The Florida Chamber of Commerce Military, Defense and Veterans Opportunities Summit starts today in Jacksonville.
State Rep. Mel Ponder will kick off the event followed by Florida Chamber head Mark Wilson, who will outline the summit’s theme: “preparing for disruption and tomorrow’s opportunities and ensuring competitiveness, prosperity and resiliency.”
Several business leaders, agency heads and military top brass will be on hand for the first day.
Scheduled to deliver the keynote is retired Major General Michael D. Jones, who served in the U.S. Army for 34 years, including deployments to Bosnia and Iraq, where he was responsible for combat operations and forming and training Iraqi security forces in Baghdad.
Jones is one of 20 speakers the Florida Chamber has lined up for the summit.
Among the first day highlights is a panel featuring DEFENSEWERX interim Director Greg Britton, FloridaMakes CEO Kevin Carr, Warren Helm of Boeing, BRIDG CEO Chester Kennedy and Enterprise Florida head Jamal Sowell. The quintet will discuss how the military serves as an economic engine for Florida.
Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Askegren will be on hand to give a briefing on how the post-Hurricane Michael rebuild is progressing at Tyndall, and Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Danny Burgess is set to speak on how Florida can maintain its status as the “Most Veteran Friendly State.”
The summit will continue through Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@RealDonaldTrump: The United States is learning much from the failed missile explosion in Russia. We have similar, though more advanced, technology. The Russian “Skyfall” explosion has people worried about the air around the facility, and far beyond. Not good!
—@EWErickson: Given how much money China is dumping into American media outlets through special publications, ad buys, access, etc. I wonder if we’ll get an honest picture about Hong Kong over the coming weeks. This is a story that needs way more attention than the President’s retweets.
—@Annette_Taddeo: Ugh, So now [Donald] Trump Admin is targeting the #. Is there anything good Trump’s NOT trying to destroy?
—@GwenGraham: After my last tweet, my first tweetstorm. People don’t change. Unless the @GovRonDeSantis that I knew in Congress suddenly became an engaged political tactician, the decisions of the DeSantis administration are being made by a team of advisors, including his wife. She is sharp.
—@ChrisMZiegler: Wrong. @GovRonDeSantis campaigned on banning Sanctuary Cities in Florida. Voters picked him to execute his plan.@JoeGruters presented him with the bill. Gov DeSantis signed it and delivered on a promise he made to voters.
—@Rob_Bradley: Almost 1k residents per day flee other states to come to Florida, #1 largest beneficiary of new capital, university system ranked #1 in country by @usnews, world-class state college system, K-12 graduation rate up 27% in 14 years. yeah, Florida is a real hellhole under R rule.
—@MDixon55: A lot of the people on the list are saying things like “honored to be on a list with such talented people.” One of you needs to set yourself apart: “honored to be the most talented person on this year’s 30 under 30 list. Rest y’all are scrubs.”
—@DJMia00: With massive in money in campaigns, fast diminishing returns on TV and still figuring out how digital ads work (if at all), it’s good to see money spent on field. Great to see so many “Rising Stars” in Florida politics got their start toiling in the field
—@ToledoforTampa: I hope everyone’s first day of school in Hillsborough County went off without a hitch. As we continue to adjust to new schedule be conscientious of school zones, stopped buses and cyclists on our roads! Happy first day of school
—@WhitneyCummings: When a woman in the public eye is extorted, we have to spend time, money and energy dealing with it, hiring lawyers and security experts, and living with a pit in our stomach about when and how we will be humiliated. Y’all can have my nipple, but not my time or money anymore.
— DAYS UNTIL —
Taylor Swift’s new album, ‘Lover,’ released — 10; Florida Gators opens vs. Miami football — 11; St. Petersburg primary election — 14; UCF Knights football opens vs. Florida A&M — 16; USF Bulls football opens vs. Wisconsin Badgers — 17; FSU Seminoles football opens vs. Boise State — 18; Labor Day — 20; CNN hosts candidate forum on the climate crisis — 22; First Interim Committee Week for 2020 Session — 34; “Morning” Joe Scarborough releases “This Ends Badly: How Donald Trump Conned America” — 35; MSNBC hosts candidates event on climate in D.C. — 37; “Joker” opens — 52; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 76; 2019 General Election — 84; 3rd Annual Florida Internet and Television FITCon starts — 86; 2020 Session begins — 154; Iowa Caucuses — 174; New Hampshire Primaries — 182; Florida’s presidential primary — 217; 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo begin — 346; 2020 General Election — 448.
— TOP STORY —
“Nikki Fried: On guns, where do we go from here?” via Florida Politics — One hundred nine years ago, Teddy Roosevelt reminded us that “it is not the critic who counts … the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.” I intend not only to be a critic, but also a woman in the arena – because the stakes for our state, our republic, and our lives cannot be higher. As Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, I’m committed to doing everything within my purview to make a difference.
“Florida Democratic lawmakers reintroduce legislation to ‘red-flag’ law” via Mitch Perry of Florida Phoenix — Matching bills filed by Broward County Democrats Richard Stark in the House and Lori Berman in the Senate would allow a parent, legal guardian, spouse or sibling of a person believed to be a danger to himself or the community to go before a judge with what is known as a Risk Protection Order. A similar measure proposed in the 2019 session died in committee. Currently, if someone suspects a family member might pose a danger to themselves or the community, they must contact a law enforcement official, who can then petition the court to restrict that person’s access to guns. That measure was part of the sweeping Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act that was signed into law in the immediate aftermath of the Parkland shooting massacre last year.
— DATELINE: TALLY —
“Gwen Graham tweetstorm credits Ron DeSantis ‘puppeteers’ for post-election ‘bait and switch’” via Dara Kam of the News Service of Florida — Former Congresswoman Graham, the daughter of former Florida governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham who last year sought the Democratic nomination for Governor, went on a Twitter rant against Republican DeSantis and his “puppeteers.” In her first tweetstorm, Graham called the Legislative Session that ended in May “the worst ever, if you care about the future of Florida,” hitting on voting rights, education, LGBTQ rights, guns and other issues.
“Mike Hill joked about killing gay people. Then he clashed with Republican leaders” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — Hill exchanged testy text messages with legislative leaders of his own party after the Pensacola Republican joked at a political event about killing gay people, records show. Hill drew bipartisan criticism, including calls for his resignation, for comments he made at a May 23 event held by Women for Responsible Legislation. On an audio recording of the exchange, someone can be heard asking Hill if he could file legislation imposing the death penalty for a “man who has an affair with another man.” After the recording was made public, Hill faced near-universal backlash, drawing condemnation in a joint statement from fellow Republicans House Speaker Jose Oliva and Rep. Chris Sprowls, who is in line to be the next House speaker.
“Discrimination against gay, transgender students at Florida’s private voucher schools would be banned under proposed legislation” via Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel — The bill would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the existing Florida law that spells out anti-discrimination requirements for private schools that accept state scholarships, or vouchers. “I’ve had long-standing beliefs in anti-discrimination, and I don’t want to see anybody discriminated against when government dollars are in play,” said Sen. Darryl Rouson, who is drafting the bill he’d like the Florida Legislature to take up in its 2020 Session. A similar measure was proposed, and quickly defeated, in the House this spring. But Rouson, who supported some of the state’s scholarship programs, said he would still push his bill with “optimism and expectation that it is good policy.”
Doctors, nurses split on opioid alternative law — A new law requiring doctors to inform patients about opioid alternatives has left some doctors confused, but not nurses. As reported by Alexandra Glorioso of POLITICO Florida, the Florida Medical Association is seeking clarification on what the law requires, such as whether doctors can provide a pamphlet in place of a conversation and whether they must provide alternative medicine information if opioids aren’t being prescribed. The head of the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists, however, said the doctor’s questions framed the new law as a “burden” instead of an “opportunity to have a candid conversation with patients about risks related to opioid use and treatments.”
Happening today — Three town hall meetings: State Sens. Dennis Baxley and Kelli Stargel join Reps. Anthony Sabatini, Brett Hage and Jennifer Sullivan, 6 p.m., Tavares Community Center, 100 E. Caroline Street, Tavares. State Rep. Margaret Good, 6 p.m., Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Public Library, 2801 Newtown Blvd. Sarasota. State Rep. Wengay “Newt” Newton, 6 p.m., SPC Midtown Center, 1300 22nd Street South, St. Petersburg.
“Former interim leader seeks OFR top job” via the News Service of Florida — Linda Charity, a two-time former interim commissioner of the state Office of Financial Regulation, has applied to fill the vacant position leading the agency. Charity joined Kevin Rosen of Boca Raton and Mike Hogan of Gainesville in applying to become the state’s top financial regulator, a job that has been open since Ronald Rubin was fired July 25 following allegations of sexual harassment and creating an uncomfortable work environment. Rubin, who disputed the charges, was hired over Charity in February for the $166,000-a-year position. DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet will choose a replacement for Rubin but have not set a deadline for applications.
“Marion Hammer gets an ‘F’ from NRA mutineer” via Dara Kam of the News Service of Florida — Hammer’s report cards can make Republicans tremble, and Democrats cheer. But now the onetime president of the national gun-rights group, who also serves on its board of directors, is the one who doesn’t make the mark, according to an NRA donor staging a leadership coup. David Dell’Aquila filed a federal lawsuit against the NRA earlier this month, alleging that the gun-rights group misled contributors. Dell’Aquila’s mutiny isn’t isolated to federal court. He’s also drumming up support to rid the NRA of its CEO, Wayne LaPierre, amid reports of lavish spending that included $275,000 on spendy suits and a $39,000 single-day spree at a tony Beverly Hills boutique.
— STATEWIDE —
“Getting tough: Richard Corcoran tells school districts to fall in line” via Tampa Bay Times — Mental health. Career planning. Personal finances. The list of topics that Florida lawmakers have required school districts to cover in classrooms continued to grow this year — some with little advance notice or funding to support them. The mental health mandate, for instance, came from the State Board of Education less than a month before classes were set to resume. It requires school districts to provide five hours of “mental and emotional health education” each year for students in middle and high school. “The rule is, I think, incredible,” said board member Ben Gibson.
“Florida Chamber sounds alarm bell over energy choice initiative” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics — As of Thursday morning, the push to create an “open and competitive energy market” had less than 400,000 of its signatures verified — a long way from the key step to actually getting on the ballot. And if the Florida Chamber has its way, the measure will never see the light of day. Ahead of a Financial Impact Estimating Conference meeting, the business group again made the case that “energy choice” is bad for business. “Voters deserve to know the facts — this price hiking electricity-related ballot measure is a drastic and costly proposal that will drive up costs on Florida’s families, consumers and local businesses,” said Wilson, president and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.
“Going to the dogs: Anti-greyhound racing group says lawsuit against ban ‘will be rejected’ ” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — One of the lead backers of last year’s successful state constitutional amendment to ban greyhound racing has told legislative leaders a lawsuit against the measure is “dubious” and “frivolous.” Carey Theil, executive director of GREY2K USA Worldwide, which aims to end dog racing permanently, sent a letter to state Rep. David Santiago, chair of the House Gaming Control Subcommittee, and state Sen. Wilton Simpson, who chairs the Senate Committee on Innovation, Industry and Technology, which oversees gambling issues. Theil was responding to the recent filing of a lawsuit by a Pinellas County greyhound-kennel owner, who claims what became Amendment 13 is an unconstitutional taking of property.
“Lots of cities want Brightline stations. Here’s where the next ones are likely to go.” via David Lyons of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The high-speed train service’s next priority station stops are Boca Raton, Aventura and PortMiami, the company says. But Brightline is still listening to proposals from several other cities eager to join its service, which runs through the downtowns of West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. If a profile of the company’s ridership is any indication, city leaders should know it’s about who can deliver the most business and tourism travelers. “There’s a tremendous demand for the services we’ve built in South Florida,” said Ben Porritt, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Brightline, which is being rebranded as Virgin Trains USA.
“Hepatitis A cases still on the rise” via the News Service of Florida — According to the Florida Department of Health, the number of hepatitis A reported to the state between Jan. 1 and Aug. 10 is now at 2,192. The most significant number of new cases was in Pinellas County, which reported seven cases of the virus, followed by Volusia and Brevard counties, which each reported six new cases. Pasco County, which has reported more cases than any other county in Florida, reported five new cases last week, bringing its total to 373 cases. As of Saturday, 10 counties — Dixie, Calhoun, Bradford, Gadsden, Gulf, Highlands Holmes, Lafayette, Jefferson and Union — did not have any reported hepatitis A cases, while Suwannee County reported its first case last week.
— BACK-TO-SCHOOL —
“Private schools can’t accommodate every student, and neither can public schools” via Carol Macedonia for the Orlando Sentinel — When it comes to educating students with disabilities, the Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell would hold schools that participate in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program to a higher standard than district-run schools. He complains that these private schools are not required to accept children with special needs, singling out some by name, and he claims public schools “must take all students.” The truth is, not every district school must accommodate every student who shows up. Florida law was recently changed to allow students to attend out of zone district schools — but only if there is room and they have their own transportation.
“Familiar challenges for a new school year” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — There are cracks in the system. Last month, a statewide grand jury impaneled to investigate school safety found that “numerous” Florida school districts were not in compliance with the post-Parkland school security laws. The grand jury found “troubling” failures in carrying out the reforms and flatly dismissed the excuses state and local officials offered as “wholly unpersuasive.” While Tampa Bay’s school districts appear to be performing well, the grand jury needs to name those lagging districts for the sake of campus safety and political accountability. The collective efforts to better prepare students to compete and become engaged citizens in the 21st century — and to provide a secure environment for that preparation — never end.
“Pasco lawmaker seeks to increase fines for passing a stopped school bus” via Jeffrey Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times — State Rep. Ardian Zika wanted his message to get out as children across the state are getting ready to return to school. Drivers need to heed the red flashing lights on the yellow buses stopping throughout their communities to pick up and drop off students, the Land O’Lakes Republican said. To drive home the importance of the need, Zika filed legislation to stiffen the penalties for those who still choose to blow by. His proposal would double the fine, to $400, for drivers who pass a bus that is boarding or releasing children. For a second violation within five years, the driver could face losing his or her license for two years — twice as long as the law currently allows.
“Be prepared for a slower commute as school starts this week” via Susannah Bryan of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — School is back in session in Palm Beach County, Wednesday in Broward County and Aug. 19 in Miami-Dade County. Here are some rules to keep in mind: Don’t even think about passing a school bus while students are getting on or off. It’s illegal. Speed demons need to slow down. Speeding fines are doubled in school zones. The speed limit is 20 mph during drop-off and pickup. Yellow flashing lights are your tipoff that you’re entering a school zone. Make sure to obey any instructions from the police, crossing guards and school safety patrols.
“Bulletproof backpacks are on shelves in area stores ahead of new school year” via Dinorah Prevost of the Tampa Bay Times — Tampa Bay area Office Depots have stocked a variety of Guard Dog Security bulletproof backpacks, including its newest Scout model. Stores on Missouri Avenue in Clearwater, Dale Mabry Highway and East Adamo Drive in Tampa all have them. Prices range from $119 to $199 and one model, Proshield II, was “tested and certified against .44 magnum and 9 mm,” according to the company’s website.
“Florida OKs 36 new private schools for voucher money vs. 151 two years ago, with visit requirement” via Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel — That count may have included a few schools that started getting scholarship money midyear. The department has added five employees whose duties include conducting site visits at private schools and responding to complaints about them as a result of the legislation, spokeswoman Cheryl Etters wrote in an email. She was unable to provide an estimate of the expense of adding the employees and the department ignored repeated requests for an interview with staff members about the process. The Orlando Sentinel reported in 2017 that some of the schools that take vouchers, free from most state rules, have hired teachers with criminal records, set up in rundown facilities and faced eviction midyear.
“As school begins, thousands of teaching positions remain unfilled in Florida” via Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel — District administrators said an ongoing teacher shortage makes finding enough qualified instructors tough, especially when growing student enrollment means even more teachers are needed for the coming school year. “It’s the most challenging job market in the almost 19 years that I’ve been in the recruitment business,” said Greg White, teacher recruitment specialist for the Osceola County school district. Osceola had 93 teacher vacancies on Aug. 5, the most of any local school district. Statewide there were 3,500 reported teacher vacancies the first week of August. If those jobs aren’t filled by Monday, when most of Florida’s public schools start classes, thousands of youngsters will begin a new academic year without a permanent teacher.
“Teacher unions suffer setback as judge sides with state on membership law” via the News Service of Florida — A Leon County circuit judge has rejected arguments by teacher unions that a controversial 2018 education law violates collective-bargaining rights and improperly singles out teachers among public employees. Judge Angela Dempsey issued an eight-page decision siding with the state’s arguments on the constitutionality of the law, which can require teacher unions to be recertified to represent employees. Such recertification is required if fewer than 50 percent of the employees eligible for representation are dues-paying members. The Florida Education Association, unions in several counties and individual teachers, filed the lawsuit in July 2018 challenging the constitutionality of the law.
— D.C. MATTERS —
“Donald Trump overhauls endangered species protections” via Ellen Knickmeyer of The Associated Press — The Trump administration rolled out some of the broadest changes in decades to enforcement of the landmark Endangered Species Act, allowing the government to put an economic cost on saving a species and other changes critics contend could speed extinction for some struggling plants and animals. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and other administration officials contend the changes improve the efficiency of oversight while protecting rare species. “The best way to uphold the Endangered Species Act is to do everything we can to ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal — recovery of our rarest species,” he said in a statement. The changes included allowing economic cost to take into account as the federal government weighs protecting a struggling species.
“How will Trump’s new ‘public charge’ rule affect immigrants in Florida” via Monique O. Madan of the Miami Herald — According to the American Immigration Council, there were about 4.1 million people who were non-citizens living in Florida in 2017, and 26 percent of them— about 1.2 million — have used some type of health care, food, housing or government cash-support benefit. Migrants currently make up a small percentage of those who get public benefits, mainly because many are ineligible from the start because of their immigration status. However, analysts say the new rule is more likely to have a direct impact on people who wouldn’t be targeted at all.
“Trump is admitting so few refugees this Florida resettlement agency is shutting down” via Joshua Hersh and Belle Cushing of Vice News — On a recent Saturday morning, a couple hundred refugees were at the offices of World Relief, in Jacksonville, Florida, rifling through a warehouse full of unneeded supplies. In better times, the dishes and mattresses and bookshelves stored here would’ve helped furnish a home for a newly arrived refugee. But since the Trump Administration clamped down on refugee admissions, there haven’t been a lot of new refugees coming to Jacksonville.
“Rick Scott: Americans should get tax cuts in return for tariffs paid on Chinese goods” via Jessica Bursztynsky of CNBC — “Anything we raise in tariffs, we should give back to the rank and public in tax reductions,” the Senator said in a “Squawk Box ” interview, acknowledging there’s been some “short-term pain.” “We have to help American farmers open up more markets around the world,” said Scott, who did not elaborate on what such relief might look like. Data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which collects taxes on imports, showed the U.S. had assessed $23.7 billion in tariffs from early 2018 through May 1. According to a Reuters report, the total tariff revenue rose 73 percent in the first half of 2019 from a year earlier.
“Florida congresswoman introduces bill making vaccinations mandatory for all public school students” via Adrian Mojica of Fox 26 News — H.R. 2527 was introduced by Representative Fredrica Wilson, a Democrat from Florida’s 24th Congressional District. Titled the “Vaccinate All Children Act of 2019,” the bill would force states to require public school students to be vaccinated to receive certain federal grants. However, there would be exceptions sorry well what I wanted if a physician found the child’s health would be at risk by getting vaccinations. The physician would also have to demonstrate their opinion conformed to accepted standards of medical care and the school’s health program leader would have to be satisfied with the opinion.
“40,000 census workers start verifying addresses next week” via Mike Schneider of the Associated Press — Starting this month, an army of 40,000 U.S. Census Bureau workers equipped with laptops will fan out to neighborhoods around the country to verify and update addresses in preparation for the most significant headcount in United States history next spring. The verification of addresses is the most labor-intensive component of the bureau’s preparations this year for the 2020 count. The workers — known as “listers” — will cover about a third of the nation’s physical area. “We’re moving later this month into the full-fledged national canvassing effort,” Steven Dillingham, director of the U.S. Census Bureau, said.
— 2020 —
“How Democrats plan to use gun control to beat Trump” via David Siders of POLITICO — As they converged this past weekend in Iowa — a state with a robust gun culture and an affinity for the Republican president — the stinging case for gun control laid out by White House hopefuls had little in common with past appeals for additional regulation and much to do with the implications of Trump’s role in stoking violent white nationalism. The pre-general election offensive against Trump serves as a departure from the primary’s infighting in recent weeks, as Democrats seize a collective opportunity to weaken the president. But the candidates suggested this merged line of criticism — on guns and racism — would resonate long after initial public interest in any one shooting fades.
— THE TRAIL —
“Jason Brodeur adds another $95,000 to his SD 9 election funds” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Republican Senate candidate Brodeur picked up nearly $95,000 in July to fuel his robust campaign funds in his bid to be elected in District 9. Brodeur, a former state representative in Seminole County, reported that his official campaign fundraised another $45,230 in July while his political committee Friends of Jason Brodeur brought in $49,500. That means his campaign now has raised $453,502 while the independent committee has raised $1.7 million. Democrat Rick Ashby, an Oviedo-based engineer, who reported raising just $35 in the month.
“Shevrin Jones nets $32K in July toward Senate bid” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Rep. Jones appears to be again ramping up the fundraising machine, bringing in more than $32,000 as he attempts to grab the Senate District 35 seat in 2020. Jones’ fundraising had been in a bit of a lull the past three months, thanks in part to a ban on fundraising during the Legislative Session, which ended in May. But even in June, Jones brought in less than $1,500 to his campaign. His political committee, Florida Strong Finish, showed $0 in June earnings. That allowed Miami Gardens City Councilman Erhabor Ighodaro to claim the top spot in June fundraising. Former Sen. Daphne Campbell took that honor in May. The two are competing with Jones for the Democratic nomination.
“Bruno Portigliatti picks up two endorsements in HD 44 campaign” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Republican Florida House of Representatives candidate Portigliatti has received the endorsements of Orlando Commissioner Tony Ortiz and former Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke for the contest for House District 44 in Orange County. Portigliatti, president of Florida Christian University in Orlando and a civic activist who ran once before for the seat, is seeking to take on Democratic incumbent state Rep. Geraldine Thompson in the district, which covers southwest Orange County. Republican Frank Blanco of Orlando also is running in the field.
“Anna Eskamani picks up $50K check for her reelection bid in HD 47” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Orlando lawyer and Ruth’s List backer Brian Anderson has weighed in big on the reelection effort of Eskamani, contributing $50,000 in July to her independent People Power for Florida Political Committee. The check is a major break from Eskamani’s usual modus operandi of collecting big money via hundreds of small checks. For July, it dominates an otherwise modest month for the freshman Representative who had attracted more than 5,000 donations in her first campaign. In July she reported picking up $5,343 for her official campaign and $50,000, via Anderson’s contribution, for her People Power of Florida. That gives her $30,840 raised in her campaign fund and $62,000 in People Power for Florida toward the 2020 election campaign.
“Democrat Nina Yoakum makes big first splash in HD 50 race” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Democratic Florida House of Representatives candidate Yoakum posted a big fundraising start for her challenge in Florida House District 50, attracting more than $13,000 in her first month of the 2020 election campaign. That’s nearly as much as either of Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia‘s previous two Democratic challengers managed to raise for their entire election campaigns. Yoakum’s haul in July, $13,027, includes $4,000 she donated to her own campaign. Across Central Florida, perhaps only incumbent Republican state Reps. David Smith of Winter Springs and Scott Plakon of Longwood had more successful fundraising efforts for the month.
“Donna Barcomb posts light fundraising, Fiona McFarland leads money race in HD 72” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Republican Barcomb raised under $2,000 in fundraising the same month the Democratic incumbent left the race. Now McFarland boasts nearly a two-to-one edge in financial resources — before counting money from her political committee. Notably, much of her money comes from Texas and New York. The race in total has seen more than $150,000 now raised on the Republican side alone. That’s significant in Florida House District 72.
“Kionne McGhee adds to fundraising haul in Miami-Dade County Commission contest” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — House Democratic Leader McGhee added another $113,000 in his bid for Miami-Dade County Commission, thanks in part to $81,000 that was transferred from a PC previously associated with McGhee. That tally is added to the $108,000 McGhee earned in June as he competes for the District 9 seat. “I am grateful for the support of my neighbors, friends, and colleagues throughout our community and Florida,” McGhee said. “As a proud resident of South Dade, I am fully aware of the issues that my constituents experience on a daily basis. Their concerns are my concerns.” McGhee’s campaign took in a little more than $14,000 in July. His political committee, Words Matter, added nearly $100,000.
Happening tonight — State Rep. Smith is holding a fundraiser for his reelection effort to House District 28, 5:30 p.m., University Club Boardroom, 150 E Central Blvd., Orlando. Special guest is Rep. Chris Sprowls.
— LOCAL —
“Jacksonville homicide total hits 100 as 2 die in separate shootings” via Dan Scanlan of The Florida Times-Union — Two early Monday shootings left two men dead and two more injured from gunshots in a wave of violence in the city, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Monday’s deaths raise the number of homicides this year to 100, according to The Florida Times-Union’s unofficial track. That’s a 33 percent increase over the homicides in the city from last year. This is the fastest that the city’s homicide rate reached 100 in the 14 years The Times-Union has tracked them. The most total homicides Jacksonville has experienced in that had in that span was 151 in 2007 when the city reached the century mark Aug. 27.
“They lost their daughters in the Parkland shooting. They couldn’t stay in Broward anymore” via Martin Vassolo of the Miami Herald — A year-and-a-half after 17 students and faculty were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, two grieving families with opposing political views on gun control but a shared sense of distrust for their old home have reached the same conclusion. South Florida isn’t home anymore. In December, the Pollacks climbed into their RV and drove across the nation to search for farmland in Oregon to build a new life. The Schentrups moved to Washington to give their daughter a second chance at normal high school life, and to be closer to work. They put the pain 3,200 miles in the rearview mirror. But getting away from the shooting in Parkland, they know now, will take much more than geography.
“Miami-Dade must hold partisan elections for sheriff, court clerk, Supreme Court says” via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald — The county’s top lawyer wrote last week that a recent decision by the Florida Supreme Court forces Miami-Dade to hold partisan primaries for the 2020 clerk election. That ruling will also require partisan primaries for sheriff, tax collector and elections supervisor once those posts shift from appointed to elected by 2024, as required by a new amendment to the Florida Constitution. But with Miami-Dade a heavily blue county, there’s more time for state lawmakers in the Republican-controlled Legislature to change the law to allow nonpartisan contests for those offices.
“’Leave us alone’: Miami Dems, immigrant advocates want postponed ‘listening tour’ canceled” via Samantha Gross of the Miami Herald — After state Sen. Gruters announced that he was postponing his statewide immigration “listening tour,” some in the Miami community are saying he should cancel it for good. The Sarasota Republican, who doubles as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, had just last week added a stop in Miami on the six-city tour, which initially did not include any stops in South Florida, a top-five region for undocumented immigrants in the United States. “Leave us alone with this stuff,” said state Sen. José Javier Rodríguez. “If he wants to do this in his own district in Sarasota, go for it. I don’t have a lot of tolerance for it here.”
What Chris Sprowls is reading — “St. Pete campus won’t suffer from consolidation, new USF president says” via Megan Reeves the Tampa Bay Times — Speaking with executives, editors and reporters, Steve Currall said he has heard comments from faculty and students who fear the St. Petersburg campus will lose its autonomy and identity, and that many of its resources will end up on USF’s main campus in Tampa. None of that is based in fact, he said. “Those fears are not well-founded,” he added. “I think a lot of that is just worrying.” Currall and his team are working on a plan that he intends to share sometime in the fall, he said. “We’re trying to solve this puzzle,” he added. “We’re trying to see how the pieces fit well together.”
“Orlando airport lawyer Marcos Marchena submits resignation — will leave at end of year” via Orlando Sentinel — The Orlando airport authority’s lead lawyer announced Monday that he will leave his post by the end of the year. Marchena and his firm Marchena and Graham have represented the Greater Orlando Aviation authority since 1994. The authority owns and runs Orlando International Airport, which has seen a rapid rise in passengers and significant expansion in recent years.
“FAMU national alumni board denounces petition seeking removal of Larry Robinson, trustees” via Tallahassee Democrat — An online petition surfaced over the weekend calling for Gov. DeSantis and the Board of Governors to oust Florida A&M University President Robinson and members of the Board of Trustees. The petition created anonymously by some members within the national alumni on Change.org also calls for the removal of John Eason, athletics director at Florida A&M. As of Monday morning, 125 people had signed the petition with a goal of 200 signatures. The action — coming two weeks before classes start — prompted a special Sunday night meeting of the board of the FAMU National Alumni Association, which denounced the petition drive. It also comes as trustees are planning to review Robinson’s annual evaluation during their retreat later this week in Tampa.
“Group illegally hunted alligators, deer — and endangered gopher tortoises, wildlife officials say” via Tampa Bay Times — Three people have been arrested on charges that they illegally hunted alligators, deer and even a protected species, gopher tortoises, state wildlife officials said. Officials also sent 15 people in Pinellas, Broward, Orange and Levy counties notices to appear in court on related misdemeanor charges, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced on Friday.
“Flags at half staff for James Sommers, Suwanee County public safety director” via Florida Politics — DeSantis has ordered flags at half staff for Sommers, Suwanee County’s public safety director. Sommers, of Live Oak, was killed last Tuesday night in a crash involving an SUV and his motorcycle. He was 40. “As a symbol of respect for the memory of Director Sommers, and his service to Florida, I hereby direct the flags of the United States and the State of Florida to be flown at half-staff at the Suwanee County Courthouse in Live Oak, the City Hall of Live Oak and at the Capitol in Tallahassee, sunrise until sunset on Tuesday, Aug. 13,” DeSantis said in a statement.
— OPINIONS —
“Here’s how Congress can restore the Voting Rights Act” via Desmond Meade for the Tampa Bay Times — A bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would restore the Voting Rights Act. Written by Rep. Terri Sewell, an Alabama Democrat who is a champion of civil rights and now represents the symbolic city of Selma, this bill will make our country whole again. Today, Congress has the power to restore protections, effectively combat racial discrimination in voting and once again make voting a point of pride among our citizenry, not one of insecurity and shame. We call our elected officials and urge them to vote on the For the People Act in the Senate and, soon, the Voting Rights Advancement Act in the House. The moment is now, and the vehicle for change is you.
“Joe Henderson: Postponing immigration tour was smart call by Joe Gruters” via Florida Politics — Gruters and state Rep. Cord Byrd had a good idea to travel around Florida to listen to people’s feelings about immigration. Postponing it was an even better idea, and not because they wouldn’t have liked some of what they heard. Gruters said: “The rhetoric across the political spectrum is so charged right now that in order to have a truly productive listening tour we’ve decided to postpone to a later date.” Changing the date won’t change the rhetoric. Gruters is all-in for Trump. We know what kind of immigration policy he favors, especially after his action making it harder for legal immigrants who need things like food stamps to obtain permanent status.
“Bottling companies drain Florida waters — and pay zilch. End this corporate giveaway.” via the Orlando Sentinel editorial board — Nestlé wants a permit to drain about a million gallons of water a day from the aquifer in North Florida. This is an opportune time to remind everyone that Nestlé Waters North America will pay nothing for that water. Zero. The same goes for water bottlers in other parts of the state, including Niagara Bottling. It got a permit back in 2014 to withdraw about 900,000 gallons a day of free groundwater in Lake County, which it also uses to bottle and sell. The request was spectacularly unpopular with the public, but regional water managers approved it anyway. What does Florida gain from this? Local governments collect property taxes, and the bottling companies provide some jobs. That’s about all.
“Probes must continue; don’t deny justice to Jeffrey Epstein’s victims” via The Palm Beach Post editorial board — Epstein is not a victim, even in death. The real victims remain the dozens of young women — many of them teenagers — that Epstein lured to his homes for sexual favors under the guise of giving him “massages”. A sad fact is, no one truly knows how many girls he scarred with his depravity. But that Epstein is now dead after apparently committing suicide on Saturday while in a federal jail cell does not change this fact: There are still questions that need to be answered in order for his victims to obtain the justice they so rightly deserve.
— PODCAST ROUND-UP —
Battleground Florida with Christopher Heath: Andres Malave from Americans for Prosperity discusses what the group is up to, how its mission has tried to serve as a bulwark in changing political times, and why it’s still chalking up wins at the state level.
Dishonorable Mention: State Rep. Chris Latvala, activist Becca Tieder, Tampa Bay Times Columnist Ernest Hooper and communications expert Dr. Karla Mastracchio discuss politics and culture: national, state, local, but from a place of love. Latvala discusses launching his website advocating for Jordan’s Law. #DemDebatesPt2 and how has this administration affected current party affiliation. How should the media report the news regarding Trump, and what are the three key issues that people will make their voter decisions on in 2020?
Gradebook from the Tampa Bay Times with host Jeffrey Solochek: Betsy Kuhn, the Pasco County school district’s assistant superintendent for operations, discusses all the work her staff has put into making sure the nearly 80,000-student system is ready for its first day of classes.
High Tops & Politics: Episode 12: “What color is your toothbrush?” with hosts Brian Crowley and Mary Anna Mancuso.
Inside Florida Politics from GateHouse Florida with hosts John Kennedy, George Bennett of The Palm Beach Post. Trump sparked a firestorm when he told four congresswomen of color to leave the country. Journalists Zac Anderson and Kennedy discuss the reaction to Trump’s comments among Florida lawmakers, a legal challenge to the state’s new sanctuary city ban and how the congressional battleground is shaping up in Florida.
Fluent in Floridian: A discussion with Eskamani, the first Iranian American to hold public office in Florida, who ran a campaign rooted in her identity and values, and it paid off when she overwhelmingly won House District 47 in Central Florida.
podcastED: Step Up For Students’ President Doug Tuthill sits down with Carol Macedonia and Paula Nelson, leaders of Step Up’s Office of Student Learning and two of Florida’s leading experts on special education.
REGULATED: As municipalities on the West Coast are now moving to decriminalize and private investors are preparing to deploy tens of millions of dollars, it’s time to start paying attention. REGULATED focuses on the cannabis, alcoholic beverage, and gaming industries in Florida and across the country. Christian Bax and Tony Glover, attorneys and former state-level regulators, produce and host the program.
The Rotunda with Trimmel Gomes: A closer look at the student-powered enterprise news operation about Florida government making waves in Florida’s Capitol. Gomes chats with student journalists Katie Campione and Max Chesnes at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications “Fresh Take Florida” news service.
— ALOE —
“Shelter dogs from Texas flown to St. Augustine to aid veterans” via Stewart Korfhage of the St. Augustine Record — The dogs are the first Texas recruits for K9s For Warriors’ elite service dog training program associated with the nonprofit’s new effort to procure shelter dogs in partnership with the City of San Antonio. Onboard the flight were San Antonio City Councilman Manny Pelaez and K9s For Warriors’ CEO Rory Diamond and president Brett Simon. According to K9s For Warriors spokeswoman Brianna Bentov, the dogs were procured by efforts of its new staff members in San Antonio. The dogs got to fly thanks to a “generous billionaire” donating his jet for the transportation. In 2020, a new kennel will open in San Antonio to procure Texas shelter dogs for service dog training to ultimately serve post-9/11 veterans and service members.
“Florida State, FAMU athletics 2018 fiscal year finance numbers released” via Curt Weller of the Tallahassee Democrat — The database was compiled by USA TODAY Sports and gives an idea of the financial standing of all public D-I universities for the year NCAA’s Power 5 schools see steep rise in pay for non-revenue coaches For Florida State, it was an exceptionally profitable year — on that side of the ledger. FSU raised $168.2 million in revenue for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, up by $23.7 million from the previous year and $54.5 million from two years prior. After the Seminoles finished 13th in total revenue in the year prior, FSU finished eighth in total revenue for the 2018 fiscal year. FSU finished with $34 million more in revenue than any other ACC school (Louisville, $134.2 million, 20th-most).
What Alan Suskey is reading — “Starbucks is bringing back the Pumpkin Spice Latte on its earliest launch date ever” via Kate Taylor of Business Insider — The iconic PSL will hit menus on Tuesday, August 27. That would be the earliest Pumpkin Spice Latte launch that America has ever seen. Typically, the Pumpkin Spice Latte returns right around Labor Day weekend. Last year, the drink launched on August 28.
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Best wishes to, as Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote of the title character in “Hamilton,” a host unto herself, Erika Donalds.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.