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Sunburn for 8.15.17 – Election Day in HD 44; Nat’l GOP slams Bill Nelson; Rick Scott’s 2018 tax plan; 2nd Dem enters Ag. Commish race; George Gainer takes a lickin’

in Peter by

Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.

Today is the Republican primary special election for House District 44, which means today decides who’s likely to replace former state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle in the Florida House of Representatives.

In an often ugly campaign, former Winter Garden Commissioner Bobby Olszewski, Kissimmee chamber president John Newstreet, and businessman Bruno Portigliatti sought to define themselves as most conservative, and their opponents as liberals.

A fourth candidate, Dr. Usha Jain, put out a few yard signs on her own dime and showed up at debates, sometimes sounding unprepared.

Clockwise from top right: Bruno Portigliatti, Bobby Olszewski, John Newstreet, Usha Jain.

An Oct. 10 general special election is scheduled. So far, Democrat Paul Chandler has raised little money and has little name recognition, though he has lent his campaign $21,000. Now he’s being sued by a district Republican trying to disqualify him. That suit even worries Republicans candidates, because it could lead to legal chaos.

The district covers southwest Orange County, and strongly favors Republicans, with a combination of affluent areas, old-Florida suburban areas, rural areas, and theme parks.

Through Sunday night, the lion’s share of early and mail-in votes came from the affluent areas in the central part of the district, home and base for Newstreet and Portigliatti.

Money flows in special election to replace Eric Eisnaugle” via the News Service of Florida – Nearly $250,000 has been spent since the end of May by three of four Republicans running in (HD 44) … Newstreet is tops in raising money and spending … followed by Olszewski, Portigliatti and Jain. In all, Newstreet has raised $124,554 for the special election, of which more than $111,000 had been spent … Olszewski had raised $75,980 and loaned $1,750 the campaign, with all that money spent. Portigliatti, 29, the CEO of Excellence Senior Living and executive vice president of Florida Christian University, reported raising $14 … bringing his overall total to $65,581. More than one-third of the money, $26,500, had come from the candidate. Jain did not report raising any cash but has spent $3,400 on campaign signs and other advertising.

Pre-Election Day turnout approaches 9 percent in HD 44 special primary” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – The latest voter turnout numbers posted by Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles shows that by Sunday night, 3,950 Republicans, 8.8 percent of those eligible, had voted by mail or in early voting. About 70 percent of those had voted by mail. The largest numbers of votes continue to come from the central part of the district where three of the candidates live, Portigliatti, Newstreet and Jain. The Dr. Phillips-area Precincts 128 and 113 each has produced more than 250 votes. In Precinct 113, 17 percent of Republicans turned out by mail or at the early-voting stations. Six of the other seven precincts that had at least 150 votes also were in the central part of the district, in the Dr. Phillips or Windermere/Lake Butler regions.

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Rick Scott, Richard Corcoran renew rebukes of white supremacists” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – “I’m not going to parse the president’s words, but here’s what I’ll say,” Scott said. “It’s evil. It’s horrible. I don’t believe in racism. I don’t believe in bigotry. I believe the KKK, white supremacists, neo-Nazis they don’t belong in our society. … It’s evil. I don’t believe in it. It’s disgusting that this would ever go on in our society … I don’t ever want it happening in our country. I don’t ever want it happening in our state.” Corcoran noted the efforts by the Florida Legislature last spring to recognize and condemn the 1940s and 50s racism and murders behind the case of the “Groveland Four,” four young black men and teen boys who were falsely accused of rape and then either killed or wrongly imprisoned. The House and the Senate both unanimously passed resolutions apologizing to their families. “Where ever evil presents itself, I don’t care if it’s neo-Nazism, I don’t care if it’s white supremacy, if it’s any of the incidents we saw, they need to be stamped out, and they have no business being in a free and open Democratic society,” Corcoran said. “We’re going to fight that wherever we can.”

Florida Democratic Party to organize statewide voter registration rallies in response to Charlottesville attack” via Florida Politics – The FDP says it is inspired by Kentucky’s Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes, who recently issued the following tweet: “They bring torches to push hate. We bring registration cards to promote democracy. Which side are you on? #Charlottesville #RallytoRegister” After Grimes’ tweet, the Florida Democratic Party issued an email to its local Democratic Executive Committees, Democratic Clubs, and Democratic Caucuses to gauge interest. The response from local Democratic leaders was overwhelming — “Democrats are fully committed to responding to hate with hope,” reads a release from the party. As a result, the Florida Democratic Party will be organizing a statewide effort to #RallytoRegister Saturday, Aug. 19.

1 Florida Confederate memorial removed, another vandalized” via The Associated Press – Sounds of a jackhammer echoed in downtown Gainesville as workers tore out the foundation of the statue known as “Old Joe” after local authorities decided to move it from outside the Alachua County Administration Building. The statue was put on a truck and hauled away. The statue’s removal had been in the works for months after protests and several failed attempts to relocate it. It was unclear if the work was hastened by violent protests surrounding the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. The statue is being returned to the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which erected it in 1904 … Officials do not know where the statue will go. In Tampa, a passer-by called 911 after seeing that paint had been tossed on and around the Confederate memorial’s columns and derogatory comments were scrawled in paint, Hillsborough County sheriff’s officials said in a news release. The site is on private property near Tampa on Florida’s west coast.

“Jacksonville City Council president calls for Confederate monuments to be moved off public property” via Nate Monroe of the Florida Times Union – Council President Anna Lopez Brosche wants to inventory all Confederate monuments, markers and memorials so they can be moved off public property and into museums or other settings where they can be “historically contextualized.” … Brosche’s proposal would most prominently include moving the 62-foot Vermont granite monument in Hemming Park, installed in 1898, that sits just feet away from City Hall and is topped by the bronze figure of a Confederate solider in winter uniform representing the Jacksonville Light Infantry, a Confederate military company.

The Confederate soldier statue atop Jacksonville’s Hemming Park’s Confederate memorial.


National GOP slams Bill Nelson on Cuba, Venezuela in Spanish-language radio ad” via George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post – The National Republican Senatorial Committee is weighing in with a Spanish-language radio ad that accuses Nelson of being soft on communist dictators in Cuba and Venezuela. The ad, which will air in Miami, notes Nelson’s support for President Barack Obama’s normalizing of relations with Cuba and a visit Nelson made to Venezuela in 2005 in which he and other senators met with the late communist strongman Hugo Chavez … the narrator says “Our government in Washington has to stop (Nicolas) Maduro and his accomplices” in Venezuela. “What has our Senator Bill Nelson done? In the past, he has aligned himself with communists and dictators. Look at him with Cuba. He supported Obama when he negotiated with the other terrorists, the Castro brothers. When Nelson supports the Castros, that only reinforces and encourages others, like it did with Chavez and now with Maduro. In 2005, Bill Nelson even visited Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Here it says Nelson went to Venezuela to admire Chavez’s revolution. If Bill Nelson supports murderers, I can’t support Bill Nelson.”

Click on the image below to listen to the ad.

Assignment editors – Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam will be the keynote speaker at the Leon County Reagan Day Barbecue beginning 5:30 p.m. at The Property, 620 Cody Church Road in Monticello.

Spotted – Rep. Ron DeSantis on CNN’s “New Day,” suggesting President Trump would have faced heavy criticism no matter what he said, in response to Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville that left 19 injured and one dead. “The Founding Fathers didn’t found America because of European nationalism,” DeSantis said. “They founded the country based on principle, not based on any type of ethnic origin. That’s not healthy for our politics and so I think it would be good for the president to tell people that’s how he feels. And here’s the thing I think that that’s how he feels, knowing him.”

Second Democrat files for Ag Commissioner race” via Florida Politics – Broward County resident David Walker joins Michael Christine in the Democratic Primary to take over for term-limited Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam, who is running for governor. Though Walker shares his name with the Sunshine State’s eighth governor, he appears to be a political newcomer. He doesn’t have a lot of catching up to do with Christine as far as fundraising goes, though he’ll need a sizable campaign fund to compete with the Republican candidates in the race.

Marco Rubio endorses Mike Miller in CD 7” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics – “I’m proud to announce my support for Mike Miller for Congress today,” Rubio stated in a news release issued by congressional campaign. “Jeanette and I have known Mike & Nora for many years, and like us, they are raising their children and serving in public office, all while balancing the same challenges Florida families do every day. Mike is a tireless advocate for Central Florida and will bring his conservative values to Washington and give me a great partner to work with in the Congress.” Miller, of Winter Park, faces Sanford businessman Scott Sturgill in seeking a chance to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park in the 2018 election. State Sen. David Simmons from nearby Altamonte Springs has repeatedly said he expects to also run for the Republicans, but has not filed.

Democrats mislead in attack linking Florida Senate candidate to Donald Trump’s plan to repeal Obamacare” via Amy Sherman of PolitiFact – A Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee TV ad says José Felix Diaz supports Trump‘s “plan to slash Medicare, charge older Americans an age tax and cut coverage for pre-existing conditions.” The ad provides no evidence that Diaz, as a state representative and now a state Senate candidate, has taken stances on the efforts in 2017 by Trump and Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate to repeal or replace Obamacare. Instead, the Democrats point to a series of anti-Obamacare votes Diaz took in the state House years ago that ask Congress to repeal the law and declare opposition to the individual mandate. Those votes aren’t mentioned in the ad, and they obviously don’t address support for the 2017 proposals in Congress that analysts said would hurt some Medicare users and lead to higher costs for older adults and people with pre-existing conditions. Votes by Diaz show that he opposed the federal law while in the statehouse, but that’s not what the Democrats’ ad says. We rate this claim Mostly False.

Save the date:

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Patricia Williams draws challenger for Broward House seat” via the News Service of Florida – Lauderdale Lakes Democrat Williams appears headed toward a primary-election battle next year as she seeks a second term in the state House. Fort Lauderdale Democrat Paulette Armstead last week opened a campaign account to challenge Williams in Broward County’s House District 92 … Williams had raised $9,000 for the race as of July 31. Also last week, Tampa Democrat Jose Vazquez Figueroa became the fifth candidate to open a campaign account to try to succeed House Minority Leader Janet Cruz in Hillsborough County’s House District 62. Cruz cannot run again next year because of term limits. Other candidates seeking the seat are Democrats Michael Alvarez, Carlos Frontela and John Rodriguez and Republican Christopher Licata.

Rick Kriseman bests Rick Baker in latest campaign cash filings, but trails overall in money race” via Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times – It’s welcome news for the incumbent Democrat who is locked in a historically expensive race against a well-funded Republican opponent. Kriseman has been trailing Baker in fundraising in what has long been the most expensive mayoral race in the city’s history —still more than two weeks away from the Aug. 29 primary. But Kriseman netted $41,124 in individual donations between July 22 and Aug. 4, besting Baker’s haul of $35,995. Overall, Kriseman now leads Baker by a $393,339 to $391,485 in total contributions. The mayor is spending money faster than it comes in, though. He spends $59,591 over those two weeks, leaving him with $54,958. Baker is also spending more than he raised in the same period. He spent $99,976. But the former mayor still has a bigger pile of cash left to burn:  $87,297.


Assignment editors – Gov. Scott will announce Florida tourism numbers for the first half of 2017 at a 10 a.m. media event at The Florida Aquarium Mosaic Center East Room (Second Floor), 701 Channelside Dr. in. Florida welcomed an all-time high of 112 million visitors in 2016 and 31.1 million visitors in the first quarter of this year.

“Richard Corcoran, Paul Renner support tax amendment” via Florida PoliticsHouse Speaker Corcoran says he supports Gov. Scott’s call for a “constitutional amendment requiring super majorities to pass any future tax increases.” “For almost seven years we’ve worked alongside our Governor to bring common sense back to governing. We cut taxes. We cut regulations. We cut fees. Now we need to make sure the taxpayers’ pocketbooks are protected,” the Land O’ Lakes Republican said in a Monday statement.

… so does Adam Putnam: “Governor Scott came into office laser-focused on getting Floridians back to work, and he did so by cutting taxes again and again. I support his efforts to keep that money where it belongs, in the pockets of Floridians. And I’m committed to working with him to build on Florida’s reputation as the place to do business. By keeping costs low, cutting red tape and breaking down regulatory barriers, we can make Florida the launch pad for the American Dream.”

Tweet, tweet:


“George Gainer takes a licking on social media” via Florida PoliticsSocial media reaction was hard and swift this weekend against Gainer, the Panama City Republican state senator who filed legislation last session to remove liability for drivers who “unintentionally” hurt or kill protesters or others “obstruct(ing)” traffic. On Saturday, Gainer tweeted, “If I do not love, I am nothing,” quoting Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians. That was in response to a “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville, Virginia, where an alleged white nationalist drove his car into another car, which struck a crowd of counter-protesters, according to a New York Times report. Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old Charlottesville paralegal, was killed; 19 others were injured. Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe later declared a state of emergency. “Says the guy who wants to legalize murdering protesters with vehicles,” the first reply to Gainer on Twitter said. “Guess who I won’t be voting for next year,” said another.

“Senate bill would ban marriage by minors” via Florida PoliticsAs expected, legislation was filed Monday in the Florida Senate to ban minors from getting married. The bill (SB 140) repeals language now in state law governing weddings of those under 18, replacing it with, “A license to marry may not be issued to any person under the age of 18.” It was filed by Rules Chair Lizbeth Benacquisto, a Fort Myers Republican. Republican Leader and future Senate President Wilton Simpson had advocated such a measure after the story of a Tampa Bay-area woman who was “forced to marry her rapist at age 11,” according to 10 News in Sarasota/Tampa Bay … In Florida, 16,417 children—one as young as 13—were married in the period of 2000-15, state Vital Statistics data shows, said Fraidy Reiss, founder and executive director of Unchained at Last, which opposes child marriages. In one extreme example, a 17-year-old female married an 83-year-old man in 2004, Reiss said.

State revenue estimators uncertain over blackjack money via Florida Politics – Though the economists and forecasters said they were counting nearly $234 million paid by the Seminole Tribe in the state’s next revenue outlook, they won’t in future estimates. Tribal and state officials last month settled a lawsuit over the Tribe’s ability to keep offering blackjack at its casinos. The Tribe continued to pay gambling revenue share from card games as a sign of good faith while the suit was pending, with the money being held in reserve. That money “will be recognized in the next General Revenue Financial Outlook Statement,” which is expected to be adopted Tuesday, the Revenue Estimating Conference said in a statement released Monday. But further “anticipated payments … will be treated as non-recurring revenues because the continuation of these payments depends on future actions by the State and the Seminole Tribe that cannot be anticipated with sufficient certainty at this time.”

Assignment editors – Agency for State Technology and the Florida National Guard are hosting a cyber security training exercise and a tour of its cyber range. News conference begins 1 p.m. at the Florida Army National Guard, 1225 Easterwood Dr. in Tallahassee


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On and off: Barbara Crosier is replacing Michael Poche as policy chief for the House Health Innovation Subcommittee.

Off and on: Alex Bickley changed roles from district secretary to legislative assistant for Lady Lake Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley.

Off: Patricia Gosney is stepping down as legislative assistant for Plantation Democratic Sen. Lauren Book.

On and off: Marian McBryde is replacing Rhonda Thomas as legislative assistant for Panama City Republican Sen. George Gainer.

On and off: David Marin is replacing Alessandro D’Amico as legislative assistant for Hialeah Republican Sen. Rene Garcia.

Off and on: Ella Phillips changed roles from district secretary to legislative assistant for Fort Lauderdale Democrat Sen. Perry Thurston.

Off: Nancy Bernier is stepping down as legislative assistant for Indialantic Republican Rep. Thad Altman.

Off: Pamela Watt is stepping down as district secretary for Monticello Republican Rep. Hasley Beshears.

Off: Jacob Hawkes is stepping down as secretary for Jacksonville Beach Republican Rep. Cord Byrd.

Off and on: Charles P. Smith is replacing Eddie Metzger as legislative assistant for Fort Myers Republican Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen.

On: Kevin Deo is the new legislative assistant for Winter Haven Republican Rep. Sam Killebrew.

On and on: Janine Kiray and Coleton Reece are returning as district secretaries for Clearwater Republican Rep. Chris Latvala.

On and off: Bradley Wildman is replacing Natasha Dobkowski as district secretary for Ocala Republican Rep. Stan McClain.

Off: Leanne Roca is stepping down as legislative assistant for Hialeah Republican Rep. Jose Oliva.

On: Samantha Story is the new district secretary for Palm Coast Republican Rep. Paul Renner.

On: Sarah Sims is the new district secretary for Naples Republican Rep. Bob Rommel.


Supreme Court refuses to block execution” via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida – Rejecting arguments about a new lethal-injection procedure, the Florida Supreme Court refused to block the scheduled Aug. 24 execution of Death Row inmate Mark James Asay. The court’s majority said Asay had not shown that the introduction of the drug etomidate into the execution process put him at risk of suffering in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Corrections officials plan to use etomidate as a substitute for a previous drug, midazolam, as the first drug in a three-step process. It would be the first-time etomidate, a sedative, has been used in an execution. In its decision, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling by a Duval County circuit judge who held a hearing on the lethal-injection drug issue.

State troopers get time off for writing tickets — that’s wrong, too” via Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times – The discovery of a Florida Highway Patrol ticket quota ordered by a major high-ranking official has rocked the agency and caused political problems with members of the Legislature. “It’s really, really, really unfortunate,” said Terry Rhodes, executive director of the patrol’s parent agency, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, who issued a memo emphasizing that ticket quotas are illegal. Rhodes said she and Col. Gene Spaulding, FHP’s director, will talk about whether to take action against Maj. Mark Welch, who issued a July 28 order to troopers in an eight-county region in North Florida to write “two citations each hour” in part to justify a 5 percent pay raise from Gov. Scott and the Legislature. In an email, Welch said the troopers’ average of 1.3 tickets per hour was not good enough. Not only do ticket quotas violate Florida law, but ticketed motorists could have a new legal defense if they challenge a ticket in court.

“Summary judgment requested in state lawyers’ pay case” via Florida Politics – A Tallahassee judge has been asked to rule in an ongoing pay suit from women lawyers who hear condo disputes for the state. The case, first reported by the Tallahassee Democrat last August, was lodged by “four women lawyers who hear and settle complaints … from condominium owners.” Leah Simms, Terri Leigh Jones, Tonya Sue Chavis, and Leslie Anderson-Adams claim they earn roughly half than “male counterparts doing the same kind of work at other state agencies,” the Democrat reported. Last Wednesday, Circuit Judge John Cooper heard arguments for and against summary judgment, which allow parties to win without a trial, from the plaintiffs, the Department Of Management Services and the Department Of Business And Professional Regulation, court dockets show. Cooper took it under advisement,” plaintiffs’ attorney Gary Lee Printy said Monday. “Each party has 30 days to draft a proposed order.”

“Hearing set on Citizens rate hikes” via the News Service of Florida – State regulators will hold a public hearing next week in South Florida about proposed rate increases by the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance. The Office of Insurance Regulation has scheduled the hearing for 4 p.m. Aug. 23 at Florida International University’s Kovens Conference Center. Citizens Property Insurance proposed the increases in June, pointing to a surge in costly water-damage claims. The increases would vary by policy and property type, but, for example, would lead to an average 6.7 percent increase in rates for multi-peril homeowners’ policies. The Office of Insurance Regulation has to sign off before rate changes can take effect.

Used news:FIU won’t be conducting a controversial Airbnb study paid for by the hotel industry” via Chabeli Herrera of the Miami Herald on August 10; “FIU out of anti-Airbnb, hotel association research project” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics on July 23.

Hillsborough loses big as state fails to divide child welfare money by need” via Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times – An average of 3,600 children were in foster care in the county during 2016, the most in Florida. Hillsborough also has among the highest number of child abuse investigations and removal rates. Yet the county’s lead child welfare agency is short-changed almost $6 million in state funds this year while roughly $44 million goes to other agencies across Florida to look after foster children they do not have, state records show. The inequity is the result of a funding formula that child welfare insiders admit is a little screwy. Lead care agencies in 20 judicial circuits across Florida get money based on the number of foster children and child abuse investigations, among other factors. But a “hold harmless” rule introduced in 2015 means the state cannot reduce an agency below its 2015 funding level even when it is serving fewer foster kids. The rule was meant as a stopgap measure but stayed in place. As the foster child population has shifted, it has created glaring disparities and led to fears that there is less help for children and parents in some parts of Florida than in others.

Miccosukee tribe can’t be sued by former lawyers, appeals court rules in bitter legal battle” via David Ovalle of the Miami Herald – Because it is a sovereign nation, the Miccosukee Tribe is immune from a lawsuit filed by its former lawyers, a Miami appeals court ruled. The ruling was a reversal for Miami attorneys Guy Lewis and Michael Tein, who last year sued in state court and won in a long-running and bitter legal battle between the tribe and its former attorneys. The firm’s partners accused the tribe and its new attorney of engaging in a “criminal scheme” to ruin their reputations through a series of bogus lawsuits. Miami’s 3rd District Court of Appeal, in its opinion, was not unsympathetic to Lewis and Tein but said it was bound by established law. “Granting immunity to Indian tribes is a policy choice made by our elected representatives to further important federal and state interests,” Judge Robert Luck wrote. “It is a choice to protect the tribes understanding that others may be injured and without a remedy. The immunity juice, our federal lawmakers have declared, is worth the squeeze.”

Sheriff Mike Williams scuttles Jacksonville’s red-light camera program” via Christopher Hong of the Florida Times-UnionWilliams discussed his intentions to dismantle the city’s network of red-light cameras to the City Council Finance Committee during its review of the Sheriff’s Office’s proposed $410 million budget for next year. The committee also discussed Mayor Lenny Curry’s request to hire 80 more police officers next year, a key part of his and Williams’ plan to reduce violent crime. Council members had a number of questions for Williams about how and where the new officers would be deployed. They held off approving the hiring request until Williams returns with answers later this month.


Darryl Paulson: National Public Radio urges revolution” via Florida Politics – On July 4, National Public Radio (NPR) issued its call for an American revolution. At least, that is what many NPR listeners believed they were doing. As they had done for many years July 4, NPR featured the Declaration of Independence … In 2017, for the first time, NPR decided to convey the Declaration through modern social messaging. They posted the entire Declaration in 112 tweets. The tweets unleashed a storm of protest from disgusted listeners who were shocked to hear taxpayer-funded NPR calling for a revolution. Many listeners thought NPR was trying to mobilize the anti-Trump forces to start a new revolution in order to change the government. One listener tweeted that it was an “interesting way to condone the violence while trying to sound patriotic.” Another thought that NPR had been hacked and the tweets were part of a leftist assault on the Trump Administration. When one listener suggested that one of the individuals who had been duped by the tweets should take down her criticism of NPR, she refused. “If my stupidity spurs us to READ our Declaration of Independence then I don’t mind the comments. Worth the embarrassment.” At least one person learned an important lesson. I wonder how most Americans would respond tomorrow if they read in The New York Times or heard on FOX News that “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing,” or “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”


Capital City Consulting’s Q2 earnings could top $3 million” via Florida Politics – … holding on to its place in the Big Six. The 10-member firm juggled a full roster during the second quarter of 2017, which included the second half of the 2017 Legislative Session and a brief special session, earning it an average of $2.225 million — more than $1.5 million on average for legislative and an average of $720,000 for executive work — between April 1 and June 30. Capital City’s maximum earnings are expected to reach more than $3.25 million total — maximum earnings of more than $2 million for legislative and maximum earnings of more than $1.2 million for executive work — during the three-month period.

Becker & Poliakoff could post maximum earnings of $719K in Q2” via Florida Politics – The 10-person lobby team earned the firm at least $465,000 — almost all of it for legislative work — during the second quarter of the year, which included the second half of the 2017 Legislative Session and a brief special session. The firm could earn a maximum of $729,947 — a maximum of $719,948 for legislative work and $9,999 for executive branch work — during the second quarter of the year. Three clients — the Coalition of Franchise Associations, the Florida Association of Jewish Federations, and Florida Memorial University — paid an average of $25,000 for legislative services during the second quarter of 2017. Fourteen firms paid an average of $15,000 for legislative work. American Clinical Solutions clocked in as the highest paying executive branch client, paying an average of $5,000 for executive services during the second quarter.

Gunster’s Q2 earnings could reach more than $669K” via Florida Politics – The firm charged through the second quarter of 2017, which included the second half of the annual Legislative Session and a brief special session. The firm’s maximum earnings are expected to reach $699,950 — $439,971 for its legislative work and $229,979 for its executive branch work — for the second quarter … In the legislative corner, top paying clients included the Coalition of Affordable Housing providers, Q Link Wireless, RAI Services Company and the Town of Oakland, all of which paid an average of $25,000 for the firm’s services. Seven of the firm’s 35 legislative clients — Advanced Disposal Services American Pharmacy Cooperative, American Water Works Association Florida Section, Edgeunity Inc., Frontier Communications Corp., NorthStar Contracting Group and Treadwell Nursery — paid an average of $15,000 for the firm’s services during the second quarter.

AppointedJoseph Mansfield and Renatha Francis to the Miami-Dade County Court.

Personnel note: Three appointed to Board of Bar Examiners via Florida Politics The Florida Supreme Court appointed three new members to the panel that oversees and regulates the admission of new attorneys to The Florida Bar. They are Major Gen. William F. Hodgkins (U.S.A.F., Ret.) of Lynn Haven; Jennifer Martinez Mooney of Land O’Lakes, who works in the Legal Department of the 13th Judicial Circuit; and Elaine Terenzi of Tampa, former Chief Probation Officer for the U.S. District Court (Middle District of Florida). The Florida Board of Bar Examiners is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court. It supervises character background investigations as well as the administration and grading of the Florida Bar Examination.

Spotted – Former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown at this weekend’s annual Congressional Black Caucus Institute’s policy conference in Tunica, Mississippi hosted by Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson.

— ALOE —

Florida State to distribute 4,000 solar glasses for student eclipse event” via Byron Dobson of the Tallahassee Democrat – The Oglesby Union Student Activities Center has ordered 4,000 pairs of solar glasses to help keep students safe, as it is advisable not to look directly at the sun during the eclipse. Most of the free glasses will be distributed before Aug. 21, but the remainder will be handed out starting at 9 a.m. on the day of the eclipse at the Oglesby Union Green, the university said. NASA says people should view the event with special solar filters. Dark sunglasses do not provide enough protection against UV rays, as they can burn the cornea’s transparent outer layer of cells or damage the light-sensitive cells in the retina at the back of the eye. The eclipse is to begin at 1:10 p.m. in Tallahassee. Students will be treated to live music and other activities on the Union Green as they experience the event. Just after 2:30 p.m., a special photo will be taken for FSU’s archives. The peak of the eclipse on campus will happen at 2:42 p.m. and it ends at 4:07 p.m., the university said.

What Jeff Brandes is reading –Evidence that Uber, Lyft reduce car ownership” via Nicole Casal Moore of the University of Michigan – In areas where Uber, Lyft and other on-demand ride services operate, consumers may buy fewer cars and even take fewer trips, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Texas A&M Transportation Institute and Columbia University surveyed more than 1,200 people in Austin, Texas, to examine how their habits changed after Uber and Lyft pulled drivers out of the city due to a local law change … The study found that 41 percent of those surveyed turned to their own vehicle to fill the void left by Uber and Lyft. Nine percent actually bought an additional car for this purpose. Rounding out the respondents, 3 percent switched to public transit and 42 percent switched to another, smaller transportation networking company. After the vote, informal community efforts sprung up and 12 app-based ride services entered the market. Many were short-lived, but some are still in business … people who transitioned to a personal vehicle were 23 times more likely to report making more trips than those who switched to a different ride-sourcing company. Overall trips decreased after Uber and Lyft service was suspended. The average monthly frequency of the reference trips decreased from 5.65 to 2.01—a 68 percent drop. In an unexpected finding, wealthier respondents were less likely to purchase a vehicle than those whose household income is below $100,000 a year. The researchers speculate that this is because those in a higher income bracket likely already had a vehicle at their disposal.

Gas prices in Florida remain below the national average” via Kevin Derby of the Sunshine State News – AAA released a study which showed that gas prices dropped from $2.29 per gallon at the start of last week to $2.27 Sunday. The national average stayed at $2.35 per gallon. At this time last, the average gas price in Florida was $2.08 per gallon while the national average was $2.27 per gallon. Tampa and Orlando had the lowest average gas prices in the Sunshine State at $2.21 per gallon followed by the Fort Myers-Cape Coral market where prices averaged $2.23 per gallon. The West Palm Beach-Boca Raton market had the most expensive gas in Florida with an average of $2.36 per gallon followed by both Gainesville and Miami were prices averaged $2.31 per gallon.

SpaceX launches experiments, ice cream to space station” via Marcia Dunn of The Associated Press – As has become customary on these cargo flights, SpaceX landed its leftover booster back at Cape Canaveral shortly after liftoff, a key to its long-term effort to recycle rockets and reduce costs. Experiments make up most of the 6,400 pounds of cargo, which should reach the orbiting lab Wednesday. That includes 20 mice that will return alive inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule in about a month. There was extra freezer space, so NASA packed little cups of vanilla, chocolate and birthday cake ice cream, as well as ice cream candy bars.

Happy birthday to state House candidate Will McBride, our friend Chet Renfro, and Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to 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.

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