahassee Democrat — It was Bush who, a little more than 20 years ago, began Florida’s education evolution — some would call it a revolution — culminating in the near party-line vote of 76-39 for the package that will allow state tax money to be used for families to send their kids to private schools. The first time he ran for governor, Bush visited public schools all over the state in 1994 and said he was going to work for a major, fundamental change in education. A few important things have changed since then, but the fundamentals remain the same. Republicans call it “choice” — an idea Democrats like in another context, but not regarding schools — and Democrats call it wholesale robbery of the public schools.

Veto this $10 billion ‘boondoggle’ highway bill, Gov. DeSantis” via Paul Owens for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — With cavalier disregard for the economic and environmental costs, Florida legislators have greenlighted the biggest expansion to the state’s highway network in more than half a century. Senate Bill 7068 directs the state Department of Transportation to blaze three new toll expressways through rural Florida — a project whose price tag could top $10 billion. Now, there might be only one person left to stop it — DeSantis. SB 7068 would divert hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade from general revenue — reducing the money available for education and health care — just to plan for the three expressways.

Florida should end religious exemptions to measles vaccine” via the Orlando Sentinel editorial board — There’s been a baffling surge in parents who use religious exemptions to excuse children from vaccination requirements. We say baffling because studies consistently show religion is becoming less influential in Americans’ lives. The gospel truth is that people aren’t getting more religious. They’re just using it as an excuse, and it’s time for the excuses to end. Florida should halt religious exemptions for vaccinations. That may sound like a violation of the First Amendment, but there is no inalienable right to catch a disease and spread it to the public. Unfortunately, the Florida Legislature did not take up the issue in the current session. Maybe they’re not paying attention.


Personnel note: Robert Angus Williams joins Lewis, Longman & Walker” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Full-service law firm Lewis Longman & Walker announced Thursday that Robert Angus Williams is joining the firm. Williams comes to LLW from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, where he served as General Counsel, and before that, as Chief Deputy General Counsel, serving FDEP’s Public Lands Section and Defense Section. Williams is an alumnus of the University of Florida, where he earned his bachelor’s degree, and Stetson University, where he earned his law degree. He will work in the firm’s Tallahassee office as Of Counsel. “We are delighted to have Robert join our firm. His exceptional reputation and experience in environmental and land use law is a big win, and we appreciate the value he brings to our organization,” said LLW President Michelle Diffenderfer.

Congratulations to Robert Angus Williams, who is joining full-service law firm Lewis, Longman & Walker.

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Nick Iarossi, Ron LaFace, Andrew Ketchel, Daniel Newman, Scott Ross, Chris Schoonover, Capital City Consulting: bestbet Jacksonville

Milli Jones, Ard Shirley & Rudolph: Florida Cattlemen’s Association


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 panel with Tampa Bay Times columnist Ernest Hooper; Eye on Tampa Bay blogger Sharon Calvert; independent journalist William March; attorney and former state Rep. Sean Shaw.

In Focus with Allison Walker-Torres on Bay News 9: A discussion of the legalization of industrial hemp and its potential as a billion dollar industry. Joining Walker-Torres to discuss are U.S. Rep. Darren Soto; Arby Barroso, co-founder, Green Roads; Ricardo Calzada, associate general counsel, Folium Biosciences; and Dr. Jeffrey Block, advisory board member, UF Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences, Industrial Hemp Project.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando and Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: This week’s show features a discussion on the outcome of the 2019 Florida Legislative Session; a look at a new digital political series; and PolitiFact Truth-O- Meter rates a claim made by Trump.

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

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: This week’s guests are Appropriation Chairs Sen. Bradley and Rep. Travis Cummings; Senate Minority Leader Audrey Gibson and state CFO Patronis.

— ALOE —

USF to graduate youngest student in school history” via Rachel Smith and Mark Schreiner of WUSF — Drew Falkowitz, 16, will walk across the stage to receive his Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology. According to university records, he will be the youngest person to ever graduate from USF. Falkowitz started reading at 20 months. He says his academic story started in a Montessori school where he advanced rapidly from grade to grade. At just 14 years old, Flakowitz began dual enrollment classes at USF. Then, at 15, he became an official student at the university. This summer, Falkowitz has a research assistantship at Yale University. He will be back in the fall at USF for his Master’s in Biology.

Drew Falkowitz, 16, is the youngest person to ever graduate from USF. Image via WUSF.

Disney unveils ‘May the 4th’/Force merchandise for ‘Star Wars’ day” via Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel — New items coming out include a tumbler that reads “Star Wars Day 2019: May the 4th Be With You,” a stormtrooper T-shirt bearing the same phrase and Disney pins featuring the armed and running trooper or Darth Vader wielding a lightsaber. This special merchandise will be sold on May 4 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park at Tatooine, Launch Bay and Mickey’s of Hollywood stores plus at Star Wars Galactic Outpost and Star Wars Trading Post at Disney Springs. The sales pitch on the official Disney Parks Blog comes with this warning: “Merchandise available while supplies last.”


What started out as a Star Wars pun shared between fans with a wink has turned into a bona fide event, embraced by fans worldwide — as well as The Walt Disney Co., which is quickly putting the finishing touches on its ambitious new Galaxy’s End land, set to open this year in both Orlando and California.

— According to, one of the first instances in popular culture of “May the 4th” was in 1979.

— As author Alan Arnold explained while he chronicled the making of The Empire Strikes Back for Lucasfilm: “Margaret Thatcher has won the election and become Britain’s first woman prime minister. To celebrate their victory her party took a half page of advertising space in the London Evening News. This message, referring to the day of victory was ‘May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations,’ further proof of the extent to which Star Wars has influenced us all.”

— Since then, #StarWarsDay has spread throughout the globe, helping to showcase fan activity.

Of course, Disney is pulling out all the stops for #StarWarsDay. Image via Disney.

— Among the celebrations are special events, blue milk recipesparty tips, games and other activities.

— For those who live for collectibles, May 4 is also an excellent day to boost your collection with online discounts on Star Wars merchandise, apparel, artwork, and other peripherals.

— Music services SpotifyApple MusicAmazon MusicPandora, and YouTube among others, are offering special best of Star Wars playlists, which include a new score from composer John Williams created specifically for Galaxy’s Edge.


The day of mint juleps, big hats, and the most-watched horse race every year is almost upon us.

— (Almost) at the post: The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby will run Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Post time for the actual race is 6:46 p.m.

— NBC milks it: NBC’S coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. and runs for five hours for the approximately 2-minute race.

— What’s a mint julep?: Bourbon, sugar, ice, and fresh mint. Some swear by the drink. Others believe it is awful.

— On to the odds: Omaha Beach, winner of the Arkansas Derby, was the early favorite in the run for the roses but scratched. Now, it looks like Game Winner is the one to watch.

Now that favorite Omaha Beach has been scratched from The Kentucky Derby, Game Winner is the one to watch. Image via Churchill Downs.

— What’s up with the hats?: Big hats are a tradition at The Derby that dates back more than 100 years. They were a sign of status back in the day, the more visible, the better. Men got away with wearing top hats.

— Run for the roses: That tradition dates to 1896 when the winner received an arrangement of white and pink roses. The red rose became The Derby’s official flower in 1904, and 21 years later New York sports columnist was the first to call The Derby “The run for the roses.” The blanket covering the winner now has 554 roses.

— The purse: It’s more than just roses. A $1.86 million prize that goes to the first-place horse. But that’s horse hay compared to what a Triple Crown winner can make for its owner in stud fees. Last year’s Triple Crown winner, Justify, will generate an estimated $60 million as a stud after being retired because of a bad ankle after last year. Nice work if you can get it.


Best wishes to my brother, Donovan Brown, as well as Samantha Ferrin, the chief of staff at the Florida Lottery, William Lewis, former Rep. Ritch Workman, and the great Tom Scherberger.

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, Dan M

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

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