Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 1.31.23

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Your morning review of the issues and players behind Florida politics.

Good Tuesday morning.

Let’s start with some good news about a good person.

Longtime Florida Juvenile Justice Association lobbyist Christian Minor is joining the team at Converge Public Strategies as a partner.

Minor is known as one of the top juvenile justice reform advocates in the state and has been on the winning side of numerous justice reform battles. In a news release, Converge said Minor will continue to serve as FJJA executive director in addition to standing for firm clients.

Christian Minor is one of the top juvenile justice pros in the state.

“Watching Converge rise in recent years to become one of the premier public affairs firms in Florida, along with the growth of its national presence, I knew that if I ever decided to join a firm, that’s the one I wanted to be a part of,” Minor said. “Now, the FJJA will benefit from Converge’s incredible relationships, experience and reach, and I will be able to collaborate with Converge’s team on a wide range of issues.”

Converge Chair Jonathan Kilman said, “As an advocate, Christian is second to none. He brings heart, intellect, integrity and passion to his work. He will be a tremendous, tremendous partner for Converge and our clients.”

Before FJJA, Minor served as Director of Legislative Affairs for two other justice-related organizations, Bridges of America and the Florida Smart Justice Alliance. He previously worked as a Legislative Associate for the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association.

The double FSU alum has also been a ubiquitous presence on Florida political campaigns, volunteering for dozens of candidates throughout the state.

“No one has worked harder on campaigns for current members of the Florida Legislature than Christian, and the relationships and respect he maintains are the fruits of that labor,” said Clearwater Republican Sen. Ed Hooper.

Sarasota Republican Sen. Joe Gruters added, “Christian and Converge Public Strategies each share reputations in Florida for hard work and getting things done. They do not let the complexities of politics get in the way. I respect them and could not be happier for Christian and the firm.”


Shutts & Bowen announced that Tallahassee Partner Daniel E. Nordby has been named Practice Group Leader of the firm’s Appellate Practice Group.

Nordby is a leader in appellate advocacy and has experience in all types of civil appellate and original writ proceedings before Florida’s appellate courts and often handles cases of first impression in the areas of constitutional law, administrative law, election law and insurance law.

He has presented oral arguments before the Florida Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and Florida’s district courts of appeal.

Daniel Nordby is a leader in appellate court proceedings.

Nordby is a Florida Bar Board Certified specialist in Appellate Practice, a credential recognizing credibility and professional expertise that is held by less than a half percent of The Florida Bar’s 100,000-plus members.

“I am so pleased Dan has been named Practice Group Leader of the Appellate Practice Group,” said Ben Gibson, the Managing Partner of Shutts & Bowen’s Tallahassee office. “He is an experienced and skilled appellate practitioner who has garnered the trust and respect of his clients, colleagues, and the courts in Florida and at the federal level. Dan is perfectly situated to lead one of Shutts’ most distinguished practice groups as we continue to help our clients with their most consequential legal issues at the appellate level.”

Nordby credits Shutts and his appellate colleagues for his success.

“It’s an honor to be selected to lead the Appellate team,” he said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with some of the best appellate attorneys in Florida to further the mission of the Appellate Practice Group.”


LSN Law has elevated lawyer Danielle Sanabria to partner. Sanabria has been with LSN for five years, rising from Associate to Senior Associate, and now partner.

“Danielle is an excellent attorney; her organization, dedication, and hard work continue to impress our team and clients,” LSN Managing Partner Alexander Heckler said.

Danielle Sanabria gets a boost to partner at LSN Law.

Sanabria counsels clients through all phases of the government procurement process, including identifying government contract opportunities; identifying financing sources and opportunities for public-private partnerships; advising and representing clients on teaming arrangements, proposal preparation, responsiveness, and responsibility review; obtaining minority and disadvantaged business enterprise certifications; negotiating contracts; and protesting bids.

Before joining LSN, Sanabria practiced at a nationally ranked defense firm where she handled a large caseload of insurance defense litigation, including fraud-SIU, personal injury protection, fraud affirmative action litigation, personal injury protection class action defense and personal injury protection coverage disputes.

“Danielle brings so much value to our team,” said LSN Law Partner Mike Llorente. “She is a skilled problem-solver, a tireless advocate, and an all-around great person. We are proud to announce her elevation to the position of Partner.”


@Eric_Jotkoff: Wouldn’t it have been easier and more accurate to write: Meet Ron DeSantis’ inner circle: Casey DeSantis [End of list]

@AaronBlake: 2020 Donald Trump: Repeatedly praises DeSantis for lack of COVID restrictions … 2023 Donald Trump: Criticizes DeSantis for too many COVID restrictions

Tweet, tweet:

@GavinNewsome: FACT: Permitless carry does not make you safer. States that allow concealed carry have higher gun homicide rates. DeSantis’ bill would remove: —background checks — instruction — training+oversight and he’s proposing it near the 5th anniversary of Parkland.

@GiffordsCourage: The Speaker of the Florida House just announced a permitless carry bill. No more training, background checks, or permits. Just lawlessness. There is NOTHING safe about letting anyone and everyone carry loaded guns in crowded spaces, no questions asked.

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

@RobertGarcia: If @JamesGunn doesn’t present the new DCU plan by February 1st, I’m calling him in for a congressional hearing where I will ask the tough questions everyone wants to know.


Bruce Springsteen launches 2023 tour in Tampa — 1; 2023 State of the Union speech — 7; ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 17; 2023 Florida Chamber Legislative Fly-In — 21; ‘Snowfall’ final season premieres on FX — 22; city of Tampa Municipal Election early voting begins — 27; DeSantis’ ‘The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival’ released — 28; ‘The Mandalorian’ returns — 29; ‘Creed III’ premieres — 31; The Oscars — 32; Tampa Municipal Election — 35; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 35; Florida TaxWatch’s State of the Taxpayer Dinner — 36; World Baseball Classic finals begin in Miami — 47; Annual Red Dog Blue fundraiser — 49; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 52; ‘Succession’ Season 4 begins — 54; Tron Lightcycle/Run debuts in Walt Disney World — 63; ‘Air’ starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon premieres — 64; Taylor Swift ‘Eras’ Tour in Tampa — 74; final performance of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ on Broadway — 75; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies ’23 conference begins — 77; 2023 Session Sine Die — 94; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 94; Florida Chamber 2023 Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability — 98; Florida TaxWatch’s Spring Meeting — 106; ‘Fast X’ premieres — 107; Florida Chamber 2023 Florida Prosperity & Economic Opportunity Solution Summit — 115; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 122; Florida Chamber 2023 Florida Learners to Earners Workforce Solution Summit — 147; ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ premieres — 150; ‘Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning — Part One’ premieres — 164; Florida Chamber 37th Annual Environmental Permitting Summer School — 168; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 171; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 178; 2023 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 265; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 277; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 424; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 479; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 542; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 542; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 584; ‘Deadpool 3’ premieres — 647; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 725; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 822. ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,011.


Florida leaders propose allowing concealed guns without permits” via Jeffrey Schweers and Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel — Calling the right to bear arms “central to our freedom,” House Speaker Paul Renner unveiled a bill removing Florida requirements for a permit and training to carry concealed guns, an idea endorsed by DeSantis.

“Florida led the nation in concealed carry,” said Renner, surrounded by the bill’s House and Senate sponsors and Florida Sheriffs, and now it is time for the state to remove that “government permission slip to carry.”

The legislation, which supporters call “constitutional carry,” would end the need to get a license to carry a concealed weapon as well as the required weapons training that goes with it. If signed into law, as expected, Florida would become the 26th state to allow permitless carry.

Senate bill sponsor Jay Collins said he was “honored to have Senate President (Kathleen) Passidomo entrust me with one of the major breakthroughs for our freedom.”

Critics blasted the proposal as unsafe.

“This is not constitutional carry. This is untrained carry,” said Democratic Rep. Christine Hunschofsky of Parkland, the site of one of the deadliest school shootings in the nation. “Untrained carry does not make our communities safer.”

Renner, who represents Palm Coast, said gun owners are responsible enough to know the importance of gun safety.

“We trust people to do the right thing,” said Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis, president of the Florida Sheriff’s Association, whose membership supports the bill.

To watch highlights of the news conference, please click on the image below:

NRA lauds permitless carry proposal — The National Rifle Association praised the “constitutional carry” legislation and thanked Renner and bill sponsors Rep. Chuck Brannan and Sen. Collins for championing it. The gun rights group noted that if passed and signed into law, more than half the country “will recognize this fundamental right.” NRA Florida state director Art Thomm said, “Florida has long been at the forefront of supporting their citizens’ right to keep and bear arms. We thank Gov. DeSantis for his steadfast leadership on this issue, Speaker Renner and the Florida Sheriffs Association for their backing, and the millions of law-abiding Florida gun owners for their continued support.”

Jared Moskowitz derides gun bill as ‘Political Carry’ legislation — Democratic U.S. Rep. Moskowitz bashed the permitless carry bill, saying it would be “dangerous” to scratch out “common-sense” training and licensure requirements. “Just before the five-year anniversary of the murders at my high school in Parkland, the Legislature proposes more guns as a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” he said in a news release. “Five years later, the gun reforms in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act still exist today because they work. Republicans in the Florida legislature who supported the MSD Act were re-elected. When you take steps to keep your community safe, the voters reward and stand by you. This proposal is about politics; it’s ‘Political Carry’ and they know it.” Moskowitz’s office noted that an American Progress study from 2022 showed that states with permitless carry laws saw a 22% increase in gun homicides over the course of three years.


New College board trustee wants to find new president, fire all faculty” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — One of New College of Florida’s trustees plans Tuesday to suggest replacing the school’s president and firing all faculty. Eddie Speir, one of six new trustees appointed by DeSantis to the New College board this month, wrote a blog post about his intentions for his first trustee meeting. Among his first orders of business is beginning a search for a new college president and demoting Dr. Patricia Okker, the school’s leader since January 2022, to interim president. But he does not want the changes to stop with a new president. He also wants to dismiss and replace the General Counsel for the school, and then shift into a wholesale change in personnel.

Eddie Speir wants to clean house at New College.

Sex-education policy will be revised for Broward schools due to new state law” via Shira Moolten of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The Broward School Board has agreed to revise its sexual education policy, in order to comply with Florida’s new Parental Rights in Education law, known to critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. School district officials said that sections of the Family Life and Human Sexuality policy, or Policy 5315, will likely need to be changed in order to align with the section of the state law that forbids instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3 or “or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” The district had originally proposed repealing the entire policy at Tuesday’s workshop, but multiple board members protested and voted to revise it instead.

Duval Schools tells teachers to ‘cover or store’ books” via Claire Heddles and Heather Schatz of WJCT — Duval teachers say they are being instructed to “cover or store” classroom libraries they have used for years to supplement their students’ reading. The district’s chief academic officer, Paula Renfro, tells teachers to temporarily pull books from classrooms. Duval Schools confirmed to WJCT News on Friday that the video was sent to principals to share with staff earlier this week. “Books not on the district-approved list or not approved by certificated media specialists need to be covered or stored and paused for student use,” Renfro says in the video, explaining that the district is trying to comply with new state laws restricting schoolbooks.

Covering classroom libraries some serious pushback. Image via WJCT.

How Florida defines ‘student indoctrination’ for reviewers of new social studies textbooks” via Holley Baltz of The Palm Beach Post — A group of reviewers at Palm Beach County schools have been assessing new social studies textbooks that are now being considered for use by students in the fall. The reviewers have new guidelines from Florida in which to assess the books and make sure they omit lessons on social justice, culturally responsive teaching, social-emotional learning and “any other unsolicited theories that may lead to student indoctrination.” Lessons can’t compel students to believe they “must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions in which the person played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, national origin or sex.”

Ron DeSantis wants to make it much easier for the government to kill people” via Ian Millhiser of Vox — DeSantis floated two unconstitutional proposals that would lead to the U.S. executing more people. The first, which he suggested during an appearance before the Florida Sheriffs Association, was to allow juries to sentence someone to die even if the jury vote is not unanimous. DeSantis spoke at the Miami Police Benevolent Association Hall, where he not only reiterated that idea but also laid out a broader agenda on crime that included expanding the death penalty to offenders who rape children. While DeSantis’ two proposals are just ideas right now, he has been effective in moving his ideas through Florida’s GOP-controlled legislature.

DeSantis is ‘actively preparing’ for presidential run and Donald Trump is having a meltdown” via Bess Levin of Vanity Fair — DeSantis has not yet announced that he plans to run for President in 2024, though he might as well have. While this is all undoubtedly joyous news to the dozens of billionaires who would like to see the Florida Governor become President, it’s clearly a less welcome development to Trump, who on Saturday attacked DeSantis over the possibility of throwing his name in the ring, telling The Associated Press “it would be a great act of disloyalty because, you know, I got him in [to the Florida Governor’s Mansion]. He had no chance. His political life was over.” He also insisted to reporters that DeSantis has misrepresented his handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

The sniping begins in earnest.

Is DeSantis positioned as more than the anti-Trump?” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — DeSantis’ twin slogans since 2021 have been that Florida is where “woke goes to die” and that he led the “free state of Florida,” a reference to his rapid recognition that people were frustrated by efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. He’s what there wasn’t in 2016: Someone who could serve as the locus of anti-Trump support. It’s also because Trump’s base sees him as acceptable.

—“Karl Rove advises DeSantis to ‘focus on Florida’ while laying 2024 ‘groundwork’” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

ICYMIMeet DeSantis’ inner circle” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO — DeSantis has relied on a remarkably small coterie of aides to help guide all that political activity. A dozen confidants he leans on most, to shape his agenda in Tallahassee, assemble an extensive fundraising operation and devise his political future, include his chief of staff, well-known lobbyists, and especially his wife. Now he’s leaning on this group of insiders as he plots his next move toward 2024 and a collision with Trump.


Tyler Sirois seeks to rename roadway after slain Brevard Deputy Barbara Pill” via Tyler Vazquez of Florida Today — A section of a prominent Brevard County roadway could be renamed for a slain deputy if a state lawmaker can win support for his request. Sirois, a Merritt Island Republican, is championing an amendment to House Bill 21 that would designate a portion of State Road 518 in Brevard County as the “Deputy Sheriff Barbara Ann Pill Memorial Highway.” Brevard County Commissioners this week also issued a letter of support for the name change. “Following 10 years since the death of Deputy (Barbara Ann) Pill, the designation of this road is a fitting tribute to her memory,” Commission Chair Rita Pritchett wrote in the letter.

Tyler Sirois looks to honor a fallen LEO.

Duval legislators back local bills expanding drinking & dining zones” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — A meeting of the Duval County legislative delegation saw legislators review and ultimately approve local bills making it easier to drink and dine where they couldn’t before. One bill applies to the Beaches, while the other two cover the city of Jacksonville. Local bill JB-1 sets up a new Special Zone in Jacksonville Beach, the “Downtown Incentive Zone.” This and the other bills discussed would relax current restrictions on how small a restaurant can be and still serve hard liquor. The DIZ is in the heart of the commercial district, inside a rectangle framed by 3rd Street, the Atlantic Ocean, 6th Avenue North and 2nd Avenue South, facilitating hard liquor service in smaller restaurants than currently allowed.

— The Franklin County legislative delegation — Sen. Corey Simon and Rep. Jason Shoaf — meets: 11 a.m., Franklin County Courthouse Annex, 34 Forbes St., Apalachicola.

— The Broward County legislative delegation meets for workshops with the Broward County Commission and the Broward League of Cities: Commission meeting at noon; league meeting at 2:30 p.m., Broward County Governmental Center, 115 South Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale.

— The Liberty County legislative delegation — Simon and Shoaf — meets: 3 p.m., Liberty County Courthouse, 10818 N.W. State Road 20, Bristol.

— The Gulf County legislative delegation — Simon and Shoaf — meets: 5:30 p.m., Robert Moore Administration Building, 1000 Cecil G. Costin Sr. Blvd., Port St. Joe.

Personnel note: Senate Minority Office adds Emily Bruno — Senate Democrats have hired Bruno as Chief Legislative Analyst. A former attorney analyst for the House Judiciary Committee, Bruno returns to the Legislature from her most recent position as claims counsel for the Florida Sheriff’s Risk Management Fund. She brings with her several years of experience as an assistant state attorney, serving both Miami-Dade and Leon counties. She is a graduate of Colby College in Maine and the University of Alabama School of Law.


Police union backs Randy Fine’s state Senate bid” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — The International Union of Police Associations is backing Rep. Fine in his bid for the upper chamber in Senate District 19, the group announced Monday. “Your tenure in the Florida House of Representatives has always been marked by your advocacy and support of first responders,” Union President Sam Cabral said. “While many like to wrap themselves in the fabric of law and order, you have co-sponsored numerous bills that both improved the lives and working conditions of law enforcement officers, but also gave them the tools to protect their communities.”

Randy Fine gets police backup for his Senate run. Image via Colin Hackley.

Moderator labels House candidate Jose Juarez as ‘Jose Cuervo’ at HD 24 forum” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The moderator for a House District 24 forum referenced candidate Juarez by the name of a tequila, Jose Cuervo. Annie Marie Delgado, founder of Conservative Watch USA said it was a slip, and not intended as any kind of slight on the candidate. But it came at an event her organization held, which most candidates refused to attend. Video shared online captures Delgado’s voice at a Jan. 28 event at the Ocala Gulf Club. Only one candidate, Ryan Chamberlin, attended the event. But Delgado vocally raised issues with other candidates who did not attend, including Juarez, Justin Albright, Stephen Pyles and Charlie Stone.

Palm Beach County delegation targeting elderly exploitation” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Palm Beach County lawmakers agree: The state’s guardianship laws need an overhaul. Delegation members met with members of the Palm Beach County Commission and county staff to huddle about legislative priorities for the Session starting March 7. And the situation surrounding seniors who get a court-appointed guardian had heads nodding around the room. Newly seated Commissioner Marci Woodward said she heard about “predatory behavior” when it comes to seniors, including one couple whose guardian, with the help of an attorney, had them divorce to exploit them further.

Happening tonight:


DeSantis announces $7 billion plan expediting major roadway projects across the state” via Skyler Shepard of CBS 12 — DeSantis made an announcement in Polk County that the ‘Moving Florida Forward’ project would invest $4 billion of general revenue, redirect an average of $131 million annually to the State Transportation Work Program, and leverage additional funding over the next four years for a total of $7 billion to strengthen Florida’s transportation infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of people that rely on Florida’s roadways. FDOT will continue working on projects currently planned in the existing FDOT Five-Year Work Program in addition to projects included in the Moving Florida Forward package.

Ron DeSantis announces a huge investment in the state’s road system. Image via Twitter.

Engineers praise transportation plan — DeSantis’ $7 billion transportation plan received a warm reception from the Florida Engineering Society and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida. “Florida’s professional engineering community applauds Gov. DeSantis’ continued commitment to providing safe, resilient, and reliable transportation systems,” said Allen Douglas, who leads both organizations. “As Florida continues to lead the nation in net in-migration, it’s vital that we build upon our innovative transportation infrastructure. Further expediting major interstate and roadway projects will enhance local communities, support our thriving economy and help ensure our state’s infrastructure is prepared for generations to come.”

COVID-19 aftermath continues to affect Florida schools” via Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times — The coronavirus pandemic is largely in the rearview mirror for Florida education. Its effects continue to impact the system. In the latest news, lawyers for students suing to get fees returned from when state university campuses closed down filed papers to get their case heard by the state Supreme Court. The move comes after a divided ruling from the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal.

Migrants in massive numbers try to reach Florida. What happens to their abandoned boats?” via Shira Moolten of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Hurricane Ian turned boardwalks into piles of debris and moved boats miles from where they had been docked. Hurricane Nicole arrived on the East Coast one month later to shake loose what Ian had not. With the hurricanes, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the agency in charge of tracking down abandoned or derelict vessels, already had its hands full. Now, however, the vessels left behind by migrants intercepted along Florida’s shores have become the latest emergency undertaking. The boats have become physical reminders of the immigration crisis, often more difficult to remove from the state’s borders than the occupants themselves. As of January, the total number of active cases in the FWC’s derelict vessel database surpasses 1,000.

Florida election supervisors balk at implementing new ID provisions in vote-by-mail ballots” via Mitch Perry of the Florida Phoenix — As part of the 2022 election reform package, the Florida Department of State was tasked to produce a workable plan for how a voter could include some personal ID information — such as a driver’s license number, Florida identification card number or part of a Social Security number — on their return envelope when submitting a mail ballot to ensure voter integrity. A work group was commissioned by Mark Earley, the president of the Florida Supervisors of Elections. It was chaired by Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley and included 13 other supervisors of elections. The group viewed the situation as “unnecessary and lacking adequate feasibility for implementation,” according to the report.

Florida’s gas price surges amid ‘unusual’ January fluctuations” via Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat — Over the past two weeks, the average price of gas in Florida has ballooned by 32 cents, more than half of that last week. Prices rose by 17 cents to reach a $3.58 per gallon average in the last week. After the increases, prices dipped by 2 cents over the weekend. Downturns in the global oil and fuel markets, however, could signal ongoing declines at the pump to drivers. Oil prices dipped 2% last week and gasoline futures dropped by 6 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange after a 40-cent surge in the two weeks beforehand.


President Joe Biden to end COVID-19 emergencies on May 11” via Zeke Miller and Amanda Seitz of The Associated Press — Biden informed Congress that he will end the twin national emergencies for addressing COVID-19, as most of the world has returned closer to normalcy nearly three years after they were first declared. The move to end the national emergency and public health emergency declarations would formally restructure the federal coronavirus response to treat the virus as an endemic threat to public health that can be managed through agencies’ normal authorities. It comes as lawmakers have already ended elements of the emergencies that kept millions of Americans insured during the pandemic. Combined with the drawdown of most federal COVID-19 relief money, it would also shift the development of vaccines and treatments away from the direct management of the federal government.

Joe Biden says the end is near for the COVID-19 emergency. Image via AP.

Wall St. is counting on a debt limit trick that could entail trouble” via Jeanna Smialek, Jim Tankersley and Joe Rennison of The New York Times — Washington’s debt limit drama has Wall Street betting that the United States will employ a fallback option to ensure it can make good on payments to its lenders even if Congress doesn’t raise the nation’s borrowing limit before America runs out of cash. But that untested idea has significant flaws and has been ruled out by the Joe Biden administration, which could make it less of a bulwark against disaster than many investors and politicians are counting on. Some Republicans in the House and Senate have painted prioritization as a fallback option that could make failure to raise the borrowing cap less of a disaster, arguing that as long as bondholders get paid, the U.S. will not experience a true default.

Matt Gaetz, political arsonist, has new powers. What will he do with them?” via Robert Draper of The New York Times — The night before the start of a humiliating and historic five-day floor fight in Kevin McCarthy’s quest to become Speaker, Gaetz, McCarthy’s chief tormentor, handed him a list of demands from a hard-right faction ensuring that if McCarthy’s victory did occur, it would only be a pyrrhic one. It was Monday, Jan. 2, and McCarthy, soon to move into his new suite of offices, rejected the list outright. “You just want to be Speaker,” he told Gaetz. Not so, Gaetz replied. Then he breezily added, according to the lawmakers: “You can have the portrait.”

Matt Gaetz, Congress’ most notorious bomb thrower.

Epidemic alert: Two more Republican members of Congress ripped off by thieves” via Dave Levinthal of Raw Story — Thieves recently stole thousands of dollars from the campaigns of two Republican members of Congress, the latest examples of what’s fast becoming an epidemic of fraudsters plaguing federal political committees. Rep. Neal Dunn, a four-term Congressman who represents much of the Florida Panhandle, lost nearly $11,000 in campaign funds to a thief in November. In a letter to the Federal Election Commission dated Jan. 27, Friends of Neal Dunn campaign treasury Caleb Crosby explained that it had been “victimized” by “an external check fraud situation.” The Dunn campaign does not appear to have yet recouped the lost money.

House Democrat on climate change caucus rakes in cash from oil and gas investments” via Gabe Kaminsky of The Washington Examiner — A Democratic Congresswoman who is part of a congressional caucus aiming to fight the effects of climate change is earning major profits on her oil and gas stock purchases in recent years. Rep. Lois Frankel is a member of the Safe Climate Caucus, which has targeted the fracking industry and aims “to solve the important issues facing our country because of climate change.” However, the Florida Democrat’s purported commitment to staving off climate change has not stopped her from shelling out up to $195,000 between March 2020 and December 2022 to obtain shares of six oil and gas companies that have ballooned in value, filings show.


Trump slams DeSantis, Club for Growth as ‘globalists’” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Trump is attacking DeSantis as a “globalist” in a pointed Truth Social post. The rhetorical attack steps up Trump’s increasing criticism of a one-time political ally as a potential 2024 Presidential Primary matchup looms. “Ron DeSanctimonious, who I made Governor in BOTH the Primary and the General, is also a Globalist, and so are his donors,” Trump posted. “Jeb ‘Low Energy’ Bush was next to him last week. Check PAST!” In the same post where Trump slammed the Governor of his home state, he also brought up an old grudge against the political organization Club for Growth.

Trump bashes DeSantis as a Jeb Bush fan because why the hell not” via Ryan Bort of Rolling Stone — Trump wants to make America great again, and so on and so forth, but now that he’s started rallying for 2024, Trump seems a little more interested in cutting down DeSantis. He followed up a pair of low — energy rallies packed with well-worn talking points on Saturday by bashing the Florida Governor as “disloyal” and, on Monday, labeling him a “globalist” while tying him to Bush, Trump’s favorite punching bag from the 2016 Primary. It’s unclear what exactly Trump is accusing DeSantis of here or how DeSantis is any more of a globalist than Trump, whose interests have certainly not been contained within America’s borders. Nevertheless!

Donald Trump goes after his favorite 2016 punching bag — Jeb Bush — because why the hell not? Image via Florida TaxWatch.

—”Trump downs DeSantis in two early-state 2024 Primary polls” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Why Trump’s claim to the 2024 nomination is far from certain” via Philip Elliott of Time — The challenge for Trump’s third presidential bid: Many Republicans look back fondly on the Trump years but not necessarily on Trump himself. Trump no doubt remade the Republican Party, expanding its reach to parts of the country that didn’t exactly see themselves reflected in the political system while driving the establishment and moderate corners nutty. Trumpism guided a huge reset in this nation’s politics and remains a potent force. But Trump himself may no longer be the avatar of that ideology. To be sure, there still is a political eternity between now and the starting gun of the first primaries, and it’s still not even clear who will eventually join the race.

Manhattan prosecutors begin presenting Trump case to grand jury” via William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess, Jonah E. Bromwich and Hurubie Meko of The New York Times — The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office on Monday began presenting evidence to a grand jury about Trump’s role in paying hush money to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign, laying the groundwork for potential criminal charges against Trump in the coming months. The grand jury was recently impaneled, and the beginning of witness testimony is a clear signal that the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, is nearing a decision about whether to charge Trump.

Trump sues journalist Bob Woodward for releasing interview recordings” via Mario Parker and Zoe Tillman of Bloomberg — In a lawsuit filed against Woodward, Simon & Schuster and the publisher’s parent company Paramount Global, Trump claimed that although he had given Woodward consent to record their conversations “for the sole purpose of a book,” that didn’t extend to packaging those recordings as an audiobook. The complaint alleges violations of Trump’s copyright interests and accuses Woodward and the publisher of unjustly profiting from the tapes. Trump is seeking just under $50 million in damages. Trump’s attorneys, Robert Garson and Yanina Zilberman, filed the case in the Pensacola division of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

Homeland Security Chief defends parole process for Cubans, Haitians during Miami visit” via Syra Ortiz-Blanes, Nora Gámez Torres and Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald — The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary on Monday defended a parole process that allows up to 30,000 Haitians, Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans a month to come to the United States, following a legal challenge from Florida’s Governor and those of 19 other Republican-led states. “It is remarkable to me that states will attack a solution to the problem about which they complain,” said Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of DHS, during a news conference Monday at the Little Haiti Cultural Center. DeSantis joined Texas and 18 other states in challenging the Biden administration’s two-year parole program.

‘Impossible’ parking fees, puzzling diner bills: Retracing George Santos’ steps in Miami” via Aaron Leibowitz of Miami Herald — Before Santos’ life story began to unravel — his spectacular tales of college volleyball stardom and Wall Street pedigree earned him a reputation as perhaps Washington’s greatest fabulist — the Republican Congressman was just a dark horse candidate frequenting Miami’s hippest restaurants and rubbing elbows on the water with campaign donors. Far from the New York district he now represents, Santos stayed multiple nights at the swanky W South Beach hotel. He ate at Nusr-Et in Miami, the steakhouse owned by the celebrity chef known as “Salt Bae.” He particularly enjoyed Miami Diner in Miami Beach, a vintage dining car with bar stools and neon lights that he visited on back-to-back days. At least, that is what his campaign finance reports suggest.

With folks like George Santos, there is always a Florida connection. Image via AP.

Judge rejects city of Miami’s bid to block parking-surcharge case. Millions at stake” via Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald — A judge has rejected the city of Miami’s bid to block a lawsuit challenging its 15% parking surcharge — a tax that has generated tens of millions of dollars in recent years. Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman’s decision on Friday paves the way for the suit’s class members to be certified later this year and possibly collect about $55 million in refunds — if they prevail on their claim that the city’s parking tax is “unconstitutional” under state law. The proposed class, representing potentially tens of thousands of workers, residents and visitors, filed suit in October and urged the judge to order Miami officials to reimburse them. Class members want him to stop the city’s parking tax altogether.

Broward courthouse cracks cause for concern, not panic, experts say” via Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — From the moment a maintenance worker noticed cracks on a rooftop beam of the Broward courthouse more than a week ago, county officials were faced with a host of complicated questions. How serious could it be? Is this the first sign of a Surfside-level disaster, or a cosmetic problem that can be fixed in a relatively short time? Is it safe to open the courthouse, or are the lives of hundreds of workers, judges, lawyers, jurors and others being put at risk? The county has handled the issues professionally and responsibly, according to at least one engineering expert who studied the collapse of the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside two years ago.

New annexation agreement brings vote closer; Sebastian City Council to decide Feb. 8” via Janet Begley of Treasure Coast Newspapers — There was little controversy at Wednesday’s City Council workshop, called to discuss the revised annexation agreement between the city and Graves Brothers Co., which wants to annex 2,044 acres of citrus land into the city. It’s the second version of the agreement presented to the public, and similar to the Nov. 23 draft that called for a mix of medium-density housing on the property with up to 10 units per acre. In the revised plan, a 10% mandate for the developer to build affordable housing on the property has been reduced to “at least 5% and up to 10% of the dwelling units,” a change that didn’t sit well with Indian River Neighborhood Association Executive Director Dan Lamson.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Money for 2020 attack ads traces to Florida Chamber-linked group, FDLE probe finds” via Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel — An affiliate of the Florida Chamber of Commerce indirectly provided the funding for a secretive political committee that didn’t disclose its donors and spent more than $160,000 on mail ads in a competitive Central Florida state Senate race in 2020. The revelation was disclosed in records sent by FDLE to 18th Circuit State Attorney Phil Archer’s office, which declined to file charges against anyone involved in running Floridians for Equality and Justice, a committee covertly run by a Republican political operative whose name didn’t appear on any of the group’s publicly disclosed filings.

ICON Park’s Wheel is still closed after New Year’s Eve power failure” via Katie Rice of the Orlando Sentinel — International Drive visitors might have seen The Wheel at ICON Park lit up for the first time since a New Year’s Eve power outage prompted firefighters to evacuate more than 60 riders, but the attraction remains closed as inspections and testing continue. Technicians have been examining “thousands of components” on the attraction to figure out what caused the ride’s power failure and sudden stop on Dec. 31, ICON Park said in an unsigned statement. Representatives for the Orlando entertainment complex are in touch with the ride’s manufacturer, Intamin Amusement Rides, and other manufacturers of the ride’s components about the issue, the statement continued.

ICON Park’s Wheel is still closed while technicians figure out what happened.

Fine arts group cuts ties with Brevard public schools, citing actions by Matt Susin” via Finch Walker of Florida Today — A local foundation that has provided Brevard Public Schools with a minimum of $200,000 annually for a summer theater workshop and teacher grants since 2017 has cut ties with the district, saying actions by the current school board, and particularly Chair Susin, don’t align with its values of inclusivity. Carla Smith, an administrator for the Phoenix Foundation, made the announcement during the public comment section of the Tuesday School Board meeting. “(Susin’s) antics include but are not limited to continually giving the perception of impropriety by holding meetings and taking counsel from select individuals in the community to targeting the former superintendent without cause,” Smith said.

‘Historic’ plunge in Hispanic turnout led to Democratic collapse in Osceola” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — Democrats suffered an “unprecedented” plummet in Hispanic support in Osceola County in last year’s election, setting off a warning sign for a party that once saw Central Florida as a solid blue wall, a Democratic analyst says. Osceola, the heart of the Puerto Rican community in Florida, not only backed DeSantis but also gave incumbent Democrats a scare in both congressional and state Senate races. “This is the Democrats’ prime region,” said Matt Isbell, who studies Florida election trends. “There was clearly just a massive failure.”

Nine people injured in Lakeland shooting, police say” via Amanda Rabines of the Orlando Sentinel — Police officers are investigating a shooting that took place Monday afternoon north of downtown Lakeland. Lakeland officers were notified of a shooting at 3:43 p.m. by the corner of North Iowa Avenue and Plum Street. On a social media post, the department said it believes there are nine victims, two of which are reported to have serious injuries. There are seven victims with less-severe injuries, the department said.

Brevard County Sheriff sued for ‘Wheel of Fugitive’ defamation” via The Associated Press — A man has filed a defamation lawsuit against a Florida Sheriff who posts weekly “Wheel of Fugitive” videos on social media, saying that he wasn’t a fugitive when his name and image appeared several times in 2021 in the Sheriff’s posts inspired by the long-running TV game show “Wheel of Fortune.” Because of the Sheriff’s posts, David Gay lost a job and suffered emotional distress, according to the lawsuit seeking more than $50,000 in damages. Gay’s prospective boss called him as he was driving to his first day of work and told him not to bother showing up as he had seen Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey’s “Wheel of Fugitive” videos, the lawsuit said.

After eight years of service, New Smyrna Beach Police Chief Mike Coffin to retire Friday” via Brenno Carillo of The Daytona Beach News-Journal — After almost eight years of service in the police department, New Smyrna Beach Police Chief Coffin will retire Friday. “As I look forward to the next chapter in my career, I will always count the time as chief of police here as some of the best years of my life,” Coffin wrote in his retirement letter to City Manager Khalid Resheidat. “I am honored to have worked alongside some of the best that this profession has to offer, and I am confident that they will continue to provide the high level of service that our citizens and visitors have come to expect.”


St. Petersburg Mayor picks Tampa Bay Rays, Hines to redevelop Tropicana Field” via Colleen Wright of the Tampa Bay Times — Mayor Ken Welch made the biggest decision of his political career on Monday, selecting the team led by the Tampa Bay Rays to redevelop Tropicana Field. “The process was detailed and transparent, and as your Mayor, I have done my homework,” Welch said. The Rays made their pitch as part of a joint proposal to rebuild Tropicana Field and the 86 acres it sits on with international real estate investment and development group Hines. They plan to build a senior living facility, 40,000 square feet of conference space in the ballpark facility, and a new Woodson African American Museum of Florida right at the development’s entryway on Booker Creek, plus a $10 million donation.

Ken Welch is making a major move in one of the country’s largest development projects.

Tampa loses control of historic Black cemetery. A property flipper now owns it.” via Paul Guzzo of the Tampa Bay Times — The city of Tampa has been maintaining the 104-year-old segregation-era Memorial Park Cemetery since its owner died in 2019 and the Black burial ground was abandoned. They hoped to officially take ownership of it earlier this month by placing a lien and foreclosing on the 20-acre property and then buying it at a county auction held about two weeks ago. But they were outbid in the blind auction process. The city bid around $9,000, Smith said, and the winning bid was for around $18,000. Alexis Arteaga, the director of 2715 West Sligh LLC, said they are “looking for a company that can handle” maintenance but do not plan on being the long-term owner of the cemetery at 2225 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. “We want to sell it.”

Nearly half of Tampa Bay’s most-registered vehicles are pickup trucks” via Will Chase, Jared Whalen, Joann Muller and Ben Montgomery of Axios — As trucks transitioned from farm and ranch workhorses to lifestyle vehicles, their design shifted accordingly: Cabs expanded to accommodate more passengers, while beds shrank. Yet, pedestrian and road safety advocates say today’s massive trucks are a hazard, given their size, weight, and driver blind spots. Tampa Bay’s bestseller is Ford’s F Series, a prime example of how trucks have grown. The first F-150s were 36% cab and 64% bed by length. By 2021, the ratio flipped, with 63% cab and 37% bed, as trucks were being used more for carrying people than lumber, rubble or bags of concrete.


What Sarasota County Commissioners, local advocates have to say about move to expand Commission” via Anne Snabes of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Some Sarasota County Commissioners critiqued Sen. Joe Gruters’ idea to expand the County Commission, while others are staying more neutral on the topic. Meanwhile, some proponents of the county’s single-member districts system of electing Commissioners criticized Gruters’ proposal in interviews with the Herald-Tribune. Gruters, who represents Sarasota County and some of Charlotte and Manatee counties, proposed at a Jan. 12 meeting that the Sarasota County Commission be expanded from five Commissioners to seven. Five members of the Board would continue to be elected through single-member districts, a system in which Commissioners are selected solely by the citizens of their district. The other Commissioners would be elected countywide.

Joe Gruters gets blowback on his proposal to expand the Sarasota County Commission.

Homeless count in Collier County: Uptick expected because of Ian and rental rates” via Liz Freeman of the Naples Daily News — William White knows where he can park his van at night and not be bothered. The 80-year-old, who wears his U.S. Navy cap proudly, says he’s not so good with dates but knows fire and smoke damage in his East Naples apartment two years ago was a life changer. There was too much damage, he got evicted, and he’s been homeless ever since — living in his van. He’s got a secret spot at night and says it’s important to keep it to himself. “I have one place I can stay,” he said. White was among dozens of homeless individuals Friday who came and went from the annual “point in time” homeless count off Bayshore Drive in East Naples.

Charlotte County school district seeks input for new Superintendent” via the Port Charlotte Sun — The search for a new Charlotte County Public Schools Superintendent has begun, and staff, families, and members of the community are asked to take part. Charlotte County School Board Chair Cara Reynolds said upcoming in-person forums and one in-person staff forum will run through Feb. 9. The next forum is 6:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at Murdock Middle School’s Media Center, 17325 Mariner Lane, Port Charlotte. At 5 p.m. that day, the district’s staff will have its forum at the Murdock County office’s board meeting room at 1445 Education Way, Port Charlotte. The final community forum will be held at 6 p.m. on Feb. 9, at Lemon Bay High School’s media center, 2201 Placida Road, Englewood.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

Assignment editors — The Capital Tiger Bay Club is hosting Dr. Susan MacManus at its lunch program: 11 a.m., Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, 505 West Pensacola Street, Tallahassee.

Jax City Council members call for probe of LeAnna Cumber over ties to JEA sale push” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Republicans Rory Diamond and Nick Howland are calling for a probe of Cumber, a Republican running for Mayor who has sought to use last decade’s failed JEA sale push against an opponent, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce CEO Daniel Davis. Diamond made his call Friday, and on Monday, Howland followed up with a letter to Council President Terrance Freeman. Howland, elected in a Special Election last year to replace the late Tommy Hazouri, said he was concerned that Husein Cumber, the Council member’s husband, “was advising a potential buyer while the Council member herself was a seller.”

LeAnna Cumber blasted Daniel Davis on the proposed JEA sale. Now she may be under investigation for the same thing.

A detailed look at how much FSU, FAMU spend on diversity, equity and inclusion programs” via Tarah Jean of the Tallahassee Democrat — Recent reports reveal that Florida State and Florida A&M universities are spending millions of dollars on diversity, equity, inclusion programs. While FSU spends over $2.4 million on DEI programs, FAMU spent a total of $4.4 million. The combined reports from all the universities in the state’s system were sent to DeSantis’ office recently. The compilation of expenses came in response to DeSantis’ war on critical race theory and “woke ideology.” It includes a request for the public colleges and universities across the state to highlight how much they are spending on DEI and CRT programs.

Jacksonville church addresses concerns over member requirement to sign ‘biblical sexuality’ statement” via Teresa Stepzinski of The Florida Times-Union — After a week of headlines about an upcoming deadline for members to sign a form agreeing to the church’s “Statement of Biblical Sexuality” on its stance on LGBTQ+ and other “sins” of what he termed a “sexual revolution,” First Baptist Church of Jacksonville Senior Pastor Heath Lambert told its congregants and members of the public that the church “is not closing our doors to anybody.” Lambert’s words came Sunday evening during a 90-minute “open mic” forum. Hundreds of people, almost all apparent congregants, filled the church’s downtown auditorium, where about 10 people chose to speak on the issue.

Judge: Jacksonville has ‘no mechanism to deviate’ from rule-making Black firefighters shave” via Steve Patterson of The Florida Times-Union — Black firefighters who sued Jacksonville for grooming standards that could help them manage a common skin problem have lost their case, a federal judge has ruled. The firefighters went to court in 2020 arguing the fire department was wrongly burdening Black firefighters by requiring them to be cleanshaven even if they had a condition called pseudofolliculitis barbae, or PFB, which can involve ingrown hairs, irritated skin and scarring. “At issue is whether the city discriminated against plaintiffs when it required firefighters with PFB, which primarily affects African American men, to be cleanshaven,” U.S. Senior District Judge Harvey Schlesinger wrote this month in an order that ends the case.

Escambia to ‘tighten up’ bed tax ordinances after audit finds they contradict state law” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Escambia County will need to rewrite its ordinances surrounding its Tourist Development Tax if the preliminary findings of a state audit hold. The Florida Auditor General’s office sent the county its preliminary findings from an audit of Escambia County’s Tourist Development Tax fund. The audit found the county’s ordinances surrounding the tourist development tax were contrary to state law, and it found the County Commission and the Clerk and Comptroller Pam Childers’ office did not properly document the connection to tourism for $614,156 of TDT funds as required by state law. Some of the funds spent on beach-related items came out of bed tax funds only allowed for sports tourism.

Was Pam Childers a little loose with tourism funds?

January proves rough for North Atlantic right whales with deaths, entanglements” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — It’s been one hit after another in January for North Atlantic right whales, a species already on the path toward extinction in our lifetime. There need to be around 50 calves born each calving season to stabilize the population, now at around 340 whales, with fewer than 70 calving females. This season, survey teams have only seen a dozen calves. A Clearwater Marine Aquarium team flying 20 miles off Rodanthe, North Carolina, discovered a right whale entangled in heavy rope fishing gear, with “several wraps of line around the mouth and tail, with the added line trailing behind the whale.


Our national debt remains a ticking time bomb” via Vern Buchanan for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — By the time you finish reading this, our national debt will have grown by more than $5 million. Currently at $31 trillion, the debt is a ticking time bomb that is bringing us to the brink of bankruptcy and placing an immoral burden on our children and grandchildren.

And if that doesn’t scare you, consider the fact that about a third of our debt is held by foreign countries, including China.

Enough is enough.

The time for action is now as Washington debates raising the debt limit. Nobody wants to default on our debt, but neither can we afford to keep spending money we don’t have. And we cannot keep raising the debt ceiling without addressing the root cause of the debt itself — massive overspending by the federal government.

Under one-party rule in Washington and record spending by the Biden administration and congressional Democrats, our national debt has ballooned by a whopping $3.8 trillion in just two short years.

We need to impose caps on discretionary spending, restore work requirements for welfare benefits and adopt a balanced-budget amendment to ensure we don’t return to the days of trillion-dollar spending bills that have become commonplace under President Joe Biden.

That’s why the very first bill I introduced in Congress — and continue to advocate for — is a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution that would force Washington to spend no more than it takes in. This is just common sense, and it’s precisely why 46 out of 50 states have some form of a balanced budget requirement.


Florida has a right to destroy its universities” via Tom Nichols of The Atlantic — Elections have consequences. If the people of Florida, through their electoral choices, want to wreck one of their own colleges, it is within the state’s legitimate power to do so. In fact, Florida could decide tomorrow to amend its own constitution and abolish state universities entirely. There’s no national right to a college education, and if Florida wants to unleash a battalion of Guy Montags on its own state colleges and their libraries, well, that’s up to the voters. Something has changed on the American right, which is now seized with hostility toward higher education that is driven by cultural resentment.

Can Mayor Welch get a deal done with Rays to redevelop Tropicana Field” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — Welch chose the team led by the Tampa Bay Rays to redevelop the Historic Gas Plant District. It was the biggest decision he has made as mayor. It might end up being the most important decision he makes for as long as he remains in City Hall. And given the circumstances, it was the best way forward, the one most likely to deliver on the huge promise offered by redeveloping the 86-acre site. They call them “proposals” for a reason, the details are not set in stone. That’s what comes next. The Rays/Hines proposal included a broad outline. Now, Welch and the city negotiate with Rays/Hines over the details, including the financials.

Will Hillsborough close schools? We have questions” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — The Hillsborough County School Board is nearing a vote on what could be the most sweeping attendance boundary changes in the district’s 140-year history. The move could shift tens of thousands of students to new schools, save the cash-strapped district much-needed money and reshape the school system’s learning environment, especially for Black and Hispanic children. With a vote expected in weeks, the district still hasn’t offered a concrete recommendation for which students it should transfer and what schools it might close. Officials insist they would “repurpose” schools, not merely close them, but have offered no specifics of what would take their place.

DeSantis loves to talk about sports. So why is he silent about Dana White?” via Roger Brown of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — For all the relentless energy DeSantis expends imposing his control over our state each day, the guy still finds sufficient time to stick an omnipresent oar into the world of sports, too. DeSantis knows that when he does get involved in sports-related issues, it usually makes an impact. And that’s why it’s so puzzling DeSantis has had little to say about the biggest scandal in sports right now. It’s the fact that White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mixed martial arts organization, is still a high-powered sports figure who has escaped any accountability for being captured on video slapping his wife during a New Year’s Eve dispute between the couple.


— ALOE —

AI has found potential alien ‘technosignatures’ hidden in radio signals from space” via Sarah Wells of Vice — Established in 1984, SETI has made it their mission to scan the skies for radio signals comprised of non-earth based “technosignatures” that may belong to alien tech. Such signals — which may indicate communications technology in use, and thus intelligence — are sought after by scientists looking for signs of alien life. So far, this decadeslong search has yet to turn up any convincing leads, but a new paper published in the journal nature astronomy is hoping to change that by using machine learning to tackle the problem. Using telescope data that was first collected in 2016, the machine-learning algorithm analyzed over 480 hours of data from 820 stars and identified eight signals of interest that previous algorithms had not detected.

Did we just hear something?

The hero(ine) who invented lorem ipsum may never be known” via Jack Shepherd of Slate — But why did this random butchered passage from Cicero end up as the standard text for typesetters to use when they wanted to see a layout that definitely wouldn’t get accidentally published? According to almost everyone, this is a practice that dates to the 16th century. In fact, most sites that will generate lorem ipsum claim an unknown printer in the 1500s took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. So, until someone digs up an earlier example, the best working theory of why designers and layout editors have been filling pages with a garbled version of a first-century BCE treatise that says, in so many words, “no pain, no gain.”


Best wishes to our former colleague, Jason Delgado, as well as U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, the super-sharp Kelsey Deasy of Bascom Communications and Consulting, and Ben Sharpe. It’s also Ryan Ray’s birthday.


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

Peter Schorsch

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


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

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