Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.20.21

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Your morning review of the issues and players behind Florida politics.

Good Wednesday morning.


@DrTomFrieden: COVID was the #1 cause of death among people ages 35-54 last month, driven overwhelmingly by unvaccinated people.

@MCatronDHS: Secretary (Alejandro) Mayorkas tested positive this morning for COVID-19 after taking a test as part of routine pre-travel protocols. He is experiencing only mild congestion; he is fully vaccinated and will isolate and work at home per CDC protocols and medical advice.

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@AGAshleyMoody: Incredibly proud to stand up for all who wish to express their faith and pray in public. I will always fight for the right of Americans to practice their faith.

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@Paul_Renner: I am fortunate to have President-Designate @Kathleen4SWFL as my counterpart. She is a strong, principled leader and an honest broker. I look forward to our partnership and all the good that we will accomplish together.

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’Dune’ premieres — 2; ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ returns — 4; World Series Game 1 — 6; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 7; Florida TaxWatch’s annual meeting begins — 7; Georgia at UF — 10; St. Petersburg Municipal Elections — 13; Florida’s 20th Congressional District Primary — 13; The Blue Angels 75th anniversary show — 16; Disney’s ’Eternals’ premieres — 16; ’Yellowstone’ Season 4 begins — 18; ’Disney Very Merriest After Hours’ will debut — 19; U.S. to lift restrictions for fully vaccinated international travelers — 19; Miami at FSU — 22; ‘Hawkeye’ premieres — 25; ExcelinEd National Summit on Education begins — 29; FSU vs. UF — 38; Florida Chamber 2021 Annual Insurance Summit begins — 42; Jacksonville special election to fill seat vacated by Tommy Hazouri’s death — 48; Steven Spielberg’s ’West Side Story’ premieres — 51; ’Spider-Man: No Way Home’ premieres — 58; ’The Matrix: Resurrections’ released — 63; ’The Book of Boba Fett’ premieres on Disney+ — 70; CES 2022 begins — 77; NFL season ends — 81; 2022 Legislative Session starts — 83; Florida’s 20th Congressional District election — 83; Florida TaxWatch’s 2022 State of the Taxpayer Day — 84; Joel Coen’s ’The Tragedy of Macbeth’ on Apple TV+ — 86; NFL playoffs begin — 87; Super Bowl LVI — 116; Daytona 500 — 123; St. Pete Grand Prix — 130; ‘The Batman’ premieres — 135; ’Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 198; ’Top Gun: Maverick’ premieres — 219; ’Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 225; ’Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 261; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 273; ’Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 352; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 380; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 387; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 422; ‘Captain Marvel 2’ premieres — 485; ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 639.


Seminole Tribe pushes ‘don’t sign petition’ message for gambling initiatives” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — A newly-formed political committee backed by the Seminole Tribe of Florida has launched a statewide counterattack on other gaming groups that have been trying to get gambling expansion constitutional amendments on next year’s General Election ballot. “Don’t sign gambling petitions” declares a 30-second television and digital media ad released this week by the Standing Up for Florida committee. The commercial, “Watch Out Florida,” began airing this past weekend in all Florida markets. With $10 million from the Seminole Tribe, the committee warns Floridians against “out-of-state gambling companies” trying to get them to sign petitions to expand sports betting and casino gambling in Florida. Both initiatives aim to home in on the action now largely reserved for the Seminole Tribe.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:


Kathleen Passidomo set to become Florida’s next Senate President” via John Kennedy of USA Today Network — Passidomo was designated as Florida’s next Senate President, poised to become only the third woman ever to lead the chamber. Passidomo was elected to the Senate in 2016 after three terms in the Florida House. She’ll take over from Senate President Wilton Simpson following next year’s elections, as long as Republicans retain control of the chamber. The GOP currently holds 24 seats in the 40-member Senate. The state House has never been led by a woman. “The Florida dream is alive and well, and we’re going to fight to protect it, but we need to do it together,” Passidomo said in a 15-minute speech following her designation.

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How a childhood lesson led Passidomo to oppose Texas abortion law” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — A lesson learned in childhood is among the reasons Passidomo is critical of the nation’s strictest abortion law. Implemented in Texas, the law bans the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually at about six weeks of gestation, and provides no exception for rape or incest. It also allows a person to sue someone they suspect of aiding another to obtain an abortion. “I do not support citizen enforcement of any kind of laws because I think that’s a slippery slope.” “The Diary of Anne Frank,” she explained, was among her favorite books as a child. “Why did she die? Because she got turned in by her neighbor, and that stays with me.”

For incoming Senate President, redistricting obscures reelection cycle” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — With the 2022 election nearly a year away, the Senator tasked with leading the caucus beginning that year doesn’t yet have a plan of attack for the election cycle. That’s because redistricting still stands between lawmakers and reelection. Speaking to reporters after she was formally nominated Senate President-designate ahead of the 2022-24 term, Passidomo told reporters she was unsure of the possibility of expanding Senate Republicans’ majority in the coming term. Republicans, led by Simpson, control a 24-16 majority, just enough to pass measures that require three-fifths approval, like constitutional amendments. Expanding the majority could help buffer against defectors in the caucus.

Top House bean counter: After bullish year, Florida’s early fiscal signs are even better” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Florida’s budget is already in a better place than it was at the start of the last Session, which resulted in the largest budget in state history. That’s according to House Appropriations Committee Chair Jay Trumbull. During the panel’s first meeting Tuesday ahead of the 2022 Session, the Panama City Republican told lawmakers that Florida’s budget is on the right path. Trumbull credited the state’s job navigating the financial brunt of the pandemic on prudent budgeting and keeping Florida’s economy open. Trumbull emphasized the importance of staying fiscally responsible. He noted the need to fund environmental projects but steered away from approving new recurring programs.

Things are looking up for Florida’s 2022-2023 budget, says Jay Trumbull. Image via Colin Hackley.

Top House health care budget writer calls $118 million technology overhaul request a ‘little excessive’” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — The head of the Florida agency that oversees the state’s sprawling Medicaid program pressed Legislators to set aside nearly $118 million next year to complete a mammoth technological overhaul. Lawmakers have already appropriated more than $158 million over the past five budgets to replace the system responsible for billing and payment to the managed care companies, doctors and pharmacies providing health care to millions of Floridians enrolled in Medicaid.

Senator: Legislature needs to take a ‘hard look’ at Citizens Property Insurance Company in 2022” via Christine Jordan Sexton — Sen. Jim Boyd charged with oversight of the state’s insurance market said Tuesday he doesn’t expect lawmakers to push another round of legislative changes to the state’s property insurance market in the 2022 Legislative Session, but said there could be an appetite among members to pursue changes to how the state’s so-called insurance market of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Company, operates. “I believe we did good work. There may be a little bit that we could look at, but in general, I think the property bill was such that we’ll let it kinda marinate a bit,” Boyd said. Boyd’s remarks track those made by his counterpart in the Florida House of Representatives, Rep Nick DiCeglie, last week.

‘This is not good legislation’: Miami-Dade Commissioners blast Alex Rizo anti-police-harassment bill” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Today — In a scene evoking the courtroom comedy, “My Cousin Vinnie,” Miami-Dade Commissioner Keon Hardemon used a tape measure Tuesday to demonstrate the 30-foot distance from police Floridians would have to remain or risk arrest if a new bill moving through the Florida Legislature passes. Starting at the front of the dais, Hardemon moved back in six-foot increments, the longest the tape measure would go, until he was in the second row of audience seating in the Commission Chambers. The legislation in question is House Bill 11, which was the first bill filed for the 2022 Legislative Session. Its sponsor, Republican Rep. Rizo, filed an identical bill for consideration in the last Session. That bill died in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on April 30. Its refiled version is now in the same committee.


Florida ports can help USA’s holiday shipping backlog, Ron DeSantis says in Jacksonville” via Steve Patterson of The Florida Times-Union — “Our ports operate 24/7. … We’re here. We have capacity,” DeSantis said during a media event with port executives aiming to lure new customers as the holiday season closes in. “We want to be sure that Americans get the goods they need, particularly as we approach the Christmas season,” DeSantis said. The pitch could bring more work and jobs to a logistics industry that flourished during the disruptions of the pandemic. Jacksonville’s port handled a record-breaking 1.4 million cargo containers in the fiscal year that ended last month, but Jacksonville Port Authority CEO Eric Green said his people are offering special deals now to bring in more cargo.

Florida ports could save Christmas, Ron DeSantis suggests. Image via The Governor’s Office.

Florida officials and Tribe win Round 1 in legal fight over sports betting” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Tampa Bay Times — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe over the gaming compact signed in April this year, giving the state an early victory in what is the first of three legal battles for sports betting in Florida. U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor ruled Monday that West Flagler Associates, which owns Magic City Casino in Miami and Bonita Springs Poker Room, did not have the standing to sue the state because it could not show that the governor’s actions harmed the parimutuels. West Flagler Associates argued that the new compact not only hurts their business but also violates federal law.

Nikki Fried suspends insurrectionists’ concealed carry permits” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Fried suspended the concealed carry weapon permits of six Floridians Tuesday arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot. The announcement marks the second wave of suspensions against those arrested at the U.S. Capitol insurrection. In July, she suspended the licenses of 22 individuals. “When we announced the initial 22 suspensions earlier this summer, we made it clear that this would be an ongoing effort and that additional suspensions and revocations would be issued as additional charges were filed and sentences rendered,” Fried said in a statement. State law allows the suspension of licenses for individuals charged with felonies and other disqualifying offenses.

Two child welfare agencies exceeded Florida cap on executive salaries, says IG report” via Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald — Two privately-run, government-funded child welfare service organizations are being investigated for violating a state law on excessive executive compensation, the state’s chief inspector general told a House committee on Monday. Eckerd Youth Alternatives and Family Support Services of North Florida are under scrutiny for using extraordinary means to enhance their executive’s annual pay with state and federal funds, said Melinda Miguel, Florida chief inspector general, at a meeting of the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee.

Board of Governors wants $150 million to push three Florida universities up the national rankings” via Tristan Wood WUFT — The Florida Board of Governors, which oversees all public universities, is requesting an additional $150 million from the Legislature to fund efforts to improve three Florida universities’ national rankings. The request is part of the board’s $3.57 billion budget request for the next fiscal year already submitted to House lawmakers. The amount is $200 million more than last year, dispersed to the three universities through the board’s performance-based funding program or other budget changes. If approved, the University of Florida, Florida State University, and the University of South Florida would receive $50 million each.

Hearing in Frank Artiles case delayed two months, state says investigation is ‘ongoing’” via Samantha J. Gross of the Miami Herald — A circuit court judge on Tuesday delayed one of Miami’s most high-profile public corruption cases another 60 days after the state attorney’s office in Miami requested more time to gather reports requested by the defense. Lawyers for former state Sen. Artiles, who faces several felony charges for allegedly recruiting and paying an acquaintance to run in a state senate race, said they have been trying to take sworn depositions of law enforcement officers involved in the case but have not received “lead agent reports” from the state attorney’s office. Tim VanderGiesen, a public-corruption attorney in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, attributed the delay to “voluminous” discovery documents and an ongoing investigation into other aspects of the candidate scheme.

Jeffrey Feingold left a legacy on GOP politics, dental care reform” via Andrew Meacham of Florida Politics — Feingold, a zealous advocate and prolific Republican fundraiser who gave at least as generously as he asked others to give, died Oct. 7 of cancer. He was 75. In 1975, Feingold and his wife, Barbara, co-founded the Dentaland Organization. The practices were often located in underserved areas, including well off Interstate 95 surrounding Port St. Lucie, an area populated by farmworkers. Dentaland’s unique template brought multiple dental specialties into the same practice. In 1990, Feingold founded MCNA Dental Plans in Fort Lauderdale, originally to manage Medicaid benefits for state agencies. MCNA would serve Floridians through Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Its selling point to the state was its ability to treat more clients at a lower cost.

RIP: Jeffrey Feingold was a well-respected dentist, philanthropist, and GOP fundraiser.

Florida cable companies won’t air abortion ad bashing Disney, others” via Kirby Wilson of the Tampa Bay Times — A Democratic research and political advocacy group wants some of America’s most powerful companies to stop donating to Florida abortion opponents. But local television markets won’t air the group’s ad. Last week, American Bridge 21st Century planned to launch a six-figure ad blitz, the group wouldn’t specify the exact size, in three Florida media markets to call out AT&T, Disney, and NBCUniversal for donating money to anti-abortion politicians. The commercial accused the corporations of backing politicians who plan to pass an abortion law like Texas’ “heartbeat bill,” which bans nearly all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

Parents of brain-injured kids tell Florida: Thanks for reforms but we need more help” via Carol Marbin Miller and Daniel Chang of the Miami Herald — Florida parents steered into a controversial compensation program for children with severe brain injuries told state investigators they often were treated like “liars” and “fraudsters” from whom administrators needed “to protect themselves.” Administrators of the program “react to any request as if we are trying to commit fraud,” one parent told investigators. “It’s very disheartening to need something for your child, ask for that thing, and then be treated as if you’re a liar or worse for asking.”


Florida COVID-19 update: 2,122 more cases added to state tally” via Devoun Cetoute of the Miami Herald — Florida on Tuesday reported 2,122 more COVID-19 cases and one death to the CDC. In all, Florida has recorded at least 3,628,264 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 58,143 deaths since the pandemic began. In the past seven days, the state has added, on average, 120 deaths and 2,357 cases per day. About 12,660,652 eligible Floridians, 58.9% of the state’s population, had completed the two-dose series of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or have completed Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine.

DeSantis won’t say if he’ll get Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — DeSantis is not saying whether he will get a booster shot for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine he received in the spring, a spokesperson said. It’s also unknown whether he will hold any events at vaccination sites to promote the boosters. “As the governor has said, each person should be able to make his or her own informed choices,” DeSantis’ spokeswoman Christina Pushaw said. “Anyone who has questions or concerns about COVID-19 vaccination or booster shots should consult with a health care provider.” Asked if DeSantis would hold any new events to promote booster shots, Pushaw said she had nothing to preview at this time.

Will Ron DeSantis get a booster? He isn’t telling. Image via The Governor’s Office.

Florida kids still lead all ages in positivity as COVID-19 cases fall” via Ian Hodgson of the Tampa Bay Times — The delta variant wave of COVID-19 cases has significantly receded for all the state’s age groups. But a worrisome trend that started this summer continues into the fall: Florida children 11 and under remain the highest-risk and least-protected age group from infection. Case positivity for the youngest Floridians was 5.3%. That is down from the peak positivity rate of 23% on Aug. 19, but it’s still higher than the current positivity rate of any other age group. But the majority of every other age group has been vaccinated, while no vaccine has been approved for children 11 and under.

“‘Hundreds, if not thousands of lives saved’: Puerto Rico leads nation’s vaccination rates” via Syra Ortiz-Blanes of the Miami Herald — Puerto Rico has the highest percentage of fully vaccinated people against coronavirus in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a milestone celebrated by local officials, who hail the island’s vaccination campaign as a success. “This means hundreds, if not thousands of lives saved,” said Daniel Colón Ramos, president of the coalition of scientists that offers Gov. Pedro Pierluisi public policy recommendations on the pandemic. “There are people who are literally living their lives with normalcy who would not be here if it weren’t for these efforts.”

The other vaccine issue: Routine childhood shots post ‘alarming’ decline during pandemic” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel — Pediatricians are worried that pandemic disruptions and vaccine politicization could threaten progress made against measles, whooping cough and other illnesses once thought to be nearly eradicated, said Dr. Lisa Gwynn, president of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Gwynn said she’s been urging state lawmakers not to undermine vaccine mandates for school children that have been in place for years. “There is a segment of our population that is becoming very anti-vaccine,” she said. “It’s a whole new era for us as pediatricians.”

Judge rejects husband’s attempt to force hospital to use ivermectin to treat COVID-19” via Jane Musgrave of The Palm Beach Post — Chances that a grievously ill Loxahatchee woman will be given an unproven drug to battle COVID-19 appeared to dim on Tuesday when a judge, for a second time in three days, rejected a petition asking to order an area hospital to administer the medication. In a brief order, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge James Nutt asked that attorneys representing the husband of 47-year-old Tamara Drock and those for Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center try to resolve the dispute. The latest order, issued late Tuesday, came three days after Nutt ruled that attorneys for Drock’s husband didn’t use the correct legal procedure and asked them to amend their lawsuit.

Child-abuse charges dropped against Fort Lauderdale anti-mask protester” via Austen Erblat of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Charges have been dropped against anti-mask protester Dan Bauman, arrested in August after video showed him shoving a student at Fort Lauderdale High School. The victim — a minor, whose name was redacted from court documents — said she wished to press charges, but prosecutors said they lacked evidence of a crime. The confrontation was caught on cellphone video and police body worn camera. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department initially charged Bauman, 50, with aggravated child abuse, a first-degree felony, but downgraded it the following day to child abuse without great bodily harm, a third-degree felony.

Boynton employees will get $1,000 in December and another $1,000 in May for premium pandemic pay” via Jorge Milian of The Palm Beach Post — City of Boynton Beach employees, all 800 of them, including part-timers, have been approved to receive $1,000 checks just in time for the holiday season. City commissioners unanimously agreed on Oct. 5 to give each employee a total of $2,000 in “premium pay” for working during the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will be taken from the $13.6 million the city receives in American Rescue Plan Act funds. Employees will get an additional $1,000 in their first December paycheck, City Manager Lori LaVerriere said. A second $1,000 is scheduled to go out in May.

— 2022 —

Marco Rubio blasts Val Demings’ support for $3.5T infrastructure plan as ‘socialist spending spree’” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — In a new attack ad, Sen. Rubio‘s reelection campaign is blasting his most likely opponent, Rep. Demings, for her support of the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion clean energy and social services package. A “socialist spending spree,” a new Rubio campaign ad calls it, charging that Demings is thick with President Joe Biden and progressive Democrats’ leader Sen. Bernie Sanders. “Val Demings supports Bernie and Biden’s $3.5 trillion socialist spending spree,” declares the 30-second spot, “Val Demings’ $3,500,000,000,000 Liberal Wishlist.” The ad is the latest missive from the Rubio campaign, which has set its sights on Demings as the likely Democratic nominee to face him next November.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

—”Charlie Crist campaign spotlights support from 100 current and former elected officials” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics

Joe Gruters expects Florida GOP to pick up seats in Congress” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Gruters, a Sarasota Republican, said his Party can field solid candidates and pick up seats regardless of how the political landscape gets divvied. As state chair of the Florida GOP, he plans to recruit strong candidates to put on the ballot. As a state Senator, he wants a legally defensible map. “What I want is, I want them to follow the Constitution,” Gruters said. “I want them to get it right. I want there to be no question marks, and I am sure we have the leadership in place to make sure that happens.” The Florida Legislature redrew lines in 2012 but was found by the Florida Supreme Court three years later to have violated the just-passed Fair Districts amendment to Florida’s Constitution. That led to a re-redraw of Congressional and state Senate districts.

Omari Hardy and the consequences of being wrong” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — At a recent forum, Democratic congressional candidate Hardy said, “Look, I’m not perfect. I have a lot to learn.” Such self-awareness helps explain why this newspaper recommended Hardy in the Democratic primary in the 20th Congressional District on Nov. 2. Hardy proved he has a lot to learn by embracing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Hardy said his initial opposition to BDS was hastily considered and hypocritical. In this low-turnout election, Hardy’s rigid progressivism may cost him a career in Congress. The district is predominantly Black but has a sizable number of Jewish voters.

Facebook activates election alerts, anti-misinformation systems ahead of CD 20 special” via Florida Politics — Voters in Florida’s 20th Congressional District will decide who will replace the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings next month, and Facebook is working to ensure they turn up at the polls. The social media giant has a series of ongoing initiatives aimed at boosting election participation, including the use of Facebook News Feeds, notifications, and Election Day reminders to provide information from the Florida Division of Elections on how they can vote, check their registration status, or locate a polling place. The company has also deployed its Voting Information Center, a resource that more than 140 million people turned to for reliable information in the 2020 elections. It, too, helps voters find their state’s registration information, learn how to access a ballot while living abroad, and connect with opportunities to volunteer as poll workers.

Ted Deutch raises $136K in Q3, holds nearly $470K for reelection” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Democratic U.S. Rep. Deutch raised just over $136,000 in the third quarter of 2021, padding his war chest as he looks for another term representing Florida’s 22nd Congressional District. Deutch retains just over $468,000 as of Sept. 30 as he looks to fend off a challenge for the seat next November. SEIU, one of the nation’s largest unions, donated $5,000 to Deutch’s reelection bid during the third quarter. The Citizens Organized PAC and SoundExchange, which work on issues related to music rights, also each donated $5,000. That latter donation likely stems from Deutch’s support for the American Music Fairness Act, which would require large stations to pay royalties to artists when their songs are played. Deutch introduced the bill in June, but so far, the House has not heard the bill.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz collects $315K in 3Q, including two donations from Steven Spielberg” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Wasserman Schultz added more than $315,000 last quarter, giving her more than $885,000 in available cash to defend her seat in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. A win in next year’s midterms would secure Wasserman Schultz a 10th term in the House. The SEIU donated $5,000 to Wasserman Schultz during the third quarter. Influential lobbyist Ron Book maxed out his donations to Wasserman Schultz with a pair of $2,900 contributions, one for the Primary Election and one for the General. Wasserman Schultz also tapped into some Hollywood star power for her third quarter reports. Spielberg and his wife, actor Kate Capshaw each sent $5,800 to Wasserman Schultz’s reelection bid.

Republicans don’t want to talk about Donald Trump unless they’re on the campaign trail” via Igor Bobic of HuffPost — The split dynamic played out Tuesday on Capitol Hill, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who called Trump “practically and morally responsible” for the violent Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, gently urged his party to focus on the future rather than the past. But Sen. Rick Scott, one of the senators at McConnell’s side at Tuesday’s press conference, hasn’t exactly embraced that ethos. The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee has put Trump at the center of the party’s efforts to retake the Senate next year.

Six Jacksonville City Council members back Jessica Baker for HD 12 — Republican Jessica Baker piled on more endorsements in her bid to succeed Rep. Clay Yarborough in House District 12 next year. The new set includes Jacksonville City Council Vice President Terrance Freeman and Councilmembers Ron Salem, Aaron Bowman, Randy White, Rory Diamond and Kevin Carrico. “Jessica Baker is the conservative choice for our next state Representative. She has served our community with distinction as charter revision commissioner, a prosecutor and conservative leader. She will bring the right experience, energy, and integrity to her new role. We are proud to endorse her and look forward to continuing working with her,” they said in a campaign news release. The new backers join a long list of politicians who have endorsed Baker, running against former Rep. Lake Ray.

Happening today:


Pot legalization effort snags $250K from Trulieve — An attempt to get a marijuana legalization amendment on the 2022 ballot picked up a $250,000 check from the state’s most prominent medical marijuana company. As Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO Florida reported, Trulieve sent the money to the political committee Sensible Florida, which has struggled to raise enough money to mount a serious petition campaign. Committee chair Michael Minardi said the infusion would allow Sensible Florida to make a push in earnest. Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers said the company donated because it supports the legalization of homegrown cannabis. Minardi said the committee has about 20,000 signed petitions in hand, and he expects to have more than 250,000 by November. Proposed amendments need 891,559 verified petition signatures by Feb. 1 to make the ballot.

Sarasota County Commission considering redistricting map that would aid Christian Ziegler” via Anne Snabes of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Sarasota County commissioners are considering a new map that would drastically change the county’s commission district boundary lines and make it easier for Commissioner Ziegler‘s reelection. The Commission met on Tuesday to consider potential maps for county commissioners’ districts submitted by the public and one map prepared by the board’s consultant, and narrowed down the options to three maps. Commissioners will decide which map to adopt at a public hearing on Oct. 26. One of the common reasons that the commissioners used to reject some of the maps submitted by the public is that they would have meant one or more commissioners would no longer be living in their current district.

Manatee County set to redistrict for the first time in a decade” via Jesse Mendoza of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Manatee County is redistricting for the first time in a decade, and significant population growth out east will likely lead to changes in all county commissioner districts. County officials say the effort is mandatory, as Florida requires counties to redraw their districts’ borders after every decennial census to keep the number of residents living within each about even. In Manatee, districts one and five out east have grown fast during the last 10 years. Redistricting efforts in Manatee aim to even out the populations in response to that growth. Consultant John Guthrie has been hired to balance out population growth among districts and help the county navigate the controversy that can surround any redistricting effort.


Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine is highly effective against hospitalization for those 12 to 18, a study shows.” via Benjamin Mueller of The New York Times — The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 93% effective against hospitalization with COVID-19 among 12- to 18-year-olds, the CDC reported, the strongest evidence to date of the vaccine’s ability to keep young people out of the hospital. With federal regulators now considering authorizing the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, the study offered additional signs that extending vaccines to more young people could not only reduce the spread of the virus in the United States, but also protect those children from the rare cases in which they become severely ill. Nearly three-quarters of the COVID-19 patients in the study had at least one underlying health condition, including obesity, diabetes, asthma or respiratory disorders, putting them at higher risk of severe illness.

The Pfizer vaccine is particularly effective in keeping teens out of the hospital. Image via AP.

Businesses nervously await fine print of vax-or-test rule” via Zeke Miller and David Koenig of The Associated Press — More than six weeks after promising a new vaccination-or-testing rule covering the millions of Americans at companies with 100 or more workers, Biden’s most aggressive move yet to combat the COVID-19 pandemic is almost ready to see the light of day. An obscure White House office is expected to give the green light any day to the rule’s fine print detailing how and when companies will have to require their employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. The full enforcement deadline, which could carry penalties of about $14,000 per violation, may not take effect until after the new year.

Justice Steven Breyer turns away a request to block Maine’s vaccine mandate.” via Adam Liptak of The New York Times — Justice Breyer turned away a request from health care workers in Maine who had asked the Supreme Court to block a state vaccine mandate based on their religious objections while their legal challenge moved forward. Justice Breyer did not ask for a response to the workers’ application or refer it to the entire Supreme Court. He said the workers could return to the Supreme Court after the federal appeals court rules on their appeal or if that court does not issue a decision by Oct. 29. The Supreme Court had earlier rejected challenges to vaccination requirements at Indiana University and for personnel in New York City’s school system. Those rulings were also issued by just one justice, which can signify that the legal questions involved were not considered substantial.


‘People are hoarding’: Food shortages are the next supply-chain crunch” via Brendan Case, Leslie Patton and Kim Chipman of Bloomberg — In Denver, public-school children are facing shortages of milk. In Chicago, a local market is running short of canned goods and boxed items. But there’s plenty of food. There just isn’t always enough processing and transportation capacity to meet rising demand as the economy revs up. More than a year and a half after the coronavirus pandemic upended daily life, the supply of essential goods at U.S. grocery stores and restaurants are once again falling victim to intermittent shortages and delays. The shortages aren’t as acute as they were earlier in the pandemic. At supermarkets, on-shelf availability has stabilized since dropping drastically in November last year. Many food suppliers are planning for these hiccups and shortages to last.

What’s next in the supply chain crisis? Food shortages.

The economic rebound is still waiting for workers” via Ben Casselman of The New York Times — Fall was meant to mark the beginning of the end of the labor shortage that has held back the nation’s economic recovery. Expanded unemployment benefits were ending. Schools were reopening, freeing up many caregivers. Surely, economists and business owners reasoned, a flood of workers would follow. Instead, the labor force shrank in September. Five million fewer people are working than before the pandemic began, and 3 million fewer are even looking for work. The slow return of workers is causing headaches for the Biden administration, which was counting on a robust economic rebound to give momentum to its political agenda. Forecasters were blindsided mainly by the problem and didn’t know how long it would last.

Southwest drops plan to put unvaccinated staff on unpaid leave starting in December” via Leslie Josephs of CNBC — Southwest Airlines has scrapped a plan to put unvaccinated employees who have applied for but haven’t received a religious or medical exemption on unpaid leave as of a federal deadline in December. Southwest Airlines and American Airlines are among the carriers that are federal contractors and subject to a Biden administration requirement that their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8 unless they are exempt for medical or religious reasons. Rules for federal contractors are stricter than those expected from the Biden administration for large companies, which will allow for regular COVID-19 testing as an alternative to vaccination.


Natural immunity is good. Getting vaccinated after being sick with COVID-19 is better.” via Karen Weintraub of USA Today — Many people have caught COVID-19 over the past 20 months, despite their best efforts, or because they didn’t take enough precautions against the coronavirus. Data is just starting to emerge about how protected they may be against another infection. As with most illnesses, contracting COVID-19 provides immune “memory” that helps protect against future infection. But it’s still unclear how sick a person has to get with COVID-19 to develop enough immune memory to be protective and for how long. That’s why the CDC recommends even people who have had COVID-19 get vaccinated against it.

Natural immunity is good; vaccinations are better. Image via Johns Hopkins.

‘The rage would come out of nowhere’: Personality change has emerged as a symptom of long COVID-19” via Elizabeth Yuko of Rolling Stone — One July day in 2020, Julie Fallon, a second grade teacher from Massachusetts, found herself standing in a dumpster in her driveway, shaking and enraged. She doesn’t remember what had triggered her anger that summer afternoon, but recalls reaching for the nearest items and smashing them against the other contents. From the moment their initial symptoms set in, life for people with Long COVID-19 is one never-ending adjustment period. Personality change hasn’t yet become a topic of widespread discussion. It doesn’t help that “personality change” means different things to different people, ranging from a dramatic transformation to getting angry and frustrated more than usual.


With paid family leave at risk, advocates offer Joe Biden an alternative in spending debate” via Francesca Chambers of the Miami Herald — Faced with the possibility that a paid family and medical leave proposal could be cut from spending legislation, allies of the White House are trying to salvage it by offering a compromise that would initially give workers four or six weeks off. The plan that is under discussion would scale up over 10 years to the 12 weeks that Biden originally proposed, and advocates of the policy continue to support it. Workers would have as much as 85% of their wages replaced, just as they do in Biden’s proposal, if they take time off to care for a newborn, ailing family member, sick child, or their own severe or long-term illnesses.

Joe Biden’s call for paid family leave is up for negotiation. Image via AP.

White House has weighed tapping National Guard to address mounting supply chain backlog” via Jeff Stein of The Washington Post — White House officials have explored in recent weeks whether the National Guard could be deployed to help address the nation’s mounting supply chain backlog. The idea appears unlikely to proceed as of now. People involved in discussions stressed the White House has looked at the option as part of its due diligence in assessing all possible ways to address the backlog, which has slowed down imports and shipping all over the country. One person with knowledge of the matter said the White House has not considered activating the National Guard at a federal level but could instead work through states to deploy service members.

‘Let’s Go Brandon’ started as a Republican rally cry — now it’s topping iTunes charts” via Mike Stunson of the Miami Herald — An anti-Biden chant that turned into a meme among Republicans has now stemmed one of the hottest songs in the country. “Let’s Go Brandon” appears to have innocent intentions, but the phrase has turned ubiquitous in the conservative circle for their disdain of the president. Rapper Loza Alexander capitalized on the popular saying, and his recent song is taking over the iTunes charts. The chant started following a NASCAR race earlier this month when the crowd chanted “F— Joe Biden.” The reporter misheard the chants as “Let’s Go, Brandon,” and she told race winner Brandon Brown what she was hearing. As of Monday morning, the song “Let’s Go Brandon” was No. 2 on the iTunes Top Songs list and No. 1 on its Top Hip-Hop/Rap Songs list.


Congress is still trying to get Trumpworld to play by its rules” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — The House committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 must necessarily figure out how Donald Trump’s false insistences about the election being stolen spurred individuals and organizations to arrive in D.C. on that day and to eventually overrun the building. It must also consider the less clear question of how Trump or his allies might have been directly involved in the day’s events, scheduled and unscheduled. At the moment, the committee is preparing to hold former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon in contempt for failing to provide testimony following a subpoena. Members of the committee are presenting this as an act of unusual ferocity.

Getting Donald Trump to play by the rules proves difficult. Image via Reuters.

Donald Trump’s Pentagon chief quashed idea to send 250,000 troops to the border” via David E. Sanger, Michael D. Shear and Eric Schmitt of The New York Times — Trump’s defense secretary thought the idea was outrageous. In the spring of 2020, Mark Esper, the defense secretary, was alarmed to learn of an idea under discussion at a top military command and at the Department of Homeland Security to send as many as 250,000 troops, more than half the active U.S. Army, and a sixth of all American forces, to the southern border in what would have been the largest use of the military inside the United States since the Civil War. Officials said the idea was never presented formally to Trump for approval, but it was discussed in meetings at the White House.


Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Steve Bannon” via Rebecca Beitsch of The Hill — A criminal contempt report released by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol largely pushes back on Bannon’s claim that he can’t respond to a subpoena by the panel due to executive privilege. The trove of documents was released ahead of a scheduled vote for a criminal referral to the Department of Justice after Bannon failed to show for a scheduled deposition, laying out the multiple attempts made to seek his testimony. The report includes a letter from Bannon’s attorney, noting a threat from Trump to sue and a need to “honor his invocation of executive privilege.”

Congress is preparing a smackdown for Steve Bannon. Image via AP.

Jan. 6 panel votes to hold Bannon in contempt” via Mary Clare Jalonik and Farnoush Amiri of The Associated Press — A House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection voted unanimously to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress after the longtime Trump ally defied a subpoena for documents and testimony. Still defending his supporters who broke into the Capitol that day, Trump has aggressively tried to block the committee’s work by directing Bannon and others not to answer questions in the probe. Trump has also filed a lawsuit to try to prevent Congress from obtaining former White House documents. Committee Chair Bennie Thompson said Bannon “stands alone in his complete defiance of our subpoena” and the panel will not take no for an answer.


Democrats, facing a Republican barrage, scale back plans for a crackdown on tax cheating.” via Alan Rappeport and Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times — Senate Democrats, bowing to an aggressive lobbying campaign by the banking industry and pushback from Republicans, scaled back a Biden administration plan for the IRS to try to crack down on tax cheats. The new proposal, which would help pay for the expansive social policy and climate change bill that includes it, narrows the scope of information that banks would have to provide to the IRS about customer accounts. Under the revised plan, which is backed by the Biden administration, banks would be required to provide data on accounts only with total annual deposits or withdrawals worth more than $10,000.

The effort to crack down on tax cheating gets solid pushback.

Rick Scott suggests his dad would have been fired over vaccine mandate” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — “My adopted father was a truck driver. He’d be in high demand today,” Scott said. “But what does the Biden administration want to do? They want to say that he wouldn’t get to keep his job if he had any concerns about taking the vaccine. So, if he had any concern about taking the vaccine, he would lose his job.” Scott’s adopted father, Orba Scott, died in 2006, and it is unknown whether he would have harbored “concern about taking the vaccine.” However, the Senator’s feelings on vaccine mandates have been established and are very clear indeed, and Tuesday’s thoughts were consistent with a history of hot quotes on the subject.


Spared by bullets but not by PTSD, Parkland’s other victims will have no voice in shooter’s fate after guilty plea” via Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Nikolas Cruz is scheduled to walk into a courtroom Wednesday morning and plead guilty 34 times, half to account for the people he murdered on Feb. 14, 2018, the other half for the people who survived the physical wounds he inflicted. Unwounded survivors count themselves among the mass shooting victims, even if they are an afterthought omitted from the list of casualties. By pleading guilty, Cruz jumps ahead in the legal process to the second phase of his trial, the one in which a jury determines whether he deserves execution as punishment for the murders.

Nikolas Cruz’s guilty pleas are leaving traumatized survivors without a voice.

Why West Palm Beach and the Town of Palm Beach disagree over Lake O water levels” via Kimberly Miller of The Palm Beach Post — Final rules on how Lake Okeechobee will be managed for the coming decade are expected next month setting neighbors West Palm Beach and Palm Beach potentially at odds on drinking water supply. Town of Palm Beach Mayor Danielle Moore penned a letter this month to the Army Corps, finishing tweaks to its management plan before a Nov. 2 announcement, asking that Lake Okeechobee be kept at lower levels to reduce toxic algae blooms. The letter notes that algae-tainted Lake O water can make its way to the Lake Worth Lagoon and into the canals that feed tap water to West Palm Beach, which supplies water to Palm Beach and South Palm Beach.

County allows a change at Miami Seaquarium, but requires better animal care, inspections” via Adriana Brasileiro of the Miami Herald — Miami-Dade county commissioners on Tuesday approved the transfer of the Miami Seaquarium’s lease to Cancun-based The Dolphin Company after the agreement was amended to ensure better care for marine animals at the aging marine park. Commissioners unanimously voted to allow Festival Fun Parks, a subsidiary of Madrid-based Parques Reunidos, to sell the lease it has held since 2014 to The Dolphin Company, a marine park operator that owns 32 parks in eight countries. The county owns the Virginia Key land, where the Seaquarium has operated since 1954. Several companies have held the lease to run the marine park over the decades.

Ridiculously late: Florida Ethics Commission acts against Betsy VanderLey a year after election is over” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Last summer, in the throes of a heated campaign, the Orlando Sentinel revealed that then-Orange County Commissioner VanderLey had voted to steer about $100,000 in county money to an engineering firm that was also paying her money she hadn’t properly disclosed. Most people knew that smelled rotten. Still, a couple of residents filed formal complaints with the state’s Ethics Commission. Now the Commission has found probable cause that VanderLey violated Florida’s ethics laws. “We are now more than one year after VanderLey lost the election and the public has still yet to hear the truth about her political corruption,” said Chuck O’Neal, an environmental activist who filed one of the complaints.

Jacksonville committee examining police-community relations could be dissolved” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — Jacksonville City Council member Michael Boylan stepped down Monday from the Safer Together Committee, casting uncertainty about whether the Committee will continue in its work on finding ways to improve relations between the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the community. His departure leaves only City Council member Joyce Morgan on the Committee that has been meeting since December 2020. City Council President Sam Newby said there’s a “good possibility” he will close out the committee in the wake of Boylan’s resignation.

Michael Boylan’s departure could spell the end of a police/community relations committee.

Critics raging over plan for 14-story condo tower in historic Fort Lauderdale neighborhood” via Susannah Bryan of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A sleek 14-story condo tower could rise where a two-story 1960s apartment building now stands if a city planning board gives the all-clear Wednesday night. The new $60 million tower would be the tallest building in one of Fort Lauderdale’s oldest neighborhoods. And that has sent nearby residents into a frenzy. They argue a 77-unit tower is way too tall for the area, double the height of the nearby seven-story Chateau Mar condo. Critics also fear the city commission won’t get a chance to vote on the project. It’s slated to go before Fort Lauderdale’s Planning and Zoning Board on Wednesday night, but would be voted on by the Commission only if someone on the five-member board calls it up.

Need a room? Sarasota may soon allow residents to rent out part of their home for a few days” via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Sarasota residents may soon be able to rent out a room in their house for a few days under an ordinance the Sarasota City Commission is considering. The Commission voted Wednesday unanimously to direct the city attorney to prepare an ordinance that would allow these rentals, also known as hosted rentals, for periods of a week or less. These rentals are currently only permitted for stays of more than a week. In a hosted rental, the Sarasota resident rents out one or more rooms in their house while still occupying the home. These are different from vacation rentals, homes where the renter occupies the entire home, and the host does not stay there.

Guess who’s back? MedMen plans reopening of shuttered Tallahassee location” via TaMaryn Waters of the Tallahassee Democrat — MedMen is reopening its Tallahassee location on Thursday after quietly closing the doors last year. Located in the heart of Midtown, the medical marijuana dispensary first opened two years ago. It will reopen and operate in the same 4,000-square-foot storefront and bring MedMen’s growing number of retail locations to 28 stores nationwide. “We’re excited to be back in the Tallahassee market, especially as demand for high-quality cannabis products continues to grow across the state,” said Tracy McCourt, chief revenue officer for MedMen.


The coronavirus is still mutating. But will that matter? ‘We need to keep the respect for this virus.’” via Joel Achenbach, Ben Guarino and Aaron Steckelberg of The Washington Post — Officials in the United States hope the worst of the pandemic is over. But so much depends on the virus itself. It is not static. It mutates. Delta, the variant now causing virtually all infections in the United States, is more than twice as transmissible. There is no compelling evidence that any of the delta offspring evolved into new, more dangerous variants. The attention-grabbing sublineage in the United Kingdom has taken several months to reach 8% of new infections there, so although it may have an advantage, it is not spreading with the kind of explosive speed seen with the ancestral delta strain, noted William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.


With this lineup of conspiracy theorists, Halloween has never been scarier” via Chris Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — There is a Halloween event coming up, and it promises to be a hoot. Parents can dress the kiddies up as cute little Cyber Ninjas, watch them trick-or-treat, and then listen as Gen. Michael Flynn shines a flashlight in his face and reads a haunting rendition of Ichabod Biden and The Legend of the Rigged Election. You want scary? No kidding, for $50, you can actually go to a place appropriately called the Hollow in Venice and listen to some of the most outlandish conspiracy theorists imaginable for Halloween.

More evidence that Florida’s unemployment system needs a permanent fix” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — DeSantis acted responsibly by suspending collection proceedings against Floridians alleged to have been overpaid in jobless benefits. With the state’s unemployment system such a mess, this action will keep a broken bureaucracy from making even more mistakes. But Florida’s unemployment system needs a permanent fix that serves the jobless and taxpayers alike. DeSantis’ order acknowledges both the scale of the problem and the state’s culpability. Anyone’s guess is how the state can prosecute fraud without knowing how many innocents are caught in this bureaucratic maze.

No, he’s really not — Scot Peterson is innocent” via Mark Eiglarsh of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — I was reluctant to even meet with Peterson when I learned that he wanted me to defend him against his criminal charges. Everything changed for me only after I performed an extensive investigation that uncovered the truth: that Peterson was innocent. Peterson didn’t know where the shooter was during the shooting. It is a miscarriage of justice to falsely blame an honorable, decorated officer who zealously served his community for 32 years. It’s even worse to strip him of his liberty and subject him to a potential life sentence when, during the shooting, he did everything he could to help save lives.


At the Florida Capitol, Naples Republican Passidomo is tapped to become the state’s next Senate President.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— Florida could save Christmas, according to Gov. DeSantis.

— And there is a push to change Florida’s current law which restricts certain individuals from getting compensation after a wrongful conviction.

— Today’s Sunrise Interview is with Republican Rep. Traci Koster and Seth Miller, executive director of the Innocence Project of Florida. They will talk about their joint efforts to change Florida’s Exoneree Compensation Law.

— Also, with 900 manatee deaths so far this year, Fresh Take Florida Reporter Elise Elder joins us to talk about what the state plans to do about it.

To listen, click on the image below:

— ALOE —

Apple’s product design has improved since Jony Ive left” via Alex Webb of Bloomberg — The Apple of today would not exist without Ive. He was the creative leviathan behind the look of the iMac, iPod, iPad and, most significantly, the iPhone. Apple’s design-led approach to product development was considered pioneering. But there was often a tension between form and function: whether a device’s appearance took precedence over its ease of use. There was a sense that, without the moderating influence of the late Steve Jobs, perhaps Ive started to prioritize aesthetics a little too much. Headline features released five years ago under Ive’s aegis have been scrapped. Evans Hankey, who now heads the industrial design team, has overseen many other tweaks that indicate a change of philosophy.

Form & function: Apple’s functionality has improved since Jony Ive is out.

Google’s Pixel 6 bets on better cameras, homegrown chip” via Ina Fried of Axios — Google’s latest Pixel phones, announced Tuesday, pack a lot more than just a new processor, although the Tensor chip is a key to many of the new features. Google has been in the smartphone business for years, but with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, it is finally striking out in a unique direction. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro both pack the Tensor chip, Google’s first smartphone processor. The cameras are priced lower than much of the competition, $599 for the standard cellphone model and $899 for the Pro version. The camera advances come from both larger sensors as well as new computational photography features that allow for some pretty advanced tricks.

Disney Genie debut draws mixed reviews at Walt Disney World” via Katie Rice of the Orlando Sentinel — Disney World’s new planning service Genie left its metaphorical lamp and launched in the resort’s app Tuesday to a mixed reception as guests praised its concept, but scrutinized its price points and accessibility. While the base service is complimentary, its paid tier Genie+ allows guests to pay $15 per person per day for access to over 40 rides across Disney’s four parks. Guests can also pay extra to skip the line for the resort’s most in-demand attractions. Parkgoers have criticized Disney for the line-skipping service, called Lightning Lane, because it charges a premium for ride reservations that used to be free through the now-defunct FastPass+.

Best places nationwide to retire: Florida cities again dominate U.S. News’ list for 2021-22” via Tiffini Theisen of the Orlando Sentinel — Florida beach cities still rank among the best places to retire in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s new list for 2021-22. Eight Florida metro areas, including Daytona Beach and Melbourne, are among the Top 10 nationwide. Sarasota is on top for the second year in a row “due to increases in desirability, retiree tax and job market scores,” the magazine wrote. Naples is No. 2. No inland Central Florida metro areas cracked the Top 10 in the new rankings, but Orlando was ranked No. 18 in the nation, down two notches from last year.

Sarasota once again tops the list of best places to retire.

Duke Energy tops all utilities in investor transparency” via Florida Politics — Duke Energy is the top utility in the country regarding investor transparency, according to independent global communications firm Labrador. Labrador, an Atlanta-based firm specializing in corporate disclosure documents, reviewed the proxy statements, SEC Form 10-K filings, and website investor pages of every company in the S&P 250 companies, the nation’s 250 largest companies based on market capitalization. Duke Energy ranked No. 1 on the list for the utility sector based on the quality and completeness of its filings. The North Carolina-based energy company ranked No. 7 among all companies Labrador reviewed. “For the third consecutive year, Duke Energy scored among the Top 20 for overall corporate transparency,” Labrador said.

Why are Florida stone crab prices so high this season?” via Phillip Valys of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Days into stone crab season, seafood markets, wholesalers and restaurants are reeling from record-high prices and disappointing landings for Florida’s sweet delicacy of the sea. Crabbers and stores say lean traps caused by unusually warm waters in the Florida Keys and certain supply-chain costs are pinching stone crab supplies, sending prices as much as 25% higher on menus than at the start of the 2020 season. If there’s any good news, it’s this: Customer demand remains as strong as ever. This is the second year that the state has shortened the season to May 1. A new rule upped the minimum size for stone crab claws by a quarter-inch, which triggered higher prices for mediums.


Happy birthday to former First Lady Carole Crist, Dustin Daniels, and Bruce Denson.


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.

One comment

  • Alan

    October 20, 2021 at 4:31 am

    Can you add days till Famu Homecoming & Days till Florida Classic, asking for a friend in Washington DC

Comments are closed.


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