Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 4.12.23

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Start the day right — your morning briefing of what you need to know in Florida politics.

Good Wednesday morning.

A top-of-Burn birthday shoutout to our dear friend, Stephanie Lewis Cardozo.

Happy birthday to Stephanie Lewis Cardozo, shown here with her husband Reggie.


Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke for most of us when he famously quipped, “I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair … I can’t speak to that.” Few of us have actually found ourselves in such a position.

Still, that doesn’t keep us from having opinions on the thorny subject. A new survey of Florida voters by Sachs Media shows that Floridians’ views are both divided and complicated when it comes to the New York indictment of former President Donald Trump by a New York grand jury. Perhaps that’s because there are multiple questions at the heart of this issue, none of which are mutually exclusive.

When it comes to Donald Trump’s indictment, the sentiment among Floridians is a mixed bag.

For one: Did Trump in fact pay hush money to porn actor Stormy Daniels to secure her silence about an affair? If so, did this constitute some type of felony — meaning that the indictment has legal merit — or simply suggest questionable character? And finally, regardless of the strength of the legal case against Trump, are the charges brought by District Attorney Alvin Bragg politically motivated or brought in good faith?

The survey of 650 Florida voters, conducted April 7-10, reveals that almost three-quarters of Florida voters (74%) believe Trump probably paid hush money to Daniels just before the 2016 presidential election. It’s hard to get 3 in 4 Floridians to agree on much of anything, but this group includes 91% of Democrats, 84% of nonpartisan voters, and 50% — fully half — of Republicans. But that doesn’t mean the other half of Republicans believe the former President did not do this — fewer than 1 in 4 Republicans (24%) say Trump never attempted to cover up an affair with hush money, while about the same share (26%) say they simply aren’t sure.

“Overall, only 13% of Florida voters believe Trump probably did NOT commit that act (or the act that followed it),” wrote Karen Cyphers, the Sachs Media partner who conducted the study, “It’s the one thing most people are in agreement about. But does that cash payoff merit this indictment? That’s where voters are at odds.”

When it comes to the indictment itself, 57% of Floridians believe it has some legal merit, while 60% believe it is politically motivated. Interestingly, 1 in 5 Floridians (19%) hold both views simultaneously — that the indictment has legal merit but was still politically motivated.

The survey also shows that 41% of Floridians think the indictment is politically motivated and lacks legal merit, while at the other end of the spectrum, a nearly identical portion (38%) think the indictment does have legal merit and is not politically motivated.

Unsurprisingly, most Republicans (77%) believe the indictment is politically motivated, while most Democrats (70%) believe it has legal merit. Just 3% of Florida voters believe the indictment was brought in good faith (not politically motivated) but lacks legal merit.

As with many things, the survey confirms that partisan viewpoints are often mirror images of one another. Here, 1 in 4 Democrats acknowledges that the indictment may be politically motivated, while the same share of Republicans acknowledge that it may have some legal merit. At the same time, 9 in 10 Democrats think the indictment has merit, while 9 in 10 Republicans think it is politically motivated.

For their part, 2 in 3 non-partisans believe that the indictment has merit but are split 50-50 on whether it was politically motivated.

“We see that most Florida Republicans believe New York law is being improperly used to target Trump. But half or more of Republicans also assume that Trump cheated on his wife with a porn star and then paid her off to keep it quiet. Primary voters may have to ask themselves whether they’re willing to reward this behavior, even if they don’t believe the former President should be criminally penalized for it,” said Cyphers. “Both beliefs can feel true — the question is, which will be stronger?”

The complexity of how a New York court will handle legal questions aside, what remains absolutely certain is that the media storm surrounding The People of the State of New York vs. Donald J. Trump will have some impact on the presidential campaign, good or bad.

Six in 10 (62%) Floridians believe that round-the-clock news coverage will benefit Trump, while 4 in 10 say it will hurt his prospects. Almost three-quarters of Republicans (72%) are confident the coverage will benefit Trump — and about half of Democrats (52%) agree, too.

The survey provides a glimpse into the complexity of the issue and how divided opinions are among Floridians. The indictment has already helped the Trump political machine raise significant money — but only time will tell if it meaningfully raises his campaign’s prospects in his third run for the presidency.

Full results are available here.


@MarcoRubio: (Chuck) Schumer planning a vote on a Senate resolution condemning calls to “defund” the DOJ & FBI. I will attempt to amend it by adding language that condemns something that actually happened, DOJ & FBI trying to infiltrate Catholic parishes & cultivate “sources” inside Catholic Churches

@NatashaKorecki: Ron DeSantis is going to find out if he plays in Peoria. Next month, DeSantis will keynote Lincoln Day Dinner for Peoria and Tazewell County Republican Central Committees. DeSantis will be special guest to Rep. Darin LaHood, who calls DeSantis “one of the preeminent conservative voices in our country, fighting back against the radical left.”

@RealChrisRufo: The Left’s ability to manufacture avatars for specific political narratives is impressive: the Beto-style Vanity Fair spread; the natsec girlboss protecting our democracy; the Gen Z MLK re-enactor hitting the streets. The Right has nothing comparable — a friendly article on NRO.

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:


@SalNuzzo: So according to one legislator — those supporting sensible reforms to public sector unions are on the same level as the guy who assassinated MLK. Let’s see the media treat that with the same level of acrimony they did a member yesterday. They won’t.

@Fineout: “I wasn’t planning on debating today …” Drink!

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:

Tweet, tweet:


Taylor Swift ‘Eras’ Tour in Tampa — 1; NBA playoffs begin — 3; final performance of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ on Broadway — 4; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies ’23 conference begins — 6; DeSantis speaks at Utah Republican Party convention — 10; DeSantis speaks at the Jerusalem Post and Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem ‘Celebrate the Faces of Israel’ event — 15; ‘White House Plumbers’ premieres — 19; 2023 Session Sine Die — 23; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 23; Florida Chamber 2023 Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability — 27; Florida TaxWatch’s Spring Meeting — 36; ‘Fast X’ premieres — 36; Martin Scorsese’s ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ premieres at Cannes — 38; Florida Chamber 2023 Florida Prosperity & Economic Opportunity Solution Summit — 45; NBA Finals begin — 50; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 50; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 64; ‘Secret Invasion’ premieres on Disney+ — 70; Florida Chamber 2023 Florida Learners to Earners Workforce Solution Summit — 76; ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ premieres — 78; ‘Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning — Part One’ premieres — 93; Florida Chamber 37th Annual Environmental Permitting Summer School — 99; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 101; ’Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 108; Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ tour in Tampa — 125; 2023 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 194; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 208; Ridley Scott’s ‘Napoleon’ premieres — 224; South Carolina Democratic Primary — 290; New Hampshire and Nevada Democratic Primaries — 303; Georgia Democratic Primary — 308; Michigan Democratic Primary — 321; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 353; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 408; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 471; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 471; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 500; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 513; ‘Deadpool 3’ premieres — 578; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 724; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 751; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 940.


DeSantis’ Disney World board to consider resolution asserting control” via Skyler Swisher and Katie Rice of the Orlando Sentinel — DeSantis’ new tourism oversight board is looking to exert its authority over development in Disney World’s special district and the two cities controlled by the theme park giant. The board’s resolution states that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District’s Board of Supervisors is the “superior authority” over planning, zoning and land development regulations for the entire special district, including within the city limits of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista.

The battle of Reedy Creek rages on.

State-controlled Disney World government board seeks to regain more control” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — The latest saga in the DeSantis-Disney fight will unfold next week as the state-run Disney World government board is scheduled to meet and consider several resolutions meant to regain more control of the land use on Disney’s massive resort property. The old Reedy Creek board had approved long-term land use deals with Disney in February that limited the incoming state-appointed board’s future control. DeSantis hand-picked a new board to oversee Disney World’s infrastructure. The law also changed the name of the Reedy Creek Improvement District to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.


Donald Trump’s camp is trying to force Ron DeSantis to resign and formally declare a 2024 run, accusing the Governor of ‘taxpayer-funded globe-trotting’” via Aditi Bharade of Business Insider — An email from the Trump campaign accused DeSantis of not formally declaring a 2024 Presidential run and using his Governor’s salary to fund unofficial campaign travels. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is currently on a month-long, taxpayer-funded presidential campaign schedule paid for by Florida taxpayers, and new questions are emerging as to whether this will force DeSantis to resign from office,” read the campaign’s email. Under Florida’s “resign to run” law, candidates running for other offices must resign from their current post at least 10 days before running for the position they desire.

Presidential candidates are calling for Ron DeSantis to resign-to-run.

—“Nikki Haley campaign says DeSantis ‘not ready for prime time’” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

—“DeSantis to speak in Peoria in May” via Tim Shelley of WCBU

Advocates plan for battle as DeSantis preps ‘Don’t Say Gay’ expansion” via Brooke Migdon and Lexi Lonas of The Hill — In February, 11 Florida House Republicans introduced legislation seeking to expand the law’s restrictions through the eighth grade and add provisions that block school districts from adopting policies that require transgender students to be addressed in accordance with their gender identity. “This has always been about some parents’ rights,” said Brandon Wolf, the Press Secretary for the LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Florida. “Very specifically, it’s been about some right-wing parents’ rights to impose their values and beliefs on everyone else.”

Why DeSantis is taking aim at the federal reserve” via Jeanna Smialek and Linda Qiu of The New York Times— Desantis … appears to have discovered something that populists throughout history have found to be true: Bashing the Federal Reserve is good politics. DeSantis has begun to criticize Jerome H. Powell, the Fed chair, in speeches and news conferences.”


New election bill could muddy felon voting even more, Supervisors say” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — The new elections bill in the Senate would make it more difficult to find out which felons should have their voting rights restored, concerned Elections Supervisors say. The new language in Senate Bill 7050 would continue the Republican-led Legislature’s chipping away at the voter-backed Amendment 4 that allowed nonviolent felons to cast ballots again. “It’s a step backward in terms of getting that data,” said Bill Cowles, Orange County’s Elections Supervisor. A law passed in 2019 required felons to pay back all fines, fees, and restitution owed before being able to vote, affecting an estimated 500,000 people, with the total amount owed potentially in the billions of dollars.

Partisan School Board elections bill heads to Senate floor” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — The push to make School Board races partisan is taking another step forward, as a final Senate panel has approved a bill that would put the proposal on the 2024 ballot. The measure is now headed for the floor. The Senate Rules Committee voted in favor of SJR 94 along partisan lines, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. “This will make these races much more accountable to the voters,” said Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican and sponsor of the bill.

Joe Gruters’ partisan School Board races bill heads for a full Senate vote.

Bill banning higher ed dealings with ‘countries of concern’ clears final Senate Committee” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Legislation prohibiting relationships between Florida’s higher education institutions and seven “foreign countries of concern” is now headed to the Senate floor. The Senate Rules Committee voted unanimously for SB 846, which aims to block the governments of China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria and Venezuela from influencing state colleges, universities, their students and staff. The bill, a priority measure for its sponsor, Sen. Bryan Ávila, would ban state schools, their employees and representatives from soliciting or accepting gifts from those countries. It would also bar them from taking part in any agreement or partnership with a school or entity based in or controlled by one of those nations.

Though likely unconstitutional, child rape death penalty bill makes headway” via John Kennedy of USA Today Network — Florida taxpayers paying costs for a host of legal fights during DeSantis’ tenure look certain to face more with a Senate panel defying a U.S. Supreme Court ruling by approving a measure making child rape subject to the death penalty. DeSantis has called for a tougher standard. The Senate Rules Committee endorsed the move Tuesday, despite a warning that it will be found unconstitutional. “Courtrooms must be a place for justice and not vengeance,” said Aaron Wayt, who spoke against the bill (SB 1342) standing for the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Senate votes to punish businesses that let children into drag shows” via Jeffrey Schweers of the Orlando Sentinel — Over concerns it targets LGBTQ people, the Florida Senate voted 28-12 on Tuesday to advance a bill that would allow the state to revoke the liquor licenses of restaurants and entertainment venues that let children into drag shows. It doesn’t mention drag shows by name, but instead targets “adult live entertainment” that is sexually suggestive or explicit in nature. “The bill does not ban a business or public entity from hosting a live performance that contains such activities, but it prohibits a public entity from permitting such activities if a child is present,” bill sponsor Sen. Clay Yarborough said.

House panel OK’s change in charter school funding” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Legislation that would require public schools to share a portion of school districts’ local sales tax revenues for charter schools’ school building costs is advancing to its third Committee hearing. Rep. Jennifer Canady proposed the legislation (HB 1259) that received approval from the House Education & Employment Committee with a few Democrats voting with the Republican majority. It now goes before the House Appropriations Committee. “It is critically important that we give our kids what they need, and this is what the bill does,” Canady said.

Lawmakers move forward with expanded financial disclosure for city officials, but exempt managers” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Elected officials to city, county and special district governments will be required to disclose more of their finances under a bill advancing in the House and Senate, but it was amended to exempt unelected city and county managers from the new requirements. The bill (SB 774) was discussed on the Senate floor ahead of a final vote Wednesday, and the House version (HB 37) passed unanimously through the House State Affairs Committee. Under current law, legislators, DeSantis and the Cabinet are required to file a disclosure form that reveals their entire net worth.

House Committee passes bill allowing schools to give out free period products” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — A bill that would allow public schools to provide free period products for students advanced through a House Committee. The Education & Employment Committee approved HB 389. The Senate is also considering a similar bill (SB 334). One in four students missed class because they didn’t have access to period products, said one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Kelly Skidmore, during Tuesday’s hearing. “I’m confident most women can relate to their period starting unexpectedly and at the most inconvenient time and location,” Skidmore said.


As abortion ban looms, Florida may soon authorize ‘baby boxes’ for unwanted infants” via Shira Moolten of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — In the medieval ages, mothers would emerge under the cover of night, head to the church, and place their unwanted newborns in turntables embedded in the walls, where, on the other side, a nun would take them. A version of the practice may soon return to Florida. A bill passed unanimously in the House and advancing in the Senate would allow fire departments, hospitals and EMS stations to install high-tech “newborn infant safety devices,” commonly referred to as “baby boxes,” into their walls.

Bill granting pregnant prisoners maternal rights advances” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Legislation that would guarantee some rights to pregnant prisoners advanced through its second Committee stop. The House Justice Appropriations Committee voted 14-1 to approve the legislation (HB 779) from Reps. Dianne Hart and Angie Nixon. It’s called “Ava’s Law,” in honor of a newborn who didn’t get the benefits that the law would provide, Hart explained. “Erica Thompson gave birth alone in her cell and her child, Ava, was then transferred to the hospital and later died,” Hart said. “We must think about all the other incarcerated mothers who face situations like this one, and we cannot continue to fail them.”

Angie Nixon takes a stand for pregnant prisoners.

Bill eliminating permanent alimony ready for House floor” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A change to Florida’s alimony laws cleared the House Judiciary Committee on a unanimous vote. That puts the bill (HB 1409) on track for a floor vote in the House. Rep. Temple said he’s worked to bring parties on legislation that will decide how couples part ways. The bill notably would drop permanent alimony payments following divorces in Florida. Instead, a “durational alimony” system would decide what’s owed based on the length of marriages. “Divorce is hard,” Temple said. “It can be ugly and hurtful. What I believe this bill does is it helps make that process smoother and less ugly.”

A monthly fee can replace apartment security deposits, but at what cost?” via Trevor Fraser of the Orlando Sentinel — As renters face record-high rents across Florida, a new way to avoid putting down a hefty security deposit upfront is gaining popularity. Alternative security deposits are monthly fees that replace what can be more than two months of rent paid in advance. A bill working its way through the Florida Legislature looks to codify them, potentially expanding alternative security deposits as a possibility for most rental properties. But housing advocates argue that alternative payments lock renters into contracts that don’t offer the security of a deposit and can damage renters’ credit, making it harder for them to get housing in the future.

Bill expediting development proposals heads to Senate floor over environmental groups’ objections” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Proposed developments could get an easier review process and objections to them could get more expensive under a bill headed to the Senate floor. The measure (SB 540) would allow the prevailing party to recover attorney’s fees and court costs in challenges to the local government’s comprehensive plan amendments. Also, a resident would only be allowed to challenge a city or county’s development order if it drastically alters the density and use of the land in a way that’s not consistent with the comprehensive plan. Environmental groups say it leaves out environmental concerns as an option for a legitimate challenge to a proposed development.

Senate panel drives bill targeting ‘epidemic’ of auto glass lawsuits to chamber floor” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — The Senate Rules Committee voted unanimously for SB 1002, Orlando Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart’s most recent attempt at addressing auto glass repair lawsuits. As detailed in prior Committee stops for both the Senate and House version (HB 541) of the bill — both of which now pend floor votes — litigation over auto glass repairs in Florida rose 6,000% between 2011 and 2022, when 37,000 such claims were filed. SB 1002, which Indian Rocks Beach Sen. Nick DiCeglie amended Tuesday to match the House bill, which would ban the use of assignment of benefits (AOB) in auto glass claims. The legislation would also prohibit auto shops from offering incentives to consumers and allow insurers to sell cheaper policies with deductibles for windshield damage.

Roller rink liability shield skates through final House Committee” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — A bill that could help keep skating rinks solvent is now ready for the House floor. The Judiciary Committee approved the “Roller Skating Rink Safety Act.” HB 1129, sponsored by Rep. Susan Plasencia, would shift liability burdens in many cases to skaters and patrons rather than management and ownership, with the goal of lowering insurance premiums for owners and operators of the roughly 41 rinks left in the Sunshine State. What the bill calls “allocation of risks and costs” bears a disproportionate impact on rink owners and operators, preventing the insuring of these operations from being “economically feasible” for carriers.

House lawmakers eye drone delivery regulations” via Caden DeLisa of The Capitolist — The House Infrastructure Strategies Committee unanimously approved a bill regarding drone delivery services, outlining several key provisions that define what a drone delivery service is, what constitutes a drone port, and how political subdivisions can regulate such services. The bill, HB 1071, filed by Reps. Wyman Duggan and Spencer Roach, establishes a drone port as a stand-alone building that does not exceed 1,500 square feet in area or 36 feet in height and is used for the storage, launch, landing, and observation of drones.


Legislative Black Caucus denounces Webster Barnaby’s anti-trans comments — The Florida Legislative Black Caucus condemned Republican Rep. Barnaby for saying trans people are “mutants, demons, and imps” during a Committee hearing on a bill that would require individuals to use the bathroom correlated with the sex they were assigned at birth. Barnaby in his comments said that his views were based on his Christian faith. “This type of behavior has no place in the Florida Legislature, there should be swift action taken as a result of this. Rep. Barnaby should be censured and held accountable,” said FLBC Chair and Democratic Rep. Dianne Hart. Democratic Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby added, “The disgusting and hateful rhetoric used by Rep. Barnaby further illustrates the divisive culture that the Republicans have created in this Legislature. It is unconscionable that an elected official would refer to any citizen of the State of Florida as ‘mutants,’ ‘demons,’ or ‘imps.’”

Webster Barnaby sees the business end of the Legislative Black Caucus.

ACLU of Florida condemns passage of anti-drag show bill — The ACLU of Florida said a bill passed in the Senate “is a blatant attempt to erase drag performers and silence the LGBTQ+ community.” The bill (SB 1438) authorizes state officials within the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to suspend or revoke the liquor license of any establishment that admits minors to a live, adult performance. ACLU of Florida legislative director Kara Gross said, “Parents, not politicians, have the right to decide how to raise their children and what they are allowed to view. This harmful bill effectively revokes the rights of parents to determine what content is appropriate for their own families, even their teenagers. As if book bans and curriculum censorship weren’t enough, the Florida Legislature is now imposing its views on parents and families at the cost of LGBTQ+ people.”

Nick Primrose reports six-figure fundraising in debut HD 18 report” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — A former attorney for DeSantis is starting off his House campaign with a strong month of fundraising. Primrose, who also chaired the FEC, reports raising nearly $120,000 in March, with more than $100,000 of that being hard money. Primrose is reporting $102,084.24 of March money to his campaign account and an added $17,100 to his Friends of Nick Primrose political committee. “I am so honored by the excitement and support that I have received in the first month of my campaign. Our fundraising total in just one month is proof that we will have what it takes to win this race,” Primrose said in a statement provided by his campaign.

Michelle Pozzie files to challenge James Buchanan in HD 74” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — North Port Republican Pozzie has filed for a state House seat held now by Rep. Buchanan. The education activist announced her candidacy and a conservative platform supporting much of DeSantis’ agenda. She filed in House District 74, which covers inland Sarasota County. “I am committed to upholding our cherished values and constitutional rights, which I believe are being disregarded by self-serving career politicians in Tallahassee,” Pozzie said. A parent who home-schooled two children, she heavily criticized the state of public education in Florida. She said her children earned bachelor’s degrees at ages 18 and 20 respectively in part because of her ability to direct their education. Buchanan has already filed for re-election, and would be running for a fourth term in the House. He won re-election in 2022 without any opposition.

Shocking — Maxwell Frost, Anna Eskamani endorse Carlos Guillermo Smith for SD 17 — U.S. Rep. Frost and state Rep. Eskamani are endorsing Former Rep. Smith’s campaign for Senate District 17. “Now more than ever, Floridians need a champion in the Florida Senate,” said Frost. “Someone who is going to fight for working people, fight for justice and equality, and fight for what’s right for our communities. Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith is that champion.” Eskamani added, “I am proud and excited to support my amazing friend, colleague, and work husband Carlos Guillermo Smith in his bid to serve the greater Orlando area in the state Senate. We desperately need his voice in the Florida Legislature, and I know our community will be lucky to have him representing us.” SD 17 covers a part of eastern Orange County and is currently held by term-limited Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart.

Carlos Guillermo Smith gets high-profile backup for his Senate bid.


— The House State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a bill (HB 563) that would ban TikTok in all state government buildings: 8 a.m., Room 212, Knott Building.

— The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee will take up legislation (HB 1475) that would reclassify hemp extract as “a food that requires time and temperature control for safety and integrity of product” and impose several other regulations on the industry: 8 a.m., Room 404, House Office Building.

— The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee meets: 8 a.m., Room 17, House Office Building.

— The Senate Appropriations Committee on Transportation Tourism and Economic Development meets: 8:30 a.m., Room 110, Senate Office Building.

— The Senate Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services will hear a bill (SB 246) that would expand eligibility for Florida KidCare: 8:30 a.m., Room 412, Knott Building.

— The Senate Finance and Tax Committee will take up a bill (SB 1184) that would prohibit local governments from eliminating agricultural land-use regulations and would offer tax relief for farms that provide housing for migrant workers: 8:30 a.m., Room 37, Senate Office Building.

— The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a bill (HB 183) that would allow Medicaid beneficiaries to skip “fail first” protocols if they are diagnosed with a serious mental illness: 11:30 a.m., Room 17, House Office Building.

— The Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government will consider a bill (SB 136) that would limit sale of kratom to people 21 or older and authorize the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services to test and verify the purity of kratom products: 11:30 a.m., Room 110, Senate Office Building.

— The Senate Appropriations Committee on Criminal and Civil Justice will hear legislation (SB 994) that would make publicly displaying or distributing images “with religious or ethnic animus,” including swastikas and other intolerant imagery, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison: 11:30 a.m., Room 37, Senate Office Building.

— The Senate Appropriations Committee on Education will consider a bill (SB 958) that would more closely regulate the diversity of speakers at the state’s universities and colleges: 11:30 a.m., Room 412, Knott Building.

— The Senate will hold a floor Session: 3 p.m., Senate Chambers. The agenda includes the following bills: SB 196, SB 1442, SB 384, SB 1396, SB 408, SB 1332, SB 662, SB 1068, SB 708 and SB 942.

— The House Appropriations Committee will take up a bill (HB 917) that would allow the MLB to continue paying minor league players less than minimum wage: 3 p.m., Room 212, Knott Building.

— The House Ways & Means Committee will consider legislation (HB 833) that would give cities and counties more authority over vacation rental housing booked over platforms such as Airbnb and 3 p.m., Room 404, House Office Building.


The latest Florida bar exam results are in” via Jim Rosica of City & State FL — Out of a total of 678 first-time test takers, 371 passed, or 54.7%. That’s down from a first-time passage rate of 61.6% for the previous February, records show. And only three schools — Florida International University College of Law, University of Florida College of Law and Florida State University College of Law — had more than half their students pass. In Florida, as in most states, the bar exam is given twice a year, in February and July. More law school graduates typically take the Summer exam than the Winter administration. Test scores in Florida had been trending downward over the last decade.

Prepare yourself for a new crop of Florida attorneys.

Florida citrus forecast remains mostly flat, still at historically low levels” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — The newest citrus forecast update from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows its estimates for the 2022-23 season remain mostly the same, aside from a small uptick in projected grapefruit production. The agency forecasts Florida will put out 16.1 million boxes of oranges this season. That includes 10 million boxes of Valencia oranges and 6.1 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges. Mark Hudson, the principal statistician for the USDA, also said the agency predicts 500,000 boxes of tangerines and tangelos will come from Florida. All those numbers are still unchanged from the last report released in March.

Where have all the tarpon gone?” via Monte Burke of Garden and Gun — Every spring, tens of thousands of tarpons make their way from the deepest part of the ocean to the shallow flats of the Florida Keys as they embark on their spawning run. There, they connect with another migration, this one comprised of legions of anglers from all over the world who flock to the Keys, clogging up the lone strip of highway, filling motels and restaurants and helping to generate an estimated $465 million annually for the region — in the hopes of catching a tarpon which, because of its size, power and beauty, is among the most prized game fish on the planet. I will be among those highway-clogging tarpon seekers, as I have been for the better part of the past 15 years.


Joe Biden administration considers rules for AI systems like ChatGPT” via Cat Zakrzewski of The Washington Post — The Biden administration took a step toward regulating artificial intelligence, as the overnight explosion of AI tools like ChatGPT spurs scrutiny from regulators around the globe. The Commerce Department asked the public to weigh in on how it could create regulations that would ensure AI systems work as advertised and minimize harm. As an AI arms race heats up in Silicon Valley, the agency is considering how to develop an auditing process, to ensure artificial-intelligence-powered technology is trustworthy.

ChatGPT inches closer to federal regulations.


Trump widens lead over DeSantis to 33 points in new survey” via Jared Gans of The Hill — Trump widened his lead over DeSantis in a hypothetical Republican Primary matchup to 33 points. A poll found Trump with 56% of the vote among a group of current and potential GOP challengers for the nomination and DeSantis in second with 23%. This marks Trump’s widest lead in the poll since Morning Consult started tracking the hypothetical Primary in December. The most recent poll found Vice President Mike Pence in third with 7%, followed by former Ambassador to the United Nations Haley with 4% and former Rep. Liz Cheney with 3%.

The gap widens.

Trump returns to NYC this week for state fraud case” via Jorge Fitz-Gibbon of the New York Post — Trump is due back in the Big Apple this week to be grilled for a second time by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is probing the Trump Organization’s business practices. Trump is expected to plead the Fifth as he did when he was quizzed by the AG’s office in the case last year. He is due to fly up from his home in Florida on Wednesday night for questioning by James’ prosecutors at her Manhattan offices Thursday morning, sources said.

Manhattan DA sues Rep. Jim Jordan over Trump indictment inquiry” via Michael R. Sisak and Farnoush Amiri of The Associated Press — Alvin Bragg is asking a judge to invalidate subpoenas that Jordan has or plans to issue as part of an investigation of Bragg’s handling of the case, the first criminal prosecution of a former U.S. President. Bragg’s lawsuit, a forceful escalation after weeks of sparring with Jordan and other Republican lawmakers in letters and media statements, looks to end what it says is a “constitutionally destructive fishing expedition” that threatens the sovereignty and sanctity of a state-level prosecution.

— 2024 —

Chicago wins late August Democratic nominating convention in 2024” via Michael Scherer of The Washington Post — Democrats awarded their 2024 presidential nominating convention to Chicago on Tuesday, opting for the largest city in the Midwest over the southern metropolis of Atlanta, party officials announced. The event, which has been blessed by Biden who is expected to run for re-election, will be held from Aug. 19-22 at the United Center, an arena with a capacity of nearly 21,000 that is home to the Chicago Bulls basketball team and the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team.

Haley takes shots at Trump, DeSantis in 2024 campaign memo” via Mark More of the New York Post — “Donald Trump had a pretty good Q1, if you count being indicted as ‘good,’” Haley campaign manager Betsy Ankney writes before going on to call the criminal case brought by Manhattan DA Bragg an “outrageous prosecutorial abuse,” and note that the “sensationalized partisan prosecution” increased sympathy for Trump among Republicans. “Still, it’s increasingly clear that Trump’s candidacy is more consumed by the grievances of the past and the promise of more drama in the future, rather than a forward-looking vision for the American people,” the memo said.

The Iowa Pork Tent gets a makeover with a new patio and grill for the 2023 Iowa State Fair” via Susan Stapleton of the Des Moines Register — If you want to find Sen. Chuck Grassley at the Iowa State Fair, you can check out the Iowa Pork Tent, the home of the pork chop on a stick from the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Last year he said it was one of the dishes he had to eat when he attended. In fact, politicians and regular folks alike will stand in line for the simple dish. The food stand at the corner of East Grand Avenue and East 34th Street on the Fairgrounds attracts long lines of fairgoers and typically sells between 5,000 and 6,000 pork chops every day of the Fair. This summer, the Iowa Pork Tent gets a makeover. Previously, the dining area sat under a tent. This summer, it will have a roof over it.

Iowa Pork Tent is a must-visit for presidential aspirants.

Keith Gross launches GOP Primary challenge to Rick Scott” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Gross announced he’s running for U.S. Senate, setting up a Republican Primary with U.S. Sen. Scott. Gross has explored a run for months. Now he has formally launched his campaign with a video on YouTube and a live website. “The people we’re supposed to trust in Washington have forgotten us, the people that sent them there,” Gross said in his launch video. “Our nation is in desperate need of real leadership because, at the end of the day, we all want the same thing: freedom.” While Gross makes no mention of the incumbent, Scott has already announced he will seek re-election to the Senate for a second term.

—“Scott associate among those killed in Louisville shooting” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

— LOCAL: S. FL —

Miami Shores voters elect George Burch, Jerome Charles, Jesse Valinsky to Village Council, approve 10 charter amendments” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Miami Shores has three newly elected Village Council members and some redrafting to do in its municipal charter after its biennial election. Coming in as the Village’s likely new Mayor is real estate investor Burch, who scored 23% of the vote Tuesday. He will serve a four-year term along with local business owner Valinsky, who won 22%. Burch is the husband of Council member Alice Burch, who must leave office this month due to term limits. Charles, a veteran film and TV industry vet who received the third-most votes (21%), will serve a two-year term.

Ariel Fernandez wins Group 5 seat on Coral Gables Commission” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Persistence paid off for activist, consultant and local media mogul Fernandez, who is now bound for the Coral Gables Commission. Fernandez, who first sought a seat in City Hall eight years ago, captured 58% of the vote Tuesday night to defeat lawyer and former congressional staffer Alex Bucelo. He replaces outgoing Vice Mayor Mike Mena in the Group 5 seat. Fernandez’s victory marks the culmination of decades of government work and volunteer public service. It also caps a race that grew nastier as Election Day approached.

Ariel Fernandez wins a seat on the Coral Gables Commission. Image via Ariel Fernandez.

Ivette Arango O’Doski, Melissa Castro head to runoff for Coral Gables City Commission” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — O’Doski and construction executive Castro are headed to a runoff for the Group 4 seat on the Coral Gables City Commission. With 24 of 25 precincts reporting, O’Doski had 47% of the vote while Castro had 39%. The city’s election rules require a candidate to receive more than half the vote to win outright. They’ll now compete in an April 25 runoff. For two other candidates, business owner Jackson “Rip” Holmes and mortgage broker Sean Patrick McGrover, who each received 7% of the vote, it’s the end of the road this year.

Bill would spare controversial South Miami-Dade project from county revolt” via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald — Developers facing a revote of a Miami-Dade County Commission decision to shrink a development buffer to accommodate a project could get a reprieve in Tallahassee with a state bill that would retroactively fix an alleged flaw in last year’s local approval process. The bill sponsored by Republicans from Jacksonville and St. Petersburg would deliver a win for developers in Miami-Dade currently fighting a state ruling that the county commission waited too long in approving the expansion of the Urban Development Boundary (UDB) that’s needed to build the South Dade Logistics and Technology District commercial complex outside of Homestead.

Guess what greeted Florida flood managers at Miami meeting. Hint: It’s been raining” via Nicholas Rivero of the Miami Herald — Nature took its revenge on the people responsible for taming floodwaters in Florida. As coastal engineers and state and local flood management officials converged on downtown Miami yesterday for this year’s Florida Floodplain Managers Association conference at the Marriott Biscayne Bay hotel, the skies opened and unleashed a torrent of rain. Downtown streets soon flooded, leaving attendees unable to reach the hotel. “I had to turn around so as not to flood my vehicle,” said Stephen Boehring, an engineer who heads the firm Coastal Waterways Design & Engineering.

$175,000 awarded to ‘conversion-therapy’ providers in Boca Raton case” via Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A federal judge has ordered Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton to pay $175,000 to two family counselors who challenged a local ban on “conversion therapy” for minors struggling with their sexuality, gender identity and faith. Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton ran afoul of Boca Raton’s ban on the practice, which considered it to be harmful to the health and emotional development of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other youth. A district court upheld the law, but Otto and Hamilton appealed, backed by religious-liberty advocates at Liberty Counsel.

Delta Air Lines resumes daily flight service between Miami and Havana” via Andres Viglucci of the Miami Herald — Three years after suspending its flights between Miami and Havana amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Delta Air Lines has resumed daily service between the two cities. Delta relaunched two daily nonstop flights from Miami International Airport to the Cuban capital. The Atlanta-based airline said in a prepared statement it’s resuming its Havana flights “in line with continued strong demand.” The flights use a Boeing 737-800. Delta restarted service to Cuba in 2016 after a 55-year halt when the Barack Obama administration allowed six U.S. airlines to begin regular commercial passenger flights to nine cities on the island, as part of a reopening of diplomatic relations with the communist nation.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

After Easter shootings, Orange County seeks answers to violent crime” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — After deadly shootings Easter Sunday, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings appealed to the community for help, urging residents to fill out an online crime survey and help the citizens’ safety panel seek solutions. He took a similar approach in 2021 after a spate of killings. “So, here we are today, to address this once again, get input from our residents about what they believe needs to be done,” the Mayor and veteran lawman said during a break in a long County Commission meeting. Orlando Police Department said Lacorvis Daley, 28, shot and killed three relatives on Easter — his 7-year-old son, Cameron Bouie; his girlfriend’s 13-year-old daughter, Damionna Reed; and his girlfriend’s mother, Carole Fulmore, 69.

Jerry Demings seeks answers to Orange County’s recent spate of violence.

Seminole finds itself ‘under-housed’ with less vacant land for new home construction” via Martin E. Comas of the Orlando Sentinel — With less land available for residential development, Seminole County is “critically under-housed” as the number of new homes constructed last year dropped compared to 2021, while prices and interest rates soared, Property Appraiser David Johnson said. “Even though the inventory (of homes on the market) has increased, it’s still significantly below what we’ve seen in years past,” Johnson said in his report to County Commissioners. “There is a relatively high demand for a relatively low supply.” In 2022, 1,038 new homes were built in Seminole, a 31% decrease from the previous year. The median sale price of a new single-family home in 2022 jumped by nearly 18% to $461,150.

‘Wheel of Fugitive’ suit: Man wants to move case after judges with ties to Sheriff recuse” via Eric Rogers of Florida Today — A man suing Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey over his false inclusion on the Sheriff’s controversial Wheel of Fugitive social media show has asked to move the suit outside of Brevard after two judges with political ties to Ivey recused themselves from the case. An attorney for David Austin Gay requested the change of venue late last month, arguing her client was unlikely to get a fair trial due to media coverage of the case and concerns about Ivey’s potential sway over judges and jurors.


Cyberattack on Oldsmar’s water supply never happened, official says” via Jack Evans of the Tampa Bay Times — It’s been more than two years since Oldsmar, the small city on the Pinellas-Hillsborough county line, became the center of an international news story after authorities said someone remotely accessed a computer in the city’s water treatment plant and tried to contaminate the water supply. An employee noticed the change and quickly righted it; nobody was hurt. But authorities emphasized just how big a bullet Oldsmar had dodged. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri quickly and definitively described the incident as a cyberattack.

2 Pinellas men challenged 7 books, but don’t want them banned. Here’s why.” via Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times — For generations, Syd Hoff’s “Danny and the Dinosaur” has offered young readers a fun, easy-to-digest tale of what life might be like with a prehistoric friend. When creating its new language arts standards, the Florida Department of Education included the 1958 book on its list of materials for teachers seeking to include “rich and meaningful texts” in their first grade classrooms. Adam Graham and Brian Hawley, two former Pinellas County educators, have contended the book doesn’t belong in any school, not to mention the state-recommended list. The Pinellas district has 46 copies, including Spanish and recorded versions, in various elementary libraries.

’Danny and the Dinosaur’ gets pushback in Pinellas County schools.

Historic Tampa Bay buildings could get state help” via Paul Guzzo of the Tampa Bay Times — The Main Street Historic Tourism and Revitalization Act would provide up to a 30% state tax credit for qualified expenses in rehabilitating certain historic structures. That tax credit could be received in addition to an existing federal one for up to 20% back. “That’s a lot of money,” area preservationist Del Acosta said. “That could save a lot of buildings, like the Jackson House,” the former downtown segregation-era boarding home now owned by a nonprofit that wants to convert it into a museum.

Crystal River City Manager Ken Frink makes ‘life decision’ to resign” via Mike Wright of Florida Politics — When Frink and Council member Cindi Guy announced their engagement in February, the couple prepared for Guy to resign from office before the nuptials in August. Slight change of plans. The wedding is still on, but it’s Frink who will be leaving the city government to avoid a conflict of interest of working for a spouse. Frink surprised the City Council and the public by announcing his resignation after four years on the job, effective Aug. 2.

Ken Frink makes a quick, and unexpected, life decision.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

Doug Benefield cruises to win on Orange Park Town Council” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — It wasn’t close in the election for Seat 1 on the Orange Park Town Council, as local certified public accountant Benefield won the seat he was appointed in August. He won with 67% of the vote over challenger Kenny Radwanski, who received 33%. The preliminary numbers show exactly 500 votes cast in the race, splitting 336 for Benefield and 164 for Radwanski. Benefield previously served in a volunteer capacity on the town of Orange Park’s Budget and Finance Committee, along with the town’s Police Pension Board. Over in Keystone Heights, residents voted on four charter amendments, including one that would have changed the way the Mayor is selected from election by residents to a vote by City Council members. It failed 76%-24%.

Doug Benefield glided to an easy victory.

Federal grand jury hands up new indictment in Andrew Gillum case with two fewer charges” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — A federal grand jury in Tallahassee handed up a new, superseding indictment in the Gillum public corruption, dropping a couple of wire fraud counts against him and his co-defendant in the process. The new formal accusation, which surfaced Tuesday morning, less than a week before his trial is set to begin, includes a total of 19 counts, down two from the original indictment. It does not include any new defendants. Gillum’s lawyers, David Markus, Margot Moss and Katie Miller of the Miami firm Markus/Moss, lambasted federal prosecutors for the move.

A first look at the proposed luxury hotel slated for downtown Tallahassee” via TaMaryn Waters of the Tallahassee Democrat — A first look at Hotel Valencia Capital City shows a proposed plan that’s unlike anything in Tallahassee. Early permit documents show the first of two proposed hotels: A 225-room boutique hotel featuring conference and ballroom space and associated parking, a major draw for large gatherings, weddings and business events. The hotel’s look, a stucco color and finish, an expansive loggia, an outdoor dining area anchored around existing trees, a pool and a rooftop bar, could be pulled from the pages of a travel magazine.

Candidates ‘stump’ at Bay Co. Chamber ‘First Friday’” via Jake Holter of My Panhandle — Bay County’s municipal candidates got another opportunity Friday morning to “stump” for votes. The Bay County Chamber of Commerce held its candidate stump event during their “First Friday” meeting. The event has become a chamber tradition, right down to the tree stump candidates use to deliver their one-minute speeches. Army veteran and business owner Michelle Bryant said she wants to make the area more business friendly. Her opponent, LEAD Coalition Executive Director, and former chamber board member Janice Lucas said she wants to keep improving Ward 2.


New College professor responds to backlash to ‘burn’ school down comments” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — A New College professor who has been lambasted by some on the right for incendiary comments in his resignation letter says he may have been “over the top” and “excessive” in his remarks, but stands behind his larger point that the college is moving in a dangerous direction. Aaron Hillegass, a professor who runs New College’s master’s program in applied data science, wrote in a letter to Interim President Richard Corcoran that DeSantis’ effort to transform the small Sarasota school is “fascism” and added: “If I were more patriotic, I would burn the college’s buildings to the ground.” Hillegass plans to leave New College when his employment contract expires in August.

No, Aaron Hillegass is not going to burn down New College.

Who will take Nancy Detert’s Commission seat?” via Barb Richardson of the Englewood Sun — With the death of Sarasota County Commissioner Detert last week, the question becomes, what happens next? More than halfway through her second and final term on the County Commission, Detert died with 19 months remaining in her term. The next election is coming in November 2024. The Sarasota County Charter provides that when a vacancy occurs on the County Commission, state law dictates how that vacancy is filled. Turning to Section 114.04 of the Florida Statutes, the law provides that the Governor will appoint the next person to fill the rest of Detert’s term, which is less than the 24 months specified in the statute. But who DeSantis will appoint is open to speculation.

Acting Port St. Lucie Police Chief named as current Chief retires” via Will Greenlee of Treasure Coast Newspapers — One of two Assistant Port St. Lucie Police Chiefs has been appointed Acting Chief to serve after the current Chief retires April 30, according to the City of Port St. Lucie. Assistant Chief Richard Del Toro, who joined the agency in 1999, will become Acting Chief after Chief John Bolduc retires. Bolduc joined the department in 1994 and has been Chief since 2012. The retirement of Bolduc, 58, was announced on April 7, though at the time, the next steps for interim leadership at the agency were not clear. The appointment of Del Toro, who is running for St. Lucie County Sheriff in 2024, to Acting Chief was announced Tuesday. Del Toro has been an Assistant Chief since 2012.

Best small coastal towns in the U.S.? We have one right here in Southwest Florida” via Mark H. Bickel of the Fort Myers News-Press — It’s been more than six months since Hurricane Ian walloped places like Sanibel Island in Southwest Florida, leaving what has always been a national and international “hot spot” destination for rest and relaxation in shambles. It will take more than another six months for Sanibel to return to what it once was. The recovery includes the return of popular restaurants and resorts that received significant damage. Some are starting to reopen. The good news? Despite the scars left behind by Ian, Sanibel is still a highly recommended vacation option, or at least will be a good option again when more businesses open, the causeway is permanently fixed, and the famous lighthouse has its missing leg replaced.


Florida told young men the COVID-19 vaccine was dangerous, but failed to tell them the full story” via the Miami Herald editorial board — Back in October when Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo issued an ominous warning that young men shouldn’t get the COVID vaccine because it might cause heart problems, he seemed to be acting more as a politician than a doctor. Now more information has come to light. And it makes Ladapo and the state health department look even more irresponsible and more political. Florida had data showing that contracting COVID-19 was actually much riskier than the vaccine about five times riskier when it came to cardiac-related deaths.


Five deceptions in Florida’s new abortion ban” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — Florida lawmakers are surging ahead with an abortion ban that could eventually strip rights from all Floridians, not just those capable of giving birth. It is also likely to stampede many into abortions as soon as they realize they are pregnant. Abortions aren’t increasing. “Six weeks” is not six weeks. This law could force some to choose abortion. The legal fight could kill privacy rights. The implications go far beyond decisions related to pregnancy.

Jailing nuns? Florida’s nutty new immigration plan” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — If you want a feel for how off-the-rails Florida’s immigration debate has gone, just look at the front page of this past Sunday’s newspaper where nuns and priests worried about being imprisoned for helping the poor. Their cause for concern is a new proposed law, supposedly to crack down on illegal immigration, but which calls for arresting people who help undocumented immigrants — people like Central Florida’s beloved “Apopka nuns” who have dedicated their lives to selflessly helping anyone in need without question or judgment.

Bill to criminalize filming police actions is yet another anti-Black move” via Francesca Menes of the Miami Herald — State lawmakers are pushing witness intimidation legislation (Senate Bill 1126 and House Bill 1539) that purports to protect police officers. But these bills really are a not-so-veiled attack on communities of color that will make law enforcement less accountable. They build on the harmful legacy of the 2021 anti-protest bill, HB 1, which was a direct attack on the free-speech rights of those seeking racial justice. If passed, this legislation would allow police officers greater authority to harass and criminalize people for documenting their use of excessive force. It would make it illegal to approach within 20 feet of a police officer effectively criminalizing, with fines and jail time, the filming of police in close proximity.

Is China behind environmental groups working in Florida?” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Some congressional leaders — and at least one advocacy group — are asking tough questions about who is financially backing these environmental groups that seek to shut down entire domestic resource-related industries. One group, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), has spent more than $100 million over the past five years from undisclosed sources. The Arizona-based organization has an international focus and an office in Florida from which it pushes to shut down phosphate operations in the Sunshine State. Florida supplies more than half the phosphate-based fertilizer used by farmers nationwide. The other major phosphate-producing countries are Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. All this begs the question: Who would benefit the most if CBD won its crusade against Florida’s phosphate industry?

Paging Dr. Ben Sasse…” via The Independent Florida Alligator — Ever since Sasse, a former Republican U.S. Senator from Nebraska, took office, there’s been a president-sized hole left in much of the UF community. For eight years, he dealt with national political reporters as a Senator in the Beltway. Dr. Sasse, we promise we are far humbler than the D.C. press corps. Whatever the president’s agenda, we can’t report on it clearly if he won’t talk to us. We tried emailing him, we tried calling him, we tried leaving him handwritten notes and we tried saying his name three times in the bathroom with the lights off. None of it worked. The university is also behind on giving us Sasse’s schedule, despite our incessant weekly public records requests trying to find his whereabouts.



— ALOE —

New group emerges to pay UF athletes; Gator Collective dissolves after mishandled quarterback deal” via Fresh Take Florida — A new player in the big money race to pay University of Florida athletes emerged Tuesday to replace the Gator Collective, months after a mishandled deal led a top quarterback prospect to walk away from UF’s football program. The Florida Achievement Support Trust, a little-known nonprofit that until recently largely ran behind the scenes, said it was expanding and rebranding under the name Florida Victorious. It quickly drew an enthusiastic welcome from Florida’s head coach, Billy Napier, who tweeted: “Gators support Gators!”

Gators supporting Gators.

‘House of the Dragon’ starts production on Season 2, teases epic battle” via James Hibberd of The Hollywood Reporter — Filming on the second season of House of the Dragon is underway. The HBO fantasy hit has restarted production at Leavesden Studios in the United Kingdom. “House of the Dragon has returned,” said showrunner Ryan Condal. “We are thrilled to be shooting again with members of our original family as well as new talents on both sides of the camera. All your favorite characters will soon be conspiring at the council tables, marching with their armies, and riding their dragons into battle. We can’t wait to share what we have in store.”

‘The Marvels’ trailer sees Brie Larson team with Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani on a mission that ‘changes everyone’” via Aaron Couch of The Hollywood Reporter — The trailer for The Marvels shows Captain Marvel soaring higher, faster and farther, this time with a pair of allies by her side. The Marvels is the sequel to the 2019 film Captain Marvel, which starred Larson. In the sequel, Larson is joined by Vellani, the breakout of the Disney+ series Ms. Marvel, as well as Parris as the grown-up version of Captain Marvel character Monica Rambeau.

To watch the trailer, please click on the image below:


Universal: End is near for Poseidon’s Fury” via Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel — Poseidon’s Fury, an opening day attraction with Islands of Adventure in 1999, will be permanently closed early next month, Universal Orlando confirmed Tuesday. The last day of the walk-through attraction will be May 9. A replacement was not announced, but the theme park will “prepare for exciting new experiences for our guests,” Universal said in a statement. Poseidon’s Fury is part of the Lost Continent land of IOA. “The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad,” a neighboring attraction closed in 2018.


Best wishes to our dear friend, Fred Piccolo, as well as Chris Chaney of The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners, Capital City Consulting’s Jared Rosenstein, Equality Florida’s Joe Saunders, Joe Sprowls, and Trey Stapleton.


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.

Email: [email protected]
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