Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 6.18.24

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

Good Tuesday morning.

Florida legislators will tap into hefty reserve account after Ron DeSantis veto” via Gary Fineout of POLITICO — Florida legislative leaders plan to tap into a so-called rainy day reserve fund to preserve the jobs of roughly 200 legislative employees who were affected by DeSantis’ decision to veto nearly $57 million that was supposed to go to support services for the Florida Legislature. House Speaker Paul Renner and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo outlined their plan of action in a memo that was distributed late Monday. DeSantis vetoed the money so he could wipe out a proposed study on credit card fees that was opposed by credit card companies and some conservative groups. But his veto not only wiped-out funding for the study, but also the money used to pay for joint legislative Committees, legislative auditors, tech workers and state economists.


On Monday, Rep. Randy Fine on Monday shared a tweet from Florida Voice News podcaster Brandon Leslie about findings that Patagonia had given significant funding to a group linked to a Palestinian terrorist group, adding that he “wouldn’t accept money from a group that funds #MuslimTerror.”

But it doesn’t stop there. The group Captains for Clean Water has also accepted money from Patagonia, prompting Fine to call them out similarly. He shared it with the hashtag #ReturnAway, a call for the clean water organization to return the funding.

This is a big issue for Fine, who is Jewish and outspoken in his support for Israel as they continue to face ongoing threats from Hamas.

The more than $139,000 Patagonia has given to the Alliance for Global Justice since 2016 is at issue. According to the Washington Examiner, the Arizona-based organization has been linked to The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

It’s altogether possible the clean water organization wasn’t aware of Patagonia’s financial ties to designated terror groups known for anti-Israel activism, and they have time to do the right thing.

But the clock is now ticking. The organization has been put on notice, thankfully, by a stalwart official whose commitment to supporting America’s most important ally is unwavering.


Happening today — Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison will visit Tallahassee to highlight the Florida Democratic Party’s record-breaking efforts to field candidates in every congressional and state legislative race in 2024. For the first time since the state flipped nearly 30 years ago, there is a Democrat running in every House and Senate district, successfully fielding 140 candidates in every race for the Florida Legislature. Harrison will be joined by Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried, elected officials and candidates to celebrate this historic achievement and major boost in momentum for the Florida Democratic Party: 1 p.m., Leon County Courthouse Courtyard, 301 South Monroe St, Tallahassee. RSVP to [email protected]. Please arrive 15 minutes in advance.


CNN Presidential Debate — 9; Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens at Disney World — 11; ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ premieres — 12; Freedom Month Sales Tax Holiday begins — 15; Universal Mega Movie Parade debuts — 16; Donald Trump’s felony sentencing — 23; Republican National Convention begins — 26; 2024 MLS All-Star Game — 35; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games on NBC/Peacock — 38; ‘Deadpool & Wolverine’ premieres — 39; Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday begins — 42; ‘Alien: Romulus’ premieres — 60; Florida Primary Election — 61; Democratic National Convention begins — 63; FBHA’s annual conference, BHCon, begins — 64; second Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins — 68; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 68; Tool Time Sales Tax Holiday begins — 76; 2024 NFL season kicks off — 81; Packers will face Eagles in Brazil — 81; Vice Presidential Debate — 100; Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour stops in Miami — 124; 2024 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 131; Florida TaxWatch’s 45th Annual Meeting — 139; 2024 Presidential Election — 140; Legislature’s 2025 Organizational Session — 154; Las Vegas Grand Prix — 154; ‘Mufasa: The Lion King’ premieres — 171; MLS Cup 2024 — 172; College Football Playoff begins — 185; Fiesta Bowl — 196; Peach, Rose & Sugar Bowls — 197; Orange Bowl — 205; Sugar Bowl — 207; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ premieres — 241; the 2025 Oscars — 259; Florida’s 2025 Legislative Session begins — 261; 2025 Session ends — 321; ‘Moana’ premieres — 371; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 405; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 405; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 512; ‘Avatar 3’ premieres — 550; ‘Avengers 5’ premieres — 686; Untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 703; FIFA World Cup 26™ final — 723; FIFA World Cup 26™ final match — 761; Another untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 914; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,054; ‘Avatar 4’ premieres — 2,013; ‘Avatar 5’ premieres — 2,735.


U.S. Supreme Court rejects request to hear Florida online sports betting case” via Shira Moolten of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The rejection of the case now paves the way for sports betting to continue unchallenged in Florida for the next several years.

“The Seminole Tribe of Florida applauds today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to decline consideration of the case involving the Tribe’s Gaming Compact with the State of Florida,” Gary Bitner, a representative for the Tribe, said Monday. “It means members of the Seminole Tribe and all Floridians can count on a bright future made possible by the Compact.”

SOCTUS has the last say in the Seminole Tribe’s sportsbook case.

The court wrote that Justice Brett Kavanaugh would have granted the petition for certiorari filed by West Flagler Associates, the group of pari-mutuels that has long sought to halt online sports betting. Kavanaugh had previously made comments suggesting he saw merit in the case, particularly the idea that West Flagler and other gambling companies may have been treated unfairly because of the monopoly the state granted to the Tribe.

The Seminole Tribe achieved its monopoly on online sports betting in Florida under a gaming deal, called a compact, with DeSantis in 2021 that hinged on the idea that all online sports betting takes place on tribal lands because the servers are located there and is therefore not a violation of a federal law that relegates gambling to tribal lands.

The decision “will have repercussions across the country,” Steve Bittenbender, an analyst for, said by opening a door for states including New Mexico, Washington and Wisconsin “to expand upon those agreements and let the recognized tribal gaming nations in those states operate online sports betting across the state. This, too, could open the door for iGaming or online casinos, in a number of states.”

— 2024 — FLORIDA —

Donald Trump endorses ‘tremendous champion’ Neal Dunn for re-election in CD 2” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee, is endorsing GOP U.S. Rep. Dunn for re-election to Florida’s 2nd Congressional District. “Congressman Neal Dunn is a tremendous champion for Florida’s 2nd Congressional District!” Trump wrote in a prepared statement backing Dunn’s bid. “An accomplished surgeon and a retired Major in the U.S. Army, Neal is fighting hard to Deliver Quality Care to our Brave Veterans, Strengthen our Military, Grow the Economy, Lower Inflation, Restore American Energy Independence, and Protect our always under siege Second Amendment. Neal Dunn has my Complete and Total Endorsement — HE WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN!” Dunn is up against former teacher and business owner Rhonda Woodward for the Republican nomination.

Neal Dunn gets the coveted ‘Complete and Total Endorsement.’

Trump tops fleet of endorsements for Mike Haridopolos” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — On Monday, Trump offered his support to Haridopolos, who is one of three Republicans vying to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Bill Posey in Florida’s 8th Congressional District. “Mike Haridopolos will be a fantastic Representative for Florida’s 8th Congressional District …,” Trump posted on Truth Social. The former President added, “Mike Haridopolos has my Complete and Total Endorsement.” Trump announced his support the same day Haridopolos’ campaign released a lengthy list of endorsements from elected officials representing communities within the Space Coast-based district, including state Reps. Thad Altman, Robbie Brackett and Randy Fine, Tyler Sirois and Chase Tramont as well as state Sen. Erin Grall.

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell announces endorsements from Black leaders across Florida” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mucarsel-Powell is announcing endorsements from key Black leaders as she seeks the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Rick Scott. The list includes sitting lawmakers around the state. “I am honored and humbled to continue to earn the support of Florida’s Black community leaders as we fight for a brighter future together,” the Miami Democrat said. “The Black community has always been a driving force for progress in Florida and around the country.”

Democrats see glimmers of hope in Florida. Are they seeing things?” via Lisa Lerer and Patricia Mazzei of The New York Times — Trump and DeSantis remade Florida into the red-hot center of the Republican universe, transforming the state into a bastion of power for their party. But now, recent surveys showing a tightening presidential race in Florida have given some Democrats glimmers of hope that they could begin to claw their way back into contention in what was once the most contested of all the battleground states. That movement in public opinion, along with the announcement that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will appear on the ballot in Florida this Fall, has injected a fresh sense of unpredictability into the wild world of the state’s politics. And yet some Democrats are engaging in a kind of political magical thinking, flirting with the notion that small signs of improvements mean the state could turn toward their party once again. The reality is much more sobering: Wresting Florida from Republicans’ grip in key races will be difficult.

— 2024 — DOWN-BALLOT —

Senate leaders endorse ‘champion’ Bryan Ávila for re-election to SD 39” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Passidomo is joining future upper chamber leaders in backing Republican Sen. Ávila for re-election to Senate District 39. The endorsement comes from the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (FRSCC), the political committee that serves as a fundraising arm for Senate Republicans. Joining Passidomo on the FRSCC statement endorsing Ávila are Senate President-designate Ben Albritton and Sens. Jim Boyd and Jay Trumbull. Boyd and Trumbull are next in line after Albritton to lead the Senate. “As an officer in the Florida Army National Guard and a college professor, Bryan Ávila knows firsthand what’s at stake in the fight to strengthen our economy and increase access to opportunity for all Floridians,” read a prepared statement from the group.

Senate leaders give Bryan Ávila a big thumbs-up.

HD 13 challenger Brenda Priestly-Jackson raises questions about write-in’s qualifying paperwork” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The ECO of Priestly-Jackson, challenger to Rep. Angie Nixon, contends in a letter to Secretary of State Cord Byrd that write-in Terrance Jordan “submitted the form DS-DE 9 (Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository for Candidates) with a campaign depository designated as a California bank.” The ECO, Priestly Jackson For Neighbors, intends to file a legal challenge, possibly including a writ of mandamus, asserting that Jordan is unqualified for the ballot. If he is removed from the ballot, the Primary would be open, which is something Priestly-Jackson wants. She believes Nixon was trying to close the Primary and that Jordan’s candidacy materialized during the qualifying week to this end, disenfranchising 51,000 independent and Republican voters in the predominantly Democratic district in the process.

Cyndi Stevenson endorses Nick Primrose for HD 18 — Exiting Rep. Stevenson is endorsing Republican Primrose to take her place in House District 18. “Nick Primrose is a thoughtful conservative. Very bright, confident enough to ask questions and strong enough to stand on conservative principles. We need people like Nick in Tallahassee, and I am pleased to endorse him for the state House,” Stevenson said. Primrose served as Deputy General Counsel when now-U.S. Sen. Scott was Governor and later served as an attorney for DeSantis. Scott endorsed Primrose for the seat last week. He faces Kim Kendall in the GOP Primary on Aug. 20.

Happening today:

Joe Saunders crosses $250K raised for HD 106 bid amid ‘Moe Saunders’ controversy” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Former Democratic Rep. Saunders led fundraising last period for what is now a four-candidate race to represent House District 106, collecting $52,000 — more than 10 times what the incumbent collected — in April and May. In the year since he filed to run, Saunders has raised about $252,000 between his campaign account and political committee, Friends of Joe Saunders. He had more than $204,000 of that remaining heading into June. Republican Rep. Fabián Basabe, meanwhile, raised less than $5,000. But he still holds more than anyone else in the contest due to $250,000 worth of self-loans, the unspent portion of which he can take back.

— 2024 — DOWN-BALLOT 2 —

Carey Baker explores legal options to disqualify opponent after ‘deceptive’ qualification” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Lake County Property Appraiser Baker left the constitutional officer feeling betrayed. It also puts him at greater political risk than he has found himself in more than a decade, heading into an election where only Republican Mark Jordan’s name will appear on the ballot. Baker has rallied Republican leaders in Lake County around what may be a write-in campaign defending his job. Republican Party of Lake County Chair Anthony Sabatini has called for Jordan to be expelled from the party, accusing him of using dirty tricks to get on the ballot. “The whole community is furious about this,” Baker said. “I hope Mark does the right and honorable thing and withdraws.” As he walked out of the office, Jordan — brother to Lake County Tax Collector David Jordan and a member of the local Hospital Board — filed as a Republican candidate. That makes Mark Jordan the only candidate who qualified to have their name on the ballot, and it also makes Jordan the official Republican nominee.

Carey Baker will get litigious over his deceptive challenger.

Qualifying period ends: These are the candidates for Brevard’s School Board” via Finch Walker of Florida Today — In a year that’s seen the Brevard School Board make controversial moves from banning books to allowing trained staff to carry firearms, six candidates will vie for two seats on the five-member Board in the upcoming Primary. In District 3, there are two candidates, meaning a Board member will be elected during the Primary. But in District 4, incumbent Matt Susin is running against three additional candidates. Unless one candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, there will be a runoff after the Primary involving the top two vote-getters, and a Board member will be elected during the General Election on Nov. 5.

South Florida AFL-CIO backs James Reyes for Miami-Dade County Sheriff” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Reyes is adding another significant local endorsement in his bid to become the county’s next Sheriff, pulling in support from the South Florida AFL-CIO. “When you want to know what a public servant truly believes in, you look at what they’ve done. Chief James Reyes has an incredible track record of fighting for workers’ rights, supporting his staff, and engaging in good faith collective bargaining because he knows that when our law enforcement workers’ needs are met, our communities are safer for it,” South Florida AFL-CIO President Jeffrey Mitchell said. “We are proud to endorse Chief Reyes and look forward to working with him as Sheriff.”


Joe Biden’s campaign announces $50M advertising blitz highlighting Trump’s conviction” via The Associated Press — Biden’s re-election campaign is spending $50 million through the end of June, a blitz that includes its first television ad trumpeting Trump’s felony conviction and signals that the Democratic incumbent is seeking to make his Republican opponent’s legal woes a bigger issue heading into November. The advertising push comes with Election Day still more than five months away. But Biden’s campaign says it wants to define the choice more clearly between the candidates ahead of the first debate between them in Atlanta on June 27. The ad campaign includes more than $1 million geared toward media reaching Black, Hispanic and Asian American voters and a spot highlighting Trump’s conviction on 34 felony counts in a New York hush money case. It will air on general market television and connected TV on streaming devices and cellphones in battleground states as well as on national cable.

To watch the ad, please click the image below:

1st Biden-Trump debate will include microphone muting, coin flip and more” via Alexandra Hutzler of ABC News — With less than two weeks until the first presidential debate, CNN announced the rules agreed on by both Biden and Trump’s campaigns. They include microphone muting, a coin flip and more when the two candidates face off at the network’s Atlanta studio on June 27. The debate, which is being moderated by CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, will run for approximately 90 minutes with two commercial breaks. There will be no live studio audience, one major change from debates past. Biden and Trump will stand at podiums decided by a coin flip. Their microphones will be muted unless it is their turn to speak, the network said, which is likely to limit how much the candidates can interrupt one another.

‘Greatest threat’: Former top Kamala Harris aide reveals which Trump VP pick could sink her candidacy” via Aubrie Spady and Cameron Cawthorne of Fox News — Vice President Harris’ former communications director recently said there is one Republican who would be the “greatest threat” to her vice presidency if chosen as Trump’s 2024 running mate. Ashley Etienne, who served as Harris’ communications director in 2021, said she believes Ohio Sen. JD Vance is an “incredible debater” and could present a challenge to Harris in the upcoming election. “I think JD Vance would pose the greatest threat [to] Kamala Harris, in some respects. I mean he’s an incredible debater,” Etienne told CNN. “I think he has this quality that makes him seem palpable to that 1 to 2% that actually might vote or that is undecided, that will actually pay attention to the debates because most people don’t pay attention to the debates.”

Why the ‘double haters’ of 2024 are different” via The Politics Desk — The so-called double haters — those who hold an unfavorable view of both major party presidential nominees — are a crucial group of swing voters and for good reason. In 2016, they broke for Trump by nearly 20 points over Hillary Clinton. And in 2020, they swung for Biden over Trump. But NBC News’ merged polling of the 2024 race tells two important stories about these voters: One, they’re very different from the double haters of the 2016 and 2020 Elections. Two, they’re completely up for grabs between Biden and Trump.

Secret Service member robbed at gunpoint during Biden’s weekend California trip” via Miranda Nazzaro of The Hill — A U.S. Secret Service member was robbed at gunpoint in Tustin, California, last Saturday while Biden was in the state for a Los Angeles fundraiser. The Secret Service member was returning from a work assignment late Saturday when an armed robbery occurred, prompting them to fire their service weapon. Secret Service representative Anthony Guglielmi noted the Secret Service employee was not injured and it is still unknown if the suspect was struck. The suspect and vehicle have not been located as of Monday afternoon, the Tustin Police Department said. The police said a 2004-2005 silver Infinity was seen leaving the area and asked the public for help in identifying the suspects. When police arrived on the scene shortly after 9:30 p.m., they discovered the Secret Service employee’s bag was stolen at gunpoint during the incident.

Hunter Biden’s lawyers withdraw motion for new gun trial” via Reuters — Lawyers for Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden, on Monday withdrew a filing seeking a new trial in his federal gun case, moments after the motion was uploaded to his case’s docket in Delaware federal court. “The Motion for a New Trial has been deleted at the request of counsel,” the note filed to the docket website read, describing it as a “correcting entry.” Biden’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the action. Hunter Biden became the first child of a sitting President to be convicted of a felony earlier this month. A jury found him guilty on all three counts related to his lying about illegal drug use when he purchased a handgun in 2018. Other entries on the docket for the case have been deleted and corrected versions were later refiled.


Ron DeSantis signs measure updating Baker Act, investing $50M in mental health services” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — DeSantis approved legislation (HB 7021) to update the state’s Baker and Marchman Acts and invest millions to help with mental health and substance abuse. Melanie Brown-Woofter, president and CEO of the Florida Behavioral Health Association (FBHA), praised the Governor for signing off on the measure. “Through the Governor’s and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ unwavering commitment to Floridians struggling with mental health and substance use disorders, community providers can continue to enhance their crisis services in Florida’s communities, ultimately protecting individuals and families,” Brown-Woofter said. Casey DeSantis has made improving mental health a focal point of her time as First Lady, launching multiple initiatives to help address those struggling throughout the state.

Ron DeSantis signs an update for the state’s Baker Act.

Gov. DeSantis OKs workers’ comp reimbursement boost — Legislation signed by DeSantis last week aims to broaden the field of health care providers who will accept workers’ compensation patients by increasing reimbursement rates for physicians and surgeons. The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, increases the payout for physicians from 110% of the Medicare reimbursement rate to 175%. For surgeons, it increases the reimbursement rate from 140% to 210%. Additionally, the soon-to-be law increases the amount expert witnesses may charge from $200 an hour to $300 an hour.

More background checks inbound — More health care workers will be required to submit to background checks under legislation signed by the Governor last week. In addition to background checks, HB 975 will require health care providers to submit to fingerprint checks for licensure. The law will apply to new licensure applicants as well as practitioners who renew their licenses after those provisions of the law go into effect on July 1, 2025.

‘They’re treating us like we’re spies’: Florida property ban has Chinese citizens fuming” via Samantha Delouya of CNN — After his employer implemented a return-to-office policy last year, Jin Bian decided to cut down his one-hour commute time by purchasing a house closer to the office in Tampa, Florida. Then, he was told the purchase might get him prison time. “That was really shocking to me. It’s just purchasing property,” Bian, who is originally from Nanjing, China, said. “Once I learned that, I didn’t even bother to look anymore.” Bian, a 31-year-old software engineer who has lived in the U.S. for 12 years, is a recipient of an H-1B visa, which allows companies to employ foreign workers. For nearly a year, however, it has been a crime for him to purchase a home in Florida after DeSantis, signed a law restricting Chinese nationals without U.S. green cards from purchasing property in the state.

AppointedChris Bufano, of Bristol, to serve as Judge on the Liberty County Court; Lillian Ewen, of Fort Pierce, to serve as Judge on the 19th Circuit Court.

Floridians head north for abortions now that six-week ban in effect” via Ana Goñi-Lessan of the Tallahassee Democrat — For three years, Mary has been supporting women who decide to end their pregnancies. But on May 1, the day Florida’s 15-week abortion ban turned into a six-week abortion ban, they stopped asking for help. Mary, not her real name, is a North Florida-based doula, a trained professional who supports someone through birth. Her expertise also includes miscarriage and abortion. When Florida became the only state in the Southeast without a total or near-total abortion ban, Mary would get calls from women in neighboring states who needed help with transportation and child care, or sometimes they just needed a hand to hold. It’s easier to ask a stranger.


Surgeon General calls for warning labels on social media platforms” via Ellen Barry and Cecilia Kang of The New York Times — The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, announced on Monday that he would push for a warning label on social media platforms advising parents that using the platforms might damage adolescents’ mental health. Warning labels are one of the most powerful tools available to the nation’s top health officials, but Dr. Murthy cannot unilaterally require them; the action requires approval by Congress. The proposal builds on several years of escalating warnings from the Surgeon General. In a May 2023 advisory, he recommended that parents immediately set limits on phone use and urged Congress to swiftly develop health and safety standards for technology platforms.

Vivek Murthy is pushing for warning labels for social media. Image via AP.

Biden will announce deportation protection and work permits for spouses of U.S. citizens” via Stephen Groves, Seung Min kim and Rebecca Santana of The Associated Press — Biden is planning to announce a sweeping new policy Tuesday that would lift the threat of deportation for tens of thousands of people married to U.S. citizens, an aggressive election-year action on immigration that had been sought by many Democrats. Biden will announce the new program at a White House event to celebrate the Obama-era “Dreamers” directive that offered deportation protections for young undocumented immigrants, according to three people briefed on the White House plans. The policy will allow roughly 490,000 spouses of U.S. citizens an opportunity to apply for a “parole in place” program, which would shield them from deportations and offer them work permits if they have lived in the country for at least 10 years. They all spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the announcement publicly.

Brett Kavanaugh ruling alarms Trump critics: ‘Warning shot’” via Sean O’Driscoll of Newsweek — Abortion-rights advocates have raised alarms about a recent U.S. Supreme Court case after the court ruled that the abortion drug mifepristone should remain legal. In delivering a judgment for the court, Justice Kavanaugh wrote that anti-abortion advocates can still take a case before the FDA and other regulatory bodies. “The federal courts are the wrong forum for addressing the plaintiffs’ concerns about FDA’s actions,” he wrote. “The plaintiffs may present their concerns and objections to the President and FDA in the regulatory process, or to Congress and the President in the legislative process.”

Biden’s Title IX law expanding protections for LGBTQ+ students is dealt another setback” via Bruce Schreiner of The Associated Press — The Biden administration’s effort to expand protections for LGBTQ+ students hit another roadblock Monday when a federal judge in Kentucky temporarily blocked the new Title IX rule in six additional states. U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves referred to the regulation as “arbitrary in the truest sense of the word” in granting a preliminary injunction blocking it in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. His ruling comes days after a different federal judge temporarily blocked the new rule from taking effect in Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi and Montana. Attorneys general in more than 20 Republican-led states have filed at least seven legal challenges to Biden’s new policy. Republicans argue the policy is a ruse to allow transgender girls to play on girls’ athletic teams. The Biden administration said the rule does not apply to athletics.

— LOCAL: S. FL —

Broward School Board incumbents face challengers. Here’s a look at the candidates” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The Broward School Board elections will be competitive this year, with five seats up for grabs, and several incumbents seeking to fend off challengers. Daniel Foganholi, who in 2022 was appointed twice by DeSantis to serve on the School Board, will face challengers Maura McCarthy Bulman and John Christopher Canter in District 1. Torey Alston, also appointed by DeSantis to serve on the School Board, faces challenger Rebecca Lynne Larew Thompson in District 2. Sarah Leonardi, the District 3 incumbent elected in 2020, faces Jason Lee Loring as the challenger. Jeff Holness, the District 5 incumbent elected in 2022, faces challenger Windsor Delano Ferguson Jr.

Daniel Foganholi is seeking to fend off two challengers.

‘Imminent risk of collapse.’ Miami apartment building engulfed in flames to be torn down” via Devoun Cetoute of the Miami Herald — A South Florida apartment building consumed by flames last week — leaving more than 40 residents without a home — is on the verge of “imminent” collapse, officials said. Taking precautionary action, the City of Miami will demolish the structure Tuesday. The city’s announcement Monday comes a week after Juan Francisco Figuero set ablaze Temple Court Apartments, a four-story complex, after shooting a worker there, Miami police said. It took 126 people to extinguish the flames, and 43 people — many of them low-income elderly — were displaced.

Broward charter schools expected to win $108 million settlement” via Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Broward charter schools are expected to collect a $108 million windfall after successfully arguing that they were shortchanged out of money from a referendum passed years ago. The School Board agreed on April 16 to resolve legal battles with charter schools but didn’t reveal the dollar amount. Final approval is expected to happen at a meeting on Tuesday. The money is related to a referendum voters approved in 2018 for teacher pay, safety and security and mental health. Several charter school operators sued the School Board in October alleging the district failed to adequately share with charter schools the $455 million collected from the referendum over a four-year period. The School Board agreed at the time to pay larger charter schools $4.6 million for safety and security, but not a proportional share of what was collected.

Glades farmers recovering after days of rainfall at levels ‘expected from a hurricane’” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Glades farmers are working to return to normal operations after being hit with days of rainfall akin to a hurricane. That’s according to the Florida Sugarcane Farmers, a group which aims to support and promote those farmers. The area had been dealing with dry conditions before the deluge. But while some rain would have helped alleviate the dry spell in the Glades, the amount of rain seen late last week is causing headaches for farmers. The intense rainfall across the southern part of the state prompted DeSantis to declare a state of emergency in more southern counties due in part to flash flooding.

— LOCAL: C. FL —

Countywide, multicounty races, two Port Authority seats decided without opposition” via Dave Berman and J.D. Gallop of Florida Today — Two countywide officials and two Canaveral Port Authority Commissioners have been re-elected without opposition, as the candidate qualifying period for their offices ended Friday. In an earlier candidate qualifying period, the races for two multicounty offices also were decided without a single ballot being cast. William Scheiner, the candidate for Brevard-Seminole State Attorney, and Blaise Trettis, incumbent Brevard-Seminole Public Defender, did not have any opponents by the time the qualifying period ended on April 26. All six candidates who won unopposed races are Republicans.

In Orlando campaign’s last days, one candidate says his rival threatened to smear him if he didn’t quit” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — Tensions in the race to represent Orlando’s downtown District 5 erupted when one candidate accused the other of trying to intimidate him to quit the race and the other crashed a news conference called to denounce her, hours ahead of Election Day Tuesday. In a news release, Travaris McCurdy’s campaign denounced a series of blog posts over the past week describing past criminal allegations against him. Those allegations ultimately didn’t lead to charges or convictions, although that is not clear in the posts. McCurdy linked the posts to his opponent Shan Rose and released a screen shot of a text message from her phone number offering to keep the allegations under wraps — if McCurdy would abandon his candidacy.

The race between Shan Rose and Travaris McCurdy is getting heated.

Shan Rose, Travaris McCurdy hurl attacks ahead of Orlando Special Election” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Rose said she feels confident as the top vote-getter in the May election, but also feels the tenseness of the runoff. “I have felt attacked since the day after the election,” she said. That included people questioning her employment history. Within days of the first election, News 6 reported that she had been terminated from a city job and also raised questions about her prior experience in the private sector. Meanwhile, a website was set up at with negative information about McCurdy’s background. The website detailed drug and weapon possession arrests dating back nearly 20 years and evidence he later claimed in a job application he had not been found guilty of a crime. It also raised questions about his educational background and whether he has dodged child support payments. “They want to blackmail a Black male,” McCurdy posted on social media. “I vowed from the start to run my race with integrity while, unfortunately, I haven’t been afforded the same in return. I can no longer sit back and allow my name to be maliciously attacked with slander, defamation and harassment.”

Without sales tax renewal Seminole faces deep budget cuts, officials say” via Martin E. Comas of the Orlando Sentinel — Government leaders across Seminole say they could find themselves facing dire budgetary decisions — even cutting some services — if voters in November don’t renew the county’s penny sales tax for another decade. “If it does not pass, it’s going to be ugly,” Oviedo Mayor Megan Sladek said. “I don’t know how we would be able to meet the expectations of our residents, because there’s nothing left to cut.” Since 2015, Seminole has tacked an extra cent onto the state sales tax of 6 cents per dollar on most purchases. The revenue pays for tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements — including new and longer trails, upgraded schools, wider roads, improved intersections and more stormwater facilities in areas that regularly flood.

City of Deltona marks first Juneteenth celebration with installation of MLK bust” via Colleen Michele Jones of the Daytona Beach News-Journal — The city of Deltona plans to celebrate its first official Juneteenth commemoration as a municipality with the unveiling of a bronze bust honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This event, set for 11 a.m. Wednesday will take place at the Center at Deltona, located at 1640 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The ceremony, sponsored by the African American Association of Deltona in partnership with the city, will feature community leaders paying homage to Dr. King’s enduring impact on civil rights. Following the unveiling, attendees are invited to enjoy light refreshments inside the Center. Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States.


As forecasters watch two tropical systems, something else to bring rain to Tampa Bay” via Michaela Mulligan of the Tampa Bay Times — Hurricane forecasters are starting to get busy as two weather systems — one in the Gulf of Mexico and one in the Atlantic off the Florida coast — threaten to strengthen into tropical systems this week. However, neither is expected to bring much rain to the Tampa Bay area. What is expected to drop rain later this week: The daily afternoon and evening storms that usually crop up every Summer, but were largely absent last year. On Monday morning, forecasters said an area of thunderstorms in the Atlantic.

What water data from this Florida city tells us about who evacuates hurricanes” via Max Chesnes of the Tampa Bay Times — Thousands across Pinellas have defied mandatory evacuation orders in recent years as hurricanes churn within striking distance. Local government officials are targeting this populace to combat what they say is growing complacency ahead of what could be one of the busiest hurricane seasons on record. It’s difficult for emergency managers to pinpoint exactly how many people flee ahead of a storm — and where to find those who remain — but city and county officials say they get a clearer picture with each passing hurricane season. For one, when people stay behind, they use water. They are flushing toilets, taking showers, doing dishes and washing clothes. Since as early as Hurricane Irma in 2017, Oldsmar utility workers used water consumption data to estimate how many people remain.

Black history museum would be built in Tampa historic church” via Siena Duncan of the Tampa Bay Times — The Tampa Housing Authority and the Tampa Bay History Center announced on Monday a joint effort to curate the first Black history museum in Tampa. The museum would be located at the former St. James Episcopal Church, which has been restored to its historic structural origins, in the Encore neighborhood. Though the exhibits are still in the works, program director Ashley Morrow and Tampa Bay History Center staff will be including a wide range of topics, said Fred Hearns, the organization’s curator of Black history. There will be accounts of Black music, churches, neighborhoods, food and fashion throughout the centuries in Tampa, with a special focus on the historically Black neighborhood, businesses and cultural gathering places along Central Avenue.

Tampa’s first Black history museum has found a new home.

Resolution pushing for more trains between Tampa and Orlando receives unanimous support” via Henry Queen of the Tampa Bay Business Journal — A regional resolution supporting Brightline’s planned construction from Orlando to Tampa — along with increases to Amtrak’s service between the two cities — has been advanced. Members of the Sun Coast Transportation Planning Alliance and Central Florida MPO Alliance unanimously voted in favor of the nonbinding document on June 14 at a meeting in Bartow. Whit Blanton, executive director of Forward Pinellas, said during his presentation that the Interstate 4 corridor is booming with businesses and residents and needs more travel options. Traffic is at a “breaking point,” the resolution said. Amtrak has already proposed increased service to Tampa as part of its long-range vision. But the increased service to Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville and a range of other cities would need support from the state and the Federal Aviation Administration.

— LOCAL: N. FL —

Former Douglas Anderson teacher sentenced to 10 years” via Megan Mallicoat of Jax Today — Former teacher Jeffrey Clayton, convicted of lewd behavior with a student at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, walked briskly up to the Duval County Courthouse carrying a small backpack. He left in handcuffs. Circuit Judge Tatiana Salvador issued a series of sentences that Clayton will serve concurrently: 10 years on each of two second-degree felony charges and five years on each of two third-degree felonies. He will serve three years’ probation after his release. “You’ve lost a lot,” the Judge said as she prepared to sentence Clayton. “You lost it because of actions you took.”

UF named five-star university for second straight year” via Robert Haughn of Florida Politics — The University of Florida (UF) has earned a five-star ranking in Money’s Best Colleges in America list. The outlet posts an annual ranking of the top universities in the country. The list evaluates institutions based on multiple factors, including affordability, quality of education and employment outcomes. This year marks the second year in a row that UF was rated a five-star university. “The University of Florida accomplishes great things,” said UF Board of Trustees Chair Mori Hosseini. “For the second year in a row, we’ve earned 5 stars on Money’s list of Best Colleges. We’re grateful for this honor, and we are committed to being both an elite and practical university that equips our students and moves our state forward.”

University of Florida gets a stellar review, again.


Collier election officials brace for litigation after Alfie Oakes disqualification” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Collier County election officials are bracing for a lawsuit after disqualifying Oakes as he sought re-election as a Republican State Committee member. One of the top political power brokers in Collier County, Oakes won the election as a State Committee member in 2020, unseating Douglas Rankin. But the Collier County Supervisor of Elections Office said Oakes tried to file for re-election and failed to do so properly. “Pursuant to Florida Statute 99.061 the candidate qualifying documents that were received in the Supervisor of Elections office were not properly filed,” reads a letter the office sent to Oakes. “Therefore, you did not qualify for the Republican State Committeeman position.” Oakes said he followed the law. “The claim by Collier County Supervisor of Elections Melissa Blazier that I failed to properly file my re-election paperwork for Republican State Committeeman is a flat-out lie,” he said.

Alfie Oakes’ disqualification could result in a wave of lawsuits.

‘So important.’ Inside Manatee County’s plan to tackle a leading cause of infant death” via Victoria Villanueva-Marquez of the Bradenton Herald — Manatee County government will team up with the Early Learning Coalition to launch a new program that teaches parents how to keep their babies safe while sleeping. In Manatee County, suffocation is the leading cause of preventable deaths in children. County data shows that 36 babies died in unsafe sleep environments between 2013 and 2023. “We want to build awareness so that every child has the chance to reach their very first birthday,” said Rachel Spivey, director of grant management for the Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County. The nonprofit will coordinate the Sleep Baby Safely program, which will launch on July 1.

Sarasota School Board wants Superintendent to stay” via Chloe Nelson of the North Port Sun — Despite a tumultuous year for Sarasota County Schools, its Board members and students, it seems Superintendent Terry Connor has escaped the same fate as his predecessor. According to June 18’s Board meeting agenda, Board members’ review and evaluation of Connor’s performance have led to the consideration of an employment contract extension. “The Superintendent has demonstrated exceptional leadership and has successfully met the performance indicators and strategic goals outlined in the existing contract,” the agenda item reads. “Extending the contract will foster continued alignment between the School Board and the Superintendent, promoting a culture of accountability, recognition, and professional growth.”

Another raw sewage spill gurgles up maintenance holes in Bradenton” via Jesse Mendoza of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — The city of Bradenton once again experienced a lift station malfunction that resulted in a sewage water spill onto local streets. The city reported a spill of untreated sewage that occurred after a lift station obstruction at 1200 15th Street East resulted in a 4,000-gallon wastewater spill. The sewage flowed out of maintenance holes onto streets and gutters along 23rd Street and 24th Street, with some flowing into the storm drain on the south side of 13th Avenue. About 2,000 gallons of the spill were recovered by a public works vac truck and hauled to a dump site. The affected areas were treated with bleach, and the spill has been reported to the state watch office.


Florida Democrats look unusually organized in 2024 Elections” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Democrats seem unusually prepared for battle. Some offices are competitive for the first time in decades. One race features a fascinating brother-vs.-sister dynamic. And Trump upended one congressional race by dealing a humiliating rejection to one of his most sycophantic supporters. (I won’t spoil the surprise, but his name rhymes with Ganthony Gabatini.) Let’s get started.

I’ve been hard on Florida Democrats for being an operational and organizational disaster. The party continuously fumbled races it should’ve won, nominated lousy candidates in some instances and no candidates in others. But this year, I have to admit that Florida Democrats seem loaded for bear. Or maybe elephant.

Democrats managed to field candidates in every single legislative race in the state. In contrast, Republicans are the ones who simply surrendered in many places, especially in Orange County, where the GOP couldn’t find anyone to run for a slew of seats — including clerk, comptroller, property appraiser, tax collector, elections supervisor, an open state Senate seat and even sheriff, a law-and-order position Republicans hold in most Florida counties.

Statewide, Republicans still dominate. But in Orange County — where Republicans make up less than 27% of voters — the GOP hasn’t just waved the white flag; it’s essentially set it on fire.

I still think Republicans are primed to own the statewide scene in this increasingly red state. DeSantis is in the driver’s seat and operating a bulldozer. But with abortion issues on the ballot and Dems coming off two strong showings in Special Elections, Democrats may be a serious factor for the first time since the days when “Baywatch” was on TV.


Surgeon General: Why I’m calling for a warning label on social media platforms” via Vivek H. Murthy for The New York Times — The mental health crisis among young people is an emergency — and social media has emerged as an important contributor. Adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social media face double the risk of anxiety and depression symptoms, and the average daily use in this age group, as of the Summer of 2023, was 4.8 hours. Additionally, nearly half of adolescents say social media makes them feel worse about their bodies. It is time to require a Surgeon General’s warning label on social media platforms, stating that social media is associated with significant mental health harms for adolescents. A Surgeon General’s warning label, which requires congressional action, would regularly remind parents and adolescents that social media has not been proved safe. Evidence from tobacco studies show that warning labels can increase awareness and change behavior. When asked if a warning from the Surgeon General would prompt them to limit or monitor their children’s social media use, 76% of people in one recent survey of Latino parents said yes.

This year’s Republican platform should be just one sentence” via Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post — While candidates often try to distance themselves from unpopular planks, platforms do matter. They reveal which factions really hold power within a party. Maybe it is time for today’s Republicans to acknowledge the truth. They are no longer a party with any firm principles at all. Enduring and consistent values? Not for them. Come to think of it, this whole exercise of writing a 2024 platform for the Republican Party could be pretty simple. Why bother with putting together another 60-page document when the truth about today’s GOP can be summed up in a single sentence? “RESOLVED, That the Republican Party stands for whatever the hell Donald Trump says it does.”

DeSantis steers money toward cronies, hacks hometown spending. Why?” via the Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial boards — As Florida braces for warnings of a very dangerous hurricane season, who could possibly be against spending money for generators in public buildings? DeSantis, that’s who. The Governor vetoed nearly $1 billion in legislative discretionary spending in the new state budget Wednesday. No region of the state was spared. With this budget, he wanted to be able to boast that spending next year will be less than the current year. In a letter accompanying his veto list, DeSantis showed his hand by twice highlighting that the budget he signed reflects “less overall spending” than the current budget. Big deal. In a state that keeps growing as much as Florida, and with so many massive unmet needs — such as thousands of Floridians on a waiting list for in-home disabilities services — the Governor’s stinginess is nothing to brag about. It’s evidence of neglect.


— ALOE —

Publix has an ice cream truck and it’s touring Tampa Bay” via Maggie Duffy of the Tampa Bay Times — Ice cream trucks scream Summertime and Publix has one that is making the rounds locally. Best of all, scoops of ice cream are free. The cute white truck is adorned with the slogan, “Savor the Summer” and the store’s logo in green. It will visit Sparkman Wharf in downtown Tampa on June 30 and the St. Pete Pier on July 4. The truck will serve scoops of limited edition and favorite flavors of Publix ice cream and features a photo booth, games and music to make it a party. All flavors are also available in stores.

As Tampa sizzles, Publix offers some cool treats. Image via Publix.

Jordan Peele’s fourth film appears to be set for 2026” via Kalia Richardson of Rolling Stone — Peele appears to have landed on a release date for his next horror flick: Oct. 23, 2026. The project marks Peele’s fourth feature film as a director, just in time for spooky season. A cast, synopsis, and other details have yet to be announced. Universal Pictures added “Untitled Fourth Film Directed By Jordan Peele” to its 2026 movie release calendar. The film was originally slated for Christmas 2024 but was delayed due to the dual actor and writers’ strikes last year, as Variety reported. Peele, known for his acting in sketch comedy show Key & Peele, produced his three previous horror films — Get Out, Us, and Nope — with Universal Pictures. In a 2019 cover story, Rolling Stone spoke with Peele ahead of the release of Us. “It’s important to me that we can tell Black stories without it being about race,” Peele said at the time. “I realized I had never seen a horror movie of this kind, where there’s an African American family at the center that just is.


Happy birthday to Wendy Bitner Rodin. It’s also former Rep. Joe Harding‘s birthday.


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


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

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