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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 9.15.20

All the news that fits, and more: Your first look at Sunshine State politics and policy news.

There was so much news on Monday that the FloridaPolitics.com team is still tired from covering it all.

Still, we think we have one scoop to share with you to start the day … Ivanka Trump is coming to Tampa Bay on Thursday.

We hope by sharing the news we don’t scare her away.

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First in Sunburn — “Nikki Fried releases guidance on safe harvesting in the time of coronavirus” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Agriculture Commissioner Fried issued a series of videos offering guidance on collecting crops in the time of coronavirus. A nine-part series of videos can be streamed in English or in Spanish, and written guidelines can also be viewed and downloaded at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website. Guidelines include recommendations on proper mask usage, the importance of frequent hand-washing with soap and regulations on safe transportation that adheres to social distancing guidelines for workers who don’t share a household. The videos were put together with help from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Worker advocates heralded the safety tips ahead of harvest.

To watch the video, click on the image below:

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@WaPoDavenport: So to sum up: The West is burning; the Arctic is melting; the National Hurricane Center is tracking eight major systems; and the WHO reports the largest single-day increase of coronavirus cases globally.

@JoshButler: it’s quite incredible how closely the American response to the huge bushfires has been to Australia’s last summer — spread hoaxes about leftist arsonists, blame forest management while denying climate change as a factor

@SContorno: Like Gov. [Ron] DeSantis‘ other Supreme Court picks, Jamie Grosshans is a Gen Xer. By appointing such young judges, DeSantis has all but guaranteed that a generation of legal precedent will be forged by justices put in place by Republicans.

@AGAshleyMoody: As a mother and public servant dedicated to #EndHT and the sexual exploitation of our children, I am disgusted and discouraged that Cuties is being circulated in mainstream media. I am calling on @netflix to remove this film from its platform.

Tweet, tweet:

— DAYS UNTIL —

Rescheduled date for the French Open — 5; First presidential debate in Indiana — 14; Preakness Stakes rescheduled — 18; Ashley Moody’s 2020 Human Trafficking Summit — 21; First vice presidential debate at the University of Utah — 22; NBA season ends (last possible date) — 28; Second presidential debate scheduled in Miami — 30; NBA draft — 31; Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” premieres — 31; NBA free agency — 33; Florida Chamber’s Future of Florida Forum — 35; Third presidential debate at Belmont — 37; 2020 General Election — 49; “Black Widow” premieres — 52; NBA 2020-21 training camp — 57; The Masters begins — 58; College basketball season slated to begin — 65; “No Time to Die” premieres — 67; Pixar’s “Soul” premieres — 67; NBA 2020-21 opening night — 78; Florida Automated Vehicles Summit — 78; “Wonder Woman 1984” rescheduled premiere — 101; Super Bowl LV in Tampa — 145; “A Quiet Place Part II” rescheduled premiere — 158; “Top Gun: Maverick” rescheduled premiere — 290; New start date for 2021 Olympics — 311; “Jungle Cruise” premieres — 319; “Spider-Man Far From Home” sequel premieres — 419; “Thor: Love and Thunder” premieres — 515; “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” premieres — 568; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” sequel premieres — 749.

— PRESIDENTIAL —

Donald Trump’s campaign is caught between 2 worlds, with 2 months to go” via Gabby Orr of POLITICO — Past Presidents running for reelection have built entire campaigns around their incumbency: Events in the Rose Garden. Signing ceremonies in the Oval Office. Cross-country campaign swings on Air Force One. Trump has used this tactic to his advantage in recent weeks — parking the iconic presidential jet behind the stage at his rallies, turning the executive complex into a high-production venue for the Republican National Convention and unveiling an updated list of potential Supreme Court nominees against the elegant backdrop of the White House Diplomatic Reception Room. But for the wildly unpredictable President, it’s not enough.

Donald Trump makes his case through the power of incumbency. Image via AP.

They voted for him and now regret it. Why White women are turning away from Trump.” via Jenna Johnson of The Washington Post — Although Hillary Clinton won the majority of votes from women in 2016, she lost to Trump among White women. Since then, however, polls have shown Trump weakening among those voters. Even slight changes in November among White women could play a deciding role in several states that Trump won in 2016 by a razor-thin margin, especially Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. In each of those states in 2018, a burst of enthusiasm and participation from White women helped Democratic candidates win midterm elections. Those gains were driven mostly by college-educated women, but since then women of all backgrounds have been moving in Joe Biden’s direction.

Millennials and seniors are spurning Trump. Here’s why middle-aged voters are sticking with him.” via Alex Roarty of the Miami Herald — Generation Z loathes him. Millennials overwhelmingly back his opponent. And even once-supportive seniors have turned away. As his turbulent reelection bid enters its final phase, Trump has been hindered by lackluster approval from most generations of voters — with one important exception. In poll after poll of the 2020 race, Trump receives his highest share of support from middle-aged men and women, an often-overlooked demographic that is now playing a critical role in keeping the president’s electoral hopes alive against Democratic nominee Biden. These voters, older members of Generation X and younger Baby Boomers ranging in age from their late 40s to early 60s are often the only age group that gives Trump the majority of their support in national and battleground state surveys. And while seniors, once regarded as the most pro-Trump generation, have soured on the President since the 2016 election, middle-aged voters remain as supportive as ever.

Mar-a-Lago’s reopening schedule includes election-night viewing party” via Carol Rose of The Palm Beach Post — Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago Club has announced its reopening schedule for the upcoming Palm Beach social season with plans that include an election-night viewing party on Nov. 3. In a letter to members, the private club said: “We look forward to welcoming everyone back for the 2020/2021 season!” The Beach Club, as well as the tennis, gym, spa and salon services, will reopen on Oct. 16. Other calendar dates noted by the club were the Annual Halloween Costume Party, Masquerade Ball on Oct. 31, and the opening of the main house on Nov. 1 for dining services. In addition, the letter said, plans are underway for New Year’s Eve, and “we can expect an even more exciting Gala this year.” The letter included a number that members could call to make reservations.

Joe Biden, flush with cash, boosts ad spending in battlegrounds” via Brian Slodysko of The Associated Press — Trump’s massive campaign war chest was supposed to finance an onslaught of attacks that would destroy Biden’s chance of winning in November. But after months of profligate spending, the attacks did little to diminish the Democratic nominee’s standing. Trump’s formidable cash advantage has evaporated. And it is Biden who over the past month has outspent Trump by nearly double, advertising data shows. Coming off a record-shattering $364 million August fundraising haul, Biden is pouring tens of millions of dollars into a torrent of ads airing in battleground states. The aim is to get out his message of competent leadership while pinning blame on Trump for a lost year, wracked by disease, unrest and economic hardship.

Flush with cash, Joe Biden’s campaign is hitting the battleground states. Image via AP.

Biden’s campaign trip to Florida includes Kissimmee stop to bolster Puerto Rican support” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — Biden’s first visit to Florida as the Democratic nominee for President will bring him to the heart of the Puerto Rican community in Kissimmee on Tuesday. The Hispanic Heritage Month event, details of which were not officially released as of Monday, comes after a series of polls and news reports show Biden’s potential weakness with Florida Hispanic voters. A poll from Sept. 8 showed Trump leading Biden among Florida Hispanics 50% to 46%, though its Hispanic sample size was relatively small. But in a targeted poll of 1,000 Hispanics statewide, Biden leads Trump 53% to 37% according to Equis Research, a Democratic research firm. That lead runs 11 points behind Clinton’s margin with Hispanics in 2016.

Latino groups warn that Biden’s sluggish outreach to their voters could hurt in November” via Sean Sullivan of The Washington Post — Top Latino Democrats are warning lackluster efforts to win the support of their community could have devastating consequences. Recent polls showing Trump’s inroads with Latinos have set off a fresh round of frustration and finger-pointing among Democrats, confirming problems some say have simmered for months. Many Latino activists and officials said Biden is now playing catch-up, particularly in the pivotal state of Florida, where he will campaign Tuesday — the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month — for the first time as the presidential nominee.

Why the Hispanic vote in Florida is particularly worrisome to Biden’s campaign” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post

Democrats detail Hispanic voter data as Biden plans to meet Florida Puerto Ricans” via Bianca Padró Ocasio of the Miami Herald — If you’re Hispanic and living in the U.S., chances are good that Biden’s campaign knows a lot about you, including your family roots. Ahead of Biden’s first trip to Florida as the Democratic presidential nominee, Democrats detailed what they said is a state-of-the-art voter database helping them reach and potentially win over Hispanic voters. They said the data helps them track voters who left hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico for Florida and message on a more meaningful level to Latinos descending from other nations. “We now have not only a Latino strategy, we have a Cuban strategy. We have a Mexican American strategy. We have a Borinquen strategy. We have a Dominican strategy. We have a Venezuelan strategy, a Colombian strategy, an Ecuadorian strategy,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told reporters Sunday on a call organized by the Biden campaign.

Biden targets Black vote in new ads, one with a Florida connection” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Biden launched a pair of ads Monday that make the campaign’s case to Black voters, and one of them is localized to Florida. The ads are billed as a “continuation of the testimonial-style ads highlighting Black Americans discussing in their own words their experiences in Trump’s America and why they support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.” One of the spots has a specific Florida connection, featuring a Tallahassee resident, Malik Gary, who describes the particular peril he feels as a supermarket employee laboring during the pandemic. “Not only am I a Black male, but now I’m more endangered by being an essential worker,” Gary said in the ad. He believes that a Biden election would bring a “real change” to America.

To watch one of the ads, click on the image below:

First in Sunburn — Biden holds massive lead among Jewish voters A new poll from the Jewish Electorate Institute found that Trump’s Israel policies, including the recent UAE normalization announcement, have done little to raise his standing among Jewish voters. The JEI poll found Biden with a 37-point lead among Jewish Americans nationally. Additionally, two-thirds of Jewish voters view Trump negatively while 70% say they view Biden favorably. The poll also found that while 88% of Jewish voters identify as pro-Israel, Jewish voters prioritize U.S. domestic policy issues over Israel in this election.

Historically red, this Orlando-area county is Florida’s surprising new battleground” via Will McDuffie of ABC News — Seminole County, just north of Orlando and long a stronghold for Florida Republicans, has emerged as a surprising tossup this fall in a state that recent polling suggests is up for grabs between Trump and Biden. No Democratic presidential nominee has won Seminole since Harry Truman in 1948, and the county appeared firmly in Republican hands as recently as 2016 when registered Republicans there outnumbered registered Democrats by more than 13,000 voters. But that gap has closed — and quickly. As of last month’s primaries, Democrats trailed Republicans by only 1,000 voters, thanks to efforts to woo moderate Republicans and unregistered voters and to the changing demographic composition of the county.

Inside Joe’s bubble: How Biden’s campaign is trying to avoid the virus” via Christopher Cadelago and Natasha Korecki of POLITICO — Biden’s chartered airplanes and SUVs are meticulously sprayed with disinfectant and scrubbed. The microphones, lecterns and folders he uses are wiped down in the moments before his arrival. News reporters covering the campaign have their temperature taken. People he meets are scanned in advance with thermometer wands and guests at his events are cordoned off in precise locations mapped out with a tape measure. The former Vice President is seldom without a mask when in public or around anyone other than his wife, Dr. Jill Biden.

— 2020 — 

Andrew Gillum discusses hotel episode, reveals intimate details about himself” via Kirby Wilson of the Tampa Bay Times — For months after his messy brush with law enforcement in a Miami Beach hotel room, Gillum has been subjected to rumors about his sexuality. In an interview with talk show host Tamron Hall that aired Monday, his first since that early morning six months ago, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Governor clarified that part of his private life. “I don’t identify as gay but I do identify as bisexual,” Gillum said. “And that is something that I have never shared publicly before.” Miami Beach police responded to a hotel room on March 13 where they reportedly found one man who had overdosed, a second man, and an extremely inebriated Gillum. Police also found what they suspected to be crystal methamphetamine in the room. Once the police report detailing the incident was publicized, rumors about what Gillum was doing in the room with those two men — one of whom, Travis Dyson, was listed under an alias on a website for male escorts — immediately began to swirl.

Andrew Gillum makes a major revelation about himself.

— LEG. CAMPAIGNS —

Incoming House Speaker credits ‘quality’ recruitment for ‘safe Republican’ forecast” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — “We got engaged really early on, and decided to go into purple seats and recruit dynamic, intelligent candidates (who) truly reflect the communities they live in,” said House Speaker-Designate Chris Sprowls. “We supported them early and helped (aggressively) in their campaigns.” CNalysis, the national forecaster which is tracking legislative races in a number of states, announced in a Twitter thread that primary results and fundraising reports prompted a change in standing for 19 Florida House districts. In 16 cases, the needle moved in favor of Republican candidates. “As a result of these rating changes, the Florida House is now Safe Republican in our ratings,” reads a summary tweet. “It’s no longer a competitive chamber.”

Chris Sprowls is celebrating a forecast that has Florida turning just a little darker shade of blue.

Parties spend first $1 million in SD 9 battle” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The two Party committees aiming to elect either a Republican or a Democrat in the Senate District 9 race now have spent their first $1 million to back Jason Brodeur and Patricia Sigman. The Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee combined to spend nearly that much just in the past three weeks on TV commercials saturating the Orlando market. This is a contest for an open seat covering Seminole County and parts of southern Volusia County that Republicans have held for decades, but which Democrats feel is within their grasp. The candidates and their committees have briskly raised and spent money both in their official campaign committees and their independent political action committees.

Danny Burgess releases first ad for SD 20 campaign — Republican Burgess hit the airwaves Monday in the race for Senate District 20. The former Representative and Department of Veteran’s Affairs head strikes a unifying tone in the 30-second spot. “For me, results matter more than rhetoric. As your Representative, we built Florida into a national leader,” he says, highlighting higher education and economic rankings from his time in the Legislature. He concludes, “The mission continues. I’m ready, and it’s time to go to work.” Burgess faces Democratic nominee Kathy Lewis in November. To date, Burgess has raised more than $270,000 to Lewis’ $44,000. SD 20 leans Republican. It is open this year due to GOP Sen. Tom Lee’s decision to leave the seat early.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

—“Republicans pump up House campaigns for Scott Plakon, Bob Cortes” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Bruno Portigliatti bashes Geraldine Thompson Supreme Court challenge in new ad — Democratic Rep. Thompson was successful in blocking Francis’ nomination to the state Supreme Court, but reelection opponent Portigliatti is using her victory as a bludgeon in a new TV ad. “Renatha Francis lived the American dream,” the ad narrator says “ … Geraldine Thompson blocked Francis’s nomination just because a Republican made it. Geraldine Thompson squashed an American dream to score a partisan victory.” Sarah Bascom, on behalf of the Portigliatti campaign, said: “The ad draws a clear picture of Thompson’s unwillingness to work in a bipartisan manner for what’s best for Florida. Her reckless crusade to attack an outstanding jurist has drawn the condemnation of both Republicans and Democrats and voters deserve to know.”

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

—“Jim Bonfiglio outraises Mike Caruso to narrow HD 89 money gap” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

—“Democrat Maureen Porras adds $42K in HD 105 matchup against David Borrero” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

—”Annette Collazo raises more than $30K, narrowing cash gap between Alex Rizo” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

—“Democrat Clint Barras impresses in newest HD 120 fundraising report, adding nearly $34,000” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

— DOWN BALLOT —

Miami-Dade Democratic Party releases new ad praising Daniella Levine Cava’s ‘vision’ in county mayoral race” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The Miami-Dade Democratic Party is putting $250,000 behind a new ad backing Levine Cava’s bid to be the next Miami-Dade County Mayor. The new ad is titled “Vision” and is the second TV ad from the local party to promote Levine Cava’s campaign. The Miami-Dade Democrats have also released a digital ad going negative against her opponent in the contest, Esteban “Steve” Bovo. The new ad will air in both English and Spanish and features Levine Cava laying out her plans for the county under her leadership. “Miami-Dade, it’s time for some vision,” Levine Cava begins. “My agenda is clear: invest in our businesses, address the affordability crisis and lead with science to get through the pandemic.”

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Charlie Justice launches first TV ad in reelection bid for Pinellas County Commission” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Justice, the Democratic incumbent, launched his first television commercial to advertise his run for Pinellas County Commission as the General Election inches closer. Justice, who was elected to Pinellas County Commission in 2012 and reelected in 2016, is running against Republican Tammy Sue Vasquez for the District 3 seat. Prior to serving on the County Commission, Justice served in the Florida Legislature including three terms in the Florida House and one term in the Florida Senate. The 30-second commercial, called “Important Work,” shows the adjustment commissioners have had to make in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including transitioning to online meetings.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

School choice, partisanship affect Pinellas school board race” via William March of the Tampa Bay Times — School choice and partisanship appear to be at issue in the Pinellas County District 1 school board race — even though it’s a nonpartisan race, neither candidate is a Democrat and both say they favor school choice. The race is between Laura Hine, a museum director and public education activist, and Stephanie Meyer, a private school teacher. The candidates aren’t allowed to run representing parties, but local Democrats have lined up behind Hine, formerly a Republican who’s now a no-party registrant, while the county Republican Party has endorsed and contributed to Meyer. On her website, Meyer says she’s an advocate of expanding what proponents call “school choice,” including charter schools and use of public education funding for private school tuition vouchers.

— CORONA FLORIDA —

Florida reports the lowest number of COVID-19 cases since early June” via David Fleshler of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Florida reported the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in more than three months Monday, in a hopeful sign as South Florida counties took additional steps toward the resumption of normal life. The state reported 1,736 new infections, the lowest number since June 11, according to the Florida Department of Health’s figures, which are posted daily. The daily positivity rate fell to 3.9%, the lowest percentage in at least two weeks, reflecting the continued decline of this closely watched indicator. The World Health Organization says the rate should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days before economies reopen. The state reported 36 additional deaths, a number that reflects deaths over days or weeks that are just being logged. Although the number of fatalities is not a record low, it is below the triple-digit daily death tolls that had become common in Florida for the past two months.

— BACK TO SCHOOL? —

Teachers union would support teacher vaccination requirement” via Dan Primack of Axios — Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, tells the Axios Re:Cap podcast that her union would support requiring in-school teachers to take a COVID-19 vaccine, once one has been approved and is readily available. The AFT represents 1.7 million members in over 3,000 local affiliates. “We would support that … Just like we have vaccines we require kids to take to be in school in normal times,” she said.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten supports the mandatory vaccination of teachers for COVID-19. Image via AP.

Orange schools report COVID cases on 30% of campuses” via Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel — Since schools opened for in-person instruction Aug. 21, the Orange County school district has had positive COVID-19 cases on about 30% of its campuses, recently released district figures show. There have been 114 positive cases reported in students or staff from the first day of classes through Monday, according to the district’s new COVID-19 dashboard, which debuted Monday. As a result, at least 636 people, most of them students, have had to quarantine because they were exposed to the coronavirus, according to other figures the district posted on Facebook page late Friday. The 560 quarantined students represent less than 1% of the about 63,700 students studying on campus this semester. Students and staff have tested positive at 61 campuses, the school district said on the Facebook post. There are 202 public school campuses in the county.

Coronavirus safety worries underscored by Duval school bus worker’s test result” via Steve Patterson of The Florida Times-Union — Coronavirus exposure among employees of Duval County’s school bus system is fueling concerns about how to handle bus employees who become infected while working with schoolchildren. A bus monitor, Shontel Adams, said she tested positive for the virus Thursday, after a parent of a child who rides her bus route volunteered that the child had been infected by a school employee. Adams said she’s not working again until tests show she’s free of the virus, but her diagnosis raises questions affecting both bus employees and families who use school buses. Drivers and monitors say missing work means simply not being paid, and they say the school bus company servicing most of Duval County doesn’t cover any costs for employees’ coronavirus testing.

— CORONA LOCAL —

COVID-19 is taking a ‘frightening’ toll on Miami-Dade’s arts and culture groups” via Andres Viglucci of the Miami Herald — For the Frost Museum of Science, the first of Miami-Dade’s major cultural institutions to reopen in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, a salvaged summer season was supposed to be something of a grace note in a lost year. It didn’t quite work out that way. When the museum opened in June, administrators were hoping to recapture enough summer traffic, usually the highest of the year, to steady its capsizing finances. But a resurgence of infections in July and August, strict capacity limits and many families’ continued reluctance to risk exposure kept ticket sales at just a quarter of the level of the summer before, CEO Frank Steslow said. Now, if Congress fails to approve a second hefty federal bailout along the lines of the multibillion aid program that helped the Frost ride out three months of total closure, Steslow said, the museum may soon confront an existential crisis.

Veteran Palm Beach Sheriff deputy dies from COVID-19 after more than a decade of service” via Devoun Cetout of the Miami Herald — Deputy Angela Chavers gave herself to the community of Palm Beach County for more than a decade. She died after losing her battle with the novel coronavirus, deputies say. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office announced the death of one of their deputies late Saturday evening. Chavers was 44 years old and is survived by her son and niece. Funeral arrangements are being made, deputies said. Chavers began her career back in September 2002 with the sheriff’s office. She worked in the inmate management and corrections division. “Please keep D/S Angela Chavers’ family and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in your thoughts and prayers,” the sheriff’s office said.

Veteran Deputy Angela Chavers is one of the latest victims of COVID-19.

Phase 2 underway, but South Florida bars say they’re still being unfairly left out” via Andrew Perez of Local10.com — Holding signs and demanding a shot, to get back to work, bar owners and employees are demonstrating and pleading to be allowed to reopen. They say these bars and nightclubs are a huge part of South Florida life, and they insist they can operate just like a restaurant, with the same rules and guidelines to prevent spreading COVID-19. But for now, they are still shuttered in Miami-Dade and Broward, even as those counties join Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan. “I don’t know what the logic is,” says Ricky Sekuloski, of Cafeina in Wynwood. “I don’t understand it.” City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said Monday that he disagrees with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez’s view that bars shouldn’t open until there’s a coronavirus vaccine.

Ready for a drink? Bars are reopening in Key West — even as some found a way to survive” via Gwen Filosa of Florida Keys News — As part of a statewide reopening order, Monroe County bars are back in business. And bar owners are raising a glass to celebrate. In hard-drinking Key West, in the middle of Monday, drinks were flowing again at bars that had been shut down under a state order prohibiting the consumption of alcohol on the premises. “It’s been steady, it’s been a good day,” said Rick Smith, a 20-year resident of Key West who tends bar at the iconic Captain Tony’s Saloon off Duval Street. “It’s the first day.” Smith, who wore a face mask that read, “Worn by force, not by fear,” has had a lousy six months, along with many other Key Westers who rely on their bar tips to pay the rent.

Jacksonville-area bars optimistic about reopening, but COVID-19 concerns linger” via Teresa Stepzinski of The Florida Times-Union — Jacksonville-area bars and craft breweries are reopening under a 50% indoor occupancy cap Monday after being closed nearly 2 1/2 months under a statewide mandate aimed at reining in the COVID-19 pandemic. Several bar and craft brewery owners say they’re relieved at being allowed to reopen even at half capacity, but they are also concerned customers won’t comply with the continuing face mask and social distancing restrictions. “I am cautiously enthusiastic about the progress that is happening. I hope that everybody doesn’t act irresponsibly. I hope that we all still maintain [precautions] because the pandemic isn’t going away yet,” said Christina Wagner, owner of Rain Dogs, a popular bar and lounge in Five Points.

— MORE LOCAL —

Chris Latvala on his battle with COVID-19: ‘It’s literally the sickest I’ve ever been’” via Joe Henderson of Florida Politics — In late August, a friend of state Rep. Chris Latvala gave the Pinellas County Republican some scary news. That friend tested positive for COVID-19 and had been in close contact with Latvala. He drove himself to the Largo Medical Center after phoning ahead to say he had been exposed to COVID-19. After being examined, he was admitted and stayed for three days before he was discharged. The virus was just getting started, though. At home, Latvala developed chest and other aches.

Shawn Harrison says he tested positive, recovered from COVID-19 — In a Monday Facebook post, Republican former Rep. Harrison said he contracted COVID-19 but has since recovered. “Back at it, slowly, after two weeks of COVID-19 recovery and quarantine,” Harrison wrote. He said he began experiencing symptoms three days after he was exposed to the virus and tested positive two days after that. “Fatigue, chills, shortness of breath, but never developed a fever and no real cough to speak of. I definitely knew I had something and it didn’t feel like any flu I’d ever had.”

Former Rep. Shawn Harrison contracted and recovered from COVID-19.

With no help from Washington in sight, layoffs in Central Florida keep piling up” via Caroline Glenn of the Orlando Sentinel — In the spring, as the new coronavirus began to spread throughout Central Florida, companies began shedding employees and Congress rushed in to provide some short-term relief. Layoffs haven’t stopped and calls to Congress for more help for the jobless and for the hotels, theme parks and other businesses that employed them have gone unanswered. It’s further evidence of the stark message Florida’s chief economist, Amy Baker, delivered to lawmakers Thursday that Florida tourism will take potentially three years to recover from this crisis. In August alone, thousands more people were laid off or placed on furlough in Central Florida, mostly from hotels, according to a review of the state’s database.

70-year-old victim beaten in Winter Park after asking a man to practice social distancing” via Joe Mario Pedersen of the Orlando Sentinel — A 70-year-old man was beaten after asking another man to social distance from him last week inside a Winter Park Citgo gas station. Rovester Ingram was arrested Tuesday, Sept. 8 and faces two charges of kidnapping/inflicting bodily harm as well as aggravated battery, according to an Orange County arrest affidavit. The violence started at around 7:30 p.m. when the victim asked the suspect, Rovester Ingram, to step away from him because Ingram wasn’t wearing a mask, Orange County documents show. The two began to argue. After the victim paid for his items, he went outside where he was followed by Ingram. Ingram began punching and kicking the victim, according to the affidavit.

156 inmates, 8 employees in Clay County Jail test positive for COVID-19” via Dan Scanlan of The Florida Times-Union — The Clay County Jail now has 156 inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19, a major increase in a population of about 500 that had not one case until a few weeks ago, Sheriff Michelle Cook announced. And out of 104 deputies working at the jail, eight of those have also tested positive. The news was released Monday as county health officials said the total tally of active COVID-19 cases in Clay County stood at about 4,500. Joined by the county manager, health department administrator and jail chief. Cook said the high number comes after the jail had no cases reported at all from March until the first 18 affected inmates were reported to the public on Sept. 4. The Clay County Jail had 472 men and women inmates as of Monday.

Mother, 2-year-old escorted from Southwest Airlines flight because of mask policy” via Melissa Montova of TC Palm — A woman traveling from Fort Myers to Chicago said she was escorted off her Southwest Airline flight on Saturday because her 2-year-old son was snacking before takeoff and wasn’t wearing his mask. Jodi Degyansky, 34, wants airlines to have more compassion for parents who have toddlers that might have difficulty donning their masks for a long time. “We are trying to get used to it, but he’s 2,” Degyansky said. Degyansky said she flew to Florida to visit her family in Naples. On her arrival flight to Southwest Florida International Airport, the flight attendants were much more understanding, she said. “On the way back I was surprised the flight attendants were much stricter,” Degyansky said.

— CORONA NATION —

Bob Woodward: ‘The President of the United States possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives’” via Rebecca Shabad of NBC News — In an interview on NBC’s “TODAY” show, Woodward said he found out about a briefing the President had received from his national security advisers on Jan. 28 about the pandemic’s coming to the United States and Trump didn’t share the information in his State of the Union address. Woodward said Trump missed an opportunity that night to convey the warning when he said only that the U.S. was doing everything possible. “It is one of those shocks, for me, having written about nine presidents, that the President of the United States possessed the specific knowledge that could have saved lives, and historians are going to be writing about the lost month of February for tens of years,” Woodward said.

Bob Woodward claims Donald Trump withheld information that could have save thousands of American lives. 

Americans stayed inside even as cities and states reopened” via Alexandre Tanzi and Olivia Rockeman of Bloomberg — Well after U.S. economies began reopening this year, Americans continued to stay home. By the latter half of August, 130 million Americans said they avoided eating at restaurants, a new U.S. Census Bureau survey analyzed by Bloomberg News shows. Only about 21 million of the nearly 250 million people had resumed dining out, according to the data gathered in collaboration with multiple federal agencies. Asked if they were still making fewer trips to stores in late August than before the pandemic, 70% said “yes.” Even among the youngest adults aged 18 to 24, 68% said they were shopping less. In some cases, the ability to stay home was tied to income.

More than 200 meat plant workers in the U.S. have died of COVID-19. Federal regulators just issued two modest fines.” via Kimberly Kindy of The Washington Post — Federal regulators knew about serious safety problems in dozens of the nation’s meat plants that became deadly coronavirus hot spots this spring but took six months to take action, recently citing two plants and finally requiring changes to protect workers. The financial penalties for a Smithfield Foods plant in South Dakota and a JBS plant in Colorado issued last week total about $29,000. Meat plant workers, union leaders and worker safety groups are also outraged that the two plants, with some of the most severe outbreaks in the nation, were only cited for a total of three safety violations and that hundreds of other meat plants have faced no fines. The companies criticized federal regulators for taking so long to give them guidance on how to keep workers safe.

— CORONA ECONOMICS — 

The economic hit from the virus has been more than four times worse than the financial crisis.” via The New York Times — The damage to the world’s major economies from coronavirus lockdowns has been more than four times more severe than the 2009 global financial crisis, and created an “unprecedented” blow to growth in the second quarter in almost every country except China, where the virus was first detected, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Monday. Growth in the nations represented by the Group of 20, an organization of 19 countries and the European Union, representing 80% of the world’s economic production, fell by a record 6.9% from April to June from the previous three months, as governments kept people indoors and froze business activity. The drop eclipsed a 1.9% contraction recorded in the same period in 2009 when the financial crisis was at a peak, the organization said.

The virus has hit the American economy several times harder than the Great Recession.

Floridians to get 4th week of Trump’s $300 unemployment payment” via Austin Fuller of the Orlando Sentinel — Floridians who were unemployed in August could get another $300 payment this week through the Lost Wages Assistance program after the state was approved for the fourth week of the benefit, the state said Monday. The $300 in additional weekly payments were originally for three weeks ending Aug. 15, but the fourth week means eligible Floridians will receive the benefit for the week ending Aug. 22, according to a statement from Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity. Those who are eligible should expect the money sometime this week. Trump announced the program in August after Congress failed to extend the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which provided weekly $600 payouts to supplement state benefits. That program ended on July 31.

Sorry, that’s not covered: Insurers fight businesses over COVID-19 shutdowns” via Ron Hurtibise of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Insurance companies will take your payments. Month after month. Year after year. But when you need to file a claim to recover what was lost, that’s when they tell you that what caused your loss was never covered. And so it goes for businesses seeking to recover revenue lost because of the COVID-19 shutdowns ordered by state and local governments last spring. Across the U.S., courts so far have sided mostly with insurers after businesses claimed the pandemic interrupted their business and insurance should cover it. But thousands of cases are still pending, including dozens in South Florida.

— MORE CORONA — 

U.K. sets new cap on social gatherings as virus cases spike” via Lucca De Paoli and Joe Mayes of Bloomberg — A new restriction on gatherings to no more than six people both indoors and outdoors starts in the U.K. on Monday as coronavirus cases rise sharply and a prominent scientist warned of future lockdowns. In the three days through Sunday, the U.K. added more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases, a pace not seen since May. The virus reproduction rate has jumped above the key level of 1.0, risking an exponential rise in infections. Peter Openshaw, a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said on Sky News’s “Sophy Ridge on Sunday” that the U.K. would face another national lockdown “in short order” if people didn’t stick to the new restrictions.

COVID-19 makes flying business class feel more like economy” via Angus Whitley and Anurag Kotoky of Bloomberg — Forget the flute of chilled Moet & Chandon before takeoff, midflight gin and tonics and a roaming dessert trolley after dinner. Flying business class isn’t what it used to be. Efforts to minimize human interaction and reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection are taking the shine off the most expensive seats onboard commercial aircraft. Gone are the multicourse banquets and warm personal service, once the hallmarks of carriers like Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways. These days, what’s left of premium-grade travel is functional, hygienic and closer to cattle class — only with more legroom. The limitations are one more headache for an industry grappling with a near-total collapse in demand.

N.Y. cancels traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, will hold virtual event” via Judy Kurtz of The Hill — This year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be “reimagined” amid the coronavirus pandemic, with organizers opting to make the iconic holiday season kickoff event virtual. “It will not be the same parade we’re used to,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday during a news briefing. “It will be a different kind of event,” de Blasio said of the traditional balloon and crowd-packed festivities, which date back nearly a century. The annual Macy’s spectacle is hardly the first large-scale parade to be nixed or altered due to COVID-19. Organizers announced in July that California’s annual Rose Parade, which was originally to be held Jan. 1, 2021, would not take place. Cities across the country also canceled St. Patrick’s Day parades as more coronavirus cases were confirmed back in March.

— STATEWIDE —

After legal standoff, DeSantis names Central Florida woman as next Supreme Court justice” via Mary Ellen Klas and Ana Ceballos of the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau — After blowing past another deadline and drawing a third court order to replace a judge on the Florida Supreme Court, DeSantis on Monday appointed Judge Grosshans to the state’s highest court. The announcement came after DeSantis pulled all the political stops to defend his first choice, Palm Beach County Judge Renatha Francis. He announced that after the Florida Supreme Court rejected her as ineligible, he said he has asked Trump to appoint her to the federal bench. “I did not feel that she had been treated very well throughout this process, and so I picked up the phone and I called the President of the United States,’’ DeSantis said. “The President was very receptive to that.”

Ron DeSantis appoints Jamie Grosshans, a judge on the Florida 5th District Court of Appeal, to the state Supreme Court. Image via Colin Hackley.

DeSantis recommends Judge Renatha Francis as federal judge to Trump” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — DeSantis told reporters that Trump is considering Judge Francis to become a federal judge. The announcement comes after Windermere Rep. Geraldine Thompson successfully derailed DeSantis’ appointment of Francis. When Francis withdrew her nomination Friday, DeSantis said he picked up the phone and called the President. “I did not feel like she had been treated very well throughout this process,” DeSantis said, adding: “I told him that we have a great judge down here in Florida who was going to be on the Supreme Court and while that didn’t work out, I think she would make a great federal judge in the Southern District of Florida.” The Governor stopped short of guaranteeing Francis the position but added she is “actively under consideration.” He described Trump as “very receptive” of the recommendation.

Ron DeSantis asks Donald Trump to consider a federal appointment for Judge Renatha Francis. Image via Colin Hackley.

That was some storm. Florida Keys drying out from Sally’s heavy rain and flooding” via David Goodhue and Gwen Filosa of Florida Keys News — The Florida Keys continued to dry out Monday from heavy flooding up and down the island chain from the weekend’s tropical storm that has moved into the Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Sally. Duval Street in Key West is usually busy with tourists, but over the weekend, business owners raced to place sandbags at their entrances to keep water from seeping inside. The Southernmost City got more than 11 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service. People mopped up Sunday and Monday from rain that never seemed to end on Saturday. Water got into some homes and businesses and made wakes as they traversed flooded streets. Fausto’s grocery on White Street was closed Sunday so employees could clean up after the storm.

Poll: A majority of Floridians don’t know what insurers will cover after a hurricane” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — With Tropical Storm Sally making its way toward Louisiana and dumping rain along Florida’s Gulf Coast Sunday and into Monday, a group that focuses on hurricane preparedness and education released a new survey showing Floridians worry about being unable to adequately and quickly recover from a storm. Get Ready Florida, an initiative of the nonprofit FAIR, surveyed 1,582 Florida voters from Aug. 31-Sept. 2 and found 68% couldn’t afford a $5,000 deductible for hurricane coverage, the average in Florida. Further, 16% mistakingly think their homeowner’s insurance covers debris removal, which it doesn’t. More than one in four respondents said they had challenges with tree and debris removal before. About a third of respondents (31%) said they would be willing to pay more on their policies to include such coverage.

Fried latest to demand full accounting of Florida ‘CARES Act’ spending” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida politics — In a letter, Fried demanded the Governor give a full accounting of how the money is being spent. “I hereby request a full and complete account of state agency obligation and/or expenditure of ‘CARES Act’ funding, to be provided no later than September 18. I also hereby request that an update on the disposition of these funds be placed onto the agenda of the next meeting of the Florida Cabinet on September 22.” Fried asserts a particular urgency beyond clean accounting for her request, noting a shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars in the state’s school lunch assistance program.

Fried wants ‘CARES Act’ money for lunch programs” via The News Service of Florida — Fried wants the state to be more open about how it plans to spend federal stimulus money received because of the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to DeSantis, Fried requested a full accounting of federal “CARES Act” money the state has received so it can be discussed at a scheduled Sept. 22 Cabinet meeting. “With an extraordinarily deep and broad economic crisis in our state, it is critical that Floridians are apprised of the ways in which this taxpayer funding is being expended,” Fried wrote. “You recently noted that ‘those CARES Act dollars are obligated already,’ yet there has been no public accounting of the ways in which this funding has been obligated or expended.”

Scoop —Dan Sumner leaving Citizens Property Insurance next year” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — The chief legal officer and general counsel at Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is leaving his position in January. Sumner’s departure was announced in a letter to Citizens’ staff from Barry Gilway, the President and CEO of the state-backed insurer. “In an unprecedented year of challenges and transition, it is with both sadness and gratitude that I share with you that Dan Sumner will be departing from Citizens in January of 2021,” he wrote. “Dan has served Citizens’ for the past 10 years as Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel. As the longest-serving member on the Executive Leadership Team, Dan has been integral in many landmark initiatives such as Citizens’ CAT Bonds and Florida’s AOB Reform Law.

AppointedW. Grey Marker II, Rodney Hershberger, James Schock, David John, Michael Bourré and Paul Jones to the Florida Building Commission.

— LOCAL NOTES —

Alico completes sale of conservation land to Florida for $28.5 million” via Laura Layden of the Fort Myers News-Press — Fort Myers-based Alico Inc. has sold another sizable chunk of its farmland to the state for preservation. On Friday, the company announced that the state, through its Florida Forever program, purchased 10,702 acres of its Alico Ranch in Hendry County for $28.5 million. The land sits on the west side of Alico’s ranch. It’s the company’s second such sale of conservation land to the state in what’s known as the Devil’s Garden area, a prime area for Florida panthers. Combined, the two purchases have added more than 16,000 acres to the state’s Devil’s Garden conservation project. Well south of the Caloosahatchee River, Devil’s Garden is north of Big Cypress National Preserve and east of the Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest. The name Devil’s Garden stems from the Seminole Wars of the 1800s.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Trump spurns science on climate: ‘Don’t think science knows’” via Jonathan Lemire, Aamer Madhani, Will Weissert and Ellen Knickmeyer of The Associated Press — With the smell of California wildfires in the air, Trump ignored the scientific consensus that climate change is playing a central role in historic West Coast infernos and renewed his unfounded claim that poor forest management is mostly to blame. The fires are threatening to become another front in Trump’s reelection bid, which is already facing hurdles because of the coronavirus pandemic, joblessness and social unrest. His Democratic challenger, Biden, in his own speech on Monday said the destruction and mounting death toll across California, Oregon and Washington require stronger presidential leadership and labeled Trump a “climate arsonist.”

Donald Trump and Gov. Gavin Newsom discuss strategies to battle California’s raging wildfires. Image via AP.

—“The President who says the coronavirus will go away makes the same prediction about global warming” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post

Democrats launch probe into Trump officials’ COVID-19-report tampering” via Dan Diamond of POLITICO — House Democrats are launching an investigation into how Trump appointees have pressured officials at the C.D.C. to change or delay scientific reports on coronavirus, citing reporting that found political interference in the publishing process. “During the pandemic, experts have relied on these reports to determine how the virus spreads and who is at greatest risk,” Rep. Jim Clyburn, chair of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, and his Democratic colleagues write in a letter. “Yet HHS officials apparently viewed these scientific reports as opportunities for political manipulation.” The Democrats’ investigation focuses on the C.D.C.’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, the agency’s long-running series of scientific articles that researchers have looked to for the most current and reliable information on the coronavirus.

’If you aren’t making news, you aren’t governing’: Matt Gaetz on media mastery, influence peddling, and dating in Trump’s swamp” via Abigail Tracy of Vanity Fair — In his new book, “Firebrand,” U.S. Rep. Gaetz documents his undeniably Trumpian mindset: as long as he’s catching rides on Air Force One and ubiquitous in the media, he is untouchable. Gaetz, like Trump, sees politics as entertainment: if you can keep the people’s attention, you can keep your power. That Gaetz is regularly knee-deep in the outrage cycle is by design. As Never Trump conservatives pontificate about the future of the Republican Party post — Trump, Gaetz seems to recognize that its evolution is complete and irreversible. Among his compatriots — those playing by the new rules of the game — is Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whom he praises far more than he does establishment figures on his own side of the aisle.

Justice Department internal watchdog is investigating Roger Stone’s sentencing, say sources” via Julia Ainsley and Ken Dilanian of NBC News — The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General has begun investigating the circumstances surrounding the sentencing recommendation for Stone, a longtime friend of Trump, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The investigation is focused on events in February, according to the two sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, when prosecutors for Stone have said they were told to seek a lighter sentence for Stone than they had previously considered. Attorney General William Barr ultimately intervened to override the prosecutors’ recommendation of seven to nine years and ask for a lighter sentence. All four prosecutors quit the case as a result.

Florida under 90% counted for Census” via The News Service Of Florida — Florida is approaching 90% of its households tallied for the 2020 Census but remains below the national average for response rates. The U.S. Census Bureau website said Florida had 87.4% of households counted as of Monday. The count, which will affect congressional redistricting for the next decade and the distribution of federal money, ends Sept. 30. Idaho and West Virginia were atop the list, each with more than 99% of households counted. Alabama, with 83.7%, was the lowest. Nationally, the rate was 91.8%.

— SMOLDERING — 

Progressive donor Susan Sandler to give $200 million to racial justice groups” via Astead W. Herndon of The New York Times — Sandler, a liberal philanthropist, has announced a $200 million investment in racial justice organizations, targeting areas across the South and the Southwest that are experiencing rapid demographic transformation. Sandler, who learned she had a rare form of brain cancer four years ago, unveiled the effort in a lengthy post on Medium published on Monday morning. In the post, Sandler said her investments would be made through a new organization, the Susan Sandler Fund, aimed at combating systemic racism and building civic power. Sandler characterized the effort as a shift in her political priorities and giving philosophy.

Progressive megadonor Susan Sandler is committing nearly $200 million to racial justice causes. Image via AP.

When a Black baby is born, the doctor’s race matters” via Margo Snipe of the Tampa Bay Times — Sometimes the subtle cues can mean life or death. They’re the human reactions that warn health care providers of a patient’s emotional discomfort, feelings of being unwelcome, misunderstood, not listened to, sometimes silenced. As an African American woman, Dr. Terri Ashmeade can spot them right away. She notices communication barriers between Black women and non-Black doctors. Rifts that can erode trust and lead some women to put up guards — to the point that they don’t seek care. Some worry they might not get the best care because they’re Black, said Ashmeade, a professor of pediatrics at USF Health and a neonatologist in Tampa General Hospital’s intensive care unit.

Colin Kaepernick takes aim at NFL ‘propaganda’” via AFP — Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick said NFL social justice initiatives were “propaganda” on Sunday as scattered protests marked the first full day of the 2020 season. Kaepernick, who launched his kneeling protests in 2016 to draw attention to racial injustice, questioned the sincerity of the NFL’s stance against racism, citing the fact that fellow player-activist Eric Reid remained unemployed. Reid, who joined Kaepernick’s protests in 2016 when the two played for the 49ers, was released by the Carolina Panthers in March in a move that surprised many. “While the NFL runs propaganda about how they care about Black Life, they are still actively blackballing Eric Reid for fighting for the Black community,” Kaepernick wrote on Twitter.

In Florida, schools under pressure to get rid of police officers” via Jessica Bakeman of WLRN — After a school shooting left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the county sheriff’s office decided to arm its school-based deputies with automatic rifles. Nine days after the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting, Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said issuing the weapons was “a stopgap measure to create a heightened sense of security.” Olivia, a freshman at the time at another Broward County school, remembers getting off the bus and making eye contact with one of several police officers with AR-15s. She is one of many Black students who say the presence of armed law enforcement officers in schools makes them feel less safe.

Lake Worth Beach commission ponders dumping Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples’ Day” via Jorge Milian of The Palm Beach Post — Less than a month before Columbus Day, Lake Worth Beach officials are being asked how to reconsider the federal holiday. An agenda item on Tuesday’s city commission meeting proposes that Lake Worth Beach join a growing number of cities and states that have opted to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day and dump Columbus Day. Commissioner Omari Hardy thinks it’s time the city stop celebrating the Italian explorer. “It’s important not to honor dishonorable people,” Hardy said.

— TOP OPINION —

Randy Fine: Trump — Israel’s greatest friend” via Florida Politics — There is exactly one Jewish state in the world. And that State is Israel. President Truman was the first world leader to recognize the State of Israel in 1948. Yet in all these years Israel has had no better friend than Trump. Trump did what he said he would do and moved our Embassy to Jerusalem. And Trump will host the signing of two sovereign recognitions of Israel — the Abraham Accords, in which the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will both formally recognize Israel. I often ask myself why Trump has done so much for Israel. I know one thing — it isn’t for the votes. No matter what he does, most Jews won’t vote for him.

— OPINIONS —

The IOC should move the 2022 Olympics out of Beijing” via Rick Scott for The Washington Post — In a letter to IOC President Thomas Bach last October, I outlined the Chinese Communist Party’s numerous human rights abuses, including attacks on free speech, detention of international journalists, the imprisonment of more than 1 million Uighurs (an ethnic and religious minority in Western China), the sinister surveillance of citizens and tyrannical actions against citizens of Hong Kong. Bach responded to me by saying the IOC must remain “politically neutral.” Without referring specifically to Beijing, he doubled down on his stance against boycotts in a speech in July, criticizing the “misuse of sport for political purposes.” Since I first wrote to the IOC, the human rights situation in China has only worsened.

Florida policymakers must help families in need with fiscally sound programs” via Jack Levine of the Tallahassee Democrat — In a state as large as Florida, responsible and prudent fiscal stewardship of state tax dollars should always be a priority. That’s especially true during volatile economic periods, like the one we’re experiencing now. State policymakers must find money to pay for new programs intended to help Florida’s families get through this year’s economy paralysis, while also coping with the state’s multibillion-dollar budget deficit. Throughout my career, I have advocated for policies and programs that provide vital, necessary services for children in need. From Healthy Start’s work to assure healthy births, to improving early childhood education, to providing positive success options for teenage foster youth, Florida’s progress is well-documented.

Floridians are well served by existing payday loan regulations” via Ian MacKechnie for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Thanks to legislation passed in 2001, Florida has some of the strongest consumer protections in the nation. Those reforms were passed by a unanimous and bipartisan group of lawmakers who recognized the importance of preserving access to short-term credit — while driving out unscrupulous lenders. The assertion that these loans “create a cycle of debt” is far from the truth. Under Florida law, an individual may have only one outstanding loan at a time, and a mandatory cooling-off period between loans ensures that the proceeds from one loan can’t be rolled into another. Coupling that with a 24/7 real-time statewide database makes it impossible for these loans to pile up.

Shame on DeSantis for vetoing new tobacco age limit” via Barry Hummel of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — On Sept. 9, those of us who are working to reduce youth nicotine addiction in our community learned that DeSantis had vetoed SB 810, Florida legislation designed to reduce youth access and exposure to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. This public health legislation was sponsored by state Sen. David Simmons and state representatives Jackie Toledo and Nicholas Duran. The legislation was also supported by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. You may be wondering what was so controversial in this bipartisan legislation the Governor felt compelled to stop the law from being implemented? A state law matching the federal restriction would require the state to visit businesses more frequently.

— TODAY’S SUNRISE —

With Hurricane Sally approaching, Gov. DeSantis declared a state of emergency in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— The Governor said that almost as an afterthought. The declaration came at the end of his news conference announcing the choice of a new Florida Supreme Court Justice after his first selection was rejected because she doesn’t have enough experience.

— The Florida Man who almost beat DeSantis in the 2018 Governor’s race has come out of the closet (well, halfway). Gillum says he’s not gay, but he does identity as bisexual.

— It was Gillum’s first interview since an incident in March where he was found passed out on the floor of a hotel in Miami Beach in the same room where a male acquaintance was being treated for an overdose.

Biden brings his campaign to Florida, to talk with veterans in Tampa and attend the Hispanic Heritage Festival in Kissimmee. It’s his first visit to Florida since the pandemic began and they’ll be talking about COVID-19 … a lot.

— Florida’s Department of Health reported 1,736 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, the lowest single-day count seen since June. The Department also reported 36 new fatalities, making the statewide death toll 12,900.

— DeSantis’ handling of the COVID-19 crisis inspired some teachers to run for office.

— Florida pays tribute to missing children and the people who try to find them. The Governor and First Lady Casey DeSantis led the virtual memorial on Missing Children’s Day.

— And checking-in with a Florida Woman who decided to try before you buy; usually a good idea, unless it happens to be a sex toy.

To listen, click on the image below

— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Happy Birthday to the best campaign “guy” and long serving aide/intern/fired friend of Hialeah Daniel Martinez.

A post shared by Manny Diaz Jr (@senatormannydiazjr) on

— ALOE —

Apple’s first major product launch event of 2020: What to watch” via Mark Gurman of Bloomberg — Apple will kick off a broad slate of new products at a virtual event, with upgrades to two of its most important hardware lines beyond the iPhone. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant will debut an Apple Watch, likely to be called the Series 6, with features such as a faster processor and a blood oxygen meter, according to people familiar with the product. The company is also planning a new low-end model to help fend off cheaper offerings from rivals such as Fitbit. Apple’s event will also be notable for what won’t be unveiled: new iPhones. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted final testing of new 5G models earlier this year and delayed the company’s ability to kick off mass production.

Upgraded Apple Watches will be prominent in the company’s 2020 product rollout.

FSU vs. Miami football game to kick off in prime-time” via Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel — Florida State’s next football game against No. 17 Miami on Saturday, Sept. 26, will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and air on ABC. The Seminoles have a bye week before traveling to Hard Rock Stadium next week to take on the Hurricanes during their first road contest of the season. FSU is coming off a disappointing 16-13 loss to Georgia Tech Saturday in Tallahassee. It was the third consecutive loss for the program dating to last season and the fourth straight loss in a season opener. The Seminoles last opened a season 0-2 in 2017. Miami, which earned a season-opening win over UAB, travels to No. 18 Louisville this weekend to take on the Cardinals in a top-25 battle at Cardinals Stadium. The Hurricanes are looking to improve to 2-0 to start a season for the first time since 2017.

Hershey maps trick-or-treating risks in hopes coronavirus won’t scare off Halloween sales” via Annie Gasparro of The Wall Street Journal — Hershey is trying to save Halloween from the coronavirus pandemic. The candy maker said Monday that it has worked with public-health experts and retailers to create a website to offer advice on how to trick-or-treat safely in different parts of the U.S., depending on the intensity of local COVID-19 transmission. Hershey is also changing the variety of candies it makes for Halloween this year and introduced them a few weeks earlier than normal, aiming to prop up business during the season that typically drives one-tenth of its $8 billion in annual sales.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Happy birthday to Rep. Mike CarusoBrewster Bevis of Associated Industries of Florida, Chris HeathChris Hudson, Scott Kosanovich, and Chris Wilkerson.

___

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, A.G. Gancarski, Renzo Downey 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

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