Sunburn for 6/19: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics
***SUNBURN is brought to you by KEVIN CATE COMMUNICATIONS. I’ve called Cate one of the smartest guys in any room, but that was last year. His firm continues to change the way public relations works in Florida. Believe me, you want www.CateComm.com on your side.***
NOW IT’S GETTING REAL: Several Supervisors of Elections throughout Florida emailed candidates and their consultants, etc., to inform them that ballots to so-called early voters for the August 14 primary election will be mailed out the week of July 10.
OBAMA IN ORLANDO, TAMPA ON FRIDAY
President Barack Obama will give a speech to Hispanic elected officials in Orlando, then hold a campaign event in Tampa, Friday.
Details of the Tampa event aren’t available yet, but it will be a public event rather than a private fundraiser, campaign officials said.
FLORIDA HAS A LOT RIDING ON SUPREME COURT RULING ON OBAMACARE
No matter what the court decides, the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on the 2010 health care reform law will set off a scramble in Florida.
A ruling that upholds the entire law might kick-start efforts to set up health exchanges for consumers, identify as many as 2 million uninsured Floridians who will be newly eligible for Medicaid and dish out millions in insurance rebates to individuals and businesses.
A ruling that declares the entire law unconstitutional could trigger the removal of young adults from their parents’ health insurance policies, the dismantling of a special health insurance pool set up for several thousand Floridians who couldn’t get insurance elsewhere and an end to discounts in prescription drug costs for seniors.
And if the court invalidates parts of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, hospitals, doctors, businesses, consumers and insurance companies won’t have much time to undo actions they’ve already taken on those parts or to implement the rest of the law.
10 SCOTUS analysts you should be following on Twitter: @AAPSonline, @aviksaroy, @C_Carrington, @ClioTheLeo, @GraceMarieTweet, @howappealing, @jtomli, @pourmecoffee, @wardamn5567
MARCO RUBIO LETTING GO OF HIS DREAM ACT … FOR NOW
Rubio sounds ready to scuttle his version of a pro-immigrant DREAM Act this year, and he’s blaming President Obama, reports Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald.
For the past three months, Rubio has been trying to craft a bill that would give legal residency to young immigrants who were brought or remained in the United States illegally because of their parents.
But on Friday, Obama essentially turned Rubio’s undrafted proposal into an executive order. Rubio and other Republicans say Obama overstepped his bounds.
“When the president ignores the Congress, ignores the Constitution and forces a policy like this down the throat of the American people, it’s going to make it harder to have a conversation like that,” Rubio said. “It’s going to make it harder to elevate the debate.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Why wouldn’t someone [from the White House] call me?” – Rubio, after he learned about the White House’s change in immigration policy.
RUBIO TELLS ABC NEWS THAT OBAMA IS “DELIBERATELY DIVIDING AMERICANS AGAINST EACH OTHER”
Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times reports that in an interview with ABC News, Rubio told anchor David Muir Obama is “deliberately divid[ing] Americans against each other for purposes of political gain. … If you look at this White House they never pass up an opportunity to pit one group of Americans against another for purposes of improving his electoral chances,” he said.
MORE RUBIO – WSJ DINGS HIS VOTE FOR ‘BIG SUGAR’
The Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial page singled out Rubio for criticism Monday because of his vote to help block a bill aimed at reforming sugar quotas. (H/T to David Royse of the News Service of Florida.)
The newspaper called the quota program “egregious” and listed 16 Republican senators who voted to maintain it last week.
“The usual sugar beet and sugar cane state suspects dominate the list, but one name leaps out — Mr. Rubio, the freshman from Florida who won his seat in 2010 while running as a tea party favorite in opposition to the crony capitalism and government meddling of the Obama Administration,” a Journal editorial said. “Mr. Rubio nonetheless voted against consumers and for the big sugar-cane producers, including Florida’s Fanjul family. Mr. Rubio thus voted to the left of the 16 Democrats who joined 30 Republicans in supporting sugar reform. … (The) Floridian was not a profile in courage on this issue, or even a profile.”
RUBIO BOOK TOUR DEETS: June 30 – West Palm, Lauderdale, Miami, Coral Gables; July 1 – Naples, Sarasota, Tampa; July 2 – Orlando, The Villages, Jacksonville, July 3 – Panama City, Pensacola, Destin
BLOG POST OF THE DAY
“My guess is we will see a lot of things like this between now and November: policy announcements, executive orders (which have the added benefit of cutting out the inactive Congressional middle-man, by the way), and statements in which everyone knows Romney probably agrees with, at least to some degree,” blogs Benjamin Kirby at The Spencerian.
“The problem is, this is the anyone-but-Obama strategy for the Republicans. Obama says up, you’d better say down. Obama says left, well, you’d better say right. Obama says, ‘smart, sane, humane immigration,’ you’d better say… ‘With regards to these kids who were brought in by their parents through no fault of their own, there needs to be a long-term solution so they know what their status is.’
GALLUP POLLED THE IMMIGRATION ISSUE OVER THE WEEKEND: 66% say immigration is a ‘good thing’ for the U.S. today, up from 59% last year – the highest since 2006.
TRACE ADKINS, KID ROCK, LYNRYD SKYNYRD BOOKED FOR RNC IN TAMPA
Liberty Plaza Events has signed on musical acts Lynyrd Skynyrd (Aug. 26), Trace Adkins (Aug. 28) and Kid Rock (Aug. 29) for the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Other artists such as Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Robert Randolph and Night Ranger may also appear. There will also be another major act for the closing night ‘Wheels Up’ party that’s still to be announced.
PERSONNEL NOTE: LOBBYING FIRM THREE BRIDGES ADVISORS EXPANDS IN TALLY, STAFFS UP IN DC
D.C.-based government affairs firm Three Bridges Advisors announced the opening of its second office location today. Vice President Alan J. Suskey will manage the Tallahassee-based office, continuing the firm’s expansion into State of Florida government affairs, while also maintaining an active role in its robust federal consulting practice. Also announced was the addition of Niles Godes to the D.C. office of Three Bridges.
IS THE GOP SENATE PRIMARY OVER? CONNIE MACK SAYS SO by Katie Sanders of the Tampa Bay Times
U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV’s strategy to win the Republican primary for U.S. Senate is simple: ignore it.
“We have a 33-point lead,” Mack said last week, explaining his decision to skip three televised GOP primary debates.
With a comfy lead, a highly recognizable family name and the support of Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, Mack seems the far-and-away favorite to face off against Sen. Bill Nelson come November.
But some grass roots Republicans say it’s too soon for Mack to declare himself the winner — especially if he won’t make the customary rounds at debates and straw polls.
“It’s an incredibly bad message to send to the voters in a primary,” said Nancy McGowan, president of the Conservative Republican Forum of Jacksonville. “It just says, ‘What you think doesn’t matter.’ “
RIVETING JOURNALISM from the Tampa Tribune’s Chris Ingram: “One Washington operative who wished to remain anonymous told me, “[Dave is] a great guy. I’ve known him for long time. Sorry he left Congress, but too late [of an] entry.” — Really, a ‘Washington operative’? Well, that narrows it down to only about three million people. Thank goodness the source is anonymous, lest we follow the breadcrumbs and figure out who they are.
US REP. CLIFF STEARNS IN HOT WATER
Stearns faces accusations in his reelection bid that his efforts to steer money to Central Florida Community College helped move his wife up the school’s administrative ranks, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.
STAT OF THE DAY: A new poll for The Hill shows 75% of Americans are either very or somewhat worried the country is headed toward another recession.
NEW LAWSUIT CHALLENGES VOTER PURGE
A coalition of advocacy groups is set to announce Tuesday that it will file a lawsuit seeking to block Florida’s voter purge, marking at least the third such action over efforts to remove suspected non-citizens from the state’s voter rolls, reports the News Service of Florida.
The groups — including Advancement Project, Fair Elections Legal Network, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and Project Vote — have scheduled a Tuesday afternoon conference call to announce the lawsuit against Secretary of State Ken Detzner. The U.S. Department of Justice has already filed suit; a third challenge to the law has been filed by two naturalized citizens and the Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, with the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Lawyer’s Committee on Civil Rights Under Law.
DEMS OUT-REGISTERING GOP BUT BOTH LAG NPA: The official April state registration report, the last available from the Division of Elections, shows Democrats registered just over 7,000 new voters that month compared to about 4,000 new Republicans. But the number of no-party voters increased by nearly 15,000 in April, according to state figures, more than double the number of new Democrats.
NEW GENERAL REVENUE ESTIMATES LIKELY COMING IN AUGUST
State economists have scheduled an Aug. 9 meeting to analyze estimates of general-revenue tax collections. Such estimates are closely watched because general revenue makes up a critical part of the state budget, providing large chunks of funding for schools, health care and criminal justice. The Revenue Estimating Conference also will discuss property-tax revenues on Aug. 10, according to a schedule posted online Monday.
MORNING MUST-READ – DEPT. OF HEALTH SEES SEVERAL HIGH LEVEL DEPARTURES
Several high-level employees have left the Florida Department of Health in recent months, and one of the latest to leave said the departures highlight an agency abandoning its public service mission for political ideology, reports Margie Menzel of the News Service of Florida.
“It’s treating an agency as your personal fiefdom and appointing people who’ll do what you tell them to,” said Daniel Parker, until Thursday the assistant director at DOH’s Division of Environmental Health. “But the people with a long record of public service, whose main concern is public health – that leaves them out in the cold.”
An exodus since last year has claimed former DOH Secretaries Kim Berfield and Frank Farmer, longtime Children’s Medical Services director Phyllis Sloyer, environmental health chief Lisa Conti, emergency medical operations director Jean Kline, chief legal counsel Julie Meadows-Keefe, family services director Annette Phelps, Deputy Secretary for Administration Gary Mahoney and associates Matt Kirkland and Rose Leah Gardner, and epidemiology director Julia Gill.
DEFENSE SPENDING DROPPED $800 MILLION IN FLORIDA LAST YEAR
The Florida League of Defense Contractors reports that federal spending on military bases and with defense businesses in the state dropped from $14.1 billion the previous year to $13.3 billion in 2011.
>>>A discussion of updating the state’s requirements for closing petroleum storage tanks will be held at the Department of Environmental Protection.
>>>The Fifth District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission interviews hopefuls for the vacancy created by Judge David A. Monaco’s resignation.
>>>The Public Service Commission holds a commission conference at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Among the topics to be discussed are a rate increase request by Gulf Power Co. and a renewable energy tariff issue from Florida Power & Light Co.
>>>The State University System Board of Governors will discuss tuition increases and university budgets among other items during its meetings Tuesday through Thursday.
BIG GET: HILLSBOROUGH COMMISH MARK SHARPE ENDORSES JIM FRISHE FOR SD 22
“Serving on the Hillsborough County Commission since 2004 I have had the opportunity to meet and work with many local elected officials. I know Jim Frishe, I’ve seen his work in the Florida House of Representatives, and I believe he is the best candidate to continue the fight for common-sense solutions to our traffic problems, the elimination of wasteful government spending, and for access to quality education for our children. I look forward to working with him to solve today’s problems and to plan for Tampa’s future.”
>>>CFO Jeff Atwater endores Tom Lee for State Senate District 24.
NEW TO THE TWITTERS: @ROHaraFL, VP of Government Affairs for the Florida Medical Association.
ACTUAL HEADLINE FROM A MEDIA RELEASE: “Mosquitoes Usher In Summer With A Sting”
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Lyndsey Cruley, communications director to Florida’s political stars!
ALOE TO SOOTHE THE BURN: The initial reviews of Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” are making their way online. The New Yorker‘s Emily Nussbaum writes that “the show gets so bad so quickly that I found my jaw dropping.”
MORE ALOE: Noted historian Doris Kearns Goodwin is now on Twitter @DorisKGoodwin: “For an historian accustomed to enormously long books this will be a challenge to compress thoughts … The railsplitter would be proud – trains then, Twitter now!”