Good Monday morning.
GrayRobinson is announcing that former U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney has joined its Government Affairs and Lobbying Team.
Feeney served in the U.S. House from 2003-09 and previously served in the state House, including as Speaker for the 2000-02 term. He has been the president and CEO of the Associated Industries of Florida for the past decade.
“Tom is a seasoned advocate who has been deeply rooted in Florida’s government, legal, and business community for decades. His connections and ability to coordinate on the local, state, and federal levels with our team in D.C. will help further our client’s business objectives. I’m excited to welcome a third former Florida House Speaker to our team,” said GrayRobinson President and CEO Dean Cannon, who served as House Speaker for the 2010-12 term.
In his new position as Of Counsel in the Washington, D.C., office, Feeney will primarily focus on federal government advocacy, specializing in a variety of areas, including financial services, intellectual property and copyright, defense and aerospace, transportation, economic development, and tax policy.
He will also focus on state and local government affairs and maintain a Florida-based legal practice.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with a firm like GrayRobinson that is embedded in the fabric of every community it serves from a civic, business, political, and social perspective,” Feeney said. “Both Florida and Washington have been my home for many years, and I look forward to collaborating with my new colleagues to create new possibilities across service lines at all levels of government.”
Charlie Crist’s gubernatorial campaign is posting another solid fundraising haul of over $1 million for April. The total marks Crist’s second consecutive million-dollar month in 2022, with now more than $9.2 million raised in the race to unseat Gov. Ron DeSantis.
April’s fundraising will show 12,400 individual donors, bringing the campaign’s total number of donors to nearly 44,000.
Crist has also earned the endorsement of 15 leaders and elected officials from across the state, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Shevrin Jones, Senate Democratic Leader Pro Tempore Bobby Powell, and Leader-Designate Fentrice Driskell, among others.
“I continue to be thankful for the thousands of Floridians who believe in our campaign’s mission and are fueling our fight to build a Florida for all,” Crist said in a statement Monday. “The Sunshine State cannot afford another four years under this reckless Governor — that’s why momentum is building in support of our vision for a new, better tomorrow. Help is on the way, Florida.”
To watch Crist’s recent appearance on the Showtime series “The Circus,” click on the image below:
Continental Strategy adds veteran Tallahassee health care lobbyist Jimmy Card — Card will serve as the Managing Partner of the Tallahassee office and will focus on health care policy and appropriations, public affairs, and consultation.
Continental Strategy is a consulting firm with offices in Washington D.C. and Florida that specializes in U.S. and Latin American policies and state legislative priorities. Over his 20-year career, Card worked as an associate at Larry J. Overton and Associates, as director of government relations for HMO Preferred Medical Plan in Coral Gables and served as legislative staff in both the Florida House and Senate.
“We are thrilled that Jimmy is joining the team and managing our Tallahassee office. He brings a wealth of experience in the health care industry as well as in Florida’s legislative and regulatory process which will allow him to quickly identify and implement strategies to benefit our clients, said Carlos Trujillo, president of Continental Strategy. “
“Continental Strategy is a natural fit for the next step in my career,” Card added. “I look forward to leveraging my experience in the industry to serve our clients and I am eager to expand Continental Strategy’s portfolio and influence in Florida.”
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@Axios: If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the U.S. would join only three countries — El Salvador, Nicaragua and Poland — that have rolled back abortion rights since 1994, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
—@DKThomp: I’m confused. I was reliably told that leaking an old (Samuel) Alito opinion was treasonous destruction of a sacred institution, but now the Court’s conservative camp is just plainly describing to reporters the full behind-the-scenes tick-tock of the Dobbs case weeks before the decision.
—@RichardHanania: Florida flagged a math textbook for “equal pay” propaganda featuring Megan Rapinoe. Feel bad for kids, this is in everything.
—@RedSteeze: Going to be fun comparing the media coverage and tone of screaming protesters outside SCOTUS justices homes to mothers at school board meetings.
We are sickened to our stomachs seeing Nazi flags flown at Disney World in Orlando, FL a few hours ago. pic.twitter.com/CXBVMSORk9
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) May 7, 2022
—@Super70sSports: Buster Douglas just won the Kentucky Derby.
—@GoFrankGo: HEY! IF YOU’RE PLANNING ON SEEING DR. STRANGE THIS WEEKEND, PLEASE READ THIS FIRST: I saw DR. STRANGE today but, it turns out he’s out-of-network, so my insurance isn’t going to cover it and, what I THOUGHT was going to be a $12 ticket ended up costing me $14,605.
It’s going to take all of us to replace the grilling absence @JayerWilliamson is leaving by his departure from Tallahassee
But I’ll start doing my part pic.twitter.com/1weNmbM02s
— Matt Dixon (@Mdixon55) May 8, 2022
— DAYS UNTIL —
Florida TaxWatch’s Spring Meeting — 2; property insurance Special Session begins — 14; 2022 Florida Chamber Prosperity & Economic Opportunity Solution Summit — 16; ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ starts on Disney+ — 16; ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ premieres — 18; ‘Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 24; California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota hold midterm Primaries — 29; ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ premieres — 32; Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’ premieres — 39; 2022 Florida Chamber Learners to Earners Workforce Solution Summit — 50; ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 60; 36th Annual Environmental Permitting School — 71; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 73; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 92; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 104; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 114; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 116; 2022 Emmys — 126; ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 150; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 168; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 169; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 169; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 186; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 192; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 196; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 196; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 197; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 221; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 283; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 301; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 319; 2023 Session Sine Die — 361; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 361; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 389; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 445; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 529; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 690; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 809.
“Appeals court reinstates Florida’s disputed voting law” via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times — A federal appeals court panel has temporarily reinstated a Florida voting law that a federal judge recently declared unconstitutional for its limits on drop boxes, “line warming” activities at polling sites and third-party voter registration efforts. In March, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker struck down large parts of Senate Bill 90, passed by Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature and signed into law by DeSantis last year. Pointing to the state’s “grotesque history of racial discrimination,” Walker ruled that lawmakers intended to discriminate against Black voters. In a drastic move, he also prohibited the Legislature from passing similar voting restrictions for the next 10 years without court approval.
— 2022 —
“A glaring omission from Donald Trump’s Pennsylvania rally speech: Abortion” via Colby Itkowitz of The Washington Post — Trump’s decision not to opine on the news that dominated headlines this week followed days of Republican reticence to engage on the issue, directing their ire at the leak itself rather than celebrate the draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the pivotal 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. Near the end of his speech, Trump rattled off a litany of Republican promises, among them “to protect innocent life.” He then mentioned his nomination of three judges to the U.S. Supreme Court and added as an aside, “And they’re making a very big decision now.”
“Trump endorses Kevin Marino Cabrera for Miami-Dade Commission” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — It isn’t often that Trump weighs in on local races, but he did just that Thursday night by endorsing Cabrera for the Miami-Dade County Commission. In a statement issued at 7 p.m., Trump said Cabrera will “represent his community with honor” and has his “Complete and Total Endorsement!” “Kevin Cabrera will be a great member of the Miami-Dade County Commission,” Trump said. “In 2020, when I won Florida’s 29 electoral votes by a historic margin, Kevin was my State Director. Kevin is a brave and smart America First Conservative who supports Low Taxes and fewer Regulations on small businesses, which means more jobs!”
Assignment editors — Crist will join the Monroe County Democratic Executive Committee for a meet and greet, where he will share his vision of a Florida for All and discuss the issues impacting Monroe County, at 5 p.m., Key West. RSVP for locations at [email protected]
—”Ruth’s List backs Aramis Ayala in Attorney General race” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics
“Michele Rayner launches abortion rally tour through CD 13” via Daniel Figueroa of Florida Politics — Rayner is taking her congressional campaign on an abortion rally tour through Florida’s 13th Congressional District this month. Rayner, who is running to fill the vacated seat by gubernatorial candidate Crist, jumped into action hours after a draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked. Rayner organized a rally outside the Pinellas County Courthouse in St. Petersburg. The rally drew about 200 supporters of reproductive rights, including Crist and her fellow Democratic Primary opponents Ben Diamond and Eric Lynn. Rayner told a fiery crowd it was time to bring the battle to the ballot box.
“New poll reveals warning signs for GOP on abortion ahead of midterms” via Andrew Romano of Yahoo News — Many right-wing politicians and pundits have spent the week rejoicing over Monday’s momentous report that five conservative Supreme Court justices appear poised to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that established a constitutional right to abortion almost half a century ago. Yet a new poll, one of the first to be conducted entirely after the leak of Alito’s controversial draft opinion, suggests that Republicans risk overplaying their hand on abortion ahead of the 2022 midterms and that Democrats could benefit if the hot-button issue is on the ballot. The survey of 1,577 U.S. adults, conducted from May 3 to May 6, found that registered voters initially preferred a generic Democrat (44%) over a generic Republican (39%) by five percentage points.
“As community veers right, political division tears apart Sarasota” via Tim Craig of The Washington Post — At a school board meeting last month, it took only a few minutes for raw bitterness to erupt. During the three-hour meeting, a conservative school board member insulted the board’s attorney for second-guessing DeSantis. A teacher made an emotional plea for help, saying that false accusations of wrongdoing were crippling her and other educators’ ability to teach. At one point, four police officers had to usher a parent from the meeting after being accused of derogatory behavior. Residents here say this level of rancor in local government is no longer uncommon. From County Commission meetings to neighborhood association gatherings, Sarasota County has become an example of just how deeply the nation’s partisan divisions are bleeding into local government
— MORE 2022 —
—“Allie Braswell receives Buddy Dyer endorsement in high-stakes HD 45” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics
Mike Fasano endorses Kevin Steele for HD 55 — Pasco County Tax Collector Fasano has endorsed Republican Steele in the race for House District 55. “Kevin Steele is a conservative businessman who will protect the taxpayers and watch over their hard-earned money as if it were his own. He will represent Pasco County well in Tallahassee and has my full endorsement,” said Fasano, who served nearly two decades in the state Legislature before becoming Tax Collector. Last week, Steele entered the HD 55 race after incumbent Rep. Ardian Zika announced he would not seek re-election. Steele previously picked up endorsements from Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco and Senate President Wilton Simpson. At the moment, Steele faces Gabriel Papadopoulos in the Republican Primary.
“Lindsay Cross realigns campaign to run for HD 60” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Cross has re-filed her campaign to run for state House District 60, shifting her campaign to align with the new state district map. Cross was previously filed to run for House District 68. The new HD 60 covers nearly the same area as HD 68 did, extending to northern parts of St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park. Cross is seeking the seat currently held by Rep. Diamond, who is not running for re-election to seek the Democratic nomination for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Cross is the only Democrat in the HD 60 race, including Republicans Jarib Figueredo, who previously ran an unsuccessful St. Pete City Council campaign, and Jeremy Michael Brown.
“Ford O’Connell files for open HD 77 seat in Lee County” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — O’Connell announced he will run for the open House District 77 seat. “My family and I have lived in Southwest Florida since 2012,” he said in a statement launching his bid. “For my entire life, I have been a strong conservative fighter who thinks it’s time that our politicians finally do what is needed.” In 2020, O’Connell briefly ran for an open congressional seat in Southwest Florida but dropped out shortly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A surrogate for Trump’s campaign in 2020, the lawyer has appeared on conservative media outlets, including Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Radio and Newsmax.
“Democrat Howard Sapp challenging Jenna Persons-Mulicka in HD 78” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Sapp, a Fort Myers Democrat, will challenge Rep. Persons-Mulicka for her state House seat. The Fort Myers native said he sees significant needs for Dunbar and the entire region and wants the Legislature to do more to lift the area up. “There definitely needs to be a difference, and there needs to be a voice for the change I see is necessary,” Sapp said. “We are having issues with clean water, mortgages and rent increases, with finding affordable housing in the area. We need thinking outside of the box to get us some of the things we need, and not just doing things the same way.”
“Leon Commissioner Rick Minor talks $27M stadium vote at campaign event” via Tristan Wood of Florida Politics — Minor discussed his values on the Commission and why he changed his mind about supporting a $27 million Blueprint allocation during the largest event of his campaign so far Thursday. Held at Dorothy B. Oven Park, the gathering hosted dozens of supporters and guests, including Tallahassee City Commissioner Curtis Richardson. Minor is currently facing two challengers, Joey Lamar and Damon Victor, for the District 3 seat, encompassing much of northwest Leon County. Before Minor made his remarks, adult attendees enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres under the shade of the park’s slash pine and oak trees.
>>>Gov. DeSantis will hold a press conference in Miami at the Freedom Tower. 10:45 a.m.
“Ron DeSantis worried Wilton Simpson’s prized bill would protect puppy mills. Will he veto it?” via Jason Garcia of Seeking Rents — One of Senate President Simpson’s top priorities this past Session was a piece of legislation dubbed the “Local Business Protection Act” — a bill that would allow businesses to sue cities or counties that pass local laws that cut into their profits. Among those most alarmed by Simpson’s far-reaching legislation are animal welfare activists, who fear it will torpedo efforts to shut down puppy mills by getting local governments to pass laws prohibiting the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores. Most major pet retailers have long since stopped selling puppies for profit. But there is one that still does: Petland, the nation’s No. 9 pet-store chain. Someone else apparently shares this concern: Gov. DeSantis.
“DeSantis appoints five to Florida Gaming Control Commission” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — DeSantis has made two appointments and three reappointments to the Florida Gaming Control Commission, his office announced late Friday. Last May, the Commission was created during a Special Session, when lawmakers passed a new Gaming Compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. In a separate bill, the Commission was established to regulate gambling activities in the state. The new appointees are John MacIver, who serves as general counsel to Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis and the Department of Financial Services, and John D’Aquila, an accountant and former executive at Comstock and Select Wines.
“‘Married to the Mouse’ author says DeSantis-Disney dispute likely to end in ‘therapy,’ not ‘divorce’” via Joe Byrnes of WFLA — DeSantis and the Legislature have revoked Walt Disney World’s unique self-governing district known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, effective June of next year. Retired Rollins College professor Richard Foglesong, author of “Married to the Mouse: Walt Disney World and Orlando,” discussed the situation with WMFE. We don’t have an answer yet from the state government, specifically from DeSantis, about how this bonded indebtedness will get paid off, by whom, and what timetable. And there are consequences here, consequences for the bond buyers, the bondholders, and consequences for Orange County.
“Lauren Book’s multiyear effort pays off: Baby diapers will be tax-free as of July 1” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Parents soon won’t have to pay sales tax to keep their babies fresh and clean, as DeSantis’ stroke of a pen Friday delivered tax relief on baby diapers and a host of other items. The sweeping tax relief package DeSantis signed Friday will save Floridians an estimated $1.1 billion in taxes. Baby diapers will be exempted from the sales tax starting July 1. The move produced a cheer from Book. The one-year reprieve from sales taxes for disposable and reusable baby diapers came five years after Book began fighting for it. The mission started when Book’s kids, 5-year-old girl-boy twins, Kennedy and Hudson, were in diapers.
— STATEWIDE —
“COVID-19 cases jump to highest level in two months, but hospitalizations remain low” via Chris Persaud of The Palm Beach Post — The latest wave of coronavirus infections is worsening in some parts of Florida, but for the most part, remains milder than the omicron surge. State health officials logged the biggest increase in new cases since late February, but hospitalizations remain lower than before the omicron variant engulfed Florida. Florida has logged an average of 29,715 new infections each week since April 22, the biggest jump since Feb. 25. Hospitals across Florida tended to an average of 981 COVID-positive patients per day during the week ending Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“Florida releases reviews that led to rejection of math textbooks” via Dana Goldstein and Stephanie Saul of The New York Times — It was the equivalent of: “Show your work.” To help explain its puzzling rejection of dozens of math textbooks, the state of Florida released nearly 6,000 pages of reviewer comments this week and revealed an often confusing, contradictory and divisive process. A conservative activist turned textbook reviewer was on the lookout for mentions of race. Another reviewer didn’t seem to know that social-emotional learning concepts, like developing grit, should be banned. A third flagged a word problem comparing salaries for male and female soccer players. In part to determine whether they adhered to Florida’s teaching standards for math, from simple addition in kindergarten to the interpretation of graphs in high school statistics.
“Orlando Sentinel, Sun-Sentinel stand by math book story despite education agency’s complaint” via Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel — The Florida Department of Education on Friday disputed an Orlando Sentinel/South Florida Sun-Sentinel story about what math textbook reviewers found in the books, but the newspapers stand by their work. The article, published Thursday, found that only one reviewer complained about “critical race theory.” That reviewer evaluated two high school math books. The state had about 70 reviewers evaluating 132 math books. After the reviews were done, the department rejected 54 textbooks, claiming many contained “critical race theory” or other objectionable material meant to “indoctrinate” students.
“The IRS dropped its demand to upload selfies, so why is Florida still requiring them?” via Ron Hurtibise of the South Florida Sun Sentinel — Taxpayers, lawmakers and digital privacy advocates rebelled earlier this year when the IRS announced plans to require taxpayers to upload selfies if they wanted online access to their tax records. The selfies were needed by an identity verification service, ID.me, to compare with applicants’ government-issued ID photos, the IRS said. Following an outcry from both sides of the political spectrum, the IRS responded by making the selfie uploads optional. Yet dozens of states, including Florida, that contracted with ID.me to conduct identify verification of applicants for unemployment benefits, have not followed the IRS’ lead.
“The Seminole Tribe cleans up at ‘Emmys of politics’” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — As some Florida heavyweights such as Disney continue to face stiff political headwinds, the same cannot be said of another political powerhouse. The Seminole Tribe of Florida continues to receive recognition for successfully keeping proposed amendments to open the sports betting market and bring non-Tribal casinos to the state off the November ballot. The Tribe’s messaging effort had already received national acclaim as one of U.S. history’s most effective ballot initiative campaigns. Now, it’s award-winning. The Tribe’s political team cleaned up Thursday night at the 2022 Reed Awards ceremony in Nashville. From statewide grassroots and field operations to paid television and digital advertisements, the Seminole Tribe’s Florida operation took home first place nationally in a litany of categories.
— D.C. MATTERS —
“Jill Biden pays surprise visit to Ukraine, meets First Lady” via The Associated Press — U.S. first lady Biden made an unannounced visit to western Ukraine on Sunday, holding a surprise Mother’s Day meeting with the nation’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska, as Russia presses its punishing war in the eastern regions. Biden traveled under the cloak of secrecy, becoming the latest high-profile American to enter Ukraine during its 10-week-old conflict with Russia. “I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” Biden told Zelenska. “I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop, and this war has been brutal and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”
“Voters increasingly credit Democrats for pandemic turnaround” via Paul Kane of The Washington Post — In a spring filled with political discontent, Democrats have found a bit of underappreciated success on a topic that had dominated U.S. politics for more than two years: battling the pandemic. Coronavirus infection rates are a fraction of their omicron-infused peak in January, hospital beds are plentiful in most regions, and COVID-19-related deaths are down 90% from four months ago, all coming more than two months after federal officials eased mask recommendations, ending most pandemic-era mandates. The public has taken notice: President Joe Biden’s approval rating for handling the virus has surged to 51% among all adults, his highest rating since last summer and up from 44% in February.
“Most who support Roe see an overturn as a danger to women, other rights” via Jennifer de Pinto, Fred Backus, and Anthony Salvanto of CBS News — The nearly two-thirds of Americans who want Roe v. Wade kept in place say they feel angry and discouraged about the prospect that it may be overturned, describing that as “a danger to women” and as a threat to rights more generally. Most Americans, particularly younger women, think it would also lead to restrictions on birth control and family planning choices. Going forward, most would like to see a federal law passed that protects abortion, and in their own states, two-thirds want it to be legal, at least in most cases. The one-third who want Roe overturned would describe it as “a protection for the unborn” and call it a victory for the anti-abortion rights movement.
“Democrats shape health care argument” via Alexi McCammond and Sophia Cai of Axios — Democratic group Navigator Research released new polling data citing strong public support for elements of Biden’s economic agenda — and opposition to implications of a plan proposed by Sen. Rick Scott, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Many of the data points highlight specific Democratic health care proposals. These include calls to expand seniors’ Medicare to cover hearing aids, empowering Medicare to lower drug prices, capping monthly insulin costs for diabetics, and lowering health insurance premiums for families who must purchase their own coverage. Democrats already were gearing up to campaign against the Scott memo, which has not been embraced by all Republicans. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson Chris Taylor told Axios: “Here’s a guarantee: By November, every voter will know Republican extremists want to implement a nationwide abortion ban, voted against lowering drug prices, and want to end Medicare as we know it.”
Assignment editors — U.S. House Speaker Pelosi will appear at the “Aspen Ideas: Climate in Miami-Dade County” event, 5:30 p.m., New World Center, 500 17th St., Miami Beach.
“Charlie Crist praises extension of Employment Authorization Permits for asylum-seekers” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — U.S. Rep. Crist is applauding the recent decision by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to automatically extend Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) from 180 days to 540 days. The change, which hopes to prevent individuals from being forced to leave their jobs because of long delays in the USCIS processing, is a temporary fix for asylum-seekers who face lost employment. Due to the backlog, many asylum-seekers, especially Venezuelans, lost their jobs. The new rule, enacted on May 4, comes after Crist and the Florida Democratic Congressional Delegation sent a letter to USCIS requesting an increase in the automatic extension of EADs from 180 to 360 days.
Assignment editors — Crist will host representatives from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard, Key West Mayor Teri Johnston, and local Cuban American advocates for a roundtable to discuss regional and federal preparations for possible mass migration by sea from Cuba. The roundtable will follow Crist’s meetings with the U.S. Coast Guard in Sector Key West, 2:30 p.m., 1300 White Street, Key West. Please RSVP at [email protected]
“Unprecedented $1 billion first quarter lobbying haul puts 2022 on track for record year” via Anna Massoglia of Open Secrets — This year is on track for record lobbying spending after lobbyists collectively clocked the biggest first quarter haul in history — with more than $1 billion disclosed during the first quarter of 2022 alone. At this point in 2021, 10,503 lobbyists had brought in less than $929 million across all industries. The federal budget was the most lobbied issue from January through March, with 3,394 clients paying for lobbying on the issue. Health issues were also heavily lobbied, with 2,068 clients. Lobbying related to health continues to dominate spending as recovery from the coronavirus pandemic continues. Of the 3,130 lobbyists working for the health sector last year, nearly half — 47.8% — had taken a swing in the revolving door as former government employees.
“Unemployment is low. That doesn’t mean the economy is fine.” via Peter Coy of The New York Times — While the low unemployment rate is great for workers, it doesn’t shield the U.S. economy from the risk of a recession triggered by, say, the war in Ukraine or China’s COVID-19 lockdowns. The U.S. economy added 428,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in April, and the unemployment rate stayed at 3.6%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Friday. Trouble is, that’s a rearview mirror look at the economy. If you wait until the jobless rate starts rising to rescue growth, you’re already too late. Typically, the number of people on payrolls in the United States falters when the overall economy falters, not before. The payroll figure is categorized as a “coincident” rather than a “leading” indicator by The Conference Board, a business-supported research group.
— LOCAL NOTES: N. FL —
“Jacksonville Mayor tweets in Latin — don’t expect Elon Musk to carpe Duval diem” via Mark Woods of The Florida Times-Union — I’m not fluent in Latin (just pig Latin). So, I had to go to Google translator last week when Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry tweeted a message to Musk. Curry responded to one of Musk’s tweets, made to his 83 million Twitter followers after striking a deal to buy the social media platform for approximately $44 billion. “Per aspera ad astra!” Musk said. Through hardships to the stars. While the deal is far from done, Curry quickly joined other politicians in inviting Musk to move Twitter from its San Francisco headquarters.
“‘Dark times’: Fire destroys Tallahassee Jewish center; cause of overnight blaze unclear” via William Hatfield of the Tallahassee Democrat — A center for Jewish life in Tallahassee will rebuild “bigger and better” after an overnight fire devastated the Chabad of Tallahassee and FSU. Rabbi Schneur Z. Oirechman was in South Florida visiting with alumni, donors and friends of the center when he got news of the blaze at 4 a.m. Sunday. “I think you know we live in very dark times,” he told the Democrat, while traveling back to the capital city. “This fire just added a little bit more darkness to the world.”
“Amelia Island officials go to public with major beach, tourism projects” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — With such a large amount of Nassau County’s economy dependent on tourism, especially beach tourism, Amelia Island officials are reaching out to residents and visitors to plan for a prosperous future. Those plans include a unified vision for the island’s beaches and a kind of master plan for future tourism. “As you’re aware, the (Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau) and the (Amelia Island Tourism Development Council) are helping to manage two projects on behalf of Nassau County — the beach park harmonization project being led by EDSA, and the tourism strategic planning destination development project with JLL,” said Amy Boek, Chief Marketing Officer of the Bureau, at the latest Council meeting.
“Gainesville to restrict public drinking” via Mickenzie Hannon of the Independent Florida Alligator — Gainesville residents may no longer be allowed to carry alcoholic beverages on public property. City Commissioners voted 4-3 Thursday to repeal the open container policy that allowed people to drink and carry alcoholic beverages in public. The ordinance also permitted businesses to serve alcohol in public, outdoor spaces. Commissioners first voted to allow open containers in September 2020, permitting struggling businesses to adapt to CDC guidelines and survive the pandemic.
“UF to change teachings on racism or risk $100M in funding due to ‘Stop WOKE’ bill” via Gershon Harrell of The Gainesville Sun — Performance funding from the state may be on the line for the University of Florida if the public institution doesn’t comply with the state’s new instructional guidelines outlined in the “Stop Woke Act.” Over each of the past three years, UF received approximately $100 million in performance funding, all of which could now be at stake. In a 20-slide presentation sent to faculty and staff, UF President Kent Fuchs warned the state could impose “large financial penalties” on any university that violates House Bill 7.
“Women denied entry at Rachel’s strip club will take case to state Supreme Court — again” via Martin Comas of the Orlando Sentinel — The attorney for two women who were denied entry into an Orlando strip club in 2018 because they weren’t with a man said he plans to take their case to the Florida Supreme Court again because the issue is more than who can have fun at a gentlemen’s club. It’s whether local governments can enact anti-discrimination ordinances that offer more protections than the Florida Civil Rights Act, said Matthew Dietz, a Miami attorney who represents Brittney Smith and Anita Yanes.
— MORE LOCAL: SW. FL —
“Manatee County Commissioner DUI investigation moves to State Attorney. Video shows MCSO skipped field sobriety test” via Jesse Mendoza of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune — Minutes after George Kruse crashed his white F150 pickup truck into a tree on Greyhawk Boulevard on April 20, the Republican County Commissioner showed signs of impairment, according to new body camera footage. His shirt was wet, his eyes glossed with droopy eyelids, his speech slurred, and he appeared confused. At one point during the DUI stop, the deputy on the scene said Kruse was “obviously impaired” but that he could not make an arrest because no witness saw Kruse behind the wheel — even though the County Commissioner himself said he was driving.
“Orlando Rolón, first Hispanic Orlando police chief, set to retire this fall” via Misa Maria Garza of the Orlando Sentinel — Rolón, the city’s first Hispanic police chief, took office in October 2018. He succeeded John Mina, who later became Orange County sheriff. Before Rolón’s promotion, he was a deputy chief overseeing the department’s Patrol Services Bureau. In a letter to Orlando Mayor Dyer on Wednesday, Rolón said he intends to stop working on Aug. 19 and will officially retire in November after a 30-year career with the police department.
— MORE LOCAL: S. FL —
“What to do about Broward Sheriff, his lies and scalding FDLE report? Three months on, Gov. Ron DeSantis can’t, or won’t, make a decision” via Dan Christensen of Florida Bulldog — Three months into pondering what to do about Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony, who public-corruption agents found repeatedly lied over the years on official records, DeSantis continues to ponder as an anxious sheriff’s office wonders what’s going on. Many of Tony’s alleged lies could not be criminally prosecuted because they fall outside the state’s Statute of Limitations. But another allegation, that Tony committed perjury when he lied while seeking a new driver’s license just three weeks after he was sworn in, was considered “potentially viable” after FDLE recommended Tony be charged with felony perjury.
“‘I won’t let you down,’ ex-Broward Sheriff Scott Israel says of becoming Opa-locka’s police chief” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, who was ousted from his job after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, has been named the new police chief of Opa-locka. “It is a true honor,” Israel, 66, told the news media Friday during a news conference. “The Bible tells us with authority comes responsibility and I look so forward to the opportunities to becoming one team with the citizens of Opa-locka.” He thanked God for the new opportunity, saying he felt “absolutely blessed.” He pledged, “I won’t let you down.” DeSantis made Israel’s removal one of his first acts after taking office in January 2019, accusing Israel of incompetence and “neglect of duty” for handling the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“Bahia Mar deal needed a guy with a brass touch. Enter Jimmy Tate.” via Susannah Bryan of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Tate, a developer, may as well be on top of the world. At the moment, the cocksure president of Tate Capital is standing on the roof of the Bahia Mar hotel on a bright sunny day, peering out over the pricey taxpayer-owned peninsula where his next baby will be born. Eight years after taking over the Bahia Mar lease, Tate and company pulled off a deal other developers could not, persuading Fort Lauderdale to give them full reign over the taxpayer-owned Bahia Mar site for 100 years.
—TOP OPINION —
“Send a message on Roe v. Wade with your ballot” via Colbert King for The Washington Post — The expressions of shock and outrage over Justice Alito’s leaked draft opinion overturning Roe are distressing. Anyone paying attention, especially during the past 30 years, could tell this day was coming. It’s both frustrating and disheartening to have seen so many warning signs ignored. After all, in 1984, the Republican Party platform endorsed a “human life constitutional amendment” and called for the appointment of judges committed to such a measure. The burden is on proponents of women’s rights to help change Washington’s political landscape. Trump and Alito have had their say. It now falls to the people to make their voices heard.
— OPINIONS —
“Justice Samuel Alito’s rosy view of pregnancy in America is fantasy” via Ria Tabacco Mar for The Washington Post — Among the many shocking elements of the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, this one jumped out at me: the rosy picture of pregnancy painted by Justice Alito, who has never been pregnant. Alito lists a string of “modern developments” that lessen the financial toll exacted by pregnancy. “Federal and state laws ban discrimination on the basis of pregnancy,” he writes. “Leave for pregnancy and childbirth are now guaranteed by law in many cases,” and “costs of medical care associated with pregnancy are covered by insurance or government assistance.” The implication is that Roe has outlived any role it once played in improving women’s economic security. At best, pregnant Americans must navigate a patchwork of leaky protections.
“Banning abortion forces pregnancy on women” via Vicki Toscano for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Alito’s leaked draft opinion on abortion overturning Roe v. Wade is wrong on so many levels, including its legal analysis and its history. But it also proves the adage “be careful what you wish for.” With this draft opinion, it appears pro-life advocates have finally achieved what they have desired. And many states are falling in line, ready to ban or severely curtail access to abortion across the country. But what pro-life advocates will find, when the ink has dried, is that they have lost this culture war. They got here by falling victim to the same danger that befalls those with many extreme views. They created believable fiction to move the masses and then started to believe it themselves.
“Jan. 6 was worse than you remember. It must define our politics.” via The Washington Post editorial board — A third member of the extremist Oath Keepers group pleaded guilty Wednesday to seditious conspiracy, admitting his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack. The pleas provide more proof that the right-wing campaign to whitewash Jan. 6, playing down the extent to which the participants sought to stage an insurrection, is not just craven but also dangerous. The attackers did not behave like “tourists;” they were not unarmed; Jan. 6 was not a normal protest that got out of hand; the attack was not staged by far-left agitators posing as Trump supporters. Instead, it was a coordinated and concerted effort on the part of pro-Trump zealots.
— ALOE —
“Formula 1 roars into Miami, where cars are already king” via Patricia Mazzei of The New York Times — Miami’s car culture was on display this weekend as South Florida hosts a new Formula 1 Grand Prix, the sort of buzzy sporting event that makes Miami Miami. Formula 1, which commands a vast international audience, is seeking to capitalize on its growing U.S. popularity, fueled in part by the success of the Netflix show “Drive to Survive,” as NASCAR’s television ratings have been in decline. Miami is the second U.S. city hosting a Formula 1 race, along with Austin; Las Vegas is next, and, in a town with a frothy cryptocurrency obsession, its main sponsor is Crypto.com. Massive parties, fashion shows and world-famous DJs are on tap.
“Fake marina with fake water steals show at Miami Grand Prix” via Jenna Fryer of The Associated Press — Formula One pictured a race in Miami and envisioned sun, sand, beaches and boats. So, when the inaugural Miami Grand Prix landed at Hard Rock Stadium, nowhere near the South Beach backdrop F1 was seeking, the promoter said don’t worry. F1 wants boats in a suburban neighborhood? Done. They built a fake marina. With fake water, and all. Well, it’s not really water at all in The Mia Marina, located between turns 4 and 6 at the purpose-built venue around the Miami Dolphins’ stadium. It can be found at the corner of NW 27th Ave. and NW 199th St. in Miami Gardens, a landlocked neighborhood some 15 miles away from F1′s initial desired downtown location. It isn’t exactly Monaco, but the man-made marina is a 25,000-square-foot dry dock designed to look like water.
“‘I’ll be defending my triple crown.’ No. 1 Pickleball champ in the world is 15-year-old from Florida” via Faran Fagen for The Palm Beach Post — Before her incredible pickleball run, Anna Leigh Waters played tennis for four years in Delray Beach, and her coaches stressed footwork and technique. It’s these two qualities, along with a generous dose of self-determination, that her mom attributes to the 15-year-old’s swift rise to the No. 1 world ranking in that other ball-and-racquet sport, pickleball. “Anna really excelled at footwork and technique, so by the time she got to pickleball, she had those things mastered,” Leigh Waters said. “That was a huge advantage.” Leigh Waters is currently the top-ranked pickleball singles player in the world across all platforms and has won double-digit singles titles. Playing competitive pickleball since 2019, the teenager has accumulated over $225,000 in prize money and sponsorships.
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Best wishes to Erica Chanti of Rubin Turnbull & Associates, our colleague Renzo Downey, St. Petersburg City Councilman Brett Gerdes, and political consultant Greg Keller. Belated best wishes to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and Jonathan Zachem.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.