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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.18.19

Ahead of next week’s Senate Special Session on suspended Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, the Senate issued a decorum advisory. It warns members of the public to be “respectful,” and said signs and outbursts wouldn’t be tolerated.

Here’s why: Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta disclosed that Special Master Dudley Goodlette had received a death threat. Goodlette is a former Republican lawmaker who heard evidence in the matter and recommended that Israel be returned to office. 

Dudley Goodlette gets a death threat over his opinion that Scott Israel should be reinstated.

Gov. Ron DeSantis had suspended Israel over his handling of the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. 

Betta explained that Senate President Bill Galvano has been in touch with Capitol Police, asking for what she called “enhanced security precautions and protocols.” The nature of those is confidential.


The state’s largest teacher union is taking its campaign for higher public-school funding on the road.

The Florida Education Association’s “Fund Our Future Bus Tour” kicks off Saturday in Orlando, where more than 1,000 schoolteachers and staff are gathering for the association’s annual conference.

“We are taking the case for PreK-12 public education and higher education straight to the people — to the parents, students and communities who have been directly impacted by more than two decades of underfunding and poor policy decisions,” FEA President Fedrick Ingram said.

Fedrick Ingram is taking his push for public-school funding on the road.

“We ask that they stand with us as we call on lawmakers to fund our future. When the Legislature weighs priorities, our students need to be at the top. It is long past time to invest in students, invest in public schools, and invest in the teachers and school support staff needed to educate Florida’s children.”

The first stop of the tour is Panama City Beach. When the bus rolls into town on Oct. 21, residents will be treated to a reading and book giveaway at the Breakfast Point Academy.

The tour will go on for five weeks with stops planned in every corner of the state from Pensacola to the Florida Keys, before wrapping up Nov. 23 in Orlando.


The House Victory fundraiser, slated for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will be held at EPCOT.

On tap to attend the event are co-Democratic Leader-designates Bobby DuBose and Evan Jenne, who will take the reins after the 2020 election, as well as Leader-designate elect Ben Diamond, who is in line to lead House Democrats following the 2022 election.

Even if the fundraiser is ho-hum, it at least coincides with the park’s annual International Food & Wine Festival, which Disney bills as a “party for the senses” that will provide “unforgettable experiences.”

Despite the prevalence of European landmarks in EPCOT, the drinking age is still 21. Still, there’s plenty of all-ages fun to keep the younger ones entertained — perhaps a scavenger hunt through the World Showcase?

When the fundraiser wraps, it’s back to Tallahassee for another interim committee week.

If having something to look forward to helps get you through the grind, House Victory has you covered — on Nov. 15 and 16, the group will hold an “NYC & Broadway Weekend” fundraiser.

Time to brush up on those show tunes.


@marcorubio: @VP & [Mike] @SecPompeo deserve praise. Sparing lives is always good news. But doesn’t appear “cease-fire” signals change in [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s goal. He still plans to rid area of Kurds & create “security zone,” but is giving Kurds an ultimatum, they can leave voluntarily or leave dead.

@GovRonDeSantis: Great to hear that Florida will host the G-7 Summit next year. Miami is a globally recognized city, and we look forward to having important leaders from around the world visiting and working in our state.

@RebeccaBeitschDoral is sort of like Miami, just without any of the good stuff.

@RepStephMurphy: By holding G-7 summit at his own resort, the President is using his office to enrich himself (in likely violation of emoluments clause). Adding insult to injury, he’s hosting key world leaders in Fla. while removing climate change from the agenda. I urge POTUS to reconsider both.

@CarlosGSmith: [Robert] Hinkle asked lawyers for Florida’s Secretary of State, whether requiring felons to pay court fees constituted an “other tax.” Court fees could be considered a tax because they’re used to subsidize the state’s court system, he said.

@evanjenne: Man, if only 47 men & women stood up and told them this was going to happen … Oh, wait…We did.

@MDixon55: House Civil Justice Subcommittee is having workshop on Insurer Bad Faith Issues. Committee. The committee room is basically a middle school dance. Both sides in their corners calling the other side gross

@FloridaClerks: Yesterday, @FloridaClerks were honored to present Senate President @BillGalvano with one of our FCCC 2018-19 Legislator of the Year awards. Clerks look forward to continuing to work with you on good public policy for Florida! Congratulations, President Galvano!

@Fahrenthold: Btw, thank you Florida sunshine laws. It’s the best state for public-records requests.

@BethMatuga: There are more people in the line out the door for cheeseburger wrap day at #MetroDeli than the last FSU football game

Tweet, tweet:

@jessicabakeman: What I’ve learned so far: Case law has determined that there is no constitutional right to eat peanut butter at school.


“Watchmen” premieres on HBO — 2; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 11; Brexit scheduled — 13; 2019 General Election — 18; 3rd Annual Florida Internet and Television FITCon starts — 20; “The Mandalorian” premieres — 25; New season of “The Crown” streaming on Netflix — 31; “Frozen 2” debuts — 35; TaxWatch 40th Annual Meeting — 45; “The Rise of Skywalker” premiers — 63; 2020 Session begins — 88; Florida TaxWatch State of the TaxPayer Dinner in Tallahassee — 89; Super Bowl LIV in Miami — 107; Iowa Caucuses — 108; New Hampshire Primaries — 116; Florida’s presidential primary — 151; “Black Panther 2” debuts — 201; 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo begin — 280; Florida primaries for 2020 state legislative/congressional races — 312; First Vice Presidential debate at the University of Utah — 355; First Presidential Debate scheduled at the University of Michigan — 363; Second presidential debate at Belmont — 370; 2020 General Election — 382.


Florida’s top domestic violence nonprofit has flouted state audit for more than a year” via Elizabeth Koh of the Miami Herald — The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a nonprofit, but in many ways, it operates like an arm of state government. It contracts with the state Department of Children and Families to oversee domestic violence programs across the state. It receives more than $51 million in government funding, which it parcels out to 42 domestic violence centers. But the coalition, for the last 13 months, has flouted the state’s oversight with little consequence. The Florida Department of Children and Families started a review of the coalition’s finances last summer. But it has not been able to “move forward” with an audit for more than a year because the coalition won’t hand over documents the department is requesting.


An unexpected ‘Education Governor’ and what’s next for Florida” via Andrew Ujifusa of Education Week — When he was elected Florida’s governor last year, Ron DeSantis was famous for telling his daughter to “build the wall” out of toy blocks in a TV campaign ad, not for his track record on education issues. But to this point, the Republican former congressman has eagerly embraced policies that have helped make Florida a high-profile and controversial state for K-12 policy.

Lawyer who recommended Broward sheriff be reinstated receives death threat” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — Katie Betta, spokeswoman for Senate President Galvano, said that Goodlette, the Naples lawyer who served as the “special master” in the Senate hearing on Israel’s suspension was threatened shortly after he made his recommendation last month. Goodlette was hired by the Senate to review the Governor and Israel’s claims and, after a two-day hearing in June, produced a report that went public on Sept. 25. In it, Goodlette concluded the shooting was a “culmination of individual failures,” and recommended the Florida Senate return Israel to his elected position atop the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Betta said: “The threat was received not long after Mr. Goodlette’s report became publicly available.”

The ‘special master’ who determined that Broward Sheriff Scott Israel was improperly removed from his post is now receiving death threats.

After judge’s ‘spanking,’ lawmakers will tweak Amendment 4 bill next Session”” via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times — Rep. Jamie Grant said U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle gave the Legislature a “spanking” for creating a confusing voter registration form and for not creating an easy way for felons to check whether they’re eligible to vote. And Hinkle said that the Legislature, not judges, should decide how to fix the process. Both Grant and his counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Jeff Brandes, heard the message and are planning on passing a bill to clean up the process during the next legislative session, which begins in January.

House begins conversation on teacher raise proposal” via Emily Mahoney of the Tampa Bay Times — Members of the Florida House’s committee on PreK-12 education budgeting began their public discussion of DeSantis’ proposal to raise the base salaries of all Florida teachers to $47,500. Unsurprisingly, the initial tone from the committee chair, Rep. Chris Latvala, was cautious, as he said he supports the idea of raising teacher pay but has his eye on the costs of the plan and is working to determine how it would be funded. DeSantis has said the total price tag for his plan would be $603 million, annually. During the meeting, he mentioned that the billions in requests from state agencies, the lingering costs of Hurricane Michael and the specter of a potential future economic downturn.

Could Florida see an 18-day disaster prep sales tax holiday in 2020?” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — State Sen. Joe Gruters filed a bill (SB 524) reauthorizing a sales tax holiday for disaster preparedness. As originally written, the legislation would eliminate the sales tax on certain disaster supplies from May 29 through June 15 next year. Hurricane Season starts on June 1. The legislation, unlike a bill ultimately passed last year that authorized a similar holiday, is not attached to a school supplies tax holiday. The bill text also calls for a significantly longer disaster sales tax holiday. In 2019, the period to get a cut on taxes for hurricane supplies ran from May 31 through June 6. Gruters’ bill calls for a holiday more than twice as long.

Joe Gruters wants to extend the hurricane preparedness tax holiday to 18 days. Image via Colin Hackley.

Lights, camera, action! Joe Gruters’ new film incentives legislation ready for audiences” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Gruters said any new program would work differently from previous incentives effort. Florida’s last program used a pot of funding to lure cameras, but dollars ran out years ahead of schedule. Gruters’ new bill (SB 530) calls for the creation of a Film, Television, and Digital Media Targeted Rebate Program. The legislation authorizes applicants to receive rebates up to a specified amount, including bonuses. But it also requires applicants receiving funding to make a good-faith effort to use existing providers of infrastructure or equipment in this state and to employ residents of this state. The plan also calls for the Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Council to score for each qualified project using specified criteria and award incentives from there.


The Associated Press’ annual pre-Legislative Session planning meeting and preview will be Tuesday, Oct. 29, in 401 Senate Office Building. Coffee and bagels will be served in the morning and lunch will be provided. (Food and beverages will be served out of 221 Senate Office Building, and won’t be allowed in the meeting room.) 

It is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Here’s the lineup, according to Tallahassee bureau chief Brendan Farrington:

9 a.m. — DeSantis

9:30 a.m. — Senate President Galvano

10 a.m. — Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried 

10:30 a.m. — Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis

11 p.m. — Attorney General Ashley Moody 

11:30 a.m. — House Speaker José Oliva 

Noon — Lunch

1 p.m. — Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson 

1:30 p.m. — House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee

2 p.m. — Secretary of State Laurel Lee


Ron DeSantis tries to lure companies in New York” via the News Service of Florida — DeSantis’ schedule said he had meetings planned at the banking and financial-services company BNY Mellon in New York City and at the airline JetBlue in Long Island City. JetBlue flies to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando, Sarasota, Tampa and West Palm Beach.

Ron DeSantis heads to New York to try luring businesses to the Sunshine State.

Florida to seek $633m in federal disaster prevention money” via The Associated Press — Florida is developing a plan to tap into as much as $633 million in federal money to help prepare for future storms. DeSantis announced that the Department of Economic Opportunity will coordinate the multiagency effort to maximize what Florida can receive from $18 billion in disaster mitigation money Congress approved last year to help states and U.S. territories affected by 2016 and 2017 disasters. The money is intended for projects like hardening utility lines and structures in disaster-prone areas. Florida is guaranteed to receive at least $317 million once it submits a plan. The money can’t be used for Hurricane Michael relief efforts because the grant doesn’t include 2018 disasters.

DCF head Chad Poppell continues push to ‘move from a crisis agency to a prevention-focused agency’” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Poppell spoke to members of the House Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee where he laid out his aim for the agency. “We want to move from a crisis agency to a prevention-focused agency,” Poppell said. One problem, Poppell argued, is the distance between DCF and the families who seek the agency’s services. “We contract with a lead agency or a managing entity — a contracting entity — that’s supposed to be community-based, and then they hire a network of sub-providers and contractors that actually deliver the services in their area. That puts DCF two contracts away from the actual front line.” The Secretary said he’s pushing for the agency to take more of an active role on the ground.

Chad Poppell wants to move DCF from a ‘crisis agency’ to focus more on prevention. Image via Colin Hackley.

Finalist drops bid for financial regulator post” via the News Service of Florida — Bryan Schneider, the lone out-of-state finalist to become Florida’s top financial regulator, has pulled his name from consideration for the job. Schneider, a former secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, landed a position at the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He was one of five finalists to become commissioner of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. “I look forward to enhancing and deepening federal-state cooperation and coordination in the supervision of financial institutions,” Schneider wrote in an email to Florida Attorney General Moody’s office. “As a result, I will look forward to meeting and working with the new Florida commissioner.”


Pensacola area under tropical storm warning” via the Pensacola News Journal — The tropical storm warning along the Florida coast has been extended eastward to the Aucilla River. The storm surge watch has changed to a storm surge warning from Indian Pass to Clearwater Beach. According to the National Hurricane Center, the disturbance was centered near latitude 22.9 North, longitude 95.2 West. The system is moving toward the north-northeast near 9 mph. A turn toward the northeast is expected tonight, and a northeastward motion at a faster forward speed is expected Friday and Saturday.

Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 could approach northern Florida as Tropical Storm Nestor.

Tropical storm warnings issued for Florida’s Panhandle as Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 moves north” via Cheryl McCloud of TCPalm — The system is expected to become a tropical or subtropical storm. The storm is forecast to bring heavy rainfall, gusty winds, rough surf, and isolated tornadoes over parts of Florida this weekend, according to Florida Public Radio’s Emergency Network. The next named storm of the season would be Nestor. Location: 620 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River. Maximum sustained winds: 35 mph. Movement: north at 8 mph.

Schools won’t close, sporting events canceled” via Tom McLaughlin of the Daily News — Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said he was aware anxiety levels were spiking Thursday as it became clear Northwest Florida had again found itself directly in the path of tropical weather. At a mid-afternoon press conference Ford sought to calm the nerves of residents whose lives are still impacted by devastation wrought last year by fearsome Hurricane Michael. Tropical Storm Nestor, if a storm presently churning in the southwest quadrant of the Gulf of Mexico strengthens enough to earn that title, will be “nothing like we faced” last October, Ford said.”

Disturbance will bring wind, rain, possibly tornadoes to Tampa Bay this weekend” via Frank Pastor of the Tampa Bay Times — A fast-moving system of showers and thunderstorms moving northeast over the Gulf continues to show signs of organization and has a 90-percent chance of tropical development over the next two-to-five days, according to the National Hurricane Center. Environmental conditions are conducive for additional development, and a tropical or subtropical storm is likely to form later today or tonight. A turn toward the northeast is expected this afternoon or tonight, and a northeastward motion at a faster forward speed is expected on Friday and Saturday. On the forecast track, the system will approach the northern Gulf Coast Friday and Friday night. If the system develops into a tropical or subtropical storm, it will be named Nestor.

Red tide continues to spread around southwest Florida” via Joe Mario Pedersen of the Orlando Sentinel — Red tide algae showed up in test samples again this week, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s weekly report.


Mick Mulvaney acknowledges Ukraine aid was withheld over investigation into Democrats” via John Fritze, David Jackson and Nicholas Wu of USA TODAY — Mulvaney‘s assertion was the first time a White House official has conceded Donald Trump set up a quid quo pro scenario in which money approved by Congress for Ukraine was used as leverage, though he defended the arrangement as standard practice. “Did he also mention to me in passing the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely,” Mulvaney told reporters during a rare briefing at the White House, recalling a conversation he had with the President about corruption in Kyiv. “That’s it,” Mulvaney said. “That’s why we held up the money.”

Mick Mulvaney becomes the first in the Trump administration to admit Ukraine aid was withheld in exchange for dirt on Democrats.

Gordon Sondland says Rudy Giuliani pushed Ukraine probes at Trump’s direction” via Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney of POLITICO — During his nearly nine-hour testimony, Sondland said he reluctantly indulged what he described as the president’s efforts to run Ukraine policy through his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. He indicated that he opposed Trump’s orders to reach out to Giuliani, who was pushing the Ukrainian government to investigate Trump’s political rivals. “We were also disappointed by the president’s direction that we involve Mr. Giuliani,” Sondland told congressional investigators, according to his opening statement, which was obtained by POLITICO. In his closed-door testimony, Sondland said he contacted Giuliani anyway at Trump’s direction after a May 23 meeting at the White House, and that Giuliani drew a direct link between scheduling a White House visit for Ukraine’s newly elected president and demands that Ukraine prioritize investigations targeting Trump’s political opponents, including former Vice President Biden.

Rudy Giuliani Ukraine associate had checkered past even before indictment” via Ben Schreckinger and Darren Samuelsohn of POLITICO — Before Lev Parnas accompanied Giuliani to the National Cathedral for George H.W. Bush’s funeral and posted online about dining at the White House with Trump, Parnas lived a checkered life, often working with fraudsters and others tied to organized crime. As Parnas heads to arraignment, the ease with which he was able to buy his way into Trump’s inner circle provides an alarming indicator of the integrity of that system. Parnas ventures had him dealing with associates involved in serious criminal enterprises. By 2006, Parnas was listed in Florida filings as the chairman of Edgetech International. A Nevada-registered corporation that marketed itself as a seller of computer gadgets, Edgetech brought Parnas into business dealings with unsavory characters.


Next G-7 summit of world leaders will be at Trump Doral in Florida” via Michael Wilner and Francesca Chambers of the Miami Herald — In a defensive press conference, Mulvaney insisted that the President would not profit from the decision to host all seven country delegations on his personal property for the annual summit June 10-12. And he raised the prospect that Trump would invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend. “There’s no profit here,” Mulvaney said in a media briefing. “He’s not making any money off of this just like he’s not making any money off of working here.” Mulvaney touted the location for its proximity to Miami International Airport, about a nine-mile drive from the hotel, and its ability to isolate the summit from pedestrians.

Postmaster general who was target of Donald Trump’s ire announces retirement” via Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan plans to retire in January, following months of complaints from Trump that the Postal Service was losing too much money and should be charging retail giant Amazon more for package delivery. Trump had told aides repeatedly earlier this year that he would like to remove Brennan from her post. But officials characterized Brennan’s departure as a normal retirement and said she would assist in the search for a replacement. Brennan, a former letter carrier who is the first woman to head the agency, had resisted Trump’s push to double the rates charged to Amazon and other firms to ship packages — a drastic move that could cost the companies and post office customers billions of dollars.

U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan plans to resign next year, insisting it has nothing to do with Donald Trump.

#DeleteTikTok: Marco Rubio warns parents to get rid of ‘Chinese owned’ TikTok app” via Charlie Nash of — “Dear Parents: Do your family a favor & check to see if your kids are on TikTok. Answer is almost certainly yes,” Rubio declared in an Instagram post. “TikTok is a Chinese owned company that is collecting all sorts of personal data on your kids & by extension your family. If you don’t want to donate personal data to China, then #DeleteTikTok today.” Rubio also warned parents in a post on Twitter: “If you have teenagers, I can almost guarantee you that they are on TikTok … I was too … briefly … Catchy videos. But they are collecting personal data on your teens for #China & they are stealing money through copyright theft.”

Parkland families are furious with the FBI, so they’re backing a transparency plan for tips” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald — After their demands were met with mostly silence, Sen. Rick Scott is introducing legislation with the backing of the families that mandates information-sharing between the national FBI office and local law enforcement whenever a tip can be connected to a state or local municipality, along with requiring the FBI to submit monthly public reports on how the agency is handling tips. The Florida Republican introduced the Threat Information Protocol for Sharing, or TIPS Act, after what he said were repeated and unsuccessful attempts to get FBI Director Chris Wray to provide more information about what went wrong in the weeks before the nation’s deadliest high school shooting.

Rick Scott urges Olympics be pulled from China” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Florida’s junior Senator wrote to International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, requesting that the committee pressure China into ending oppression of Hong Kong and other issues, or, if China refuses, to rescind the selection of Beijing to host the 2022 Olympics. “The Olympic Games are an incredible opportunity to allow the world’s best athletes to represent their countries and should not be hosted by Communist China and President Xi, who does not value human rights. I ask this committee to stand up for freedom and urge Communist China to do the right thing or find a new home for the 2022 Olympic Games,” Scott wrote.

Assignment editors — Scott will hold a news conference to highlight Manufacturing Month, 10:45 a.m., United States Gypsum Corporation, 6825 Evergreen Ave., Jacksonville.

Matt Gaetz sides with Trump in Syrian pullout” via Jim Thompson of the Daily News — Gaetz was among a minority of 60 Republicans who voted Wednesday against a House resolution expressing opposition to President Trump’s decision just days earlier to withdraw U.S. military forces from northern Syria.

Border Patrol’s growing presence at hospitals creates fear in Miami” via the Associated Press — An armed Border Patrol agent roamed the hallways of an emergency room in Miami on a recent day as nurses wheeled stretchers and medical carts through the hospital and families waited for physicians to treat their loved ones.

— 2020 —

Trump’s campaign is cashing in on impeachment” via Ryan Brooks and Scott Pham of BuzzFeed News — Seven of the reelection campaign committee’s 10 days with the most unique donors this year came at the end of September, on the days immediately following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing a formal impeachment inquiry into the president. One of the other top days came in April, when news broke that former special counsel Robert Mueller objected to Attorney General Bill Barr’s characterization of his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to FEC data. In the hours after Pelosi’s Sept. 24 press conference, the Trump campaign had emailed supporters and posted ads on Facebook asking for donations to the “Impeachment Defense Task Force.”

Donald Trump is cashing in on the push for impeachment.

’They’ve got no margin for error’: Joe Biden cash crunch raises alarms” via Marc Caputo and Natasha Korecki of POLITICO — Biden spent almost $2 million more than his presidential campaign raised in the third quarter, a predicament caused by sluggish fundraising coupled with the expenses of maintaining a big payroll and a nationwide operation — one that included luxury expenses such as swank hotel stays at the Westin and The W, and nearly $1 million for private jets. Democrats expressed grave reservations about whether Biden’s fundraising performance is an indication he cannot go the distance. “It’s a high burn rate, and that’s a big problem,” said Joe Trippi, a veteran of multiple presidential campaigns. “They’ve got no margin for error with what they’ve got in the bank.”

Biden’s African American firewall showing cracks” via Laura Barrón-López and Alex Thompson of POLITICCO — Biden’s advisers have repeatedly downplayed the need for him to win in predominantly white Iowa and New Hampshire — while boasting of his strength in Southern states where black voters often dominate. And the polls, to date, back up their theory that that’s his path to the nomination. But if Biden’s firewall ever cracks — and there are some signs it’s softening in recent surveys — it will likely start with young black women, according to interviews with a dozen African American female organizers, lawmakers and activists who are heavily involved in the Democratic primary election or closely tracking the mood of black voters.


’At your mercy’: Behind scenes, ethics prosecutor pleaded with FBI to assist in Andrew Gillum case” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — Emails detail conversations Elizabeth Miller, prosecutor for the Florida Commission on Ethics, had with the FBI leading up to Gillum’s hearing, which ended in a settlement before any witnesses could take the stand. They show she badly wanted undercover agent “Mike Miller” to testify, certain he would confirm allegations that the bureau, not Gillum, paid for the Broadway show and other Big Apple expenses. She went so far as to draft an affidavit of damning testimony she believed the FBI agent would provide. The affidavit contradicted Gillum’s account of the New York trip, saying he got his “Hamilton” ticket directly from the FBI agent, not his brother, Marcus Gillum, who showed up late and got his ticket at will call.

The ethics prosecutor was practically begging the FBI to supply the undercover agent to explain what actually happened with Andrew Gillum.

Michael Waltz picks up $159K for reelection bid in CD 6” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Waltz’ haul included an $11,000 transfer to his official campaign from a joint fundraising committee he co-runs, gives him $636,000 raised toward his reelection effort, and about $393,000 in the bank. Waltz’s biggest benefactor of the quarter comes from Daytona Beach-based NASCAR and that sport’s chief executive officer, James France. International Speedway Corp., the parent company of NASCAR, contributed $50,000 to the HRW Victory Fund, which in turn transferred $11,113 to Waltz’s campaign. HRW has been supporting Waltz, Republican U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina, and U.S. Rep. Tom Reed of New York, and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Save the date:

Lake County warns of voter registration mailings being sent to dead people” via Gabriella Nunez and Amanda Castro of WKMG — The Lake County Supervisor of Elections Office is warning residents about out-of-state voter registration mailers that have been addressed to dead people. The office says the documents are being sent from Virginia and are encouraging people to register to vote. Election officials have learned is behind the campaign.


Judge rejects injunction to stop Jacksonville’s ‘simulated gambling’ ban” via Steve Patterson of the Florida Times-Union — A lawyer for three businesses operating internet cafes argued the ban illegally violated free-speech rights by restricting video games central to the cafes, but U.S. District Judge Brian Davis was unconvinced. “This court finds … that plaintiffs are unlikely to show that the ordinances run afoul of the United States Constitution,” he wrote. Davis said similar arguments already were shot down in separate federal lawsuits in Tampa and Central Florida, where the internet cafes’ lawyer, Kelly Mathis, had represented part of the ill-fated organization Allied Veterans of the World.

New USF consolidation plan promises authority to leaders in St. Petersburg, Sarasota” via Megan Reeves of the Tampa Bay Times — Emailed to students and faculty, the plan says leaders on those campuses will have “clear responsibility and accountability” over academic and budgetary decisions, plus direct reporting lines to USF president Steve Currall as part of his executive cabinet. The new plan — labeled “version 2.0″ — was developed together with the regional chancellors, as well as USF provost Ralph Wilcox, who is based on the larger Tampa campus. Further refinements are expected in “version 3.0,” which will be presented to the USF Board of Trustees Dec. 3 for approval.

He ran Miami-Dade’s ethics commission. Now he’s the new watchdog for Miami Beach.” via Aaron Leibowitz of the Miami Herald — Joseph Centorino, who was the executive director and general counsel of the county’s Commission on Ethics and Public Trust from 2011 to 2018, was selected from 60 applicants to lead the newly created inspector general’s office in Miami Beach. Miami Beach commissioners unanimously voted to allow the city attorney to negotiate a contract with Centorino, encouraging him to focus on identifying wasteful spending. “It’s all about efficiency,” said Commissioner Mark Samuelian. “This is an exciting day for Miami Beach. It is a great day for good government.”

Joseph Centorino, who used to run Miami-Dade’s ethics commission, is now the top watchdog for Miami Beach.

Palm Beach County benefits from 2017 federal tax cut” via Mike Vogel of Florida Trend — Around 2013, as high-tax northern states elected to ding their residents for more taxes, the Palm Beach County Business Development Board began knocking on the doors of financiers who lived part-time in the county to sell them on relocating their operations to Florida. Interest accelerated when the 2017 federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act limited state and local tax deductions for high-income individuals. Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of the board, says the effort has resulted in 70 financial services firms moving to Palm Beach County in the last five years, and the board is working with 15 more. “Wealth management firms seem to top the list, along with private equity and family offices,” she says.


Parkland shooter’s murder trial is now set for January” via Rafael Olmeda of the Orlando Sentinel — Jury selection in the murder case against the man who gunned down 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year has been set for Jan. 27, a Broward judge ordered Thursday.

Opa-Locka financial recovery plan remains overdue following devastating audit” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — A five-year financial recovery plan has still not been submitted by the city of Opa-locka as local officials are attempting to pull the city out of financial emergency. That emergency was declared in Jan. 2016, prompting then-Gov. Scott to establish a financial emergency oversight board to guide the city along the path of eventual recovery. As part of that oversight, an audit was conducted, which culminated in a July report detailing the extent of the city’s problems. “The City did not timely provide for and submit required annual financial audits and reports, which subjected the City to significant monetary sanctions,” read a summary of that audit presented to the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee.

In shadow of Disney World, Horizon West’s growing pains aren’t a fairy tale” via Leslie Postal and Steven Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Fireworks from Walt Disney World light up the skies over Horizon West and serve as a bright and nightly reminder of what lured them to a community built at the theme park’s backdoor. But growth in recent years has come at a dizzying pace, leaving Horizon West’s schools crowded, roads clogged, and residents wishing Disney pixie dust could make promised amenities materialize more quickly. The community, in the southwestern corner of Orange County and bordered roughly by Disney to its south and Winter Garden to its north, accounts for about 4 percent of Orange’s land. But, since the recession ended in 2012, about half of all county-issued residential building permits are for Horizon West.

Universal sued after tourist says he suffers paralysis on water slide; report called it ‘numbness’” via Gabrielle Russon of the Orlando Sentinel — James Bowen, 47, and his wife filed the lawsuit in Orange Circuit Court after he slammed his head in a shallow wading pool at Punga Racers water slide in July, Numbness is “not an adequate disclosure by any stretch of the imagination,” said Bowen’s Miami attorney, David Buckner. The reports don’t give details of incidents other than a person’s gender, age, the ride and if there was a preexisting health condition that contributed. The report reads, “Universal: 7/11/19 Punga Racers, 47 (man), numbness.”

TECO to raise rates slightly to fund two solar projects” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — The Florida Public Service Commission approved rate increases for Tampa Electric Company customers to cover costs for the utility’s solar plans. The TECO cost recovery includes two solar projects that will create 150 megawatts of electricity. “TECO’s expanded use of solar power continues to improve its fuel diversity and sustainability, which is good for the economy, as well as the environment,” PSC Chairman Art Graham said. The two projects sought $26.5 million in ratepayer increases that will add $1 to the monthly bill of a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours. TECO expects its $193 million in estimated fuel savings from the two projects to help offset rate increases.


Marco Rubio: America is coming apart — here’s how we start the revival” via The Daily Caller — Part of the problem lies with underlying shifts in family development. To many Americans, marriage now resembles a luxury good — a trend that precludes stable households from forming in the first place. Working-class Americans are marrying less and less frequently. What can we do to right these wrongs? None is more important than strong families. We know this because it’s in our DNA, of course; stable, two-parent families have been the bedrock of all successful civilizations throughout all of history. We also know it because the data bears it out. On average, kids who grow up in households with stable, married parents enjoy better health and behavioral outcomes in childhood than those with more precarious home lives.

Why U.S. Senate should swiftly confirm Florida Supreme Court Justices Lagoa and Luck to federal appeals court” via Jesse Panuccio of the Sun Sentinel — Both are renowned for their intellect, fairness, demeanor, and commitment to the rule of law. They both worked their way up, from humble beginnings in the Cuban and Jewish communities of Miami, to the heights of the state’s legal profession. Their personal and family stories are the embodiment of the American dream. In short, both are exceptional nominees for the federal bench, and the U.S. Senate should confirm them quickly.


AppointedMichelle Bedoya Barnett to the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Melanie Bostick, Jennifer Green, Timothy Parson, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee: City of Freeport

David Browning, Mercer Fearington, The Southern Group: Greenworks Lending

Jose Diaz, Ballard Partners: Mount Sinai Medical Center

Scott Dick, SKD Consulting Group: Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

Nichole Geary, Floridian Partners: Liberty Mutual Group

Carolyn Grant: Dexcom

Mike Lemyre: Ygrene Energy Fund Florida

Kirsten Matthis, Meenan: Florida Insurance Guaranty Association

Nicholas Mortellaro, Orlando Pryor, Strategos Public Affairs: AMI Kids, Committee for Children

Bill Rubin, Heather Turnbull, Melissa Akeson, Amy Bisceglia, Erica Chanti, Christopher Finkbeiner, Rubin Turnbull & Associates: Innovage

Eugene Yoscovits: Quicken Loans and the Family of Companies


Battleground Florida with Christopher Heath: Conservative pundit and columnist for The Daily Beast, Matt Lewis joins the show on a busy day to discuss Syria, a bizarre White House press conference, the Dems in Ohio, and what is to come of the party of William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan.

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. The hosts talk about the Clearwater Jazz Holiday and what is ahead of the 40th anniversary of the event. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be at a crossroads with QB Jameis Winston coming up at the end of his rookie contract; the hosts discuss him and the Bucs loss to the Carolina Panthers in London. Favorite celebrity shout-outs? And USF Football beats BYU in a thrilling Homecoming game while BYU makes history.

Fluent in Floridian: George LeMieux’s passion for politics began at an early age when a pivotal moment made him realize that being a part of public office can be truly impactful. LeMieux went on to lead Charlie Crist’s successful gubernatorial campaign and serve as Chief of Staff to the governor before being appointed as Florida’s 34th Senator in the 111th Congress. In 2012, he founded the LeMieux Center for Public Policy at Palm Beach Atlantic University, and today he enjoys his new role as an author.

Gradebook from the Tampa Bay Times with hosts Marlene Sokol and Jeffrey Solochek: Should Florida school districts have their own police forces? Two years after Parkland, Florida government, political and education leaders continue to debate the best ways to keep schools safe from violence. Hernando County education reporter Jack Evans discusses the ongoing discussion with Solochek.

REGULATED from hosts Christian Bax and Tony Glover: Kratom? According to a recent Westword article, many tons of Kratom are sold in Colorado each month. According to the CDC, the product was associated with 91 deaths over a recent 17-month period. So, is this a crisis or a business opportunity?


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 Patrick Manteiga, publisher of La Gaceta; Deborah Tamargo, 2nd vice president, Florida Federation of GOP Women; Darryl Paulson, Emeritus Professor of Govt., USF St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittman.

In Focus with Allison Walker-Torres on Bay News 9: A discussion with U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy on to discuss proposed legislation in Washington regarding seniors and senior care, guns, and election security.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando and Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: A review of the fourth Democratic presidential debate; PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter will rate a claim made during the debate. Host Al Ruechel will sit down with state Rep. Ben Diamond about becoming the Florida House Minority Leader Designate.

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Guest host Sean Pittman speaks with Dr. Temple O. Robinson, CEO of Bond Community Health Center and Jamie Van Pelt, president of ESP Media.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: This week’s guests are Rory Diamond, CEO of K9s for Warriors and a City Councilman in Jacksonville; Michael Fleming, retired Brigadier General of the Florida National Guard; author Chris Hand, a former Chief of Staff for Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and Rick Mullaney, director of the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute.

This Week in South Florida on WPLG-Local10 News (ABC): Co-hosts Michael Putney and Glenna Milberg will speak with U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

— ALOE —

Trapper plays with ‘gator until it tires, pulls it from pool” via The Associated Press — Celebrity trapper Paul Bedard, who is contracted with the state’s nuisance alligator program, said Thursday that he was dispatched to a house in Parkland. Bedard said he was able to pull the nearly 9-foot (2.7-meter) animal out of the water once it grew tired from playing with him in the pool on Wednesday. He put a snare on its mouth and taped it. He described the reptile as “mellow” and named it Cool Hand Luke after the 1967 film starring Paul Newman. Bedard said the alligator weighed 185 pounds (83.92 kilograms).

Professional trapper Paul Bedard played with a gator to tire it out before pulling it out of a pool in Parkland.


We hope it’s a very special birthday for Monica Rodriguez of Ballard Partners, as well as Rep. Amber Mariano, Tim Cerio of GrayRobinson, Marcus Jadotte, Dara Kam of the News Service of Florida, Ashley Lukis, and former U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross. Celebrating tomorrow are our friends Tiffany Carr and Rick Lindstrom.


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.

Written By

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

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

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

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

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