Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 5.4.22

Sunburn Orange Tally (4)
Florida politics and Sunburn — perfect together.

Good Wednesday morning.

Breaking overnight — “J.D. Vance’s come-from-behind victory shows the power of Donald Trump’s endorsement” via Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times — Vance, the author-turned-venture capitalist, parlayed an endorsement from Trump into victory Tuesday in the race for the Republican nomination for an Ohio Senate seat, beating a crowded field of conservatives vying to carry the former President’s banner into the November election. Vance’s come-from-behind victory in the race for the seat of the retiring Sen. Rob Portman was a testament to the power Trump still holds with the Republican voting base in Ohio, a state that voted for Trump twice. On the Democratic side, CNN projects Rep. Tim Ryan will win the Democratic primary for Senate in Ohio.


We suppose we knew what would happen to Roe v. Wade after Republicans stacked the U.S. Supreme Court with justices like Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett. It was just a matter of when.

Thanks to a bombshell story from POLITICO, we have a reasonable idea that D-Day will come by the end of June or early July. The website published a leaked draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito. It flatly stated, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start” and added, “it must be overturned.”

Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the document.

The opinion, supported by four other justices, is enough to overturn nearly a half-century of what Kavanaugh described in his confirmation hearings as “settled precedent.

The SCOTUS Roe v. Wade leak shakes Florida, and the country, to its core. Image via Reuters.

That will further empower lawmakers in Florida and other red states to outlaw abortion. Desperate women — and let’s not forget teenagers — will die because of this. They’ll opt for some dangerous back-alley remedy.

Or we’ll have terrified women unprepared for the responsibility of parenthood. To pro-birth (not pro-life) supporters of this decision, which won’t matter.

What we see here is Republican-backed social engineering. Do it their way, or don’t do it at all. The Party stands for freedom as long it’s their brand of freedom. That became clear during the recent Legislative Session. Florida Republicans pushed through a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Sen. Kelli Stargel of Lakeland sponsored the bill, which makes no exception for rape, human trafficking, or incest.

We wish Florida lawmakers cared as much about disadvantaged children after they’re born. Right now, though, they’re too busy telling everyone to live.

We know women who have had abortions, and it’s a deeply personal and painful decision. Men, particularly, can’t understand what that is like. They didn’t terminate the pregnancy because having a baby would be inconvenient. Instead, they were up against an impossible choice.

Soon, they will have no choice. Conservative judges will have made it for them.

And many people who recoiled against mask and vaccine mandates during a pandemic will cheer. Those things saved lives too, but whatever.

We suppose it’s a matter of whose body you’re controlling, right guys?

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court apparently is about to turn control of women’s bodies over to Republican-dominated lawmakers who believe they know best.

Yes, this case won’t be “settled as precedent” until the opinion is published in two months or so. But does anyone believe anything will change?

Dupes, like Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, expressed horror that she got played by Kavanaugh and Gorsuch.

“If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office,” Collins said in a statement. “Obviously, we won’t know each Justice’s decision and reasoning until the Supreme Court officially announces its opinion in this case.”

Oh, my goodness!

Try explaining that to all the women in your state.

Or, closer to home, explain to Florida women how they will care for a child when they can barely care for themselves. Try not to smugly smile when you do.


@JoeBiden: I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental. Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned. We will be ready when any ruling is issued.

@McJesse: We let the guy from The Apprentice handpick a third of the Supreme Court.

@SCOTUSblog: It’s impossible to overstate the earthquake this will cause inside the Court, in terms of the destruction of trust among the Justices and staff. This leak is the gravest, most unforgivable sin.

@LeaderMcConnell: Last night’s stunning breach was an attack on the independence of the Supreme Court. By every indication, this was yet another escalation in the radical left’s ongoing campaign to bully and intimidate federal judges and substitute mob rule for the rule of law.

@HeerJeet: It’s extremely telling that in the culmination of a 50-year effort to overturn Roe, very few in GOP are doing a victory lap and instead are trying to make this about the leak (so they continue to play the victim despite getting everything they wanted).

@WalshFreedom: Republicans focusing on the leak. Democrats focusing on the ruling. Pretty damn telling.

@JaredEMoskowitz: Justices lied in their hearings. They lied to Senators. They are destroying women’s rights and reversing settled law. But hey, Hillary’s emails.

@Jbsgreenberg: Worth noting: If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, women in 13 states will be forced to give birth. Meanwhile, there’s no paid maternity leave or universal health care.

@ChristinaPushaw: Wild to see the mainstream media that attacked COVID treatments for 2 years suddenly start promoting “anarchist DIY medicine collectives”

@EricMGarica: Given how many people have abortions, millions of men likely know a woman who has had an abortion but don’t know they had an abortion, right?

@CyndiBrillhart: My daughter no longer wants to go to school in Florida. She was thinking about out-of-state, but that is evolving into out of country.

@VinceEvans: Is Brown v. Board of Education settled law in America?


‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 2; Florida TaxWatch’s Spring Meeting — 8; property insurance Special Session begins — 19; ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ starts on Disney+ — 22; ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ premieres — 23; ‘Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 29; California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota hold midterm Primaries — 34; ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ premieres — 37; Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’ premieres — 44; ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 65; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 78; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 97; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 109; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 121; 2022 Emmys — 131; ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 155; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 174; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 174; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 191; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 197; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 201; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 201; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 202; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 226; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 288; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 306; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 324; 2023 Session Sine Die — 366; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 366; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 394; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 450; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 534; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 695; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 814.


—“The original Roe v. Wade decision also was leaked to the press” via James D. Robenalt of The Washington Post

Joe Biden says ‘radical’ Supreme Court decision on abortion endangers gay marriage” via Christian Datoc of the Washington Examiner — President Biden told reporters Tuesday that the leaked Supreme Court opinion on overturning Roe v. Wade could pave the way for decisions undermining various other policies, including same-sex marriage. Earlier in the day, Biden vowed to oppose the ruling whenever it is handed down, called for voters to elect “pro-choice” lawmakers, and asked Congress to pass legislation codifying Roe, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide. “It concerns me a great deal that we’re going to, after 50 years, decide that a woman doesn’t have the right to choose,” Biden told reporters on his way to a visit to the Lockheed Martin facility in Troy, Alabama. “If this decision holds, it’s really quite a radical decision.”

Joe Biden blasts the ‘radical’ SCOTUS for looking to end Roe v. Wade.

Republicans rage about breach of draft Roe opinion” via Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio of POLITICO — Few Republican lawmakers Tuesday were celebrating a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade. Instead, they were angrily demanding answers to how the document became public in the first place. GOP leaders trained their fire on the breach of Supreme Court protocol that led to POLITICO’s publication of the draft opinion by the court’s conservative majority, with only a handful of Republicans cheering the substance of the document itself even though the GOP has long opposed Roe.

Majority of Americans say Supreme Court should uphold Roe, Post-ABC poll finds” via Emily Guskin and Scott Clement of The Washington Post — A majority of Americans say the Supreme Court should uphold Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established a constitutional right to abortion, a poll finds. With the Supreme Court poised to overturn the right to abortion, the survey finds that 54% of Americans think the 1973 Roe decision should be upheld while 28% believe it should be overturned, a roughly 2-to-1 margin. The Supreme Court is considering a Mississippi law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks. Such a restriction seemed forbidden by Roe and a subsequent decision that states could not place an undue burden on the right to abortion before fetal viability.

What an America without Roe would look like” via Claire Cain Miller and Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times — The United States without Roe would look very different for different people. For women in Democratic states and women elsewhere who have the means to travel to a clinic, abortion would still be accessible. For poor women in many Republican states, traveling to other states for in-clinic abortions could be prohibitively challenging. Without Roe, the number of legal abortions in the country would fall by at least 13%. That result would culminate a decadeslong effort by the anti-abortion movement.

Most Florida voters oppose abortion bans, polls show” via Langston Taylor of the Tampa Bay Times — In several recent statewide surveys, the majority of people polled believed abortions should generally be legal and said they opposed potential bans. The news came just weeks after Ron DeSantis signed into law a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. After the state House of Representatives passed that bill in February, 57% of a sample of registered voters told pollsters with the University of North Florida that they opposed it, while 34% supported it. Opposition was slightly higher when pollsters noted the law included no exceptions for rape or incest.

Florida’s constitution protects abortion access — for now” via Kathryn Varn and John Kennedy of the Tallahassee Democrat — Abortion rights supporters in Florida may have one powerful tool to fight back against any future law banning abortion: the state’s decades-old privacy amendment to the state constitution. But the increasingly conservative Florida Supreme Court, and DeSantis‘ power to appoint a new justice to fill a pending retirement, could jeopardize the amendment’s application to abortion access guaranteed by Roe v. Wade. The state constitution guarantees a right to privacy, and this standard was cited by Florida Supreme Court justices more than three decades ago to overturn a state law requiring parental consent for abortion. “We can conceive of few more personal or private decisions concerning one’s body that one can make in the course of a lifetime,” reads the 1989 ruling.

Ron DeSantis says he’ll let Florida courts sort out abortion access” via The Washington Post — DeSantis said Tuesday that he would let his state’s courts sort out abortion access while waiting for a final Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade. DeSantis touted a law he signed last month that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks, with no exceptions for rape, incest or human trafficking. He did, however, acknowledge that legal challenges await that law, which is supposed to take effect July 1. The Florida Constitution protects abortion under state privacy laws, and abortion is currently legal in the state until the 24th week of pregnancy.

Democratic Caucus concerned about full Florida abortion ban after leaked SCOTUS opinion” via Tristan Wood of Florida Politics — Members of the House Democratic Caucus called the U.S. Supreme Court’s likely overturn of Roe v. Wade an attack on women’s rights and signaled their concern that the Florida Legislature may pursue a full abortion ban during a Tuesday news conference. Rep. Anna Eskamani said she and the other members of the Caucus were not surprised by the content of the leaked draft and assumed the court would go that way after watching the questions conservative justices asked during the Dec. 1 full arguments. She said it follows a clear, consistent, national effort by the Republican Party to curtail abortion rights.

—“Will Florida Republicans ban abortion? Here’s what we know.” via Kirby Wilson of the Tampa Bay Times

DeSantis calls SCOTUS abortion leak a ‘judicial insurrection’” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — DeSantis on Tuesday decried the Supreme Court leak as a “judicial insurrection” intended to “kneecap” the High Court’s conservative majority, marking the Republican Governor’s first comment on the report since its late-night release. DeSantis’ remarks came hours after POLITICO reported a draft Supreme Court opinion threatening to overturn Roe v. Wade. The majority opinion, written by Justice Alito, endangers the landmark 1973 case and carries a host of implications. It also marks the first Supreme Court leak in recent history. DeSantis lambasted the leak to reporters in Fort Myers as an “unprecedented” and politically motivated “attack.”

Ron DeSantis calls the SCOTUS leak an ‘insurrection.’

Debbie Wasserman Schultz vows to fight overturn of abortion rights ‘until my last breath’” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Wasserman Schultz vowed to fight for “these sacred rights” until her last breath Tuesday morning after a leaked report that is now confirmed showed a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that would roll back abortion rights to 1973 in some states. Wasserman Schultz, representing Florida’s 25th Congressional District for nine terms, particularly called out the alleged author of the draft opinion, Justice Alito. Her office released a clip from 2006 that showed her testifying at Alito’s hearing about the danger he could present to women’s rights. “It is sickening that prediction has apparently come true.”

Kat Cammack praises likely Roe ruling, condemns leak” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Fighting abortions has long been a central part of U.S. Rep. Cammack’s personal story. On Tuesday, she took a moment to herald the apparent likelihood the Supreme Court will soon overturn Roe v. Wade. “As a Co-Chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus and someone with a very personal pro-life story myself, I will always stand for life and proudly defend this most fundamental right afforded to us in the United States,” Cammack said. “I continue to pray for the resolve of our Justices and will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to stand for the precious right to life. Early in her candidacy last year for a then-open congressional seat, she shared that story in a campaign video titled “That’s Why.”

Demonstrators gathered at Supreme court lament, and celebrate, leaked draft” via Linda Qiu and Sarahbeth Maney of The New York Times — Scores of protesters took to the steps in front of the Supreme Court hours after the draft opinion overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision leaked. Armed with megaphones, signs, buttons and at least one letterpress for speedy poster production, groups supporting and opposing abortion rights demonstrated and occasionally confronted one another in front of the barricaded court. “I was surprised at the nature of the decision, but I wasn’t surprised at the content. I think that what we’re seeing is 50 years of religious overreach by the Catholic bishops into American government, in the Supreme Court, in Congress, and last night, we just happened to see it in the Supreme Court,” said Ashley Wilson, 32, the communications director for Catholics for Choice.

Barack and Michelle Obama call for protests over Roe v. Wade: Overturning puts women at mercy of ‘politicians and ideologues’” via Kipp Jones of Mediaite — Former President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama called for protests Tuesday. “Today, millions of Americans woke up fearing that their essential freedoms under the Constitution were at risk,” the couple wrote. The statement added women do not approach the decision to get an abortion lightly. The order, as written and leaked, “forces folks to give up any constitutionally recognized interest in what happens to their body once they get pregnant,” the couple argued.

The Obamas call for protesting the loss of reproductive rights.

—“Anti-abortion activist scales 60-floor San Francisco Salesforce Tower” via KTVU

—“Central Florida doctors, abortion advocates outraged, say Roe v. Wade overturn would be deadly” via Kate Santich, Caroline Catherman and Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel

—”Abortion advocates organize ‘Save Roe’ protest at Sarasota courthouse” via Samantha Choler of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

—“‘It’s surreal’: Tampa Bay grapples with likely overturn of Roe v. Wade” via Lauren Peace of the Tampa Bay Times


A decision to overturn Roe v. Wade would upend the midterms” via Dan Balz, Colby Itkowitz and Caroline Kitchener of The Washington Post — “The right wants to take this to a place — and I think this will be a problem for the right — to a very dark place that I don’t think Americans are prepared for,” said Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg. “A strong defense of life is a vote winner,” said Kristi Hamrick, chief media and policy strategist for Students for Life, one of the largest anti-abortion groups. “It energizes people.” The dueling assessments about the impact on the November elections come with substantial caveats. Democrats’ claims that attacks on the right to legal abortion would galvanize their base have never been put to a full test.

Roe v. Wade abortion case takes center stage on Capitol Hill, campaign trail” via Lindsay Wise and Siobhan Hughes of The Wall Street Journal — Democratic Senators heavily criticized the ruling and seized on the news to rally voters. They said they would again mount a long shot effort to pass a federal law codifying Roe v. Wade, even if such a vote would serve only to put lawmakers on the record closer to the election, after a previous effort failed and drew no Republican support. In the midterm elections, Democrats are defending slender control of the Senate and House and face weak poll numbers both for Biden and the Party. Some political analysts have said a ruling striking down or restricting abortion rights could motivate Democratic turnout, just as the Party is grappling with high inflation that has sapped voter support.

Democrats are infuriated by the alleged SCOTUS abortion decision. Image via WSJ.

Democrats hope draft abortion opinion will jolt midterm elections” via Sarah Ferris and Marianne Levine of POLITICO — Democrats privately predicted that the potential decision by its five-conservative majority to repeal the landmark abortion-rights ruling would energize their base and drive-up turnout in November. The Party’s Governors, Senators and House members took to social media and the airwaves with reactions that ranged from pleas to codify Roe to emotional personal stories.

Democrats raise more than $7 million in hours after leak of draft Supreme Court abortion opinion” via Brian Schwartz of CNBC News — Democrats and their affiliated outside groups have raised more than $7 million since a report first unveiled a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn the historic Roe v. Wade ruling and allow states to restrict abortions. The donation website ActBlue, which allows donors to contribute online to Democratic campaigns, political action committees and outside groups that often support the party’s policy goals, processed the gargantuan sum since Politico published the draft opinion Monday.

‘That should scare the sh*t out of you’: Nikki Fried holds rally to oppose Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade” via Daniel Figueroa of Florida Politics — A rally was organized by Fried‘s gubernatorial campaign with Fried saying she vehemently agreed that the time for niceness has passed. “We never thought this day was coming. So, what do we do with it?” Fried said, “We stand up. We make sure that we are standing on shoulders of the women that came before us and we are fighting for the next generation of women to make sure they have access to affordable reproductive health care.”

Assignment editors — Fried continues her Freedom to Choose Tour, to discuss the leaked Supreme Court opinion which overturns Roe v. Wade, 2:30 p.m., Cafe in the Park, 2010 Adams Lane, Sarasota.

‘We can’t play nice’: Annette Taddeo shades opponents’ record, demands tough action on Roe v. Wade threat” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Sen. Taddeo said she was “shocked” by a newly leaked Supreme Court draft opinion indicating that the future of women’s reproductive rights is at its most tenuous point since the ratification of Roe v. Wade almost 50 years ago. She was “terrified,” she said, for millions of women across the country, particularly women of color, who disproportionately have fewer options for seeking out-of-state care. On Tuesday in Miami, flanked by two former elected officials and a fellow current state lawmaker facing an outspokenly anti-abortion opponent, Taddeo appeared hyper-focused by the outrage she expressed.

—”Charlie Crist slams leaked Supreme Court opinion threatening abortion rights” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Daniel Uhlfelder: I wouldn’t prosecute abortions” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Uhlfelder declared Tuesday that if he’s elected, he would not investigate or prosecute anyone for receiving or providing abortions. Uhlfelder vowed he would not enforce an abortion ban in Florida. “Let me be clear: As Florida Attorney General, I will never investigate nor prosecute someone for getting or providing an abortion,” Uhlfelder said in a statement. “I will use the power of my office to refuse to enforce any abortion ban. That is what I owe the people who elect me — to be on their side, not on the side of far-right, fringe extremists.”

—”Aramis Ayala says she’ll follow law, Constitution, on abortion” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Jared Moskowitz calls for bypassing filibuster to pass law protecting abortion rights” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — A leaked report that appears to foretell the end of the country’s constitutionally protected right to abortion has Moskowitz firing off a call to codify reproductive rights into law immediately. Moskowitz, a Broward County Commissioner seeking to represent residents of Broward and Palm Beach counties in Congress, distributed a release Tuesday morning calling for the filibuster to be bypassed so that Congress could guarantee abortion rights. His release had strong words about the legitimacy of the current Supreme Court majority. “We cannot allow these rights to be trampled by Republicans’ stolen Supreme Court majority they achieved by changing the rules and refusing to confirm Merrick Garland,” Moskowitz said.

— 2022 —

#FirstOnFlaPolFederal court won’t hear Florida redistricting map challenge in time for midterms” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — There won’t be a federal trial on Florida’s congressional map before the midterms. A federal judge canceled a trial set to begin May 12 after plaintiffs argued to change the argument brought before the court. While the case file remains open, taking the redistricting trial off the calendar means there’s no way courts will replace Florida’s congressional map ahead of the 2022 elections. Common Cause of Florida, Fair Districts Now, and other plaintiffs initially sued the state, contending DeSantis and the Florida Legislature would not agree on a congressional map in time for the midterms.

One year in, Crist stresses high stakes for abortion in race to unseat DeSantis” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — The stakes in Florida’s gubernatorial election have only risen in the last 365 days, Rep. Crist will argue on the anniversary of his gubernatorial campaign. In his prepared remarks, to be delivered Wednesday during an 11 a.m. event in Tampa, Crist will stress the need to defeat DeSantis, considering POLITICO’s report that the U.S. Supreme Court could eliminate women’s right to abortions. Crist’s speech will plainly put the Democratic hopeful’s stance on abortion, which has confounded political observers for decades, even as recently as last month.

New ad touts Gus Bilirakis as ‘conservative champion’ — U.S. Rep. Bilirakis’ campaign released a new ad claiming the longtime Republican Congressman is “fighting the Biden-(Nancy) Pelosi reckless spending that is raising prices on families, seniors and our veterans” and is working to “strengthen our border to stop the flood of illegals and drugs.” The ad, titled “Florida Values,” also notes that Bilirakis has received an endorsement from Trump. Bilirakis was first elected to Congress in 2006 and is running for another term in the new CD 12, which includes the Pasco constituency he represents in the current CD 12 but removes portions of northern Pinellas County.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Eric Lynn secures three endorsements from Pinellas County elected officials — Democrat Lynn received endorsements from St. Pete Beach Commissioner Christopher Graus, Redington Shores Commissioner Jennie Blackburn and Gulfport Commissioner Paul Ray in his bid for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. “I am honored to have the endorsement of Chris Graus, Jennie Blackburn, and Paul Ray,” said Lynn. “In their respective roles, they have fought and delivered for their Pinellas communities, and I look forward to fighting for our shared Pinellas values in Washington. Our democracy, our institutions, and more are on the ballot in 2022. We need common-sense leadership with a proven ability to deliver results in Washington. I am proud to be that candidate and grateful for their trust in my vision.”

Senate Democrats endorse Jason Pizzo for re-election — Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, Senate Democratic Leader Pro Tempore Bobby Powell and Sens. Loranne Ausley, Randolph Bracy, Janet Cruz, Shevrin Jones, Rosalind Osgood, Tina Polsky, Darryl Rouson, Linda Stewart and Victor Torres on Tuesday endorsed Sen. Pizzo for another term. “I am truly humbled to receive the overwhelming support of my colleagues. I am honored to be part of a Caucus that fights for our Democratic values and stands strong against the overreaches and extremism that are trying to take hold of our state,” Pizzo said. “Together, I know we can fight for reproductive rights, voting rights, LGBTQ+ rights, while we advance meaningful solutions to our affordability crisis in Florida.”

‘They don’t use her anymore’: Ileana García says denying abortions helps sex trafficking victims” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Florida’s new law banning abortions after 15 weeks is good for victims of human trafficking who get pregnant after being raped, according to Sen. García, because their captors won’t want to sell them for sex anymore. Last month, DeSantis signed legislation barring abortion after 15 weeks (HB 5) with no exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking victims. That should be a welcome change for people forced into sex work, said García. García said that saving sex trafficking victims by forcing them to carry unwanted pregnancies to term was why she and other GOP lawmakers kept the bill’s language so strict.

Ileana Garcia sees a silver lining for human trafficking victims.

Police union backs Jessica Baker for HD 17 — The Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Assistant State Attorney Baker for House District 17. “We admire her dedication to the hardworking families and businesses of District 17 and know that she will continue to be a beacon of inspiration for the men and women in law enforcement because Jessica understands that safe community lends to a prosperous and safe future,” Lodge 5-30 FOP President Randy Reeves said of the Jacksonville Republican. Baker is the front-runner in the Republican district with more than $450,000 on hand between her campaign and political committee heading into April. Her Primary opponent, Jordan Wells, has reported no fundraising through four months as an active candidate.


DeSantis announces $20M in resiliency grants” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — DeSantis on Tuesday announced $20 million in resiliency grants and signaled support for record budget investments in the environment. At a stop at Lover’s Key in Lee County, DeSantis announced funding support for 98 approved projects, just the first in a major investment by the state in disaster preparedness and mitigation efforts for environmental challenges. “We’re excited about these planning grants, which are really an important part of what we’re doing,” DeSantis said. On the same day of the funding announcement, DeSantis announced the state had opened its online portal for new applications for future appropriations.

Ron DeSantis cuts another big check for resiliency.

DeSantis signs bill formalizing rising seas agency three years after creating top officer” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — More than three years after establishing Florida’s Chief Resilience Officer by executive order, DeSantis has signed legislation codifying that position into state statute. The measure (HB 7053) will form a Statewide Office of Resiliency within the Governor’s Office and place the Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) as the head of the office. When the proposal takes effect in July, it will formalize portions of DeSantis’ 2019 executive order on the environment. Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera filed the bill, backed by House Speaker Chris Sprowls. Sen. Jason Brodeur ushered it through the Senate. During his first week in office, DeSantis signed the executive order, which established the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection within the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

DeSantis signs bill cracking down on evidence tampering” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — A raft of 10 bills received and signed Tuesday by DeSantis includes a measure that would impose harsher penalties for people tampering with evidence in violent felony cases. HB 287, carried by Rep. Sam Garrison in the House and Sen. Jennifer Bradley in the Senate as SB 796, will make tampering with or fabricating evidence a second-degree felony if done in a criminal trial, proceeding, or investigation relating to capital felonies. The measure will take effect on Oct. 1. This legislation could bring a meaningful change to criminal investigations in capital felony cases.

DeSantis hints constitutional carry could be 2022 flashpoint” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — DeSantis hinted constitutional carry could be a potential battleground for the midterms, saying people will be eyeing the issue during the upcoming election cycle. DeSantis on Tuesday reiterated his support for constitutional carry legislation, which would remove the need for Floridians to acquire a permit to carry an open or concealed firearm. Florida would join roughly two dozen other states, including Texas and Alabama, if he makes good on the promise. DeSantis’s comments come after he vowed on Friday to sign permitless carry legislation eventually. But first, the Legislature has to pass a constitutional carry bill. “I’ve said for years I would sign,” DeSantis said Tuesday.

Personnel note: JMI promotes Logan Padgett to VP of Communications, Public Affairs — The James Madison Institute announced Wednesday that it is promoting Padgett to Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs. Padgett has worked as JMI’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs since 2016. In her new role, Padgett will continue to advance the priorities of JMI across all regions of the state, engage with policymakers and stakeholders, and help export Florida policy to other states. “As JMI grows and expands our presence both in Florida and beyond, Logan’s contributions to the entire organization cannot be overstated. She’s been pivotal in our development over the past five years, and we would not be where we are without her,” JMI President and CEO Bob McClure said in a news release.


Halifax Health announced Tuesday that it has promoted Joni Hunt to Vice President of Government Relations.

Hunt has worked as the health system’s Director of Local Government and Community Relations since 2018, representing its interests at the federal, state and local levels.

She has also been involved in boosting Halifax Health’s community engagement efforts by starting the company’s “Live Your Life Well” luncheons, which serve as a forum for Halifax Health speakers to share information on the services it provides with a wide audience.

Congratulations to Joni Hunt on her new gig at Halifax Health.

Hunt, who was honored as an “Influential Woman in Business” by the Daytona Beach News-Journal in 2015, also heads up Halifax Health Associates, a group of community leaders charged with sharing the information with the community about the work and services available through Halifax Health.

In an email announcing the promotion, Halifax Health President and CEO Jeff Feasel lauded Hunt for her work disseminating timely information on vaccines and other COVID-19 matters to the local business community.

“We are fortunate to have Joni representing Halifax Health in our community and spreading the good work of our team members every day,” he said.


Florida sues DuPont, other companies over toxic firefighting foam” via Zachary T. Sampson of the Tampa Bay Times — Florida is suing the makers of certain firefighting foams, accusing them of polluting the environment and potentially sickening people with chemicals. Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office filed suit in mid-April in Hillsborough circuit court. The state’s lawyers accuse several businesses of using materials that could put people at risk of cancer and other illnesses. The substances are commonly called “forever chemicals.” The Attorney General’s Office said the companies did not warn customers or the public about the danger.

Florida CIO says state has history of ‘doing state tech worst’” via Benjamin Freed of StateScoop — During a panel discussion with three of his counterparts Monday at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers midyear conference, Florida CIO James Grant offered withering criticisms of the legacy he inherited nearly two years ago when he became the state’s top tech official. “We have a history of doing state tech worse than anyone else,” Grant said at the conference in National Harbor, Maryland. “There’s no history of success — just failures.” Grant, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives, was named in August 2020 to lead the then-new Florida Digital Service, created by legislation that Grant himself shepherded.

James Grant laments the state’s poor track record on tech.

Property insurance and climate change and population growth, oh my: Florida hurricane seasons are getting worse” via Daniel Figueroa of Florida Politics — Early studies are out, and meteorologists agree. Florida is gearing up for another year of above-average tropical activity. In fact, hyperactive hurricane seasons are becoming the new norm. Since 2016, every season has seen above-normal activity. “We do update our definition of what is defined as average. It’s based on a shifting, 30-year mean,” said Allison Wing, a professor at Florida State University and climate and hurricane expert. Hurricane season is becoming increasingly difficult for Floridians. Climate change has warmed the Atlantic, fueling the prevalence of more powerful storms.


Former President Bill Clinton lunches with Biden at the White House” via Michael Sherer of The Washington Post — Former President Clinton had lunch with Biden at the White House Monday, days after the two crossed paths at the funeral of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. “The President is hosting former President Clinton for lunch this afternoon. He’s looking forward to catching up and discussing a range of issues,” a White House official said after requesting anonymity to discuss the President’s private schedule.

Joe Biden and Bill Clinton catch up on old times. Image via AP.

A Supreme Court in disarray after an extraordinary breach” via Adam Liptak of The New York Times — Who benefits? Not the Supreme Court as an institution. Its reputation was in decline even before the extraordinary breach of its norms of confidentiality, with much of the nation persuaded that it is little different from the political branches of the government. The internal disarray the leak suggests, wholly at odds with the decorum prized by Chief Justice John Roberts, was a blow to the legitimacy of the court. Relations among the justices, too, on the evidence of questioning at arguments and statements in opinions, have turned fraught and frosty. “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked when the challenge to Roe was argued in December, as it became clear that five justices could be ready to overrule the decision.

Kamala Harris on GOP’s anti-abortion push: ‘How dare they’” via Eugene Daniels Myah Ward of POLITICO — Vice President Harris on Tuesday delivered the Biden administration’s most forceful defense of reproductive rights since POLITICO reported on a draft majority opinion showing the Supreme Court has voted to strike down Roe v. Wade. “Some Republican leaders are trying to weaponize the use of the law against women. How dare they? How dare they tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body?” said Harris. Harris had been scheduled to speak at the gala before news emerged of the court’s draft ruling.

Mitch McConnell closes in on Roe after years of pushing the courts rightward” via Burgess Everett of POLITICO — The Supreme Court’s draft majority opinion striking down Roe v. Wade couldn’t have happened without McConnell. There’s a direct line from the Senate minority leader’s decision to hold a high court vacancy open in 2016 to the potential demise of Roe six years later. At Tuesday’s private Republican Party lunch, he told his members to concentrate on the breach of the draft opinion in their responses, particularly if they felt uncomfortable with addressing the substance of Justice Alito’s document.

How Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski got the Trump justices’ Roe positions wrong” via Aaron Blake of The Washington Post — Sen. Collins voted for two of Trump’s three nominees to the Supreme Court. And in doing so, the Republican repeatedly offered assurances that she believed the picks would not overturn Roe. v. Wade. Collins later voted against Trump’s third nominee, Barrett. But her fellow abortion-rights-supporting, Sen. Murkowski, echoed the assurances: “I don’t see her overturning the decision in Roe v. Wade.” In each case, the Senators cited the justices’ previous comments on, and commitment to, precedent. And in each case, those assurances have now proved rather fanciful.

CDC restates recommendation for masks on planes, trains” via Mike Stobbe of The Associated Press — U.S. health officials on Tuesday restated their recommendation that Americans wear masks on planes, trains and buses, despite a court ruling last month that struck down a national mask mandate on public transportation. Americans aged 2 and older should wear well-fitting masks while on public transit, including in airports and train stations, the CDC recommended, citing the current spread of coronavirus and projections of future COVID-19 trends. For months, the Transportation Security Administration enforced a requirement that passengers and workers wear masks.

Masks are back on again.

Immigrants to get extension for expiring or expired U.S. work permits” via Michelle Hackman of The Wall Street Journal — Most immigrants with recently expired or soon-to-expire work permits will be able to continue working on those documents for up to a year and a half after they expire under a new policy announced by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Tuesday. The policy, which will take effect beginning Wednesday, is meant to address the unprecedented backlog of 1.5 million work-permit applications at the nation’s legal immigration agency, leaving tens of thousands unable to work legally and exacerbating labor shortages. The change will immediately help about 87,000 immigrants whose work authorization has lapsed or is set to in the next 30 days.

Assignment editors — Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy joins Seminole State College President Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz to present the College’s Center for Public Safety with $475,000 in new federal funding to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for students training to become first responders and health care professionals, 10 a.m., Sanford/Lake Mary Campus’s Center for Public Safety, 355 1st Rd, Lake Mary. RSVP to [email protected] or (202) 657-7020 (mobile).


Slight majority say Trump should be charged with crime over Jan. 6 role, poll finds” via Jacqueline Alemany and Scott Clement of The Washington Post — Sixteen months after the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, a slight majority of Americans say Trump should be charged with a crime for urging his supporters to march to the building on Jan. 6, 2021. The poll finds 52% saying Trump should be charged and 42% saying he should not. Opinions are similar to a Post-ABC poll taken one week after the attack when 54% said Trump should be charged for inciting the attack and 43% opposed charges. The new survey also shows that majorities of Republicans and Democrats want party leaders to follow Trump and Biden, respectively. Trump is on stronger footing inside his Party than Biden, but both face sizable percentages who say they want to go in a different direction.

Slightly more than half of Americans want Donald Trump to face jail time.

With midterm primaries underway, Trump retains majority GOP support” via Sofi Sinozich of ABC News — Six in 10 Republicans back Trump as their Party’s leader, slightly more than the share of Democrats who line up behind Biden’s leadership of their party, a sign of Trump’s lasting strength in his party as the midterm primary season revs up. Nearly a year and a half after he left the presidency, Trump’s influence is extensive, albeit not monolithic: 60% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say the GOP should follow his leadership, while 34% prefer a new direction.


Jacksonville sued for Council’s alleged racially gerrymandered redistricting” via Andrew Pantazi of The Tributary — The Jacksonville Branch of the NAACP, the Northside Coalition, the ACLU of Florida Northeast Chapter and Florida Rising, along with 10 Jacksonville voters, asked the court to invalidate seven of the city’s 14 council districts and three of Duval County’s seven School Board seats. The city automatically draws each School Board seat by combining two City Council seats. “Through these district maps, the Jacksonville City Council has attempted to strip us of our right to have our votes matter equally,” said Isaiah Rumlin, president of the Jacksonville NAACP, in a statement. “This represents an assault on one of our most fundamental rights since it determines how our communities will be treated by the city. We must prevent these maps from going into effect so that we can continue advocating for our communities.”

Duval, neighboring counties getting new area code to join ‘904’” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — A new area code is coming to the area covered by Jacksonville’s well-known 904. With phone numbers within the 904 area expected to be exhausted by around September 2024, something needed to happen. The old way of geographically splitting areas resulted in creating the 352 and 850 area codes. However, overlays have become more popular in the last 20 years, and that’s what the Public Service Commission (PSC) decided to do here. “Staff has reviewed and analyzed the viable options — staff’s primary recommendation is (an) approval of the industry’s recommendation, which is an all services distributed overlay,” said PSC public utility analyst Sakina Deas at the Commission’s meeting Tuesday morning.

Leon Co. Schools Superintendent considering property tax increase for veteran teacher salaries” via Tristan Wood of Florida Politics — Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna said Monday that he is considering pursuing a half-millage property tax proposal that would raise close to $10 million annually to fund veteran teacher raises in his district. While the Legislature and DeSantis have backed increased funding for teacher salaries, most of the increases have gone to new hires due to the 80-20 rule that places 80% of the money for increased pay to new teachers, leaving experienced teachers making close to the same as new educators. Florida ranks 48th nationally in overall teacher pay, but 16th in teacher starting salary. The disparity comes amid spiking teacher vacancies across the state. Leon Classroom Teachers Association’s President Scott Mazur said the discrepancy had frustrated teachers.

Rocky Hanna seeks a tax bump to boost veteran teachers’ salaries.

Starbucks workers in Tallahassee win union election; first site in Florida to secure victory” via Christopher Cann of the Tallahassee Democrat — A Tallahassee Starbucks location has become the first in the state to unionize after workers secured a victory in a 16-to-1 vote Tuesday afternoon. The win comes more than three months after the location, at 2264-1 N. Monroe St., announced its plan to organize and became the catalyst for two other capital city locations to follow suit. “I can’t believe this is real,” said Calum Johnson, a 25-year-old barista and union committee member who was one of under a dozen workers who watched the ballot count from a bar in downtown Tallahassee. If no objections are submitted, the union will be certified.

Tallahassee Chamber denies involvement with 4TLH” via Tristan Wood of Florida Politics — The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce’s leadership has denied involvement with a local business-aligned media site that has emerged ahead of the 2022 election cycle. 4TLH is angling itself as a pro-private sector and opposed to the “left-wing extremists” in Leon County. Chamber President Sue Dick sent an email to Chamber members Tuesday afternoon denying Chamber involvement with 4TLH in response to a Florida Politics story. During their annual conference last year, Chamber leadership said they would “cultivate candidates” and “support our allies with resources to drive our community” forward after they publicly sparred with Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow after he boycotted the conference.


Department of Justice investigates Tampa police’s crime-free housing program” via Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times — The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating a controversial Tampa Police Department program in which officers alerted landlords when their tenants were arrested and urged they be evicted. The Justice Department informed the city of the investigation in a letter sent on Dec. 21 to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. The investigation is focused on whether the Crime-Free Multi-Housing program violated the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing based on race and other protected categories.

At Orlando airport, the political stench is back” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Three years ago, the Orlando airport was the center of controversy when a group of gubernatorial appointees tried to mount a coup, oust the longtime airport attorney, and bring in new lawyers in a no-bid, unadvertised deal. Yet a new batch of gubernatorial appointees voted to keep the one remaining coup holdover, developer Carson Good, as chair of the airport’s board. Basically, when given the choice between a fresh start and old stench, they opted for the stench again.

The old political stench has returned.

UCF reportedly negotiating to exit AAC for as much as $20 million” via Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel — UCF is reportedly negotiating a $17 million-$20 million settlement with the American Athletic Conference to clear a path to the Knights joining the Big 12 Conference in 2023. Cincinnati, Houston and UCF have been in negotiations with the AAC for months after all three accepted bids to join the Big 12 in September. The intent was to join the league by July 2024 at the latest but hope to make a move by 2023. AAC bylaws require schools to give 27 months’ notice and pay a $10 million exit fee, but an earlier exit would mean a negotiated settlement.

Seminole man bought mansion with $7.2 million in COVID-19 relief funds, U.S. attorney says” via Lisa Maria Garza of the Orlando Sentinel — A 45-year-old Seminole County man faces fraud charges for using $7.2 million in COVID-19 federal relief funds to buy a mansion and luxury vehicles, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Don Cisternino claimed on a Paycheck Protection Program loan application that his New York-based software company, MagnifiCo, had 441 employees and $2.8 million monthly payroll expenses. But prosecutors said the company only employed Cisternino and his unidentified girlfriend. Cisternino allegedly submitted false W-2s with names and Social Security numbers of people who did not work for the company, prosecutors said.


Come November, two DeSantis allies could be sitting on the Miami-Dade School Board” via Sommer Brugal of the Miami Herald — When the Miami-Dade School Board emerges from the November election, it’s likely there will be two new people on the board with ties to DeSantis, who has worked with the GOP-led Legislature to restrict what teachers can say to their students about gender issues and limit what they can teach about Black history. The two new members would be joined by another board member who former Gov. Rick Scott initially appointed. This scenario came into sharper focus Wednesday when longtime board chair Perla Tabares Hantman announced she would not seek re-election after serving nearly three decades on the nine-member board.

13 Cubans in a ‘rustic’ boat arrive in Florida Keys, and another group stopped offshore” via David Goodhue of the Miami Herald — Following a weekend when more than 40 people from Cuba arrived in South Florida, another group came ashore Tuesday morning in the Florida Keys city of Marathon. The U.S. Border Patrol said 13 men arrived in a 15-foot “rustic style vessel” on Coco Plum Beach. Adam Hoffner, division chief for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Miami operations, said an inboard diesel engine powered the boat. Their arrival comes as the Keys and other South Florida areas are experiencing a surge in migration from Cuba and Haiti. Tuesday morning, the Coast Guard said that it returned almost 40 people to Cuba caught at sea in separate incidences between last Wednesday and Saturday.

Another wave of Cuban migrants lands in Key West. Image via U.S. Border Control.

Airbnbs, VRBOs taking off in Key West” via Elliot Weld of Keys News — With the issues of affordability and tourism taking the forefront in city politics post-pandemic, Key West is seeking to crack down on the persistent problem of unlicensed short-term rentals that are eating into an already depleted housing stock. Data shows that the number of Airbnbs and VRBOs listed in the city is on the rise. According to data provided by AirDNA, a firm that studies trends in the vacation rental sector, the number of Airbnbs and VRBOs listed for rent in Key West went from 1,566 in the first quarter of 2019 to 2,429 in the first quarter of 2022. The average daily rate for one of these rentals in Key West is $460 and their occupancy rate is around 81%, AirDNA reported.

Initial SWFL study finds water, air pollutants could cause grave brain disease” via Amy Bennett Williams of Fort Myers News-Press — The good news: A first-of-its-kind field study of Southwest Florida air and water didn’t find widespread cyanobacteria toxins — mostly. The bad news: It did find several neurotoxins and three forms of BMAA, a neurotoxin linked to grave brain diseases. Two of the forms were in every one of 945 analyses done over five months between last July and November by Calusa Waterkeeper volunteers and analyzed at Wyoming’s Brain Chemistry Labs. This effort is the first to sample both air and water on-site with a custom-engineered monitoring device dubbed ADAM: airborne detection for algae monitoring, designed in collaboration with algae scientists, including Michael Parsons at Florida Gulf Coast University, a member of the state’s Blue-Green Algae Task Force.


The inescapable minoritarianism of overturning Roe” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — Rarely will the system’s structure so obviously have rewarded a minority of Americans as it would if the Supreme Court overturns the decision in Roe v. Wade. Gorsuch was confirmed by a 54 to 45 vote. In an odd bit of synchronicity, Senators who supported his confirmation represented 45% of the country’s population. Barrett received the support of 52 Senators, a group representing 48% of the country. The same pattern held for Kavanaugh, Trump’s second nominee for the court. Kavanaugh received 50 votes in the Senate for his confirmation, votes he received from Senators representing 44% of the country.


Samuel Alito’s plan to repeal the 20th century” via Adam Serwer of The Atlantic — The opinion itself reads like a fancy news release from a particularly loyal member of the GOP Senate caucus. Alito’s writing reflects the current tone of right-wing discourse: grandiose and contemptuous, disingenuous and self-contradictory, with the necessary undertone of self-pity as justification. Alito, like the five other conservative justices, was placed on the Court by the conservative legal movement for the purpose of someday handing down this decision. These justices are doing what they were put there to do. Alito claims to be sweeping away one of the great unjust Supreme Court precedents, such as Dred Scott v. Sanford or Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld racial segregation. But in truth, Alito is employing the logic of Plessy, allowing the states to violate the individual rights of their residents in any way their legislatures deem “reasonable,” as the opinion in Plessy put it.

The conservatives aren’t just ending Roe — they’re delighting in it” via Mary Ziegler of The Atlantic — The draft, like generations of anti-abortion-rights advocacy, stresses that Roe distorted much of American jurisprudence, not just the rules on abortion. It rehabilitates the 19th-century physicians who sought to criminalize abortion, suggesting that they were motivated by an interest in protecting innocent fetal life rather than by nativism or racism. One footnote suggests that those who fought for the right to choose abortion were motivated by racism — and argues that Roe produced a world in which fewer children of color were born. It emphasizes that abortion is different from any other constitutional right because it involves the taking of a life. These are arguments that would be made by justices who are not merely assuring the demise of abortion rights but delighting in it.

—“What’s behind SCOTUS’ bid to overturn Roe v. Wade? A hidden GOP agenda against women” via Fabiola Santiago of the Miami Herald

The leaked draft Roe opinion is a disaster for the Supreme Court” via Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post — A disaster, most clearly, for the court itself, whose secrecy has been breached in a way that is unprecedented. Overruling Roe would be a disaster — for a court reversing itself after repeatedly reaffirming the right to abortion over half a century, and even more for American women who have come to rely on the right to abortion. But I say “most clearly” because we cannot be certain whether that disaster will in fact ensue — if what was labeled “1st draft” of a majority opinion by Justice Alito that was circulated Feb. 10 will remain the majority opinion of the court. Keep in mind: Majorities, particularly in high-stakes cases such as the Mississippi abortion law at issue, can fall apart.

The Supreme Court might never recover from overturning Roe v. Wade” via The Washington Post editorial board — The court’s legitimacy rests on the notion that it follows the law, not the personal or ideological preferences of the justices who happen to serve on it at any given time. Americans rely on the court to exercise care and restraint against making sharp turns that might suddenly declare their everyday choices and activities unprotected or illegal. Justice Alito complained in his draft that Roe failed to produce a “national settlement of the abortion issue” but only “enflamed debate and deepened division.”

The unmerciful ending of Roe v. Wade” via Monica Hesse for The Washington Post — The official decision won’t be announced until later this summer, and meanwhile, it’s time to think of the girl in the bathroom stall and everyone else who has been or ever will be in her position, and of everyone who put her there. Conservatives finally did it, or it looks like it anyway. Conservative voters elected conservative politicians who appointed conservative judges. A machine decades in the making, leaving progressive women and the men who support them with a mix of inchoate grief and blinding rage. A decision that cleanly establishes a divide in America: men, who will have control over the most intimate parts of their bodies, and women, who will have control over their bodies only in some states, at the whim of some legislators.

Supreme Court leak signals the triumph of politics over the law” via Barry Friedman, Dahlia Lithwick and Stephen I. Vladeck of The Washington Post — It is now clear that politics has triumphed over law. All that matters now is who can muster five votes, long-standing precedent (and confirmation hearing commitments to abide by them) be damned. As Justice William J. Brennan Jr. was fond of telling his clerks, the most important rule at the Supreme Court is the rule of five. Five votes declare the law, often on matters up for grabs in any other legal sense. Power means that rules and norms and conventions of trust within the court have become immaterial, just as the lives and health of more than half the population have been rendered immaterial.

If Roe v. Wade ends, blame Democrats who wouldn’t get behind Hillary Clinton” via Leonard Pitts, Jr. of the Miami Herald — Had Trump never been President, he would never have been able to name three justices to the high court, one of them to a seat blatantly stolen from Obama. So, this travesty bears the fingerprints of all those people who, for whatever reason, her perceived mendacity, her ambition, her failure to be Bernie Sanders, or, heaven help us, her emails, could not bring themselves to support Clinton. Not to mention those who simply stayed home on Election Day in the blithe assurance that there was no way Trump could win. It is axiomatic that Republicans fall in line, while Democrats fall in love. And love is a lovely thing. But there are times pragmatism must carry the day.

My mother was wrong” via Molly Jong-Fast for The Atlantic — “We may have made a lot of mistakes, but at least we gave you Roe.” It was her way of explaining an earlier generation’s approach to feminism, and what she would say to me when she was trying to make sense of her own legacy. Maybe it wasn’t a normal thing for a mother to say to a daughter, but my mother isn’t a normal mother. She is Erica Jong, a second-wave feminist, a famous novelist, and a woman who, throughout her career, constantly grappled with what she and her cohort had accomplished and what they hadn’t. They gave us the bodily autonomy we should have already had. They gave us the opportunity to choose what happens in our own uterus. It was an essential gift, and an irreversible one. Or so we thought.

If Roe v. Wade falls, we know what will happen. Florida women will suffer” via the Miami Herald editorial board — The U.S. Supreme Court’s potential reversal of Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to an abortion is a rude awakening. The rights we assumed were ingrained in the fabric of our country are in peril, and not just on abortion. What was once considered settled could be upended by efforts, decades in the making, to put our court system under conservative ideological control. Florida, where cultural wars are launched these days, is ground zero for a Republican experiment to reshape the nation. If there’s an opportunity to set us backward 20, 30, 50 years, we expect Florida will jump at it. The state has advanced an agenda that appeases white resentment and homophobia.

Here’s one way Floridians could protect abortion rights” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — Legislators won’t protect a woman’s right to choose, so citizens can put a question on the ballot to enshrine the right in the Constitution. Many details would need to be worked out, but an amendment could specify that one of those inalienable rights is control of one’s body, the ability to obtain an abortion. Many details would need to be worked out, but an amendment could specify that one of those inalienable rights is control of one’s body, the ability to obtain an abortion.

DeSantis and the unlearned lessons of the GOP’s culture war” via Jelani Cobb of The New Yorker — In late March, when DeSantis, in an act of Trumpian belligerence, signed into law the Parental Rights in Education bill, his action marked, among other things, a new front in the Republican Party’s crusade against wokeness. It is particularly ironic that, under the banner of protecting children, DeSantis stumbled into an internecine conflict with the institution that is arguably the most beloved by kids. The discord between Disney and DeSantis is the clearest example so far of a genre of conflict that is increasingly common between GOP leadership and prominent businesses in the states they control.

Defund President Biden’s censorship bureau” via Marco Rubio for National Review — For years, liberals have justified online censorship with the argument that the First Amendment does not apply to private companies. We’ve been told that Twitter, Facebook, and Google are free to silence conservatives, enact speech codes, and separate “truth” from “falsehood” because they are not “the new town square.” Now, Elon Musk’s pledge to allow more speech on Twitter has those same liberals up in arms. It’s a display of blatant hypocrisy, but the Left is undeterred. If corporations won’t do their censoring for them, perhaps the government will. Under the guise of homeland security, the Biden administration is setting up a new “Disinformation Governance Board” with the potential to do just that. To maintain their grip on power, authoritarians must control the spread of thoughts and ideas.

Sara S. Clements: Florida gets one of the good ones with Ed. Commissioner Manny Diaz” via Florida Politics — I met Diaz at a Republican freshman class orientation in the fall of 2012, shortly before he was officially sworn in as a member of the Florida House. My colleagues and I had heard he was a major “ed reform guy,” so we were eager for an introduction. And yet, after one conversation with him, I knew, “this guy is the real deal.” There are few people in the education industry — really, any industry — who have, 1) deep knowledge of the issues and a willingness to get into the weeds on policy, 2) the political acumen and relationships to get things done and c) lived experience of those who will be most impacted by the policy. Diaz has all three.

—”Will new education chief work for schools or DeSantis?” via Randy Schultz of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

— ALOE —

What Ryan Smith is reading — “May the 4th be with you: Star Wars Day” via Erica Rudnick Macalintal of Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine — There are endless ways to celebrate your fandom, especially here in Orlando. Galaxy’s Edge, the quintessential pilgrimage for any Star Wars fan, has everything you could want in a near-complete immersive experience. If you’re looking for local fun, Orlando has no shortage of Star Wars fans looking for ways to come together. While these events generally aren’t “official,” since the IP is held by Disney, some rebels are willing to risk it all in the name of love. From neighborhood theaters playing the favorites to bars with themed happy hour specials, the opportunities to celebrate are endless. So, check local calendars to see what pops up. You’ll find yourself in the company of other Jedi, Sith Lords, or even the Empire, depending on your inclination.

Time again to celebrate all things Star Wars. Image via AP.

Pepsi restocks and repairs Pennsylvania fire station’s Star Wars machine for “May the Fourth” via John Lynch of WTRF

Is Disneyland copying Florida’s Gideon’s Bakehouse?” via Jess Colopy of Inside the Magic — Disneyland recently announced multiple mouthwatering treats celebrating Star Wars Day — also known as May the 4th. One of the upcoming Star Wars-themed items is the delectable-looking Chocolate Chip Sweet-Sand Cookie. As delicious as this treat looks, it bears a striking resemblance in appearance and flavor profile to the Pistachio Toffee Chocolate cookie sold at Florida’s Gideon’s Bakehouse — which has a fan-favorite location at Disney Springs inside Walt Disney World. Though Disneyland doesn’t have its own location of the Florida chain, fans have been hoping for an expansion of Gideon’s Bakehouse to California’s Downtown Disney ever since its immediate popularity at Walt Disney World.

All the Content Coming to Disney+ for ‘Star Wars’ Day” via Roxy Simons of Newsweek — To mark May 4, the behind-the-scenes documentary Disney Gallery: The Book of Boba Fett will be released, giving fans a closer look at the making of the series. As with previous Disney Gallery specials, the one centered on The Book of Boba Fett will see the cast and creative team of the series discuss the show in detail and reveal how they kept certain secrets like a cameo from Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson). In terms of new content, the documentary is the only show added to Disney+ on Star Wars Day in 2022.

Review: ‘Doctor Strange 2’ gets weirder, scarier, messier” via Lindsey Bahr of The Associated Press — Once a superhero franchise goes multiverse, it’s hard to go back. No work of fiction ever needs permission to break the rules or push the boundaries of traditional storytelling, but the multiverse, at least as it’s been served up in recent Marvel movies, practically demands it. And for the moment, that means a lot of cameo opportunities. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” opened the door to the concept, to mostly charming results, but now Benedict Cumberbatch’s master of the mystic arts is flying through the interdimensional portal with the concept in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” This film is technically the sequel to “Doctor Strange,” a movie that came out six years ago.

Dr. Strange jumps into the multiverse and never looks back.

’Shark Lady’ forever on a stamp” via Axios — The U.S. Postal Service is honoring ichthyologist and oceanographer Eugenie Clark, the founding scientist behind Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory, with a “forever” stamp. The stamp will be unveiled at an event at Mote on what would have been Clark’s 100th birthday. She died in 2015. Known as “Shark Lady,” the insatiably curious Clark made landmark contributions to marine science for 50 years on hundreds of dives worldwide, always returning to Mote. The U.S. Postal Service says Clark “spent her career working tirelessly to change public perception about sharks.”


Happy birthday to Sen. Tina Polsky, my friend (and the best State Attorney in Florida) Dave Aronberg, as well as Candice Ericks, former scribe Brandon Larrabee, and Susannah Randolph.


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.


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

Sign up for Sunburn