Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.5.21

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Coffee is for closers. So is Sunburn, your morning rundown of Florida politics.

Good Tuesday morning.

This brave, kind, curious, fierce, Hamilton-loving, hilarious, deeply intelligent young girl turns 9 today. Her mother and I could not be prouder of her and how she navigated this difficult 18 months, especially this past summer when Michelle was in the hospital. We are beyond blessed to have Ella Joyce as our daughter.

Ella Joyce Schorsch at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, September 2021.


Gaming interests have launched a full-court press to void the new Gaming Compact, but the Seminole Tribe of Florida isn’t sitting idly by.

For weeks, the Tribe has been on offense, making the case to Floridians that the Compact is not only the law of the land but will benefit the state as much as it does the Tribe.

On Monday, the Tribe launched another ad in its statewide campaign.

Titled “What We Know,” the ad spells out — in plain English — why the Compact is a good deal for the state.

“Here’s what we know: The new Seminole Tribe Compact is now in effect across Florida. It guarantees billions for the state, thousands of new jobs and soon, Florida-controlled sports betting,” says the ad’s star from a Florida ranch.

The key points are emphasized with big, bold text noting the compact guarantees $2.5 billion in payments to the state, and that sports betting is on the way.

“All sides pulled together to pass this law so outsiders couldn’t take our money out-of-state,” the actor concludes.

The ad hit the airwaves Monday.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:


U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is currently favored for reelection next year, whether his Democratic challenger is U.S. Rep. Val Demings or former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson.

A new survey from VCreek found Rubio with a four-point edge over Demings in a hypothetical head-to-head, 42%-38%. His advantage triples to 44%-32% when Grayson, who served two nonconsecutive terms in the House, is subbed in as the Democratic nominee.

Still, the Americas PAC-commissioned poll shows many Floridians are undecided a year out from Election Day, especially for a household name like Rubio, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010.

By comparison, the number of undecideds this far out from U.S. Sen. Rick Scott’s successful challenge to Bill Nelson was in the mid to low single digits. VCreek also notes that Rubio secured 48.9% of the vote in 2010 and 52% in 2016.

So far, Marco Rubio is favored for reelection.

“This frame of reference indicates Rubio’s base has slipped through the political turbulence of the past few years and COVID-19,” the polling memo says.

As it stands, 15% of voters say they would be on the fence if Demings wins the nomination. Another 5% say they’d vote for someone else. One in seven voters aren’t sure who they’d vote for if Grayson wins the nomination, but the number of voters who would vote for someone else doubles to 10%.

Most troubling for Grayson’s bid is his weak support among so-called “Regular Blue” voters, nearly 30% of whom say he wouldn’t get their vote. Only about 10% of moderate Democrats will defect if Demings is the nominee. Both candidates fare well among Strong Blue voters.

VCreek said Rubio’s success hinges on whether he can solidify his position with “Regular Red” and “Purple” voters — he already has “Strong Red” voters on lock, with about 80% support against Demings and 85% against Grayson.

The poll also found that voters believe that the Joe Biden White House should not create a vaccine mandate that could result in unvaccinated people being fired from their jobs. The split was 54%-43%, indicating it could be a drag on the eventual Democratic nominee.

The VCreek poll has a sample size of 405 likely voters. It was conducted Sept. 23-27 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.87 percentage points.


Jimmy Patronis joins 2021 Future of Florida Forum speaker list” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Chief Financial Officer Patronis has joined the slate of 80-plus speakers on tap for the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum, scheduled for Oct. 27-28 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Orlando. The Panama City Republican will lead a discussion titled “Florida is for Winners.” The substance will focus on growing Florida’s economy by protecting tax dollars, fighting fraud, and supporting small businesses and first responders. Patronis is the fourth top-level elected official confirmed for the Forum. The Chamber previously announced a discussion led by Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Senate President Wilton Simpson.

Register online here.


@MichaelGWaltz: As I said when we abandoned our Afghan allies, I would be terrified if I were Taiwan or Ukraine right now. This is what a lack of American strength and leadership in the world looks like: instability and potentially, war.

@GwenGraham: Cancer has touched so many families, including my own. My grandmother passed away from breast cancer. My husband continues his fight with prostate cancer. Very sad news to hear that Casey DeSantis is now in the fight as well. Sending all healing prayers.

@NickIarossi: Praying for and thinking of @FLCaseyDeSantis and the First Family. This is yet another challenge she will successfully handle with the strength, fortitude, and grace she demonstrates in every aspect of her life.

@NAlvarezWFTV: Above all, she is a mom. And yet another woman now in the fight. Sending strength to @FLCaseyDeSantis. Remember, 1 in 8 women will face this. Early detection is crucial.

@DaveWeigel: My number one rule, which I ripped off from @davidfrum, is that to an ordinary person, politics is as baffling as football is to a non-fan. Never ever assume that voters will understand a complicated fight. They’ll tune it out and say, “those clowns are at it again.”

@DonaldJTrumpJr: Strange that hours after a whistleblower calls out Facebook saying they engaged in a “betrayal of democracy” that Facebook and other companies it owns are totally down. I’m sure it’s a coincidence.

@chreyesrios: Facebook et al. being down means in one day we lost communication with specific friend groups, yearslong conversation threads, troves of photos/videos/audio uploaded to the apps, easy access to news and holy fuck — why did we allow one company to have so much power???

@auraabogado: The repercussions of WhatsApp being down in The Rest of The World are vast and devastating. It’s like the equivalent of your phone and the phones of all of your loved ones being turned off without warning. The app essentially functions as an unregulated utility.


’No Time to Die’ premieres — 3; ’Succession’ returns — 13; ’Dune’ premieres — 17; ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ returns — 19; World Series Game 1 — 21; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 22; Florida TaxWatch’s annual meeting begins — 22; Georgia at UF — 25; St. Petersburg Municipal Elections — 28; Florida’s 20th Congressional District Primary — 28; The Blue Angels 75th anniversary show — 31; Disney’s ’Eternals’ premieres — 31; ’Yellowstone’ Season 4 begins — 33; ’Disney Very Merriest After Hours’ will debut — 34; Miami at FSU — 39; ‘Hawkeye’ premieres — 40; ExcelinEd National Summit on Education begins — 44; FSU vs. UF — 53; Florida Chamber 2021 Annual Insurance Summit begins — 57; Jacksonville special election to fill seat vacated by Tommy Hazouri’s death — 63; Steven Spielberg’s ’West Side Story’ premieres — 66; ’Spider-Man: No Way Home’ premieres — 73; ’The Matrix: Resurrections’ released — 78; ’The Book of Boba Fett’ premieres on Disney+ — 85; CES 2022 begins — 92; NFL season ends — 96; 2022 Legislative Session starts — 98; Florida’s 20th Congressional District election — 98; Joel Coen’s ’The Tragedy of Macbeth’ on Apple TV+ — 101; NFL playoffs begin — 102; Super Bowl LVI — 131; Daytona 500 — 138; St. Pete Grand Prix — 145; ’Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 171; ’Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 215; ’Top Gun: Maverick’ premieres — 234; ’Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 240; “Black Panther 2” premieres — 276; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 288; ’Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 367; “Captain Marvel 2” premieres — 402.


Governor’s wife Casey DeSantis battling breast cancer” via Cindy Krischer Goodman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Casey, the mother of three young children, has been a big advocate for children and mental health in her position as Florida’s First Lady. The announcement comes as the country enters breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer in someone Casey’s age is still considered rare. Only about 11% of all breast cancers occur in women younger than 45. “The types of breast cancers that are found in younger patients tend to be more aggressive,” said Dr. Carmen Calfa, a triple board-certified breast medical oncologist with the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Casey DeSantis is facing a breast cancer diagnosis.

—“Florida leaders rally to DeSantis after breast cancer diagnosis” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics


Ron DeSantis awaits appeal on social media censorship law as legal experts call it ‘doomed’” via Ariana Aspuru of the Orlando Sentinel — As Florida waits for a federal appeals court decision to see whether it will be allowed to enforce a new law that prevents social media companies from shutting down accounts of political candidates, some legal experts predict the law is “doomed” because it is flatly unconstitutional. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta is considering whether to overturn a preliminary injunction a federal trial judge in Tallahassee approved in June that temporarily banned Florida from enforcing the new law. The appeal ruling could come at any time.

Ron DeSantis’ attack on social media outlets is a long shot, say legal experts.

We don’t want you, DeSantis tells desperate Haitians trying to migrate to South Florida” via Brooke Baitinger of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Dozens of Haitian families arrived at the Texas border last week hoping to be resettled across the U.S., including in South Florida. But the state had a harsh message for them: You’re not welcome here. On Tuesday, Florida sued the federal government, demanding the Biden administration retain people who claim asylum at U.S. borders instead of releasing them to await a hearing. At the same time, DeSantis signed an executive order preventing any state agencies from “aiding or abetting in any way what the federal government is doing right now.” The state’s reaction put the responsibility entirely on the shoulders of South Florida’s churches, charities, state representatives, and community organizers.

The Florida Bar wants to immunize Ashley Moody and all lawyers who are state officers” via Noreen Marcus of Florida Bulldog — Because Moody tried to overturn 2020 presidential election results, Pam Keith, a South Florida political activist, floated an online petition that slammed Moody for what Keith called “conduct in violation of her oath of office and in abrogation of her responsibility as an officer of the court.” She collected more than 1,700 signatures. Now the Florida Bar is rewriting a disciplinary rule to forestall any similar efforts in the future. Bar leaders may be reacting to the situation in Texas, where Attorney General Ken Paxton is under investigation for leading the charge that Moody and the others followed.

Happening today — Attorney General Moody and the Florida Statewide Council on Human Trafficking will host an online human trafficking seminar, 9 a.m. More info here.

State levies $950K in liquidated damages against Medicaid managed care plans” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Florida health officials assessed $949,250 in liquidated damages in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021-2022, issuing final orders in 36 complaints against Medicaid managed care plans. Simply Healthcare was fined $422,250 in liquidated damages for the first quarter, more than any other health plan, and was responsible for about 44% of the overall amount of damages assessed in the three-month period. The damages were assessed in state-issued final orders settling four complaints. While Simply Healthcare leads the Medicaid managed care plan pack regarding the amount of liquidated damages assessed, Humana Medical Plan had seven final orders issued for the quarter, more than any other plan.

Two months into school year, children with disabilities still waiting for state scholarships” via Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel — Thousands of Florida students with disabilities whose parents count on state scholarships to help pay for their education and therapy are still waiting for the money two months into the school year. The children, recipients of what was known as the Gardiner Scholarship, were erroneously recorded as enrolled in public schools, parents said. About 4,000 children, they said, got caught in what the education department called a “data entry error” that should be resolved by Oct. 15. Students cannot receive scholarships, often called vouchers, if they are in public school. The problems impacted students who previously qualified for the Gardiner scholarship and whose funding should have been renewed this year.

Ed Hooper files bill to stiffen penalties for firefighter murderers” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Under the proposal (SB 370), the convicted murderer of a firefighter would face the same consequences as a person who killed a police or correctional officer — life in prison without the possibility of parole. Hooper said firefighters are worthy of the same legal classification as their first responder counterparts. They, he asserted, face many of the same risks as law enforcement officers. “I just don’t think that they ought to be treated differently if they’re all responding to the same emergencies at the same time,” Hooper, a retired firefighter himself, said.

Lauren Book seeks to limit the use of mechanical restraints on students with disabilities” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Book is looking to further limit the use of restraints on students with disabilities with a new bill introduced ahead of the 2022 Legislative Session. The new measure follows legislation approved during the 2021 Session. This year, Book’s bill (SB 390) would block all non-law enforcement or security personnel from using mechanical restraints on students with disabilities. That would entirely block teachers, counselors and other non-safety personnel from using such measures. Approved legislation last year limits the use of seclusion and restraint techniques as a punitive measure against students with disabilities.

Lauren Book takes on unnecessary restraints of special needs students. Image via Colin Hackley.

Democratic lawmakers want to end ‘slavery and involuntary servitude’” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — One might think a bill called “Prohibition of Slavery and Involuntary Servitude” isn’t necessary since the 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865, but two Florida lawmakers disagree. Sen. Bobby Powell and Rep. Dianne Hart have filed companion bills (SJR 392 and HJR 39) to create a new section in the Florida Constitution outlawing forced prison labor. Hart filed her bill in August, her second attempt to pass the legislation. She withdrew her previous bill after it failed to garner a companion in the Senate last Session. Powell filed his companion bill Friday. Both ask that an amendment to the state constitution go before voters at the next General Election or a Special Election.

Wyman Duggan seeks $500K for nutritional health of local seniors” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — The Northeast Florida Area Agency on Aging wants $500,000 to improve the nutritional health status of low-income, older adults in poor physical health. The funding request for the state fiscal year 2022-2023 budget was filed Monday by Rep. Duggan, a Republican from Jacksonville. Budget documents filed with the House of Representatives show the Northeast Florida Area Agency on Aging, which operates as Eldersource, will use the money to help improve the nutritional health of upward of 800 elderly, low-income people. Nutrition services include meals, nutrition counseling, and nutrition education, and assistive eating devices. Eldersource Chief Executive Officer Linda Levin told Florida Politics that the Eldersource would contract with providers in the organization’s seven-county area.

Happening today — The Levy County legislative delegation meets: Sen. Jennifer Bradley and Rep. Joe Harding, 9:30 a.m., Williston City Hall, 50 N.W. Main St., Williston.

Happening today — The Union County legislative delegation meets: Bradley and Rep. Bobby Payne, 2 p.m., Lake Butler City Commission Chamber, 200 S.W. First St., Lake Butler.

Happening today — The Bradford County legislative delegation meets: Bradley and Payne, 4:30 p.m., Johns Conference Center, 1610 North Temple Ave., Starke.

Florida insurance officials to discuss workers comp rate reduction Oct. 14” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has scheduled a rate hearing on Oct. 14 to publicly discuss the proposed 4.9% reduction in workers’ compensation rates filed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance on Aug. 30. The rate hearing will be held virtually despite a public health advisory from DeSantis in April calling for the government to resume face-to-face meetings. OIR spokesperson Alexis Bakofsky said NCCI has travel restrictions, and the hearing is being held virtually at NCCI’s request. NCCI said in a prepared release that it also was asking state insurance regulators to approve the establishment of a catastrophe fund for workers’ compensation insurance.

Supreme Court to hear arguments over red-light camera fees Tuesday” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Arguments over a potential class-action lawsuit over a so-called “convenience fee” drivers can be charged by a major red-light camera company will go before the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday. Those questions stem from a lawsuit motorist Steven Pincus filed after a camera operated by red-light camera company American Traffic Solutions captured him running a North Miami Beach red light in 2018. The company tacked on a 5% fee to the $158 penalty Pincus was required to pay for running the light when he paid online with a credit card. Pincus’ lawsuit alleges the fee involved “unjust enrichment” under state law.

Save the manatees: Researchers seeking ways to restore, enhance warm water habitats in Florida” via Karl Schneider of the Naples Daily News — A team of state and federal scientists will begin researching ways to restore, enhance and create warm-water manatee habitats along Florida’s Gulf Coast following a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Funding to kick-start the project, around $125,000, comes from NOAA’s RESTORE Science Program, which uses money from penalties paid following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Chip Deutsch, with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, will lead the project. Money from NOAA will help Deutsch and the team plan out and prioritize research into warm-water habitats for manatees.

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Jason Allison, Robert Hosay, Jennifer Kelly, Foley & Lardner: Florida Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs


Florida COVID-19 update for Monday: 608 deaths added, nearly half in the past two weeks” via Michelle Marchante of the Miami Herald — Florida on Monday reported 5,775 more COVID-19 cases and 608 deaths. In all, Florida has recorded at least 3,586,802 confirmed COVID cases and 55,619 deaths. Of the deaths added Monday, about 87% occurred over the past 28 days, and about 48% occurred in the last two weeks. There were 4,847 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Florida. This data is reported from 257 Florida hospitals. That is 132 fewer patients than Sunday’s report, continuing a trend of decreasing hospitalizations.

Florida only state to not submit plan for COVID-19 funds; U.S. Department of Education wants to know why” via Jeffrey Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat — The U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to Richard Corcoran asking why his agency hasn’t submitted a plan for $7 billion in federal aid for local schools. The state received the first two-thirds of the money but failed to provide a plan by the June 1 deadline and also blew past July and August submission timelines after talking with the state Department of Education staff. Upon approval of the plan, the state would receive the remaining $2.3 billion. Florida is the only state that hasn’t filed a plan for that money.

Richard Corcoran is not taking federal COVID-19 education relief. The DOE wants to know why. Image via AP.

Physicians across Florida sign onto letter questioning Joseph Ladapo as next Surgeon General” via Douglas Ray of The Gainesville Sun — More than 100 physicians across Florida have posted a letter addressed to the Florida Senate questioning the opposition by the state’s new Surgeon General to COVID-19 precautions such as mask mandates and his advocacy for alternatives to vaccination against the disease. None of the faculty in the UF College of Medicine have questioned Ladapo‘s appointment publicly until now. The letter points out that more than 54,000 Floridians have died from COVID-19, and another 3.5 million have been infected, many with lingering medical complications.

COVID-19 made Florida’s opioid problem worse. What will lawmakers do?” via Kirby Wilson and Natalie Weber of the Tampa Bay Times — She spent her years in and out of rehab, her father said, struggling to hold down a job for a decade, but by spring of 2020, she had been sober for several months. Then, the pandemic hit. The medical treatment place where 40-year-old Lori Holzman went for help with her substance abuse issues shut down, and support meetings stopped. In April 2020, Holzman overdosed on fentanyl and Xanax. “I think that she needed those meetings,” said her 67-year-old father, Stephen J. Holzman of Delray Beach. “Indirectly, COVID killed her.” State lawmakers are returning to Tallahassee to prepare for the 2022 Legislative Session at an inflection point of the opioid crisis.

Get a flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine to help Florida avoid a ‘twindemic’” via Rose Wong of the Tampa Bay Times — Flu cases in Florida dropped to a record low last year, thanks to COVID-19 precautions. “People were wearing masks, social distancing, and washing their hands, all of which is extremely effective in preventing the flu,” said Dr. Nishant Anand, BayCare’s executive vice president and chief medical officer. The Florida Department of Health reported that the percentage of flu patients in emergency rooms and urgent cares during the 2020-2021 season was below the average percent of flu patients in the previous three seasons combined. Florida may not be so fortunate this flu season. Experts say the end of coronavirus protocols and the return to schools and workplaces could result in a rise in flu infections.


Broward schools to consider quarantine rules” via Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The Broward School Board will decide Tuesday whether to pick another fight with the state over COVID-19 policies — this time about quarantines. The School Board plans a special meeting at 9:30 a.m. to discuss a directive from the state Department of Health that maintains the state position that parents must be given a choice whether their children wear masks and adds a rule that parents can choose whether their kids must quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19. While School Board members have been steadfast in their desire to keep a mask mandate, they’ve yet to discuss the new quarantine rules. Several board members have said they don’t like the new rules, but they haven’t said whether they plan to comply.

Duval Schools tells Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran district isn’t changing its mask policy” via Emily Bloch of The Florida Times-Union — Duval County Public Schools is sticking to its guns when it comes to a universal mask mandate on campus, until data shows that COVID-19 transmission in Duval County has declined more.  In letters sent last week to Department of Education Commissioner Corcoran, district officials said it wasn’t safe yet to repeal its mask mandate.  “A review of the official data indicates that student and staff in Duval County cannot yet be safely educated in person without requiring masks, especially considering quarantine requirements have been suspended,” the letter, signed by Duval Schools Superintendent Diana Greene and School Board Chairwoman Elizabeth Andersen, said.

Palm Beach County schools are short twice as many teachers as pre-pandemic times” via Sonja Isger of the Palm Beach Post — Santaluces High School’s staffing crisis has been mounting for months. Teachers resigned. Among them were three who quit as the school year ended back in May and two who announced their intentions the week before they were supposed to return to work in August. Then the school was given additional teaching positions in a districtwide push to close learning gaps — five of those remain unfilled. Finally, when classroom doors opened this fall, more students than expected showed up, driving the need for teachers yet higher. In all, the campus off Hypoluxo Road west of Lantana counted 19 teaching vacancies by mid-September — more than any other Palm Beach County public school.

There’s an acute teacher shortage across the country, particularly in South Florida. Image via AP.

Like rest of country, Leon Schools suffering from substitute teacher shortage” via Ana Goñi-Lessan of the Tallahassee Democrat — Leon County Schools are facing a shortage of substitute teachers. Most of the district’s substitutes are older, retired teachers, who face a higher risk of COVID-19 complications, and they’re prioritizing their health over employment. Last week, the district encouraged all schools to ask parents, grandparents, and the community to seriously consider becoming substitute teachers. “We’re just trying to get very creative in increasing the numbers in our substitute pool,” said Superintendent Rocky Hanna. When Hanna was elected, he increased substitute pay from $10 to $12 per hour. During the pandemic, pay was again increased to $14. And this week, the district has upped wages again to $15.

Orange County’s COVID-19 risk, now at ‘red,’ likely to shift down to ‘orange’ soon” via Stephen Hudak and Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — Orange County remains a county with “high” transmission of COVID-19, but improving health metrics mean the county will likely be downgraded soon, a health official said Monday. The CDC measures transmission by how many new infections are detected per 100,000 people in a county, in addition to the percentage of positive tests. The county is at the highest level. The county is down to 114 new infections per 100,000 residents over the past week, and 7.67% of COVID-19 tests have been positive for the virus over the past two weeks. That nearly meets the standards for “substantial transmission.”

— 2022 —

Ken Griffin, DeSantis’s top donor, wishes he’d stay out of mask wars” via Michael Smith and Jonathan Levin of Bloomberg — Griffin, a hedge fund manager and DeSantis’ top donor this year, criticized DeSantis for blocking mask mandates as COVID-19 cases and deaths surged. “I’ve been frustrated with his position on masks because it has overshadowed his messaging on vaccinations,” Griffin, the founder of Citadel and Citadel Securities, said in an interview.

Ken Griffin, Ron DeSantis’s biggest financial backer this year, says back off. Image via Bloomberg.

Happening today — Congressman Charlie Crist will join hotel industry leaders and workers for a news conference urging immediate aid for the hotel industry through passage of the Save Hotel Jobs Act, 10 a.m., Zoom link here. Later, Crist will host a gun violence prevention roundtable with elected officials, law enforcement, faith leaders, and community advocates from south St. Petersburg on strategies to reduce the number of guns on the streets, 11 a.m., Pinellas County Urban League, 333 31st St. North, St. Petersburg.

First in #FlaPol — “Maxwell Alejandro Frost taps Kevin Lata to lead CD 10 campaign” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Frost announced he hired the veteran campaign manager to manage his campaign for an open congressional seat. “Kevin is one of the best campaign managers there is and I’m so glad he’s with our campaign,” frost said. Frost is running to succeed Rep. Demings in Florida’s 10th Congressional District. “Maxwell has experienced police abuse firsthand, seen his community ravaged by gun violence, and understands the way that working people and people of color are unjustly marginalized and left behind by our society — and that’s who he’s running for,” Lata said.

Ruth’s List Florida endorses Janelle Perez for SD 37” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — The endorsement is the organization’s first for a 2022 candidate. It adds to previous nods from Sens. Book and Annette Taddeo, former U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, former state Rep. Javier Fernández and LGBTQ political committee LPAC. “There is no one better suited for this race than Janelle,” Ruth’s List Political Director Kayla vanWieringen said by email. “A first-generation Cuban American, she was born and raised in Miami-Dade and inherently understands the needs of District 37. She is an advocate, policymaker, and small-business owner. A cancer survivor herself, Janelle is deeply committed to improving access to affordable health care, (and) she’ll make history as the first openly gay woman in the Florida Senate.”

Happening Thursday:

Yukong Zhao enters HD 50 Republican field” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Zhao, a businessman and national crusader against affirmative action programs who ran for Congress last year, enters a crowded Republican field seeking to succeed Republican Rep. Rene Plasencia, who is running for the state Senate. He faces fellow Republicans Angel Perry, Robyn Hattaway, and Christopher Wright. No Democrats have entered the HD 50 field yet, though the district’s voter registration split is pretty even. Zhao has been a national activist, battling affirmative action policies at elite universities as co-founder and president of Asian American Coalition for Education, which charges affirmative action discriminates against Asian and White students during college admissions. He also co-founded Patriotic Legal Immigrants USA, which has focused on supporting the national fight opposing critical race theory.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy backs Nicolette Springer in Orlando City Council race” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — U.S. Rep. Murphy is backing Springer in the race to represent District 3 on Orlando’s City Council, giving her a high-profile endorsement with less than a month to go before Election Day. Springer is taking on longtime incumbent Robert Stuart and first-time candidate Samuel Chambers for the seat. Murphy’s endorsement adds to a list of other prominent backers for Springer, including Property Appraiser Amy Mercado, former Orange County Mayor Linda Chapin and Chris King, the 2018 nominee for Lieutenant Governor. Springer said the nod from Murphy was proof that she has relationships with the federal government, which she says would help bring money and services back to the district.


Johnson & Johnson to seek FDA authorization for booster shot” via Sharon LaFraniere of The New York Times — Johnson & Johnson is planning to ask federal regulators early this week to authorize a booster shot of its coronavirus vaccine. The firm is the last of the three federally-authorized vaccine providers to call for extra injections, amid mounting evidence that at least the elderly and other high-risk groups need more protection. Federal officials have become increasingly worried that the more than 15 million Americans who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine face too much risk of severe COVID-19. The FDA scheduled a meeting on Oct. 15 of its expert advisory committee to discuss whether to grant emergency use authorization of a booster shot of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

Get ready to roll up your sleeves again. Image via AP.

‘No cheap, easy or quick fix’: Hospitals oust unvaccinated workers in preview of 50-state mandate” via Ken Alltucker of USA Today — New York this week gave the nation an early glimpse of what the Biden administration’s 50-state vaccine mandate for health care workers might look like. The Empire State’s hospitals dismissed or suspended dozens of workers for failing to meet a Monday deadline requiring workers to get at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Anticipating service disruptions from front-line health workers quitting or getting fired, health systems from New York City to upstate delayed nonemergency operations, cut clinic hours, and paid travel nurses up to $200 an hour to fill vacant shifts. The dismissals represented a small percentage of workers at large health systems.

Nursing students who refuse vaccine may jeopardize their clinical training” via Michelle Andrews of Kaiser Health News — In early September, the Biden administration announced that workers at health care facilities, including hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, would be required to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Although details of the federal rule won’t be released until October, some experts predict that student nurses doing clinical training at such sites will have to be vaccinated, too. Groups representing the nursing profession say “students should be vaccinated when clinical facilities require it” to complete their clinical training. Students who refuse to be vaccinated and don’t qualify for an exception because of their religious beliefs or medical issues may be disenrolled from their nursing program or unable to graduate because they cannot fulfill the clinical requirements.


Broader inflation pressures begin to show” via Gwynn Guilford of The Wall Street Journal — While many pandemic-driven price pressures are easing, broader sources of higher inflation are replacing them. That is the message from a slew of alternative inflation measures that strip away price changes due to idiosyncratic swings in supply and demand, and home in on longer-lasting pressures. These alternative indexes are signaling “inflation is not as extreme as what the headline or traditional core shows right now, but it is picking up,” said Sarah House, director and senior economist at Wells Fargo. Some economists interpret this as inflation returning to levels consistent with a healthy economy, after being too low before the pandemic. “To now see price pressures picking up, but not at extremely worrying levels — it’s progress,” said Blerina Uruci, senior U.S. economist at Barclays.

The U.S. economy is starting to show inflation stress lines. Image via The Wall Street Journal.

Christmas at risk as supply chain ‘disaster’ only gets worse” via Matthew Townsend, Jordyn Holman and Eliza Ronalds-Hannon of Bloomberg — It’s the beginning of October, just the start of what the retail world simply calls “peak.” But the industry is already in various forms of panic that usually don’t take hold until the weeks before Christmas. COVID-19 outbreaks have idled port terminals. There still aren’t enough cargo containers, causing prices to spike tenfold from a year ago. Labor shortages have stalled trucking and pushed U.S. job openings to all-time highs. And that was before UPS, Walmart, and others embark on hiring hundreds of thousands of seasonal workers to take on the peak of peak. Now comes the rush of goods into the U.S. for Santa’s sleigh, which will only exacerbate all of this.

Mortgage payments are getting more and more unaffordable” via Orla McCaffrey of The Wall Street Journal — House prices are rising at a record pace, but incomes aren’t keeping up, which is making homeownership less and less affordable. The median American household would need 32.1% of its income to cover mortgage payments on a median-priced home. That is the most since November 2008, when the same outlays would eat up 34.2% of income. Supercharged home prices in markets across the country are canceling out the impact of modestly higher incomes and historically low interest rates, two factors that typically make owning a home more affordable. Declining affordability will have the biggest impact on buyers shopping for their first homes, who will have to sign up for larger monthly payments, buy less desirable homes or step back from the market altogether.

Publix to hire 30,000 associates companywide in fourth quarter” via Paul Nutcher of The Palm Beach Post — Publix plans to hire 30,000 associates throughout the company’s seven-state operating area by the end of the year. The company will employ workers for stores, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities at nonseasonal positions. “As we continue to grow, having a dedicated team ready to meet our needs is vitally important,” said Publix Vice President of human resources, Marcy Benton, in a news release.


Anti-vaxxers just destroyed a COVID-19 testing unit in New York” via Tess Owen of Vice — Anti-vaxxers tore down a mobile COVID-19 testing tent in Manhattan on Monday during a protest against New York City’s vaccine requirements for public school employees. Meanwhile, videos on social media showed some New York City firefighters fist-bumping protesters and at least one law enforcement officer enthusiastically cheering and shaking hands with a protester as the crowd went by. Video journalists captured footage of the tent destruction. The protest began earlier in the day outside the Department of Education building in Brooklyn.

Anti-vaxxers are getting out of hand. Image via Vice.

United Airlines allows travelers to quickly share COVID-19 vaccination info through Apple Health” via Michelle Shen of USA Today — United Airlines announced an integration with Apple’s Health app that allows customers to quickly confirm they’ve met the vaccination requirements needed for their travel plans. Apple recently released a feature in iOS 15 that will enable users to upload their COVID-19 vaccination records through its Health app with a QR code sent by their provider, a downloadable file sent by their provider, or through a connected health care institution using Health Records on iPhone. United customers can now share those verified vaccination records on the Apple Health app with United’s Travel-Ready Center.

New Zealand abandons its goal of eliminating the coronavirus.” via Natasha Frost of The New York Times — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand acknowledged an end on Monday to the country’s strategy of eliminating the coronavirus, announcing that restrictions would be gradually lifted in Auckland, the country’s largest city. Ardern’s announcement — which came seven weeks into a lockdown that has failed to halt an outbreak of the Delta variant — signaled an end to the “COVID zero” strategy New Zealand has pursued for a year and a half, closing its borders and quickly enforcing lockdowns to keep the coronavirus in check. “With Delta, the return to zero is incredibly difficult, and our restrictions alone are not enough to achieve that quickly,” she said. “In fact, for this outbreak, it’s clear that long periods of heavy restrictions has not got us to zero cases.”


Jen Psaki rules out minting coin to resolve U.S. debt-limit dispute” via Josh Wingrove and Justin Sink of Bloomberg — White House press secretary Psaki said the Biden administration won’t mint a new coin to resolve a standoff with Republicans over the debt ceiling, saying it’s not a “viable” option. “We obviously look at a range of options, and none of those options were viable,” she said of the proposal to mint a coin or to invoke the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Section 4 of the 14th Amendment says that the “validity” of the government’s debt “shall not be questioned,” potentially suggesting one way around the congressionally enacted debt limit. Some analysts have suggested the Treasury Department could simply mint a platinum coin in a value of $1 trillion or more and deposit it at the Federal Reserve to give the government greater borrowing authority.

No, the U.S. is not minting a new coin, Jen Psaki says.

Joe Biden accuses Republicans of being ‘reckless’ over the debt limit increase.” via Katie Rogers and Jim Tankersley of The New York Times — Biden excoriated Republicans on Monday for blocking his party’s efforts to raise the debt ceiling weeks before a projected government default, calling their tactics “reckless” and “disgraceful” and warning they risked causing “a self-inflicted wound that takes our economy over a cliff.” Biden, trying to convey the risks to everyday Americans, warned that they could see the effects as early as this week if Senate Democrats could not vote to raise the debt limit. “As soon as this week, your savings and your pocketbook could be directly impacted by this Republican stunt,” Biden said, cautioning that a failed vote could rattle financial markets, sending stock prices lower and interest rates higher. “A meteor is headed for our economy.”

Biden administration reverses Donald Trump rule barring federally funded family planning clinics from abortion referrals” via Amy Goldstein of The Washington Post — The Biden administration has revoked a Trump-era rule that had become a flashpoint in the abortion wars, saying Monday it would no longer bar clinics that receive federal family planning aid from advising people about ending their pregnancies. The new rule for the half-century-old family planning program known as Title X will allow health centers to receive federal funds even if they refer patients for abortions. It takes effect on Nov. 8. The rule reverses a move initiated in 2018 by Trump to appeal to the social conservatives crucial to his political base, siding with them in a long-running battle with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and other family planning groups.


Trump, talked out of announcing a 2024 bid for now, settles on a wink-and-nod unofficial candidacy” via Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — As the turmoil in Afghanistan reached a crescendo in August, Trump began talking again with advisers about whether he should announce his 2024 campaign for president right away. They responded by urging patience. An announcement would force a reshuffling of his newly formed fundraising apparatus, advisers argued, and could complicate his ability to appear on broadcast television without triggering equal time rules. “The biggest point we drove home was that he doesn’t want to own the midterms if we don’t win back the House or Senate,” said one person. “He tacitly keeps the 2024 crowd on notice that nobody can move a major muscle until he decides what he’s doing,” said Kellyanne Conway.

Trump on DeSantis: ‘I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else’” via Michael Van Sickler of the Tampa Bay Times — Trump’s out of office, and DeSantis’ popularity is surging so high he’s become the new favorite for Fox News while fueling speculation on whether the two might run together in 2024. But the two have mostly avoided the topic of what would happen if they ended up running against each other. Over the weekend, Trump finally addressed what he thought of DeSantis in the same race against him. “If I faced him, I’d beat him like I would beat everyone else,” Trump declared, even as he said he doesn’t actually expect a showdown. “I don’t think I will face him,” he predicted. “I think most people would drop out; I think he would drop out.”

Ron DeSantis would drop out — like everyone else — if Donald Trump enters the race, says the former President. Image via AP.

Charities pulled events from Mar-a-Lago following firestorms over Trump policies. Why are they back?” via Alexandra Clough, Jodie Wagner, and Antonio Fins of The Palm Beach Post — At least two charities that pulled their high-society fundraising galas from Mar-a-Lago following an uproar over Trump‘s incendiary policies and rhetoric as president are bringing back their events to his Palm Beach club this winter season. Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society are set to hold galas at Mar-a-Lago, where Trump lives and operates a private club. Both nonprofits decided to move future events from Mar-a-Lago soon after Trump became president in 2017. The fact that two major charities have opted to reschedule their events at Mar-a-Lago this coming season was perplexing to Republican and Democratic ethics watchdogs.


The revelations about Mike Pence’s role in Jan. 6 keep getting worse” via Greg Sargent of The Washington Post — How close did Trump come to pulling off an actual coup? Key to this is the figure who has been portrayed as a hero of this sordid tale because he refused to use his position as vice president to interrupt the count of electors in Congress: Pence. Pence apparently went further than previously known in probing whether he could execute a version of Eastman’s scheme. It’s possible Pence simply went through these motions to placate Trump. But the Jan. 6 committee will have to find out the full truth.

Mike Pence had a bigger role on Jan. 6 than anyone knew. Image via AP.

Judge slams claims that Jan. 6 rioters are treated unfairly” via Alanna Durkin Richer of The Associated Press — A Texas man who joined the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6. was sentenced Monday to 45 days behind bars even though prosecutors weren’t seeking jail time after U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan blasted comparisons between the riot that day and the Black Lives Matter protests over racial injustice. She called it a false equivalence “to compare the actions of people protesting, mostly peacefully, for civil rights” to the mob that “was trying to overthrow the government.” Her remarks came days after another judge in Washington’s federal court suggested that the Justice Department was too hard on the Jan. 6 defendants compared to the people arrested during the protests.

Florida man ‘at the front line of rioters’ on Jan. 6 pleads guilty” via Joseph Choi of The Hill — Robert Scott Palmer of Largo pleaded guilty to assaulting law enforcement with a deadly weapon during the Capitol riot. Palmer threw a wooden plank at U.S. Capitol Police officers as well as at D.C. Metropolitan officers. Just a few minutes after this, Palmer sprayed the contents of a fire extinguisher at the officers and threw the empty fire extinguisher at them. The DOJ said that Palmer was at “the front line of rioters confronting the officers.” No injuries were tied to Palmer’s conduct, but the DOJ noted that the size and weight of the objects he threw made them capable of “inflicting serious bodily injury.” Palmer faces a maximum sentence of a $250,000 fine and 20 years in prison.


Democrats say more information needed to understand and solve school shootings. So far, no Republicans agree.” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Congressional Democrats said Monday gathering more information about the causes and impact of school shootings is essential to coming up with solutions to help curb gun violence in schools. So far, they haven’t found any Republicans willing to go along with their proposal to collect more data. “We don’t really know how bad this grisly picture is. We don’t know the scope of the problem,” U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said. The Democrats need Republican support to get the legislation through the House and Senate and to Biden’s desk. So far, there’s no indication that’s happening. Wasserman Schultz said she’s optimistic about chances in the Democratic-controlled House, where a version of the legislation won committee approval in the last Congress.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants Congress to get a better grip on the problem of school shootings. Image via AP.

Christmas is in no danger of going away, but it’s still politically useful to pretend it is” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — The idea that there is a “War on Christmas,” one stoked and abetted by Democrats, has been a standard part of the Republican culture fight for years. As with so many other culture fights, Trump elevated it. As with many culture-war fights, there’s a political reason that this is useful, particularly now. But before we get to that, let’s make it very obvious that Christmas is under no threat. The reason that the right ginned up the idea in the first place was to accuse the left of trying to undercut American traditions. The reason that all of this resonates, though, is because Republicans often view the increased multiculturalism of the United States with skepticism at best.

Feds will retry Corrine Brown on fraud charges” via Jim Piggott of News4Jax — Former Congresswoman Brown was back in federal court Monday afternoon for the first time since her fraud and tax charge conviction was overturned earlier this year. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 7-4 decision, reversed Brown’s conviction in May, sending the case back to the district court for a possible retrial. Federal prosecutors offered her an extended plea agreement to avoid being retried and the possibility that she could return to prison, which Brown rejected. The government said they will put her on trial again on the same 18 felony counts involving an alleged charity scheme. Prosecutors said they would be ready for trial as early as next month, but Brown’s defense counsel asked for time to obtain a new legal team.


Pandora Papers: A mega-wealthy man from the region’s poorest country — and his Miami palace” via Kevin G. Hall and Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald — When the Jeffrey Epstein estate needed to sell off assets to compensate victims and cover litigation costs, retired Haitian businessman Gilbert Bigio was the man with the money. He purchased the disgraced financier’s Mercedes Maybach sedan in Paris for a cool sum of about $132,000. The sale is buried at the end of a 418-page document accounting for the estate’s finances in the third quarter of 2020. Nothing indicates how and why the man considered one of the richest if not the richest person in Haiti knew to snap up Epstein’s chariot for a bargain. (Today’s cheapest models start at $185,000.) Bigio, 86, is a well-known power broker in Haiti’s political circles.

Jeffrey Epstein was selling; Gilbert Bigio was buying.

The big swell of king tides return this week. Flooding is usually worst in October.” via Chris Perkins of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Put on your flip-flops and hike up those pants, South Florida. What could be the worst king tide flooding of the year may start as early as this week. King tides, which can cause rising seawater to overtake seawalls and flood city streets, began last month and continue through December in cycles. The effects of last month’s king tide were minimal. The flooding will be noticeable this month, according to experts. The most severe king tide flooding each year frequently occurs in October. It could happen with this week’s new moon on Oct. 6 and the full moon on Oct. 20. King tides can take place over several days. This round is forecast to run through Oct. 11.

Miami city manager orders embattled chief to submit reform plan, warns ‘follow my counsel’” via Charles Rabin of the Miami Herald — Late in the day of Friday’s second day of attacks on the police chief, Miami City Manager Art Noriega tried to calm the assault by Commissioners when he mentioned he’d met with the chief and ordered him to submit a policing plan by the end of work on Monday. But the memo tied to that meeting reads more like a threat and shows how Noriega, who hired chief Art Acevedo and is his boss, has concerns more immediate than just keeping the city’s five Commissioners and the police chief in order. In the memo, Noriega questions department morale and how the community perceived the circuslike atmosphere in City Hall last week. He also worries about the chief’s ability to navigate Miami’s tricky political landscape.

Teacher at Miami-Dade charter school arrested, accused of inappropriate relationship with student” via Roy Ramons of WPLG Local 10 News — A South Florida middle school teacher has been arrested, accused of inappropriate behavior with one of his students. According to an arrest report obtained by Local 10 News, the victim told her father about this relationship, and he notified the police. The teacher who was arrested is 36-year-old Daniel Fernandez. He was taken into custody by Miami-Dade police on Friday after investigators said he had an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old student at Renaissance Charter Middle School while he was a teacher there. Fernandez went before a Miami-Dade bond court judge on Saturday, where details of the alleged disturbing encounters with the eighth grade student were laid out.

Jailhouse assault trial for Parkland delayed after lead defense attorney becomes ill” via Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Testimony in the jailhouse assault trial of the Parkland school shooter will take place eight days after originally scheduled after Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer reached a compromise with defense lawyers who wanted to put it off longer. Witnesses were supposed to take the stand after opening statements next Monday. Instead, Scherer moved that date to Oct. 19 to give the defense more time to adapt to the sudden illness of lead attorney David Wheeler. Scherer’s ruling came after she initially rejected the defense effort to delay the case until Wheeler recovers. The Broward Public Defender’s Office sought the delay over the weekend after Wheeler became ill on Thursday.

Despite millions spent on repairs, mold is still a problem in Broward schools” via Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — When Broward school officials were persuading the public in 2014 to approve an $800 million school renovation program, they often showed photos of moldy, decaying buildings and vowed a bond referendum would make a difference. Indoor air quality would improve, officials said, as leaky roofs and faulty air conditioners were replaced. But seven years later, mold remains a major problem, inspection reports show, even in schools where work has been completed. Many others are still waiting for promised repairs, with only about two dozen of 200 major projects complete. This week, the district told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the renovation program was never intended to focus on mold remediation.

U.S. Census: Minority groups now make up West Palm Beach majority as white population drops” via Wayne Washington of The Palm Beach Post — An increasing number of racial and ethnic minorities called West Palm Beach home over the past decade while the city’s white population dropped significantly. The analysis, part of an occasional series from The Palm Beach Post offering a demographic snapshot of Palm Beach County and some of its cities. Like many cities in rapidly growing Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach saw an overall rise in population of 17.5%. The city’s population now stands at 117,415 compared to 99,919 in 2010. City officials said West Palm Beach’s 2010 population figure was adjusted to 100,665 after they pointed out to the bureau that census takers had missed an apartment complex.

West Palm Beach is more diverse than ever.

Port St. Lucie moves forward with mobility fee despite county’s lingering threat to sue” via Olivia McKelvey of Treasure Coast Newspapers — The city is moving forward with a mobility fee, despite the county threatening to sue because the law was approved without its consent. The two local governments are resolving the conflict: the Port St. Lucie City Council unanimously approved the law Monday, just two weeks after the St. Lucie County Commission gave the green light to file a lawsuit. As of Monday, the county has not yet filed a lawsuit against the city, according to court records. The mobility fee — a concept recommended by Port St. Lucie’s Budget Advisory Committee more than a year ago — will go into effect Tuesday and require would-be developers to pay a fee to lessen transportation impacts.

Fight at Dillard High injures two officers, police say” via Angie DiMichele of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Two officers attempting to settle a large fight at Dillard High School on Monday were hospitalized with serious injuries, according to Fort Lauderdale police. Detective Ali Adamson said at a news conference Monday afternoon that both officers are expected to recover. A spokesperson for Broward County Public Schools said that “several student altercations” broke out during the afternoon dismissal. “The school’s leadership is taking this incident seriously and is working with law enforcement in its investigation. Any students involved will face appropriate school disciplinary consequences in accordance with the Code Book for Student Conduct,” the statement said.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry favors moving Confederate monument from Springfield Park” via David Bäuerlein of The Florida Times-Union — Mayor Curry’s top administrator told City Council over the weekend he will file legislation for moving the Confederate monument out of Springfield Park at an estimated cost of about $1.3 million. Curry had said in June 2020, hours after the overnight removal of a Confederate soldier statue from what is now called James Weldon Johnson Park, that “others in this city will be removed as well.” “We hear your voices,” he said at a rally outside City Hall. “We have heard your voices.” Curry ordered the removal of the Confederate soldier statue, but the higher cost for moving the much larger monument dedicated to the “Women of the Southland” would require City Council support.


Abortion rights battle must inspire young, independent voters” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — Stephanie Lopez of Coconut Creek stood proudly in a park in downtown Fort Lauderdale, holding up a hand-lettered sign with a clever play on words: “We are not ovary-acting.” She was among hundreds of people who gathered in Broward Saturday to stand up for abortion rights. The radical Texas law also encourages citizens to become anti-abortion vigilantes by ratting out others who seek the procedure. Florida is one of many states seriously considering similar abortion restrictions, despite enormous opposition. Outraged, highly motivated Floridians from across the state rallied Saturday in Delray Beach, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and many other cities, and hundreds more rallies took place in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. in a massive show of activism.


Florida needs Congress to succeed on infrastructure plan” via Gilbert Miller of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Despite these contentious times, legislation that invests in American families, communities, businesses, and a sustainable American future recently won U.S. Senate approval. The bill was passed with the support of every single Democrat and 19 Republicans, including Mitch McConnell. Showing that strong bipartisanship is the best way forward for major investments, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is good for the country and good for Florida. This landmark federal legislation received praise from both sides for the good that it would restore America’s outdated infrastructure, which is aging at an alarming rate. By improving our roads, the infrastructure bill could save a two-car family as much as $850 per year, as well as increase their safety every time they buckle up.

Why are highly educated Republicans like DeSantis so anti-education?” via Diane Roberts of Florida Phoenix — DeSantis celebrated the decline in the numbers of men entering higher education. “I guess there was a decline in the number of men, the percentage of men going to college or whatever. And they acted like this was a bad thing,” he said. Florida’s Governor sees universities as dangerous sites of elitist dissent against the divinely revealed truth that America is the greatest country ever, and American history is one long triumph piled on triumph. First, men may not be entering higher education, but that doesn’t mean they’re pursuing blue-collar jobs. There’s been a sharp decline in non-college-educated men in the workforce overall. Education is not the same as job training, a point lost on all Republicans and some Democrats.

Before more children are maimed, Florida needs to weed out bad doctors” via The Palm Beach Post editorial board — Voters in Florida may have thought they gave their state government a straightforward process for removing dangerous doctors from the profession. In 2004, they changed the Florida Constitution to do just that. In an ideal world, the “three strikes malpractice law” should have become a reliable protection for medical patients. Instead, state lawmakers turned it into a license to kill. Florida procedures clearly favor health care providers over patients. The current system relies too heavily on malpractice lawsuits and final judgments that physicians can easily avert by settling complaints before those lawsuits are ever filed. Change will only come with new laws and attitudes, no easy fix in Florida.

U.S. must end coastal drilling for oil and gas permanently” via the Los Angeles Times editorial board — The Orange County coastline in California has become the latest casualty of the nation’s unhealthy dependence on oil. In one of the biggest California spills in decades, a pipeline connected to an offshoot oil platform off the coast of Huntington Beach released at least 126,000 gallons of crude over the weekend. This spill illustrates that the threat to the coastal environment isn’t just hypothetical and that we need to move much faster to phase out coastal oil drilling. Some 23 oil and gas drilling platforms are in federal waters off the California coastline. Environmentalists have long warned that aging oil facilities off the coast pose a serious risk, with one activist calling them “time bombs.”


On today’s Sunrise:

— Hours after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen broke down how the company pushes hate for profit, its platforms and services temporarily went offline.

— Parents of disabled children hoping to overturn Florida’s mask mandate ban are taking the fight to a federal appeals court.

— The Sunrise interview is with Susan Harbin, senior government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Florida. Following the announcement of the breast cancer diagnosis for First Lady DeSantis, Harbin will talk about the importance of early screening and detection during this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

To listen, click on the image below:

— ALOE —

TV ratings: ‘Sunday Night Football’ hits 9-year high with Tom Brady’s New England return” via Rick Porter of The Hollywood Reporter — Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 19-17 win over the New England Patriots delivered the biggest Sunday Night Football audience for NBC since late 2012 and is on track to be the second most-watched game in the 15-year history of the franchise. Based on Nielsen’s time zone-adjusted fast national ratings, the game drew 27.2 million viewers on NBC and 28.5 million across all platforms. The 1.3 million viewer average on Peacock and digital and mobile properties for NBC Sports, the NFL, the two teams, and Yahoo Sports is the largest for any NFL game on NBC.

Tom Brady playing in Boston? Ratings gold. Image via AP.

Gaylord Palms: New interactive holiday attraction based on ‘Elf’” via Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel — Gaylord Palms Resort’s holiday lineup will include an interactive experience based on characters from “Elf” and two new shows beginning Nov. 19. In “Mission: Save Christmas Featuring Elf,” visitors will help Buddy the Elf muster enough cheer to help Santa’s sleigh fly. There will be more than a dozen interactive themed elements to earn this achievement. An original Gaylord Hotels production called “Cirque: The Spirit of Christmas” will feature acrobatics and athletic stunts. The ICE exhibit is not in the lineup again, which was canceled last year due to international travel restrictions. Traditionally, the artisans who carve the ICE exhibits are flown in from China.

U.S. Sugar uses century-old steam locomotive to kick off 90th annual sugar-cane harvest” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — U.S. Sugar sent out its recently restored Locomotive No. 148, also known as the “Sugar Express,” to help ring in the 90th anniversary of its annual sugar-cane harvest. The organization relaunched the train last year after a yearslong restoration process. Since then, Locomotive No. 148 has brought in the 2020 end-of-season sugar harvest and helped deliver toys to children in the Lake Okeechobee area after temporarily being redubbed the “Santa Express.” This past Friday, the steam engine delivered the first group of railcars containing sugar cane to the U.S. Sugar mill.


Celebrating today are Chris Hart, Trey Price, my friend Gregory Wilson, and Joe York, INFLUENCE 100’er and one of the best in The Process.


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey and Drew Wilson.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as 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. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


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

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

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

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