Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 5.3.22

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Good morning: Here's your first look at the issues behind today's Florida politics.

Happy Tuesday morning.

Breaking Overnight — “Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, draft opinion shows” via Mark Sherman and Zeke Miller of The Associated Press — A draft opinion suggests the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a POLITICO report. The document was labeled a “1st Draft” of the “Opinion of the Court” in a case challenging Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks, a case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The court is expected to rule on the case before its term ends in late June or early July. The draft opinion in effect states there is no constitutional right to abortion services and would allow individual states to more heavily regulate or outright ban the procedure. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” it states, referencing the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey that affirmed Roe’s finding of a constitutional right to abortion services but allowed states to place some constraints on the practice. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”


Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book launched a six-figure ad buy pitching her as a battle-proven leader against Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The first ad, entitled “Mom,” highlights Book’s 5-year-old twins, Kennedy and Hudson, who inspire Book to fight in defense of Democratic values such as strong public schools, access to affordable health care, good-paying jobs, and relief from the ongoing affordability crisis.

“This past year, I led Senate Democrats in our fight to protect women’s rights and address the affordability crisis that is causing so much pain for families,” says Leader Book in the 30-second ad. “I fought for immediate relief at the pump while the Governor played politics.”

The ad blitz comes as Book faces a Primary challenger in former Broward Commissioner Barbara Sharief, her sole opponent so far in Florida’s newly mapped Senate District 35.

On Monday, Book’s campaign announced a suite of endorsements from Broward County Commissioners Steve Geller, Jared Moskowitz and Nan Rich, and former Sen. Perry Thurston. Book’s campaign also recently added several high-profile staffers, including Christian Ulvert as General Consultant.

“As a working mom, Lauren Book knows what Florida families are up against,” Ulvert said in a news release announcing the ad buy.

“Since first elected to represent Western Broward County in 2016, Leader Book has successfully fought for two expansions to Medicaid to make sure new moms and babies get the care they need, she’s battling the affordability crisis for families and successfully fought for tax relief on diapers, and leading the charge for protections for children, women’s rights, and so much more. Lauren Book is a mom, she’s a leader, and she’s the fighter Broward needs in Tallahassee.”

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

—“Broward County Commissioners, Democratic leaders back Lauren Book for re-election” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics


Today is World Press Freedom Day, an annual UNESCO event to remind governments worldwide to respect their commitment to the free press and reinforce the values of freedom and professionalism among members of the media.

UNESCO marks World Press Freedom Day 2022 with a global conference in Punta Del Este, Uruguay. Under the theme “Journalism under Digital Siege,” the event will focus on the digital era’s impact on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, access to information and privacy.

The annual reminder that journalism is under siege.

You don’t have to be in Uruguay to participate — the conference will be streamed online, too. Press clubs will also hold events throughout the state and nation.

PEN America will host a conversation titled “Disinformation Without Borders” at 5:30 p.m., and the National Press Club will host a panel discussing several issues, including the state of journalism in countries in turmoil, such as Ukraine.

This week is National Travel & Tourism Week, and destinations across Florida are hosting various events and activities to spotlight the critical role that tourism will play in Florida’s economic growth in the coming years.

Congress created National Travel & Tourism Week in 1983 to elevate the economic power of travel in the U.S. This year, the 39th annual National Travel & Tourism Week arrives as the industry looks ahead to future growth and success following the challenges of the past two years.

According to Destination Florida, more than two-dozen events are in the works for cities in every corner of the state, ranging from a community cleanup event in Pensacola on May 5 to a Shrimp Festival in Amelia Island to a golf tournament in Miami.

If you happen to be in the capital city, the celebration extends into next week, when Visit Tallahassee and the Office of Economic Vitality will host a luncheon titled “Building a Stronger Economy Together.”


Tweet, tweet:

@Deggans: I find that when people say, “The Media,” often they mean cable TV news. And they’re not all that familiar with the specifics of what other media outlets have done or are doing.

@ChristinaPushaw: Today, NBC News admitted that articles by Teaganne Finn published over the past year contained plagiarized & misattributed passages. At least one such instance was in a report about Gov. DeSantis. FYI: Almost every news outlet does the same thing; where are the other apologies?

@CrowleyReport: While @GovRonDeSantis criticizes Disney for doing business with China … this nugget from Enterprise Florida Asia-Pacific Regional Office: “China remains Florida’s most important trading partner and export destination in the region.”

Tweet, tweet:

@JenStaletovich: At today’s brief hearing, a judge told @evergfoundation attorneys they improperly filed their request to hold @tjvl1066 in contempt of court on a motion calendar. Says they need an actual hearing with testimony and evidence to persuade him. Attorneys say they’ll refile …

Tweet, tweet:


‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 3; Florida TaxWatch’s Spring Meeting — 9; property insurance Special Session begins — 20; ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ starts on Disney+ — 23; ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ premieres — 24; ‘Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 30; California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota hold midterm Primaries — 35; ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ premieres — 38; Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’ premieres — 45; ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 66; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 79; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 98; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 110; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 122; 2022 Emmys — 132; ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 156; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 175; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 175; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 192; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 198; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 202; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 202; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 203; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 227; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 290; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 308; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 325; 2023 Session Sine Die — 367; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 367; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 395; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 451; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 535; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 696; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 815.


Disney’s clash with Florida has CEOs on alert” via Chip Cutter and Emily Glazer of The Wall Street Journal — The fallout from the recent political spat between Disney and Gov. DeSantis has alarmed leaders across the corporate sphere, according to executives and their advisers, and heightened the challenges for chief executive officers navigating charged topics. At many companies, vocal employees have in recent years pushed bosses to take public stands on social and political issues. Florida’s pushback against Disney has raised the stakes.

Does Ron DeSantis have CEOs running scared?

“The No. 1 concern CEOs have is, ‘When should I speak out on public issues?’” said Bill George, former chair and CEO of Medtronic and now a senior fellow at Harvard Business School. “As one CEO said to me, ‘I want to speak out on social issues, but I don’t want to get involved in politics.’ Which I said under my breath, ‘That’s not possible.’”

Some executives might be relieved. The old idea that CEOs should focus on shareholder returns and stay out of politics lingers in some corporate suites, even in a politicized age of public social-media discussions and more-activist workforces. Indeed, the consequences of weighing in appear to be changing.

—2022 —

Ron DeSantis says America ‘lost its mojo’ under Joe Biden” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — “It’s been a rough stretch over these last 15 months,” DeSantis said. “I think that people look at it and say that America has lost its mojo, and that’s unfortunate.” DeSantis offered the remarks at the Jacksonville Zoo after rolling out funding for projects to benefit Florida’s manatee population. “How do you fix the image? It’s sad, but we have a floundering President. There is no leadership right now. I mean, that’s just the reality. I wish that wasn’t the case,” DeSantis said. “But you have somebody who is clearly not capable of exercising the type of leadership on the world stage that is going to inspire confidence from our allies and is going to inspire fear from our adversaries.”

DeSantis says he ‘rejected’ invite to White House Correspondents’ Dinner” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO — DeSantis wants to make one thing clear: He was never going to “nerd prom.” DeSantis, who criticizes all things perceived to be part of the political establishment, predictably said his office “rejected” an invite to Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner. He said it was a “lie” for event organizers to in any way associate his name with the event. DeSantis’ name was included in the event’s program even though he was not in attendance, and Trevor Noah, who performed at the dinner, made it seem as if DeSantis was in the audience before a string of jokes focused on the Governor’s rivalry with former President Donald Trump.

To watch the routine, click on the image below:

Americans For Prosperity endorses DeSantis’ re-election” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — “Gov. DeSantis has been a champion for Floridians through difficult and challenging times, and he has succeeded with his economic freedom-oriented approach,” said AFP Action Senior Adviser Skylar Zander. “His support for policies — from reducing spending to expanding school choice — have caught the attention of people across the country who want to live in a state where the government respects and empowers its people.” Zander promised to direct a national network of support toward keeping DeSantis in office for a second term. “AFP Action volunteers across the state are ready to turn out to support his re-election,” he said.

R-Creepsville — “Jason Fischer launches CD 4 bid” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — Fischer is looking to move from the state House to the People’s House as he announced his intention to run for the Republican nomination in Florida’s newly redrawn 4th Congressional District. “Joe Biden and the Radical Left’s agenda is out of control,” Fischer said in a statement. “I am running for Congress to take back America from the woke mob. With rampant inflation, punishing gas prices, and chaos on our borders and overseas, Americans cannot afford the Democrats’ failed policies.” Fischer, a western Duval native, represents House District 16 in Southside Jacksonville. He recently removed himself from the race for Duval County Property Appraiser.

Republican Kevin McGovern shifts to CD 15 race” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — McGovern plans to enter the race for Florida’s 15th Congressional District after the state’s 2022 congressional maps are finalized. He was previously expected to run for Florida’s 7th Congressional District. McGovern served in the Navy for decades, starting his career in 1971. The newly announced candidate is running on conservative principles, highlighting recent social issues as part of his campaign platforms, including topics like critical race theory, school choice and border security. Retiring in Central Florida as a Navy Captain, he received an engineering degree from Purdue University and served his Navy commission in Pensacola.

Amid signs of Florida’s reddening hue, DNC announces ‘six-figure investment’” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — The Democratic National Committee is pouring some green into stanching the “red” tide from Miami-Dade County that propelled Trump to win Florida in 2020 by an even larger margin than when he won the presidency. Last week, DNC officials announced the investment described as “six figures” as new reports circulated that liberal grassroots organizations are scaling back operations in the state in favor of more competitive states. That could endanger the state’s position as a critical swing state and put Florida solidly in the red state column, observers say. “That would sort of be a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Aubrey Jewett, a UCF political professor. DNC officials say they are investing so the Florida Democratic Party can scale up organizing at the earliest point in the year, earlier than it’s started in a decade, ahead of a major election.

— MORE 2022 —

Operation Blackout launches five-figure ad buy to encourage voters of color to vote-by-mail” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Operation Blackout, a vote-by-mail mobilization project spearheaded by state Sen. Shevrin Jones, has launched a five-figure ad buy in non-urban communities across the state to encourage Floridians to cast their ballot. The May ad buy kicks off the organization’s new monthly ad buy campaign that will continue until Election Day. The organization expects the campaign to result in more than 40,000 vote-by-mail registrations from voters of color amid the state’s increasingly restrictive voting laws. Operation Blackout expects to top six figures in spending for digital vote-by-mail ads by the time of the state Primary Election.

Shevrin Jones launches a five-figure GOTV campaign.

Ileana Garcia: Denying abortions does a favor for human trafficking victims” via Issac Morgan of Florida Phoenix — A Florida Senate Republican has produced a novel explanation for refusing to include exemptions for rape, incest, and human trafficking in the state’s 15-week abortion ban: Pregnancy makes it harder for traffickers to exploit women. In other words, Sen. Garcia told voters on April 26 in Miami, those women no longer would be a “commodity” and would be more likely to gain freedom. Garcia said she based that conclusion on her experience working for the Department of Homeland Security, where she “worked a lot on the human trafficking stuff.”

Manny Diaz endorses Bryan Avila for SD 39 — Sen. Diaz on Monday endorsed Republican Rep. Avila’s campaign to succeed him in Senate District 39. The seat is open early because Diaz has opted to accept an appointment as Education Commissioner rather than run for another term in the Senate. “We have made tremendous progress for Florida’s students, and I am confident Bryan Avila will continue the fight for school choice, parents’ rights, and outcomes over indoctrination. I am proud to endorse Bryan because I know he will be a true champion for Northwest Miami Dade in the Florida Senate,” Diaz said. Avila thanked Diaz for the endorsement, saying he “has served our residents in Northwest Miami-Dade County with honor and integrity.”

Alexis Calatayud switches from House bid to newly drawn Miami-Dade Senate district” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Calatayud Monday switched her bid to succeed her former boss, Rep. Vance Aloupis, to a Senate race that involves a Primary fight. The self-described “lifelong Republican” will be up against Vicki Lopez in Senate District 38 for the right to face first-time candidate Janelle Perez in the General Election. The newly drawn district encompasses coastal Miami-Dade, parts of Coral Gables, Homestead and Miami, and the entirety of Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay. Less than an hour after filing for her Senate run, Calatayud had earned endorsements from Senate President Wilton Simpson, Senate President-Designate Kathleen Passidomo, and Sen. Ben Albritton.

Susan Plasencia draws Paul Renner endorsement in HD 37 contest” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Plasencia has received the endorsement of House Speaker-designate Renner for her run in House District 37 in Orange and Seminole counties. Renner’s blessing also brings Plasencia the backing of the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee (FHRCC), which Renner chairs. “Susan Plasencia is a strong conservative, mother, and business owner who will fight for families in Tallahassee,” Renner said in a news release issued by the FHRCC. “As a champion for the men, women, and children of central Florida, Susan will stand up for the principles Floridians value.” In that district, which covers parts of northeastern Orange and southeastern Seminole counties, Plasencia hopes for a match with three-term Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith.

Happening tonight:


DeSantis: $30 million of state budget will go toward saving manatees” via Tobie Nell Perkins of WTSP — A sizable chunk of the Florida state budget will go toward programs that work toward saving manatees, DeSantis announced at a news conference at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens Monday. The Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens is known for its Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation program, which takes in injured manatees and releases them. Since 2017, the program has released 30 manatees. DeSantis says that the money will go toward expanding the state’s network of acute care facilities for injured manatees like the ones the Jacksonville Zoo treats, supporting access to waters, supporting habitats, and supporting pilot projects.

Lawmakers suspect DeSantis wants to take control of Disney World’s government” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel — Central Florida lawmakers suspect DeSantis will replace Disney World’s special government district with a new one that he would control. DeSantis hasn’t released a plan for the future of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which is set to be dissolved on June 1, 2023. State Sen. Linda Stewart said one scenario could involve a new state-run district with board members appointed by the governor. “The governor will establish a new district, that’s our latest word, … controlled by the Governor with appointments by the Governor,” she said. “Therefore, the debt will be paid, if this were the case, by the state of Florida for over a billion dollars.”

Orlando-area lawmakers are suspicious of Ron DeSantis’ motives in the Disney kerfuffle.

Panhandle special district retains Lewis Longman & Walker — The legislation that dissolved a special district controlled by Disney also impacted a handful of other special districts, one of which is hiring lobbyists to undo its abolishment. Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida reported that the Eastpoint Water & Sewer District hired the team at Lewis, Longman, & Walker to help it convince the Governor and lawmakers to reverse its dissolution. The Franklin County-based district offers water and sewer service to about 2,000 people in the coastal area of the county. It has a budget of around $1 million a year. If the district is abolished, the county would absorb the costs and be responsible for providing the services.

Get better — “Anna Eskamani tests positive for COVID-19” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — State Rep. Eskamani announced she tested positive for COVID-19. “I tested positive for COVID-19, my first time, and though I felt super crummy last night, my fever is now gone, and I’ll be back to normal soon,” the Orlando Democrat tweeted. “Thank goodness for vaccines. I’m lucky because I have the privilege of working from home, so (I) won’t lose income. Not the case for many Americans.” She used the diagnosis as an opportunity to encourage more people to get free COVID-19 vaccines — and remember the pandemic is ongoing.


DeSantis backs Elon Musk’s Twitter vision; won’t advocate for new Florida nest” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Jimmy Patronis was very vocal in calling billionaire entrepreneur, and new Twitter owner, Musk to come home to roost in the Sunshine State. DeSantis does not share Patronis’ enthusiasm. At times, Patronis has used his office to suggest that events or corporations, including other companies owned by Musk, relocate to the “free state of Florida.” Despite Patronis’ latest effort, suggesting Musk move Twitter to Florida, DeSantis told reporters Monday that he isn’t advocating for Twitter to build a new Florida nest. Shortly after becoming a 9.1% shareholder of Twitter last month, Musk floated the idea of converting Twitter HQ in San Francisco into a homeless shelter.

Florida’s welcome mat is not quite rolled out for Elon Musk and Twitter.

Florida adds 26,574 COVID-19 cases in past week, positivity rates rise” via Ian Hodgson of the Tampa Bay Times — COVID-19 is making a steady comeback in the Sunshine State. Florida’s weekly infections have increased for six weeks straight, and the positivity rate surpassed 10% for the first time since February. Still, infections spread more slowly than during the omicron wave last winter. Traditional testing methods are missing a lot of infections. A study released last week found that nearly 60% of Americans had been infected with COVID-19 in the past two years. That’s nearly double the number of infections detected by health authorities.

Happening today — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meets to debate final approval of round-the-clock alligator hunting, 8:30 a.m., Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, 1714 S.W. 34th St., Gainesville.


Kat Cammack vies for Republican Study Committee Chair — U.S. Rep. Cammack is competing against U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma to become the next Chair of the Republican Study Committee. The position is opening next term due to the current chair, U.S. Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, hitting term limits. In a recent interview, Cammack said she would approach the position to help GOP members of Congress more effectively communicate with their constituents by providing them ways to “talk about difficult votes in a way that makes sense back home.” She says her strategy differs from Hern’s in that he is more policy-focused.

Kat Cammack is in a dead heat for the Republican Study Committee chair.

Assignment editorsCharlie Crist will join Pinellas County elected officials, law enforcement officers, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority leadership, and students and staff of the USF College of Marine Science for a tour of Crist’s Community Project Funding secured for Pinellas in FY 2022: 9 a.m., Clearwater and LEO/First Responder Funding news conference, Old City Hall, 112 S Osceola Ave., Clearwater; 9:30 a.m., PSTA electric bus departs from Clearwater; 10:15 a.m., USF College of Marine Science tour, Knight Oceanographic Research Center, Dean’s Conference Room, 3rd Floor, 830 1st St. SE, St. Petersburg.


Leon superintendent weighs property tax ballot measure to raise salaries for veteran teachers” via Ana Goñi-Lessan of the Tallahassee Democrat — Superintendent Rocky Hanna is considering bringing to the school board the idea of a special half-millage property tax proposal, which could generate almost $10 million per year to fund veteran teacher salaries. If the idea makes its way to the ballot and voters approve, Leon County residents would pay a new yearly property tax of $50 per $100,000 in taxable property value. “While the governor’s initiative to raise base teacher pay is encouraging, it’s also stacked veteran teachers on top of beginning teachers, which has been a huge morale issue this year,” said Hanna, who has been grilled on teachers’ salaries at a series of recent meetings.

Weekend of violence leaves seven dead, raises total to 50 homicides this year in Jacksonville” via Dan Scanlan of the Florida Times-Union — This year’s homicide milestone comes two days earlier than it did last year when Jacksonville hit the 50th of 128 deaths on May 3 and includes seven over the weekend, according to Times-Union records. The timing isn’t a record, just a bit earlier or later than in years past. Records showed in 2020, the city surged to an alarming 178 homicides, with the 50th reported on April 8. In 2019, it came on April 27, with the year ending with 161 homicides. In 2018 the 50th of 130 total homicides didn’t happen until June 5. And 2017 ended with 140 deaths, that year’s 50th homicide recorded on May 13. For much of 2022, the city stayed behind last year’s pace. But last weekend alone quickly changed that trend.


Pinellas County Commissioners are wasting tax dollars on a frivolous lawsuit” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — The Pinellas County Commission voted last week to challenge a new elections law provision requiring the county to put all Commission seats on the November ballot. According to Commissioner Pat Gerard and three others who voted in favor of the lawsuit, the rationale is that the clause cuts their terms and “was put in for one person.” She’s referring to Rep. Chris Latvala, who has confirmed he would run for a seat on the Commission this cycle. While Gerard may have a point, the Commission’s action is nothing short of quixotic. Putting every seat on the ballot after redrawn districts is not a novel idea. Multiple County Commissions do so. So does the Florida Senate. And they do so without complaining that their terms may be cut short.

Is Pat Gerard on a quixotic quest?


Laurie Rich Levinson won’t seek re-election, as School Board rapidly changes” via Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Levinson announced Monday she won’t seek re-election to her seat on the Broward School Board, becoming the third longtime member to call it quits this year. Levinson, currently the School Board chair, has been on the School Board since 2010. “My passion has always been public education,” she said on Monday. “I will always remain passionate about it, but I believe 12 years is enough time to serve on the board and have decided to move on.” Levinson, the daughter of Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich, wouldn’t say her plans but said she wouldn’t be running for another elected office.

Laurie Rich Levinson says 12 is more than enough.

Brightline, FDOT seek federal funds for $45 million plan to reduce railway fatalities” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Brightline and the Florida Department of Transportation are asking for federal dollars to cover part of a $45 million effort to boost safety around the company’s intercity trains. The Miami-headquartered company and FDOT are committing $10 million each to the “Florida East Corridor Trespassing and Intrusion Mitigation Project” for safety enhancements at crossings and along its rail line in seven Florida counties. To complete the work, which encompasses hundreds of projects, the company and agency seek a $25 million federal grant. The Palm Beach Post reported Friday on the plan and the funding request from the federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program.

Brian Flores’ racial discrimination lawsuit has first pretrial conference; lawyer pushes back on arbitration” via Daniel Oyefusi of the Miami Herald — Former Dolphins coach Flores’ racial discrimination lawsuit had its first pretrial conference in a New York court Monday, where Flores’ lawyers continued to push back against the NFL’s attempt to move the case to arbitration. Attorney Douglas Wigdor called such a move “unconscionable” because league commissioner Roger Goodell would be the arbitrator in that situation. Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, representing the NFL, told Judge Valerie E. Caproni that the league believes all claims in the lawsuit must be moved to arbitration according to the terms of employment agreements.


Biden administration’s appeal of judge’s mask-mandate smackdown is just a power grab” via Ed Pozzuoli of the Miami Herald — Passengers cheered, jubilant flight attendants frolicked down aisles collecting cloth coverings in trash bags, and America breathed a sigh of relief when Florida-based U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle struck down the CDC’s mask mandate for air travel. Meanwhile, at the CDC, Lord and Ruler Anthony Fauci found it “disturbing” that a federal court would overrule a judgment of the CDC. He insisted that the judiciary had no authority to decide a public health matter such as this, and it was the CDC’s opinion on mask mandates that should rule the land. Purportedly based on CDC’s “assessment” that the mandate “remains necessary to protect the public health,” Biden’s Justice Department appealed the order.


President Biden, it’s time to cancel student debt” via Ro Khanna for The Washington Post — When I was younger, I took out more than $100,000 in student loans to pay for higher education. After graduation, I struggled to make monthly payments and had to take a year forbearance, digging myself deeper into debt. Biden has the authority to do this with the stroke of a pen for borrowers struggling to make ends meet. The more forgiveness, the better. Canceling student loan debt for working- and middle-class Americans is the right thing to do. No one should be prevented from pursuing higher education because they can’t afford the financial burden it poses.

This is how America’s culture war death spirals” via Derek Thompson of The Atlantic — I don’t think we can see what’s really happening here until we identify the cultural narratives simmering below the surface. The past decade has seen a total collapse of institutional trust on the right. A majority of Republicans say they disapprove not only of colleges but also of big companies, the entire entertainment industry, and tech firms. Right-wing antipathy to just about every American establishment that doesn’t employ cops, priests, or soldiers is real and growing. That’s how you wind up with DeSantis, a pro-business conservative, beating up on Disney, the largest business in his state. He is acting out the anti-institutional impulses of his base. If Republicans have reasons to feel paranoid about liberal companies stomping on their values, Democrats certainly have reasons to feel paranoid about conservative lawmakers flirting with authoritarianism as revenge.

The turkeys of toxic masculinity strut their stuff” via Dana Milbank of The Washington Post — A lot of men have been acting like turkeys these days, with Sen. Josh Hawley hailing “manly virtues” such as aggression, and Fox News’s Tucker Carlson encouraging men to shine red lasers on their gonads to boost testosterone. Now, turkeys themselves are succumbing to toxic masculinity. Democrats need a consistent national message for the midterm election, sounding the alarm about the threat. Even the abortion rights movement has seemed distracted by semantics, such as replacing the phrase “a woman’s right to choose” with “a person’s right to choose.” Instead of playing into the talons of the opposition, let’s make sure every voter knows what these toxic turkeys are up to as they shrug off sexual assault and push for a nationwide abortion ban.

— ALOE —

Airbnb’s COVID-19 refund policy is ending” via Hannah Sampson of The Washington Post — Airbnb guests who cancel their reservation because of a coronavirus infection will no longer be eligible for a refund. The short-term rental company announced the move, which goes into effect May 31, in a blog post that explained updates to its “extenuating circumstances” policy. Under that policy, guests who contracted the virus were allowed to cancel and get a refund, and hosts could cancel reservations without a penalty. After May 31, circumstances related to COVID-19, including a guest or a host getting infected, will no longer be covered. Airbnb said in the blog post that the time was right to make the change because of a “new way of living” since the pandemic began.

Florida-based Tropicana introducing cereal specifically made for orange juice” via NBC 6 — Just in time for National Orange Juice Day on Wednesday, May 4, Bradenton, Florida-based Tropicana is introducing a new breakfast product that may make some people cheer and others raise an eyebrow. Saying it will create an “unforgettable breakfast experience,” the company is introducing Tropicana Crunch, a honey almond breakfast cereal specifically made, so that orange juice is used instead of milk. “Some call it weird. Some call it breakfast. We … didn’t even know it was a thing,” the company said in a release on their website. The cereal box features a smiling orange holding a spoon and orange juice being poured into a bowl of almond cereal. Each box also comes with a paper straw.

How about this ‘unforgettable experience?’

South Florida brewery throwing Beer for Bombs benefit for Ukrainian brewery now making Molotov cocktails” via Phillip Valys of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Two months after his Ukrainian brewery stopped making beer and started making Molotov cocktails, Taras Maselko heard air raid sirens outside his office in Lviv. He had just enough time to race into the street and halfway to the bomb shelter when a missile blasted out the windows of an auto garage 1 kilometer away. He dropped to the ground, uninjured but in shock. Two more missiles exploded nearby. The garage was engulfed in flames; his hands trembled for hours afterward. Officials later told him that Russia’s airstrikes had killed seven civilians, including a child, injuring 11 more.

Too bad Republicans can’t go — “Star Wars virtual reality experience comes to Disney Springs” via Ashley Carter of Spectrum News — Star Wars fans will be able to explore the world of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in a whole new way with a limited-time virtual reality experience at Disney Springs. A free preview of the Meta Quest VR Experience featuring ILMxLAB’s Star Wars: Tales from Galaxy’s Edge will be held starting Monday through July 21 from noon to 10 p.m. in the building previously occupied by The NBA Experience. The VR experience will allow fans to try out Quest 2 headsets while exploring Batuu in 360-degree views. They can step inside Seezelslak’s Cantina, venture into the wilds of Batuu, play the chromarimba or face off against the Gavin Death Gang.


Celebrating today is our friend Donovan Brown, Samantha Ferrin, William Lewis, former Rep. Ritch Workman, and the great Tom Scherberger.


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, 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

  • Noemifer Lopez

    May 3, 2022 at 11:04 am

    Florida is a disaster. Come 2024 primaries, Noem is going to feast on the heavily marbled flesh of DeSantis and use Abbott’s legs as toothpicks. Noem2024evr

Comments are closed.


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.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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