Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 2.16.24

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Coffee is for closers. So is Sunburn, your morning rundown of Florida politics.

Good Friday morning.

House Speaker-Designate Danny Perez sent $50,000 to the Republican Party of Florida’s coffers as the party works to maintain its historic majority in the state Legislature.

“As Speaker-Designate, and throughout my term as Speaker, I look forward to joining (Chair Evan) Power and the RPOF to support our collective mission of continuing to maintain and grow our majority in the Florida House and support all Republican candidates on the upcoming November ballot,” Perez said.

In an email announcing the contribution, Power said it reasserts “the main mission all Sunshine State Republicans know to be true: together we will win!”

To support the Florida GOP, Danny Perez puts his money where his mouth is.

“With this important commitment, support and leadership of Speaker-Designate Danny Perez, we Republicans will continue to grow our voter registration advantage over Democrats, currently over 825,000 and counting, while fighting for the conservative principles that have made Florida a national beacon of freedom,” Power said.

Perez’s contribution follows similar commitments from other top Florida Republicans in the weeks since Power was elected as party Chair, including Senate President-designate Ben Albritton and Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson.

Heading into the 2024 elections, Florida Republicans hold 28 of 40 state Senate seats and 84 House seats, giving the party supermajority control of both chambers.


Here are a few other items that crossed my radar:

❓Did you get it when they said ‘he gets us’?: David French, an opinion columnist for The New York Times and a self-avowed Christian, tackled a prickly subject this week — the “He Gets Us” foot-washing ad that aired during the Super Bowl. It juxtaposed people who would likely be foes — an oil rig worker and an environmental activist, a cop and a Black man; an elderly woman and a younger woman about to have an abortion, etc. — and shows one washing the other feet, a thing, the ad reminds that Jesus did. While the ad has gotten pushback both from Christian fundamentalists offended by it and those less religious who thought it a silly waste of money when actual people are suffering, French dissects it into the powerful message he believed it was. You should definitely read it here.

🎧Carlos Trujillo on what Donald Trump would mean for Latin American Policy: Speaking on the American Quarterly podcast, the former ambassador to the Organization of American States discusses how the former President would affect Latin American policy in a second term, pointing to what he describes as empty words from the President Joe Biden administration. Listen in to hear Trujillo answer the question: Do we want to be a country that provides aid or provides opportunities? Listen here.

👋Parental rights = don’t hit my kid: The 74 has published a feature entitled “Florida students seize on ‘parental rights’ to stop educators from hitting kids,” exploring how many Florida students, about a third, still face corporal punishment in districts where the practice remains ingrained in the culture. Read more here.

📺Don’t miss the new ‘Peanuts,’ featuring the cartoon’s first Black character: Franklin Armstrong isn’t new to Peanuts — he was added in 1968 — but it is the first time the once-controversial character will be featured as a main character. The new special, “Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin,” chronicles Franklin’s move into Charlie Brown and Snoopy’s neighborhood. So basically, it’s must-see TV, on Apple TV.


Ninth Annual Suits for Session begins — 4; Season 6 of ‘Drive To Survive’ premieres on Netflix — 7; South Carolina Republican Primary — 8; Michigan Democratic Primary — 11; James Madison Institute’s ‘Red, White and Bluegrass’ dinner — 12; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 14; Michigan/Idaho/Missouri GOP Primaries — 16; Netflix to stream “The Netflix Slam,” Rafael Nadal/Carlos Alcaraz faceoff — 16; Super Tuesday — 18; State of the Union address — 20; last day of Regular Session, if Legislature completes work in 60 days — 21; 2024 Oscars — 23; Georgia Democratic Primary — 26; Arizona/Florida/Illinois/Kansas/Ohio Primaries — 33; James Madison Institute’s ‘2024 Naples Dinner’ with keynote speaker Laura Ingraham — 34; ‘3 Body Problem’ premieres on Netflix — 34; Trump’s New York hush money trial begins — 38; The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the mifepristone/abortion pill case — 39; Major League Baseball’s (MLB) 2024 season — 41; March Madness Final Four (women’s) begins — 48; March Madness Final Four (men’s) — 51; Florida TaxWatch’s Spring Meeting — 55; The Masters begin — 56; Kentucky Derby — 79; 2024 Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability — 84; ‘Bridgerton’ new season (part one) premieres on Netflix — 91; French Open begins — 94; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 96; Dave Matthews Band 2024 Summer Tour begins in Tampa — 96; Monaco Grand Prix — 100; the 2026 World Cup begins — 116; ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ premieres — 134; Republican National Convention begins — 150; the 2026 World Cup ends — 154; 2024 MLS All-Star Game — 159; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games on NBC/Peacock — 161; Alien: Romulus’ premieres — 179; Democratic National Convention begins — 185; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 190; Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour stops in Miami — 245; 2024 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 245; 2024 Presidential Election — 260; Las Vegas Grand Prix — 276; MLS Cup 2024 — 291; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ premieres — 364; ‘Moana’ premieres — 494; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 525; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 525; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 630; ‘Avatar 3’ premieres — 672; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 809; Untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 825; Another untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 1,036; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,176; ‘Avatar 4’ premieres — 2,135; ‘Avatar 5’ premieres — 2,857.


Florida GOP’s culture war platform ignores state’s needs, analysts say” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — The Republican Party of Florida’s new platform that promotes culture wars and staunchly opposes giving the voters a say on abortion rights ignores the issues most important to Floridians and could hurt the party’s fortunes, political analysts say.

Some parts are even too much for Republican Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, who said they wouldn’t happen on her watch this Legislative Session.

“It’s just shocking how much it doesn’t deal with bread-and-butter issues that are facing Floridians on a daily basis,” said Gregory Koger, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Miami. “ … I’m just not sure these are issues of resonance to the average Floridian. But they are consistent with the long-term proposals of the Republican Party.”

Many of the ‘culture war’ bills are a little too much, says Kathleen Passidomo.

Other top items on the party’s legislative agenda, approved by GOP leaders at its annual meeting on Feb. 10 at a Pasco County golf resort, include:

— Preventing employers and employees from having to use someone’s preferred pronouns.

— Banning LGBTQ or other “ideology” flags from government buildings.

— Banning the removal of historic monuments, including Confederate memorials.

— Lowering the minimum age for buying a rifle back to 18.

— Requiring IDs to state a transgender person’s sex at birth and not their gender.

“Our bill process is not the Republican Party of Florida. We are the Legislature. We make the laws,” Passidomo told reporters. “None of those bills are moving in the Senate anymore. … I’m not going to because the Republican Party of Florida has a platform; take it out of a Committee or violate our rules.”

Power, the new Chair of the state GOP who oversaw the annual meeting, appeared to accept the situation.


With Florida seen as solidly Republican red, Ron DeSantis and GOP clamp down on blue cities” via John Kennedy of USA Today Network — With his White House dream over, DeSantis and his GOP allies in the Legislature are clamping down on Florida’s politically blue communities with an array of bills targeting local governments’ ability to tax, regulate and respond to issues. “We’re seeing legislation in Florida and other states very specifically targeting and harming historically marginalized communities or rolling back progress that local communities have made to address the housing crisis, homelessness and promoting the inclusion of LGBTQ folks,” said Kate Belanger with Local Solutions Support Center, a national nonprofit which tracks state pre-emptions. “Florida is absolutely at the forefront of these strikes,” she added.

Ron DeSantis turns his eye toward the blue parts of Florida.

Social media ban ready for vote on Senate floor” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A social media ban has been combined in the Senate with a requirement that porn sites verify user age. The legislation also advanced from its final Committee with no exceptions for parents granting permission to children who want accounts. Sen. Erin Grall said the predatory behavior of tech companies seeking data on minors warrants government action. “They talk for regulation on one side, and they want no accountability on the other side of their mouth,” Grall said. “And so, they have decided to come for our kids.” The Senate Fiscal Policy, before advancing the bill (SB 1788), approved an amendment to the legislation that effectively ties the issue directly to proposed regulations with online porn distributors.

After woman’s privacy was violated, video voyeurism penalty could get tougher under new bill” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — A Broward County woman’s stepfather secretly installed miniature cameras inside her toilet and facing the mirror, so he could watch her most private movements. Every day he repositioned the cameras and by the end, he captured more than 8,000 hours of video footage over 344 days. But when the man was caught, he got a slap on the wrist for his constant stealthy surveillance, one lawmaker said. He was charged with one count of video voyeurism and was sentenced to 344 days in the county jail plus three years of probation, according to a state lawmaker. Now, Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book says the state needs to beef up its laws. “SB 1604 makes many important changes to Florida’s voyeurism statute to ensure injustices like the one suffered by (the Broward County woman) does not happen again,” Book said.

Senate unanimously votes to ban hemp cannabinoids, cap delta-9 THC” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Sen. Colleen Burton’s bill (SB 1698) proposes a number of material changes to what the sponsor calls an “unregulated market” and a “continuation” of work begun by the Legislature in 2023. These include a ban on currently commercially available and federally legal products, along with a cap on delta-9 THC, which could negatively affect the 487 growers and roughly 10,000 retail outlets in the state. Her bill enjoys the support of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). And it came with new changes during its first hearing by the full Senate on Wednesday, a meeting that set up the floor vote.


Lawmakers try to move aquatic preserve’s boundary to benefit developer” via Craig Pittman of the Florida Phoenix — Hollywood is famous for its ability to spin colorful worlds of wild fantasy. Elves and dwarfs fight over jewelry in “The Lord of the Rings!” Drug addicts ride giant worms in “Dune!” Old dudes battle with big flashlights in “Star Wars!” But nothing compares to the unbelievable flights of fancy spun by our fine Florida Legislature. Over the weekend, I heard about one that was new to me. It’s a bill to cut a chunk out of one of the state’s aquatic preserves. It’s being pushed as a way to help hurricane victims by clearing up an error on an old map. Actually, it’s being done for the benefit of a developer.

Senate approves harassment-free zone around first responders” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — A bill enabling Florida police, firefighters and paramedics to establish a harassment-free zone around themselves in the field is heading to the House after clearing the Legislature’s upper chamber with unanimous support. Senators voted 39-0 for the measure (SB 184), which would make it illegal for a person to approach or remain within 14 feet of a first responder performing their official duty after receiving a warning to back away. The bill specifies that the restriction applies only to people who intend to threaten, harass or interfere with a first responder’s work. Several Democratic lawmakers raised concerns about that standard. Violators would face a first-degree misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to a year in prison and $1,000 in fines.

Amid ‘Cocaine Bear’ jokes, House passes bill allowing people to shoot bears” via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO — The 88-29 vote was largely along party lines. But both sides agreed that the 2023 movie “Cocaine Bear,” a comedy thriller, was not a documentary. The House voted after Rep. Jason Shoaf said his legislation is needed because a generation of bears that have no fear of people are threatening families in their North Florida homes. Bear hunting and killing bears is illegal in Florida. “It is time to let all Floridians know it’s OK to use good judgment and defend your home, your pets and your life,” Shoaf said. House Democrats said during a floor debate on Thursday bears are shy, have never killed anyone in Florida, and rarely come into physical contact with people.

‘Cocaine Bear’ was not a documentary.

Senate passes package of consumer safeguards against moving company scams” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Legislation broadening consumer protections against price-gouging by moving companies is packed up and traveling to the Legislature’s lower chamber with uniform approval from the Senate. The bill (SB 304) targets movers and the businesses that link them with customers, hiking documentation requirements and prohibiting them from withholding people’s possessions for excessive fees. It applies only to moving operations within Florida. Moves between states are subject to federal oversight. In 2022, the Better Business Bureau received more than 15,000 complaints against moving companies and moving brokers that act as intermediaries between movers and customers.

Fantasy sports regulation bill advances in House” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — New regulations for large-scale fantasy sports betting could be on the way to Florida, as legislation setting up parameters for companies offering the games to operate passed through a House panel. The bill (PCB COM 24-01) would regulate fantasy sports operations with prize payouts of more than $1,500 per season or more than $10,000 per year. It would ban platforms from offering direct bets on sporting events in addition to the competitive fantasy games. Ads for casinos, with “depictions of slot machine-style symbols, cards, dice, craps, roulette or lotto” would also be banned. Players would be required to be told of prize award amounts before the contest begins, and award amounts couldn’t be based on the number of participants or the size of the entry fee.

Senate advances bill to offer free kid swimming lessons for poor families” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — The stories are heartbreaking. A toddler drowned in the pool at his home day care. A young child drowned in a hotel pool on vacation. A death at the beach in the strong current. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children between the ages of 1 and 4. “Annually, there are enough children under the age of 5 lost to drowning (50 in 2019, 60 in 2020 and 75 in 2021) to fill three or four preschool classrooms,” according to the Florida Health Department. The state is trying to lower those numbers. A bill advancing through the Legislature seeks to help cut the number of deaths by paying for swimming lessons for families who might otherwise be unable to afford them.

Bill classifying balloons as litter floats from House floor on near-unanimous vote” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Floridians may soon want to hold their balloon strings tighter and find other ways to celebrate and commemorate loved ones. A bill (HB 321) that would reclassify intentionally released balloons as litter is now floating to the Senate after clearing the House on a 114-1 vote. “There is no good reason to intentionally release a balloon, and there are a lot of bad reasons,” said Rep. Linda Chaney, the bill’s sponsor. “Balloons do not go to heaven. If you adopt this bill, hopefully, they will go in the statute.”

Beautiful going up; litter coming down.

House approves renaming A1A as ‘Jimmy Buffett Memorial Highway’” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Florida State Road A1A won’t be undergoing any changes in latitudes anytime soon, but it may get a new title to honor beloved Buffett. In a cheerful and, at times, playful motion, House members voted unanimously for a bill (HB 91) to rename the thoroughfare “Jimmy Buffett Memorial Highway” from its tip in Ferdinand Beach to Mile Marker 0 in Key West. “This may be the most fun bill of the day,” said Rep. Jim Mooney, one of the bill’s two prime sponsors. “Everybody in this room’s a Buffett fan.” If approved in the Senate, the measure would direct Florida Department of Transportation personnel to erect “suitable markers” for the designation across 13 counties spanning the state’s east coast by Aug. 30.


Alex Andrade calls radio station owner ‘liar,’ says Cory Mills has ‘midget mind’ while defending defamation bill” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A controversial defamation bill has state Rep. Andrade slamming conservative media outlets. In an angry text exchange with a Florida radio station owner, the Pensacola Republican called the executive a “liar” motivated by “hurt feelings.” “So, calling me a liar is an insult or defamation?” wrote James Schwarzel, owner of 92.5 FOX News in the Fort Myers-Naples market. “You lied about a bill,” Andrade replied. “It’s a statement of opinion, it’s also the truth. Did I hurt your feelings?” “I didn’t lie, so it’s defamation, and my feelings don’t get hurt,” Schwarzel responded. “Your feelings obviously are,” Andrade replied.

Alex Andrade devolves into name-calling with a local radio station.

Florida may copy a Texas law bringing chaplains to public schools, despite First Amendment concerns” via Jackie Llanos of the Florida Phoenix — Florida is one of about a dozen states considering allowing chaplains to provide support services to students in public schools. The trend stems from a first-of-its-kind law the Texas Legislature passed authorizing schools to pay for religious figures to work in mental health roles. The Texas law went into effect in September, requiring more than 1,200 school districts to vote by March 1 for or against allowing chaplains to be employed or accepted as volunteers in counseling roles.

Immigrant activists rally for better times in Florida” via Mitch Perry of Florida Phoenix — “From 2019 we have experienced consistent dehumanization of immigrants with last year’s [Senate bill] 1718, which was the most egregious anti-immigrant policy in the history of our state,” said Tessa Petit, the co-executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. That law included provisions such as requiring employers with 25 or more employees to use the E-Verify system to vet the legal status of workers; banning the use of legally issued out-of-state driver’s licenses from states that issue them regardless of immigration status, and requiring hospitals that receive Medicaid funding to ask their patients about their immigration status.

Army veteran whose condo insurance jumped 563% last year takes crusade to Tallahassee” via Mark Harper of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — Thomas Baker, the Daytona Beach Shores condo owner who complained about his building’s property insurance rate rocketing up 563% last year, took his concerns to Tallahassee this week. Unlike the lobbyists in their business suits, the 80-year-old Vietnam veteran and U.S. Army retiree wore his uniform to stand out in the Florida Capitol halls. Baker, a resident of Marbella Condominiums in Daytona Beach Shores, brought with him two messages: He’s angry and he has ideas on how to reduce rates for condo owners across the state. Marbella, as did much of the state, suffered damage during the hurricane season of 2022.

Senators rip ‘offensive’ proposal to increase salary of Governor” via Gary Fineout of POLITICO — “This proposal is offensive,” said Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, who predicted he would be a “hard no” on the legislation if it stays alive during upcoming budget negotiations. “It would be a non-starter if we raised salaries to this.” This marks one of the few instances where some Senate Republicans are in alignment with House Democrats who voted against the bill. The measure would eventually require that the salary paid to the Governor match the amount paid to Supreme Court justices — a $110,000 increase over the current $141,000 annual amount paid to DeSantis. The legislation would also place the salary of the Lieutenant Governor and the three members of the Florida Cabinet at 95% of what the Governor is paid.

Blaise Ingoglia thinks giving the Governor a raise is ‘offensive.’

Immigrant activists rally for better times in Florida” via Mitch Perry of Florida Phoenix — “From 2019, we have experienced consistent dehumanization of immigrants with last year’s [Senate bill] 1718, which was the most egregious anti-immigrant policy in the history of our state,” said Tessa Petit, the co-executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. That law included provisions such as requiring employers with 25 or more employees to use the E-Verify system to vet the legal status of workers, banning the use of legally issued out-of-state driver’s licenses from states that issue them regardless of immigration status, and requiring hospitals that receive Medicaid funding to ask their patients about their immigration status.

ACLU blasts social media ban — The ACLU of Florida criticized the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee for advancing a bill that would ban minors under 16 from social media and increase age verification requirements to access adult content online. “Let’s be clear: HB 1 is a government censorship bill aimed at stifling freedom of expression online,” said ACLU of Florida Legislative Director Kara Gross. “ … The age-verification requirements in HB 1 place barriers between users, whether they’re adults or minors, and their constitutional right to speak online. Age verification requirements also blatantly chill the speech and threaten the privacy of adults by requiring them to surrender their anonymity to engage in constitutionally protected speech.”

House committee approves Live Healthy proposal for chamber floor” via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO — The House version of a health care workforce expansion plan that’s a top priority for the Senate is now eligible for the chamber floor after a favorable vote from its last committee. The bill, HB 1549, is the House version of the Live Healthy proposal rolled out by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo before the start of this year’s legislative session. Passidomo wants to expand health care services, especially in rural areas, by offering incentives for medical professionals to train in Florida and then continue practicing in the state.

House, Senate advance bills curbing pollution lawsuits despite opposition” via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO — Business groups say the bills are needed to reverse the threat of lawsuits resulting from a 2019 Florida Supreme Court ruling that broadened the claims for damages from pollution allowed under state law. But trial lawyers said the proposed law changes would block people from suing for personal injuries caused by pollution. “Policing polluters is a … both sides of the aisle [issue], always has been,” Mara Hatfield, a cancer cluster victims attorney, told the House Infrastructure Committee. “I don’t think anybody here wants to be the first Legislature to say, ‘No, we side with polluters.’”

Florida teens say they want to work. But will Florida Legislature enable bad bosses?” via Ana Goñi-Lessan of the Tallahassee Democrat — Joseph Pickles loves the summer. Right after an afternoon shower, when the air cools just a bit and the grass is green, he can be found on the farm, cutting up sod into perfect squares and loading them onto a pallet. “It’s like a Jenga tower, perfect, smooth sides,” Pickles said. The Havana 16-year-old works on his family’s sod farm every day after school until the sun goes down. He would work more if he could, he said. “There shouldn’t be a limit on what a 16, 17-year-old should be allowed to work,” he said.


10 a.m. The House holds a floor Session. House Chambers.


ABC Action News Full Circle with Paul LaGrone on Channel 10 WFTS: House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell; political analyst Dr. Susan MacManus; ABC News Deputy Political Director Averi Harper.

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

In Focus with Allison Walker on Bay News 9/CF 13: A look at the opioid crisis and how health and law enforcement officials are dealing with fentanyl-related overdoses and deaths. Joining Walker are Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, Pinellas County Commissioner Kathleen Peters, and UCF Associate Professor Dr. Kendall Cortelyou.

Political Connections on Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete and Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando: The weekly Sunday show is launching as a joint weeknight show airing Monday through Friday at 7 p.m.

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Gary Yordon and Republican Party of Florida Chair Power.

This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: Jacksonville City Council Member Rory Diamond; Duval County Schools Board Chair Darryl Willie.


Trump world considers having Donald Trump deliver the official GOP State of the Union response” via Kristen Welker, Jonathan Allen, Carol E. Lee and Matt Dixon of NBC News — Aides and allies close to Trump have discussed the former President giving the official Republican response to Biden’s March 7 State of the Union address. Two of the sources said that Trump himself has discussed it, but both said he is leaning against the high-profile gig. The decision on who will deliver the response rests with Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “There are no plans at this time” for him to deliver the Republican response, one senior Trump aide said on the condition of anonymity because discussions on the topic have been private.

Will the GOP give Donald Trump a platform to rebut the State of the Union address? Image via AP.

— MORE 2024 —

Democrats look to Nebraska to shore up Joe Biden’s blue wall” via Michael Scherer of The Washington Post — The Democratic Party’s blue wall around the Great Lakes has sprung a leak since the 2020 Census. The trifecta of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania stood for more than a decade as the last Democratic bulwark to Republicans seeking the White House, with enough votes on their own among the core swing states to give Democrats a majority in the Electoral College. Cracks in the Democratic hold on those three states in 2016 gave Trump the margin he needed to win. But the math has changed since 2020 because congressional redistricting has reduced the number of electoral votes in some key states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania. That means Democrats must look elsewhere in 2024 for an additional electoral vote to tip the election if they want to win by holding the northern trio.

Democrats turn to Nebraska as an important part of the blue wall.


Florida officials blast Miami school about permission slips for Black history event” via Jimena Tavel and Ana Ceballos of the Miami Herald — After a Miami school drew attention for requiring parental approval before students could participate in a book-reading activity for Black History Month, Florida education officials went on the offensive, admonishing the principal and accusing her of engaging in “nothing more than a political ploy.” The spat between the state and local school officials spiraled after a social media user shared a photo of a form requesting permission for students to “participate and listen to a book written by an African American.” The form described the guests that could attend as “fireman/doctor/artist,” but did not specify the book or author in question.

A permission slip causes a Miami school some agita.

PEN America responds to DeSantis’ book ban comments Katie Blankenship, director of PEN America’s Florida office, said DeSantis was in “denial” following his comments that many controversial book bans are the product of “bad actors” abusing the challenge system. “Gov. DeSantis’ denial that Florida is banning books, and his shifting blame to local School Boards and Floridians, is a blatant attempt to avoid responsibility for the significant and ongoing harm caused by statutes that he championed. But there is one thing we can agree on: book banning has gone too far, and limiting challenges is a good first step toward protecting Florida’s libraries,” Blankenship said. PEN America noted that the list of books the Florida Department of Education has removed from schools includes “children’s picture books of bunnies and penguins and plenty of books that are not ‘porn.’”

‘Nice try’: DeSantis laughs off ‘height identity’ question” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — A reporter asked the Governor why he opposes so-called gender-affirming care but was more indulgent toward his own “height identity.” “You have spoken out against the ‘woke’ agenda of gender-fluidity and also come out against gender-affirming care. So, I was hoping you could square your opposition to (gender-affirming care) and people choosing their own gender identity with your frequent wearing of lifts and you hoping to choose your own height identity.” “Nice try,” laughed DeSantis. “Next?” The Advocate previously summed up the optics problem, saying “People have been calling out the way the toes of the presidential hopeful’s shoes frequently seem to curl up, which doesn’t really make much sense if there’s actually a human foot residing in that portion of the shoe.”

Bryan Griffin returns to Governor’s Office as Communications Director” via Florida Politics — Griffin, who left the DeSantis administration in May 2023 to work on DeSantis’ campaign for President, will be returning to the Governor’s Office. Griffin will move into the job of Communications Director for DeSantis starting next Monday. Jason Mahon, who had been Communications Director since the departure of Taryn Fenske last Summer, is taking the position of Deputy Secretary for Economic Development at FloridaCommerce. Griffin joined the DeSantis administration in March 2022 as Deputy Press Secretary before eventually taking over the full Press Secretary role. He departed the Governor’s Office last year to become Press Secretary for the presidential campaign.

Jimmy Patronis celebrates Florida Fire Service Day at the Capitol — Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Patronis on Thursday addressed a crowd visiting the Capitol for Florida Fire Service Day, which highlights the work done by the state fire service, local fire departments and fire service organizations across the state. “I was honored to highlight the tremendous dedication and selfless service of Florida’s fire service community today at Florida Fire Service Day at the Capitol. Florida firefighters and fire professionals work every day to keep our communities safe, leaving their own families behind to protect others. It’s not just a job; it’s a calling, and the State of Florida is so happy they answer this call. We don’t have good schools, a good economy, and an amazing quality of life in our state without these first responders working around the clock to protect us,” Patronis said.

Jimmy Patronis celebrates firefighters on Florida Fire Service Day. Image via CFO Office.

Alicia Farrant defends book challenges in biblical terms” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — An Orange County School Board member classified the battle over books in school libraries as a fight against evil during a news conference in Orlando that included DeSantis. Orange County School Board member Farrant, who pushed for books to be removed from school libraries before being elected last year, defended the removal of some books while denying the censoring of others. She also spoke in epic moral terms about the decisions regarding what appears on shelves, tearing up as she quoted from the Bible.

Few apply to Florida universities after DeSantis order to help Jewish students, others” via Fresh Take Florida — At least five people in the United States have applied to Florida universities through DeSantis’ emergency order to encourage transfer students across the country who feel they experienced religious persecution on campus after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. The Governor’s order announced last month waives application fees and, in some instances, grants in-state tuition to transfer applicants. Of the 12 public universities in the state, at least two students applied to the University of Florida, two applied to Florida Atlantic University and one applied to Florida State, the schools confirmed. Representatives of the University of South Florida, Florida A&M University and New College of Florida did not respond to repeated emails and phone calls over the past two weeks.


Ex-FBI informant is charged with lying over Bidens’ role in Ukraine business” via Glenn Thrush of The New York Times — The former informant, Alexander Smirnov, was accused of falsely telling the FBI that Hunter Biden, then serving as a paid member on the Board of Burisma, demanded the money to protect the company from an investigation by the country’s prosecutor general at the time. The story, Smirnov told investigators was part of a series of explosive and unsubstantiated claims by Republicans that the Bidens engaged in potentially criminal activity — allegations central to the party’s efforts to impeach the President. The claims in the report turned out to be a lie, said the special counsel, David C. Weiss, the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Delaware. Smirnov now faces a two-charge indictment for making false statements and obstructing the government’s long-running investigation of the President’s troubled son. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

An informant is caught spreading lies about Hunter Biden and Burisma.

JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock drop out of massive U.N. climate alliance in stunning move” via Thomas Catenacci of Fox Business — JPMorgan Chase and institutional investors BlackRock and State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) on Thursday announced that they are quitting or, in the case of BlackRock, substantially scaling back involvement in a massive United Nations climate alliance formed to combat global warming through corporate sustainability agreements. In a statement, the New York-based JPMorgan Chase explained that it would exit the so-called Climate Action 100+ investor group because of the expansion of its in-house sustainability team and the establishment of its climate risk framework in recent years. BlackRock and State Street, which both manage trillions of dollars in assets, said the alliance’s climate initiatives had gone too far, expressing concern about potential legal issues as well.

These Florida gun shops sold the most guns used in crimes” via C. A. Bridges and Nick Penzenstadler of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — The federal government is doing its best, despite legislative roadblocks, to track guns used in crimes back to where they came from. And of the newly revealed list of gun and pawn shops that have sold the most crime guns, over 100 of them are in Florida. Since 2003, the list of which gun stores sell the most crime guns has been kept secret, but USA TODAY filed a Freedom of Information Act request to see one from an obscure federal program called Demand 2, a report of firearms transactions.


Alina Garcia says she will run for Miami-Dade elections chief” via Max Greenwood of the Miami Herald — Rep. Garcia won’t seek re-election to her state House seat in November and will instead run for Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections. Garcia, a Miami Republican who was just elected to her House seat in 2022, becomes the latest candidate to jump into the race to succeed outgoing Supervisor Christina White. White has helmed the county’s elections since 2015 but announced last Summer that she would not run to lead the agency. In a phone interview with the Miami Herald, Garcia said that the Supervisor’s race wasn’t initially on her radar, but that she ultimately decided to run for the job after being encouraged to do so by Florida GOP leaders.

Alina Garcia is looking to become the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

Jeffrey Epstein Judge holds grand jury transcripts for months. House passes disclosure bill” via Holly Baltz of the Palm Beach Post — Legislation meant to release the transcripts of a 2006 Epstein grand jury is flying through Florida’s Legislature, but the Judge who already has been ordered to do just that as a result of a Palm Beach Post lawsuit has been holding them since last Summer. The House passed the bill unanimously with a standing ovation for sponsor Rep. Peggy Gossett-Seidman of Boca Raton. It is scheduled for the floor in the Senate next week. The Epstein case “could have been stopped right here in Florida. We need to know why,” she said. However, when Circuit Judge Luis Delgado releases the transcripts as part of The Post’s lawsuit, the bills will become moot.

Peggy Gossett-Seidman gets kudos for her bill to disclose Jeffrey Epstein’s grand jury testimony.

Palm Beach County Republican Chair Kevin Neal, accused of libel, files counter lawsuit” via Stephany Matat of the Palm Beach Post — The Palm Beach County Republican Party’s top leader has filed a legal action in response to a lawsuit against him as what started as an internal conflict, fueled by grievances within the local party chapter, continues to play out in the courts. On Jan. 22, GOP Chair Neal countersued a fellow member of the local party’s ruling body who had initially sued him for libel in December. That lawsuit was filed by Anthony Ruffa, who serves on the county Republican Executive Committee. Ruffa, a West Palm Beach physician, accused Neal in his complaint of making false allegations about him during an October meeting.

Miami Beach wants to ‘break up’ with Spring Break. How the city will try to do it” via Aaron Leibowitz of the Miami Herald — In recent years, Miami Beach officials have tried a slew of tactics to deal with Spring Breakers who come to South Beach to party and pack Ocean Drive during the month of March. None of them have stopped people from visiting, and last year’s festivities were marred by two deadly shootings and hundreds of arrests. This year, the city is trying to get ahead of the chaos. To do so, officials are spelling out how a series of measures will mean harsh consequences for misbehavior — and discomfort even for those who simply want to have a good time.

Doral Council boots School Board member from City Hall office after firing his wife” via Grethel Aguila of the Miami Herald — Two weeks after firing the city’s top administrator, the Doral City Council voted to evict her husband — Miami-Dade School Board Member Danny Espino — from his satellite office at City Hall, saying his presence presented a conflict. Espino, the School Board’s District 5 representative, has 30 days to leave the building, where he’d kept a regional office since last year. The 3 to 2 vote to kick Espino out of City Hall followed a similarly narrow vote on Jan. 31 to fire his wife, Barbara Hernandez, as Doral’s City Manager — a vote precipitated by allegations that Hernandez had abused city resources to benefit her husband.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein reflect on Watergate, state of journalism during FAU visit” via Sage West in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — At a moment when political contentiousness is reaching new heights and many Americans are anxiously anticipating another Trump-Biden dust-up in November, famed Watergate journalists Woodward and Bernstein regaled and entertained audiences at Florida Atlantic University recently. They also had some advice for young journalists in today’s complicated media landscape. The problem, they say, is the lack of consensus on basic truths in today’s choose-your-own-narrative journalistic environment. “We have a totally different journalistic landscape just as we have a different cultural and political landscape today than we did half a century ago,” said Bernstein, responding to a question from moderator David Aronberg, the Palm Beach County State Attorney.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein stopped by FAU to reminisce.

‘Bursting at the seams’: Hillel plans to expand on FAU campus, gets record $2.5M donation” via Lois K. Solomon of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Some want to find Jewish friends. Others, away from their families, yearn to celebrate the holidays. Still others just want to charge their phones and get a bite to eat. Whatever the reason, college students are packing into Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach’s events in its Florida Atlantic University building in Boca Raton, crowding the 3,100-square-foot site on the central campus breezeway. Leaders of Hillel, which provides a Jewish gathering place for college students, have decided it’s time to expand, and they say a record-setting $2.5 million donation, the highest ever given to this Hillel, is the first step in the campaign.

Joe Carollo’s home will be up for auction soon. He’s trying to stop it in court” via Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — Miami Commissioner Carollo’s Coconut Grove home is scheduled to be auctioned on March 19 — but the embattled politician is fighting to stop the sale in court. On Feb. 2, U.S. Marshals began the process of seizing Carollo’s property to satisfy part of a $63.5 million judgment against him after a jury found he weaponized city resources to target two Little Havana men and their businesses to carry out a vendetta. U.S. District Judge Rodney Smith rejected a separate attempt from Carollo to stop the men from collecting on the judgment. The two business owners, William “Bill” Fuller and Martin Pinilla, own several Little Havana properties that have been fined and shut down by city officials.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings drops lobbyist over conflict of interest” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Orange County on Thursday cut ties with lobbying firm GrayRobinson less than a week after the Orlando Sentinel revealed the lobbyist assigned to represent the county’s interests was behind legislation directly conflicting with its top legislative priority. In an interview Sunday with the newspaper, Orange County Mayor Demings had indicated that firing the firm was a possibility, labeling as “disturbing” the involvement of lobbyist Chris Carmody in a bill to limit the county’s authority over the Visit Orlando tourism marketing agency. But Demings moved more quickly than many expected. “Clearly, Mr. Carmody created a conflict of interest when he advised a State Senator about a matter contrary to the best interest of Orange County Government,” Demings said in a letter to Dean Cannon, CEO and president of GrayRobinson.

Jerry Demings acted quickly to drop the lobbyist with a conflict of interest.

Disney’s affordable housing project squeaks through Zoning Board” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Disney’s proposed affordable housing project won a narrow endorsement from Orange County’s Planning and Zoning Board, as objections from its neighbors dampened enthusiasm for the desperately needed below-market homes. The Advisory Board decided 4-3 to recommend Orange County Commissioners support a land-use change needed to build the 1,410-unit project on about 80 acres owned by the entertainment giant near State Road 429 and Hartzog Road. The vote came despite concerns from residents in the nearby Horizon West community and elsewhere about the project’s impact on roads, schools and emergency services. In response, Disney promised to hold another community meeting to hash out those issues before County Commissioners decide next month whether to recommend the proposal.

Bartow appoints 2 new Commissioners after Form 6 fallout. Eagle Lake fills 1 empty seat” via Paul Nutcher of the Lakeland Ledger — Two appointees to the Bartow City Commission were the sole candidates in a potential upcoming municipal election and the newcomers to the Commission will now serve out those terms without having to face an election. Gary Ball and Laura Simpson were sworn in during the Feb. 5 Commission meeting and both qualified for the next municipal election. But without any challengers, they will continue to serve the remainder of the terms they were appointed to serve. Ball was appointed to at-large Seat 4, and he will serve until April 2026. Simpson was appointed for central district Seat 2 and will serve until April 2027.


Tampa Council approves $14 million to settle wrongful conviction lawsuit over 1983 murder” via Christopher Spata and Dan Sullivan of the Tampa Bay Times — The Tampa City Council unanimously passed a resolution Thursday awarding $14 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Robert DuBoise, who spent 37 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of a 1983 murder. New DNA testing in 2020 indicated two other men with no connection to DuBoise were responsible for the murder of 19-year-old Barbara Grams. DuBoise, now 59, was freed soon after. A year later, DuBoise filed a federal lawsuit against the city, the retired police detectives who investigated the case, and a forensic dentist who testified that DuBoise’s teeth matched a bite mark on the victim.

Robert DuBoise inches closer to a $14 M settlement.

Gandy Bridge road could soon be called something new” via Ivy Nyayieka of the Tampa Bay Times — A St. Petersburg lawmaker wants to designate the road across the Gandy Bridge in honor of a St. Petersburg Navy airman killed in 2019. Rep. Michele Rayner has filed a bill to designate the road, also named Gandy, in honor of Mohammed “Mo” Sameh Haitham, who was killed trying to stop a gunman during a mass shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola. “Airman Mohammed ‘Mo’ Sameh Haitham is a true hero. HB 841 will honor and mark his memory in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties,” Rayner said.

Copley Gerdes to seek re-election to St. Pete City Council” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — St. Petersburg City Council member Gerdes will seek a second term serving District 1. Gerdes was first elected to the seat in 2021 in a Special Election to replace Robert Blackmon, who resigned to run for Mayor, but ultimately lost to now-Mayor Ken Welch. Before Blackmon, Gerdes’ dad, Charlie Gerdes, represented the district for two terms. Copley Gerdes’ uncle, Rob Gerdes, is the City Administrator. “I am excited to announce my candidacy for re-election as St. Petersburg Council member, District 1,” Copley Gerdes said. “St. Pete is not just my home; it’s the heart of my identity. I am committed to continuing the work of building a stronger, more vibrant city where every resident has the opportunity to thrive.”

Hmmm …Special needs trust fund company files for bankruptcy, founder accused of taking $100M” via Aaron Mesmer of Fox News — The founder of a Pinellas County trust fund company that manages funds for people with special needs is accused of taking $100 million and causing the business to file for bankruptcy. The Center for Special Needs Trust Administration entered a bankruptcy filing on Feb. 9 and detailed an investigation that uncovered the missing money. The Center’s founder, Leo Govoni, issued himself loans totaling $100 between 2009 and 2020 that he never paid back. The filing indicates an internal investigation found no record that any loan was ever officially approved.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

Former JEA CEO wants expert testimony to debunk prosecution’s core accusation” via Nate Monroe of the Florida Times-Union — Former JEA CEO Aaron Zahn, set to face trial next week along with the utility’s chief financial officer on conspiracy and wire fraud charges, wants to use an expert witness to explain to jurors that a get-rich-quick scheme at the heart of the indictment against him would have yielded little to no money, contrary to allegations from federal prosecutors. The expert would tell jurors that the former City Council auditor, Kyle Billy, got his calculations wrong when he presented city officials years ago with an analysis showing that a long-term employee incentive plan  could actually result in individual payouts in the tens of millions of dollars if JEA had been sold to a private power company.

Aaron Zahn seeks expert help. Image via News4Jax.


Academic freedom lawsuit dropped against New College” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A group suing New College of Florida for violating student and faculty academic freedom has dropped its lawsuit. NCF Freedom filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the case within the courts. The dismissal was filed without prejudice. New College President Richard Corcoran said he welcomed the chance for the school to put the litigation in the past. “We are crossing the Rubicon,” Corcoran said. “New College of Florida is making significant progress toward becoming the top liberal arts college in the nation. It is time to put this lawsuit behind us and come together to realize the immense potential of New College as a thriving educational institution.”

Plaintiffs drop its lawsuit against New College of Florida.

Sarasota City Commissioner Kyle Battie sued for alleged false claims against local activist” via Christian Casale of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Battie has been sued for alleged defamation by a local activist in a lawsuit that says he falsely accused her during a Jan. 16 public meeting of making a racist Facebook post. The lawsuit seeks more than $50,000, as well as legal costs, according to the 157-page civil complaint filed in Sarasota County’s 12th Judicial Circuit Court. The case was assigned to Judge Stephen Walker. After receiving a warning of the suit, Battie refused to apologize publicly and said on Feb. 5 at a City Commission meeting that the onus is on his critics to prove the hoax post is not real rather than on him to verify its authenticity.

Collier Commission to reconsider application for surtax dollars to build workforce housing” via Laura Layden of the Naples Daily News — Collier Commissioners will reconsider their approval of a developer’s application for surtax dollars to build workforce housing. They voted 4-1 to take another look at the application at their next Board meeting in two weeks. The request came from Commissioner Bill McDaniel, who said he’s become aware of new information that’s triggered questions and concerns in his mind, which he wants the developer and county staff to address in the public eye. His primary concerns are about the existing zoning, and how the surface water discharge would be handled on the site once developed, considering how close it sits to Henderson Creek, which flows into Rookery Bay, a protected estuary.


We’re running out of names for Trump. At least polite ones.” via Frank Bruni of The New York Times — We do our best, but finding words for worse than worst, a marker that Trump passed long ago, stumps us. And there’s no adequate showcase for them. Our society needs front pages beyond the usual front pages, superlatives beyond our superlatives, a thesaurus to supplement our thesaurus. Trump tests more than our sanity and surviving optimism. He tests the very limits of language.

Demagogue, autocrat, dictator, tyrant — so many of us have used and reused those terms, with good reason, to describe what he is or wants to be. So, when his malevolence metastasizes (see how hard a writer must strain), what’s left to say? That hasn’t been said before? When you’ve been dwelling at DEFCON 1, there’s no new emergency declaration for Americans deaf to Trump’s con.

The usual pejoratives don’t cut it. Take “hypocrite.” It shortchanges the magnitude of Trump’s double standards and disingenuousness. Can a hypocrite attain frequent-flyer status, like Diamond on Delta? Trump earned it long ago.

We in the world outside of MAGA aren’t so much culpable of crying wolf as we are foiled, at this point, by the challenge of capturing the wolf’s madness and appetite.

We’re all muddling through this together.

Well, not all of us: Trump is conducting an experiment in unbound narcissism with no room for anybody else. It’s bonkers, it’s unscrupulous, it’s terrifying. Pick your put-down. It won’t be sufficiently heard because it won’t be remotely fresh.


Jack Smith is in a hurry, but he can’t say why.” via Byron York of the Washington Examiner — Smith, the federal prosecutor pursuing Trump, is again urging a court to speed up procedures in Smith’s case charging Trump in connection with the 2020 Election and Jan. 6. His argument is that it is very, extremely, super-duper important that Trump’s trial move ahead as quickly as possible. Of course, it has been clear for some time that Smith feels that way. What is important is why Smith says the Trump case should speed ahead. The reason for Smith’s haste has been obvious all along: He wants Trump to be tried, convicted, sentenced, and possibly jailed before the Nov. 5 presidential election. Could anything be clearer? Everything that Smith has done since Aug. 1, 2023, when the indictment was unsealed, has been to rush the case to a decision before the deadline — and the deadline has always been the 2024 Presidential Election.

School vouchers must prioritize student education, not private school subsidies” via The Palm Beach Post — It started as the proverbial camel’s nose stuck under the pup tent of public education. Initially, a Florida school voucher offered a chance at a better education for a select group of students mired in poor-performing schools. Today, it’s fast becoming government welfare for the growing number of private schools sprouting up in Florida. Under Florida law, the vouchers, worth about $8,500 each, are available to all students from kindergarten to 12th grade, regardless of family income or whether a child has ever attended public school. Homeschooled students are also eligible for the vouchers, which are applied toward expenses that go beyond tuition.

Renewable natural gas offers Floridians a clean energy boon” via Brandon Shuler for St. Pete Catalyst — Food, animal, and other organic “wastes” can create homegrown soil-improving products and energy-harvesting opportunities in the form of renewable natural gas (RNG), which is emerging in Florida as an affordable, environmentally responsible and readily available alternative to traditional fuels. Thanks to legislation introduced by our own Sen. Nick DiCeglie, Floridians throughout the state may experience reduced carbon emissions, cleaner energy, and a hedge against rising natural gas prices. Rather than allowing methane to escape into the atmosphere, RNG facilities capture and clean this gas to pipeline standards. One of the most compelling aspects of RNG is its compatibility with existing infrastructure. Unlike other renewable energy sources that require a substantial infrastructural overhaul, RNG seamlessly integrates with current natural gas pipeline networks.


— ALOE —

Michelin adds five Orlando-area restaurants to guide” via Amy Drew Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel — The Michelin Guide announced 19 new Florida additions this week as their Sunshine State footprint continues to expand, bringing the total to 137. Five of these new honorees are from right here in the Orlando metro — Camille, Zaru, Sushi Saint, Natsu Omakase and Chuan Fu. Chef Tung Phan’s Euro-Vietnamese gem was recognized as the Critic’s Pick for Best New Restaurant in 2022. Back then, Camille was still a pop-up, gestating in Domu Lab’s East End Market incubator hub. Since flying the nest to set up shop in Baldwin Park, the team’s copious hospitality skills have earned nods from the Michelin inspectors’ team for its elegant plates that meld French techniques with Vietnamese flavors.

When the lunar lander reaches the moon’s surface, a camera made by ERAU students will film it” via Mark Harper of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — The Falcon 9 rocket that launched from Kennedy Space Center is carrying a lunar lander headed for the moon. And aboard the lander is a camera conceived, designed, built and tested by 26 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students in Daytona Beach. If successful, the Intuitive Machines Odyssey, will become the first U.S. soft landing on the moon in more than 51 years. And that camera — actually a CubeSat, or a 10 cm cube satellite containing a camera — will be ejected from the lander about 30 meters above the moon, expected in a little more than a week.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students created a high-tech camera to enter into the moon’s orbit.

Disney: Baby elephant Corra makes Animal Kingdom debut” via Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel — Corra, a 2-month-old African elephant, skipped onto the savanna for the first time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Within that first hour, she scampered alongside mom Nadirah, explored a log and interacted with her aunts and grandmother. She played with her food; a stack of hay freshly fluffed by Walt Disney World cast members. And she mostly ignored the tourists rolling by as part of the park’s Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction, even after one cried out, “It’s a baby!” Corra is a big baby, weighing in at 312 pounds, an increase from her 200 pounds when she was born at Animal Kingdom in December.


Best wishes to U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack, U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, state Rep. Dan Daley, our dear friend BillieAnne Gay, former Orlando Sentinel scribe Mike Griffin, St. Pete lawyer Ian Leavengood, and Lina Rojas of Florida State University. Celebrating this weekend is Bill Truex, Chair of the Charlotte County Commission, past president of the Florida Home Builders Association, and president of the Florida Association of Counties.


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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