Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 7.1.22

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Your day is better when you start it with a first read on what's happening in Florida politics.

Good Friday morning.

Each 4th of July Weekend, we urge Florida Man and Woman to be safe during the holiday. This weekend, we truly hope you will take this message to heart.

There won’t be an edition of Sunburn on Monday or Tuesday. The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics will return to inboxes on Tuesday, July 5.


Always a crowd favorite — “Fourth of July Weekend is brought to you by these lobbyists and political organizations” via Florida Politics


It’s a bear market for jingoism, according to a new Gallup Poll.

The pollster has been measuring national pride for the past two decades and announced this week that fewer than two in five Americans are “extremely proud” to hail from the United States.

Gallup noted that when the number of “extremely proud” and “very proud” Americans are combined, they still make up 65% of U.S. adults. Yet nearly a quarter of those polled are only “moderately proud,” while 9% are “only a little” proud and 4% are “not at all” proud.

Republicans still corner the market on national pride, with 58% remaining in the “extreme” bracket, but independents and Democrats are in a slump, sitting at 34% and 26%, respectively.

Those who once proclaimed that they bleed red, white and blue are, of course, nonplussed about watching their net worth erode to inflation.

Thanks to inflation, patriotism has a (significantly higher) price this year.

Another part of the dip, Gallup asserts, is a national environment that does not reflect the viewpoints of most Americans, who, according to other Gallup polls, are strongly in favor of stricter gun laws and maintaining the abortion rights once guaranteed by Roe v. Wade.

The decrease was not entirely unexpected, however.

“In recent years, all Party groups have become less inclined to say they are proud of their country, which may reflect deepening political divisions and Party gridlock in Washington, as well as national challenges regarding race relations, COVID-19 policies and inflation,” the pollster wrote.


As you celebrate July Fourth, remember that it was July 2 that got the shaft. On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress of the 13 American colonies voted to formally separate from Great Britain (New York abstained). On that occasion, John Adams, a future president of the renegade United States, wrote to his wife, Abigail, “The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” Continued Adams, “It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.” It was not to be.

Two days later, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence written by a showoff named Jefferson. (Psst! Look over here!) Ahem … The rest is history. So Happy Independence Day, otherwise known as the Fourth of July. Just remember, it’s Adams who eventually got the HBO miniseries.

A bunch of troublemakers, led by some showoff named Thomas Jefferson.

—“Independence Day comes only once a year, or does it?” via Brent Batten of the Naples Daily News

Getting the facts straight about the Founding Fathers” via PolitiFact — Invoking the Founding Fathers on Independence Day to celebrate our nation’s birth is a fine thing to do. Invoking them to score political points? Watch out. Take, for example, a Facebook post about Benjamin Franklin that circulated in May 2014, a post that was actually aimed at making fun of Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann. The meme quotes Bachmann as saying, “This country could use a president like Benjamin Franklin again.” Of course, Franklin was never President. And we think Bachmann knows that, as well, because she never actually said the quote. We rated the fabricated Facebook meme Pants on Fire. It’s not just claims on social media. Pundits and politicians get things wrong time and time again when they use the Founding Fathers to support their political views. Over the years, PolitiFact has found numerous errors about what the Founding Fathers supposedly said or did, especially when it comes to constitutional issues and civil rights.

—“Fathers in chief via Tevi Troy of the Weekly Standard

—“The 7 most badass Founding Fathers” via Dave Forsmark of

—“5 forgotten Founding Fathers” via Daniel Holzel of Mental Floss

—“4 more forgotten Founding Fathers” via Erik Johnson of Mental Floss

—“A nostalgic look at Independence Days of yesteryear” via Stephen Hiltner and Tariro Mzezewa

Even George Washington had to fight fake news” via Angie Drobnic Holan of the Tampa Bay Times — Forged letters from before his presidency claimed to show in his own words that he privately sympathized with the British monarchy and thought the American cause was doomed. The letters also suggested that Washington thought Americans weren’t ready for democracy. The letters were clever forgeries, but they dogged Washington. They circulated in pamphlets, during both the American Revolution and Washington’s presidency — until Washington grew tired of hearing about them and issued an adamant fact-check of his own. Whoever forged the letters worked to make them believable, including details about Washington’s life as a Virginia farmer. The letters were immediately recognizable as fakes to Washington’s inner circle.

The truth about Paul Revere’s ride is brought to you by the Florida Medical Association — “The FMA wishes Sunburn readers a happy Independence Day! We hope you’ll celebrate safely. We also encourage all Floridians to thank our nation’s Veterans and their families for protecting the freedoms upon which our country was founded. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out this fascinating Paul Revere factoid involving a doctor (on message!) — a young physician was most likely the only Patriot who reached Concord during the famous “midnight ride” of Paul Revere.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow got a lot wrong in the “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”

The History Channel tells us that “Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1861 poem about Revere’s ride got many of the facts wrong. For one thing, Revere was not alone on his mission to warn John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and other patriots that the British were approaching Lexington on the evening of April 18, 1775. Two other men, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, rode alongside him, and by the end of the night, as many as 40 men on horseback were spreading the word across Boston’s Middlesex County. Revere also never reached Concord, as the poem inaccurately recounts. Overtaken by the British, the three riders split up and headed in different directions. The British temporarily detained Revere at Lexington and Dawes lost his way after falling off his horse, leaving Prescott — a young physician who is believed to have died in the war several years later — the task of alerting Concord’s residents.”

10 U.S. historical facts to rain on any July 4 party” via Florida Politics — Every party has a pooper; that’s why some people go to Fourth of July parties armed with trivia that casts doubt on conventional wisdom — especially in American history. When partygoers are lighting fireworks, exclaiming “Isn’t America beautiful?” these historical fact-checkers rain the truth on their parade. Here are 10 “truth firecrackers” to liven up (or put a quick end to) any Independence Day festivities: 1. Baseball, the “All-American” sport, likely came from England; 2. Apple pie is British, too; 3. The melody of the American national anthem comes from an old English drinking song; 4. The Pledge of Allegiance was created for one reason — to sell more flags; 5. Canadians own the Mall of America; 6. Bald eagle screeches are much weaker than the iconic sound, which is actually from the red-tailed hawk; 7. Settlers didn’t tame the American frontier; it was already pretty tame; 8. Hot dogs on the Fourth? Lewis, Clark and the “Corps of Discovery” ate over 200 dogs during the trip; 9. Speaking of wieners … President Lyndon Johnson would frequently pull his out his own “Johnson”; and 10. Independence Day is actually July 2 (see above).


@ryanStruyk: President (Joe) Biden’s approval rating on handling the economy sinks to 28% via new AP/NORC poll out today. That’s down from 33% last month, 41% six months ago, 52% one year ago, and 60% at its peak.

Tweet, tweet:

@GovRonDeSantis: Unilever’s decision to reverse Ben & Jerry’s discriminatory boycott by allowing their ice cream to be sold in Israel is a step in the right direction. I am disappointed they took a year to stand against BDS. Florida will continue to maintain a strong relationship with Israel.

@GovRonDeSantis: I am glad that the Florida Supreme Court has granted my petition to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate international human smuggling networks that operate on our southern border. We are united in fighting back against Biden’s border crisis and protecting Floridians.

@Emerticus: For decades, libs forced in the most top-down manner possible their worldview on Americans, crushed dissent, and rubbed their victories in the faces of the defeated. The pushback is here. The social counterrevolution has begun. And libs can thank themselves for it.

@NikkiFried: Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is the best of us. Florida is so proud of you!!!

@RepBrianMast: It’s a sad state of affairs when $4.48/gallon is “good” news.

@Paul_Renner: I was glad to see familiar faces at the @flcounties Annual Conference. It’s always a pleasure to collaborate with @FlaglerCtyGov officials on projects to benefit the residents of our community.

@Tressiemcphd: The sheer volume of American flag paraphernalia that white people seem to own boggles my mind. I assume it just sort of flows to them & they aren’t buying all of it? I’m not sure.


‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 7; 36th Annual Environmental Permitting School — 18; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 19; 2022 Sunshine Summit begins — 21; Beyoncé rolls-out seventh solo studio album ’Renaissance’ — 28; The 10-day Florida Python Challenge kicks off — 35; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 39; FBHA’s annual conference, BHCon2022, begins — 47; FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 48; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 51; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 61; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 61; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 63; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 69; 2022 Emmys — 73; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 76; 22-23 NHL season begins — 102; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 115; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 116; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 116; ‘Black Panther 2′ premieres — 133; ‘Captain Marvel 2’ premieres — 134; FITCon 2022 begins — 139; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 139; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 143; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 143; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 144; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 152; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 152; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 168; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 231; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 249; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 266; 2023 Session Sine Die — 308; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 308; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 336; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 476; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 637; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 756.


Florida judge blocks 15-week abortion law, but not before it takes effect” via Jeffrey Schweers of the Orlando Sentinel — Leon Circuit Judge John Cooper said his ruling wouldn’t go into force until he issues a written order, which means the abortion law will still take effect as scheduled on Friday. Cooper said his order would likely not be filed until Tuesday.

Cooper said the state failed to prove it had a compelling interest in restricting a woman’s right to an abortion up to 24 weeks, which several previous court decisions have upheld.

“Women have a privacy right under the state constitution,” Cooper said. “If a legislative act poses a significant restriction on a woman’s right to an abortion, it must provide a compelling reason.”

Ron DeSantis said he was not surprised by the outcome and would appeal: “It was not, of course, something that we were happy to see. These are unborn babies that have heartbeats; they can feel pain; they can suck their thumb.”

Abortion in Florida gets a reprieve, for now.

Abortion providers face fines, imprisonment, and the loss of their medical license under the new law. A plaintiffs’ witness also said that could interfere with the bond between patient and physician and their ability to provide the best medical care.

“We’re glad the court recognized Florida’s abortion ban is a cruel attack on people’s health, futures, and state constitutional rights,” said Whitney White, the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project staff attorney.

One plaintiff acknowledged the judge’s delayed order would create a legal limbo.

Lauren Book praises ruling against abortion ban — Senate Democratic Leader Book praised the court ruling against a new Florida law banning abortions after 15 weeks, saying the judge “rightfully ruled that the law was unconstitutional.” She warned that “extremist GOP leaders will continue their crusade to strip away women’s rights and freedoms” and that abortion rights supporters must continue “to fight with everything we have until women’s rights are fully restored.” She concluded, “Thank you to Planned Parenthood, their supporters, and to Judge Cooper for upholding Florida’s Constitution, which clearly protects abortion access in our state.”

Advocates of legal abortion cheer rare victory. Foes say they’ll win in the end” via Ana Claudia Chacin and Alyssa Johnson of the Miami Herald — Florida advocates for legal abortion won a respite Thursday from the parade of bad news for their cause after a judge in Leon County said he would block implementation of a 15-week abortion ban just a day before the law was scheduled to go into effect. But supporters of the law believe they will win in the end.

— 2022 —

White House focuses on Ron DeSantis — but struggles with Florida” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO — Florida has the White House and national Democrats stumped. Biden’s policies of loosening sanctions on Venezuela and easing restrictions on Cuba could be politically toxic in Latino-heavy South Florida. The administration was seen as making moves without considering political outcomes or improving Biden’s standing with a demographic key to winning the state. And funds from national donor groups have dried up after Florida Democrats suffered stinging losses in recent years. Democrats have an enormous incentive to engage there this year if only to try to blunt DeSantis’ rise ahead of a Presidential bid.

Ron DeSantis is in the ‘crosshairs.’

New juice for DeSantis ‘24” via Lachlan Markay of Axios — A new political group led by veteran Republican strategist Ed Rollins is looking to jump-start a potential DeSantis presidential bid with a legally extraordinary attempt to beef up his donor contact list, Axios has learned. The group, Ready for Ron, says it plans to gather the names and contact information of more than 1 million DeSantis supporters nationwide by the end of the year — then provide that potent political asset, free of charge, to the DeSantis camp. Campaign finance experts say its proposed tactics are legally questionable, and, if accepted by federal regulators, would remake how candidates “test the waters” before runs at public office.

DeSantis equivocal in ‘Remain in Mexico’ reaction, bashes Joe Biden’s border policy” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — DeSantis believes the U.S. Supreme Court may have correctly ruled it constitutional for Biden to end the federal “Remain in Mexico” policy, but that doesn’t mean he believes they handled it right. In the last ruling of its term, the Court found 5-4 on Thursday that the Biden administration properly ended the policy, which began under Donald Trump. The policy, formally known as Migrant Protection Protocols, forces some U.S. asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico. The case explored, because immigration authorities lack the detention capacity to hold asylum-seekers, whether the U.S. could release those migrants into the country or whether authorities must return them to Mexico.

As Jan. 6 hearings portray an enraged Donald Trump, DeSantis may be biggest winner” via Joseph Ax and Alexandra Ulmer of Reuters — Democrats hope the revelations will remind voters why they didn’t re-elect the former President in 2020. But the biggest political beneficiary may be Trump’s fellow Republican, DeSantis, his top potential rival for the 2024 presidential nomination. DeSantis has emerged as a fundraising giant, with a political war chest similar to Trump’s in size. He has raised more than $120 million since winning office in 2018. Recent financial disclosures show his political accounts had over $110 million in cash in mid-June, with a November re-election campaign ahead. Should DeSantis run for President, federal election rules would bar him from transferring leftover gubernatorial race money to a presidential campaign. He could refund donors and resolicit the money for a White House bid.

Vice President DeSantis? Trump isn’t ruling it out” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — During a Newsmax interview, Trump was asked about a potential “Trump-DeSantis ticket in 2024.” That would place Trump atop the ticket, of course, with the Governor in a subordinate role. Trump offered a cagey response. “Well, I get along with him. I was very responsible for his success because I endorsed him, and he went up like a rocket ship, just like I endorsed Mary Miller the other day,” Trump said, referring to a candidate he endorsed in Illinois who won Tuesday. At a rally with the former President, Miller called the overturning of Roe v. Wade a “victory for white life” before her spokesperson released a statement calling the remarks “a mix-up of words.”

Ashley Moody is having a Fox News moment as she charts political future” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO — Cracking down on what Florida Republicans have dubbed “Biden’s border crisis” was the political fight of the day — and the state’s Republican Attorney General was in the center of it. Just days after Gov. Ron DeSantis used a mid-June press conference to ask the Florida Supreme Court to approve a statewide grand jury to investigate crime associated with border-related human trafficking, Moody went on Fox News to tout the governor’s crack down. The grand jury, approved by the high court, will be led by a division in Moody’s office.

Nikki Fried won’t back down — and she’s got the rights to the classic song boosting her” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Fried might be down in the polls and fundraising to become Florida’s next Governor, but she is not backing down. And now she has the right to use the late Tom Petty’s 33-year-old song to back her up. The iconic Floridian’s song, “I won’t back down,” an earworm still getting radio play, was used at Trump rallies to the consternation of Petty’s family, who sent him a cease-and-desist order about it. But now it’s playing against a montage of key moments in feminist history in a new Fried ad. There are marching suffragists, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi being handed the gavel and Sally Ride becoming the first American woman blasted into space. “This is the most important message we’ve ever released,” Fried said.

Tweet, tweet:

Charlie Crist vows to veto all future bills if DeSantis, lawmakers outlaw abortion” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Crist is ready to bring state government to a standstill as Governor if lawmakers outlaw all abortions in Florida. Crist vowed to veto all bills passed by the Legislature if Republicans ban abortion, and he denies DeSantis re-election in November. “If the Legislature goes into a lame-duck Session and this Governor decides that he wants to ban all abortion everywhere, anytime, I will veto every piece of legislation that comes to my desk as your next Governor until they rescind that ban against them,” Crist said.

Matt Gaetz antes up $61K for CD 1 ads — U.S. Rep. Gaetz has placed a $61,145 TV ad buy in the race for Florida’s 1st Congressional District. The purchase was made through Multi-Media Services and will place broadcast ads in the Mobile media market from July 5-23. The buy comes shortly after his Republican Primary challenger, Mike Lombardo, put $51,000 behind a TV spot blasting Gaetz, who is the subject of an ongoing federal investigation that has so far not resulted in criminal charges.

Amnesty for Florida drops $30K on CD 7 ads — Political committee Amnesty for Florida placed a $29,413 cable ad buy in the race for Florida’s 7th Congressional District. The flight will cover ads on Fox News in the Orlando market airing July 2-24. This is the PAC’s first media buy in the district this cycle. FEC records do not indicate which candidate the committee is backing in the Central Florida district, where a dozen candidates — eight of them Republicans — have qualified for the ballot.

First in Sunburn — Jay Collins endorses Laurel Lee for CD 15 — Former Secretary of State Lee has been endorsed by Collins, a former rival in the Republican Primary for Florida’s 15th Congressional District who is now running for state Senate. “Laurel Lee will bring the commitment to veterans and our military that we need in Washington,” Collins said. “As a member of Gov. DeSantis’ administration, she fought to advance a conservative agenda as his Secretary of State. That’s why we can trust Laurel to take that fight to Washington, and why I am giving her my full support.” Lee is competing against several other Republicans in the CD 15 race, including state Sen. Kelli Stargel and state Rep. Jackie Toledo.

— MORE 2022 —

AFP Action-Florida announces another wave of state legislative endorsements” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Americans for Prosperity Action-Florida has announced another set of endorsements in state legislative races. The new crop of candidates includes Republicans Alexis Calatayud in Senate District 38, Rep. Robert Andrade in House District 2, Eugene Stokes in House District 16, and Vienna Francois in House District 45. Calatayud is the immediate past director of public policy and programs at the Florida Department of Education and is the lone Republican running for SD 38. She will face Janelle Perez in November. Andrade has served in the House since 2018 and is running for another term in the new HD 2. He faces Jordan Karr, and Greg Litton in the Aug. 23 Primary, with Democrat Carollyn Taylor set to face the GOP nominee in November.

Robert ‘Alex’ Andrade gets the AFP stamp of approval.

Personnel note: Emma Collum, Jasmen Rogers join Shevrin Jones campaign — Sen. Jones announced that his re-election campaign has brought on Collum and Rogers to lead day-to-day operations through the Aug. 23 Primary. Collum is an attorney, activist, co-founder of the National Women’s March on Washington, Board Chair of Ruth’s List Florida, and founder and immediate past President of Women’s March Florida. Rogers is the founder of Folding Chair Consulting and has worked for several years at the intersection of racial and gender justice. “I’m thrilled to welcome Emma and Jasmen to our team because they both bring incredibly valuable experience, perspective, and insights that will ensure we are firing on all cylinders to connect with voters across our district’s vibrant communities,” Jones said in a news release.

Nate Robertson is trying to find a Republican path in western Orange County” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — In politics, there can be a fine line between lost causes and causes that perhaps just haven’t yet found the right path. Robertson contemplates something along those lines as he pursues his grassroots campaign in a northwestern Orange County area that hasn’t even seen a Republican House candidate in decades, much less a White Republican. When Robertson won the GOP nomination in HD 40 by default on qualifying day, he became the first Republican to run in the Pine Hills-based district since Janet Buckles lost 75% to 25% in 2002. The seat is open. In the General Election, he’s set to face the winner of the Democratic Primary Election between LaVon Bracy Davis and Melissa Myers.


‘Stop WOKE Act,’ 15-week abortion ban among list of 144 new laws taking effect Friday, Part 1” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — There are 144 bills signed by DeSantis that also take effect Friday, from high-profile, highly contested measures that ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, ban the teaching of sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade and prohibit diversity training infused with critical race theory in the workplace to more mundane, smaller changes to the law such as a bill clarifying when a homeowner can cut down a tree in their yard. Here’s Part 1 in a look at the new laws taking effect Friday.

Ron DeSantis’ ‘Stop Woke Act’: is ready to launch. Image via WESH.

New fiscal year, new budget, new … state dessert? Here’s Part 2 of a list of laws taking effect Friday” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Starting Friday, state workers will get a 5.4% pay increase, and some workers, such as state attorneys, public defenders, prison guards and law enforcement officers will see even higher pay bumps. It’s part of the $109 billion budget that takes effect Friday, the start of the new fiscal year. It includes $24.3 billion for K-12 schools, $1.7 billion more than last year, or $8,143 per student, about $385 more. That includes $800 million to boost teacher salaries, an increase of $250 million. Here’s Part 2 of our look at the new laws taking effect Friday.

DeSantis touts civics program criticized by teachers as ‘Christian fundamentalist’” via Zac Anderson of USA Today Network — DeSantis touted his civics education initiative Thursday in the wake of complaints that a new teacher training program is ideologically driven and with strong “Christian fundamentalist” overtones. Teachers who went through the civics training this month said it “was very skewed” and sought to “propagandize particular points of view.” A slide used by the trainers says it is a “misconception” that “The founders desired strict separation of church and state.” Teachers also took issue with how the trainers framed the history of slavery in the United States and how they emphasized a conservative legal theory for interpreting the U.S. Constitution.

Happening today — The Revenue Estimating Conference begins for a post-Session outlook on education enhancement, tobacco settlement, and state School Trust Funds in general revenue, 9:30 a.m., Room 117 of the Knott Building.

Judge gives Andrew Gillum more time to finalize legal representation in corruption case” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — A federal judge has granted a request to give Gillum more time to put his legal counsel in place in his public corruption case. Gillum, who lost the Florida Governor’s race by a razor-thin margin, and close adviser Sharon Lettman-Hicks were arrested June 22 by the FBI in connection with a 21-count federal grand jury indictment accusing them of crimes related to his 2018 run gubernatorial campaign. Among other things, the pair are charged with illegally funneling campaign donations to themselves. During their first court appearance, both Gillum and Lettman-Hicks pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Deadly listeria outbreak spanning 10 states tied to Florida, CDC says” via Jeremy Tanner of WFLA — One person has died and at least 22 people have been hospitalized in a listeria outbreak tied to Florida, the CDC said Thursday. The cause of the cases is still unknown, according to the CDC, but the majority of the people either live in Florida or traveled to the state about a month before they started feeling symptoms. The actual number of illnesses is likely higher because many people recover without medical care and a lab test. Confirmed cases of the strain date back to January 2021, but 16 of a total 23 documented illnesses happened in 2022. Public health officials have been interviewing the people who got sick to find a common food they might have consumed, but as of Thursday, there was no known link.

‘No one felt safe’: Florida schools, students feel effects of so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law” via Kathryn Varn of USA Today Network — More than a dozen times in Florida school districts, that’s precisely what happened. Since the beginning of March, when the bill picked up steam in the Legislature, students who organized protests like Weinstein’s said they were silenced by administrators and bullied by their peers and online trolls. Books with LGBTQ characters and themes were removed from libraries and curricula. Some teachers quit their jobs, and others who stayed were asked to take down flags or signs they hung to provide a welcoming environment in their classrooms. The bill wasn’t cited as the reason for action in every case, but LGBTQ advocates say the legislation and its surrounding rhetoric have created a hostile environment ripe for these types of attacks.

‘Don’t Say Gay’ sends a chill throughout Florida. Image via AP.

Fried’s office hasn’t moved to reform vague reports on theme park injuries” via Katie Rice of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Nearly two years after the Florida agency responsible for amusement ride safety vowed to reevaluate rules that allow major theme parks to self-report ride injuries, the system has not changed, even as visitors continue to be hurt. As a result, the theme parks still issue vague reports with few details and follow-ups. Experts and advocates for those injured say the system lacks accountability and puts theme park guests at risk. “You’ve got the fox guarding the henhouse,” said attorney Ed Normand, who is representing the family of a boy whose foot and leg were crushed on the E.T. Adventure ride. The larger attractions should have at least the same level of state oversight as county fair rides, which officials inspect regularly and document in state records, he said.

Party in the USA: Floridians can live it up tax-free during upcoming 2022 Freedom Week” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Just in time for Independence Day festivities, 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 hiatus 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. This year’s tax holiday comes from HB 7071, signed by DeSantis on May 6. Sen. Kelli Stargel and Rep. Jay Trumbull championed the legislation.


Florida was off center stage in American Revolution despite some important events“ via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News — As the nation celebrates this Fourth of July … Floridians can look back at the strange and almost entirely forgotten role their state played in the American Revolution. A Spanish colony for nearly 200 years, the English gained Florida at the Treaty of Paris in 1763, which ended the Seven Year’s War. People in the U.S. call it the French and Indian War. Dividing the peninsula into East Florida and West Florida, the British attempted to develop plantations in their new holdings but generally used the Floridas for military purposes. The strong military presence helped ensure that the Floridas would not join the 13 colonies to the north in rebelling against George III. … rebellious Americans looked at the Floridas as a threat since the British could launch attacks into Georgia and South Carolina from the south. Colonists loyal to the British crown fled to the Floridas and helped form military units, like the East Florida Rangers, to fight against the American forces. While they did not play a leading part in the American Revolution, Florida and Floridians provided some dramatic moments. James Grant, who served as Governor of East Florida from 1764 until 1771, played a crucial part in British successes in capturing New York and would capture St. Lucia from the French later in the war. American prisoners were held in St. Augustine — including Arthur Middleton and Edmund Rutledge, two South Carolinians who signed the Declaration of Independence. One recent Florida politician with a keen interest in his state’s role in the American Revolution was longtime U.S. Rep. Charles E. Bennett … who represented the First Coast in Congress from 1949 until retiring in 1993. Bennett wrote several books on the Revolution, including a book on battles as well as a biography of Robert Howe with Donald Lennon.

Florida played a pivotal, but largely unrecognized, role in the American Revolution.

Study finds Florida among most independent states in the nation” via Jordan Kirkland of The Capitolist — Florida is one of the most independent states, according to a study released by WalletHub. With Independence Day just days away, WalletHub released a report on 2022’s Most Independent States. To determine the most self-sufficient states, the personal-finance website compared the 50 states across 39 metrics, measuring how dependent Americans are on the government and other people for finances, their jobs and personal vices. Florida landed at No. 6 on the list, setting the bar high in several key metrics. The analysis found that Florida boasts the fourth-highest share of federal, state, and local government employees.

—”Party in the USA: Floridians can live it up tax-free during 2022 Freedom Week” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics

Jimmy Patronis urges Floridians to put safety first on July 4 — Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Patronis issued a list of tips Floridians should use to ensure they make it to July 5 with all 10 fingers, 10 toes, and a home that has not been burned to a crisp. “While fireworks can be exciting, they can also be incredibly dangerous if not used with caution. The last thing we want is for your Independence Day to end with a trip to the hospital, or even a tragedy,” he said. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Americans who get risky on Independence Day cause nearly 20,000 fires and countless injuries every year. Many can be avoided by keeping a fire extinguisher on hand and not lighting your entire arsenal at the same time.

It’s illegal to fire celebratory gunshots” via Jordan Highsmith of WTSP — Firing celebratory gunfire is illegal across Florida. According to Florida law, discharging a firearm in public or on residential property is a punishable first-degree misdemeanor, with exceptions for a person lawfully defending life, property, or when hunting. Choosing safety is not limited to firing shots, but also when putting on fireworks displays. “The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office recommends either leaving it to the pyrotechnics professionals or maybe finding an alternate way to celebrate the holiday,” the sheriff’s office said.

FWC asks Floridians to be ‘heroes’ for beach-nesting birds — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is urging Floridians to watch their steps when they hit the beach for the holiday weekend. During the summer months, shorebirds and seabirds set up nests on Florida beaches, but human activity can damage nests or cause birds to abandon them. FWC advises Floridians to keep at least a football field’s worth of distance from beach-loitering birds and to keep an eye out for signs designating critical wildlife areas. Also, leave the fireworks, trash and dogs at home; birds don’t dig ‘em.

Highway Patrol asks Floridians to pump the brakes — More than 2.6 million Floridians are expected to travel for the holiday weekend, and a record-breaking 89% plan to do so by car. Ahead of the rush, the Florida Highway Patrol urged travelers to put safety first when they get behind the wheel. Those who don’t may find themselves with a ticket to pay — FHP troopers aren’t taking the weekend off and will, in fact, be boosting their presence. FHP doled out more than 56,000 speeding citations in July 2021 and an additional 13,000 citations were issued for careless driving. “FHP urges all Floridians and visitors to slow down and never drive impaired, especially this Fourth of July Holiday Weekend,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol.

AAA brings back ‘Tow to Go’ for 4th of July weekend” via Courtney Holland of WTSP — If you’re planning on going out to celebrate over the 4th of July weekend, there’s one important thing to keep in mind — don’t drink and drive. For people to stay safe while out enjoying their time, AAA has brought back its “Tow to Go” program for the holiday period. Anyone needing to get from point A to point B after having a few drinks will have a way of safely getting there. The program will be active from 6 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Tuesday. AAA reminds people that free help in transportation should be treated as a last resort. When someone calls 855-286-9246, AAA sends out a tow truck to drive the would-be impaired driver and their car to a safe location within a 10-mile radius.


Biden plans to deliver major Jan. 6 speech when House probe ends” via Mike Memoli and Carol E. Lee of NBC News — Biden is likely to deliver a speech on the Jan. 6 committee’s findings once the House panel wraps up its investigation, according to a senior administration official and a Democrat familiar with the planning. The sources said that the speech would aim to emphasize what Biden believes is at stake should Trump or his allies return to power in Washington. The exact timing of the address would be influenced by the committee’s progress in concluding its investigation but could come before November’s midterm elections.

Joe Biden is prepared to drop the mic on the Jan. 6 commission.

Biden calls for suspending filibuster rules to guarantee abortion rights” via Ashley Parker and Matt Viser of The Washington Post — Biden called for altering Senate filibuster rules to codify into law abortion rights and privacy protections, the most aggressive position he has staked out on reproductive rights and one that could reshape a roiling national debate ahead of the midterm elections. Biden, who previously has been reluctant to change the decades-old rules in institutions like the Senate in service of Democratic priorities, took a more combative approach in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision last week to overturn Roe v. Wade. Biden’s comments on changing the filibuster came after Democrats had criticized what they saw as a lackluster response to a tectonic shift in abortion rights.

Supreme Court limits EPA’s power to combat climate change” via Robert Barnes and Dino Grandoni of The Washington Post — The Supreme Court sharply cut back the EPA’s ability to reduce the carbon output of existing power plants, a blow to the Biden administration’s plans for combating climate change. The vote was 6 to 3, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the court’s conservatives. “Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,’” Roberts wrote, referring to a court precedent. “But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme.”

Fried blasts SCOTUS’ emissions ruling — Shortly after SCOTUS’ decision was released, Fried called it a “dangerous setback” in a news release from her office. “We’re in a race against time to minimize and avoid the host of calamities that will ensue if we fail to act on climate change. Florida is ground zero for climate change — we are already seeing more destructive storms, extreme heat, and sea level rise,” she said. “It’s up to all of us to mitigate these impacts, which is why I’ve proposed one of the boldest climate change mitigation plans in Florida’s history as well as setting new statewide renewable energy goals aimed at increasing the amounts of renewable energy used by the state on an incremental basis until reaching 100% by 2050.”

—“‘No slack in the system’: Ruling will make hitting climate targets more difficult” via Winston Choi-Schagrin of The New York Times

Borrowing from future Social Security benefits is part of Marco Rubio’s Post-Roe vision” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — After the fall of Roe v. Wade, U.S. Sen. Rubio is highlighting his legislation to help make parenthood more affordable, but it’s getting criticized for how it would drain parents’ eventual retirement. Rubio’s legislation would allow these parents to get three months of their Social Security decades ahead of time to finance parental leave. Current U.S. law provides only that these parents get 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave with health benefits. About 23% of the private sector workforce has access to paid family leave. Rubio has been discussing the Social Security idea since 2018 when he introduced the Economic Security for New Parents Act. Now it’s one of several legislative efforts he outlined in the Washington Examiner last week.

Supreme Court to hear case on state authority over elections” via The Associated Press — The Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from North Carolina Republicans that could drastically limit state court authority over congressional redistricting, as well as elections for Congress and the presidency. The justices will consider whether state courts, finding violations of their state constitutions, can order changes to federal elections and the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional districts. The case probably will be argued in the fall. The appeal challenges a state court ruling throwing out the congressional districts drawn by North Carolina’s General Assembly that made GOP candidates likely victors in 10 of the state’s 14 congressional districts.

—”Black women celebrate Jackson’s swearing-in: ‘We needed this happy’” via Natachi Onwuamaegbu of The Washington Post

Trump is in trouble and he knows it” via John F. Harris of POLITICO — At first blush, the Supreme Court’s decision striking down Roe v. Wade doesn’t have much to do with the startling revelations produced by the Jan. 6 select committee. Both stories move the national debate into arenas in which tactics that Trump has used so often and so skillfully in the past are far less likely to be effective. This time seems different because both subjects are qualitatively different. Trump’s own words suggest he knows it. Both represent clear forks in the road on matters of fundamental national policy. By experience and temperament, this is not a realm in which Trump is well-equipped to prosper.

Donald Trump is in it deep — and it’s getting deeper.

About half say Trump should be charged for Jan. 6” via The Associated Press — The survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 48% of U.S. adults say the Republican former President should be charged with a crime for his role, while 31% say he should not be charged. An additional 20% say they don’t know enough to have an opinion. 58% say Trump bears a great deal or quite a bit of responsibility for what happened that day. The poll was conducted after five public hearings by the House committee investigating Jan. 6, which has sought to paint Trump’s potential criminal culpability in the events that led to the deadly insurrection.

—“GOP megadonors turn on Trump after Jan. 6 hearings, set sights on DeSantis, Mike Pence and other 2024 hopefuls” via Brian Schwartz

Jan. 6 hearing testimony paints Mark Meadows as unwilling to act as Capitol Riot unfolded” via Maggie Haberman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — It was about 2 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021. Meadows sat on a couch in his West Wing office, alone, scrolling through his cellphone. Across Washington from the White House, Trump supporters were approaching the Capitol, protesting the certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory. “Are you watching the TV, chief?” Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to Meadows, recalled asking him. “The rioters are getting really close. Have you talked to the President?” No, Meadows replied, his eyes fixed on his phone. Trump, he went on, “wants to be alone right now.” Hutchinson’s account of a chief of staff who was at best disengaged and at worst overwhelmed by the events around him was a key part of her public appearance Tuesday at a hastily scheduled hearing by the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot and what led to it.


—”Here’s your July Fourth weekend weather forecast across the U.S.” via The Washington Post 

Nation braces for miserable travel weekend as canceled flights stack up” via Alex Gangitano, Karl Evers-Hillstrom and Zach Schonfeld of The Hill — Americans are headed into an ugly Fourth of July travel weekend, with 1,800 flights canceled already this week with days left to go. Airlines are struggling to meet surging demand after pandemic lockdowns and amid pilot and staffing shortages, but they are also accusing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of not having adequate staffing and failing to provide a plan on personnel ahead of the summer holiday. However, consumer groups and the Biden administration are blaming the airlines, which won tens of billions of dollars in stimulus payments during the coronavirus pandemic as flights dried up. The government argues the handouts should have allowed the airlines to keep themselves fully staffed as passengers returned.

Inflation hits July 4 cookouts with food prices up as much as 36%” via Carrington York of Bloomberg — Add Fourth of July cookouts to the list of what Americans will pay more for this year — a lot more. Ground beef prices are up 36% from a year ago, while chicken breasts gained by a third, according to a survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation. Overall, revelers can expect to spend 17% more on food for a barbecue, marking the most significant increase since the lobbying organization began tracking data a decade ago. In 2021, the cost of an Independence Day cookout declined by less than 1%, according to the group. But much has changed since then. Costs for fuel, labor and key farming inputs like fertilizer have soared.

—”A little less fire, a little more work? Cost of July 4th cookouts 17% higher than last year” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics

Tweet, tweet:

From sea to shining sea: AAA predicts 47.9 million people will travel this July 4” via Ellen Edmonds of AAA — Summer travel is already in full swing, and Independence Day will be no exception as AAA predicts 47.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend. This is an increase of 3.7% over 2021, bringing travel volumes just shy of those seen in 2019. The biggest surprise — car travel — will set a record despite historically high gas prices, with 42 million people hitting the road. “The volume of travelers we expect to see over Independence Day is a definite sign that summer travel is kicking into high gear,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “Earlier this year, we started seeing the demand for travel increase, and it’s not tapering off.”

The long, ongoing debate over ‘All men are created equal’” via Hillel Italie of The Associated Press — Few words in American history are invoked as often as those from the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, published nearly 250 years ago. And few are more difficult to define. The music, and the economy, of “all men are created equal” make it both universal and elusive, adaptable to viewpoints — social, racial, economic — otherwise with little or no common ground. How we use them often depends less on how we came into this world than on what kind world we want to live in. It’s as if “All men are created equal” leads us to ask: “And then what?”

Misunderstood ‘patriotic’ songs for the Fourth of July” via Maeve McDermott of USA Today — “Born in the USA,” Bruce Springsteen: Perhaps the most famous song to be widely mistaken for a patriotic anthem, Springsteen’s famous 1984 single has been used by political candidates from Presidents Ronald Reagan to Trump. Yet, listen past the song’s booming chorus, and its lyrics tell the story of a young American kid sent against his will to fight in Vietnam, only to return home to a country arguably as hostile. “Fortunate Son,” Creedence Clearwater Revival: The song has been similarly treated as a patriotic working-class anthem, but listen past its star-spangled opening lines — “Some folks are born made to wave the flag/Ooh, they’re red, white and blue” — for John Fogerty‘s anti-establishment storytelling about how the poor were sent to fight and die in Vietnam while the wealthy were spared. “This Land Is Your Land,” Woody Guthrie: It wasn’t intended as such when the singer-songwriter, irritated by radio stations playing Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” on a constant loop, wrote the song in 1940.

What states are searching about grilling this Fourth of July” via Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy of CNN — Data from Google Trends is revealing what people in each state across the U.S. checklist are searching about grilling as we approach the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The most searched “how to grill …” In the Western states is “tri-tip.” In the eastern part of the country, fish and steak are popular. In Florida, it’s “grouper.”

The case for a Fourth of July Seder” via Alan Burdick and Eliza Byard of The New Yorker — Independence Day should be restful, yes, but it could also be more purposeful. What the Fourth of July needs, we think, is a Seder. For those unacquainted with it, the Seder is the meal served at the beginning of Passover, the Jewish holiday that recalls and celebrates the flight of the Israelites from bondage in ancient Egypt. It is a ceremony replete with symbolic foods (bitter herbs, invoking the bitterness of slavery; matzo, the bread of affliction) and ritual acts (handwashing, blessings over wine). It’s also an adaptable holiday, responsive to its audiences through the ages and to changing historical tides. What would a good Fourth of July Seder look like? One core ritual, easily carried out in 10 minutes, should be to read the Declaration of Independence out loud. It’s a declaration; let’s declare it. And one more thing: a proper Seder requires you to invite a stranger to your celebration, someone wandering alone in the desert, beyond the borders of your community. That shouldn’t be hard to find.

The Statue of Liberty” via Miss Cellania of — The story of the statue begins with the American Civil War. When fighting broke out in 1861, the rest of the world watched with rapt attention: Could the grand experiment in democracy survive? The United States had inspired the French, who were locked in a cycle of extremism, swinging between bloody democratic revolutions and imperial autocracy. The French were crushed when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 1865. More than 40,000 grieving citizens contributed to a fund to award Lincoln’s widow a gold medal … It was in this climate, in the summer of 1865, that a group of prominent Frenchmen were discussing politics at a dinner party given by Edouard René de Laboulaye, a prominent historian and law professor … He proposed that France give America a monument to liberty and independence in honor of her upcoming centennial. After all, tens of thousands of Frenchmen had just contributed to a medal for Mary Todd Lincoln — how much harder could it be to pony up for a statue? Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, an up-and-coming sculptor … wanted his monument to be just as inspiring, and his sketches leaned on the popular imagery of the time-broken chains, upheld torches, crowns meant to represent the rising sun … Bartholdi didn’t want “Liberty Enlightening the World” to be just a tribute to American freedom. The statue had to send a pointed message to France that democracy works. It didn’t take long for Bartholdi to perfect his vision for the sculpture. However, getting the statue built was another matter … Given the statue’s message, backing from the French government seemed unlikely … Laboulaye had an idea: What if he and Bartholdi pitched the project as a joint venture between the two countries? As a show of their shared friendship, France could provide the statue and America the pedestal … Bartholdi’s workmen started by creating a 4-foot model. Then they doubled the size. Then they quadrupled it to create a 38-foot-tall plaster model. The workmen then broke down the structure into 300 sections, taking each piece and enlarging it to precisely four times its size. The result? A full-scale model of the final statue — in pieces! On Oct. 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was finally ready. New York held its first-ever ticker-tape parade for her unveiling. And while hundreds of thousands cheered from Manhattan, only 2,000 people were on the island when she was finally opened to the public — a “tidy, quiet crowd,” an officer on duty told The New York Times.

The Statue of Liberty on display in Paris in 1878, before it was assembled in the United States.

Forget plain ketchup: Try making these nine condiments for your Fourth of July cookout” via Michelle Stark of the Tampa Bay Times — Kranch. Mayocue. Mayomust. Three “new” condiments introduced by Heinz this year are all kinds of weird until you really think about it. We’re not going to defend the names, but mixing classic condiments is a no-brainer. If you squint, Kranch resembles Russian dressing. In fancier circles, Mayomust might be called “mustard aioli.” We are going all-in on condiments for this year’s Fourth of July food spread. Keep the food simple. Heat up a grill, cook up some meats and veggies. And ahead of time, whip up some accompanying creations. We’ve broken it down into three of the most common condiments, bases onto which you can build: ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard.


‘Demand is robust.’ Fireworks come roaring back this summer.” via Julia Jacobs of The New York Times — Several major fireworks companies are still seeing booming business, including Pyro Spectaculars, which has staged the Macy’s fireworks show in New York City for most of its history. The company, based in California, is back up to its capacity of about 400 fireworks shows for the Fourth of July holiday, following a 90% decline in that business in 2020. “We’re thankful and grateful that we’ve made it through the toughest times in our family history,” said Jim Souza, its fourth-generation leader (and no relation to the composer John Philip Sousa, whose music is a fireworks show staple.)

Fireworks are America’s favorite face exploding, dog torturing, bird murdering way to celebrate its birthday” via Caitlin Gibson of The Washington Post — You could argue that “fireworks gone wrong” (Google it: 37 million results) serve a kind of Darwinist function, reappropriating the anatomical inheritance of whoever can’t be bothered to follow the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s advice to “NEVER LAUNCH FIREWORKS OFF YOUR BODY.” But aside from the fact that fireworks can malfunction and that many of the wounded are just kids, consider the collateral damage of humankind’s fascination with these over-the-counter explosives. The National Fire Protection Association reports that roughly 18,500 fires are started by fireworks every year — house fires, vehicle fires, even wildfires, like the guy who set ablaze 47,000 acres in Arizona and caused more than $8 million in damage after he detonated fireworks as part of a “gender reveal” party.

The history of fireworks: from ancient China to today” via Marcia Wendorf of Interesting Engineering — Fireworks first appeared in 200 B.C., when the ancient Chinese would roast pieces of bamboo in a fire. Hollow pockets in the bamboo would explode, and evil spirits would be warded off. By 900 A.D., during the Tang Dynasty, Chinese alchemists were mixing together saltpeter (potassium nitrate), charcoal and sulfur, which was an early form of gunpowder. They stuffed it into hollowed-out bamboo sticks, then roasted those to produce a loud blast. Today, fireworks are a part of the Chinese New Year and the mid-autumn Moon Festivals.

It’s all fun and games … until someone loses a finger.

Feds once again nix Kristi Noem’s Mount Rushmore fireworks event” via The Associated  Press — The National Park Service has denied South Dakota Gov. Noem’s request to mark the Fourth of July with fireworks at Mount Rushmore, citing opposition from Native American tribes as well as the possibility of igniting wildfires. “Mount Rushmore is the best place in America to celebrate our nation’s birthday – I just wish President Biden could see that,” the Republican governor said in a statement Tuesday. “Last year, the President hypocritically held a fireworks celebration in Washington, D.C., while denying us our own event. This year, it looks like they are planning to do the same.” Noem said she would continue a court battle to hold the fireworks.

Some cities nix July 4 fireworks for shortages, fire dangers” via Anita Snow of The Associated Press — The skies over a scattering of Western U.S. cities will stay dark for the third consecutive Fourth of July as some major fireworks displays are canceled again this year — some over wildfire concerns amid dry weather and others because of enduring pandemic-related staffing and supply chain issues. Phoenix canceled its three major Independence Day displays because it couldn’t obtain professional-grade fireworks. Shows in several other cities around Phoenix are still on. “Unless you’re in a really remote area where that was the only show, most people will be able to find a show nearby,” said Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association.

—“4th of July in Crestview: Fireworks, music, food, inflatables and games at Party in the Park” via Northwest Florida Daily News

—”July 4 weekend things to do: New dining & drinking, an artful happy hour in Delray, vegan BBQ on Las Olas” via Ben Crandell of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

—”July 4 weekend ahead: Check out these fireworks celebrations in Gainesville and Alachua County” via Gershon Harrell of The Gainesville Sun

—”July 4 traditions in Jacksonville all about the fireworks, flags and parades” via Matt Soergel of The Florida Times-Union

—”This July 4 weekend, here’s where to watch fireworks shows in and around Jacksonville” via Tom Szaroleta of The Florida Times-Union

—”Independence Day festivities in the Florida Keys“ via Keys News

—”Ready for an explosive weekend? Here’s a look at July 4 fireworks and events in Polk County” via Marialice Quinn of The Lakeland Ledger

—”Where to find fireworks and other July 4 events near Sarasota, Bradenton and Punta Gorda” via Jimmy Geurts of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

—”July 4 in South Florida: Plan for patriotic parties, parades and fireworks shows” via Cindy Kent of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

—”Best Fourth of July weekend food and drink events” via Juliana Accioly of the Miami New Times

—”Live music, fireworks and more this Fourth of July at Tallahassee’s Celebrate America event” via the Tallahassee Democrat

—“Celebrating the 4th of July at Central Florida theme parks” via Landon McReynolds of Click Orlando

Watching Fourth of July fireworks from a boat? Know these Florida laws, safety tips” via Ed Killer of Naples Daily News — Planning on watching fireworks on the water for the Fourth of July? With thousands of new boaters, alcohol and operating vessels after dark, there’s a potential for boating accidents. To help avoid any accidents, before heading out on the water, make sure there are a sufficient number of approved life vests for each person (especially children, who require smaller vests). Also make sure to check your boat and related equipment, put gas in the boat, charge all batteries, pre-load the boat, file a float plan and inspect lights. Always check the weather before going out. When you’re at the boat ramp, get the boat ready before pulling onto the ramp and on the ramp, back down, launch the boat, pull out. If problems arise, get out of the ramp area. When you’re finally on the water, remember that your wake affects others. If in a vessel less than 26 feet, remember to connect the automatic engine kill switch. Do not be aggressive — plan for enough time to reach your destination. Use running lights when underway. At anchor, turn on the anchor light. It’s the law. Make sure to have a good spotlight to spot obstructions in the dark. Never ignite fireworks from a boat, and be sure to have working fire extinguishers easily available. Also, make sure to designate a sober driver.

Fireworks! The science and psychology of fireworks via PBS — NOVA presents the colorful history of pyrotechnics and reveals how high-tech firing systems are transforming public displays into a dazzling, split-second science. Here’s what you’ll find online: Name That Shell … Watch video clips of fireworks bursting in air and find out how well you know your chrysanthemums from your peonies, your roman candles from your palm trees. Anatomy of a Firework … Where you see brilliant light and vivid color, a pyrotechnician sees a successful lift charge, black powder mix, time-delay fuse, bursting charge, and other essential ingredients. Pyrotechnically Speaking … Dr. John Conkling, adjunct professor of chemistry at Washington College and former executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, describes what it is about fireworks that gets him, well, all fired up. On Fire (Hot Science) … This virtual laboratory lets you explore the basics of combustion, including how a fire ignites, what a flame is made of, and how burning molecules rearrange themselves.

’They think they’re going to die’: How to keep dogs safe and calm during Fourth of July celebrations” via Jorge Ortiz of USA Today — It’s not too hard to tell your dog is scared if you know what to look for. Shivering, shaking, panting, salivating, yawning, and trying to hide are some of those indications. Frightened dogs may also lick their lips repeatedly or get stiff. Depending on the pitch, fireworks that may seem distant can still elicit stress. Music, preferably classic or reggae, can block out some of the offending sounds. Familiar surroundings would also provide a sense of comfort. It’s best to leave pets behind in a secure place. If they’re outside, a leash is advised. The ASPCA points out alcoholic drinks can poison pets, which may get weak and depressed or even go into a coma after ingesting alcohol.

Florida Audubon: Fireworks on the beach ‘wreak havoc’ on nesting birds. Leave it to the pros” via Tom McLaughlin of the Northwesy Florida Daily News — Last year the high-pitched calls of least terns filled the air around the dunes at the southern end of Norriego Point. This year, as the Fourth of July holiday approaches, a much smaller, though still vocal, group of about 50 is nesting in the area, trying to feed and defend their young until they’re old enough to fend for themselves. Many birds are re-nesting, and this will be their final opportunity to successfully raise young this season, a news release from Audubon Florida said. Caroline Stahala, the Panhandle project manager for Audubon, said she isn’t worried too much that the population of terns on the east side of East Pass in Destin has dipped from about 350 in 2021.


Miami called the worst place in America for housing costs. Is more density a fix?” via the Miami Herald editorial board — Miami, apparently, is the worst place in America regarding housing costs. Or, as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Marcia Fudge, said when she singled out Miami for a visit, it’s “the epicenter of the housing crisis in this country.” We knew that already. Renters are in one of the most competitive markets in the United States, though, thankfully, there are early signs it may be cooling. Densification, as it’s sometimes called, was pitched as a way to keep the suburbs from continuing to balloon into the Everglades, while also bumping up housing availability. Increasing density within Miami-Dade has built-in problems, though, that would need to be addressed.

Miami is a tough place to find a place.

County report alleges Fort Lauderdale building official authorized improper permits” via David Lyons of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A Broward County inspector general alleges that the City of Fort Lauderdale’s top building official improperly authorized building permits for a beachfront luxury condo and two other construction projects in the city. In a letter dated Wednesday to Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis and City Commissioners, Inspector General John W. Scott declared John Travers, who leads the city’s building services division, “engaged in misconduct by evading the dictates of the Florida Building Code in the fashion by which he, personally, or BSD [Building Services Division] under him, allowed construction or renovation on three building projects in the City of Fort Lauderdale.”

Candidate with a felony can’t volunteer in Broward schools. But he’s running for office to help run them.” via Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Rod Velez isn’t allowed to serve as a Broward schools employee or volunteer in his children’s school due to a felony conviction, but he wants to help lead the district as a School Board member. Velez, a 51-year-old married father of three living in Hollywood, is running for a south county District 1 seat. He was convicted in 1995 of aggravated battery, a second-degree felony. Velez said the incident was a matter of self-defense, and he took a plea deal to avoid jail time. Velez, who now works as a property manager, said he hadn’t had any issues in the nearly three decades since.

West Palm Beach abortion clinics scrambled this week as Florida’s 15-week ban loomed” via Hannah Phillips of The Palm Beach Post — It was quiet in the waiting room of one West Palm Beach abortion clinic this week, except for the sound of HGTV in the corner. The phone rang, and someone from Louisiana asked for an abortion. The next caller wanted to support the clinic but didn’t know how, and the third was a local woman, 18 weeks pregnant. She would have had a month and a half longer to end her pregnancy this time last year. Now, she feared she had only a day. Employees at West Palm Beach’s abortion clinics have worked overtime to see as many patients as they can. “We’re getting them in,” said Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, said.


Seminole County judge suspended after swearing at defendant” via Cristóbal Reyes of the Orlando Sentinel — Wednesday’s decision by the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission against Judge Wayne Culver, written by Chair Michelle Morley, comes months after he angrily scolded a defendant who, in a 50-second video, can be seen looking for a seat in the courtroom gallery while another hearing took place. “Do you want to be held in contempt and go to jail?” Culver asks. After getting no response, he shouted, “I asked you a [expletive] question, [expletive].” The Commission said Culver’s behavior in that incident was “unnecessarily confrontational and escalated the disturbance and disruption,” though it noted Culver’s apology to the man and his recusal from his case.


—”Congressional candidate arrested during protest outside U.S. Supreme Court” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics


‘This makes me scared for young girls’: Jacksonville youth feel misunderstood after Roe overturned” via Emily Bloch of The Florida Times-Union — Shyanne Padgett knelt on the pavers in James Weldon Johnson Park, just across the street from City Hall. She was home when she started receiving news alerts about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, in turn stripping people’s constitutional right to receive an abortion. She felt helpless, she said, she started crying. She was angry, and she needed to do something with her energy. Armed with poster board, a fistful of Crayola markers, her portable Bluetooth speaker, and a gallon of lemon-lime Gatorade, she headed downtown. She worked on a sign in pink and purple bubble letters that said, “WHAT NEXT, MY RIGHT 2 VOTE?”

Board of Governors confirms USF’s Moez Limayem as next UNF President” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — The State University System Board of Governors has put their stamp on Limayem becoming the next President of the University of North Florida (UNF). Limayem comes to Jacksonville from Tampa, where he was the Lynn Pippenger Dean in the Muma College of Business at the University of South Florida (USF). “I am honored to join the University of North Florida and eager to listen, learn and work with all members of the community to grow opportunities to help students succeed,” Limayem said in a statement. “UNF is a top provider of talent in Florida, and I am committed to building on the University’s many strengths to effectively serve the region and state.”

Moez Limayem is moving to North Florida for a new permanent gig.

Kristin Dozier picks up Climate Cabinet PAC endorsement, support in Mayor’s race” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — The San Francisco-based political action committee, which backs candidates who support clean-energy policies, said Leon County Commissioner Dozier would “accelerate progress” at the city to move to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2050 and an all-electric fleet by 2035. “Dozier’s proven track record of advancing the transition to electric and low emission vehicles, her commitment to sustainability, and years of experience as a County Commissioner will help move Tallahassee forward,” said founder and Executive Director Caroline Spears.

Water agency caught trying to get rid of important parkland” via Craig Pittman of Florida Phoenix — The St. Johns River Water Management District somehow lost track of what it had done with 18,000 acres. That’s right, 18,000 acres. The district misplaced 127 parcels scattered from Jacksonville to Orlando, including part of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park (where “preserve” is part of the name) and other properties important to the agency’s water protection efforts. Worse, the water district very nearly put all that land up for sale. Fortunately for everyone, a hawk-eyed Audubon Florida employee named Chris Farrell spotted the item on the water board’s agenda. He realized something was amiss and started raising questions. The water agency’s executive director, Mike Register, admitted it was a mistake and pulled the item from the agenda.

Mayoral candidate David Arreola’s now-former campaign manager hired as elections office worker” via John Henderson of The Gainesville Sun — A now-former campaign manager of an active mayoral candidate has been hired by Alachua County’s Supervisor of Elections. But those involved in the hire say there is no conflict, and the hiring was aboveboard. Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Kim Barton confirmed the May hiring of Dillion Boatner, who previously ran Gainesville City Commissioner Arreola’s mayoral campaign while attending the University of Florida. Boatner, 25, is the office’s full-time elections information specialist and public records custodian.


The Fourth of July has always been political” via David Waldstreicher of The Atlantic — The trend in the early republic would be for July Fourth and other celebrations modeled on the Fourth to spread nationalism and, at the same time, to provide venues for divisive political expression. In this way, Americans learned both to be American and to practice partisanship without any sense of contradiction. They used the Fourth of July to praise and criticize their governments and one another, in the process struggling over who and what was truly American. July Fourth and its alternatives enabled Americans to preserve the paradox of revolutionary tradition. While these nationalistic political celebrations often came to have a conservative bent after the Revolutionary era, some, like the abolitionists, used the occasion to criticize American policy.


This July Fourth, meet three Americas” via David French of The Dispatch — I’m growing increasingly wary of the binary analysis of American life. The more I travel this country post-pandemic, the more I encounter the third faction — the “exhausted majority” first identified by More in Common’s “Hidden Tribes” survey all the way back in 2018. Under this analysis, America isn’t just red and blue. It’s red and blue and just plain tired. Who are these tired Americans? The polling answer from the survey is the two-thirds of our neighbors and citizens (from across the political spectrum) who are fed up with polarization, forgotten in public discourse, flexible in their views, and still believe we can find common ground.

American democracy is broken. Here’s how to fix it.” via Max Boot of The Washington Post — Is there a sensible middle ground between vituperation and veneration of the Founders? Yes. We should acknowledge their manifold faults, while also paying tribute to their still-radical vision of a world in which everyone has an “unalienable” right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Above all, we must vindicate their desire to create a “more perfect Union” to “secure the Blessings of Liberty.” There is no justice in a political system that gives Republicans six of nine Supreme Court seats even though a Republican has won the popular vote for President only once in the past 30 years. So, too, there is something deeply amiss with a Senate that gives California (population 39.3 million) the same number of seats as Wyoming (population 581,348). The Founders never envisioned such an imbalance between power and population. It undermines any pretense that we are still a democracy.

On this Fourth of July, reflect on the hate-filled country we’ve become” via Fabiola Santiago of the Miami Herald — On a Florida beach walk earlier this year, I came upon Old Glory, a beauty rising above sand dunes and sea oats. There she was, our flag, feverishly flapping against the wind in still-muted skies on the brink of sunrise. All of it was lovely, but the flag and its tattered stripes made me sad. A metaphor for the times, perhaps, as we lose freedoms and rights. In Florida, we’ve been enduring all year long, under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ fascist rule, the politicized usurpation of rights. We know the panic, the anger the nation is experiencing with every decision this Supreme Court issues. How do you love a country when it doesn’t love you back?

The American flag belongs to me, too, and this year I’m taking it back” via Margaret Renkl of The New York Times — Today the American flag has been co-opted by the very cohort who rejected it so roundly during my childhood. Driving through rural Tennessee last week, I saw an American flag hanging from the bucket of a cherry picker parked on the side of the road. The flag waved above a tent offering fireworks for sale. The flag was even bigger than the tent. Take a drive through any red state, and you will see American flags flying above truck stops, dangling from construction cranes, stretched across the back windshields of cars, emblazoned on clothing and, of course, waving from front porches — and not just on the Fourth of July. “The sheer volume of American flag paraphernalia that white people seem to own boggles my mind,” tweeted The Times columnist Tressie McMillan Cottom last month. “I assume it just sort of flows to them & they aren’t buying all of it? I’m not sure.”

In honor of Fourth of July, celebrate the greatest sports country on earth” via David Whitley of The Gainesville Sun — Sports are in our DNA. The father of our country threw a silver dollar across the Potomac. Historians dispute that, but there’s no doubt George Washington had a major league arm. We have 4.25% of the world’s population but have provided at least 42.5% of the world’s sports energy. The American ingenuity that created the light bulb and the personal computer also invented baseball, basketball, football, instant replay and The Wave. The national anthem … It will be played in ballparks big and small this weekend. You can stand with your hat off and your hand over your heart or sit in silent protest. That’s America. But there’s at least one thing everyone should agree on. On the Fourth of July and every day, every American should feel like the luckiest sports fan on the face of the earth.

President Biden: I’m begging you — don’t run in 2024. Our country needs you to stand down” via Allan Katz for Newsweek — Biden can only save the Democrats — and by extension, the country — by promising that this is his final act. By doing so, I think Biden could change the political environment almost overnight. Announcing that he won’t be running accomplishes two goals. It releases candidates from the anchor he represents, tying them to a deeply unpopular President. And it allows Biden to legitimately point out that since he isn’t seeking another term, decisions he makes going forward will in no way be driven by political gain. Moreover, Democrats can begin to look forward to a robust campaign to find a suitable nominee for 2024, while relishing the Republicans’ self-destruction when they inevitably nominate Trump.

I feel imprisoned in Ron DeSantis’ Florida on the Fourth of July” via David McGrath for the Chicago Tribune — Prior to the Fourth of July holiday, I checked my rearview mirror to see if I had been followed into the post office parking lot. I was there to mail a package from Florida, where I am a prisoner. The Illinois secretary of state’s office requested that I send copies of the books I’ve written for the “Illinois Authors” room of the State Library in Springfield. So, I boxed three books for delivery up north. But what should have been a routine mailing chore felt more like a smuggling operation, now that I am an inmate of the Sunshine State.

Has Florida’s STEM pipeline recovered from COVID? The state’s Algebra 1 end of course exam results say it hasn’t.” via Paul Cottie of Bridge to Tomorrow — Florida’s standardized testing program, which released results on its Spring 2022 math and English language arts exams, provides a way to compare where the state’s public middle school Algebra 1 program is now with where it was in Spring 2019. Fewer students in both 7th and 8th grades took Algebra 1 in Florida’s public schools during the year just completed than in 2018-2019. The number of 8th graders taking the Algebra 1 end of course exam was 6.3% lower this spring than in the spring of 2019. The decline in the number of 7th graders was even larger – 10.9%.


Battleground Florida with Evan Donovan on News Channel 8 WFLA (NBC): Florida Politics Publisher Peter Schorsch; Republican consultant Anthony Pedicini and Democratic operative Reggie Cardozo.

ABC Action News Full Circle with Paul LaGrone on Channel 10 WFTS: Former State Prosecutor Janae Thomas on the legal battles surrounding abortion, gun control, immigration, and Jan 6. Capitol correspondent Forrest Saunders on what’s next for abortion in Florida; and a special report on the state’s Red Flag law system with reporter Michael Paluska will give a personal look at how the Red Flag law is used in Florida.

Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede on CBS 4 in Miami: The Sunday show provides viewers with an in-depth look at South Florida’s politics and other issues affecting the region.

In Focus with Allison Walker on Bay News 9/CF 13: A discussion of building inspection reforms and protections in place and under consideration one year after the Champlain Tower South collapse in Surfside. Joining Walker are Rep. Daniel Perez; Charles Burkett, former Surfside Mayor; and reporter Asher Wildman.

Political Connections Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: A look at reaction to the court decision on the state’s 15-week abortion ban; Florida’s 15th Congressional District candidate Alan Cohn will discuss his campaign; and the latest on the race for Governor.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando: Sen. Kelli Stargel and Rep. Anna Eskamani will discuss the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that reverses Roe v. Wade and what it could mean for women in Florida.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: Jacksonville City Council President Sam Newby; Dr. Sunil Joshi on the rise in COVID-19 cases; and a PTSD panel with Gen. Mike Fleming and Jodie Bielman from Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics.

— ALOE —

—”Are banks open on July 4th? Post offices? Here’s what’s open and closed Monday” via Natalie Alund of the USA Today

July 4 weekend weather looking good for outdoor activity, but watch for rip currents” via Chris Perkins of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — South Florida weather for the Fourth of July holiday weekend should be roughly the same as it is now, according to forecasters, meaning you should expect typical summertime afternoon rains, “feels-like” temperatures in the low 100s, and a high risk of rip currents. So, enjoy the sunshine, but be careful at the beach. And, no, there won’t be any rain heading our way from the tropical wave that appears headed in our direction. “The main story here is nothing of concern for Florida through the weekend [and] into next week at this time,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Ana Torres-Vazquez.

Florida weather looks pretty good for the Fourth.

—”The 4th of July recipes Bon Appetit staffers are actually making in 2022” via Bon Appetit


Best wishes today to Andreina Figueroa. Happy birthday in the coming days to state Sens. Janet Cruz and Joe Gruters, Rep. MaryLynn Magar, Rep. Barbara Watson, Ron Barnette, Susanne Dudley, Brad Herold, our friend James Kotas, Tim Nungesser, Tim Parsons of Liberty Partners of Tallahassee, Fatima Perez, Van Poole, and Tim Stapleton.


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.


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, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Aimee Sachs, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

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

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