Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 2.13.24

Sunburn Orange Tally (7)
Politics, process, personalities: ‘Sunburn’ tells you what you need to know — now.

Good Tuesday morning.

You may be, like me, still recovering from Sunday’s Big Game, but today is Fat Tuesday, which means you have one more day of excess before Lent (for those who celebrate, of course.)

As our friend Richard Reeves would tell you: laissez le bon temps rouler.

Grab your king cake and a handful of beads — Fat Tuesday is here.

___

Kathy Castor holds ‘Valentines for Vets’ event — Democratic U.S. Rep. Castor will visit Tinker K-8 School at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa this morning to pick up valentines from students in appreciation of Tampa Bay-area veterans. Castor’s office said the Congresswoman launched “Valentines for Veterans” to give constituents “a chance to spread a message of love and gratitude to our Veterans this February.” The valentines will be delivered to a nearby Veterans hospital. Castor will be joined by Hillsborough County School Board member Stacy Hahn.

___

Former state Senate candidate Janelle Perez has been tapped as Interim Director at LPAC, a national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ women and nonbinary people to public office.

Perez was endorsed by LPAC when she appeared on Miami-Dade ballots as the 2022 Democratic nominee for Senate District 38. Though Perez lost to Republican Sen. Alexis Calatayud on Election Day, she later joined the LPAC Board of Directors and was elected as Vice Chair last year.

Janelle Perez was tapped to lead the group to help elect LGBTQ women and nonbinary people to public office. Image via JanellePerez.com.

“Living in Florida with my wife and children, I have witnessed firsthand how a lack of representation can result in some of the most radical anti-LGBTQ and anti-women policies in the country,” Perez said. “Now more than ever, LPAC must play an essential role in ensuring that our LGBTQ community has a seat at the table where these decisions are made. I look forward to leading Team LPAC to elect a history-making cohort of LGBTQ women and nonbinary people up and down the ballot this year.”

LPAC also announced that it is hiring Karol Molinares as Communications Director. A native Venezuelan who grew up in South Florida, Molinares has more than 10 years of experience working in political communications, including work related to the state Legislature and statewide campaigns.

Notably, the Florida State alum played a pivotal role in former Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s administration. She most recently served as the Communications Director for Democratic U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson.

“The entire Board of Directors cannot wait to see the strategic innovation Janelle and Karol will bring to the organization as we work together to carry out LPAC’s mission of increasing the political power of LGBTQ women and nonbinary folks across the country in 2024,” LPAC Board of Directors Chair Shari Weiner said.

___

Job Creators Network is hiring Donald Trump administration alum Mary Thomas as its Chief Strategic Growth Officer.

“Mary’s credentials, experience, and connections will be invaluable to growing JCN’s scope and influence in the years ahead. Mary provides JCN with powerful ammunition to fight back against the growing war on small businesses. On behalf of everyone at JCN, I’m proud to welcome Mary to the team,” said JCN President and CEO Alfredo Ortiz.

Mary Thomas will serve as the Chief Strategic Growth Officer for the Job Creators Network

JCN touted Thomas’ two decades of experience in working in conservative politics and advocating for pro-business policies. JCN said she will work to grow the organization and expand its reach while, amplifying its role as “America’s small business megaphone.”

Thomas is the former Executive Director of Strategic Development of the America First Legal Foundation and previously worked as the Executive Director at the Club for Growth Foundation. She also served as the Political Director of CatholicVote.

During Trump’s presidency, Thomas was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice, where she rose to become the highest-ranking female litigator appointee. She also served as an attorney and adviser under then-Gov. Rick Scott.

Thomas said, “Having lived the American dream, thanks to my own family’s entrepreneurial spirit, I have dedicated my career to defending that dream from government overreach. The opportunity to continue my work at Job Creators Network is very meaningful to me, and I look forward to being a strong voice and relentless advocate on behalf of the true job creators of America.”

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@BarackObama: Congrats to the Kansas City @Chiefs, MVP Patrick Mahomes, Coach Reid, Travis Kelce, Chris Jones, Mecole Hardman, and the rest of the champs for another Lombardi Trophy. Grace under pressure.

@Angry_Staffer: The San Francisco 49ers can still win the Super Bowl if Mike Pence has the courage to do the right thing.

@JoePompliono: Someone on Reddit tracked Taylor Swift’s TV appearances during the Super Bowl with a stopwatch — and she was only shown for a total of 54 seconds out of a 4-hour and 8-minute broadcast (0.36%).

@VitalVegas: Today in Super Bowl-related WTF: The most-requested item by the Chiefs at their Las Vegas hotel? Uncrustables. Staff reports players “ate crates of them.” (h/t @MikeDizzll)

@LukePBeasley: Unvaccinated football players miss the whole season with an injury. Vaccinated football players win the Super Bowl.

@MarcACaputo: Sign of a doomed campaign: a party-switching candidate who doesn’t have the support of his own relatives and feels compelled to apologize to them due to a super PAC ad appropriating the family legacy

@Nate_Cohn: It is my duty to tell you, yet again, that the NY-3 Special Election result will not tell us anything about the General Election

Tweet, tweet:

@Paul_Renner: By safeguarding the FL Wildlife Corridor, we strengthen habitats & allow native wildlife to move easily throughout the state. On #FloridaWildlifeCorridorDay, we renew our commitment to protect wild FL for the species that call it home & for the enjoyment of generations to come.

@MitchPerry18: In making his close for his bill that would ban cultivated meat in Florida, Hillsborough GOP Rep. Danny Alvarez blasts the credibility of the @US_FDA, who approved 2 companies to sell this in California last year. Invokes opioids, saccharine and the food pyramid.

Tweet, tweet:

— DAYS UNTIL —

Ninth Annual Suits for Session begins — 7; Season 6 of ‘Drive To Survive’ premieres on Netflix — 10; South Carolina Republican Primary — 11; Michigan Democratic Primary — 14; James Madison Institute’s ‘Red, White and Bluegrass’ dinner — 15; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 17; Michigan/Idaho/Missouri GOP Primaries — 18; Netflix to stream “The Netflix Slam,” Rafael Nadal/Carlos Alcaraz faceoff — 19; Super Tuesday — 21; State of the Union address — 23; last day of Regular Session, if Legislature completes work in 60 days — 24; 2024 Oscars — 26; Georgia Democratic Primary — 28; Arizona/Florida/Illinois/Kansas/Ohio Primaries — 35; James Madison Institute’s ‘2024 Naples Dinner’ with keynote speaker Laura Ingraham — 37; ‘3 Body Problem’ premieres on Netflix — 37; The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the mifepristone/abortion pill case — 42; Major League Baseball’s (MLB) 2024 season — 44; March Madness Final Four (women’s) begins — 51; March Madness Final Four (men’s) — 54; Florida TaxWatch’s Spring Meeting — 58; The Masters begin — 59; Kentucky Derby — 82; 2024 Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability — 87; ‘Bridgerton’ new season (part one) premieres on Netflix — 92; French Open begins — 97; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 99; Dave Matthews Band 2024 Summer Tour begins in Tampa — 99; Monaco Grand Prix — 103; the 2026 World Cup begins — 119; ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ premieres — 137; Republican National Convention begins — 153; the 2026 World Cup ends — 157; 2024 MLS All-Star Game — 162; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games on NBC/Peacock — 164; Alien: Romulus’ premieres — 182; Democratic National Convention begins — 188; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 193; Swift’s Eras Tour stops in Miami — 248; 2024 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 248; 2024 Presidential Election — 263; Las Vegas Grand Prix — 279; MLS Cup 2024 — 294; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ premieres — 364; ‘Moana’ premieres — 497; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 528; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 633; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 633; ‘Avatar 3’ premieres — 675; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 812; Untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 828; Another untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 1,039; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,179; ‘Avatar 4’ premieres — 2,138; ‘Avatar 5’ premieres — 2,860.

— TOP STORY —

Gov. Ron DeSantis honors fallen FHP Trooper Zachary Fink” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Trooper Fink was remembered as a selfless public servant who cared about helping others as law enforcement officials held a memorial service for the 26-year-old killed in the line of duty in a car crash.

End of watch: FHP Trooper Zachary Fink was a dedicated public servant who was killed in the line of duty.

Fink died following a Feb. 2 crash while he was pursuing a wrong-way driver on Interstate 95 in Port St. Lucie at 2:40 a.m. Fink crashed into a semitrailer, killing the 55-year-old truck driver. The wrong-way driver, Michael Anthony Addison, 30, has been arrested and faces multiple charges, according to Treasure Coast Newspapers.

“His pursuit of a dangerous felon cost him his life, but there’s no question that his actions saved the lives of other people,” said DeSantis, who spoke during Fink’s funeral in Port St. Lucie.

“We understand how devastating the loss is. It’s a loss for more than just the family. It’s a loss for the FHP community. It’s a loss for this community here on the Treasure Coast and it is a loss for the entire state of Florida.”

Fink had only been on the job for three years.

As a state trooper, Fink had been deployed to the Texas border and the Florida Keys, his cousin Shea Fink said.

— LEGISLATIVE —

DeSantis bid to trim back insurance bills could be in trouble” via Gary Fineout of POLITICO — DeSantis’ push to give homeowners a one-year break on their insurance costs is in serious jeopardy. The Florida House will take up its annual tax cut package this week and the proposed bill that lawmakers rolled out on Monday did not include the proposal by the Republican Governor to put in a one-year pause on state taxes and assessments charged on insurance policies. House Republicans are pushing for a one-year cut in the tax charged on commercial leases, a tax break that would benefit companies that rent a considerable amount of space for stores and offices.

Senate President may stall support for Confederate monument protection bill” via Tristan Wood of WFSU — Legislative leadership could be getting cold feet about a bill that would protect Confederate monuments after open White supremacists spoke in support of the bill during public comment in Committee last week. This year’s version of the bill would keep local governments from removing all historical monuments, including Confederate ones, but also provides an option for officials to erect an “explainer” plaque to contextualize the monument. But Senate President Kathleen Passidomo said last week she is unsure whether she supports the bill should it come before the full Senate for a vote.

‘Virtual currency’ tax holiday would cost state coffers $1.4B, economists project” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — State economists analyzing SB 352, sponsored by Sen. Jason Brodeur, a Sanford Republican, determined the measure would cost state coffers nearly $1.4 billion. The bill would give a sales tax holiday from June 1, 2025, to July 31, 2025, at gas stations, grocery stores, salons, barbershops, bars, nightclubs and spas if consumers paid using virtual currency. However, because the definition of “virtual currency” in state law is broad enough to include credit and debit card transactions, purchases using them would be included in the sales tax holiday by state administrators. A report summarizing economists’ conclusions backs that up.

Jason Brodeur’s virtual currency tax holiday is filled with unintended consequences.

The Legislature’s $115B spending proposal is receiving some pushback from Democrats” via Adrian Andrews of WFSU — Democratic lawmakers expressed concerns about the budget not including enough money for state prisons, agriculture and rural development projects. The Florida House and Senate spending plans top $115 billion for the 2024-2025 fiscal year. That’s about $4 billion less than the current budget, of $119 billion. But Speaker Paul Renner told reporters last Thursday, that’s not entirely a bad thing. Renner said the Legislature needs to cut back on unnecessary spending now that the federal government is pulling back on pandemic stimulus dollars. He also said the state is expecting less revenue in upcoming years. “It doesn’t mean we’re going into deficit, but the growth in revenues is slowing significantly,” said Renner.

— MORE LEGISLATIVE —

Florida could remove the majority of mentions of climate change from state law” via Emily Mahoney of the Tampa Bay Times — A bill advancing through the Legislature with the backing of the House Speaker would delete the majority of references to climate change in state law. House Bill 1645 would enact wide-ranging changes to Florida’s energy policy, something Speaker Renner has said is needed to ensure state residents’ power is reliable and affordable. In the process, the bill would delete eight times the phrase “climate change” is mentioned in current law (compared to seven instances where it would be left untouched).

Paul Renner is behind an effort to remove ‘climate change’ from state law.

Hemp rules keep moving through House. What substances could be banned?” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — HB 1613, advanced by an 8-4 vote of the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, would crack down on alternative cannabinoids that serve as functional alternatives to delta-9 THC, the euphoria-inducing compound commodified by the state’s medical marijuana program. These include delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, delta-10-tetrahydrocannabinol, hexahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinol acetate, tetrahydrocannabiphorol and tetrahydrocannabivarin. Rep. Tommy Gregory’s bill, which he described as a “consumer protection tool” against an “unsafe product,” revises the definition of “hemp” to “outline that hemp extract may not exceed 0.3% total delta-9-THC concentration on a wet-weight basis.

Ban on sale cultivated meat advances in House, but with room for lab research” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Legislation banning the manufacture of cultivated meat took another step forward in the House. However, lawmakers did approve an exception for scientific research. Rep. Danny Alvarez said he never wanted his legislation (HB 1071) to stop laboratories from studying whether meat can be safely grown in laboratories. But he maintains Florida still should not allow the product to be commercially sold and consumed. The legislation still would prohibit the manufacture of meat for sale. “That way our researchers can continue to perform their safety studies and protocols so that we can continue to advance the research in cultivated protein,” Alvarez said. The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee approved the change in language.

State economists can’t say if stripping age increase would cost Florida money or not” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — If the state of Florida wants to ban people under the age of 21 from exotic dancing, taxpayers might pay more for prison costs. But that’s not guaranteed, per the anticlimactic takeaway from a Criminal Justice Estimating Impact Conference meeting, in which state economists mulled GOP Sen. Clay Yarborough’s bill (SB 1690) as well as HB 1379, carried by Republican Rep. Carolina Amesty. Ultimately, they couldn’t guarantee the bill would subject any scofflaws to incarceration, tacitly raising questions about whether this high-profile slam of college girls stripping will accomplish anything other than punitive symbolism. Analysts said “there just isn’t data right now” as to how this will impact prison beds, so the ultimate impact is considered to be “positive indeterminate” at this point.

— EVEN MORE LEGISLATIVE —

Florida’s outdoor workers want heat safety. Why it’s an uphill battle.” via Michaela Mulligan of the Tampa Bay Times — Another bill proposed this Session would ban Florida cities and counties from implementing their own heat protections. Workers’ rights groups say the bill is likely a reaction to a measure in Miami-Dade County that seeks heat protections for some workers. The absence of statewide protections in concert with local governments potentially being unable to enact their own rules puts workers in danger as climate change fuels record-breaking temperatures in Florida, including the hottest Summer on record last year, advocates say. While a handful of states have heat protections for workers, no federal, state or local standards exist in Florida.

Outdoor workers need protection from excess heat. Will Florida heed the call?

Public school advocates say a proposed charter conversion bill could have unintended consequences” via Nancy Guan of WUSF — The proposed bill adds municipalities to the list of groups and entities already allowed to submit an application to convert a traditional public school into a charter. Current state law reserves that ability to district School Boards, principals, teachers, parents and/or the school Advisory Council. The decision must also have the support of a majority of teachers employed at the school. A majority of parents must participate in the vote as well and at least 50% of the voters must show support. However, the proposal, in addition to granting municipalities the ability to initiate the conversion process, takes away the need for teacher approval.

Wilton Simpson lauds Senate for recognizing ‘Florida Wildlife Corridor Day’ — Agriculture Commissioner Simpson praised the state Senate for approving a resolution that declared Feb. 12 as “Florida Wildlife Corridor Day.” In a news release, the former Senate President said the resolution reaffirms the importance of the Florida Wildlife Corridor and its significant environmental, cultural, economic, and tourism value as a unique natural resource. “While dark on a map of the state of Florida at night, Florida’s Wildlife Corridor is a shining light in showcasing our natural spaces where our food and fiber are grown and our wildlife roam freely,” Simpson said. “ … I applaud Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, Sen. Jason Brodeur, and the Florida Senate for recognizing today as ‘Florida Wildlife Corridor Day,’ providing an opportunity to reflect on the significant progress Florida has made to conserve critical natural ecosystems and working landscapes for the protection of wildlife while preserving Florida’s green spaces for generations to come.”

Tech-backed campaign demands lawmakers fix social media ban by empowering parents” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A new digital ad campaign takes aim at a social media ban on minors passed by the House. And it’s backed in part by Meta Platforms, the nation’s top social media company. Advertisements started running this weekend from the Citizens Awareness Project (CAP) calling to “Fix HB 1.” A website for that campaign launched on Monday, with a call to “Empower Parents.” “Parents know best — not the government,” the website reads. “Social media reforms should guarantee parental consent and give parents the tools they need to ensure healthy social media habits.”

— THE SKED —

8 a.m. House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee meets. Room 17, House Office Building.

8 a.m. House Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee meets. Room 314, House Office Building.

8:30 a.m. Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture Environment and General Government meets. Room 110, Senate Office Building.

8:30 a.m. Senate Appropriations Committee on Criminal and Civil Justice meets. Room 37, Senate Office Building.

8:30 a.m. Senate Appropriations Committee on Education meets. Room 412, Knott Building.

11:30 a.m. House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee meets. Room 17, House Office Building.

11:30 a.m. House State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee meets. Room 212, Knott Building.

1:30 p.m. Senate Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services meets. Room 412, Knott Building.

1:30 p.m. Senate Finance and Tax Committee meets. Room 37, Senate Office Building.

1:30 p.m. Senate Appropriations Committee on Transportation Tourism and Economic Development meets. Room 110, Senate Office Building.

3 p.m. House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee meets. Room 17, House Office Building.

3 p.m. House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee Committee meets. Room 314, House Office Building.

5:45 p.m. Senate Special Order Calendar Group Committee meets. Room 401, Senate Office Building.

— LOBBY REGS —

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Rob Bradley, Oak Strategies: Verra Mobility

Melissa Braude, Earl Jones, Cody McCloud, The Fiorentino Group: Hunger Fight, Uber

Ernest Cox, Family Lands Remembered: Palm Beach Aggregates, PBA Holdings, Wildlandscapes International

Ralph Haben, Ralph Haben & Associates: Tynda Holdings

Robert Walters, Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler: Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority

— THE TRAIL —

Donald Trump asks Supreme Court to put off his election interference trial, claiming immunity” via Mark Sherman of The Associated Press — Trump is asking the Supreme Court to extend the delay in his election interference trial, saying he is immune from prosecution on charges he plotted to overturn his 2020 election loss. His lawyers filed an emergency appeal with the court on Monday, just four days after the justices heard Trump’s separate appeal to remain on the presidential ballot despite attempts to kick him off because of his efforts following his election loss in 2020. “Without immunity from criminal prosecution, the presidency as we know it will cease to exist,” Trump’s lawyers wrote, repeating arguments that have so far failed in federal courts.

Trump appears at federal court in Florida for closed hearing in his classified documents case” via Adriana Gomez Licon and Eric Tucker of The Associated Press — In the latest mixing of court appearances into Trump’s election-season calendar, supporters with signs and flags assembled outside a courthouse barricade as a Trump campaign message to allies with the subject line of “I’m in court. Again!” warned that unspecified opponents “want me arrested” and “erased from the ballot.” The message reinforced his team’s strategy of politicizing his four criminal prosecutions, including in Florida, where he faces dozens of felony counts accusing him of hoarding highly classified records at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach and obstructing FBI efforts to get them back. The closed hearing comes as prosecutors have also revealed that a prospective government witness has received threats over social media that are now the subject of a federal investigation.

Another week, and more court dates for Donald Trump. Image via AP.

Trump revs up MAGA machine in Florida after defeating DeSantis” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — MAGA momentum is building in Florida as Trump’s backers work to unify a party sharply divided by the Primary contest with DeSantis and demonstrate that a state once considered purple is now redder than one of Trump’s signature hats. Vehicle parades known as “Trump Trains” are starting up again as die-hard MAGA followers gear up for the election. Trump’s campaign has declared that “Florida is Trump Country” and the state party appears eager to carry that banner, from elected leaders down to grassroots activists. There also are signs that while elected leaders, party activists and the most conservative and vocal elements of the GOP are staunchly behind Trump, some average GOP voters aren’t thrilled that he is the likely nominee.

Lil’ Marco — “Marco Rubio brushes aside Trump’s insult of Nikki Haley’s husband” via the Orlando Sentinel — U.S. Sen. Rubio dismissed Trump’s comments about GOP presidential rival Haley’s husband, Michael, a South Carolina National Guard member deployed overseas. In an interview Sunday on CNN with Jake Tapper, Rubio characterized the remarks as a product of the “increasing nastiness of this campaign and every campaign in American politics.” … “I mean, they’re calling him a grumpy old man. They’re attacking Donald Trump,” Rubio said. “So, this sort of nastiness, Trump gives as good as he gets.” At a rally on Saturday in South Carolina, Trump mused about Haley’s husband: “Where’s your husband? Oh, he’s away. He’s away. What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband? Where is he? He’s gone! He knew. He knew.”

Haley says Trump is ‘not qualified’ to be President because of his ‘disrespect for the military’” via Sarah Dean and Amanda Terkel of NBC News — “He showed that with that kind of disrespect for the military, he’s not qualified to be the President of the United States, because I don’t trust him to protect them,” Haley said. During a rally Saturday, Trump jabbed at Haley and her husband when talking about meeting them at his Florida resort. “Then she comes over to see me at Mar-a-Lago. ‘Sir, I will never run against you.’ She brought her husband,” Trump said. “Where’s your husband? Oh, he’s away. He’s away. What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband? Where is he? He’s gone! He knew. He knew.” Michael Haley, a commissioned officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard, left for a yearlong deployment in June — a fact that Haley frequently mentions at her campaign events.

Trump is considering backing his daughter-in-law for RNC Co-Chair” via Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Swan of The New York Times — Trump is privately discussing endorsing his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, to be the Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee, according to three people familiar with the discussions. Trump has already told those close to him that his preferred choice to replace the current RNC Chair, Ronna McDaniel, is Michael Whatley, the Committee’s general counsel. But he is now also discussing Ms. Trump, who is married to his son Eric, as his pick for Co-Chair. The party rules designate one male and one female Co-Chair. She would be trusted by the Trump family, which has put an imprimatur on almost every aspect of the former President’s political life, and which closely watches how resources are allocated.

— MORE 2024 —

Kamala Harris says she is ready to serve as Joe Biden faces age scrutiny” via Tarini Parti of The Wall Street Journal — Harris was detailing her priorities for the campaign during a flight on Air Force Two early last week when she was asked a delicate question hanging over the Democratic ticket: Do voters’ concerns about Biden’s age mean she must convince them she is ready to serve? “I am ready to serve. There’s no question about that,” Harris responded bluntly. Everyone who sees her on the job, Harris said, “walks away fully aware of my capacity to lead.” The response came two days before a special counsel report on Biden’s handling of classified documents amplified concerns about the 81-year-old incumbent’s mental acuity. The report said Biden displayed “diminished faculties” in interviews and called him an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

Kamala Harris says she is ‘ready to serve.’ Image via AP.

— OTHER STATEWIDE —

Florida’s anti-DEI policies are taking hold as lawmakers pursue more” via Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO — Florida is phasing out and eliminating diversity, equity and inclusion programs at universities this year in the first fallout of the state’s — and DeSantis’ — latest fight against “wokeness” in education. Some schools say they are still reviewing how exactly the policy will apply to them, but at least two Florida universities have already signaled significant actions. Conservatives are heralding the moves as “beautiful” as more GOP-leaning states like Utah pursue similar efforts to ban DEI in schools and elsewhere.

Florida colleges are feeling the pinch of a DEI ban.

Winning bids announced for Medicaid managed care developmental disability pilot program” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — AHCA announced the contracts for Medicaid Regions D and I. Region D comprises Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee and Polk counties. Medicaid Region I covers Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. It’s not clear how many entities responded to the Medicaid ITN, which initially dropped in November 2023. The ITN required the state to negotiate with all entities that met a minimum evaluation score of 70%. According to the notice, AHCA only negotiated with Florida Community Care, whose response to the ITN scored 983 points, and Simply Healthcare, which submitted a response that earned 938 total points. There were 1,000 total points available.

2 private Florida insurance companies propose 50%+ rate increase” via Spectrum News — Some property insurance rates might be about to jump — in a big way. Two private insurance companies have asked to raise rates in Florida by more than 50%. Castle Key and Amica are seeking hikes on some policies at about 53% or 54%. “We live in a beautiful state, we have beautiful weather at times, but certainly not the least expensive place to live,” said Paul Handerhan, the president and executive director of the Federal Association For Insurance Reform. He blames inflation, higher costs for real estate, and bad weather for the rate hikes. “You’re seeing inflation still having an impact, you’re seeing the real estate prices in Florida continuing to increase,” he said.

Poll: Majority of Floridians know someone suffering from affordable housing crisis” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — Most Floridians say they know a close relative or friend who has suffered from affordable housing insecurity in the state and they want local government officials in the Sunshine State to address the issue soon. As property values continue to climb higher, a stunning 58% of Floridians polled say they know of an extended family member or friend who has faced housing insecurity or who struggled to find affordable housing, results showed in the poll released this month. The questionnaire even broke down responses from five different geographic regions in the state, with 61% of Central Florida residents saying they know of someone who has struggled with affordable housing. That was the largest response from any region in Florida.

Jimmy Finkelstein’s ‘brooding’ in Florida after The Messenger’s collapse” via Justin Baragona of The Daily Beast — Following the spectacular flameout of doomed “centrist” news site The Messenger, owner Finkelstein left hundreds of employees high and dry without severance pay or health insurance — prompting them to file a class-action lawsuit, citing New York worker protection laws. And staffers are particularly incensed, The Daily Beast has learned, because an employee handbook — put together by The Messenger’s HR department — promised severance in the event of mass layoffs or restructuring of the business. Ex-employees said that the two dozen Messenger staffers who were laid off a month before the site’s implosion did indeed receive two weeks’ severance — but those who remained until the end were left empty-handed.

— D.C. MATTERS —

How Biden botched the border” via Alex Thompson and Stef W. Kight of Axios — Aboard Air Force One en route to tour the Southern border in January 2023, Biden sat at the head of his conference table and exploded with fury. The President lit into his team, which included then-Deputy Chief of Staff Jen O’Malley Dillon, Homeland Security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall and other immigration officials. He demanded obscure immigration data points — and vented when his staff didn’t have them handy. The previously unreported meeting is emblematic of the Biden administration’s struggle with the border crisis during the past three years — infighting, blame-shifting and indecision.

The Biden administration is struggling with a border crisis.

Rubio rips Biden for ‘undermining’ Benjamin Netanyahu with bad words, temper tantrums” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — “Joe Biden is using all kinds of profanity and temper tantrums and leaking it to the press to go after Benjamin Netanyahu,” said Rubio on the Fox Business Network. “Even as the Israelis and Israel (are) fighting for its very existence, you have an administration that’s going out there and openly saying that they’ve gone over the top, that he hates Netanyahu, that, you know, we don’t like the way you’re conducting your operation. He’s actively in a time of war, undermining an ally, undermining a country and he’s doing it to appease the radical antisemitic element of his base that exists.” Rubio claims that the Biden administration fears losing “pro-Palestinian” votes in Michigan this year, with emissaries meeting with “antisemites” because “political people” said the White House was “in trouble” amid Biden’s re-election bid.

—”Rubio: Biden special counsel found all elements of a crime were met” via Fox Business

Byron Donalds talks resolution to recognize Frederick Douglass” via Corina Cappabianca of Spectrum News — Rep. Donalds is working to recognize abolitionist Douglass on Capitol Hill for Douglass’ work in journalism. Douglass who was born enslaved in Maryland in 1818, ultimately escaped to New York City 20 years later and became a leader in the effort to end slavery. He was also a reporter. While living in Rochester, New York, Douglass founded The North Star in 1847, which later became Frederick Douglass’ Paper in 1851 to fight against slavery. After slavery ended, Douglass also worked in the nation’s capital as part owner and editor-in-chief of the New National Era and was a member of the congressional press galleries. Rep. Donalds is seeking to honor Douglass’ work and designate the House Press Gallery the Frederick Douglass Press Gallery.

— DOWN BALLOT —

High court won’t fast-track redistricting case — The Florida Supreme Court will not speed up the timeline to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the state’s congressional map. Parties challenging the map claim the elimination of a predominantly Black district in North Florida violates the state’s Fair Districts Amendment. They sought a decision from the court ahead of the April 26 qualifying deadline for congressional candidates running for office in 2024. The lack of haste likely means the current map will remain in place through this election cycle.

Greg Folley makes HD 81 ballot by petitionFolley’s campaign announced it has collected enough voter petitions to qualify for the ballot in House District 81. The Marco Island Republican thanked supporters for helping his campaign hit the milestone. “We are now one step closer to securing a win in August,” he said. “As we continue on the campaign trail, I look forward to meeting more wonderful members of the Collier County community and learning more about how I can best help them in the Florida House.” Folley is running against Gladyvette Benarroch in the Republican Primary to succeed term-limited GOP Rep. Bob Rommel. HD 81 is a reliably Republican seat, and as of Monday, no Democrats were running in the district.

Greg Folley hits a milestone — making the ballot by petition.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

Will the Coral Gables City Manager be fired? It could come down to a swing vote” via Tess Riski of the Miami Herald — The decision to oust or keep City Manager Peter Iglesias could come down to the vote of one person: Commissioner Kirk Menendez. But Menendez, who has cast the tiebreaker vote at multiple Commission meetings in the past year, is keeping his cards close to his chest. Speaking to the Miami Herald on Monday, he said won’t decide until hearing from residents. “I’m coming to tomorrow’s meeting to listen to all sides,” Menendez said. “I usually make decisions the day of. I don’t go in with any particular path.” Commissioner Ariel Fernandez is leading the charge to fire Iglesias — for the second time since Fernandez’s election in April. The last attempt Fernandez made was in May. That proposal failed 3-2, with only Fernandez and Commissioner Melissa Castro voting to fire Iglesias.

Kirk Menendez is the swing vote that determines the fate of Coral Gables’ City Manager.

LGBTQ pride mural in Delray Beach vandalized again; Clearwater man faces charges” via Angie Dimichele of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — A 19-year-old man from Clearwater turned himself in Monday after police said he intentionally vandalized the LGBTQ pride mural at an intersection in Delray Beach, the same one vandalized in 2021 a day after it was unveiled. Dylan Brewer was booked into the Palm Beach County jail shortly before 11 a.m. on one count of felony criminal mischief over $1,000 and one count of reckless driving. Surveillance video recorded Brewer doing burnouts in a dark-colored truck over the intersection on Feb. 4. A flag could be seen on the back of the truck in the surveillance video. The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council said in a news release that it was a Trump flag.

PBC kids attending private schools with taxpayer-funded vouchers doubled this year. Why?” via Katherine Kokal of the Palm Beach Post — Although Florida’s school voucher program is supposed to increase educational options for public school students whose families can’t afford private school, data from the first year of the program in Palm Beach County show that nearly 80% of students who used the vouchers were already attending private schools — effectively subsidizing their private education with taxpayer dollars. At least one education researcher and a private school leader say that’s exactly the point. “(It’s) the least surprising thing that has happened in education policy in a long time,” said Douglas Harris, an economist and professor at Tulane University who studies school choice.

U.S. seizes Boeing jet in Miami that was sold by sanctioned Iranian airline to Venezuela” via Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald — The U.S. government took possession of a Boeing cargo plane in the Miami area that had been sold by a sanctioned Iranian airline to a Venezuelan company in violation of federal export control laws, according to the Justice Department. The 747-300M cargo plane, flown from Argentina to Miami early in the morning, was owned by Mahan Air, an Iranian company targeted by the U.S. government for its support of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, officials said. The Islamic force is a branch of the Iranian military and designated by the United States as a terrorist organization.

Don Quixote of Coral Gables: How 1 homeowner is fighting City Hall over his carport” via Linda Robertson of the Miami Herald — The man in the little house engulfed by the biggest development in Coral Gables history — surrounded by 100-foot-tall parking garages and a 15-story hotel — has a new problem disturbing the tranquil life he once led on Coconut Grove Drive. It’s not the bulldozers roaring by his kitchen window, cranes dangling over his barrel-tile roof, jackhammers jarring the crystal keepsakes in his China cabinet, or six Porta Potties planted by his backyard patio. No, he is no longer living in the middle of a construction zone. Orlando Capote survived that five-year ordeal only to be bedeviled by his own carport. Specifically, the cover of his carport.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Uber, Orlando International Airport still battling over passenger fees nearly seven years after state law took effect” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — The ride-share giant Uber is taking on Orlando International Airport over fees it considers unfair when compared to the fees traditional taxis pay. Orlando International Airport in October raised passenger pickup fees for transportation network companies (TNC) like Uber and Lyft by 20%, meaning the airport is now charging those companies $7 per trip to operate at the airport. Uber officials claim Orlando International Airport is now the most expensive in the country for ride-share app users. Business Traveler, in a report about the fee increases last summer, also wrote that the fees were the most expensive in the nation. Taxis pay just $4 to operate at the airport, a $3 difference. That is despite a state law that went into effect in 2017 that allows for “reasonable pickup fees” at airports that must be “consistent with any pickup fees charged to taxicab companies.”

Uber and Orlando International are still raging in a seven-year-long battle.

Brevard County Commission public comment speakers will again be shown on government TV” via Dave Berman of Florida Today — A county government decision to not broadcast the video of speakers giving public comment during Brevard County Commission meetings has been shelved after just two meetings. Brevard County Communications Director Don Walker said Space Coast Government Television will again show the speakers in future County Commission meeting videos, as had been done before this month. Walker said the decision to broadcast only audio — and not video — from the public comments was an attempt by county administration “to run our meetings efficiently and effectively.” But, as it turned out, Walker said: “We looked at it, and, in retrospect, we didn’t feel it was the right way to go.”

Brevard Public Schools looks to expand voluntary prekindergarten program” via Finch Walker of Florida Today — In an effort to stop bad behavior before it starts and improve student achievement, Brevard Public Schools is looking to expand its voluntary prekindergarten (VPK) program. The district already serves more than 1,400 kids in VPK, with 85 openings in the 29 schools where classes are available. But not every program is open to all children, as some are dependent on a family’s location, parents’ income and whether or not a child has an IEP. During their latest work session, the Board agreed that in addition to expanding the program, it was important to get the word out on what VPK classes are currently available.

Orlando lawyer Dan Newlin defends wearing MAGA hat in Super Bowl ad” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — Every year, companies hope their Super Bowl ad gets attention. But this year, prominent Orlando lawyer Newlin might not be getting the kind of attention he wants. Newlin faced criticism for the red “Make America Great Again” hat he wore in one of his law firm’s commercials that aired in the Orlando market before Sunday’s game. It’s a signature slogan of Trump’s campaigns. “Hi, I’m Dan Newlin,” he said, also wearing a “USA” T-shirt. “As we get ready for the big game, it’s important that we remember and recognize our veterans. Thank you for your courageous service. You are the true heroes. Now let’s get ready to enjoy the game.”

— LOCAL: TB —

Pinellas County School Board race heating up” via Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times — Interest in the race to replace Carol Cook on the Pinellas County School Board continues to grow, with a fifth hopeful announcing her candidacy for the seat. Oak Grove Middle School teacher Dawn Douglas, who previously ran three times as a Democrat for Florida House, is the latest aspirant to file paperwork needed to seek the post. She said she is entering the race, in part, to thwart the rise of the conservative right in education politics. “Our country, our state and our community are in crisis because of insane leadership,” said Douglas, 72.

Dawn Douglas is making another run for the Pinellas County School Board.

Flight attendants and rideshare drivers to picket at Tampa International Airport” via Henry Queen of the Tampa Bay Business Journal — Workers will participate in two separate protests at Tampa International Airport this week to demand improved pay and conditions. On Feb. 13 at 11 a.m., flight attendants from several airlines will demonstrate at the blue express arrivals curb as part of an advocacy group’s “worldwide day of action.” “As airlines rake in billions in profit, add flights and take on new aircraft, flight attendants are left overworked and underpaid despite their contributions to airlines’ success,” a release said. It’s unclear exactly how large the local demonstration will be. Flight attendant demonstrations also occurred at TPA in late 2023. In both the United States and Canada, flight attendants want their unions to secure in upcoming contracts the end of “free work” for periods involving the boarding of passengers or waiting at the airport in between flights. That would cost the airline industry hundreds of millions.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

Florida Supreme Court refuses to speed up challenge to North Florida redistricting plan” via Action News Jax — The Florida Supreme Court declined to expedite a challenge to a congressional redistricting plan pushed through the Legislature by DeSantis in 2022. This decision is likely to mean that the disputed map will remain in effect for this year’s elections. In a brief one-sentence order, the court denied a request from voting rights groups and other plaintiffs to expedite the case, with arguments requested to be held during the first week of April. Lawyers representing the plaintiffs acknowledged in a motion filed on Feb. 1 that without an expedited schedule, the disputed map would likely persist for this year’s elections, given the qualifying period for congressional candidates scheduled from April 22 to April 26.

Former Jacksonville teacher could lose license over Black Lives Matter flag” via Charlie McGee of The Tributary — Florida could ban a youth advocate and former Jacksonville teacher from its education system for displaying at school a Black Lives Matter flag and anti-Confederacy face masks three years ago. Court hearings featured testimonies and debate on the Florida Department of Education’s allegations against Amy Donofrio. This administrative law case tests the extent of Florida’s rules limiting what teachers are allowed to say and do in the classroom. Donofrio taught for nearly a decade at Riverside High School — formerly Robert E. Lee High School — until 2021, when the Duval County Public Schools district reassigned her to a warehouse. She won $300,000 from the district a few months later in a lawsuit settlement. She didn’t win her job back.

Amy Donofrio was ejected for her BLM activism. Now a court will decide if she will lose her license.

Donna Adelson’s trial for murder of Dan Markel set for September” via Stefan Roberts of WTXL — Monday, a judge set a trial date for Adelson. She is the former mother-in-law of Markel. Markel was an FSU law professor who was murdered in the Betton Hills neighborhood of Tallahassee in 2014. Donna’s trial is set to begin Sept. 30, 2024. Adelson was arrested in South Florida in November 2023. You can watch that body camera video here. The state attorney’s office said at the time of that arrest, Donna was on her way to Vietnam, a country that does not extradite to the U.S. She was arrested just one week after her son, Charlie, was convicted of the murder of Markel.

— LOCAL: SW. FL —

Ed Brodsky declines Sunshine case against Manatee County Chair Mike Rahn and Vanessa Baugh” via Jesse Mendoza of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — State Attorney Brodsky has declined to prosecute Manatee County Chair Rahn and former Commissioner Baugh over whistleblower claims that they violated Sunshine Laws made by a former interim administrator. Brodsky’s Office sent records indicating that no action would be taken to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and shared it with the media late last week. The situation took place during a lunch on March 1 at a downtown Bradenton restaurant between Rahn, former Interim Administrator Lee Washington, and Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association CEO Jon Mast. Washington claims during the lunch, Baugh joined the group after they were already seated.

Mike Rahn and Vanessa Baugh are off the hook for Sunshine Law violations.

Bradenton police arrest former Manatee County teacher’s aide in ongoing investigation” via Gabriela Szymanowska of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — A former Manatee County teacher’s aide is in custody in connection to a 7-year-old, nonverbal student being tied up to a chair after the Bradenton police issued two arrest warrants on Feb. 6 for her and a teacher. Taylor Internicola, 39, was taken into custody on a false imprisonment charge of a child under age 13 three days after a warrant was issued for her arrest, according to an updated post on the Bradenton Police Department’s Facebook page. In a news release posted to Facebook on Feb. 6, detectives informed the community they obtained warrants to arrest Carina Chindamo, 31, and Internicola. Both women worked at G.D. Rogers Garden-Bullock Elementary School.

Allegiant Air announces new nonstop service from Sarasota Bradenton airport” via Heather Bushman of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — A new nonstop flight to New York will fly out of the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport this summer. Allegiant Air announced it will launch service from SRQ to the Plattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh, New York, on June 12. The flight is part of 10 new routes the airline will introduce in June, which includes two new trips at the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport and the Jacksonville International Airport. The flight will be Allegiant’s 28th route at SRQ, which also offers service from Austin, Indianapolis, Nashville, and other small-to-medium cities. Fares for the new flight start at $79 if purchased by Feb. 13 and booked for Nov. 11 or sooner.

‘The city lost its biggest fan’: Former Venice Council member Bob Daniels dies at age 81” via Earle Kimel of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Daniels, who served three consecutive terms on Venice City Council, starting when the city climbed out of the throes of the Great Recession, died Feb. 8 at age 81. “He liked helping the average citizen,” his wife of 45 years, Nancy Daniels, said in a release provided by the city of Venice. “He absolutely loved being on Council. He was a strong leader, and his heart was in the community.” Bob and Nancy moved to Venice from Columbus, Ohio, in 2006. A retired educator, he decided to run for public office in 2010 and — along with Mayor John Holic and Council member Jeanette Gates — won his first race. Daniels was unopposed on his next two campaigns for City Council.

— TOP OPINION —

Super Bowl ads reflect what divides us: religion, the election and Bud Light” via Barbara Lippert of The Hollywood Reporter — While most of the ads involved the usual self-effacing celebrities asserting their cultural relevance — and some of them were crowd-pleasers and even funny — a number of them touched on some of the most divisive issues of the day: religion, the presidential race and Bud Light.

Going in, all eyes were on the latter, the object of a polarizing 2023 boycott from conservative groups for having collaborated with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney on an Instagram campaign to promote March Madness.

Several faiths battled for viewers’ souls last night. As the only place to reach such a massive audience live, several ideologies — including Catholicism, with pitchman Mark Wahlberg, and Scientology — put their $7 million for 30 seconds on the line. But Jesus swept. Two surprising “He Gets Us” commercials gave Him a modern edge.

You can inadvertently learn a lot about American politics and culture by watching the spots on the Super Bowl. But “Kennedy family feud” was not on my game card. Perhaps advertisers should stick to superheroes, explosions, and allowing aging celebrities to shine.

— OPINIONS —

Moms for Liberty work like a genteel Stasi, rooting out dangerous thought” via Diane Roberts of Florida Phoenix — They’re making idiots of themselves in the national media. Check out this MSNBC interview in which Moms co-founder Tiffany Justice simultaneously defends taking books off school library shelves while denying that Moms want books taken off school library shelves unless they’re by Black writers or gay writers, or ones dealing with the Holocaust, coming out, sexual violence, racism, and good old heterosexual whoopee. Justice and her sister suburban harpies claim they want to protect children’s “innocence.” Still, though the luster may be coming off those clutch-able pearls, the Moms haven’t stopped fighting unionized teachers pushing inconvenient facts that may lead to actual thinking. The menace du jour? Social studies.

Proposed hemp regulation bill — a Trojan horse to squash the hemp industry” via Dalton Rowan for Florida Politics — I’m not aware of anyone opposed to any efforts that will increase child safety when it comes to hemp products. However, legislation moving through the Capitol under the guise of protecting children seems to be a Trojan horse actually trying to protect monopolies while imposing arbitrary THC caps and new regulations that could jeopardize thousands of Florida jobs. Last year the Florida Legislature worked with our industry to develop a solid foundation so safe hemp products could succeed in a competitive adult-use market. The new procedures are working — so why, less than a year later, is the Legislature already proposing more regulations for the industry when last year’s legislation hasn’t even finished its rule-making process?

Who is in control of the Legislature — are they answering to a ‘higher’ power?” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — A statewide initiative to get recreational marijuana on the November ballot is so popular that it seems almost inevitable to be on the November ballot and gain voter approval. Not surprisingly, this has spurred a preemptive push for tighter guardrails, and not just on recreational marijuana. Another cannabis-related battle, one that seems born of fear and misinformation, is living in the shadow of our girl Mary Jane and moving through the Senate at breakneck speed. Sure, SB 1698 and HB 1613 are flying under the noble banner of protecting kids. But they’re also a Trojan horse stuffed with over-the-top restrictions on THC — language that lawmakers removed from the bill last year, for very good reason. This raises the question, is this whiplash self-induced or is someone else driving the train?

— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —

— ALOE —

Travis Kelce, possibly nursing a Super Bowl victory celebration hangover, is selling a lot of swag” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Google analytics data shows that searches for “Travis Kelce jersey” were up 2,252% during and after Sunday night’s big game. Overall, searches for Kelce jerseys are up over Chief’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but searches for his jersey spiked with an increase of 2,531% in the last few seconds of the game around the time Mahomes threw the game-winning pass. However, Mahomes’ jersey search surge only lasted briefly before Kelce regained the internet’s interest.

Travis Kelce is selling some hot swag.

Florida gas prices fall 9 cents” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Gas prices in Florida fell 9 cents last week to $3.14 on Sunday, the 10th straight day of declines. Since Feb. 1, Sunshine State pump prices have fallen 13 cents. That trend is likely to end soon, AAA representative Mark Jenkins said in a statement. “Florida gas prices have recently followed a cycle where they decline for about two weeks, then shoot back up again,” he said. “That trend, plus a recent uptick in futures prices, will likely lead to a jump at the pump, possibly as early as Monday afternoon.” Crude oil and gasoline futures prices rose last week. The U.S. price for crude oil increased by $5, a 6% gain. Meanwhile, gasoline futures shot up nearly 20 cents per gallon.

Volunteers watch over Florida scrub jay population in Wabasso Scrub Conservation Area” via Kaila Jones of Treasure Coast Newspapers — In a scene reminiscent of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Monica Folk, an endangered species biologist hired by the county, walked along a sandy path as Florida scrub-jays flew above her head, seemingly acknowledging their trusty ally. Folk imitated the sharp, scratchy rap of a scrub jay to a group of five volunteers who had come out to the 111-acre Wabasso Scrub Conservation Area at 8900 64th Ave. to monitor eight scrub jay families. The volunteers are listed on Folk’s federal recovery permit, authorizing them to condition the birds and collect scientific information. The volunteers must be trained and authorized by Folk and carry a letter of delegation in the field.

What happens behind the scenes of Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando Resort” via Eve Chen of USA TODAY — My grandmother passed away several years ago, but I could have sworn she was with me last week at Universal Orlando Resort. The mouth-tingling Spicy Smashed Cucumber salad at Universal Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval wasn’t exactly like hers, but its familiar flavors still brought me right back to her table. “We’re really trying hard to be as authentic as possible,” said chef Jens Dahlmann, vice president and executive chef of Culinary Operations at Universal Orlando. Guests can taste it in the dishes created especially for the monthslong Mardi Gras celebration, which is as big as Halloween Horror Nights and holidays at the Florida resort.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Celebrating today is Erik Arroyo, Alex Burgos, former aide to U.S. Sen Rubio and now Public Affairs Director for Meta, and former Rep. James Bush.

___

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 FloridaPolitics.com, 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.



#FlaPol

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




Sign up for Sunburn


Categories


This is default text for notification bar