Sunburn for 2/15 — A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

in Uncategorized by

A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics sponsored by Tucker Hall.


Mike Murphy: “Unlike his congressional opponents, President Obama faces a merciless count­down clock….The White House realizes this and has come to the shaky conclusion that the President’s best tactic is to continue the campaign theatrics and force the GOP-controlled Congress to bend to his will. Showing the hubris of all things Obama, the White House has forgotten that while he won re-election fair and square with about 66 million votes, 61 million other Americans voted to fire the President.”

“Many of those anti-Obama voters live and vote in the 232 congressional districts firmly held by Republicans. It is terribly naive to think that stuffing e-mail ­inboxes and ­presidential hectoring on the stump will persuade those voters–and their members of Congress–to support the President’s decidedly left-tilting ­second-term agenda. When the President threatens the Republicans in Congress with ‘or else,’ they just roll their eyes and wonder ‘or else what?’ In their precincts, he is not even a paper tiger.”


Between at 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. yesterday, MSNBC played the tape of Senator Marco Rubio taking a drink of water 155 times.


Stephen Colbert has fun with Sen. Marco Rubio’s case of cotton mouth during his rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address.


First Read: “Speaking of the Republican Party, we are currently seeing two different splits. The first is the establishment vs. the Tea Party. The examples here are Karl Rove vs. conservative groups, as well as Haley Barbour vs. the Club for Growth. 

“But the second split is Washington vs. non-Washington Republicans. And the best way to illustrate this split is between Marco Rubio (Washington) and Bobby Jindal (non-Washington). As we wrote yesterday, Rubio’s State of the Union response was similar to any speech you’d hear from Mitt Romney in 2012, with the exception of Rubio’s different background and his personal story. On the other hand, Jindal has argued that his party should stop focusing so much on Washington budget battles and should instead focus on what’s taking place in the states.”

“We single out these two Republicans because of the obvious 2016 ramifications. Both are conservatives; both appear to be what the party needs as far as looks are concerned (the party is tired of being defined as the party of white men); but both do represent two different schools of thinking of how to rebrand the party.”

***Today’s SUNBURN is also sponsored by Ron Sachs Communication. Ron Sachs Communications provides its clients with a competitive advantage built on strategic relationships, dynamic creativity and smart and aggressive communications strategies that generate superior results. If you want to win, you’ll want to have Ron Sachs Communications on your side.***


The Republican Party of Florida is using the possibility of former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist running for his old job as a Democrat to motivate donors.

In a fundraising letter signed by state GOP Chairman Lenny Curry, the party says President Barack Obama’s Florida campaign team is poised to help Crist run for office and the GOP needs help to “fight the Obama/Crist machine with everything we’ve got.”

The letter says Crist proudly proclaimed he was a Ronald Reagan conservative and a Jeb Bush Republican and endorsed John McCain for president back in 2008. However, Crist endorsed Obama in 2012 and spoke at the Democratic National Convention.

“Now Crist has adopted the party affiliation and liberal orthodoxy of the Obama machine in order to regain the office he willingly gave up,” Curry wrote. “If he wins, Florida voters and taxpayers will be the biggest losers.”

Crist left the Republican Party while running for Senate as an independent. He has said the party has become too extreme. He officially switched his party affiliation to Democrat late last year.

Crist on Thursday brushed off the attack from his former party.

“I’m always honored to be associated with the president of the United States,” Crist said.


The Republican National Committee is attempting to play Cupid with a set of Valentine’s Day e-cards that mock their Democratic opponents, including one directed at former Florida governor Charlie Crist.

“I’ll Be In Any Party You Want This Valentine’s Day,” reads the e-card to be sent to the political love of your life.

“Everyone knows our politics could use a little more love these days. So there’s no better way to celebrate than to send that politically-minded special someone a Valentine featuring President Obama or one of his fellow liberals,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in a statement.

“Who knows? Maybe Democrats will feel the love in the air and join Republicans in working to reduce spending, reform the tax code, and grow the economy. More jobs and more take-home pay: now that would be a real Valentine’s gift for all Americans!”

EMAIL I DIDN’T OPEN: “Love Letters from LBJ”

***LegisApp puts the Florida Legislature and Executive Branch contacts in your hands.  No carrying or losing a book, always up to date. Get LegisApp TODAY for your iPhone – Android or Blackberry***


This bill would require Animal Shelters that kill dogs or cats to compile a monthly and annual report. The bill would also require each report to be signed by the shelter director as true and accurate and would require that the report be posted on the animal shelters website.

The bill is being supported by Fix Florida. Fix Florida is a coalition dedicated to reducing the killing of shelter pets. “We do not believe that it is the conscious of the people of the state of Florida to kill over 50% of the lost and homeless shelter pets each year,” said Jack Cory of Public Affairs Consultants, which represents Fix Florida.


Bush met with Florida House Republicans on Thursday, but what he told them is pretty much hush hush because the meeting was held behind closed doors with reporters stuck waiting outside.

“It was a really good talk,” said Rep. Dane Eagle as he walked out. “He spoke on immigration reform and the importance of being inclusive.”

Bush was invited by House Speaker Will Weatherford, who worships him as his political model.

“I don’t know if you’ll find a bigger Jeb Bush than me,” Weatherford said. “We were honored that he took this much time to be here today.” 

TWEET, TWEET: @MattGaetz: So excited to be spending part of Valentine’s Day with @JebBush!


After sweeping growth management law changes in 2011, most legislators and interest groups were content in 2012 to leave the issue alone while cities, counties and developers adjust to the changes.

They still feel that way in 2013. 

However,  a court case and a legal opinion involving growth management are creating a stir on a pair of issues.

One involves referendums on development and changes made by a “glitch bill” that passed in 2012.

A circuit court judge in Palm Beach County ruled in October that HB 7081 in 2012 now allows Boca Raton residents to seek a referendum challenging the proposed Archstone apartment complex there. That ruling has developers seeking clarifying legislation.

Another issue stemming from the 2011 law involves transportation “concurrency” and a system for charging developments for needed road improvements. In 2012, the Florida Association of County Attorneys said a requirement for allowing developers to pay only their “proportionate share” doesn’t apply to counties with other systems for collecting mobility fees.

Some developers disagree. Legislation has been introduced that would apply the proportionate share requirement to mobility plans and other transportation planning systems.

There are other ideas about tweaking growth management laws, but, as we said, there doesn’t seem to be much appetite for tinkering.

***Today’s SUNBURN is also sponsored by Corcoran & Johnston Government Relations. With more than 45 years of combined legislative and regulatory knowledge and experience, Corcoran & Johnston’s ability to navigate through the processes and politics of government and deliver for their clients is unmatched.***


The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in a Florida case about the release of medical records to spouses of dead nursing-home residents. A federal judge in 2011 sided with a group of nursing homes that said a federal health-privacy law trumps a state law that the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration used to require nursing home to release the records. The case centers on spouses who are not the legally-designated “personal representatives” of estates.


Florida TaxWatch on Thursday released a report expanding on previous recommendations to switch the Florida Retirement System (FRS) to a Defined Contribution model.  
The report “Modernizing the FRS: Switching to a Defined Contribution Plan” explains that this reform will improve equity between the private and public sector, provide predictable budgeting for the Legislature, reduce unpredictable future liabilities for Florida taxpayers, and allow current FRS members to maintain their earned benefits and stay in the plan of their choice. 
“It is long past time for the Legislature to modernize the FRS,” said Dominic Calabro, President & CEO of Florida TaxWatch. “The Florida TaxWatch Government Cost Savings Task Force has recommended changing to a defined contribution system for several years now, and this Report lays out several different reasons why this change is appropriate for Florida.”
The report shows the development and growth of the FRS from 1970 through today, compares defined benefit to defined contribution systems, and looks at the benefits for all Floridians in switching to a defined contribution system.  The report can be found here.
The Social Services Estimating Conference is scheduled to discuss issues such as Medicaid caseloads and expenditures in the KidCare program, which provides subsidized health insurance for children.


Underlying the motivation for many paternalistic regulations are the twin mythical convictions that most individuals make bad decisions when allowed to think for themselves, and that businessmen, acting out of greed, endanger the gullible public by cutting corners to make an extra buck. Regrettably, political rhetoric turns regulatory policy into a caricature, ignoring its serious ethical concerns; Democrats warn of the wholesale evils of deregulation and Republicans emphasize the job-killing effects of regulations.

There is more to regulations. Regulatory policy imposes the judgment of a small group of regulatory wise men over a process of voluntary exchange that reflects the needs and preferences of the population at large. In a free market economy, every voluntary exchange guides resources to their highest value use. Thus, every regulation that impedes voluntary exchanges reduces the effectiveness of resource use.

Regulatory policy should be viewed with extraordinary suspicion and used frugally.


>>>The state Acquisition and Restoration Council will meet in Tallahassee to discuss issues relating to the Florida Forever program and land management. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the DEP Marjory Stoneman Douglas Building.

>>>The Florida Workers Compensation Joint Underwriting Association’s Rates & Forms Committee holds a teleconference meeting at 2 p.m. Friday. Contact Kathy Coyne at (941) 378-7408 to participate.

>>>A report by the Study Committee on Investor-Owned Water & Wastewater Utility Systems about issues and possible solutions concerning small investor-owned water and wastewater utility systems is due to the Governor, the Senate President, and the House Speaker today.

***The Tampa Bay Public Leadership Institute is a non-partisan leadership development program that asks participants to explore the possibility of public leadership in the future (without requiring a commitment to run for office) and learn now about the political process, leadership and public policy, while networking with leaders.  Applications for the next class will soon be accepted. Click here for more information.***

4TH FLOOR FILES features Brecht Heuchan. His clients include Orlando Magic, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, The Richman Group, Wilkes & McHugh, TECO Energy, iSchool Campus. Here’s the file on Brecht.


New Capitol Consulting, a governmental business development consulting and lobbying firm, announced that it is now open and has begun operations. The firm specializes in helping companies in the information technology industry do business with Florida government.

The firm’s founder and CEO, Chuck Cliburn, is a long-time Tallahassee resident and business leader. The former executive with both Unisys and Xerox/ACS has more than two decades of first-hand experience working with the State of Florida. Cliburn will continue to work closely with Florida leaders, industry and stakeholder organizations to identify, promote and implement innovative technology-based solutions that enable more efficient and cost-effective government operations. 

New Capitol Consulting is also announcing a strategic business alliance with Barney Bishop Consulting, LLC, a strategic public affairs firm also based in Tallahassee. The alliance will provide clients that require both deep legislative affairs consulting and governmental business development consulting unique access to both under a single umbrella.

“Our mission is very straight-forward: to help clients successfully market their products and services to the State of Florida and other governmental entities in the state,” said Cliburn.  “New Capitol provides more than 20 years of been there and done that. The cost of pursuing public sector business is extremely high – it is a high-risk, high-reward business. To be successful, IT firms need to be represented, advised and assisted by someone who understands the IT business world and state government. This is what New Capitol brings to the table.  Our business alliance with Barney Bishop, one of the most experienced business advocates and lobbyists in Florida, further adds to our strong and unique value proposition.”


First, it was board member Martin Dyckman who resigned from the board of Integrity Florida after it was revealed a report by the organization was financed by Americans for Prosperity. Then a second board member, Barbara Petersen, resigned from the group.

Now, reading the latest roster of lobbyist registrations, Ben Wilcox, the research director for the organization, has withdrawn as a lobbyist for Integrity Florida. That does not mean Wilcox is no longer with the organization, it just means he doesn’t intend to lobby for it or its issues. 

***Today’s SUNBURN is brought to you inpart by Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC, a top-notch public affairs, political communications and public relations firm.  Visit to read about their growing team, success stories and case studies.***


>>>Last December, as part of Creative Loafing’s annual auction to raise funds for The Children’s Home, CL offered readers the opportunity to bid on having lunch with a local lawmaker and CL’s news & politics editor Mitch Perry. The winner? Me, or Perry describes me, St. Petersburg political blogger extraordinaire … We met late last month on a Friday afternoon at La V, the Vietnamese fusion establishment … in downtown St. Pete. Here are excerpts from our conversation.

>>>Patch – Political Blogger Driven by Entrepreneurial Spirit

>>>Sunshine State News – Peter Schorsch: Inexhaustible Political Animal – “Part scoundrel, part genius, part self-promoting huckster, SaintPetersBlog’s Peter Schorsh lives Florida politics about as large as any one man can.”

***The PA Team of Jack and Keyna Cory and Erin Daly  would like to congratulate their new client, SmartWater CSI who recently launched its product in the City of Fort Lauderdale.  Mayor Jack Seiler and Rep. Perry Thurston attended the event where SmartWater CSI distributed their  forensic marking system. SmartWater has proven to be extremely successful in helping catch criminals and stop pawn shops from buying stolen property. Its use has resulted in 1,200 convictions in the UK. The PA Team will be providing governmental relations and strategic marketing services to SmartWater CSI.***

CAN’T WAIT TO READ: Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry by Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY this weekend to Pinellas County Commissioner and former State Representative John Morroni.

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.