The Last 24
Good Monday evening. The Governor and Cabinet meet Tuesday to interview candidates and then hire a new Commissioner for the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR). The hopefuls are Russell Weigel, a securities lawyer from Coral Gables; David Weintraub, an investor plaintiff’s lawyer from Plantation; Joseph Hudgins, an executive with Naples’ First Florida Integrity Bank; Bryan Schneider, the former head of Illinois’ Department of Financial and Professional Regulation; and Mike Hogan of Gainesville, a former banking executive and now a consultant.
The next commissioner must be hired by the Financial Services Commission, which is made up of the Governor and Cabinet. The Governor and CFO must both agree for a candidate to be hired. Ronald Rubin, who was fired in July as head of OFR after complaints of sexual harassment and inappropriate comments in the workplace, was paid $166,000 a year. DeSantis has asked that the OFR commissioner’s salary be increased to garner better candidates. Sixty Days will be front and center in the Cabinet Meeting Room. Here’s your nightly rundown.
Mulling the sheriff: The Senate’s Rules Committee was working to decide whether suspended Broward Sheriff Scott Israel should be removed or reinstated.
Boot him out: Attorney General Ashley Moody sent a letter to state Senators, imploring them to remove Israel as Broward Sheriff permanently.
Down the drain: Rep. Margaret Good hopes a proposal to improve stormwater drainage gets a lift — thanks to two algae task forces.
Hemp rules ready: Hopeful hemp farmers could be sending in applications to grow by year’s end.
Insert key, open wallet: Florida could impose a new surcharge for car-sharing services and for renting motor vehicles under a recently filed bill.
Quote of the Day
“Do not quid pro quos happen all the time around here?” — state Sen. Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican, questioning George Levesque — counsel for Gov. Ron DeSantis — during a Rules Committee hearing on the suspension of Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.
Bill Day’s Latest
As House Republican Leader Dane Eagle looks forward to his last Legislative Session, a Congressional seat also has opened up in his home county of Lee. Sixty Days spoke with the Cape Coral Republican about his ambitions, both for the caucus and his own political career, come 2020.
Florida Politics: With U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney’s retirement, how seriously are you considering a run for that Congressional seat?
Dane Eagle: We’re still trying to figure that out. For me, the most important thing is if it works for my wife and I. We are newly married. We were not expecting a seat to be open. But the fact that it means that’s a discussion we are having right now.
FP: With another committee week in Tallahassee, what are your priorities as House GOP Leader?
Eagle: The focus of this week is getting the priorities of the Republican caucus down now. We’re trying to narrow (those) down. Health care continues to be one of the Speaker’s (José Oliva) priorities. We want to get government out of the way and let the free market come in and make it more affordable for Floridians. We also want more accountability for government to get out of the lives of the people of Florida and to allow them to be free.
FP: Entering your last Session, do you have any personal goals you want to get done before leaving Tallahassee, particularly if you end up running for higher office?
Eagle: In general, my No. 1 focus will be completing my final term here in office. Voters were kind enough to send me here for four terms, and term limits are a good thing. I have to see now if work in the private sector or another political opportunity is the next step. But I have an opportunity to finish strong. In the past, I have tried to pass certain bills, some of which were unsuccessful in the Senate, and I have to go through those to decide if they are worth one last shot. One involved restitution for juvenile offenses. That stemmed from a constituent’s email.
With the Senate convening this week to decide the fate of suspended Sheriff Israel, Broward County is getting extra attention.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office has some high-powered lobbyists on retainer, including Brian Ballard, Chris Dorworth and Mathew Forrest of Ballard Partners; Bill Rubin, Heather Turnbull, Melissa Akeson, Amy Bisceglia and Christopher Finkbeiner of Rubin, Turnbull & Associates; Candice Ericks of Ericks Consultants; and Alain Jean of The August Company.
But as the state’s second-most populous county, Broward has quite a few major interests keeping their eyes on general legislative goings-on in Tallahassee.
AutoNation, JM Family Enterprises and Citrix Systems are among the biggest businesses in Broward, and they each have big-league firms taking care of business in the Legislature.
AutoNation has Ron Book, Rana Brown and Kelly Malette repping them — and they also lobby for the cities of Ft. Lauderdale and Miramar. JM Family Enterprises is represented by Ericks as well as the team at Smith Bryan & Myers, including Matt Bryan, Daniel David, Jeff Hartley, Lisa Hurley, Jim Naff and Teye Reeves. And going to bat for Citrix are Robert Beck, Bryan Cherry and Tanya Jackson of PinPoint Results. PinPoint also represents the Broward County government.
The Next 24
(Unless otherwise noted, all locations are in the Capitol Complex.)
It’s Florida Atlantic University Day at the Capitol. Expect to see displays and information tables around the Rotunda and on the 22nd floor.
The Financial Impact Estimating Conference meets to consider the proposed state constitutional amendment that would “Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol.” That’s at 8:30 a.m., 117 Knott Building.
The Governor and Cabinet will meet. On the agenda: Interview of candidates and appointment of a new Commissioner for the Office Of Financial Regulation. That’s at 9 a.m., Cabinet Meeting Room, lower level.
Opponents of parental consent for abortion will hold a press conference to speak against HB 265 before the bill has its only committee hearing later in the day at the House Health & Human Services Committee. That’s at 11:30 a.m., 4th-floor Rotunda.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried will read to a group of second-grade students from Pineview Elementary School to celebrate National Agriculture Literacy Day. That’s at 11:30 a.m. (or immediately after the conclusion of the Florida Cabinet meeting) in the House chamber of the old Capitol.
The Florida Legislative Black Caucus will present its 2020 Legislative session priorities — including criminal justice, economic, social, education and health issues — at a press conference. That’s at 12:30 p.m., 4th-floor Rotunda.
Also, the following committees will meet:
— Senate Criminal Justice Committee: 9 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building.
— Senate Health Policy Committee: 9 a.m., 412 Knott Building.
— Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee: 11 a.m., 301 Senate Office Building.
— House Education Committee: 1 p.m., 102 House Office Building.
— House Health & Human Services Committee: 1 p.m., 17 House Office Building.
— Senate Military and Veterans Affairs and Space Committee: 2 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building.