Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 7.7.22

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

Good Thursday morning.

Florida has been importing a lot of Californians, but the tides have started to turn.

Relocation tech company moveBuddha parsed Google search data over the weekend and found a sharp uptick in the number of Floridians searching “homes in California” and “move to California.”

More people are reading this on their way to California.

The company said that there are still more Florida-curious Californians than the inverse, but the gap has tightened significantly since the beginning of the year.

In January, 23 Sunshine State residents were Googling a move to the “Left Coast” for every 100 Californians researching a move to the so-called “Free State of Florida.” At the end of June, it was 43 Floridians for every 100 Californians.

The California-to-Texas pipeline is also experiencing a dip in water pressure, with the ratio increasing from 16 Texas émigrés to 42 per 100 Californians.

The data comes shortly after California Gov. Gavin Newsom released an ad attacking Gov. Ron DeSantis, and though the spot hasn’t been out long enough to register on the trendline moveBuddha says he may be on the right track.

“There are lots of reasons people move, but with the shift in remote work and post-pandemic changes, more people can elect to move to cities and states that match their policy beliefs than ever before. We may be seeing this happen in this scenario,” co-founder Ryan Carrigan said.


Shumaker Advisors is continuing to expand with the addition of Hillsborough County Division Director Jim Taylor.

“Shumaker Advisors is experiencing exciting growth, attracting some of the most successful leaders in public policy,” said Ron Christaldi, the Managing Partner of Shumaker Tampa and the President/CEO of Shumaker Advisors Florida. “Jim’s ability to navigate politics and achieve positive results for the community will certainly be an asset to our clients.”

Congrats to Jim Taylor, brought on to help Shumaker Advisors expand its footprint in Hillsborough.

Taylor has more than 15 years of experience in county government. During his time with Hillsborough, he drafted and implemented the county’s legislative agendas and strongly advocated for its priorities, securing millions of dollars in funding for local projects. He previously served as a legislative aide to Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan and Rep. Jamie Grant.

Executive Vice President and Principal Local Practice for Shumaker Advisors Sandy Murman added, “Jim is extremely well regarded in government relations and his experience further elevates the experience of our Shumaker Advisors team. It was a true pleasure working alongside him during his time with Hillsborough County, and I look forward to working side-by-side again.”

Taylor is the latest in a string of hires at Shumaker Advisors, which has rapidly grown its public affairs footprint in the Sunshine State and at its offices in D.C., Ohio, North Carolina, and South Carolina.


@TheRecount: Dr. @PeterHotez on the BA5 sub-variant: “The numbers are going up precipitously … it’s the most highly transmissible one we’ve seen to date … now we’re up around something that’s close to measles, which is the most common transmissible infectious agent we know about.”

@valdemings: Marco Rubio never ceases to surprise me with his outrageous proposals. Now he wants to force parents to choose between paid parental leave or their Social Security benefits.

Tweet, tweet:

@Jason_Garcia: Bit of breaking news from a rural corner of Florida: Phosphate-mining giant Mosaic has told DeSoto County, where it wants to build a massive new mine, that it does not expect to seek approval until 2025. Mosaic had been expected to apply for a rezoning of its land in January.

@MitchPerry18: Congressional District 14 candidate James Judge, running in the GOP Primary to face @KathyCastorFL in the fall, announces that he’ll be giving away AR-15s as part of a fundraiser “in defiance of House Democrat gun measures” #FlaPol

@BeauBeaubien: Honored to have the opportunity to serve @ufalumni and the University with such an impressive group of leaders. Ready to get to work! #GoGators


‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 1; 36th Annual Environmental Permitting School — 12; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 13; Vote-by-mail mailing deadline for 2022 Primary — 14; 2022 Sunshine Summit begins — 15; Deadline to register for 2022 Primary — 18; Beyoncé rolls-out seventh solo studio album ’Renaissance’ — 22; The 10-day Florida Python Challenge kicks off — 29; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 33; Early voting begins for Primaries — 37; FBHA’s annual conference, BHCon2022, begins — 41; FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 42; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 45; 2022 Florida Primary — 47; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 55; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 55; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 57; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 63; 2022 Emmys — 67; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 70; Vote-by-mail mailing deadline for General Election — 91; Deadline to register for General Election — 96; 22-23 NHL season begins — 96; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 110; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 110; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 110; Early voting begins for General Election — 114; 2022 General Election — 124; ‘Black Panther 2′ premieres — 127; ‘Captain Marvel 2’ premieres — 129; FITCon 2022 begins — 133; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 133; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 137; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 137; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 138; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 146; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 146; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 162; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 225; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 243; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 260; 2023 Session Sine Die — 302; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 302; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 330; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 498; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 631; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 750.


Florida seeks to fast-track abortion fight” via CBS Miami — Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office requested that a battle about a new 15-week abortion law go quickly to the Florida Supreme Court. It also indicated that the state would use a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade to help defend the law.

The request was part of a flurry of legal activity after Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper issued a temporary injunction Tuesday morning to block the law (HB 5), which prevents abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, except in limited circumstances.

Ashley Moody is fast-tracking the 15-week abortion ban to the Supreme Court.

The state immediately filed a notice of appeal of Cooper’s ruling at the 1st District Court of Appeal. Later, it filed a document requesting that the case be fast-tracked to the Florida Supreme Court, effectively bypassing the appeals court.

“The circuit court has enjoined HB 5, which restricts the small fraction of abortions in Florida that occur after 15 weeks’ gestation and do not meet one of HB 5’s exceptions,” the document said. “The state’s appeal from that decision raises questions of exceptional public importance that warrant immediate resolution by the Florida Supreme Court. This (1st District) Court should so certify this appeal (to the Supreme Court) as soon as practicable.”

“That sea-change in federal law plainly warrants reconsideration of the Florida Supreme Court’s interpretation of Florida’s own constitutional right to privacy, and there will be great uncertainty in Florida until it does so,” lawyers in Moody’s office wrote.

— 2022 —

Ron DeSantis takes the fight to school boards” via Stef W. Kight of Axios — DeSantis is blazing a new trail for GOP Governors — putting his muscle behind conservative school board candidates who align with his agenda. School boards have become ground zero for political fights over COVID-19 restrictions, curricula involving racism and the rights of LGBTQ students and transgender athletes. Some other Governors have waded into education-related contests — though none have matched DeSantis’ engagement at the local level. POLITICO recently reported that dozens of committees with Florida GOP ties were putting money toward candidates who share DeSantis’ views. “Parents across Florida should ask school board candidates and their current school board members how they scored on the DeSantis Education Agenda,” Dave Abrams, DeSantis re-election campaign senior adviser, told Axios.

Ron DeSantis is drilling down into School Board races.

Charlie Crist: Confluence of current events ‘nightmare’ for Republicans, good for Democrats” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Meeting with the Miami-Dade Democratic Senior Caucus and the Democratic Haitian American Caucus of Florida, Crist called the current confluence of events a “three-part nightmare for the Republican Party.” “I can’t wait to see the polling a week from now,” Crist said, citing the fall of Roe v. Wade, a new round of national gun catastrophes, and the congressional hearings on Jan. 6. DeSantis doesn’t want to talk about how the U.S. Supreme ruling overturned the ruling for abortion and allowed states to outlaw it, Crist said. “When it comes to Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose, Democrats good, Republicans bad,” he said. On gun safety, Democrats win also, Crist said.

Assignment editors — Crist will spend the day meeting with local Democratic groups and people across South Florida to discuss issues important to their communities: Noon, Martin County Dems Meet and Greet lunch, Stuart; 6 p.m., Indian River Dems Meet and Greet, Vero Beach; 7 p.m., Gen-Z for Crist virtual panel. Location and links with RSVP at [email protected].

Realtors back Ashley Moody’s re-election” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Moody continues to collect significant endorsements in her re-election bid. On Wednesday, the Florida Realtors PAC rallied behind the AG’s push for four more years, spotlighting the incumbent Republican’s dedication to the rule of law. “General Moody has been a significant force for good in our state and her actions have been essential in making Florida one of the fastest-growing states in the nation,” said Danny Nix, Chair of the Florida Realtors PAC Trustees.

Kevin Hayslett makes first ad buy in CD 13 — Republican Hayslett has placed his first ad buy in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. According to AdImpact, Hayslett’s campaign spent $164,000 on TV ads in the Tampa market. The purchase, brokered by Flexpoint Media, includes $95,000 for broadcast ads and $69,000 for cable ads to run July 7-20. Hayslett launched his campaign at the end of January. He faces Air Force veteran Anna Paulina Luna, Republican strategist Amanda Makki and Christine Quinn in the Republican Primary. Luna has so far spent $74,000 on TV ads while Makki has spent $14,000. The winner of the Primary will face Democrat Eric Lynn, a former Barack Obama administration official, in the General Election.

James Judge announces endorsement from Donald Trump ally Paul Gosar” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — U.S. Rep. Gosar, regarded as a close ally of former President Donald Trump, is backing Judge for Florida’s 14th Congressional District. Gosar represents Arizona’s 4th Congressional District and is a U.S. House Freedom Caucus member. The Republican lawmaker is not without controversy. He made national headlines for his alleged role in the rally that led to the attack on Congress on Jan. 6, 2021. A group of Arizona voters recently filed a lawsuit to disqualify Gosar from the Primary ballot because of his alleged role in the insurrection, but judges have dismissed the case.

Judge is raffling off AR-15-style rifles tied to fundraising” via Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times — Judge has had a busy few weeks. First, Judge was tossed off the ballot for paperwork issues when he filed to run in the 14th Congressional District Republican Primary before a judge reinstated him. Judge then called for another Republican, Jerry Torres, to be tossed off the ballot for filing issues. Keeping himself in the news this week, Judge, the owner of a public relations firm, announced Wednesday that he’s raffling off four AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles. The guns are similar to the one law enforcement says was used two days ago in the latest mass shooting outside of Chicago on July 4 that killed seven people.

James Judge is having a busy week.

Crist endorses Alan Cohn in CD 15” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Cohn picked up the endorsement of Crist. The support comes as Cohn runs for an open seat representing Florida’s 15th Congressional District. “I am proud to earn Charlie Crist’s endorsement. Our campaign has what it takes to win this swing seat in November,” Cohn said. The support from Crist means Cohn now has the backing of the current Democratic members of Congress already serving Tampa Bay.

Jared Moskowitz’s bid for Congress earns plaudits from national environmental, gun safety groups” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Moskowitz’s advocacy for the environment and tighter gun control laws earned him another set of endorsements Wednesday in his bid to represent South Florida in Congress. Moskowitz’s campaign to represent Florida’s 23rd Congressional District unveiled backing from the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, and the gun safety group Brady PAC. Their support follows a string of endorsements from other national groups representing Democratic causes as Moskowitz aims to succeed Rep. Ted Deutch.

— MORE 2022 —

Lauren Book’s bid for re-election wins teacher’s union endorsement” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Senate Democratic Leader Book scored another testament to her Democratic bona fides Wednesday: the endorsement of the state’s largest teachers’ union. The FEA lays claim to 150,000 members, making it the largest professional union in the state and the largest labor union in the Southeast. And Wednesday, the union announced they are throwing their weight behind her re-election campaign in Broward County’s Senate District 35. Book is currently facing a Primary challenge from former Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief. It’s the first time Book has faced opposition on the ballot.

Happening tonight:

State Attorney Monique Worrell endorses Rita Harris in HD 44” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Harris has picked up the endorsement of Worrell for the Democratic Primary Election in House District 44, Harris’ campaign announced. Harris is challenging Democratic state Rep. Daisy Morales in the southern Orange County district. There has been a split among Democratic officials and others in the area between Harris, a longtime county party official, and Morales, a freshman incumbent. “Rita is an advocate and fighter for the community and will use those same advocacy skills to lift up the voices of her constituents on a larger platform,” Worrell said.

Wengay Newton resolves check mishap, will remain on ballot” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Former state Rep. Newton will remain on the August Primary ballot for House District 62 after a qualifying fee check error, a chronicle that involves a hacked campaign account, a bank low on toner and a ticking deadline. Newton, who served in the House from 2016 through 2020, initially paid his qualifying fee via a check to the Division of Elections on June 12, about a week before the June 17 qualifying deadline. Several days later, however, Newton was alerted by the Division of Elections that the check, worth $1,781, was not honored by the bank. Why? Low toner. Newton said the issue was from the check itself, which was too faded to read by the bank, specifically the numbers at the bottom of the check. Documents from the Division of Elections back up that claim.

Ford O’Connell maintains a homestead in Washington. Is he eligible to serve in HD 77?” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Republican O’Connell has relied on Washington consultants to promote his candidacy in state House District 77. Now, critics wonder if that’s because the District of Columbia serves as his actual home. The national pundit, who has appeared on Fox News and Newsmax, listed a Washington condominium unit as his home address on financial disclosures. Washington property records show he bought the unit in 2012 for $800,000 and continues to claim a homestead exemption on the property for his 2023 property taxes, as he has done since at least 2018. That could be a problem should O’Connell win an open House seat, as state law requires Florida Representatives to be residents of Florida for two years before their election. “While Ford O’Connell has a place in D.C., he is a resident of Lee County,” reads a statement provided by O’Connell’s campaign to Florida Politics.

Alex Díaz de la Portilla backs Kevin Marino Cabrera for Miami-Dade County Commission” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — At least one sitting Miami City Commissioner hopes to see Cabrera on the Miami-Dade County Commission later this year. On Wednesday, Díaz de la Portilla said he is “proud” to support Cabrera’s bid for the District 6 seat on the County Commission. “He knows the city of Miami and understands our priorities,” Díaz de la Portilla said in a statement. “I look forward to working with him to address the needs of the residents of our community at the county level.”

Misty Servia threatens legal action on Mike Rahn, says she never called DeSantis racist” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Manatee County Commissioner Servia sent a cease and desist letter to Rahn, her opponent, over campaign literature. But Rahn stands by the political communication, which slams Servia for calling Gov. DeSantis’ policies racist. “Misty Servia hates Ron DeSantis because Misty Servia is a liberal. She accused DeSantis of racism,” Rahn said. “She fought naming a park after him. And every vote she’s made these last four years is contrary to the DeSantis Doctrine of Freedom First.” The dispute centers around the mailer Rahn sent rallying supporters to sign petitions. “My current Republican opponent has taken $90,000 from big developers, called Gov. DeSantis a racist and tried to give the Democrats help when we redrew our local districts,” Rahn wrote.

To watch a clip of Servia’s comments featured on Fox News, click on the image below:

Three more inmates sentenced for election-related crimes in local voter fraud investigation” via Andrew Caplan of The Gainesville Sun — Three more inmates have been sentenced for election-related crimes stemming from a voter fraud investigation in Alachua County. Court records show Arthur Lang, Dedrick Baldwin and Therris Conney pleaded no contest to various election charges brought by State Attorney Brian Kramer. Conney, 33, and Baldwin, 47, received one-year jail sentences. Lang, 43, was given 18 months. The sentences will largely be served concurrently while they are incarcerated for other, unrelated charges, though one inmate’s sentence has been extended due to the new conviction. The three men are among the 10 charged by the State Attorney’s Office for election-related crimes.


DeSantis team hits back at media figures’ debunked claim of students registering political views with state” via Ronn Blitzer of Fox News — DeSantis’ office is pushing back on a false claim about a new state law that Twitter users, including author Stephen King and several journalists with large followings, have been spreading, despite it being debunked a year ago. The law, which calls for “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity” at state colleges, says schools in the Florida College System must conduct an annual survey of “the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented” and students, faculty and others “feel free to express their beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom.” That notion appears to reflect a 2021 Salon article with that exact headline that was published after the Governor first signed the bill into law.

Democratic alarms sound over Ron DeSantis’s new elections overseer” via Lizette Alvarez of The Washington Post — Meet Cord Byrd, who was a hard-right Republican member of the state House before his appointment in May and state Senate confirmation. DeSantis celebrated him as “an ally of freedom and democracy.” But Byrd sounds a little uncertain about the 2020 election results. Asked if Joe Biden won the election, Byrd said, “He was certified as the President and he is the President of the United States,” adding, “There were irregularities in certain states.” What Byrd didn’t say is that Biden won the election.

DeSantis appoints Pete Antonacci as top elections cop” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Florida’s new Office of Election Crimes and Security will have a familiar face fronting the first-of-its-kind election crimes office. DeSantis appointed Antonacci, who has a lengthy history of service for Republican administrations, to lead the Department of State’s Office of Election Crimes and Security. The office is the Department of State’s new outfit to investigate election crimes and voter fraud, a mission that has drawn consternation from Democrats and DeSantis’ critics.

Pete Antonacci is the new top cop for election crimes.

Jack Latvala to get censure in ethics complaint settlement” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Latvala will be censured as part of an apparent settlement with the Florida Commission on Ethics that would appear to be the last chapter in the sexual harassment allegations against the Clearwater Republican first made public four years ago. The settlement, dubbed a Joint Stipulation of Fact, Law and Recommended Order, is signed by Mark Herron, Latvala’s attorney, and Elizabeth Miller, advocate for the Commission. It acknowledges Miller recommended a finding of probable cause that Latvala violated three state laws. But the settlement also states two of the allegations should be dismissed and only the third, that Latvala “corruptly used his official position” to “secure a special privilege, benefit or exemption for himself,” is recommended to be upheld. Latvala “admits he used poor judgment as part of a consensual 20-year relationship, which because the female was a lobbyist may have constituted a technical violation of Section 112.313(6), Florida Statutes, but there is no evidence this affected his official actions in any way,” the settlement states.

Renatha Francis drops thorny family court case, giving Supremes an easy way to ignore it” via Noreen Marcus of the Florida Bulldog — Dodging embarrassment – or worse – Palm Beach Circuit Judge Francis has abruptly dropped a troublesome family court case she’s accused of botching. Francis, the frontrunner for an opening on the Florida Supreme Court, recused herself “sua sponte,” or independently, from the case of Bentrim vs. Bentrim. She granted on an “emergency” basis Angela Bentrim’s seventh motion to remove Francis from presiding over a case. The only apparent emergency is the slight chance that Francis’s potential Supreme Court colleagues will scrutinize and give credence to Bentrim’s claims.

Personnel note: Chris Sprowls appoints Alan Suskey to Florida is for Veterans” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Sprowls is appointing Suskey to the board of directors for Florida is For Veterans. Established by the Legislature in 2014, Florida is for Veterans aims to attract veterans to move to Florida and encourages businesses to hire exiting service members by promoting initiatives such as DOD SkillBridge, a federal program that trains veterans for post-military careers. “As a veteran himself, Alan knows firsthand the unique challenges of leaving the military and transitioning to civilian life,” Sprowls said.

GOP Senator slams OIR decision on Citizens’ rates: ‘They are under political pressure’” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — State regulators’ decision to approve only a portion of the rate increase requested by state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation was based on politics and will continue to crater Florida’s beleaguered property insurance market, Sen. Jeff Brandes claims. “(The Office of Insurance Regulation) seems to not have a strategy for how to deal with Citizens,” the Brandes said. “I think they are under political pressure to not raise rates.”

Deep applicant pool for first director of Gaming Enforcement” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — The Florida Gaming Control Commission, the new version of the old Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, gathered in its first-ever virtual meeting to decide how Commissioners were going to choose the first director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement. “We’ve received over 30 applications,” Commission Executive Director Louis Trombetta said. “I’ve reviewed all the applications, and I’m going to be recommending six people for your initial round of consideration. As a reminder, according to the statute, this position is hired by the Commission, so you’re each able to include any additional applicants into this pool.”

Largest teachers union takes issue with state civics training, ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law” via Jack Prator of WLRN — Multiple media outlets reported that teachers attending recent Florida Department of Education training on a new civics initiative say the content pushed Christian and conservative ideologies over opposing views. At the same time, Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, dubbed the Don’t Say Gay law by opponents, went into effect July 1. Ahead of its enactment, school districts received guidance from the Florida Department of Education about what it means for teachers at that level. Some districts have interpreted the guidance to mean that teachers must take down LGBTQ stickers on doors and report to parents if a student comes out to them.

Andrew Spar takes aim at Ron DeSantis’ education priorities.

Physics education researchers: High school preparation is key for succeeding in college physics courses.” via Paul Cottle of Bridge to Tomorrow — A paper recently published in Physical Review Physics Education Research sends a crystal-clear message to all educators, policymakers and parents: High school physics is very important for students who are considering majoring in a STEM field in college. Some bad news for dual enrollment advocates: Taking a dual enrollment physics course in high school didn’t improve pretest scores at all. Taking a physics course in high school from a high school physics teacher matters. Taking a physics course via dual enrollment is a waste of effort.

A rental trends study finds 10 markets among the most overvalued in the nation” via Dave Berman of Florida Today — The rental housing market in Florida is among the most overvalued in the country and has among the fastest-rising prices. The study of 107 U.S. rental markets, released June 6 and using data from April, found that 10 of the 14 most-overvalued rental markets in the country are in Florida. The study included 10 Florida markets, and all 10 are overvalued by more than 13%. The largest “premium” paid by renters was found in the Miami market. The study found it was overvalued by 22.07%. The average monthly rent in the South Florida region rose to $2,846, even though historical leasing figures indicate the average should be only $2,331.

Gas prices drop for third consecutive week, but AAA says rebound is possible” via Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat — Florida’s average gasoline prices dropped by 10 cents over the last week, a sign that points to relief for drivers who have been paying upward of $70 to fill a 15-gallon tank. The drop following the Independence Day holiday marks the third week in a row gas prices have fallen for a total of a 35-cent decline. The average price across the Sunshine State Wednesday was $4.54 a gallon.


The permanent unpopularity of the American President” via David Catanese of Too Close to Call — You might’ve heard Joe Biden’s having a rough summer. Actually, he’s lumbered through 11 straight months of unpleasantry. After excising the most polarizing President in history from the White House, it took the 46th president only seven months for a plurality of Americans to sour on him. In fact, living with an unpopular President is likely the new normal in what’s come to be a permanent age of upheaval and anxiety. We increasingly elect our leaders out of anger, selecting “the least worst” option and then turning on them, even for things largely out of any single person’s control.

Joe Biden is having one helluva summer. Image via AP.

Congress poised to shoot down Joe Biden’s nuclear rollback” via Lawrence Ukenye and Connor O’Brien of POLITICO — Progressives were already disappointed with Biden’s plans for the nation’s nuclear arsenal. Now they’re poised to lose one of the few things about the White House’s blueprint that they liked. In recent weeks, Democrats have joined Republicans in adding money back into the Pentagon budget to continue developing a sea-launched nuclear cruise missile that Trump initiated in 2018. Biden proposed canceling the missile, which arms control advocates say is redundant, costly and potentially destabilizing.

Democratic criticisms of Biden get louder — and broader” via Olivier Knox and Caroline Anders of The Washington Post — The Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion landed June 24. Its broad contours were known since a May 2 leak. Biden’s tepid initial policy response left liberal Democrats incredulous and angry. He ramped up his attacks on the decision. The Left still wants more action from him. Questions about competence are dangerous ground for any President to be on, particularly with large majorities of Americans saying the country is on the wrong track, just months before Midterm Clections. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended Biden’s handling of gun violence, pointing to the (modest) bipartisan law he recently signed. She also insisted he responded quickly and forcefully to the abortion ruling and teased the possibility of new, unspecified, executive actions. And she reinterpreted a question about Democratic frustration with the White House.

Democrats frustrated by party’s response to abortion ruling” via Nicholas Riccardi of The Associated Press — As Sen. Michael Bennet sought to encourage a small crowd of fellow Democrats not to give up the fight for abortion rights, Maryah Lauer stepped forward, bullhorn in hand, to exhort him to do more. “Do you support ending the filibuster and expanding the court?” the 28-year-old called out from a quartet of fellow activists. “The Democrats are not doing enough.” The confrontation was a sign of frustration among many Democrats after the Supreme Court’s decision last month to strip women of the constitutional right to abortion. The question heading into this year’s Midterm Elections is whether the outrage will energize Democrats to vote or leave them disillusioned and staying home.

Biden tells Brittney Griner’s wife he’s working to get her home” via Darlene Superville of The Associated Press — Biden spoke Wednesday with the wife of detained Griner, who is on trial in Russia, to reassure her that he is working to win Griner’s freedom as soon as possible, the White House said. Biden’s conversation with Cherelle Griner followed Griner’s personal appeal to the President in a handwritten letter from the basketball player the White House received on Monday. In the letter, Griner said she feared she would spend forever in detention in Russia and asked Biden not to “forget about me and the other American detainees.” Griner has been detained in Russia for more than four months and is currently on trial, accused of possessing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.

More flexibility proposed for student debt forgiveness” via Collin Binkley of The Associated Press — New rules proposed by the Biden administration would make it easier for borrowers to get their federal student debt forgiven through several existing programs. The action is intended to overhaul relief programs that have been criticized for their burdensome paperwork requirements and long processing times. It builds on the administration’s efforts to expand targeted debt cancellation for certain borrowers while Biden considers broader student debt forgiveness.

Rick Scott charts contrarian path to future political endeavors” via Sarah Westwood of the Washington Examiner — Sen. Scott has managed some rare feats. He’s been accused by Senate GOP leadership of hurting the Party’s chances in the Midterm Elections while at the same time presiding over a campaign fundraising haul for the party so large that leadership has no choice but to celebrate it. He’s united Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Biden in opposition to his agenda. And the former Florida Governor and current chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee has worked to position himself as an outsider that would presumably accompany an ultimate insider. Scott’s precise plans for the future remain unclear.

Democrats pitch immigration issues on must-pass defense bill” via Caroline Simon of Roll Call — Congress is fast approaching its scheduled August recess, followed by peak campaign season, so Democratic lawmakers only have a few more weeks in Session to push their legislative priorities before they could lose control of either chamber in November. The must-pass defense authorization bill, which advanced out of committee in late June, is a prime opportunity to do so. One amendment would protect “documented Dreamers,” or children who grew up in the U.S. as dependents on their parents’ employment visas but risk deportation when they turn 21 and are no longer dependents. The proposal has bipartisan support, and reportedly is a topic of ongoing bipartisan Senate talks on immigration, but has yet to advance in either chamber.

Fed moves toward another big rate increase as inflation lingers” via Jenna Smialek of The New York Times — Economic data suggest the U.S. could be headed for a rough road: Consumer confidence has plummeted, and the economy could post two straight quarters of negative growth. Inflation measures are running at or near the fastest pace in four decades, and the job market, while moderating somewhat, remains unusually strong, with 1.9 available jobs for every unemployed worker. Fed policymakers are likely to focus on those factors as they head into their July meeting, especially because their policy interest rate — which guides how expensive it is to borrow money — is still low enough that it is likely spurring economic activity rather than subtracting from it. Fed chair Jerome Powell has said that central bankers will debate between a 0.5% to 0.75% increase

Heads of FBI, MI5 issue joint warning on Chinese spying” via Max Colchester of The Wall Street Journal —In a rare joint appearance on Wednesday at the headquarters of MI5, FBI Director Christopher Wray and MI5 Director-General Ken McCallum urged executives not to underestimate the scale and sophistication of Beijing’s campaign. “The Chinese government is set on stealing your technology — whatever it is that makes your industry tick — and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market,” Wray told the audience of businesspeople. “They’re set on using every tool at their disposal to do it.” U.S. counterintelligence officials issued a separate notice on Wednesday warning state and local government leaders and business executives about a different Chinese threat — accelerating efforts to influence policymaking through overt and covert means.

Christopher Wray gives a stern warning about Chinese spying.

FDA temporarily suspends order banning Juul e-cigarettes” via The Associated Press — The FDA issued an administrative stay Tuesday on the order it issued last month for vaping company Juul to pull its electronic cigarettes from the market. The agency said on Twitter that the stay temporarily suspends the marketing denial order while it conducts further review but does not rescind it. The FDA issued the initial order banning Juul sales on June 23. A day later, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked the government ban. The initial FDA action was part of a sweeping effort by the agency to bring scientific scrutiny to the multibillion-dollar vaping industry after years of regulatory delays.


Trump cracks down on deceptive fundraising by others using his name” via Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has spent months groundlessly telling Republicans that they can be on “Trump’s Team” or “Endorse Trump for President in 2024” by giving to his U.S. Senate campaign. “Are you turning your back on Pres. Trump?” one Brnovich fundraising ad asked last year. “Renew your 2022 membership before it is too late.” Such appeals pushed the actual team of advisers around Trump to a breaking point in June, after Trump endorsed Brnovich’s rival, Blake Masters, for the Senate seat in Arizona. In a cease-and-desist letter obtained by The Washington Post, an attorney for Save America, Trump’s political action committee, threatened legal action if Brnovich did not stop using Trump’s image and name in misleading ways.

Mark Brnovich gets a slap down by Trump world. Image via AP.

Lindsey Graham to fight Georgia election subpoena, lawyers say” via The Associated Press — Attorneys representing Sen. Graham said Wednesday he intends to challenge a subpoena compelling him to testify before a special grand jury in Georgia investigating Trump and his allies’ actions after the 2020 election. Graham attorneys Bart Daniel and Matt Austin said in a statement Wednesday that the Republican Senator “plans to go to court, challenge the subpoena, and expects to prevail,” and they slammed the probe as politically motivated.

James Comey and Andrew McCabe, who infuriated Trump, both faced intensive IRS audits” via Michael S. Schmidt of The New York Times — Among tax lawyers, the most invasive type of random audit carried out by the IRS is known, only partly jokingly, as “an autopsy without the benefit of death.” One of the few who received a bureaucratic letter with the news that his 2017 return would be under intensive scrutiny was Comey, who had been fired as FBI director that year by Trump. Comey was informed of the audit in 2019. Two years later, the IRS, still under the leadership of a Trump appointee after Biden took office, picked about 8,000 returns for the same type of audit Comey had undergone. Among those who were chosen to have their 2019 returns scrutinized was the man who had been Comey’s deputy at the bureau: McCabe.

An extremely early Trump 2024 announcement would be a ‘train wreck’ for the GOP that also won’t deter the prosecutors on his heels, experts say” via Business Insider — Far from on his heels, Trump is mulling an unusually early announcement that he is running for President, a move designed to steal oxygen from emergent Republican rivals and shield him from the damning revelations spilling out of the inquiries into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Multiple news organizations have reported that he could announce a third White House bid as early as this month, but Trump recently backed off that idea, a Republican strategist told Insider. An early announcement would thrust the polarizing former President into the Midterms and backfire on Republicans aiming to focus on Biden and inflation. Nor would an early announcement stave off potential charges stemming from his efforts to hold on to the White House.

Real estate giant held in contempt in Trump Organization investigation” via Jared Gans of The Hill — Judge Arthur Engoron on the New York County State Supreme Court issued a ruling on Tuesday that Cushman & Wakefield, which has done work for the Trump Organization, must pay $10,000 for each day it refuses to comply with a subpoena from New York Attorney General Letitia James, starting Thursday. James has been investigating whether Trump inflated the Trump Organization’s property values for investors and deflated them for federal tax documents. Engoron had previously held Trump in civil contempt for being slow to respond to a subpoena, fining him $10,000 a day for two months until the contempt order was lifted last week. Trump and his two oldest children are set to testify in James’s investigation starting July 15.

— JAN. 6 —

Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone to testify before Jan. 6 committee” via Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — Cipollone will testify Friday morning after receiving a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The closed-door session will be videotaped, but there will be some limits on what he will testify to regarding direct conversations with Trump. Cipollone had been reluctant to testify to the committee, citing presidential privilege, but he has been regularly mentioned in the hearings and is key to a number of episodes being plumbed by the committee. The committee issued the subpoena last week after blockbuster testimony from a former aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, identified the lawyer as having firsthand knowledge of potential criminal activity in the Trump White House.

Next up, Pat Cipollone. Image via AP.

A former Trump chief of staff has emerged as an unlikely defender of the Jan. 6 committee” via Chris Cillizza of CNN — Mick Mulvaney is no one’s idea of a Trump hater. The former South Carolina Republican Congressman held the job of acting chief of staff to then-President Trump for more than a year. He also served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget and as a special envoy to Northern Ireland. He resigned from that last post following the riot at the U.S. Capitol. “I called [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I was resigning from that,” said Mulvaney at the time. “I can’t do it. I can’t stay.” And then, well, not much. Mulvaney was, generally speaking, a predictable defender of the former President.

‘Unprecedented’ Trump documentary to debut on Sunday ahead of Jan. 6 committee’s next hearing” via Dave Goldiner of the Daily News — The British documentary that promises new revelations about Trump and his family will debut on Sunday night, less than 48 hours before the next hearing of the Jan. 6 committee. All three episodes of “Unprecedented,” the series by filmmaker Alex Holder, will be available for streaming on the Discovery+ channel starting July 10. Holder has already handed over his footage and even outtakes to the Congressional committee and testified under oath to the panel.

Cassidy Hutchinson’s Jan. 6 committee testimony a television hit” via David Bauder of The Associated Press — Hutchinson’s riveting testimony about Trump’s temper as plans to overturn the 2020 election fell apart was seen by 13.17 million people last week, the Nielsen company said. That’s a 28% jump from the 10.25 million who watched the committee’s previous daytime hearing, and 23% over the average from the four daytime hearings. The committee’s first hearing, the only one televised in prime-time, was seen by 19.4 million people. The committee had hurriedly scheduled a public session to hear Hutchinson’s testimony after expecting to be off until mid-July. Its leaders built up anticipation by trying to keep the identity of its witness a secret in advance.

Judges keeping Capitol riot trials in D.C. amid bias claims” via Michael Kunzelman of The Associated Press — For some Washington residents who reported for jury duty last month, a pro-Trump mob’s assault on the Capitol felt like a personal attack. None of them served on the jury that swiftly convicted Anthony Robert Williams of storming the Capitol to obstruct Congress from certifying Biden’s 2020 victory. But their personal connections to the riot highlight the challenge facing judges and attorneys in choosing impartial jurors. One of the most serious cases brought by the Justice Department in the Capitol attack has already been delayed after defense attorneys argued that their clients couldn’t get a fair trial amid televised hearings by the House committee investigating the riot. And a growing number of defendants are pushing to have their trials moved out of Washington.


Three Miami suspects charged with stealing millions in gems, jewelry in robbery spree” via Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald — Three suspects in a Miami-based ring were charged with robbing millions of dollars’ worth of gems and other jewelry from salespeople in a string of thefts across South Florida, according to a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday. Two defendants, Allan Lucas and Diana Grisales Basto, are already in state custody on unrelated charges. They are scheduled to make their first appearances in Miami federal court Friday. A third defendant, Carlos Morales, was recently arrested by FBI agents and local police. The court record does not list any defense attorneys for them. All three are charged with conspiring to commit Hobbs Act robbery and related offenses.

Police investigate ‘hate crime’ vandalism at a Hialeah pro-life pregnancy center” via Veronica Egui Brito of the Miami Herald — A pro-life pregnancy clinic in Hialeah was vandalized Sunday in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade being overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. The walls of the Pregnancy Help Medical Clinic, 390 W. 49th St, were marked with graffiti that referred to “Jane’s Revenge.” The Mayor and police call it a hate crime. The group that calls itself “Jane’s Revenge,” considered by many to be extremists in favor of abortion choice, has not claimed responsibility for the Hialeah vandalism, but has for other incidents of firebombing, vandalism and arson targeting pregnancy clinics. The first incident claimed by the group happened at a crisis pregnancy center in Madison, Wisconsin, on May 8, 2022.

Another in a rash of abortion-related ‘hate crimes.’ Image via Miami Herald.

Psychologist reveals disturbing details of Marjory Stoneman Douglas gunman’s online history” via Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Nikolas Cruz’s browser history and social media posts dating from 2016 to early 2018 include quests for pictures and videos of “little girls in swimwear,” nude girls as young as 6, “school shooter porn,” “HIV-positive porn” and “midget porn.” He expressed unrestrained hatred for wide swaths of people and even animals. He said he hates Black people, Latinos, Asians, gay people, Antifa, “liberal scum,” small animals, alligators and crocodiles. But Cruz, who pleaded guilty last October to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, was not motivated by a “severe mental or emotional disturbance,” said forensic psychologist Michael Brannon, whose expert testimony has been coveted and critiqued by prosecutors and defense lawyers alike.

Noise-detecting cameras proposed for Miami Beach to target loud car music and exhausts” via Martin Vassolo of the Miami Herald — Roaring down South Beach in a souped-up sports car or blaring music? That’s what Commissioner Steven Meiner hopes to stop with a proposal to install noise-detecting cameras to crack down on loud cars in the city. The proposal, which is scheduled for a vote at a City Commission meeting on Friday, seeks to create a temporary pilot program using traffic cameras with decibel meters to detect loud noises coming from car exhausts or speakers, and then take photos of the offending car’s license plate to issue the driver a warning. Drivers would not be ticketed under the pilot program. “I think it can be a game-changer,” Meiner said.

Miami-Dade County eyes steeper fines for Biscayne Bay polluters” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — After years of deadly algal blooms around South Florida and fish kills in Biscayne Bay, Miami-Dade lawmakers will consider a long-overdue hike to the county’s local water pollution fines — in some cases raising penalties more than tenfold. Commissioners are scheduled to take up a new ordinance by Rebeca Sosa that would provide across-the-board increases to the county’s civil penalties for violations that affect water quality. It would also add escalating fines for repeat offenses, a first in the county for water pollution offenses. Miami-Dade is counting on the raised fines to improve local efforts to discourage bad actors. At their current rate, violators view the fines merely as “the cost of doing business,” a memo from Miami-Dade Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Morales said.

Fort Lauderdale gives David Beckham and company one more year to build promised park” via Susannah Bryan of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Soccer star Beckham and his Inter Miami partners scored a deal Tuesday night that gives them another year to build a long-promised community park next to the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. The pandemic and other unexpected delays prevented Miami Beckham United from keeping a promise made three years ago to build a sprawling community park by July 18. On Tuesday night, Fort Lauderdale Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the deadline by one year. Under the agreement, the city can build the park at Beckham United’s expense if they blow their new deadline. Beckham and his partners came to town in 2019 with big plans of building a $160 million soccer stadium on 40 acres of taxpayer-owned land.

Fort Lauderdale gives David Beckham an ultimatum.

A French bulldog was dognapped in the Keys. Then came a showdown at Dadeland Mall” via Gwen Filosa of the Miami Herald — When Sailor the French bulldog disappeared from a Florida Keys home, her family quickly spread the word. “Please be on the lookout for this sweet girl,” Patti Rhine posted about 18-month-old Sailor on a Facebook group June 25. “I’m sure she’ll be thirsty! REWARD!” But later that night, Rhine got a phone call from a blocked number. She instantly knew that the compact bulldog — her Marine veteran husband’s service dog — wasn’t wandering the streets. The caller had her phone number, which she hadn’t posted online but printed on the tag of Sailor’s collar. Sailor had been dognapped — and the dognappers wanted $1,000 in exchange for her safe return.


Orange County firefighters drop lawsuit fighting Mayor’s vaccine mandate” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Orange County Fire Rescue employees who challenged Mayor Jerry Demings’ vaccination mandate last year as “unlawful, unconstitutional and highly invasive” dropped the action last month after county attorneys served notice for reimbursement of legal fees. The notice was added to a pending motion to dismiss, which argued circuit court was the wrong venue for the disagreement. County attorneys, assisted by Marc Sugarman of employment-law experts Allen Norton & Blue, described the firefighters’ claim as a labor dispute, which, under state statute, the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission has “preemptive and exclusive jurisdiction” to decide. The county also argued the firefighters’ case was moot because Republican-led Florida lawmakers passed a law in November prohibiting governmental entities from imposing a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for employees and dissolving any existing ones.

Jerry Demings is off the hook for his vaccine mandates.

Brevard Commission relieves Abigail Jorandby of attorney duties and courts her replacement” via Ralph Chapoco of Florida Today — Even as they come to grips with the unexpected departure of Jorandby as Brevard County Attorney, Commissioners have begun executing a plan for ending her tenure as the Space Coast’s chief litigator. In one 30-minute special meeting organized at the request of Commissioner John Tobia, the Commission relieved Jorandby of her duties, picked her successor, at least on an interim basis, and established a process for hiring the candidate that she beat out for her job just 12 months ago. Jorandby submitted her resignation letter to members of the Commission on June 27, as well as County Manager Frank Abbate. In it, she states: “I am resigning due to family health issues and the need to relocate from Brevard County.”

Pinellas jail extends lockdown for third time because of COVID-19 cases” via Natalie Weber of the Tampa Bay Times — The Pinellas County Jail is extending until Monday a lockdown that has been in effect since May because of COVID-19 infections, a Pinellas Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said. As of Wednesday, eight of the jail’s 2,875 inmates were COVID-19-positive. The jail has been on lockdown since late May, when 26 inmates had tested positive for the virus. This is the third time the facility has extended its lockdown since then. The Pinellas County Jail is currently the only jail on lockdown in the Tampa Bay area. There were 22 COVID-19-positive inmates at the Hillsborough County Jail on Wednesday in a facility housing 2,727 inmates. None of the 1,504 inmates in the Pasco County Jail were COVID-19-positive as of Wednesday, Pasco Sheriff’s spokesperson Amanda Hunter said.

British marketing firm picks Tampa for U.S. headquarters” via Jay Cridlin of the Tampa Bay Times — Clarify will operate out of the WeWork offices at 501 E Kennedy Blvd. It plans to add 25 new sales, marketing, management and account services jobs in Tampa during its first year here, paying hires an average of $75,000 per year. “Our success globally has allowed us to break into the U.S. market where we see significant opportunity to expand our client base, so it was critical for us to establish an office in the U.S.,” Clarify chief strategy officer Amanda Abernethy said. “Tampa is quickly establishing itself as a top technology hub with the skilled talent and projected growth we need to continue our success.” Clarify specializes in business-to-business marketing in the tech sector, with a client list that has included PayPal, Okta, Accenture and SAP.

Tampa General ranks as top teaching hospital in Florida, among top 15 in U.S.” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Tampa General recently received another national recognition as the only top major teaching hospital in Florida and one of the top 15 in the country by 2022 Fortune/Merative (formerly IBM Watson Health). “We are proud of this recognition, as it not only reflects our team members’ and physicians’ commitment to patient safety, experience and clinical outcomes but also emphasizes Tampa General’s focus on designing the future of health care,” said John Couris, TGH president and CEO. In addition to ranking in the top 15, TGH is also among 25 hospitals to receive the 2022 Everest Award. This award recognizes hospitals that demonstrate the highest performance and fastest long-term improvement.


FGCU: Lakefront Beach where two children drowned not intended for public use” via Michael Braun of the Fort Myers News-Press — A sand-strewn beach area at FGCU where two children drowned Monday is not intended for public use. The children, 12 and 7, identified by Fox4 as vacationing here from Atlanta, were pulled from the lake by emergency responders Monday afternoon and later declared dead. A family representative from Georgia declined to comment. An FGCU official said the beach along the North Village shoreline is not a public access site. “Lake Como is not intended for public use, and we don’t advertise its use to the public,” said Pamela McCabe, coordinator of university communications and media relations.

All Charlotte public school students get free lunch, breakfast this year” via the Port Charlotte Sun — Every student in the Charlotte County Public Schools can get free breakfast and lunch each day during the 2022-23 school year, officials said. The meals are made available through the federal Community Eligibility Program, explained Terri Whitacre, the school district’s director of food and nutrition services. It’s a federally funded program in which schools qualify as a “community” when the percentage of directly certified students reaches a certain threshold at a particular school. Directly certified means the student’s family qualifies for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families or SNAP, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps, or if the student qualifies for Medicaid or Head Start, Whitacre explained.

Sarasota County officials want to expand workforce” via Barb Richardson of the Englewood Sun — For years, government officials in Sarasota County have maintained consistency in the number of people they employ, resisting temptations to go on a hiring spree. That’s about to change for the next fiscal year if County Commissioners give final approval to the budget of County Administrator Jonathan Lewis and those of the county’s constitutional officers during two public hearings in September. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1. Currently, the county government — those departments under the control of Lewis — employs 2,376 people, about 5.31 employees per every 1,000 people in the county. Job titles range from firefighters to bus drivers.


Milton council ponders tax rate as city plans budgeting for 2023” via Alex Miller of the Pensacola News Journal — Milton officials are exploring the possibility of again using a rolled-back millage rate in the upcoming fiscal year. The idea behind the rolled-back rate is to keep city revenues consistent from year to year, even as property values increase, by cutting back on the millage rate. “Basically, it’s to not increase taxes on the constituents,” explained the city’s budget coordinator, Heidi Sroka. The taxable value of property in Milton for 2021 sat at about $415.9 million with an estimated 2022 taxable value at about $474.8 million.

Healthmark’s emergency room has been closed for over 100 days. NWFL is feeling the negative effects” via Tom McLaughlin of the Northwest Florida Daily News — What was slated to be a short-term closure of the emergency room at Healthmark Regional Medical Center has extended past 100 days with no clear end in sight. Hospital officials have not provided information as to why what was announced as a two-week to one-month shutdown for renovations has dragged on for so long. “The ER remains closed at this time,” hospital Marketing and Recruitment Director Ron Kelley said in an email. “When the ER status changes, we will contact you at that time.” Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson said the impact of the closing is affecting first responders, neighboring hospitals and residents of north Walton County.

Healthmark’s ER has been closed for three months, with no end in sight.

Gadsden, Quincy law enforcement to receive Narcan training amid ‘fentanyl overdose crisis’” via Christopher Cann of the Tallahassee Democrat — In response to what local law enforcement has called a “fentanyl overdose crisis,” agencies like the Quincy and Gretna police departments as well as the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office will receive training on the use of Narcan when responding to overdoses. Narcan is a prescription medicine used to treat “a known or suspected opioid overdose emergency.” Fentanyl is an opioid. “The contents of this small little box here could save a life,” said Assistant Chief Leroy Smith as he held up a box of Narcan nasal spray at a Wednesday news conference.

FAMU President Larry Robinson among HBCU delegation in Israel on groundbreaking trip” via Tarah Jean of the Tallahassee Democrat — Robinson is one of six Historically Black College and University Presidents who arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel, on July 3 for a groundbreaking program. The six-day trip, hosted by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange, is the first one that Project Interchange has ever devoted to HBCU leaders exclusively. The program aims to enhance new research and academic partnerships between HBCUs and Israeli universities.

UNF President-Elect Moez Limayem confirmed by state board for potential 5-year term” via Emily Bloch of the Florida Times-Union — The University of North Florida has officially lined up its next President. The Florida Board of Governors approved Moez Limayem, a former University of South Florida business college dean, as the school’s seventh President. The confirmation ended a 10-month nationwide search and selection process to replace the school’s last President, David Szymanski, who left after three years to lead UNF MedNexus, a university-based medical and health care program.

UWF grads are No. 1 in Florida for finding jobs right out of school, data shows” via Colin Warren-Hicks of the Pensacola News Journal — For the third year in a row, the University of West Florida led the state in arguably the most important metric in higher education, finding success after school. UWF graduates had more combined success at finding additional academic opportunities or employment during their first year out of college than did graduates from any other university within the Florida State University System. “That particular metric is, in my opinion, the quality metric out of all of them, because when you think about it, if people hire our students, they must be good. It means that people want our graduates,” UWF President Martha Saunders said. “It is a quality metric that we are certainly proud of.”


The misogyny is the point” via Molly Jong-Fast for The Atlantic — Since the misogyny is ultimately the point, many of these anti-choice bills are not completely clear about ending pregnancy to protect the life of the mother. Tennessee’s abortion ban states that doctors must prove that “the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.” This vagueness will undoubtedly cause problems, and doctors are already worried about it. We will almost certainly soon hear stories of women whose lives are jeopardized by a health care system more concerned with the Republican judiciary than with public health. But these laws were kept vague because the life of the mother was never the primary or secondary concern.

The right has been gleeful about its victory, and the mainstream media have covered that self-congratulation with stomach-turning, business-as-usual both-sidesing.

It’s been profoundly disappointing to watch the mainstream media paint such an unpopular decision as somehow normal. Most Americans support choice, and the Supreme Court’s move was, by historical standards, extreme. But most mainstream media seem hesitant to tell readers that, and I’m not sure why. It all feels very gas-lighty to me.

The only good thing to come out of this decision is a growing awareness of just how radical SCOTUS has become.


Give Biden a break” via Dana Milbank of The Washington Post — For weeks, Democrats have arrayed themselves in traditional circular firing formation, complaining about Biden’s failure to channel outrage about mass shootings, the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade and MAGA Republicans’ assaults on democracy. Those saying Biden has generally failed to attack Republican extremism overlook months of heat. Democrats are habitually more self-critical than their Republican counterparts. And there’s genuine frustration that more can’t get done. It’s fair for Democrats to ask whether in 2024 they should re-nominate a man in his 82nd year. But this Goldilocks tale about Biden’s too-hot and too-cold rhetoric needs to be put to bed.

Christian nationalists are excited about what comes next” via Katherine Stewart in The New York Times — The shape of the Christian nationalist movement in the post-Roe future is coming into view, and it should terrify anyone concerned for the future of constitutional democracy. The Supreme Court’s decision to rescind the reproductive rights that American women have enjoyed over the past half-century will not lead America’s homegrown religious authoritarians to retire from the culture wars and enjoy a sweet moment of triumph. On the contrary, movement leaders are already preparing for a new and more brutal phase of their assault on individual rights and democratic self-governance. Breaking American democracy isn’t an unintended side effect of Christian nationalism. It is the point of the project.

GOP’s ideological wars begin in Florida’s classrooms, and DeSantis, so far, is winning” via the Miami Herald editorial board — There is a concerted effort to blur the line between religion and state and interpret the history of the United States through a conservative Christian lens that whitewashes our past of slavery and segregation. That effort begins with public education. Florida, thanks to DeSantis, is ground zero for such experimentation. As Richard Corcoran, former state Education Commissioner and DeSantis appointee, prophesied, “Education is our sword.” Or a scalpel Republicans are carefully manipulating in Republican-led states. They claim to be fighting indoctrination by “leftist academics” while giving their own spin, yep, indoctrination, on the nation’s founding.

— ALOE —

Disney denies ‘Rise of Resistance’ patent infringement, points to Universal” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — Disney argues it didn’t infringe on another company’s patent to help build “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” ride, the most technologically advanced attraction Disney has ever constructed. Disney went on the offensive and questioned the validity of Raven Sun Creative’s patent, according to court documents filed by The Mouse in response to a federal lawsuit Disney is facing. The reason, Disney said, has to do with its biggest competitor: Universal. In court documents, Disney said Raven’s chief creative officer, Louis Alfieri, one of the inventors for Raven’s patent, was not upfront with the U.S. Patent Office about his previous work on Universal’s Transformers ride when Alfieri worked at Universal Creative.

Is ‘Rise of The Resistance’ just a knockoff? Disney says ‘no way.’

Iconic Las Vegas casino is bringing back old-school mechanical slot machines” via Daniel Kline of the Miami Herald — No casino operator can compete with Caesars or MGM by doing the same things as the two Strip leaders. Circus has decided to do something different by bringing back a piece of Las Vegas’s past. “Check out our Classic Coin Machines! You can play $1 tokens in the Main Casino or try your luck on quarters at Slots A Fun,” the casino shared on its website. Circus has also recently added $5 coin-based slots to its casino. No other property on the Las Vegas Strip offers the classic coin-based machines. The coin slots return is part of a larger renovation effort at the Las Vegas Strip property.


Celebrating today are Sen. Janet Cruz, former Rep. MaryLynn Magar, Rep. Stan McClain, Amy Bisceglia, Tim Stapleton, Brad Herold, and the NFIB’s Tim Nungesser.


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

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.

One comment

  • Tom

    July 7, 2022 at 7:38 am


    Only the most extreme and liberal individual would inquire or pay attention to that Newsom/CA garbage. Go ahead, leave and go to California. What a dreadful move that would be. California’s social disorder is a threat to good, decent and safe well being. Really, Newsom, Pelosi, Harris, Gascon and ultra other leftists are a threat to society.

    As Reagan made famous from Dirty Harry and said, go ahead “make my day”.

    Only the most extreme element would believe this to be the correct move. Good riddance, go please go.

Comments are closed.


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