Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 2.28.24

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

Good Wednesday morning.

It might be the middle of budget conferencing, but none of that matters to me today because it is the love of my life’s birthday.

Happy birthday to Michelle, the best wife and mother we could ever ask for.

As I thought about what to write here, I kept trying to incorporate a Taylor Swift “Eras” concept, i.e.,, let’s celebrate Michelle in all of our eras.

But the more I thought about it, what amazes me about Michelle is that she has so many eras going on at one time (maybe that’s what Taylor is about, too; I don’t know, I’m just a Swiftie Dad.)

Of course, Michelle is at the apex of her wife era, making me the happiest man in the world every single day of the year. She’s also at the peak of her mom era, modeling for Ella Joyce what it means to be a strong young woman in a world where that’s not the easiest role to perform.

Beyond those two important ‘eras,’ Michelle is just more exciting and fascinating every day I’m with her. She’s in her great friend era. And her sports era. And her fashion era. And her travel era. Etc. Etc.

She’s just a whirlwind.

And yet she can also be in her quiet era. Or her contemplative era. I don’t know anyone who enjoys long spells of reading as much as Michelle. Her happy place is being curled up with Ella and a book.

I recently took this photo of Michelle while we were in New York City and I think it captures so much about her: her intelligence … her optimism … her beauty … her willingness, almost always, to have a good time … her hunger for travel and learning.

Michelle Todd Schorsch, New York City. 2024.

I could write so much more about Michelle, but no set of superlatives can fully encapsulate how I feel about her.

I just love her so much.


@Kathleen4SWFL: Testimony from survivors of the Dozier School is horrific. It is sickening to hear what these men endured. I commend their courage and appreciate Senator @darrylrouson bringing SB 24 forward this Session. He has been a champion for survivors of Dozier and Okeechobee.

@DeanBlackFL: I’m proud to stand with Sheriff T.K. Waters by co-sponsoring HB 601! In Florida, we will prohibit civilian review boards and protect the men and women in blue from frivolous complaints.

@Fineout: “Nobody really watches the Florida Channel but us,” said Rep. Bob Rommel during his farewell speech on the House floor

@ChristinaPushaw: Of course, the Miami Herald buries the pertinent facts that Taryn Fenske was @GovRonDeSantis state office communications director, and previously served at @EducationFL, and is known as one of the best comms professionals in Florida … opting instead for a clickbait political headline.

@P2PublicAffairs: Today, we are thrilled to announce the additions of @ryan_tyson & @andrewromeo33. Ryan will serve as Partner of our new data & research vertical: P2 Insights, & Andrew will serve as Principal specializing in comms & strategy.

@SimplyFL: Congratulations to our Chief Medical Officer, Marc G. Kaprow, DO, MHA, MACOI, for being named Physician of the Year by @FloridaDOs! Thank you, Dr. Kaprow, for your strong leadership and commitment to helping Floridians live healthier, happier lives.


‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 2; Michigan/Idaho/Missouri GOP Primaries — 4; Netflix to stream “The Netflix Slam,” Rafael Nadal/Carlos Alcaraz faceoff — 4; Super Tuesday — 6; State of the Union address — 8; last day of Regular Session, if Legislature completes work in 60 days — 9; 2024 Oscars — 11; Georgia Democratic Primary — 14; Arizona/Florida/Illinois/Kansas/Ohio Primaries — 21; James Madison Institute’s ‘2024 Naples Dinner’ with keynote speaker Laura Ingraham — 22; ‘3 Body Problem’ premieres on Netflix — 22; Donald Trump’s New York hush money trial begins — 26; The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the mifepristone/abortion pill case — 27; Major League Baseball’s (MLB) 2024 season — 29; March Madness Final Four (women’s) begins — 36; March Madness Final Four (men’s) — 39; Florida TaxWatch’s Spring Meeting — 43; The Masters begin — 44; Kentucky Derby — 67; 2024 Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability — 72; ‘Bridgerton’ new season (part one) premieres on Netflix — 79; French Open begins — 82; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 84; Dave Matthews Band 2024 Summer Tour begins in Tampa — 84; Monaco Grand Prix — 88; the 2024 World Cup begins — 104; ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ premieres — 122; Republican National Convention begins — 138; the 2024 World Cup ends — 142; 2024 MLS All-Star Game — 147; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games on NBC/Peacock — 149; ‘Alien: Romulus’ premieres — 168; Democratic National Convention begins — 174; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 178; Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour stops in Miami — 233; 2024 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 236; 2024 Presidential Election — 251; Las Vegas Grand Prix — 264; MLS Cup 2024 — 279; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ premieres — 352; ‘Moana’ premieres — 482; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 513; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 513; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 618; ‘Avatar 3’ premieres — 660; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 797; Untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 813; Another untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 1,024; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,164; ‘Avatar 4’ premieres — 2,123; ‘Avatar 5’ premieres — 2,845.


Lawmakers continue to squabble over funding levels for a set of programs key to economic development in the state.

In the latest offer from the Senate, the chamber is sticking to its position of $75 million for the Job Growth Grant Fund, which allows Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue grants to local governments for job training and transportation projects. DeSantis requested $100 million for the program, but the House included $42 million in its offer.

Another difference between the chambers is on transportation funding, although the Senate moved to the House preference for $13.98 billion for the Florida Department of Transportation’s work program, the main vehicle for infrastructure projects in the state, down from its original preference of about $14.2 billion.

But the Senate is also pushing for $231 million in local transportation projects on top of the work program, which the House doesn’t include in its budget.

Alex Andrade is one of the key players in the squabbles to hammer out a final budget.

The Senate is also sticking to its position of not funding new facilities at Camp Blanding, the training center for the Florida National Guard. The House wants $100 million for improvements to the site.

“Our National Guard has discussed the need for a Level 2 operational center there,” said Rep. Alex Andrade, a Pensacola Republican and the top House transportation budget negotiator. “So, it’s our hope and intent to move that forward and allow them to build out the needed components of Camp Blanding.”

The chambers are moving closer to each other on the law enforcement recruitment bonus program. The latest Senate offer was $17 million, up $2 million from its original budget but still $3 million short of what the House prefers. DeSantis has consistently touted the program, which pays a $5,000 signing bonus for new police officers who come to Florida from out of state.

Despite the differences, there have been key areas of agreement. The House agreed to $80 million for VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism marketing agency, and the chambers had already agreed to $258 million for affordable housing programs as part of their initial budgets.


Up in smoke: THC caps for adult-use marijuana dead this Session” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — As Florida voters await word on whether they’ll have a chance to legalize recreational marijuana this November, they won’t have to worry about a bill blunting the type of product available. An effort to cap THC levels in marijuana in a potential recreational market is dead this Legislative Session. The Senate Health Policy Committee bill (SB 7050) emerged earlier this month in the upper chamber. The effort to cap delta-9 caps had moved out of its first stop on a 7-3 vote. But it never found space on a Senate Fiscal Policy agenda. That Committee’s final meeting is Tuesday morning. Just as that Committee declined to consider a controversial defamation bill, the THC caps appear to have burned out before advancing to the Senate floor.

CBD could be banned in Florida if hemp bill passes, advocates warn” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — CBD, a medication used by millions of Americans to battle a variety of illnesses and anxiety, could be banned entirely in Florida because of a bill that seeks to outlaw synthetic chemicals in hemp that can induce euphoria. Paige Figi, considered the “mother of CBD” in the U.S. because of her crusade to legalize what became known as Charlotte’s Web, is attempting to sound the alarm about the bill. She is being joined by parents of children who desperately need the product and independent hemp growers worried their businesses would be devastated. “I just don’t think the lawmakers are taking account of the millions of Floridians that are going to be medically affected by the removal of their health products,” Figi said.

Hemp advocates fear the end of CBD in Florida may be upon us.

Child care, railroad credits added to Senate tax cut bill” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — The Senate’s tax cut package (SB 7074) is growing to help expand child care options and assist railroad companies. The bill that cleared the Senate Finance and Tax Committee earlier in the month contained numerous cuts for businesses and consumers amounting to $900 million over two years, but the Senate Appropriations Committee has added amendments to provide a new tax credit for child care and expand an existing credit for railroads. Under the bill, businesses operating a child care facility or paying child care costs for their employees could get a tax credit against corporate income taxes or other tax liabilities. A business with up to 19 employees could receive up to $1 million for startup costs associated with setting up a child care center; for a company with 20-250 employees, the credit is capped at $500,000 per year; and a company with more than 250 workers could get a $250,000 maximum credit.

Lawmakers debate Tucker Carlson as Senate panel passes communism in schools bill” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — In a back-and-forth debate fueled down party lines, a Senate Committee cleared a bill to require students to learn about communism history in public schools. Under SB 1264, public schoolchildren would learn about the history of communism starting in the 2026-27 school year. The Florida Department of Education would be required to develop the standards as students learn about communism theories and atrocities. The Departments of State and Education would also recommend whether the state should pursue a museum devoted to communist history. Republicans argued that young people today don’t understand how dangerous communism is and aren’t informed. The bill could help teach them. “I’m a dad. I want them to learn the truth,” bill sponsor Jay Collins said during Tuesday’s Senate Fiscal Policy Committee meeting.

Bill allowing ‘patriotic organizations’ into schools sails through Senate Committee” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — Legislation granting designated “patriotic organizations” more access to students in schools is one step closer to passage. The Senate Fiscal Policy Committee approved HB 1317, which allows patriotic groups to speak with students and pass out materials during school hours or leave displays at schools. Which groups are considered “patriotic” in the eyes of the bill? The list names six groups: the mentoring organization Big Brothers-Big Sisters of America, the Boy Scouts of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Civil Air Patrol, National FFA Organization and the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. The bill sailed through the Senate Committee Tuesday with little discussion or debate. Sen. Tom Wright, who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, said the legislation defines “patriotic organizations” as a “youth membership organization, specified in federal law, that serve young people under the age of 21.”


Bill banning all but 23 big tobacco-owned vape products heads to Senate floor” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — A bill that would ban Florida sales of all but 23 tobacco-flavored vaping products sold by Big Tobacco companies is heading to the Senate floor despite public pushback. The measure (SB 1006) wouldn’t explicitly limit retailers to selling those products. However, it would prohibit sales of any vapes that have not received FDA approval. And of some 26 million products submitted for approval, only 23 owned by RJ Reynolds, Japan Tobacco International and Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris, have received clearance. Gainesville Republican Sen. Keith Perry said the goal of his bill is to keep children safe. He noted Florida is No. 1 nationally for sales of illegal vaping products, representing a $363 million illicit market last year. “Most of those were marketed and designed to hook kids with bright colors and candy or fruit flavors,” he said Tuesday before the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee voted to advance his measure.

In a new bill, Florida can only sell vape products produced by Big Tobacco.

Bill expanding oversight, accountability of Condo Boards clears final Senate Committee” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Legislation to shore up Florida’s condo laws and give state regulators more power to punish unscrupulous Board members is bound for the Senate floor after clearing its final Committee with uniform support. Passing the measure (SB 1178) would mark a major overhaul of state statutes governing condo oversight and management by providing for criminal penalties for records violations, kickbacks and Condo Board election fraud. It would create new education requirements for condo managers and improve transparency by requiring that building records be available online to owners. The bill would also clarify obligations for hurricane protection and revise Florida’s anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation) laws to bar Board members from using condo association funds for defamation actions.

Uber, Orlando airport continue tussle over fees in Senate” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — An ongoing fight between Orlando International Airport and transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft over fees charged to the companies for picking up passengers has tumbled into the Senate. A bill (SB 7076) to require airports and seaports to charge TNCs the same fees as they charge to taxicab companies passed through the Senate Appropriations Committee. But two Democrats who voted for it, Sens. Bobby Powell and Jason Pizzo, questioned why the state should get involved in the dispute. “People can shake their head but when you come up to Tallahassee, and because you can give a campaign donation to a couple of people and erase meetings of the mind, that’s not a business-friendly environment. That’s socialism,” Pizzo said.

Florida Senate revises legislation that critics blasted as bringing back ‘child labor’” via Ana Goñi-Lessan of the Tallahassee Democrat — A watered-down version of House legislation that critics called bringing back ‘child labor’ cleared a Senate committee after being heavily amended, satisfying some labor advocates who supported the changes. “When we look at the product as it came over from the House, with truly draconian elimination of labor laws that have been on the books since 1986, this is an area where we have to break with tradition, and we support this bill,” said Rich Templin, director of politics and public policy for the Florida AFL-CIO.

Faith leaders, educators ask Florida officials to reconsider Black history standards” via Ana Goñi-Lessan of the Tallahassee Democrat — In front of a portrait of Fredrick Douglass, a longtime and influential Tallahassee pastor asked the Florida Department of Education to “set the record straight” about Black history. The Rev. Dr. R.B. Holmes of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church asked officials to remove language in the state’s approved curriculum that includes instruction about “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.” “That’s very insulting, it’s incorrect, and it’s not accurate,” Holmes said in the lobby of the Ralph D. Turlington Florida Education Center.

Nvidia’s $70-million Florida supercomputer hobbled by DeSantis Law” via Bloomberg — When Chris Malachowsky, a billionaire co-founder of chip giant Nvidia Corp., bankrolled one of the world’s biggest supercomputers at the University of Florida, DeSantis predicted the machine would be a magnet for artificial intelligence talent. Almost four years later, the Florida governor’s anti-China crusade is preventing some highly skilled AI researchers from ever setting foot in the state. HiPerGator AI, built with Nvidia’s lightning-fast AI processors and housed near a futuristic new computer-science building bearing Malachowsky’s name, was designed to make UF a leader in using cutting-edge computing for academic research.


Budget conference: Chambers agree on millions for emergency food distribution, Feeding Florida” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The House and Senate are agreeing to devote a whopping $33 million to an emergency food distribution program. The closeout appears in the latest House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations offer, which showed a number of areas where the chambers have already found common ground. The massive item is a program facilitated by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure nutritious and high-quality food goes to families requiring public assistance, as well as to distribute and supply both food banks and individuals. The state works with private partners to distribute the food to Florida families.

Feeding Florida is on the brink of a huge win in the upcoming budget.

Budget conference: Chambers near agreement on teacher pay, K-12 schools funding” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — House and Senate budget negotiators took a big step toward reaching an agreement on K-12 school funding, as the Senate offered to spend $200.5 million on dedicated teacher pay increases. The amount is just short of the nearly $202 million the House prefers, but a departure from the Senate’s original position of spending money on teacher pay in a way that would’ve given school districts more discretion on how to spend those funds. The House had agreed to spend $290 million for the safe schools portion of the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP), the main funding formula for public schools. That’s a $40 million increase on the budget (HB 5001) it passed earlier in the Session, matching the Senate’s plan. The House also boosted mental health funds for schools by $20 million to meet the Senate.

Budget conference: Senate, House find merit in Benacquisto scholarships” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Funding will be in place for Florida’s National Merit Scholars who pursue their college education in the state. The House and Senate agreed to budget more than $4.3 million for the Benacquisto Scholarship program. Appropriations Subcommittees in both the House and Senate had included the funding in their original budget proposals, and they have now officially closed out the item in negotiations between the chambers. That’s a heavy boost from where the program stood just a couple of years ago when the House and Senate included a little less than $2.2 million for the scholarships. Originally known as the National Merit Award scholarship, the program in 2019 was renamed for then-Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, a Fort Myers Republican.

Budget conference: Ed Hooper is in line to get his full ask for Ruth Eckerd Hall” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Ask and you shall receive might be Sen. Hooper’s motto this week. The latest House budget offer includes $820,000 to repair water damage, undertake certain hurricane hardening, replace or install various flood prevention fixtures and fund other improvements to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. That’s the exact amount Hooper requested. Both the House and the Senate included the line item in their budgets. Ruth Eckerd Hall’s facilities are owned by the city of Clearwater, but the organization has a long-term lease with the city and is responsible for maintenance and asset replacements to the property. Hooper’s request notes that while the “primary beneficiary of the capital investments are those using the facilities,” it is the patrons that use the facility who benefit most, including “students, employees, volunteers, and the public.”

Budget conference: $1M slotted for Fernandina Beach ‘beautification and preservation’” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics ­— The House Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee and the Senate Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Appropriations Committee agreed to slot $1 million for Fernandina Beach 200th Anniversary Beautification and Preservation Improvements. Next year is the anniversary year, so the funding is timely. The funding request was carried by Sen. Clay Yarborough and Rep. Dean Black, both Republicans, with the House offer matching the Senate appropriation. The money represents the culmination of five years of planning in the Nassau County community, with the project eventually being declared a “critically needed legislative priority” by the City Commission.

Fernandina Beach is about to get a refresh. Image via Amelia Coastal Realty.

Dual beach restoration projects costing more than $70M to launch in St. Johns County” via Drew Dixon of Florida Politics — Major beach restoration projects are about to get underway in St. Johns County, one of Florida’s most tourist-reliant counties. Two substantial portions of the shoreline will undergo restoration work nearly simultaneously beginning in March. One of those will be a $38.6-million project paid for by mostly state funds in the northern areas of the county in the Ponte Vedra Beach area. That’s in the area of some of the most exclusive resorts and swanky golf courses such as Sawgrass Marriott Golf & Resort Spa and others. Another beach restoration project will be launched next month on the shoreline of the main St. Augustine Beach area running from near Anastasia State Park through St. Augustine Beach to A Street. That is just south of the St. Augustine Beach Pier. The project will require $33 million in federal funds. The St. Augustine Beach stretch of shoreline draws many of the tourists visiting the Nation’s Oldest City in St. Augustine proper.

—”Budget conference: Suwannee County secures emergency communications funding” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Budget conference: UWF secures $7.25M for water quality, civil engineering programs” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Lawmakers are looking to send a lot more money to a Pensacola university. The latest offer from Senate Education Appropriations shows Senate negotiators agreeing to $7.25 million for the University of West Florida (UWF). While the House still wants more money for the Panhandle school, the agreement shows the chambers coming together for a substantial investment in the 13,000-student school. That most notably includes $5 million for a Water Quality Research Center at the university. The university has plans for monitoring water quality throughout Northwest Florida and Alabama’s watersheds. Northwest Florida contains five interstate watersheds which originate in Alabama and empty into Florida’s bays before entering the Gulf of Mexico Basin.

—“Culture, youth development, environment dominate Lindsay Cross funding requests” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics

Budget conference: Senate, House split on funding for Palm Beach State College emergency training center” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Members of the Legislature’s upper and lower chambers haven’t yet agreed on how much, if any, state funding to apportion for a planned Emergency Response Training Center (ERTC) at Palm Beach State College. The House has suggested covering all the $4.1 million the school asked for this year through appropriation requests Democratic Sen. Lori Berman and Republican Rep. Mike Caruso filed ahead of Session. The Senate’s offer, as of 7 p.m. Tuesday: Nothing. In a brief meeting of the Conference Committee on Higher Education Appropriations, neither Senate Co-Chair Keith Perry nor House Co-Chair Jason Shoaf mentioned the earmark. And so, the issue remains unresolved. The requested nonrecurring funds, if cleared, would add to $3 million in one-time set-asides lawmakers approved last year for the project. Florida TaxWatch advised against funding the ERTC the previous year.


Lawmakers look to focus Purple Alerts for missing adults with mental disabilities” via Fresh Take Florida — Florida lawmakers in Tallahassee are considering major changes to the state’s Purple Alerts used to help find missing adults who suffer from an intellectual or developmental disability. The bills, sponsored by Democrats, would limit the number of statewide alerts in favor of local, countywide notifications where someone may have vanished. The House bill was being considered Tuesday and could face a floor vote as early as later this week. The Senate bill also was far along in the legislative process. Lawmakers have unanimously approved both so far during Committee hearings.

Changes are afoot for Purple Alerts.

Senate amendment yet to address opposition’s concerns with gaming legislation” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Legislation seeking to crack down on illegal gambling operations is waiting on special order calendars to be heard on the House and Senate floors. The legislation broadly seeks to increase penalties for illegal gambling activities from a second-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. It also would create a staggered penalty, increasing to a second-degree felony on a second offense, and a first-degree felony on third and subsequent offenses. While both the Senate and House bills have received significant opposition from veterans’ groups and small businesses, the House bill was recently amended to provide a path to recourse should someone find themselves unknowingly in violation of the law. Specifically, the House adopted an amendment that would require a cease-and-desist letter, which can be contested, to be sent to establishments in violation before any arrests could be made.

Sunshine State looks to require some insurers to cover costs of skin cancer screenings” via Fresh Take Florida — Phyllis Revord, living just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean beaches on Florida’s east coast, never used to worry about lying in the sun. She even used tanning beds in high school. It wasn’t until 2020 when she came across a friend’s Facebook post detailing her skin cancer journey, that Revord considered screening for skin cancer. Motivated by her friend’s experience, Revord, now 27, scheduled an appointment with her dermatologist and ended up receiving the same diagnosis as her friend: melanoma. “Had I gone about my life with a tiny mole and just never gotten my skin checked, [the melanoma] could have completely spread to other areas — serious organs in your body,” she said. Lawmakers in Tallahassee were poised this week to make it easier and cheaper for hundreds of thousands of Florida residents to undergo such potentially lifesaving screenings by ensuring that health insurance companies cover all costs.


Happening today — Children’s Week continues at the Capitol: An early learning breakfast, 8 a.m., the Woman’s Club of Tallahassee, 1513 Cristobal Dr., Tallahassee; Teen Day, where 100 youth from across the state experience the Capitol and learn more about the legislative process from lobbyists and legislators, 9:20 a.m., Capitol Complex.

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

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

6:15 p.m. Senate Special Order Calendar Group meets. Room 401, Senate Office Building.


Ron DeSantis flaunts one year anniversary of Disney self-government dissolution” via Eric Daugherty of Florida’s Voice — DeSantis celebrated Tuesday being the one-year marking since he officially dissolved Walt Disney World’s self-governing district in Central Florida, formerly known as Reedy Creek. “One year ago, I signed legislation ending what an independent audit found to be one of the worst examples of cronyism in modern U.S. history: Reedy Creek, a local government controlled by a single company, Disney,” DeSantis said. “While so many claimed ending the cronyism would be bad for Florida, the result has been transparency and accountability, including a reduction of taxes and local businesses being allowed to compete for projects, saving the district millions of dollars.” Rep. Fred Hawkins sponsored the 2023 legislation. “The federal lawsuit filed by Disney has been dismissed and the new state Board continues to initiate positive reforms,” the Governor said.

To watch DeSantis’ video touting his “win,” please click the image below:

‘Welcome to reality’: Ashley Moody reacts to NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ worries on sanctuary city policy” via Eric Daugherty of Florida’s Voice — Moody sounded off on New York City Mayor Adams, a Democrat, calling for a reversal of his city’s “sanctuary city” policies. Adams said the city needs to change its sanctuary city law to turn over illegal migrants who commit felony crimes to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, for deportation. A sanctuary city strangles local enforcement from blowing the whistle on the whereabouts and statuses of illegal migrants under their jurisdictions. “When it’s convenient for them and when they are far-removed from the border crisis’s impact, radical leaders like NYC Mayor Adams are for sanctuary cities,” Moody said. “BUT, when stuff hits the fan, suddenly they’re for changing the rules of sanctuary cities.” “Welcome to reality, Mayor,” she said. “We’ve all been dealing with this crisis since the @JoeBiden administration took over the border.”

Condo sales fell in Florida because of rising insurance and HOA fees, report says” via Ron Hurtibise of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Sharp increases in what it costs to own a condominium in Florida are driving down prices that owners can get when they sell their condos in the state. The report cited higher costs of insurance and homeowner association fees as reasons that the number of condo listings in Florida increased by 28.2% in January compared to the previous January and compared to 11.1% in the nation overall. “Condos are sitting on the market much longer than they used to, with less interest from buyers,” the report quoted Jacksonville Redfin Premier agent Heather Kruayai as saying. “Sky-high HOA costs are pushing buyers out of their monthly budget.”


10 measles cases reported in Florida as criticism rises over top health official’s response” via Cindy Krischer and Shira Moolten of the Orlando Sentinel — Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo shared a letter on Feb. 20 telling parents at Manatee Bay in Weston that the decision whether to keep their children home was up to them, a move that has received widespread criticism from public health experts and political leaders across the country. Ladapo’s letter has drawn scrutiny from doctors, epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists. And at a news conference Tuesday, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Ladapo, in his letter, wrongly left the decision of keeping kids home up to their parents and should have recommended vaccinating them. She also decried Ladapo’s failure to declare a public health emergency. She called him a “superspreader of misinformation.”

The measles outbreak was the last straw for Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Another child has measles in South Florida. Here’s a breakdown of the cases so far” via Michelle Marchante of the Miami Herald — More people are getting measles in Florida, with a seventh case confirmed at a Weston elementary school and the state also reporting another child under 5 who has been diagnosed with the disease in Broward County. Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Peter Licata announced the seventh measles case at Manatee Bay Elementary School, a K-5 school at 19200 Manatee Isles Dr. in Weston. “The individual impacted by this latest case has not physically been on campus since Feb. 15. Therefore, the infectious period of 21 days remains unchanged: March 7,” Licata said.

Sarasota, Manatee school districts monitoring measles cases in Broward, Polk counties” via Steven Walker of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — As the number of measles cases climbs in Florida, with a total of nine reported in Broward and Polk counties, Sarasota and Manatee schools said they’re monitoring the spread and are working with local health departments to be prepared in case it surfaces here. The Sarasota County School District said it has advised all its schools to “be vigilant” in looking for signs of symptoms and illness. Symptoms of measles include high fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes and a rash appearing several days after the onset of symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

‘Parental rights’ a pathetic response to Florida’s measles outbreak” via The Palm Beach Post — Where’s the clarity in the Florida Department of Health’s response to the state’s measles outbreak? It certainly wasn’t in its muddled equivocation of a Feb. 20 advisory to Broward County parents that careened between acknowledging what “is normally recommended” and deferring any decision regarding school attendance to the parents. It’s as if Ladapo, Florida’s top health official and noted anti-vaxxer, just couldn’t help himself. “Because of the high likelihood of infection, it is normally recommended that children stay home until the end of the infectious period …,” the letter to Manatee Elementary School parents in Weston read. “However, due to the high immunity rate in the community, as well as the burden on families and educational cost of healthy children missing school, the Department of Health is deferring to parents or guardians to make decisions about school attendance.”

— 2024 —

Byron Donalds says he’s ready to be Donald Trump’s VP pick” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — “There’s a lot of people in our party, who frankly have asked if I’m going to be the VP and I keep saying, ‘Look, it’s not my call. That’s Donald Trump’s call and I’m going to support whatever he does.’ But could I do that job? Yeah, I could,” Donalds said on the Will Cain Show. He acknowledged that Trump is “going to make that decision,” but he “would” do the job, because “it’s about putting this country in a position to be successful.” Donalds knows some may be skeptical that he has the chops but cited legislative experience both in Florida’s Legislature and Washington, D.C., as well as his roots in “the inner city” of Brooklyn, New York. “Some people might be like, ‘Well, you know, you’re a two-term congressman, what makes you think that you could be on that list?’”

Byron Donalds as Trump’s VP? Could happen.


Senate confirms Hialeah native and Norman Braman’s nephew as federal judges in Miami” via Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald — Two former prosecutors — a daughter of Cuban immigrants and a nephew of a wealthy business owner — were confirmed as federal judges by the U.S. Senate to fill two of three long-vacant judicial positions in the Southern District of Florida, one of the busiest regions for criminal and civil cases in the country. Jacqueline Becerra, who grew up in Hialeah, was confirmed by a 56-40 vote. A graduate of the University of Miami and Yale University Law School, Becerra currently is a magistrate judge in Miami. The Senate also confirmed David Leibowitz, who served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.

Norman Braman now has a federal judge in the family.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

‘Excited to continue our work’: Alix Desulme announces bid to remain North Miami Mayor” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Desulme doesn’t plan on going anywhere. He’s officially running to keep the job his City Council colleagues appointed him to after the November 2022 Election. The decision that year included postponing the city’s election 18 months to Nov. 5, 2024, to coincide with the General Election. Since then, Desulme’s campaign said, he has overseen “transformative” quality-of-life initiatives, including expanded public transit, eco-friendly changes, and programs to help low-income and senior residents with affordability issues. He now wants to build on those accomplishments during a full two-year term. “Together, we’ve turned challenges into opportunities, proving that unity and collective effort can lead to remarkable achievements,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “As we look to the future, I am excited to continue our work, making North Miami a beacon of hope, resilience, and innovation.”

Alix Desulme is ready for another term.

Retired U.S. Marshal named new Coral Gables City Manager by divided Commission vote” via Tess Riski of the Miami Herald — A divided Coral Gables City Commission voted 3-2 to hire a retired U.S. Marshal and former Florida Department of Law Enforcement special agent to be its next City Manager, two weeks after the ouster of City Manager Peter Iglesias. Amos Rojas Jr. was named the next Manager of Coral Gables, with Commissioners Melissa Castro, Ariel Fernandez and Kirk Menendez voting for his appointment. “The city of Coral Gables is adrift in a cesspool of public corruption, and I’m here to help navigate our beloved city out of the muck and to safe harbor. So, I vote yes,” Menendez said.

Court bars Julia Botel’s re-election bid, saying she failed to follow qualifying rules” via Wayne Washington of the Palm Beach Post — Riviera Beach City Council member Botel did not follow state law in attempting to qualify as a candidate for re-election and is barred from running, according to a ruling from the 4th District Court of Appeal. The court gave Botel until Thursday to appeal its decision. If the decision stands, her opponent, former Long Beach, New York, City Manager Glen Spiritis, would be the only candidate for the District 4 seat Botel was trying to win for a third time. Botel, a 76-year-old former educator, said she was “surprised to hear of the court’s decision.”

Palm Beach County GOP faces friction, unhappiness with Chair as 2024 elections loom” via Stephany Matat of the Palm Beach Post — Palm Beach County Republicans say the 2024 Presidential Election presents a historic opportunity to help return the locally residing former President to the White House. But first, the top echelons of the party have to work out some internal disagreements and conflicts. At the center of the friction is party Chair Kevin Neal. The unhappiness with Neal, less than a year into his tenure, is evident in a no-confidence vote last month, a lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County court, and consternation over what his critics say is underwhelming fundraising. Former county GOP Chair, Sid Dinerstein, a Neal critic, said he is troubled by the new Chair’s removal of a longtime events coordinator from her post.

‘Brightline made the wrong decision’: Fort Pierce reacts to train service choosing Stuart” via Laurie K. Blandford of Treasure Coast Newspapers — Fort Pierce had mixed emotions following the news of Brightline choosing Stuart for its Treasure Coast station. Residents, business owners and government officials were bummed but tried to stay positive that the high-speed passenger rail service didn’t choose either of the two proposals submitted for Fort Pierce. Fort Pierce Mayor Linda Hudson said the city still hadn’t been notified by Brightline as promised, but she had time to process what appeared to be leaked information. “I think they made the wrong decision,” Hudson said, “but that’s their decision to make.”

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Former Joel Greenberg associate sentenced to seven years in prison for fraud” via Martin E. Comas of the Orlando Sentinel — Michael Shirley, a longtime consultant to Greenberg, was sentenced Tuesday to just over seven years in federal prison for fraudulent actions that netted his company $536,402 in public money through a bribery-and-kickback scheme. As he handed down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell called Shirley’s crimes a “very serious offense” that “eroded the public’s trust” in government. “He has no regret. He has no remorse,” Presnell said of Shirley, whom he blamed for some of Greenberg’s misdeeds. “He convinced a public official to raid the public funds.” Shirley, 40, is the seventh Greenberg associate — and the last of the key players — sentenced for a slew of crimes, including sex trafficking of a minor, stalking, bribery, selling drugs and stealing identities during the former tax collector’s tenure from January 2017 through June 2020.

Michael Shirley is another Joel Greenberg associate headed to the Graybar Hotel. Image via Orlando Sentinel/file.

With proposed $20M land buy, Orlando eyes Lake Eola expansion, ‘iconic restaurant’ and housing” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — In the latest move to boost its urban center, Orlando is aiming to buy four downtown properties in the coming weeks, making a roughly $20 million investment into turning dormant locations into “iconic” places. The proposed purchase includes 205 E. Central and 215 E. Central, allowing the city to open up its signature Lake Eola Park to the rest of downtown. Also in the portfolio are 30 S. Orange Ave., a vacant lot leased to the city as a park, and 1 N. Orange Ave., an 1880s-era bank building that has been empty for about 15 years.

Bird flu is killing the swans of Orlando’s Lake Eola” via Amanda Rabines of the Orlando Sentinel — Avian influenza, also known as the bird flu virus, is ravaging the storied swans of Lake Eola. City officials say two of the birds, a Royal Mute swan and an Australian black swan, have tested positive for the virus after being found dead in the park. Just this past weekend, the discoveries of two dead black-necked swans pushed the death toll further. The city is awaiting the results of necropsies for the second pair, although officials believe criminal activity resulted in at least one of the birds’ deaths. Police are actively investigating. Ashley Papagni, a spokesperson for the city, said it is taking precautions to limit the spread of the virus, which can be transmitted from wildlife to people in rare instances. Symptoms resemble those of the common flu but rarely result in death for humans.

Eatonville emerging as possible Florida African American history museum site” via Desiree Stennett of the Orlando Sentinel — Eatonville is emerging as a top potential site for a planned Florida African American history museum, even as its efforts threaten to collide with a legal battle over the land that would house the new structure in the historic Black town. In January, Eatonville Mayor Angie Gardner and town Chief Administrative Officer Demetrius Pressley made a presentation to the state task force that will recommend a location, which then placed Eatonville on a list of 13 cities and counties across the state vying for the museum. Among the competitors are St. Augustine, OpaLocka, Panama City, St. Petersburg and others. The task force is expected to narrow the list to three potential sites by the end of April.

NSB ‘State of the City’ updates residents on hurricane recovery, growth and more” via Brenno Carillo of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — Hundreds of NSB residents sat across the vast room inside the Brannon Center as their City Commissioners and Mayor Fred Cleveland updated them on the latest developments in the State of the City address. The Mayor touched on several topics during his speech, addressing recent successes, what needs work and what the future looks like. These topics included hurricane recovery efforts, growth management, environmental issues, parking and more. Several city staff members, department heads and other city and Volusia County officials attended the event. Before the Mayor’s speech, residents watched a video in which the four City Commissioners spoke about several topics and the latest efforts in their respective zones.


Mike Harting, co-owner of 3 Daughters Brewing, is running for St. Pete City Council” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — The idea was brewing, right along with his brewery. And now it’s official. Harting, co-owner of 3 Daughters Brewing in the Grand Central District of St. Petersburg, is running for the St. Pete City Council in District 3. “I grew up in St. Pete and have watched it become the vibrant city it is today. It’s up to us to protect and provide the opportunity for all our residents to live the life they work so hard for,” Harting said. “Working together with fresh ideas, we can continue to improve public safety, repair and rebuild our aging infrastructure, and bring great paying jobs to our neighborhoods. Leigh and I raised our 3 Daughters in St. Pete, and we’re excited about our campaign focused on creating opportunity for future generations.”

Mike Harting throws his hat in the ring.

Hillsborough schools, stadiums on chopping block for halfpenny sales tax” via Sue Carlton of the Tampa Bay Times — When politicians dreamed up the halfpenny Community Investment Tax nearly three decades ago to pay for everything from libraries to fire stations, two potential recipients were part of the big sell to voters: Schools and a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “Schools were the most important things in the world,” said Dick Greco, Tampa’s Mayor at the time. “The (Community Investment Tax) kind of saved us.” Now, as elected officials grapple with what the next version of that soon-to-sunset sales tax will look like in a referendum on the November ballot, two big beneficiaries are on the chopping block: Schools and sports stadiums. Revenues from the 30-year tax — $2.6 billion on wide-ranging investments countywide through 2022 — have not been chump change. And the potential loss has School Board members concerned and the superintendent planning a full-court press to remain a recipient.

Pinellas charter schools stand to gain millions in lawsuits over taxes” via Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times — One of Pinellas County’s 18 charter schools stands to collect close to $2 million from the school district after convincing a judge that it didn’t receive its fair share of the tax referendum that voters have supported since 2004. The district could be on the hook for millions more, too, as 10 other charter schools have followed Pinellas Preparatory Academy’s lead.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

JEA trial: Board member disavows controversial incentive plan at heart of the indictment” via Nate Monroe of The Florida Times-Union — A former JEA Board member told jurors Tuesday that she would not have approved a controversial incentive plan had she known it could have created a pool of hundreds of millions of dollars in potential payouts for utility employees, a key piece of testimony federal prosecutors used to build their fraud and conspiracy case against JEA’s former CEO and CFO. That testimony was not the first time Kelly Flanagan, a former member of the JEA Board of Directors, has said in a public setting that she would not have backed a plan that could have made utility executives rich, but it’s the first time jurors in the trial of former JEA CEO Aaron Zahn and CFO Ryan Wannemacher have heard directly from someone who actually voted to approve that plan.

Kelly Flanagan, a former member of the JEA Board of Directors, gets to tell her side of the story in court. Image via AP.

For decades, Jacksonville ignored its decaying jail. Can the city learn from past mistakes?” via Nichole Manna of The Tributary — Jacksonville leaders have accepted that the John E. Goode Pre-Trial Detention Facility must be replaced. The City Council unanimously approved $9 million worth of improvements to the current facility in January — an extra request from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office that didn’t come until after the city had already adopted a new budget. Yet the Council still must decide if the city should spend $380 million — a conservative number that one Council member said might grow to $800 million — to build a new facility while the current one is fixed. Activists worry that a new jail may mean a bigger jail, and a bigger jail may mean an even higher incarceration rate for the city.

Two teens have heart procedures following Jacksonville heart screening event” via Heather Crawford of First Coast News — Logan Johannesen’s mother got a call she wasn’t expecting a week after her 14-year-old son had a free heart screening at the Who We Play For event in Jacksonville in January that First Coast News helped organize. The electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG or EKG, revealed the Sandalwood High student had a potentially life-threatening electrical problem with his heart. He was one of two teens screened at the January event who had to have an ablation this month. Of the roughly 330 students screened at the event, three learned they were at high risk for sudden death. Another five were flagged and are undergoing more testing to see if they need to take further action.


For marketing, New College of Florida hires former pro-DeSantis super PAC spokesperson” via Ana Ceballos of the Miami Herald — As DeSantis tries to transform New College of Florida into a bastion of conservatism, the school has hired a longtime political ally of DeSantis and its President, Richard Corcoran, to do promotional videos and other public relations work. A spokesperson for the small liberal arts school said the university has been paying TMF Communications — a Tallahassee-based company headed by Taryn Fenske, a former spokesperson for both DeSantis’ public office and an affiliated super PAC that supported his presidential campaign — $15,000 a month since last July. Fenske’s involvement in promoting the public school is an example of how Corcoran is bringing allies to remake the liberal arts institution as they zero in on what he and DeSantis have characterized as “woke indoctrination” on college campuses. Before the takeover, the Sarasota school had a reputation for being one of the most progressive public universities in Florida.

Richard Corcoran puts Taryn Fenske on the payroll.

Collier leaders sticking with district-only elections; reject study to look at pros and cons” via Liz Freeman of the Naples Daily News — Collier County leaders are sticking with having single-district elections for Commissioners as opposed to potentially switching to countywide elections. The Collier County Commission turned down a request from Commissioner Burt Saunders to have the county’s Productivity Committee examine the pros and cons of switching to countywide elections. The motion for the study failed by a vote of 2-3 with only Commissioner Rick LoCastro backing Saunders. The study findings may have led to a decision at a later time to put the issue on the November ballot for a voter referendum. Since 1988 Commissioners have been elected by single-district elections where only voters in each district elect their Commissioner.

North Port contemplates finding funding for new, expanded police station” via Earle Kimel of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — As the city’s population rises toward 100,000, North Port City Commissioners are eyeing a long-term solution to its need for a new police station. Board members charted a strategy at a workshop that could lead to building a $122.7 million complex on a four-acre parcel purchased last August. The current police department at 4980 City Hall Blvd. has about 32,400 square feet under roof and opened in July 2006. Back then, the city had 47,000 people and a police force with 79 sworn officers and 30 civilian employees. The city’s population has already eclipsed 86,000 people and is projected to exceed 100,000 within the next three years.

Punta Gorda gets $2.5M from FEMA for Ian debris removal” via Elaine Allen-Emrich of the Punta Gorda Sun — After months of waiting, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved more than $6.7 million in grant funds to the cities of Punta Gorda and Fort Myers for debris removal expenses after Hurricane Ian hit in September 2022. The Category 4 storm left extensive debris in its wake. FEMA approved $2.55 million to Punta Gorda and $4.2 million in federal funding to Fort Myers for hurricane debris removal. This is one of several grants the city of Punta Gorda worked on for FEMA disaster recovery assistance. The city is seeking FEMA assistance to help repair about 8 miles of sea wall damaged by Hurricane Ian.


From COVID-19 to measles, Florida’s war on public health” via Scott Rivkees for Time magazine — The culture of public health and medicine rests on open discussions in which different points of view are considered for the betterment of patient care and health. This process depends on psychological safety, so individuals feel free and safe to speak and openly disagree. These factors collectively create a just culture, which improves systems and organizations and is being widely implemented in health care nationwide.

However, in the face of politicized anti-science and anti-expert sentiment and attacks, we need to ask if just culture is being restricted in public health. Following a series of legislative policy changes in Florida affecting academic institutions, health care, and public health, we see a regression in the open dialogue of medical and public health experts about infectious disease control practices related to COVID-19 and now measles.

Reflecting anti-vaccine and anti-science activity that has become part of the political agenda, rates of measles vaccination among young children have fallen below critical levels in many parts of the U.S. Not surprisingly, there has been a recent rise in measles cases in the U.S. The medical community overwhelmingly supports childhood vaccinations but is drowned out by policies that weaken vaccination requirements and misinformation that erodes confidence in vaccines.

We need to ask what has happened over the past year to discourage the airing of views contrary to state policies. Is there self-censorship or external censorship? Was there opposition to these recent recommendations by Dr. Ladapo from inside the Florida Department of Health? The answer may lie in reviewing recent legislative and state actions that may give medical experts and those at academic institutions pause in speaking out.


New legislation will protect the dignity, autonomy, and rights of Floridians with disabilities” via Victoria Heuler of Florida Politics — Florida residents with disabilities deserve respect and robust legal safeguards while maintaining as much independence as possible. House Bill 73 by Rep. Allison Tant and the companion bill, Senate Bill 446 by Sen. Corey Simon, create empowerment for Florida’s persons with disabilities and foster a commitment to protecting dignity and the right of every adult to be as autonomous as possible. In this Legislative Session, The Elder Law Section of The Florida Bar is advocating for the passage of these bills because they address how a structure of supported decision-making can help people with disabilities live as independently as possible. HB 73 passed unanimously in the House on Feb. 15, so now we look to SB 446’s passage as the next step to codifying the proposed measures into law.

As space travel becomes more commercial, Florida must keep up” via Brett Loubert for the Orlando Sentinel — Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a rapid commercialization of the space industry. In fact, the industry has grown by more than 60% and is valued at more than $465 billion. By 2040, it is expected to reach $1 trillion. This commercialization presents immense economic opportunity for the state of Florida. Launches from Cape Canaveral have tripled over the last five years, representing 70% of all orbital launches from American facilities. In 2022, more than 50 launches originated from Cape Canaveral. And in 2023, 72 launches were completed on the Space Coast, breaking previous records. Deloitte Space is well-positioned to support Florida’s mission across the entire space value chain. For our economy, for our nation and for our future, it is important that Florida continues to lead the way in new and emerging space markets.

Term limits: The most useless debate in politics” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — I get the appeal of term limits. For years, I thought they were the bee’s knees. But allow me to submit that this never-ending, never-advancing debate is, in fact, the most useless debate in American politics. For three reasons: 1) Most of the politicians who claim to support limits while running for office change their minds once they get there. 2) Even if they want to change the law, they can’t. Not without changing the U.S. Constitution. 3) We’ve seen proof term limits don’t automatically make things better. As Exhibit A, I offer you the Florida Legislature — which has term limits and yet is one of the cessiest cesspools in politics. When lawmakers are forced out every eight or 12 years, they don’t develop much institutional knowledge, and lobbyists often end up leading them around by the nose. That’s what we have in Tallahassee where we have term limits, and lobbyists not only call the shots, they literally write the bills.

Sorry, but nobody writes in cursive anymore. There’s no need to teach it in schools” via Joel Mathis of the Miami Herald — Goodness, I hate writing cursive. Some people love it. They enjoy and admire the flourishes, the art and the discipline that go into writing “longhand.” (Does anybody use that word anymore?) My late mother had the prettiest handwriting you ever saw. It’s still a delight to see her penmanship on old letters and recipe cards. Good for those folks. Me? I hate it. Won’t do it. Probably that’s because I’m left-handed. For many of my fellow lefties, cursive writing is a form of physical torture — an act that requires unnatural hand-and-wrist contortions which often end in failure: a cramping palm smeared with blue ink, the words on the page smudged into something unrecognizable. These failures would probably weigh more heavily, except I don’t really need cursive. Almost nobody does.


— ALOE —

Restaurateur José Andrés bringing restaurant to this West Palm Beach condo complex” via Alexandra Clough of The Palm Beach Post — Andrés, the acclaimed Spanish chef and humanitarian, is bringing a restaurant to the planned Olara condominium in West Palm Beach, Olara officials said last week. The move boosts Olara’s profile as a luxury residential destination amid a growing cluster of newly announced luxury high-rises on or near the waterfront along Flagler Drive. It also provides a “wow” factor to would-be Olara buyers, officials said. On a broader front, Andrés’ presence bolsters West Palm Beach’s efforts to fashion itself into a sophisticated city, a far cry from its former reputation as a sleepy county seat. “This goes to show the area is transforming. There’s a strong belief in this neighborhood,” said Alison Newton, a real estate associate with the Douglas Elliman Palm Beach brokerage and director of sales at Olara.

José Andrés is bringing some culinary magic to WPB.

What Gus Corbella is readingSting to play for Florida Orchestra gala in May” via Bill DeYoung of St. Pete Catalyst — Just two days after his sold-out show with Billy Joel at Raymond James Stadium, Sting is in Bay Area news again. The English rock legend will perform Thursday, May 9 at St. Petersburg’s Mahaffey Theater, accompanied by The Florida Orchestra, conducted by Michael Francis. This is TFO’s annual fundraising gala concert. Sting was the orchestra’s guest performer at the 2017 gala. Tickets ($100-$750 plus applicable fees) go on sale to TFO subscribers and top donors at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, and to the general public at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 6.


Celebrating today are Rick Fernandez, Ben Gibson of Shutts & Bowen, and Matt Weidner.


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.


  • Dont Say FLA

    February 28, 2024 at 7:43 am

    Wow, there is at least one prominent Floridian, umm, hmm, uh, Human Male, that isn’t married to a Moms For Liberty.

    Praise the Lard for that.

    Happy birthday to Mrs Todd Schorsch!

    Dang that was a challenge referring to man in Florida as something other than a Florida Man :rofl:

  • Ron Forrest Ron

    February 28, 2024 at 8:59 am

    Should be plenty of school chaplains available since Dozier School For Boys shut down

  • Alexz

    February 28, 2024 at 3:24 pm

    Awww happy birthday that is so sweet, glad you’re doing well

Comments are closed.


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

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

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

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