Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 3.4.24

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Start the morning right — with your morning rundown of the day in Florida politics.

Good Monday morning.

Breaking overnight — “Nikki Haley wins D.C. Primary, her first victory in GOP nominating race” via Mariana Alfaro of The Washington Post — After three days of voting, polls in the Washington race closed at 7 p.m. Eastern on Sunday. Though only 19 delegates were at stake, Haley perhaps had her best chance of defeating Donald Trump in a race where he performed poorly in the last competitive GOP presidential contest in 2016. That year, Trump lost the D.C. Primary to Sen. Marco Rubio — a rare defeat for Trump in that GOP race. With all the votes counted, Haley got 63% of the vote to 33% for Trump — and she won all of Washington’s 19 delegates. In a statement, Haley campaign representative Olivia Perez-Cubas noted that the former U.N. ambassador is the first woman to win a Republican Primary in U.S. history.


Heather Barker is joining the team at Capital City Consulting.

Barker, former senior adviser to Gov. Ron DeSantis, will direct the firm’s political fundraising, charitable and nonprofit fundraising, as well as assist in business development and the facilitation of business-to-business strategic partnerships.

“We are very excited to have Heather join the Capital City Consulting team. Not only will Heather’s long and impressive resume help boost our service offerings for our existing and future clients, but her unique insight and skill set will help us reach and exceed our business development and strategic partnership goals,” said Capital City Consulting co-founder Nick Iarossi.

Heather Barker is taking her extensive fundraising experience to Capital City Consulting.

“Heather’s influence extends beyond fundraising into political campaigns, committees, super PACs, nonprofits and business development. From presidential campaigns to issue advocacy, she has skillfully designed and executed plans centered around cultivating meaningful relationships, and we look forward to her bringing this acumen to Capital City Consulting.”

Barker comes to CCC with 14 years of experience, including the past six years working as DeSantis’ chief fundraiser. Barker moved up the ranks from political staffer during the 2022 Midterms to senior adviser during both the 2022 and 2024 campaign cycles within the Gov. Ron DeSantis political organizations.

“I am thrilled to join the team of outstanding professionals at Capital City Consulting,” Barker said. “I have watched their firm for years as they have grown in size and in notable success. I look forward to leading their fundraising efforts and collectively helping to grow the business, its reach, partnerships and services.”


Bills have been “dying” for a couple of weeks, but as of today, many are dead-dead.

The killer: The House’s 55th Day Rule, which says the House may no longer take up bills on second reading after the 55th day of the Legislative Session, which was Sunday.

The House may, however, take up bills that are passed by the Senate and sent over to the House, either for the first time or because the bill was amended, requiring the House to sign off on the changes.

There will be a few bills on life support, but the “58th Day Rule” — which hits Wednesday — will play cleanup crew.

Once that rule kicks in, the House may only consider returning messages, conference reports and concurrent resolutions.


Super Tuesday — 1; State of the Union address — 3; last day of Regular Session, if Legislature completes work in 60 days — 4; 2024 Oscars — 6; Georgia Democratic Primary — 9; Arizona/Florida/Illinois/Kansas/Ohio Primaries — 16; James Madison Institute’s ‘2024 Naples Dinner’ with keynote speaker Laura Ingraham — 17; ‘3 Body Problem’ premieres on Netflix — 17; Trump’s New York hush money trial begins — 21; The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the mifepristone/abortion pill case — 22; Major League Baseball’s (MLB) 2024 season — 24; March Madness Final Four (women’s) begins — 31; March Madness Final Four (men’s) — 34; Florida TaxWatch’s Spring Meeting — 38; The Masters begin — 39; Kentucky Derby — 62; 2024 Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability — 67; ‘Bridgerton’ new season (part one) premieres on Netflix — 74; French Open begins — 77; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 79; Dave Matthews Band 2024 Summer Tour begins in Tampa — 79; Monaco Grand Prix — 83; the 2024 World Cup begins — 99; ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ premieres — 117; Republican National Convention begins — 133; the 2024 World Cup ends — 137; 2024 MLS All-Star Game — 142; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games on NBC/Peacock — 144; ‘Alien: Romulus’ premieres — 163; Democratic National Convention begins — 169; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 173; Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour stops in Miami — 228; 2024 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 231; 2024 Presidential Election — 246; Las Vegas Grand Prix — 259; MLS Cup 2024 — 274; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ premieres — 347; ‘Moana’ premieres — 477; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 508; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 508; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 613; ‘Avatar 3’ premieres — 655; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 792; Untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 808; Another untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 1,019; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,159; ‘Avatar 4’ premieres — 2,118; ‘Avatar 5’ premieres — 2,840.


University of Florida eliminates all DEI-related positions” via Anna Betts of The New York Times — The move comes almost a year after DeSantis signed a bill that largely banned the state’s public universities and colleges from spending federal or state money on DEI initiatives. In accordance with that law, Florida’s Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System of Florida, also voted to prohibit state spending on such programs at public universities.

The University of Florida’s terminations included closing the office of the chief diversity officer and halting all DEI contracts with outside vendors, according to the announcement on Friday. Thirteen full-time positions were eliminated, along with administrative appointments for 15 faculty members, a spokesperson for the university said in an email.

UF fires everyone related to DEI.

The university is just the latest school in the state to eliminate D.E.I. programs. Both the University of North Florida and Florida International University have already removed or started to phase out such programs.

Universities across the country have vastly expanded diversity programs in recent decades amid concerns over underrepresentation on campus. Supporters of DEI have said that the initiatives are a good way to foster inclusion and that they help students from all backgrounds succeed on campus.

But more recently, DEI efforts have become the center of a culture war and part of a fight by conservatives against “wokeism.” Critics say that the programs are discriminatory to those who may be left out in an effort to boost representation of other groups and that they aim to advance left-wing ideas about gender and race.

UF eliminates diversity office; will steer money to faculty recruitment instead” via Divya Kumar of the Tampa Bay Times — The University of Florida (UF) announced it has shuttered its Office of the Chief Diversity Officer to comply with recently adopted state policy. The policy bans universities from spending on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts after a law took effect last year. The university said it had eliminated diversity, equity and inclusion positions and administrative appointments and “halted DEI-focused contracts with outside vendors.” The memo, sent from the university’s provost, general counsel and human resource vice president, said employees whose positions were eliminated will receive 12 weeks of pay and will be encouraged to apply for other positions at the university.


House passes tax cut package, setting stage for Senate talks” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — The House has approved a bill with a set of sales tax holidays for consumers and a major cut for businesses, teeing up talks with the Senate over tax breaks for the next year. The bill (HB 7073) is projected to save businesses and consumers $870 million over three years. It passed on an 88-17 vote, with nearly half of Democrats voting against it. Four sales tax holidays lawmakers have approved in recent years are part of the package again, but they have been reduced compared to the current fiscal year. The traditional back-to-school sales tax holiday on school items, clothes and laptops $1,500 or less would last two weeks starting July 29.

House votes to make it harder to raise local property taxes” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — HB 1195, which would ban localities from raising property tax over the prior year’s rate without a two-thirds vote by the local legislative body, is being carried by GOP Rep. Sam Garrison. The bill would force localities to live by the same rules as the state, where a constitutional amendment requiring a legislative two-thirds supermajority to raise taxes passed six years ago. An amendment gave the Department of Revenue emergency rule-making authority to implement the act on Thursday. The bill would go into effect in July, imposing the supermajority requirement for any millage increase after this year should it become law. Many municipalities pass their budgets in the summer, and this legislation would affect budgets starting as soon as October.

Sam Garrison’s bill to require a supermajority for any tax increase heads through the House.

Senate unanimously approved hemp crackdown, but path remains uncertain in House” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — A bill revamping hemp regulations is running out of time in the House. As of this writing Saturday, Rep. Tommy Gregory’s measure (HB 1613) is languishing on the Second Reading Calendar, presenting a stark contrast to the Senate, where a companion bill was unanimously approved last month. Neither the House Speaker’s Office nor the House bill sponsor have declared it dead or responded to questions about it from this outlet. Sen. Colleen Burton’s bill (SB 1698), which the House could take up if Speaker Paul Renner decided to make it happen before Sine Die, proposes 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.

House passes ‘Condo 3.0’ reforms to strengthen safety, Board accountability, enforcement” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Condominiums across Florida and the Boards that oversee their maintenance and repairs could soon be held to stronger standards through legislation the House just passed. The bill (HB 1021) cleared the chamber on a 111-0 vote after little discussion. As they did during its Committee stops, lawmakers uniformly agreed the changes are much needed and long overdue. If passed, the measure 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.

House OKs trans driver’s license bill” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — The House has passed a controversial bill that sparked protests by the transgender community although the legislation is expected to be dead. Senate President Kathleen Passidomo said earlier this week that it won’t be heard on the Senate floor since its Senate companion bill did not get heard in Committee. With a 75-33 vote, the House approved HB 1639 which would stop people who are transgender from putting gender on their driver’s licenses. Instead, the documents would be required to state a person’s birth-assigned sex. The bill also would add new requirements for insurance companies.

House passes bill blocking all but 23 Big Tobacco vape products from Florida shelves” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — A bill that would effectively ban all but 23 tobacco-flavored vaping products sold by Big Tobacco companies in Florida has cleared the House on a divisive vote. The chamber passed the bill (HB 1007) 83-26. Two Republicans — including Alex Andrade and Bruce Antone — voted against the measure, which Palm City Republican Rep. Toby Overdorf sponsored. If passed, the legislation wouldn’t explicitly limit retailers to only selling vape products with the Logic, NJOY and Vuse brand names. But it would prohibit the sale of any vapes that haven’t received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.


Senate, House aligned on $100M for Workforce Development grant program” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Those who want a boost in Florida’s workforce development just got $100 million worth of good news. House and Senate budget leaders appear to agree on funding nine figures for a Workforce Development Capitalization Incentive Grant program as part of the Higher Education Appropriations budget silo. The latest offer from the House includes $100 million for the program, roughly four times what the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee had offered just a day prior. The two chambers appear in agreement in a bump offer. While it still needs to be accepted in the Senate, that makes a substantial concession as the state enters the last days of budget talks with the aim of leaving Tallahassee on time.

Both chambers agree on a figure for workforce development.

Budget conference: GATE program and scholarships for dropouts pursuing workforce diplomas funded” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A program offering an alternative education path for high school students now has millions of new dollars backing it up. In the latest education budget offer, Senate and House negotiators agreed to $4 million for the Graduation Alternative to Traditional Education (GATE) Scholarship Program and $7 million for a related scholarship program. The $4 million comes out of a Workforce Education silo to cover associated startup costs to the program. The scholarships are budgeted as part of state financial aid for students. The money will be drawn from recurring general revenue. Both those programs are new ones being created by legislation this Session.

Budget conference: Before bump, House and Senate agree on $15M for 3 HBCUs” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee and Senate Education Appropriations Committee both funded that amount specifically for HBCU security grants before bumping the budget to a higher level. The budget calls for Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters University and Florida Memorial University to each receive $5 million. Daytona-based Bethune-Cookman and Miami-based Florida Memorial in January 2022 both received a bomb threat that law enforcement investigated as part of a string of similar calls. In total, seven HBCUs nationwide received threats, which authorities connected to a neo-Nazi group.

Budget conference: UF researchers score millions to study Alzheimer’s, turkeys” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — From dementia studies to marine science, University of Florida (UF) researchers scored significant wins in the Legislature’s late-night budget talks. In the latest House offer, the state’s most prominent university scored $7.5 million for biomedical innovation, $4.25 million for Alzheimer’s work, $1.59 million for wild turkey studies and $1.2 million for marine bioscience. The House Education Appropriations Subcommittee agreed to all those programs in its final offer to the Senate before budget talks bumped to a high level. The House also wants to give the school another $1 million to UF for a forensic interview center on its Jacksonville campus, but the Senate has yet to agree to that expense.

Senate agrees to fund trucking recruitment campaign” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Estimates show there is a shortage of 1 million truck drivers. Yet an initiative backed by Rep. Fiona McFarland this year might continue to at least mitigate that, given that the Senate position now matches the House, with $112,500 now slotted for what is being called a Trucking Industry Recruitment and Public Safety Campaign. The Florida Trucking Association, which requested $225,000 for the project, notes that the money will fund “the final year of a three-year successful partnership between the Florida Trucking Association and FloridaCommerce to focus on the recruitment of truck drivers and diesel mechanics” with “a digital and social marketing campaign to market the high-wage, high-skill opportunities in the trucking industry,” along with “public safety outreach and educational programs.”


House guts bill on small-town financial disclosures in rare GOP-on-GOP showdown” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — “Unfriendly” amendments rarely pass on the House floor, much less to bipartisan applause. Still, most of Florida’s Representatives came together to gut a bill that would loosen financial requirements on local officials. Rep. Alex Andrade, a Pensacola Republican, said the change effectively killed his bill (HB 735), which also aimed to prohibit public officials from soliciting gifts from foreign entities. After passage of an amendment on the floor filed by fellow Rep. Spencer Roach, the bill sponsor yanked the legislation from House consideration this year. Bills die frequently toward the end of the Legislative Session, but the life of this legislation played out in an unusual fashion over the last few weeks.

Alex Andrade and Spencer Roach are two sides of the same coin.

Legislature on precipice of needed fixes to Florida’s PACE program” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Reforms are finally coming to Florida’s residential Property Assessed Clean Energy program. PACE financing, created in 2010, gives Florida homeowners access to low-cost, upfront funding for critical storm hardening, energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. Two bills (SB 770/HB 927) sponsored by Sen. John Martin and Rep. Dana Trabulsy would modernize the 14-year-old law by providing significant new consumer safeguards and ensuring local governments will always decide whether PACE is offered in their communities. Among the reforms, the proposed bills would close a loophole to ensure local governments must first authorize the program for homeowners in their communities. The measures would bolster consumer protections and strengthen contractor oversight to ensure homeowners have better access to information about the PACE program before deciding whether the financing option is right for them.

Senate passes bill mandating teaching of communism in schools” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Students in Florida schools are one step closer to mandatory communism history classes starting in kindergarten after SB 1264 was passed by a 25-7 vote in the Senate. Meanwhile, a House version was temporarily postponed Friday just minutes after the Senate measure passed. The bills are similar: Sen. Jay Collins’ bill is entitled “History of Communism” while Rep. Chuck Brannan’s companion HB 1349 has a loftier title: “History and Instruction of Political and Socio-economic Systems.” But for practical purposes, the bills are more similar than different. They both require students to receive instruction on the history of communism beginning in the 2026-27 academic year in what is billed as an age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate way.

Growing beef about ‘fake’ meat: Senate passes ban of lab-grown meat” via Fresh Take Florida — Cultivated meat, or meat grown from animal cells in a lab, is on the verge of being outlawed in Florida, after the Senate voted 26-10 this week to ban its production in the state. “We know what beef is,” said Dusty Holley, the Florida Cattlemen’s Association’s director of field services. “We spent decades and decades making sure that we produced the most safe and wholesome products in the world,” Holley said. The Florida Cattlemen’s Association supported the legislative action, which includes banning the manufacture for sale, sale and distribution of cultivated meat in the state. Violators would be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor — punishable by up to 60 days in jail or a $500 fine — and an immediate stop-sale order. The measure was awaiting action in the House, where a companion bill had already passed through three legislative Committee votes.

House upvotes transparency rules for foreign social media platforms” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Social media platforms owned by or headquartered in six federally recognized hostile countries may soon have to be more forthcoming about their operations in the Sunshine State due to legislation House lawmakers just approved. The bill (HB 1541), sponsored by Rep. Randy Fine, is dubbed the “Transparency in Social Media Act.” It would require platforms like TikTok, WeChat and others under the controlling influence of China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela to give users and regulators a better behind-the-curtain view. The House voted 109-0 Friday for the bill, which would go into effect July 1. Sen. Joe Gruters, who is carrying an almost identical measure (SB 1148) in the Legislature’s upper chamber, said the bill will create an equal informational playing field.

Randy Fine and Joe Gruters call for more transparency rules for foreign social media platforms.

Senate poised to crack down on asbestos and silica claims” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The Senate is ready to approve legislation requiring more information from people looking for compensation in asbestos and silica cases via 2005’s Asbestos and Silica Compensation Fairness Act. Sen. Travis Hutson’s bill (SB 720), which is on Monday’s Third Reading Calendar, amends Florida Statutes to compel claimants to provide more information about their smoking history, along with info about people who can attest to the claimant’s exposure. If a second party is testifying to the claimant’s exposure, that person must also provide their name, address, date of birth and marital status.

Legislation for Toxic Secret chemical 1,4-dioxane dies in House” via Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel — Florida legislation to prevent a repeat of Seminole County’s unpublicized mass exposure to the toxic chemical 1,4-dioxane has been largely ignored by the House of Representatives and appears to have no chance of passage. “I’m sure this is a great disappointment to those people who have had to deal with it,” said Linda Stewart, an Orlando Senator who introduced a Senate version of the legislation. “We still don’t have any requirement to know if it’s in our water.” As the Orlando Sentinel revealed in its 2023 Toxic Secret series, for many years and potentially decades thousands of residents of Lake Mary, Sanford and part of Seminole County were provided tap water containing 1,4-dioxane.

Legislature reduces restrictions for formerly incarcerated wanting barber, cosmetology licenses” via Fresh Take Florida — Most people don’t have to wait a decade to take a barber’s licensing exam. Kenneth Marshall scheduled his exam in 2014 but didn’t make it after he was arrested and convicted of cocaine possession. After his release last year, the now 51-year-old Orlando resident is still waiting. A bill passed in the Legislature this week may change that for Marshall — and others looking to become licensed barbers after getting out of prison. The bill reduces how long criminal background checks could be used to keep a former inmate from applying for a barber or cosmetology license and allows any inmate enrolled in barber or cosmetology classes while incarcerated to apply those credits toward getting a license. In addition, the measure specifies the term “conviction” applies regardless of crime or sentencing but allows Boards to consider crimes listed in specific statutes if they relate to the profession’s practice.


Jimmy Patronis applauds House passage of DFS agency bill — Chief Financial Officer Patronis applauded the unanimous passage of HB 989 in the House. As a part of his 2024 ‘Florida Fights for Freedom’ Legislative priorities, the Department of Financial Services agency bill would create the Florida Taxpayer Advocate, protect first responders from the dangers of EV fires and support Florida policyholders when complex insurance issues arise. “With the unanimous passage of our agency bill, Florida is taking a major step forward in protecting our first responders and consumers from the dangers of EV and lithium-battery fires,” Patronis said. “With the advent of lithium-ion batteries being used in battery-powered scooters, golf carts, and cars, EV fires are a new phenomenon that our firefighters are battling every day. This legislation will also support Florida taxpayers and fight IRS overreach by creating the Florida Taxpayer Advocate. This new office will ensure Floridians have a seat at the table and a fighter by their side when the IRS comes knocking.”

Jimmy Patronis is cheering a bill that sets up a Florida Taxpayer Advocate.

Legislature again ignores bill to test body cameras at ‘notorious’ women’s prison” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Lawmakers have again sidestepped a proposal to bring additional accountability to a Florida women’s prison where a federal investigation revealed “notorious acts of sexual abuse, including rape, against prisoners.” Twin bills (SB 108, HB 391) that would have required guards to wear body cameras while on duty at Lowell Correctional Institute in Ocala died without a hearing during the 2024 Legislative Session. It marked the second time the GOP-controlled Legislature ignored legislation that would have allowed for better monitoring of the prison. In 2021, after U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigators released a damning report about the facility, Rep. Yvonne Hinson and former Sen. Annette Taddeo filed measures to address the issues. This year, Sen. Shevrin Jones joined Hinson in the cause.

Florida lawmakers may drive up insurance rates on some homeowners — and do little to bring down rates for everyone else” via Jason Garcia of Seeking Rents — Legislation poised to pass in the closing days of Session would allow surplus lines insurers to cherry-pick homeowner policies from Citizens. Now, the bills (House Bill 1503 and Senate Bill 1716) would only permit surplus lines insurers to take over policies that do not cover a “primary residence.” That means that any Floridian who currently has a policy from Citizens covering a home they live in for at least nine months of the year would still be safe. But it would leave an estimated 80,000 Florida homeowners currently enrolled in Citizens at risk of being forced onto the surplus lines market. It’s possible that throwing snowbirds and other second homeowners to the surplus-lines wolves may be the only thing of substance that Florida lawmakers do this Session on property insurance.


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

10:30 a.m. The House holds a floor Sesson. House Chambers.

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

6:15 p.m. House Rules Committee meets. Room 404, House Office Building.


Florida insurance market ‘still fragile’” via Christina Georgacopoulos of the Tampa Bay Business Journal — Last year’s reinsurance renewal season not only marked a steep increase in costs of coverage but more restrictive terms for that critical financial backstop that have forced Florida property insurance companies to take on more risk, according to Lockton insurance brokerage SVP Chip Storm. After consecutive years of elevated catastrophe losses absorbed by the reinsurance market, those carriers raised the threshold dollar amount for when they will step in to cover claims, Storm said. In some cases, reinsurers doubled “attachment points,” or retentions, from $500 million to $1 billion in losses, meaning a property insurer would be on the hook for up to $1 billion in claims from a major event before reinsurance kicks in, he said.

As reinsurers take on more risk, they push up the dollar amount after which they step in.

— 2024 —

Voters doubt Joe Biden’s leadership and favor Donald Trump, Times/Siena Poll finds” via Shane Goldmacher of The New York Times — With eight months left until the November election, President Biden’s 43% support lags behind Trump’s 48% in the national survey of registered voters. Only one in four voters think the country is moving in the right direction. More than twice as many voters believe Biden’s policies have personally hurt them as believe his policies have helped them. A majority of voters think the economy is in poor condition. The share of voters who strongly disapprove of Biden’s handling of his job has reached 47%, higher than in Times/Siena polls at any point in his presidency. The poll offers an array of warning signs for the President about weaknesses within the Democratic coalition, including among women, Black and Latino voters. So far, it is Trump who has better unified his party, even amid an ongoing Primary contest.

More voters see Donald Trump as the better leader.

Francis Suarez says Donald Trump will ‘coherently lead our country forward’ in presidential endorsement” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Miami Mayor Suarez has had a change of heart about Trump. He’s now backing the former President’s campaign to retake the White House. In a post to X, Suarez threw his support behind Trump, whom he had openly criticized — and snubbed at the ballot box during the 2020 election — for being too bellicose and divisive. Over the last few years, Suarez said, Trump has demonstrated himself to be a better leader than Biden on immigration and the economy. He indicated that Trump also appears to be in better cognitive shape.

In Florida court, Trump’s lawyers urge Aileen Cannon to hold trial after election” via Devlin Barrett and Perry Stein of The Washington Post — Federal prosecutors and lawyers for Trump pressed Judge Cannon on Friday to make a decision: Should the former President’s trial for allegedly mishandling classified documents take place before or after the November election? And if the high-profile, high-stakes trial of the GOP front-runner for President is to take place before the election, would it be too late to start the proceedings in September, so close to when voters begin casting ballots? Cannon heard hours of arguments on those questions and other issues Friday, but left the bench giving no indication of how she would decide the trial’s timing — though it now seems clear it will not begin in late May as originally planned.


Fox’s Larry Kudlow asks oversight Republican if Committee’s Biden probe is ‘coming to a dead end’” via Michael Luciano of Mediaite — Fox Business host Kudlow a member of the House Oversight Committee if its investigation into Hunter Biden and PresidentBiden is “coming to a dead end.” Hunter Biden testified before the Committee and answered myriad questions about his foreign business ventures and whether his father was involved. The Bidens have vehemently denied the elder Biden was involved or benefited in any way. Meanwhile, Republicans allege that Biden reaped ill-gotten gains from an arrangement they have yet to prove existed. The probe is part of an ongoing impeachment inquiry into the President. U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican, joined “Kudlow,” where the host sounded a somewhat skeptical note about the proceedings.

Larry Kudlow asks Scott Perry if the Joe Biden impeachment inquiry is nearing total collapse.

Alejandro Mayorkas: Executive orders aren’t enough to solve the migrant crisis” via Kelly Garrity of POLITICO — Executive action alone cannot solve the immigration crisis at America’s southern border, Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas said, urging Congress to pass legislation to alleviate the issue. While the White House is considering all its options, Mayorkas said during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” “administrative action is no substitute for an enduring solution.” “When we take administrative actions as we have done a number of times, we are challenged in court. Legislation is the enduring solution,” Mayorkas told CNN’s Dana Bash. “And by the way, we can, not, through administrative action, plus up the United States Border Patrol, customs and border protection by 1,500 personnel like this legislation proposes.

Mayorkas says federal government ‘not notified’ about suspect in Georgia nursing student’s death” via Kaia Hubbard of CBS News — Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas said the federal government was not notified about previous arrests by the suspect in the murder of Laken Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student. “Different cities have different levels of cooperation,” Mayorkas said on “Face the Nation.” “We were not notified in this instance.” Jose Ibarra, suspect in the murder of Riley, a Georgia nursing student, is an undocumented Venezuelan migrant who had been detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon crossing into the country with permission to stay in the country on a temporary basis. The individual then went on to allegedly commit two offenses in New York and Georgia, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Federal immigration officials were not informed that Laken Riley’s murder was by an illegal immigrant.

Bernie Sanders slams Biden’s ‘totally absurd’ Israel policy: ‘You can’t reconcile it’” via Marco Margaritoff of HuffPost — U.S. Sen. Sanders, a Vermont Independent, isn’t biting his tongue concerning U.S. policy toward Israel. The progressive Senator has continued to support Biden on his campaign for re-election but made an impassioned appearance on “Alex Wagner Tonight” — and slammed the “absurd” policy of funding what Sanders called “an unprecedented disaster.” The ongoing conflict erupted when Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and abducted around 200 others on Oct. 7. Conditions in Gaza have worsened into a humanitarian catastrophe since: Gaza’s health ministry says over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed, most of them women and children. Sanders said the hunger and death in the region “makes my stomach turn.”

Whitney Fox calls for federal protections for IVF, while blasting Anna Paulina Luna for ‘cowardice’” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — Congressional candidate Fox is calling on Congress to pass legislation protecting access to in vitro fertilization (IVF) after Senate Republicans this week blocked legislation that would have protected access. The issue made national headlines after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that families who lost embryos as a result of an accident at a clinic where they were being stored could sue the clinic for the wrongful death of a minor child. As a result, several IVF clinics in the state paused services out of caution, leaving people struggling to have children in limbo. “I just can’t imagine the frustration and pain that some families are going through right now,” Fox said in a written statement.


‘Come closer! We’re listening!’ Florida Democrats try to lure Hispanic voters away from Republicans” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — “Acércate! Estamos Escuchando!” is the newly launched attempt by Florida Democrats to win support from the state’s Hispanic voters, a constituency party leaders hope will help them win back some of the ground they’ve lost in recent elections. The plan — which translates as “Come closer! We’re listening!” — is aimed at countering both decades of messaging from Republicans to Hispanic voters that has contributed to Florida turning increasingly red and a sense by some that Democrats come around only during election season, only to disappear until the next election approaches. The question is will it work, and if so, when?

Frostproof Mayor becomes seventh candidate in race for HD 48” via Gary White of the Lakeland Ledger — Frostproof Mayor Jon Albert is looking toward Tallahassee. Albert, a member of the Frostproof City Commission since 2016, has filed to run for the House as a Republican in House District 48. He becomes the seventh candidate in the race for the seat, which is open as incumbent Rep. Sam Killebrew, a Winter Haven Republican, faces term limits. All seven candidates are Republicans. “After carefully reflecting on my service in the United States Marine Corps, and my time as Mayor of a small Florida town, I’ve decided to enter this race to bring a real conservative business point of view to how we should continue to run our state government,” Albert said in a news release.

Jon Albert makes seven in the race for HD 48.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

Auction of Joe Carollo’s home delayed while court settles homestead question” via Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — The auction of Miami Commissioner Carollo’s Coconut Grove home will not happen in March. The sale, originally set for March 19, was delayed until the courts resolve the question of whether Carollo and his wife, Marjorie, have constitutional protection that would prevent the auction of their home on Morris Lane to pay for part of a $63.5 million civil verdict against the Commissioner. It’s the latest development in a lengthy legal saga that began in 2018 when two Little Havana business owners accused Carollo of violating their First Amendment rights by siccing city officials on their establishments as retaliation for supporting a political opponent.

Joe Carollo is fighting the forced sale of his home to start settling a $63.5 million judgment.

‘Taxpayers need a break’: But League of Cities argues county is replacing one tax with another” via Mike Diamond of the Palm Beach Post — Saying “taxpayers need a break,” Palm Beach County Commissioners say they will let the 1% Infrastructure Sales Tax die on Dec. 31, 2025, to the dismay of the League of Cities, whose members passed resolutions urging that the tax be renewed. County Commissioners made it clear during a meeting Feb. 27 with the league that their preference is for a transportation surtax and that continuing the infrastructure tax could make it difficult for voter approval of the transportation surtax. Voters approved a referendum in 2016 for a 1% sales tax increase to pay for infrastructure improvements for schools, the county and municipalities. The tax was scheduled to end in 10 years or sooner if $2.7 billion was collected.

As boaters and Miami Beach officials fight, lawmakers move to restrict anchoring” via Alyssa Johnson of the Miami Herald — Miami-Dade boaters may face more limitations on where they can anchor their vessels based on a proposal that passed in the House and is moving favorably in the Senate. The legislation aims to target overnight anchoring in Biscayne Bay, which lawmakers say would help solve concerns about environmental damage in the area and the safety of recreational boaters. But critics of the legislation say it infringes on the rights of boat owners, leaves liveaboard boaters with fewer options and unfairly blames them for the issues cited by lawmakers. It would prevent boaters from anchoring at night in waterways between the Venetian Islands and around Palm Island.

Riviera Beach man sues city utility district, claiming contaminated drinking water made him sick” via Wayne Washington of the Palm Beach Post — A Riviera Beach man has filed suit against the city’s Utility Special District, claiming he was sickened after months of unknowingly drinking water the utility failed to tell residents had tested positive for E. coli, a fecal contaminant that can cause intense stomach pain, diarrhea and more serious problems in people who are already sick with other conditions. Jose Rivera, a truck driver, said he began experiencing stomach problems late last year after drinking city water. “Sometime in the middle of September, early October, I was going through different type of things, like sweating,” he said during a news conference.

As Spring Breakers live it up in Fort Lauderdale, ‘you’re going to see a very high increase in officers’” via Shira Moolten of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Fort Lauderdale’s beaches will soon attract the Spring Break crowds — potentially many more now that Miami Beach wants to “break up” with any wild revelers. Some fear that Miami Beach’s crackdown will send more hard-partying revelers to Fort Lauderdale, making an already busy season even rowdier, and potentially violent. But city officials and first responders held a news conference at Las Olas Oceanside Park on Friday to reassure the public that they will stay vigilant and prepared. Police patrols are ramping up, both uniformed and undercover, to stop underage drinking, thefts, fighting, or worse. Spring Break-specific rules are in place to hike parking rates and forbid coolers, canopies and tents on the beach.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

AOC at Orlando music festival: ‘Ron DeSantis, you should be scared’” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — Democrats had one clear message as they rallied in Orlando at the U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost-fronted MadSoul music festival: Don’t give up on Florida. Frost, the first member of Generation Z to be elected to Congress, announced he is running for re-election at his musical festival, which included cameos by U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and entertainer Lin-Manuel Miranda. “What we’re showing not just our city and our state, but the entire country, is: Don’t give up on Florida,” Frost told the crowd. “Don’t give up on the South. Don’t give up on us. We’re not defined by Donald Trump and fascist Ron DeSantis.” About 3,000 people gathered at Loch Haven Park, a grassy field located just north of downtown Orlando. The vibe was laid back with a political twist, and included food trucks, alcohol for sale and voter sign-up booths.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a featured guest at Maxwell Frost’s MadSoul music festival.

As Florida advances camping ban, Orlando’s homeless ask, ‘Where are we supposed to go?’” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — As Florida officials move to ban people from sleeping on public property, Peter Roberts wonders where he’ll be forced to go. Now he spends daytime hours at the Christian Service Center in Orlando, where he gets meals, toiletries and other services. But at night when it closes, Roberts, who has been homeless for nearly two years, said sleeping on the sidewalk is his only option in a community lacking sufficient affordable housing and where limited shelter beds are almost always full. His disability check isn’t enough to cover rent for a place of his own, he said. “It seems like we’re being punished now,” he said when told of the impending ban.

Kissimmee is running out of land. Experts says denser development is the answer.” via Natalia Jaramillo of the Orlando Sentinel — With only 850 acres of undeveloped land left, Kissimmee is shifting to redeveloping dilapidated buildings to sustain its steady growth and increasing the density of new developments, a controversial method experts say is the way of the future. Most of the city’s empty acreage is already set to be a 3,000-plus-home subdivision, Hilliard Isle. Kissimmee residents are feeling the pinch of the lack of land. Just behind the proposed Hilliard Isle subdivision sit the homes of families who are already dissatisfied with the cramped nature of the area and sad to see nearby fields of pasture and cows disappear.

‘Welcome home, Sabine’: Deltona resident celebrates Ian repairs funded by loan program” via Sheldon Gardner of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — A program designed to speed repairs after Hurricane Ian celebrated the completion of its first home in Deltona. The formerly flood-damaged home belongs to Sabine Mathieu, a disabled Navy veteran who has an 11-year-old son. She couldn’t leave her home, so she did her best with the help of neighbors, cleaning to keep mold away before she could get repairs done. She went to the Volusia County Council in October seeking help. “I have very limited funds in order to repair my house. That’s why I stay in there this way during the whole time. So, I’m doing my best to manage,” she told them.

Measles has spread to Central Florida. What preparations has Brevard made?” via Finch Walker of Florida Today — It’s been nearly two decades since Brevard has had a measles outbreak. But as cases pop up throughout Southern and Central Florida, Brevard officials say they are poised to respond if the disease makes an appearance on the Space Coast. An initial outbreak was reported Feb. 20 at an elementary school in Broward County, and as of Feb. 28 there were nine reported cases of measles in Broward County, and one in Polk County. Brevard has not had any reported cases of measles since 2006, when there were three confirmed cases of measles among adults in their 20s, according to the Department of Health.


Move to kill Hillsborough County’s indigent care tax stalls” via William March of the Tampa Bay Times — A move by Republican Hillsborough County Commissioner Josh Wostal to eliminate the county’s indigent health care tax has hit a dead end in this year’s Legislative Session. Wostal proposed the move to the county’s legislative delegation in a September meeting, contending that the tax is illegal because it was not voted on in a referendum. State Rep. Mike Beltran filed legislation to achieve Wostal’s goal. “The county government shouldn’t tax us, we should tax ourselves,” Beltran said. But with the Session nearing its end, his bill stalled without getting a Committee hearing, Beltran said last week.

Josh Wostal stumbles in his effort to eliminate Hillsborough’s indigent health care tax.

HART to explore higher property taxes, will ask Tampa for more downtown development revenue” via Henry Queen of the Tampa Bay Times — A last-minute proposal has surfaced that would increase property taxes to support Hillsborough County’s underfunded transit agency. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority’s Revenue Alternatives Committee on Thursday requested staff to develop a discussion item for the full Board meeting on April 1 regarding a potential millage rate bump. The Committee, which doesn’t include any of the Republican County Commissioners historically opposed to tax increases, has discussed several funding possibilities in lieu of the elusive transit sales surtax. “We’re picking through rocks and stones and everything else,” said Gil Schisler, Temple Terrace City Council member.

Tampa residents among most financially distressed in the U.S., study finds” via Devonta Davis of the Tampa Bay Business Journal — Tampa residents have seen waves of inflation, up and down unemployment numbers, recession rumors and an affordable housing crisis, and the latest report by WalletHub ranks it among the most financially distressed locations in the nation. The study examined which of the 100 largest cities in the U.S. are dealing with the biggest financial burdens in 2024. Metrics include average credit score, bankruptcy filings, people with accounts in distress and loans. Tampa ranked 22nd among cities with the most financial distress; the city ranks fourth overall for citizens with accounts in distress.

Clearwater Airpark has no beacon for night landings. Was that a factor in crash?” via Tracey McManus of the Tampa Bay Times — Clearwater is unlike most other public general aviation airports in that it doesn’t have a rotating beacon, a common feature that serves as a kind of lighthouse for planes at night. Fixed atop a tower, it can help pilots detect a runway from as far as 20 miles out. Clearwater officials discussed installing a beacon as early as 2017. Four years ago, a consultant recommended installing one before the end of 2020. It hasn’t happened. “The best way to see where the airpark is (at night) is to look for the black hole,” said Bruce Brock, a retired commercial airline and Air Force pilot whose term on Clearwater’s Airpark Advisory Board ended this month.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

Donna Deegan signs bill giving Sheriff settlement authority, returns monument bill unsigned” via Hanna Holyhaus of the Florida Times-Union — Three of City Council’s recently controversial bills became law this month after Mayor Deegan expressed her disapproval of them but did not exercise her right of veto. She returned two bills unsigned — both of which passed in Council in response to executive actions last year involving a no-bid lobbying contract from the Mayor’s Office and the alteration of the Springfield Confederate monument. In separate memos to the Council dating Feb. 12 and Feb. 20, Deegan outlined her reasons for not signing the bills relating to the “unintended consequences” of the no-bid contract legislation and the “encroachment” on mayoral power in the spending bill.

Donna Deegan wields the veto pen.

Case dismissed: Young immigrant freed from charges in St. Johns officer’s death” via Scott Butler of The Florida Times-Union — The controversial case against the Guatemalan immigrant charged with aggravated manslaughter of an officer has been dismissed, the 7th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office announced Friday. The case had gained an international following, including a petition with over 600,000 signatures to free him. Virgilio Aguilar Mendez was also charged with resisting an officer with violence in the May 19 confrontation outside the St. Augustine motel he was staying in when Sgt. Michael Kunovich questioned him and tried to search him. The ensuing struggle led to additional deputies taking the 5-foot-4, 115-pound teen down and Kunovich collapsing afterward and dying from a heart attack. “Recent expert testimony regarding the defendant’s inability to comprehend the English language, his cultural background and concerns about his intellectual capacity have raised significant issues to consider in the case,” State Attorney’s Office Bryan Shorstein said.


Chaos and infighting continue in Manatee County Republican Executive Committee” via Jesse Mendoza of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Manatee County Commission candidate April Culbreath is challenging a vote of no confidence cast against her in her role as Manatee County Republican Executive Committee Chair on Monday night during the second REC meeting to be contested this year. The meeting is the first to be called to order by Culbreath since Manatee REC members held a contested special meeting in January against her will. During that meeting, members voted to fill two vacancies on the REC’s Executive Board and to approve new constraints on Executive Board spending.

April Culbreath fights a no-confidence vote against her as Manatee County Republican Executive Committee Chair.

Bradenton officials promised to stop Manatee River sewage spills. But it happened again” via Jason Dill of the Bradenton Herald — A Bradenton sewage spill this week ended up with wastewater being diverted into the Manatee River. The City of Bradenton reported a public notice of the spill from its wastewater reclamation facility, located at 1810 First Street, to the Department of Environmental Protection. “At 12:10 p.m. the city water Reclamation Facility experienced an operational failure,” the notice said. “The filter system had a blockage of the media causing 1.2 million gallons of partially treated wastewater to be bypassed into the Manatee River. The bypass was closed at 5:10 p.m. and the river sampling was started. City staff cleaned the (areas) affected and a normal operation resumed.”

North Port leaders to discuss future of historic buildings at Warm Mineral Springs Park” via Earle Kimel of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — North Port leaders will discuss the future of Warm Mineral Springs Park Tuesday, as recent reports suggest there are options to preserve all or some of the popular facility’s three historic buildings damaged by Hurricane Ian 17 months ago. Architectural and engineering reports submitted in a Feb. 28 memo from Sweet Sparkman Architecture & Interiors indicate that all three historical buildings believed to be designed by Jack West of the Sarasota School of Architecture can ultimately be restored. The city created its local historical register specifically so the three structures at 12200 San Servando Ave. could be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. They were awarded that status in 2019.

Sarasota to vote on increased parking fees, paid spots on Monday” via Christian Casale of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — The Sarasota City Commission will vote on Monday whether to approve a series of parking proposals that would increase late fees, charge for more spots, reduce grace periods and incentivize more of what Parking Division General Manager Broxton Harvey called “turnover” — more motorists coming and going from free spots. Although Harvey told City Commissioners at a January workshop his department cannot break even under current policies, he told the Herald-Tribune the recommendations are not aimed at increasing parking revenue. The parking division estimates implementing all recommendations would bring in more than $2.2 million in annual revenue. After public input, the parking division’s 14 recommendations before the Commission were reduced to 11.

Naples candidates discuss future of local airport, support current location” via J. Kyle Foster of the Naples Daily News — A trio of candidates for Naples Mayor and City Council are working together to try to win the seats in order to save the Naples Airport and property rights, they say. On Feb. 28, mayoral candidate Gary Price and City Council candidates Berne Barton and Tony Perez-Benitoa spent time with airport tenants, friends and flying enthusiasts over food and drink. They then followed their hosts at Elite Jets, Paradise Coast Property Team and Naples Jet Center in speaking about the importance of the local airport to the community. “These planes have been flying over my head for 54 years,” Barton told the group of about 200 “friends of the airport.”


Why Elon Musk is the second most important person in MAGA” via David French of The New York Times — If Trump is MAGA’s champion, Musk is its gatekeeper. He doesn’t just use his immense reach (he has 174 million followers on X) to fight the left; he owns the right wing’s public square. This is because outside of X, the public isn’t reading the right.

And as a result, X now shapes the right as much as even Fox News.

Right-wing media appears to be struggling even more than mainstream media. Of the top right-wing sites in 2020, only Newsmax gained audience over the past four years. Every other right-wing site lost visitors, and most lost a staggering percentage of them.

In fact, the loss is so profound that there are individual articles and columns in The New York Times that get more visitors than all of the content that many of these sites post for an entire month. As a practical matter, this means that social media — and principally Musk’s X — becomes the central way in which many right-wing figures reach the public.

There are several consequences of this reality. It’s altering the way the right speaks. People will be naturally prone to focus most of their efforts on the medium through which they interact with the most people. A vast majority of people who interact with my work, for example, do so by reading my pieces, not by viewing my social media posts. My written work is the central focus of my professional life, while my social media posts are essentially an afterthought.

Moreover, a social media-centered movement understands what to think — the marching orders, however incoherent, typically trickle down from Trump — but often breaks down on the why.


Prosecutors are critical to public safety. Florida lawmakers should pay them more” via Katherine Fernandez Rundle for the Miami Herald — No one would argue with the premise that public safety is the foremost responsibility of state, county and city governments. When our residents feel afraid to walk our streets, our community can fall into despair and apathy. As Miami-Dade state attorney and the chief law enforcer, I have worked hard with our law enforcement partners to ensure that will not happen. My team, working in partnership with our local police departments, courts and other stakeholders deserve credit for overcoming the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19 and the post-pandemic period. The Medical Examiner’s data indicates that we had 16% fewer homicides in 2023 than in 2019, the lowest number since 2005, and the second lowest number since 1982. Our success is particularly impressive considering the county’s population has grown more than 70% since 1982.

School chaplains an offensive assault on church-state wall” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — Florida’s volunteer school chaplains bill, passed by the state House and awaiting a Senate vote, was wrong from the start. There’s no need for it other than as a direct assault on the constitutional separation of church and state. Qualified chaplains belong in prisons, hospitals and military posts, whose residents can’t seek spiritual solace elsewhere. But not in public schools. Schoolchildren are at liberty to practice religion wherever else they and their parents choose — at a church, synagogue or mosque. They should not be prey for the evangelists this legislation invites into schools.

Pinellas schools strikes right balance on cellphones in the classroom” via the Tampa Bay Times editorial board — Kudos to the Pinellas County School Board and Superintendent Kevin Hendrick for their measured approach to regulating cellphones in the classroom. Rather than rashly acting to adopt a policy that could prove unwieldy or ineffective, the district surveyed teachers, parents and students and looked at policies adopted elsewhere to see what works and what doesn’t. People agree that cellphones, even in a pocket, can distract students. But phones can also serve educational purposes, properly regulated. In the end, district officials are proposing that, in general, students keep their phones, smartwatches and ear pods off and out of sight during class unless teachers give permission otherwise. Putting teachers in charge of the classroom rules makes perfect sense, particularly when the answer is automatically “no” unless they say “yes.”

Stop the sneak attack on Orange County growth proposal” via the Orlando Sentinel editorial board — Throughout the current Legislative Session, Florida’s House and Senate leaders have been brutally upfront about their intent to strip control of local government from local hands. Bills rushing toward the finish line would kneecap the ability of cities and counties to deal with problems such as homelessness, aggressive policing and the impact of deadly heat on local workers among myriad other issues. Some even want to limit the ability of voters to keep popular, trusted leaders on County Commissions. Lawmakers have stopped even trying to pretend: They’re going to grab every crumb of power they can snatch from local governments and lawmakers’ own constituents, tangling it up in Tallahassee bureaucracy and legislative horse-trading. So, when lawmakers start sneaking around to undercut their own constituents, they have to know they’re really crossing the line.


— ALOE —

Taylor Swift announces ‘Black Dog’ special edition of ‘Tortured Poets Department’ album” via Chris Willman of Variety — Taylor Swift has announced a third, and “final,” limited special edition of her upcoming album “The Tortured Poets Department,” themed around a bonus track, like the previous two. The exclusive track that gives this variant its title: “The Black Dog.” Swift made the announcement during a “secret songs” segment at the closing night of her engagement in Singapore. As a title, “The Black Dog” will be intriguing to fans who know it as a popular expression for depression or melancholy, as said to have first been used by Samuel Johnson in the 1700s and popularized in the 20th century through its association with Winston Churchill. Although little is known about the Swift song, she did include a presumed lyrical snippet, “Old habits die screaming…,” in further announcing the forthcoming edition on social media.

Taylor Swift teases a ‘Black Dog’ special edition of her upcoming ‘Tortured Poets Department’ album.

‘Dune 2’ jolts box office with mighty $81.5 million debut” via Rebecca Rubin of Variety — “Dune: Part Two” is riding those massive sandworms all the way to the top of box office charts. Director Denis Villeneuve‘s big-budget sequel has collected $81.5 million in its domestic debut and delivered a mighty, necessary jolt for struggling movie theaters. It’s the biggest opening weekend of the year and the largest since last October’s Taylor Swift concert film “The Eras Tour” ($93 million). “This is an outstanding opening for a science-fiction [sequel],” says David A. Gross of movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Audiences are connecting with these human, vulnerable [characters].”

Meet Walt Disney World’s most complimented cast member” via Toni Ferrigno of WDW News Today — Willie Jackson has been crowned the most complimented Cast Member in Walt Disney World for the second year in a row. With over 1,000 Cast Member Compliments in the last year alone, Willie Jackson received the honor of most complimented Cast Member in celebration of World Compliment Day on March 1. Jackson is a PhotoPass photographer for Walt Disney World and can be found snapping photos of guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. “I like to be a director or producer, and when I get guests to me, they really are my actors,” Jackson tells Fox 35 Orlando. “I try my very best to show them certain areas they can pose.” For those unaware, Cast Member Compliments are a way for guests to recognize and “send some magic” to any Cast Members who make their day at the Parks special.


Happy belated birthday to House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell. Best wishes to Trent Muntz, former aide to Senate President Passidomo, and Alex Young, legislative assistant to Sen. Danny Burgess.


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.


  • At least advertise to fill the position! (Or just re-read before postin)

    March 4, 2024 at 9:36 am

    Huh? “Fox Business host Kudlow a member of the House Oversight Committee if its investigation into Hunter Biden and PresidentBiden is ‘coming to a dead end.’” Again: editing, anyone?

    • I know!

      March 4, 2024 at 9:38 am


  • Trump Lost DC

    March 4, 2024 at 1:46 pm

    Trump lost DC’s GOP Primary.

    That’s DC, where the most people have the most firsthand knowledge of, and experience with, Trumps so-called Presidency.

    That’s Washington DC. And that’s the GOP. And Trump lost.

    Trump lost because the GOPs up in DC know Trump far too well.

Comments are closed.


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