Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 6.28.22

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

Good Tuesday morning.

Sunburn will be off tomorrow as Extensive Enterprises Media holds an organizational retreat in St. Petersburg. The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics will be back in in-boxes Thursday.

Since ‘burn is not being published tomorrow, join me in wishing an early happy birthday to one of our besties, the brilliant and indomitable Sarah Bascom. Happy 37th birthday, Sarah!


More unwelcome news for Democrats: Voters are switching parties in droves.

According to voter registration data analyzed by The Associated Press, more than 1 million voters across 43 states have switched their affiliation to the Republican Party over the past year. During the same period, about 630,000 voters have switched affiliations to register as Democrats.

“The previously unreported number reflects a phenomenon that is playing out in virtually every region of the country — Democratic and Republican states along with cities and small towns — in the period since President Joe Biden replaced former President Donald Trump,” AP’s Steve Peoples and Aaron Kessler write.

Is Party switching rampant in Florida? Not good news for Democrats.

The numbers are grim but may not be as dour as they first appear, as AP data shows a subset of party swappers changed their affiliation to vote against Trump-backed candidates in primary races.

But that only accounts for a small chunk of the shift.

Republicans have boosted their voter share in about three-quarters of suburban counties across the country, especially in Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, Virginia and Washington state.

The trend has also been a boon for Florida Republicans. The state party had claimed 58% of party switchers during the final years of the Trump era. However, their share has grown to 70% over the past year.


Charlie Crist’s campaign posts $100K for weekend fundraising — The Crist campaign is announcing weekend fundraising of nearly $100,000 in the wake of the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The campaign collected $40,000 online with an overall average donation of $32.03. Crist leads the field in fundraising with the support of over 54,000 individual donors, and June is on track to be his fourth consecutive million-dollar fundraising month. “The stakes in this election could not be higher — reproductive rights, voting rights, LGBTQ+ rights, workers’ rights, and more are all on the ballot this November. We cannot relent in the fight to put an end to the heartless leadership coming out of Tallahassee,” Crist said. “Ron DeSantis has made it clear he will trample anyone in his path to the White House — but that ends now.”


The Florida Chamber Foundation kicks off its annual Learners to Earners Education Summit at 9 a.m. in Tampa.

The one-day education summit will focus on all levels of education and will give business and education leaders a chance to discuss ways to prepare their students for the future.

Get ready for a jam-packed schedule.

The agenda features sessions focused on the challenges facing the state’s future, how to strengthen career pathways and the benefits of connecting business leaders and students.

One of the early panels will feature

Florida Department of Education Senior Chancellor Henry Mack, Chancellor Kevin O’Farrell, and Statewide Director of Career and Technical Education Quality Keith Richard discussed how Floridians can transform their futures with CTE programs.

Next are panels discussing how businesses can support early learning and another discusses “small steps for big results.”

Later in the program, Florida Chamber’s Senior Vice President Kyle Baltuch, who leads the organization’s Equality of Opportunity Initiative, will host a discussion on the challenges facing the state and how they can be overcome.

A full summit agenda and registration information can be found on the Florida Chamber’s website.


Gail Morgan, Film Commissioner for the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Film Commission, has been re-elected president of Film Florida.

Morgan’s re-election was announced at the Film Florida Annual Meeting, alongside the announcement of the Film Florida Board of Directors for 2022-2023.

The 2022-2023 Film Florida Board of Directors and alternate board members hail from 12 different counties in Florida, stretching from Escambia to Monroe.

“It is an honor to continue to serve as president of Film Florida. The past two years have been challenging but also rewarding and I am proud of how everyone in our organization has stepped up to help each other and the entire state of Florida,” Morgan said.

“Our industry has been resilient and remains an important piece in Florida’s economic growth and diversification and we look forward to competing for high-wage jobs in the film, television and digital media production industry.”

Morgan has worked at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Film Commission, formerly the Emerald Coast Film Commission, for over a decade.

Before becoming Film Commissioner, she worked as a producer and production manager for more than 20 years, gaining an extensive amount of experience working on several types of entertainment production, including feature films, TV series, commercials, and documentaries


@KirbyWTweets: According to @FiveThirtyEight, Joe Biden is less popular today than Donald Trump was at this point in his presidency

@HillaryClinton: It shouldn’t be harder to obtain an abortion than an AR-15.

@NateSilver538: Yes, Roe has electoral implications. Major, unpopular policy changes get punished by the electorate. This is Politics 101. Enough to stop the GOP from winning the midterms? Probably not but it makes it less certain or may decrease their margins.

@MichaelSchettig: So literally the only group of people impacted by overturning Roe are the people who disapprove the most and the group of people least impacted disapprove the least.

@AnnaforFlorida: Nothing like rage writing your remarks for an abortion rally while watching the state spend money to defend their disgusting 15-week abortion ban in court. This is only the beginning — if DeSantis wins in November, he will pursue an all-out ban. There is no debate about that.

@AndyGawt: I consume a lot of conservative media (so you don’t have to!) and let me just tell you that the idea that they are not coming next for gay marriage, or contraception, or same-sex relationships, is just nuts. The electeds just won’t say it because they know it’s unpopular.

@BillScher: Congressional generic ballot, Marist April Republican 47% Democratic 44% June Democratic 48% Republican 41% A 10-point swing to the Democrats post-Dobbs

@ChristinaPushaw: Hi @HumaneSociety, I noticed that you are still running ads in Florida urging @GovRonDeSantis to veto SB 620 due to your concerns about puppy mills. You will be relieved to hear that Gov. DeSantis already vetoed this bill on June 24. We look forward to your updated statement.

@SenPizzo: Now is the time for all of us to do what we can to get real Democrats (re)elected to the FL State Senate and House. Today, in addition to walking and knocking on doors, I am pledging $500,000 in contributions, that will go toward targeted races throughout the state.

@WesWolfeFP: Never expected political shenanigans at a library board meeting before, but these days you never know.


‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 10; 36th Annual Environmental Permitting School — 22; 2022 Sunshine Summit begins — 24; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 25; Beyoncé rolls-out seventh solo studio album ’Renaissance’ — 31; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 43; FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 50; FBHA’s annual conference, BHCon2022, begins — 50; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 54; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 64; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 64; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 56; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 74; 2022 Emmys — 76; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 79; ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 101; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 118; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 119; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 119; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 135; FITCon 2022 begins — 142; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 142; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 146; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 146; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 147; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 155; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 155; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 169; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 233; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 251; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 269; 2023 Session Sine Die — 311; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 311; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 339; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 395; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 479; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 640; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 759.


The ruling was just the beginning: Both sides mobilize over abortion” via Kate Zernike of The New York Times — The court said its ruling on Friday was needed because of what it called a half-century of bitter national controversy sparked by Roe, but its decision set off more immediate and widespread rancor and mobilizing than the original ruling and guaranteed pitched battles and extraordinary division ahead. In Florida, where the Legislature recently passed a ban on abortion after 15 weeks, lawmakers pushed DeSantis to call a Special Session to consider a ban after six weeks. The National Right to Life Committee promoted model legislation for state bans and renewed calls toward its original, bigger goal of a constitutional amendment banning abortion nationwide. Abortion-rights groups were heading back to court with a Monday hearing, seeking an injunction to stop Florida’s 15-week ban from taking effect.

Abortion … just the beginning? Image via The Associated Press.

—“Kamala Harris emerges as top abortion voice, warns of more fallout” via Will Weissert of The Associated Press

In states that allow abortion for rape and incest, finding a doctor may prove impossible” via Megan Messerly of POLITICO — Clinics and abortion funds in Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota and Wyoming, four states that have rape or incest exceptions in their abortion bans, said that while the law may allow people to terminate their pregnancy in those instances, it will likely be easier to get patients across state lines for an abortion than try to clear the hurdles associated with obtaining one legally in their home state. Willing providers may be dissuaded for fear of prosecution. And patients might not want to go through with the abortion if their state requires them or their provider to report the rape or incest to the police, as is the case in Idaho, Utah, and Mississippi.

‘We’re coming for U’: Winter Haven pregnancy center vandalized with graffiti” via Gary White of The Ledger — A Polk County anti-abortion pregnancy center reported vandalism to its facility over the weekend, with phrases like “We’re coming for U” and “Jane’s revenge” spray-painted in red on the building. Managers of the LifeChoice Pregnancy Center in Winter Haven shared photos of the graffiti, and released a statement saying, “We know that there are people who have different views on the value of life, and it has caused anger that has ultimately turned into vandalism of our facility.” The Winter Haven Police Department is classifying the incident as criminal mischief. Cameras outside of the facility were obstructed after being coated in pink paint.

— 2022 —

Ron DeSantis raised more than $3.6M in first half of June” via Jacob ogles of Florida Politics — DeSantis hauled in $3.6 million in the first half of June through his campaign account and his political committee. Campaign reports filed Friday show a continued dominance when it comes to dollars. Some notable donations include six-figure checks from Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley’s investment fund, a company run by nursing home investor Michael Bleich, and former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. More than $1 million of that came in through the official campaign account for DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez. Another nearly $2.6 million flowed to Friends of Ron DeSantis. While the two accounts are also spending substantially as well, the political committee closed the month with almost $107 million in cash on hand, with DeSantis’ candidate account holding another roughly $7.4 million in the bank.

Tweet, tweet:

Val Demings pushes back against Marco Rubio’s ‘defund the police’ allegations” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — Demings’ background as a police officer and Orlando police chief has been considered one of her biggest political strengths in her matchup with Sen. Rubio. But the Rubio campaign is directly targeting it, touting the endorsements of the two largest police unions in Florida and repeatedly attacking Demings. The basis for much of his criticism of her came from an interview she did in June of that year, calling the reforms the Minneapolis City Council considered in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by a police officer was “very thoughtful.” In response, Demings has pushed her background to the fore, calling herself “Chief Val Demings” in campaign emails and filling her first TV ad with images of herself in her uniform.

Rusty Roberts grabs police union endorsement in CD 7” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The Republican congressional candidate received the endorsement of the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association. Roberts, a former Chief of Staff to former Republican Rep. John Mica from that district, faces seven other Republican candidates for the Primary Election nomination for the open seat representing Seminole County and southern Volusia County. The Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association represents 1,700 law enforcement professionals in 11 Florida counties, including Volusia and Seminole.

Cory Mills puts another $30K into CD 7 ads — Republican congressional candidate Mills has increased his media buy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District by $30,000. According to AdInsight, the ads were purchased through Smart Media Group and will air on cable June 25-July 1 in the Orlando market. With the added spending, he has now purchased $45,766 in ad time in the Orlando market. Mills is one of several Republicans running for the Central Florida seat with others, including DeBary Mayor Erika Benfield, Brady Duke, former Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards, Roberts, Rep. Anthony Sabatini, Al Santos and Scott Sturgill.

James Judge sues over disqualification from CD 14 ballot” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Judge has sued the Division of Elections over a decision to disqualify his campaign for Congress. State elections officials on Friday tossed Judge from the ballot in Florida’s 14th Congressional District, saying he signed a local candidate oath instead of paperwork required for federal candidates. But attorneys for Judge allege state law only notes the language of an oath that candidates must sign, and the oath Judge signed should be accepted. Beyond that, his lawyers argue that Judge submitted his form days ahead of the June 17 qualifying deadline and should have been allowed an opportunity to cure any issue.

Democrats sue to kick Jerry Torres off CD 14 ballot” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The Florida Democratic Party wants a Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor kicked off the ballot. A lawsuit filed against Torres and elections officials alleged Torres illegally had a Mississippi notary sign off on a candidate’s oath while the candidate was in Africa. Torres, a former Green Beret, and founder of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, had initially filed as a candidate in the open seat in Florida’s 15th Congressional District but shifted to challenge Castor in Florida’s 14th Congressional District earlier this month. Even assuming Torres signed an original document in person, the complaint asserts it would have been impossible for the candidate to sign the paperwork ultimately accepted by the state.

—”Kelli Stargel mailer suggests she has DeSantis’ endorsement. She doesn’t” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics

Tara Jenner won’t contest disqualification in SD 33” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Lee County Republican Tara Jenner won’t fight the Division of Elections for disqualifying her campaign for state Senate District 33. Instead, she hopes the situation inspires the Legislature to take steps, so the democratic process becomes more open to regular citizens and not just political insiders. Jenner submitted her final paperwork on June 17 — hours ahead of a noon qualifying deadline. She only decided to run after learning incumbent Sen. Ray Rodrigues would not seek a new term, making it an open seat. But after flying to Tallahassee to submit documentation in person, officials say there was an error in her financial disclosures, leading to her disqualification. Lawyer Jonathan Martin has a virtually clear path to the Senate as the only candidate besides write-in Robert Valenta.

Tara Jenner will not protest her disqualification.

FOP endorses Lauren Book for SD 35 — Senate Democratic Leader Book on Monday picked up an endorsement from the Florida State Fraternal Order of Police, District 5, which represents active and retired law enforcement officers across Broward, Collier and Hendry counties. FOP District 5 Director Paul Kempinski said, “Law enforcement officers look for elected officials for their support and Sen. Book is a proven, effective leader we can count on. We are confident she will advocate for the 24,000 active and retired law enforcement officers across the State of Florida.” Book is running for another term against former Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief. No Republicans or NPA candidates qualified for the ballot, so all registered voters will be able to cast a ballot in the Aug. 23 election.

Happening today — Sen. Jason Brodeur; Reps. Kamia Brown, Anna Eskamani and Carlos Guillermo Smith will appear at the Winter Park “Political Mingle,” 5 p.m., Winter Park Events Center, 1050 West Morse Blvd., Winter Park.

Michele Rayner earns slew of endorsements from Pinellas officials as Primary approaches” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — State Rep. Rayner has announced a slate of new endorsements from Pinellas County leaders as she heads into the Democratic Primary for House District 62. New endorsers include Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard, who has served on the Commission since 2014. Rayner also announced endorsements from five of the eight St. Petersburg City Council members, including Deborah Figgs-Sanders, Richie Floyd, Brandi Gabbard, Copley Gerdes and Lisa Wheeler-Bowman. Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith, Gulfport City Commissioners Paul Ray and April Thanos, and former St. Pete City Council member Steve Kornell also offered their support.

Audrey Henson receives $210K from super PAC, $25K from GOP” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Henson reported some hefty donations between her campaign and affiliated political committee during her first two weeks on the campaign trail, including a $25,000 boost from the Florida GOP and a $210,000 drop from a federal super PAC traced back to three donors. That’s according to the latest campaign finance records released Monday, covering June 1 through June 17. Henson, who entered the race for House District 60 at the start of June, was previously running for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Since shifting her candidacy, she has collected $259,300 between her campaign account and affiliated political committee, Friends of Audrey Henson.


Florida denying more concealed carry applications under Nikki Fried than GOP predecessors, data shows” via City and State Florida — More concealed weapon license applications were denied during the first three years of Fried’s tenure as Florida’s Democratic Agriculture Commissioner than the previous two Commissioners combined. In part, the jump can be attributed to increased applications in recent years. But the department’s Division of Licensing denial rate on applications is more than two times greater than under her immediate predecessor, Republican Adam Putnam. In Florida, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is charged with licensing concealed weapons as well as private investigators and security services.

Nikki Fried is quick to deny concealed carry applications. Image via A.G. Gancarski.

DeSantis signs bill protecting churches from emergency lockdowns” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — In yet another pandemic-inspired measure, DeSantis has signed a bill making church doors the last to shutter during an emergency lockdown. DeSantis signed the measure (SB 254), which deems houses of worship “essential services.” During states of emergency, the state and local governments must allow religious events and activities to continue unless the government requires all entities, like businesses and government offices, to cease activities or close their doors. While the law won’t force churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship to stay open during future crises, proponents say it will give the institutions the freedom to respond how they choose. The law will take effect Friday, July 1.

Miya’s Law, named for slain Orlando college student, signed by Gov. DeSantis” via Monivette Cordeiro of the Orlando Sentinel — DeSantis signed Miya’s Law this Monday in hopes of making apartments safer for residents. The new law, named in honor of slain Valencia College student Miya Marcano, requires background checks on employees working for apartment complexes. Marcano was 19 when she was killed by a maintenance worker who used a master key to access her apartment last October. The new rule will also require landlords to maintain a key log of who has access to apartments and provide tenants with 24 hours’ notice before accessing the apartment for repairs. That’s an increase from Florida’s previous requirement of just 12 hours’ notice.

DeSantis expands eligibility for Bright Futures scholarships at Tampa event” via The Associated Press — Florida high school students applying for Bright Futures scholarships will now be able to substitute paid work experience for volunteer hours under a new law signed by DeSantis Monday. During the bill signing, DeSantis said the change would help low-income families whose teenagers need to work. In the 2020-21 school year, the state distributed about $650 million of Bright Future scholarships to about 120,000 students — an average of $5,400 each.

Ron DeSantis makes the future a little brighter for Florida students.

With ‘Stop WOKE Act’ imminent, judge denies request to halt law” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — A federal judge is allowing a ban on “woke ideology” associated with critical race theory to take effect on Friday. Judge Mark Walker, Chief Judge in the Northern District of Florida, denied a request Monday for a preliminary injunction against the new law, which DeSantis calls the “Stop WOKE Act.” The measure will prohibit lessons and training that tell students and employees that they are inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive because of their race, color, sex, or national origin. The injunction request, filed by attorneys for teachers, argues the law violates the First Amendment. However, Walker determined the group couldn’t halt the law because they hadn’t yet shown injury because of the law. Similarly, Walker allowed the State Board of Education to proceed with its rules, adopted last year, which ban lessons akin to critical race theory.

Happening today — The Revenue Estimating Conference meets to discuss “measures affecting revenue,” 9 a.m., Room 117, Knott Building.

Driving with your music too loud? Starting Friday, Florida cops can ticket you for that” via Brett Clarkson of the Orlando Sentinel — Police in the Sunshine State will be able to ticket drivers for playing music too loud from their cars starting on Friday. The law makes it a noncriminal traffic violation for any driver’s music to be “[p]lainly audible at a distance of 25 feet or more from the motor vehicle,” according to the legislation. Drivers will be dinged a fee of up to $114. Some think the law makes sense, saying they hope it will reduce obnoxious noise levels in the public sphere. Yet others complained that the loud music crackdown would give police a way to target racial minorities and serve as a trigger for warrantless searches.

What Fred Karlinsky is reading — “After halting new business in Florida, bankers faults reinsurers’ excessive price hikes” via William Rabb of Insurance Journal — Two more Florida property insurers have stopped accepting new business in the state. One blamed it partly on unfair and unexpectedly significant price increases from reinsurers this year. The other carrier said that, despite reinsurance issues, it would likely resume writing later in a few months — in the middle of hurricane season. “We will accept new business applications with effective dates in the fourth quarter and beyond, and we anticipate opening up to process those applications starting in August,” reads a statement from Centauri Insurance, part of Applied Underwriters. “However, we do expect that new business capacity targets for the fourth quarter will also fill up quickly, and we might then have to stop the inflow of new business again for a while.”


Democrats race to revive economic package as inflation spikes” via Tony Romm of The Washington Post — With inflation on the rise and the threat of a recession looming, congressional Democrats are scrambling to revive their long-stalled economic spending package, hoping to deliver relief to Americans whose finances have soured during months of political bickering. When Democrats last tried to advance the party’s $2 trillion initiative in December, hoping to overhaul the nation’s health care, education, climate and tax laws, the economy seemed booming. The economic peril had fueled new urgency on Capitol Hill, where Democrats hope to resolve their differences, re-craft their agenda and deliver before fall on at least some of the promises they made in the last election.

Supreme Court sides with high school coach over 50-yard-line prayers” via Josh Gerstein and Bianca Quilantan of POLITICO — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of a Washington state football coach suspended over his on-field prayers following games. The justices’ decision, largely breaking 6-3 along the court’s usual ideological lines, found that the school system infringed on the coach’s religious freedom and free-speech rights by seeking to block him from engaging in public prayers on the field while flanked by student-athletes after games. The ruling will likely make government employers more cautious about disciplining employees who engage in religious activity in the workplace, even if others complain about it.

SCOTUS gives all-clear to gridiron prayer.

Supreme Court sides with doctors challenging their convictions in opioids ‘pill mill’ case” via Ariane de Vogue and Chandelis Duster of CNN — The Supreme Court ruled in favor of two doctors convicted of prescribing dangerous opioids without valid medical justification in violation of federal law. Lawyers for the doctors appealed their convictions, arguing that a jury should have been able to consider whether they reasonably believed that they were acting within professional boundaries. The government had argued such a standard was not necessary. The court ruling for the doctors was unanimous, but the justices differed 6-3 on the legal rationale.

Supreme Court rules for inmates seeking reduced prison terms” via The Associated Press — The Supreme Court made it easier for certain prison inmates to seek shorter sentences under a bipartisan 2018 federal law aimed at reducing racial disparities in prison terms for cocaine crimes. The justices ruled 5-4 that trial judges asked to re-sentence inmates may look at a wide range of factors, including some that have nothing to do with crack cocaine offenses that had produced longer stints in prison, disproportionately for people of color. The high court settled a disagreement among the nation’s appellate courts over what judges should do in these cases. The case before the justices involved Carlos Concepcion, serving a 19-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to possessing at least 5 grams of crack cocaine with an intent to distribute.


Mike Pence leans in on abortion as Donald Trump, other potential 2024 candidates are more cautious” via Hannah Knowles and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, former Vice President Pence says abortion should be banned nationwide and is planning behind the scenes to focus on the issue in the coming weeks. Trump, in contrast, fears the ruling could hurt the GOP’s election chances, his advisers said, even as he hailed the ruling as “victory for life” at a Saturday rally. And some ambitious Republican Governors have called for tightening restrictions in their states, while other leading figures in the party have avoided such ideas, as strategists say it remains unclear how abortion will reshape key races in future elections.

Mike Pence doubles down on pro-life. Image via AP.

Jan. 6 panel calls surprise hearing for Tuesday to present new evidence” via Mary Clare Jalonick and Farnoush Amiri of The Associated Press — The House Jan. 6 panel is calling a surprise hearing this Tuesday to present evidence it says it recently obtained. Lawmakers on the panel previously said there would be no more hearings until July. What the hearing will be on is still unclear. The committee’s investigation has been ongoing during the hearings that started three weeks ago.

They backed a Jan. 6 Commission. Now, they face heat in GOP primaries.” via Annie Linskey of The Washington Post — In Mississippi, an insurgent conservative suggested his House Republican opponent should apologize. And in Utah, a candidate running to the right of a Republican member says his adversary “caved to the radical left.” Both were focusing attention on the vote last year by their competitors to create a bipartisan “National Commission” to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, which was done by a pro-Trump mob. Such criticism has put dozens of House Republicans on the defensive in this year’s primaries, forcing them to fend off condemnations from challengers who are using the vote to argue that the incumbents aren’t conservative enough, even though the Commission, as specified in legislation, was never approved by the full Congress, much less assembled.

QAnon creator ‘Q’ returns after nearly two-year hiatus” via Will Sommer of The Daily Beast — The anonymous message board user known as “Q,” whose cryptic announcements spawned the fascist pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory, has returned to posting after a nearly two-year hiatus. On Friday night, someone with access to Q’s login credentials posted on 8kun, the anarchic internet community where Q last posted in December 2020. “Shall we play a game once more?” the first post marking Q’s return to the board read, signed “Q.” The message was written in the same clue-like format as thousands of earlier Q posts, dubbed “Q Drops” by their fans, that led to the creation of QAnon in late 2017.


One button could have ‘saved more lives’ in Surfside condo collapse” via Patricia Mazzei and Mike Baker of The New York Times — The thunderous bang that jolted Jonah Handler and his mother in the middle of the night last June was followed by silence. Jonah, 15, and his mother, Stacie Fang, went out to their terrace and looked up, thinking the ominous sound had come from the roof of Champlain Towers South. But standing on the 10th floor, they could not see anything wrong, so they settled back for the night. All was quiet. No alarm blared. No evacuation order came. But the condo tower was on the precipice of collapse. Nearly everyone was killed in the portion that eventually collapsed, including Jonah’s mother.

Could just one button have saved lives? Image via AP.

Sophia Lacayo adds another six figures to her campaign for Miami-Dade Commish seat in May” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Lacayo passed the half a million mark for funds she added to her campaign for the Miami-Dade County Commission — but most of it involves her own money. Lacayo, who runs a tax services business in her professional life, added $110,609 to her campaign to represent District 12 in May, and $109,114 was a loan Lacayo gave her campaign. The month before, she lent her campaign $103,694. May hit a new high for her spending: $209,908. That’s in marked contrast to her opponent’s May spending. Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez sent out $18,223 the same month.


Johanna López rolls out union endorsements” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — López on Monday rolled out several organization endorsements that typically go to Democrats. López, a member of the Orange County School Board, announced she has received the endorsements of the Florida AFL-CIO; the Florida Service Employees International Union; the FLIC Votes, the political arm of the Florida Immigrant Coalition; the Florida Freedom to Read Project; and the Democratic Public Education Caucus. She also announced she had earned the “Gun Sense Candidate of Distinction” rating from Moms Demand Action. The endorsements might have been helpful in a Democratic Primary Election, but López, of Orlando, won her party’s nomination in HD 43 on June 17 when no other Democrats qualified for the ballot.

Unions line up behind Johanna López.

Seminole County school unions back School Board member Kristine Kraus” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Kraus announced Monday she has received the endorsement of a coalition of unions representing teachers and professional staff throughout the district. Kraus, a local and civic leader and volunteer for 20 years, is seeking a second term representing District 1 on the Seminole County School Board. She faces Deborah Bauer, who aligns herself with the “parental rights” movement. On Monday, Kraus’s campaign announced she’d received the backing of Seminole UniServ, the umbrella organization of four local public-school Unions; Seminole Education Association, Seminole Education Clerical Association, Seminole County School Bus Drivers Association, and Non-Instructional Personnel of Seminole County.

After 2021 fight, OCPS, teachers union agree to ‘historic’ $3,325 pay hikes” via Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel — Six months after a contentious and protracted labor dispute with its teachers, Orange County Public Schools has reached an agreement to give most teachers a $3,325 annual raise, the largest increase in more than a decade. “It’s a really good deal,” said Wendy Doromal, president of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, which said the agreement reached late last week provided for “historic salary increases” for more than 14,000 teachers. A budget expert from the American Federation of Teachers, with which the local union is affiliated, helped local union leaders comb through the district’s budget to determine how much could be spent on teacher pay.

Tampa consulting firm led by former state Representative acquires Georgia tech company” via Jay Cridlin of the Tampa Bay Times — A Tampa consulting firm with ties to state and local schools and government is acquiring an Atlanta-area technology solutions company in a move that will nearly double its tech support staff. MGT Consulting Group announced Thursday that it would absorb Norcross, Georgia’s Layer 3 Communications, in a deal designed to bolster its IT, cloud, and cybersecurity offerings. The merger will boost MGT’s technology services division from around 100 employees to around 230. An MGT spokesperson declined to disclose terms of the deal. MGT has 430 employees nationwide, including 35 in its home base of Tampa. MGT’s CEO is Trey Traviesa, a former Republican state lawmaker from Tampa.



JAXPORT and JEA line up plan to raise power lines, so megaships have more clearance” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — JaxPort and JEA have aligned on a plan for raising power lines spanning the St. Johns River by 2026, so the high-voltage cables won’t pose an aerial obstacle to mega-sized cargo ships coming to Jacksonville. JaxPort and JEA officials have been in sometimes bumpy talks for a few years about the power lines. Earlier this year, a JaxPort board member contended that “foot-dragging” JEA administrators have no interest in raising them. JEA has said it was fulfilling all its commitments by first completing a feasibility study for the project. The JaxPort board unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding that the port authority will be responsible for securing the estimated $42 million needed for installing new towers that will hold up the raised transmission lines.

Bigger ships through the harbor mean better finances at JAXPORT. Image via JAXPORT.


The politicization of the Supreme Court is eroding its legitimacy” via Peter Coy of The New York Times — “Legitimacy is for losers,” a political scientist once said. It’s a profound concept. The winning side in a decision will gladly accept it without asking why. But the losing side — whether the decision is made by a basketball referee or the Supreme Court — will accept defeat only if they believe the decision was made fairly and by the book.

That’s why the politicization of the U.S. Supreme Court is so alarming. People on the losing end of Supreme Court decisions increasingly feel that justice is not being served. That’s a scary situation for the high court and American democracy in general.

“The Supreme Court has no power to enforce its decisions,” Daniel Epps, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, told me. All the Supreme Court really has to go on is the public’s acceptance of its rulings as legitimate. “Once you lose that, it’s not really clear what the stopping point is,” Epps said. “I see that as a fundamental threat to society.”

The Dobbs decision came one day after the Supreme Court struck down New York’s limit on carrying guns outside the home. In Dobbs, the court upheld states’ rights to restrict their citizens’ behavior, while in the New York case, it did the opposite. That may appear inconsistent to supporters of abortion rights, but it’s precisely what the average Republican voter wants, said Maya Sen, a professor at Harvard Kennedy School.


Florida’s reading gains going in the wrong direction. We must turn the page on these losses” via Jeb Bush for the Miami Herald — Learning to read at grade level by the third grade is critical to a child’s success, and setbacks can follow students throughout their lives. The most recent third grade reading test results brought an unwelcome wake-up call: Florida’s record of early literacy improvements could be at risk. It’s easy to forget how far the Sunshine State has come. In 1998, Florida fourth graders scored nearly a full grade level below the national average in reading. In response, we started making bold changes. In 2009, Florida’s fourth graders were among the top 10 highest-performing states. After reaching that high point of success, reading scores have slowly waned, and pandemic-era declines erased any improvements made over the past five years.

In states that have it, strict gun licensing works” via Jacob Wieloch of the Orlando Sentinel — While calls to raise the minimum age of buying a rifle to 21 years old may be effective, that alone will not change the widespread gun violence in America. In Tulsa, the shooter was 45 years old. Instead, we should require permitting or licensing to own a gun on a federal level and improve the rigor in applying for a gun license. Take Massachusetts, for example, which has the lowest gun death rate in the country, and one of the strictest procedures to obtain a firearm. However, this process may be jeopardized because of the recent Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. Gun owners should also be required to store firearms safely and report a stolen or lost gun. All in all, stricter gun licensing protocols won’t stop shootings, but they will reduce them.

Gutted:’ Title IX empowered women in sports. Now the Supreme Court has done the opposite” via Greg Cote of the Miami Herald — One day after the national celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, no longer protecting abortion rights for women across the U.S. That’s right — just one day after women celebrated the federal civil rights law that empowered them in sports and elsewhere, America ruled those same women to be second-class citizens. It is without a doubt that Roe v. Wade and Title IX rights are intertwined, and the overturning of the landmark case leads many to wonder, what’s next? Female athletes across the U.S. responded in outrage to the Roe ruling. The WNBA players association called the ruling “out of touch with the country and any sense of human dignity.” Now, in addition to the direct consequences of the decision, many women athletes are left to wonder how this may also impact the future of female athletics once empowered by the court.

“’Father of the Bride’ could have been filmed entirely in Miami. Too bad it had a stand-in” via the Miami Herald Editorial Board — Despite HBO Max’s latest hit “Father of the Bride” taking place in Miami, the movie did most of the filming in Georgia, which is now the Hollywood filming capital of the country. It didn’t used to be that way. South Florida, and Miami’s signature art-deco landscape, used to be home to scores of movies. In 2010, Florida allotted $300 million for filmmakers and television productions on a first-come, first-serve basis, which helped make the state No. 3 in the country for film production. But, the Florida Legislature decided to cut that financial assistance in 2016, and since then, Georgia has way surpassed Florida, also because of Tyler Perry’s mega-studio-production complex in that state. A 2019 report from Florida TaxWatch estimated that, without a program, the state in the prior four years had lost more than 60 major film and television projects.

DeSantis’s snub of Trump is a 2024 challenge” via David Von Drehle of The Washington Post — DeSantis has thrown the first punch against Trump in what is shaping up to be a competitive 2024 GOP Presidential Primary. Last week, DeSantis announced that he had no intention of asking for Trump’s endorsement in his re-election campaign — an intentional humiliation of a man who hates humiliation. Despite Trump being largely credited as helping DeSantis take the Governor’s seat, DeSantis is making clear that he no longer needs the former President’s approval. And, he’s using Trump’s own tactics to deal the blows.

Amid deepening divisions, U.S. no longer seen as beacon of light around the world” via Tara Soneshine of The Hill — How others perceive countries across the globe can impact their power and influence. A new Pew Research poll measuring international public opinions found that the U.S. remains a positive figure in the 18 developed countries surveyed. Most global citizens say that the U.S. is a reliable partner, and ratings for Biden are mostly positive. But, over the past couple of years, advanced nations have continued to express concern about the health of American democracy. Once thought of as a model for democracy, the country received historically low international ratings during Trump’s tenure.

We looked to the Supreme Court to protect our rights; now, it is taking them away” via Diane Roberts of The Florida Phoenix — Women are no longer full citizens with equal rights in the U.S. — and that means it’s no longer a free country. The author of the majority opinion, Samuel Alito, cited 17th-century case law to prove that abortion has always been criminal, quoting the influential 17th-century English jurist Sir Matthew Hale. But what Alito and the conservative majority really detest is unregulated sexuality. This ruling, which will lead to women dying from backstreet abortions or because doctors are afraid to prescribe the drugs to manage miscarriages, will give the court even less legitimacy.

They called us Nazis for attending a Jewish conference” via Seymour M. Cohen of The Wall Street Journal — Attendees to the Tikvah Fund’s Jewish Leadership Conference were greeted with the call of “Nazi!” because of DeSantis’ appearance and speech at the event. While there were only about 25 demonstrators and probably twice as many police guarding the event, the insults cut deep. As Cohen writes, he had two uncles, two aunts, and 10 first cousins murdered by the Nazis. But now, he says, how sad the word is used to describe those who listened to DeSantis at the conference after he signed a bill prohibiting classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for primary grade students.

— ALOE —

Relief at the pump? Gas prices fall another 14 cents per gallon” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Florida drivers saw more relief at the pumps in the past week as gasoline prices continued to drop from the record high seen two weeks ago in Florida, settling at an average of $4.67 Monday. That’s down 14 cents per gallon from last week and 22 cents a gallon from the record $4.89 set June 13. The decline reflects the recent drop in crude oil and gasoline futures prices, primarily driven by concerns about the economy following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike. The U.S. price of oil declined a total of 11% during the past two weeks.

Gas prices are easing up, just a bit. Image via The Associated Press.

Party in the USA: Floridians can live it up tax-free during upcoming 2022 Freedom Week” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Florida shoppers can get ready to party in the USA tax-free with the 2022 Freedom Week Sales Tax Holiday starting this Friday, July 1. This will be the state’s second annual Freedom Week Tax-Free Holiday. The weeklong sales tax holiday will last through July 7 and apply to purchases of outdoor and recreational items. The Florida Retail Federation encourages Floridians to take advantage of the cost savings and shop locally. “Now is the time for Floridians to enjoy a discount on summer fun,” said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation.


Happy birthday — Celebrating today are Senate President Wilton Simpson, as well as Disney’s Leticia Adams, The Associated Press’ Brendan Farrington, Tyler Hudson, and Brian Lee.


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.

One comment

  • Just a comment

    July 3, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    Whatever it is my 2 Dollar breakfast specials are gone and the sun is going to rain on your parade

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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.

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