Takeaways from Tallahassee — Goodbye Roe, hello Dobbs

Blue Tally Takeaways (2)
Will Republicans forge a new path after half a century of Roe v. Wade?

New precedent

It’s been mere hours since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, and Florida Republicans are already posturing to expand on the state’s upcoming abortion ban.

Florida’s 15-week abortion ban (HB 5) will likely have to wait for a decision in the Florida Supreme Court before being finally settled as law. But on Friday afternoon, Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested the Sunshine State could go further in the era of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which was decided 5-4 Friday morning.

“Florida will continue to defend its recently-enacted pro-life reforms against state challenges, will work to expand pro-life protections, and will stand for life by promoting adoption, foster care and child welfare,” the Republican Governor said in a statement.

Ron DeSantis signs HB 5 in April. Image via AP.

The state’s future legislative leaders are also chiming in.

Senate President-designate Kathleen Passidomo, who is expected to become the third woman to lead the Florida Senate, proclaimed the state would continue to defend life. The Naples Republican made headlines when she criticized Texas’ fetal heartbeat bill because of its “vigilante-type” provisions, but she remains anti-abortion.

“I put a high value on life, and we’ve passed many measures in Florida to protect unborn life, promote adoption, and support parents who choose life for their babies,” Passidomo tweeted. “I am grateful to see the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. These defenders of the Constitution have given the states rights to do what is right. Here in Florida, we will continue to defend life.”

House Speaker-designate Paul Renner, a Palm Coast Republican, issued a statement more like the Governor’s — alluding to future action.

“Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision rightfully returns the debate on protecting life back to the states where it belongs,” Renner said. “The Florida Legislature has made significant strides towards protecting the unborn and will continue to pursue legislation that honors the sanctity of life.”

Across the aisle, Democrats remain steadfast in their support for abortion rights.

Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, who will continue leading the caucus next term, said the Court’s decision sets women’s rights back half a century. Florida is facing a future that terrifies her, she continued.

“With Florida Republicans cruelly proving their appetite for robbing women and girls victimized by the horrific trauma of rape, incest, and human trafficking of their right to an abortion after 15 weeks — period, end of sentence, no exceptions — it is clearly only a matter of time before our state also debates an all-out abortion ban,” Book said.

House Democratic Leader-designate Fentrice Driskell, who is expected to lead House Democrats for the next four years, also brings a unique perspective as the first Black woman to lead the caucus. The Court has now become a political tool, she said.

“For Floridians, today’s decision ratifies the radical and dangerous legislation jammed through the state government by Republicans and clears the path for a full ban of all abortions in our state, without exceptions for rape or incest,” Driskell said. “This is a major setback as we work to create a state and country where we all have the freedom to be healthy, prosperous and safe. But I am more determined than ever to fight.”

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Coming up, the usual assortment of news, intel and observations from the week that was in Florida’s capital city by Peter Schorsch, Drew Wilson, Renzo Downey, Christine Jordan Sexton and the staff of Florida Politics.

But first …

Take 5

The “Takeaway 5” — the Top 5 stories from the week that was:

Andrew Gillum indicted on fraud charges — While it may already feel like it’s a week old, the biggest news out of Tallahassee was that Andrew Gillum and a longtime associate were arrested and indicted on charges related to wire fraud on Wednesday. Both pleaded not guilty to all 20 counts, with Gillum also pleading not guilty to lying to FBI agents. Both have also been released and suggest there are political motivations behind the charges. Sharon Lettman-Hicks, his associate, dropped out of the House District 8 race as a result of the indictment. Meanwhile, DeSantis got to take a victory lap against the former candidate, whom he said the media treated like “the second coming.”

DeSantis vetoes alimony bill — After years of unsuccessful negotiations to modify Florida’s divorce laws, DeSantis vetoed the Republican-led Legislature’s latest effort to end permanent alimony. With DeSantis’ veto on Friday, the measure (SB 1796) marks the third proposal vetoed by a Florida Republican Governor in the last decade. Despite most Republicans coming together in support of this year’s package after repeated unsuccessful attempts to pass similar alimony reform measures, DeSantis in his veto letter wrote that the Legislature’s proposal is unconstitutional. “If (SB 1796) were to become law and be given retroactive effect as the Legislature intends, it would unconstitutionally impair vested rights under certain preexisting marital settlement agreements.”

Local Business Protection Act also vetoed — DeSantis also vetoed SB 620, a top priority of Senate President Wilton Simpson that sought to punish local governments for passing laws that reduce their profit by 15% per location within the city or county. The business could’ve been awarded damages for the cost of their lost profits for up to seven years. In his veto letter, DeSantis said the bill would have had unintended consequences because it was too broad. He suggested targeted preemption legislation instead. “Incredibly, this bill exempts compensating businesses due to ‘emergency’ orders of local government,” DeSantis wrote. “However, the broad and ambiguous language of the bill will lead to both unintended and unforeseen consequences and costly litigation.” Additionally, the Governor vetoed three more bills.

DeSantis signs Alzheimer’s bill — DeSantis did grace dozens of bills this week. Among them, he signed legislation (SB 806) directing the Department of Health to educate health care providers on the warning signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Roughly 580,000 people over the age of 65 live with Alzheimer’s disease in Florida, the second-highest population in the nation. That number is projected to jump to 720,000 in three years. The Governor noted there was an additional $21 million in increased funding for Alzheimer’s programs in the Department of Elder Affairs in the state Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget that kicks in July 1. And he said there has been a 60% increase in Alzheimer’s-related funding since he took office.

First Lady launches Mamas for DeSantis — First Lady Casey DeSantis announced the launch of Mamas for DeSantis. The political effort will rally parents to support the Governor’s parental rights agenda. “Through the First Lady’s leadership, Mamas for DeSantis will work in partnership with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ re-election campaign as a movement for Florida moms, grandmas, abuelas, nanas and more to get involved in the re-election campaign,” according to a press release. A website bills that effort as “The Million Mama Movement.” That’s a lofty goal in a state where just over 8 million voted in the last gubernatorial election, perhaps considering the Mamas usefulness will extend past DeSantis’ 2022 re-election campaign and into a potential presidential campaign for 2024, which he’s still denying.

Cash infusion

DeSantis on Monday awarded $28.5 million in community development grants to cities and counties across the state.

Seventeen jurisdictions received a combined $25.4 million through the Community Development Block Grant – CV Program (CDBG-CV). Six others received a combined $3.1 million through the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery Hazard Mitigation Grant Match Program.

Florida is still trying to recover from Hurricane Michael. Image via AP.

“Supporting the growth and resilience of Florida communities is the best way to ensure Florida’s strong future,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Investments made today will provide 23 communities with access to the resources they need to diversify their economies, increase public safety, and mitigate future risks.”

The CDBG-CV program, administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), primarily benefits low- and middle-income residents. Activities include workforce housing, training and sustainability as well as broadband infrastructure and planning.

The biggest payout through that program is $4.8 million for Stuart.

The Rebuild Florida Hazard Mitigation Grant Match Program, administered by DEO, funds the local community’s match portion of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program awards, administered by the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM), for eligible projects to support recovery efforts in communities impacted by Hurricane Michael.

In that tranche, the largest expenditure is $1 million for Gulf County.

“Governor DeSantis has championed the economic growth of Florida’s communities by making continued investments in their success,” DEO Secretary Dane Eagle said. “DEO is proud to support his efforts by connecting communities to opportunities that suit their unique needs and foster generational growth for their residents.”

Chill, scammers

Summer heat is on the way, and so are scammers.

Attorney General Ashley Moody on Tuesday warned Floridians that the summer season typically brings with it a rise in HVAC-related scams.

Common scams include repair companies that push consumers to replace functional parts or purchase an entirely new air conditioning system at an inflated price. Grifters may also attempt to sell customers an unnecessary amount of refrigerant or claim that problems with an HVAC system can be solved with a refrigerant “recharge,” a service that HVAC systems do not require.

It’s cool to know how to prevent getting HVAC scammed.

“Floridians, especially our seniors, could not endure the hot Florida summer without air conditioning. So, when an HVAC unit malfunctions, they rush to have their units fixed. Bad actors may attempt to take advantage of the situation to sell unneeded repairs — or entire new systems,” Moody said.

Tips to avoid falling victim to HVAC scams include getting a second opinion from a separate repair company, being wary of high-pressure sales tactics and insisting on a written agreement. Consumers should also become familiar with how HVAC systems work, at least at a basic level.

To keep Floridians informed of scammers’ tactics, Moody’s office drafted up a new entry in the Scams at a Glance series titled “Keep Your Cool.” A Spanish language version is also available.

Shoo fly

A quarantine has been established in the St. Petersburg area, prohibiting the movement of fruit, vegetables and nuts without a compliance agreement from the state after Oriental fruit flies were detected in Pinellas County during routine inspections, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) announced Friday.

“This detection highlights the Agriculture and Coe importance of our world class exotic pest surveillance system,” said FDACS Division of Plant Industry Director Trevor Smith. “Our staff, working closely with our federal partners, has begun a treatment program to eradicate this destructive pest.”

These flies are bad news. Image via U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Bactrocera dorsalis, the official name of the Oriental fruit fly, is one of the more dangerous pests due to the potential devastating economic impact it can wreak

It attacks more than 436 different fruits, vegetables and nuts. The fruit flies lay their eggs in host fruits and vegetables. After the eggs hatch the maggots eat the host fruit and vegetables.

To prevent an infestation the state has 56,000 fruit fly traps as part of an early detection effort to prevent the fruit fly from spreading through the state’s agricultural products.

The FDACS, led by Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, said in a prepared statement that the “Oriental fruit fly has been trapped several times in Florida since 1964 and each time has been successfully eradicated.”

There are different treatments that can be pursued to eradicate the fruity fly stemming from the male annihilation technique, which uses a bat and insecticide mixture to kill the flies, to soil drench treatment, which is used on the soil under host trees with fruit known or suspected to be infested with larvae, pupae or a mated female fruit fly.

Another abatement effort involves removing the fruit from the host tree and placing it in double bags. The files cannot lay eggs if there are no fruits and vegetables available.

State and federal agencies will work with local governments and community organizations to keep the public informed. More information can be found at the department’s website at www.FDACS.gov/OFF, or by calling the Division of Plant Industry Helpline at 1-888-397-1517.

Fireman’s carry

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ Department of Financial Services is putting first responders on its back with support for one Brevard County firefighter’s legal battle to secure benefits for job-induced post-traumatic stress disorder.

Under Florida’s workers compensation laws, first responders who suffer from PTSD are entitled to an array of benefits. Patronis, who doubles as the State Fire Marshal, says firefighter Roger Williams was unlawfully denied insurance coverage.

The right to workers comp is a four-alarm fire for Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis. Image via Colin Hackley.

“This case is especially important, as the 1st DCA has an opportunity to set a legal precedent of support for our brave firefighters statewide,” Patronis said in a statement. “PTSD is a serious challenge for many of our first responders, as they see and deal with unthinkable things in the line of duty.”

In 2018, Patronis worked with the Legislature to pass Senate Bill 376, signed by then-Gov. Rick Scott, to provide PTSD benefits for first responders to give them the support they need as they work to protect Florida communities. Patronis says he has made it a top priority to ensure first responders are protected.

June also marks PTSD Awareness Month.

“I hope this case will shine a light on our first responders quietly suffering with PTSD symptoms so that they can get the help they truly need,” Patronis said. “Being a first responder isn’t just a job, it’s a calling and these heroes have our backs and I am proud to have theirs.”

‘Work of God’

Friday marked the one year since Champlain Towers South collapsed, killing 98 people.

Patronis was among the many elected officials who headed to Surfside in the immediate aftermath, and as State Fire Marshal, his office oversees many of the rescue workers who dug through rubble looking for survivors.

Ron DeSantis, Jimmy Patronis and others honored the lives lost a year ago.

“The Surfside building collapse will live with every one of us forever. While we honor and mourn today for the 98 souls that are no longer with us, we also pray for the parents, brothers, sisters, and children that were left behind — and how they’re fighting to get back to some type of normal,” Patronis said in a news release marking the anniversary.

“On this day one year ago, I saw the work of God when 400 of Florida’s Urban Search & Rescue Team members fought, and kept fighting, for any hope of life. They battled fire, they battled rain, they battled the heat. Their boots and gloves were destroyed. They had to keep respirators on to avoid the cancer-causing substances that so many firefighters got after 9/11. In fact, some of these men and women served at ground zero.

“On that mound of rubble, I saw hell on Earth. But I also saw God’s presence in the men and women that fought with every ounce of their being to save lives. As we pray for grace and peace, may we never forget, and forever honor these 98 souls.”

In the year since Surfside, Patronis has become a vocal advocate for the state’s Urban Search & Rescue Teams. He declared 2022 as the “Year of the US&R” and successfully lobbied lawmakers to provide more money for US&R training and equipment in the 2022-23 budget.

Instagram of the Week

The Week in Appointments

Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims — DeSantis on Friday named three judges to fill vacancies at OJCC. Jill Jacobs and Lourdes Sancerni were picked for the Orlando office. Jacobs has worked as a Deputy City Attorney for the City of Palm Beach since 2015. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and her law degree from the University of Miami. Sancerni has worked as a Senior Associate Attorney at law firm Moore, Ingram, Johnson & Steele since 2013. She received her bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and her law degree from the University of Florida. Barbara Case will fill a vacancy in the West Palm Beach office. Case has run The Law Office of Barbara Kay Case since 2013 and worked in private practice for 13 years prior. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and her law degree from St. Thomas University.

Tornado relief

Residents of Southwest Florida have received more than $2 million in disaster relief thanks to community efforts and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management reported the milestone on Monday, more than five months after tornadoes struck Charlotte and Lee counties. DeSantis announced a donation portal in February, and SBA last month approved Florida’s request to provide Floridians and businesses in Collier, Charlotte, Hendry, Glades and Lee counties with low-interest loans.

Kevin Guthrie has been on the case since January.

“The SBA Disaster Declaration and State Donation Portal have provided much-needed relief to impacted individuals as they continue to rebuild in the aftermath of this severe weather,” DEM Director Kevin Guthrie said in a statement. “The Division will continue to work with our local partners to ensure that disaster survivors have access to all available recovery resources and become more resilient against the impacts of future disasters.”

The SBA disaster loans include Business Physical Disaster Loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Home Disaster Loans.

Florida pursued the SBA assistance after FEMA denied the state’s request for individual assistance and its subsequent appeal. FEMA notes Florida has the capacity to respond to the disaster on its own.

The Slowskys

Testing, testing. One, two, three.

DEO’s Office of Broadband wants residents to test their internet speed.

The anonymous speed test can be completed on any device, from any location, by going to www.FloridaJobs.org/Broadband. The results will automatically populate the Broadband Availability Map in real time with the location’s internet speed and responsiveness.

DEO Secretary Dane Eagle wants you to help him solve slow speeds as fast as possible. Image via Colin Hackley.

Eagle is encouraging residents to take the anonymous 60-second test and so his agency can better understand the state’s broadband infrastructure needs so it can determine where improvements are needed.

“With input from Floridians, the mapping tool will provide real-time results to identify areas in need of improvement of broadband services and enable us to support local communities in their efforts to make the internet accessible and reliable for all Floridians,” Eagle said.

“This opportunity will also help the state of Florida continue its work with partners to offer better education and health care access and help its communities be more resilient and adaptive to future broadband development.”

Future chiefs

Eighteen police officers graduated from the 2022 Future Chiefs Seminar, a program sponsored by the Florida Police Chief Association that helps command staff leaders better prepare for a chief executive position in law enforcement.

Attendees learned about the executive application and selection process, managing generational differences in the workforce, crisis management, best leadership practices; ethics; and effective budgeting.

There also was a presentation on the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission disciplinary process.

This crew is ready to be the future of policing. Image via FPCA.

“One of the FPCA’s most important roles is to help prepare individuals for a chief executive position in law enforcement. On behalf of the Florida Police Chiefs Association, we congratulate each of these command staff leaders who completed the FPCA’s Future Chiefs Seminar,” said FPCA President and Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety Department Director Stephan Dembinsky.

The following command staff leaders completed the 2022 Future Chiefs Seminar program:

— Lieutenant Jim Beauford, Florida Highway Patrol

— Major Donald Blanchard, North Miami Police Department

— Lieutenant Sarah Coursey, Tavares Police Department

— Captain Anthony Dawkins, Winter Garden Police Department

— Commander Randall Durkee, Orange County Public Schools District Police

— Major Scott Freeman, University of Central Florida Police Department

— Captain LaRhonda Gordon, Claflin University, SC, Department of Public Safety

— Deputy Chief Betty Holland, Kissimmee Police Department

— Captain Brandon Layne, Kissimmee Police Department

— Assistant Chief Russ Mager, Delray Beach Police Department

— Captain James Mesidor, Florida International University Police Department

— Deputy Chief John Moore, Panama City Police Department

— Deputy Chief Vincent Ogburn, Ocoee Police Department

— Captain Derrick Rahming, Florida Highway Patrol

— Captain D.W. Smith, Ormond Beach Police Department

— Captain Christopher Succi, Kissimmee Police Department

— Deputy Chief Robert Taylor, Lee County Port Authority Police Department

— Major Al Xiques, Pembroke Pines Police Department.

“The Florida Police Chiefs Association is committed to developing the next generation of Florida’s law enforcement leaders with well-rounded, quality training,” said Coconut Creek Police Department Chief Butch Arenal, chairman of the FPCA’s Professional Standards.

Stop ‘Stop W.O.K.E.’

Honey, I don’t think this is working out.

Clearwater-based honeymoon registry company Honeyfund filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Florida over its new “Stop W.O.K.E. Act,” which includes a ban on corporate training that could make employees feel guilty or suffer psychological distress about issues related to race, color, sex or national origin. Workplace diversity consultancy Collective Concepts and its co-founder, Chevara Orrin, also sued.

Honeyfund isn’t happy Florida moved in with the Stop W.O.K.E. Act.

Instead of combating discrimination, the law strays into actual discrimination, they argue.

“In fact, the Stop WOKE Act reads more like the policy of an authoritarian regime than a law passed in our American democracy,” the complaint reads. “The Stop WOKE Act aims to forward the government’s preferred narrative of history and society and to render illegal speech that challenges that narrative. It also seeks to muzzle independent institutions, including businesses, that are or might become centers of dissent. And, in doing so, it attempts to direct public outrage toward disfavored minorities.”

The law is set to take effect Friday, unless a federal judge stops it first. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker on Tuesday heard a similar case regarding the legislation but from the education angle. Like in corporate settings, the law targets classroom instruction that could cause guilt or psychological distress.

Although education officials will soon finalize rules to carry out the law, Walker, who has sided against the DeSantis administration in recent cases, expressed “grave concerns” over the lawsuit. He questioned whether there was an immediate need to pause the suit.

Nevermore chemicals

The Florida League of Cities is praising DeSantis and lawmakers for directing environmental regulators to draft rules to clean up a family of substances recently found to be more toxic than previously thought.

The legislation (HB 1475), sponsored by Sanford Republican Sen. Jason Brodeur and Dover Republican Rep. Lawrence McClure, asks the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to immediately begin to adopt statewide rules to clean up perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which have come to be known as “forever chemicals.”

Phillip Walker and the League of Cities say HB 1475 is a step in the right direction. Image via Florida League of Cities.

“The presence of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in soil and water has been a concern for some time now. Addressing those concerns however has been difficult due to the lack of established standards, among other challenges,” the League, led by President Phillip Walker, wrote in a statement.

“This bill is a step in the right direction and will hopefully provide much needed clarity and guidance as we all work together towards a safer, cleaner environment.”

PFAS chemicals don’t break down in the environment, and they can move through soil and water and accumulate in fish and wildlife. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has detected PFAS in nearly everyone it has tested for the substance, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just last week announced the compounds are more potent than previous studies had shown, leading them to release a drinking water advisory.

“People on the front-lines of PFAS contamination have suffered for far too long,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. “That’s why EPA is taking aggressive action as part of a whole-of-government approach to prevent these chemicals from entering the environment and to help protect concerned families from this pervasive challenge.”

The EPA announced it would put forward $1 billion of the recent federal infrastructure law to reduce PFAS and other drinking water contaminants.

Curb smash and grab

DeSantis and lawmakers are also getting a nod from the Florida Retail Federation (FRF), which thanked those involved for passing legislation to crack down on retail theft.

The new law (SB 1534), sponsored by Bradenton Republican Sen. Jim Boyd and Newberry Republican Rep. Chuck Clemons, stiffens penalties against thieves who steal multiple items from multiple stores in a short period.

Under the measure, theft of 10 or more items from at least two different locations is deemed a third-degree felony if committed within 30 days. Meanwhile, the theft of 20 or more items would be a second-degree felony.

FRF, Ron DeSantis, Ashley Moody, Jim Boyd and Chuck Clemons want proper penalties for pilfering. Image via Adobe.

Additionally, stealing more than $750 of merchandise from one or more stores within 30 days would be a third-degree felony, and stealing $3,000 or more would constitute a second-degree felony.

Businesses would need to tabulate their losses within those 30 days.

“This measure will protect Floridians and Florida retailers by curtailing criminal activity in stores and holding thieves accountable for their actions,” FRF President and CEO Scott Shalley said in a statement. “We are grateful for the support of Governor DeSantis for signing SB 1534 into law and for the leadership of Attorney General Ashley Moody, Senator Jim Boyd and Representative Chuck Clemons to crack down on organized retail crime in Florida.”

Boyd said there must be consequences for “smash and grab” crimes, and Clemons said law enforcement and prosecutors will use the new tools to keep organized retail theft out of the Sunshine State.

“We continue to be proactive in making sure organized retail theft rings do not have a free pass to pillage retailers in Florida,” Moody said. “While prosecutors in other states may turn a blind eye to these massive retail crimes, in Florida we enforce the law to protect our citizens and visitors. This new law will help us continue this important work and enhance public safety.”

Safety excellence

The Florida Transportation Builders’ Association (FTBA), has announced the winners of their inaugural FTBA Safety Excellence Award.

The recognition, which is awarded in three categories based on employee hours, focuses on criteria and measurement of safety statistics such as TRIR and DART, as well as testimonials on the company programs including employee engagement, management commitment and best practices.

“We are excited to announce the winners of this inaugural recognition, focusing on members who prioritize and excel in not only the development of their safety programs, but in the consistency and implementation of these programs as well,” FTBA President Ananth Prasad said. “Safety is not only vital to the employees and those in and around road and bridge construction, but excellence in safety is crucial to the success and growth of the industry.”

These companies are the gold standard, says FTBA.

The Collage Companies, based in Lake Mary, won the 0 to 250,000 hours category.

“Collage is deserving of this recognition because of our relentless commitment to safety. We have a company-wide commitment to safety, top to bottom. Every person in this company is an advocate of safe practices and has a personal stake in our safety performance,” The Collage Companies said. “The company places a financial emphasis on safety, hiring third-party auditors to support our onsite teams in their approach to keeping jobsites safe.”

In the 250,000 to 1 million hours category was Preferred Materials, which has dozens of locations in Florida.

“For well over a decade Preferred Materials has promoted an employee driven safety culture,” the company said. “This evolving culture focuses on the safe operation of our projects for our employees, contractors as well as pedestrians and the traveling public. We empower all workers on our projects to follow our Safety Pledge ‘When I See Something, I Will Stop and Do Something!’”

Coming atop the final 1 million hours plus category was Connecticut-based Lane Construction Corporation.

“Safety isn’t just one of our core values, it’s the motivation behind everything we do,” the company said. “Every day starts with a safety briefing, every task starts with our ‘4 Seconds For Safety’ program, and every employee is empowered with Stop-Work Authority. Lane considers the safety of our employees, joint venture partners, subcontractors, and the general public to be a matter of prime importance.”

Double board certified

Shutts & Bowen on Friday announced that Daniel Nordby, a partner in the firm’s Tallahassee office, has earned board certification from The Florida Bar as an expert in Appellate Practice.

Nordby is one of 215 attorneys to earn the certification from The Florida Bar, and is the only attorney in the state to hold concurrent board certifications in both Appellate Practice and State & Federal Government & Administrative Practice.

Shutts & Bowen’s Daniel Nordby has a special distinction.

“As the only attorney double board certified in both Appellate Practice and State & Federal Government & Administrative Practice, I look forward to applying my unique expertise to benefit my clients,” Nordby said.

Board certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar for the competency and experience of an attorney in a specific practice area. Through board certification, The Florida Bar recognizes an attorney’s special knowledge, skill, proficiency, professionalism and ethics.

Becoming board certified is an extensive process, with certification in appellate practice requiring the attorney to handle at least 25 appellate actions and five appellate oral arguments in the five years preceding application and to maintain a substantial involvement in the specialty.

“Dan’s board certification in Appellate Practice is a tremendous professional achievement and distinguishes him as an expert in not just one, but two specialties,” said Benjamin Gibson, Vice Chair of Shutts & Bowen’s Appellate Practice Group.

Nordby is a member of the Appellate Practice Group and focuses on high-profile, high-stakes matters, particularly in the areas of constitutional, appellate and administrative law.

Trailblazing namesake

The Florida State University Board of Trustees gave its approval to name the school of marketing after FSU Professor Emerita Persis E. Rockwood.

College officials believe it is the first U.S. school of marketing named for a woman.

The name change comes after Rockwood, who passed away in May 2021 at age 97, and her surviving husband, FSU Professor Emeritus Charles Rockwood, bestowed a $10 million gift to the College of Business, where the school of marketing is located.

Persis Rockwood is posthumously a first in the nation. Image via FSU.

The $10 million will provide: a $3.5 million endowment for faculty support, including funding for the eminent scholar chair, professorships, emerging scholars and research; a $3 million endowment for student support in the form of scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students and funding for student professional development; a $2.5 million endowment for “preeminence,” providing discretionary funding for the Rockwood School’s most pressing needs; and $1 million for Legacy Hall, the college’s state-of-the-art future home, specifically to fund the Dr. Persis Rockwood Academic Programs Suite and the Dr. Persis Rockwood Academic and Behavioral Research Lab.

“This is a historic moment in the life of the university, the college and more specifically the Department of Marketing,” said Michael Hartline, dean of the College of Business. “The transformational nature of this gift cannot be overstated, as it will have a life-changing impact on our faculty and students, as well as our college.”

One of six nationally recognized programs in the college, FSU’s undergraduate marketing program is ranked No. 17 among public schools by U.S. News and World Report.

The Rockwoods — significant supporters of Tallahassee’s arts community — also have provided major gifts to the College of Music and the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, including a $2.2 million donation for a custom-built pipe organ at FSU’s College of Music.

“This momentous gift will forever stand as a testament to the work, impact and memory of the late Persis Rockwood,” said FSU President Richard McCullough. “She and Charlie will always have a special place in the Florida State family, and their generosity will help blaze new trails and opportunities in marketing research and education.”

Persis E. Rockwood in 1960 became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in marketing from Stanford University; the first woman at FSU, in 1973, to attain the status of full professor of marketing; and the first woman elected as president of the Southern Marketing Association, of which she was a founding member. That organization evolved into the Society for Marketing Advances.

In 2018, she became one of the first seven faculty members — and the first woman — inducted into the FSU College of Business’ Charles A. Rovetta Faculty Hall of Fame.

Go Noles

The Florida State University Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a $2.36 billion operating budget for the coming year, the largest in the university’s history and a 9% increase over last year’s budget.

“This budget will allow Florida State University to advance our top priorities, such as enhancing student success initiatives and hiring and retaining talented faculty and staff,” McCullough said. “These strategic allocations will benefit our students and the state of Florida and beyond. We appreciate the Florida Legislature for recognizing that FSU is a sound investment and a good steward of taxpayers’ money.”

Richard McCullough is about to oversee the largest budget in FSU history. Image via AP.

The budget includes increased funding for the operations and management of the State of Florida Data Center, the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, the Institute of Politics and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

The university’s fiscal year 2022-23 budget also contains funding for capital improvements, including money for Legacy Hall, the future home of the FSU College of Business; a new football operations facility; a new interdisciplinary research and commercialization building; a new student union; and maintenance of campus facilities.

The budget also includes planning money for a new academic health center.

The university’s operating budget injects an estimated $12 billion into the local and state economy.

Marching to Paris

Last week, we checked in with the Florida A&M University Marching “100,” who played at the Louis Vuitton Men’s Fashion Show at the Louvre Museum in Paris on Thursday. Their latest dispatch from the “City of Love” explains how they landed the gig.

British DJ Benji B, music director at Louis Vuitton Men’s, said the creative vision for this year’s show called for a marching band. His research of marching band culture took him straight to the Marching “100.”

Benji B in the studio observing the Marching “100” Band rehearse in Paris. Image via Tony Leavell.

“It’s watching homemade videos and iPhone footage of the Mighty Rattler Intro and the Snake Walk,” Benji B said. “I have a great deal of respect for the incredible culture and heritage of this art form. What they do is at the very top. It may feel exciting to be in Paris to do this project, but it’s just as exciting to us, and it’s just as much of an honor to have what they do on the runway.”

The idea for a marching band performance in the men’s fashion show had been discussed in previous seasons between Benji B and then-Louis Vuitton Creative Director Virgil Abloh, an African American designer who died in November at age 41 shortly after being diagnosed with cancer.

It’s not the first time the Marching “100” have gone international — or even to Paris. Director of Bands Shelby Chipman, who performed with the Band at the Bastille Day parade during their 1989 Paris trip, said he was delighted by the students’ energy and dedication.

“The opportunity to perform in this EPIC moment in Paris, France, during the Louis Vuitton Fashion Show is truly another major accomplishment and adds to our strong legacy of excellence. It speaks to the amazing talent we have in the Incomparable Marching ‘100,’” Chipman said.

“Much love to Louis Vuitton and their artistic director Benji B and the entire team. You are officially honorary FAMU Rattlers for Life.”

Capitol Directions

Ron DeSantis — Up arrow — Thank the political gods he won, preventing a scenario in which Florida’s sitting Governor was indicted.

Ron DeSantis, Part 2 — Up arrow — New Hampshire gave Trump his first W in 2016. It might give DeSantis his in 2024.

Casey DeSantis — Up arrow — There will never be a ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner for child welfare, but ‘Continue the Mission’ gets us closer.

Casey DeSantis — Down arrow — If only she’d have started Mamas for Moffitt and convinced her husband not to veto all that $$$.

Andrew Gillum — Down arrow — John Morgan said it best: He single-handedly destroyed the Democratic Party in Florida, perhaps forever.

Chris King — Down arrow — Just think: Had Gillum and he won and Gillum subsequently indicted, he’d be measuring the drapes in the Governor’s Office right now.

Sean Pittman — Up arrow — What’s really interesting is how you DID NOT read the prominent lobbyist’s name anywhere in the indictment. He’s clean!

Adam Corey — Up arrow — His name was not in the indictment, either. But not because he’s clean.

Kevin Cate — Crossways arrow — Maybe now the former adviser to Gillum will understand the depth of hatred and resentment for his former friend.

Jack Campbell — Down arrow — Obliviousness is not a virtue.

HD 8 candidates — Up arrow — With Sharon Lettman-Hicks sidelined, the Democratic Primary might be worth watching.

Allison Tant — Up arrow — Her opponent either lied on her paperwork, can’t read, or tossed the wrong ingredients into her CBD matcha.

Josie Tomkow — Up arrow — Horace West may be the only non-Zoomer who doesn’t know how to fill out a check, but that just means Tomkow’s vacation starts Aug. 24.

Division of Elections — Down arrow — Does qualifying paperwork operate on the honor system?

Tom Leek — Up arrow — His opponent started campaigning early. He stopped campaigning early, too.

Shawn Harrison — Down arrow — For someone who just got muscled, he’s taking it pretty well.

Citizens Insurance — Down arrow — It may as well rebrand to Trial Attorney’s Property Insurance Corp.

Erik Eikenberg — Down arrow — There’s something about the way he talks … It’s like he’s speaking at 30 kHz.

FP&L — Down arrow — If they took the energy they put into tailing Nate Monroe and pumped it into the grid, he’d have a lot less to write about.

Florida Retail Federation — Up arrow — Now, retail theft rings are the ones considering closing shop.

First wives — Up arrow — It’s not yacht money, it’s your money.

Grandparents — Up arrow — Many will be reuniting with their grandchildren soon, thanks to the ‘Markel Act.’

Apopka — Up arrow — The city’s name sounds like a vodka brand, and now that downtown businesses can get liquor licenses, it probably will be.

Butt lifts — Crossways arrow — When the Florida Board of Medicine slaps, surgeons don’t turn the other cheek.

Brooks Koepka — Crossways arrow — PGA to LIV seems like a downgrade, and Trump courses aren’t exactly TPC Sawgrass-quality, but the Saudis are writing big checks.

FAMU’s Marching 100 — Up arrow — That’s “FAMU’s Internationally Renowned Marching 100,” thank you very much.

Jeff Culhane — Up arrow — We hope the Seminoles give him many opportunities to say, “Trot in there, baby.”

All Saints Cafe — Crossways arrow — It’s gone for now, but maybe not gone forever.

Bullwinkle’s — Down arrow — A parking lot fire is on-brand.

Staff Reports



#FlaPol

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