Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 7.28.22

Good Thursday morning.

Wi-Fi was spotty all day on the road, so let’s just dive into ‘Burn:

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

Tweet, tweet:

@MZanoa: @GOPLeader told us tonight that he has encouraged Donald Trump to hold off on any announcing White House bid until after the midterms. “My point to him has always (been), ‘Let’s go win ‘22,’” said (Kevin) McCarthy, who met w/ Trump before and after his speech in DC today.

@JamesUthmeier: In Florida, we protect our kids.

@Paul_Renner: Corporate elites are using ESG investing to prioritize a liberal agenda These elites are circumventing the FL Legislature and do not represent the people. I look forward to working with @GovRonDeSantis to put FL first!

@MarcACaputo: Lots of chatter in Dem establishment circles that (Charlie) Crist is more “electable” than (Nikki) Fried 1) According to @BLFF_org research, it’s a gendered prob for women 2) & DeSantis & Trump advisers say Fried would likely be more of a challenge anyway

Tweet, tweet:

@NateMonroeTU: “An analyst at Seaport Global, a capital-markets firm, said recent reporting on FPL has ‘made us reassess FPL’s risks’ and that the research firm has ‘grown uncomfortable’ with the ‘growing media scrutiny of FPL’s lobbying practices …’”

@JayTrumbull: Panama City Rotary Club was one of the first places I had the privilege of speaking when I ran for the FL House. It’s humbling to be back as a candidate for the @FLSenate. Thank you for allowing me to serve. I ask you to continue to put your trust in me as your Senator.

@DKThomp: The COVID Curse Netflix subscribers, e-commerce growth, pandemic stocks, and western U.S. housing all boomed during the pandemic. But, for various reasons, the boom binged on low-hanging demand. And when there was nothing left, things fell back to earth in a hurry.

@Chris_Minor10: All these students posting photos of the new @floridastate student union with its Panera Bread, Pandora Express & Pollo Tropical. I pity y’all. You’ll never know what it was like to roll into College Algebra after grabbing 2-4-1 margaritas at @Chilis in between classes.

— DAYS UNTIL —

Beyoncé rolls-out seventh solo studio album ’Renaissance’ — 1; MLB trade deadline — 4; The 10-day Florida Python Challenge kicks off — 8; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 12; Early voting begins for Primaries — 16; FBHA’s annual conference, BHCon2022, begins — 20; FRLA’s Operations and Marketing Summit — 21; ‘House of the Dragon’ premieres on HBO — 24; 2022 Florida Primary — 25; launch window opens for NASA to launch the Artemis I — 32; 2022 Florida Chamber Technology & Innovation Solution Summit — 34; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 34; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 36; NFL Opening Night: LA Rams vs. Buffalo Bills — 42; 2022 Emmys — 46; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 49; Vote-by-mail mailing deadline for General Election — 70; Deadline to register for General Election — 74; 22-23 NHL season begins — 75; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 89; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 89; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 90; Early voting begins for General Election — 93; 2022 General Election — 103; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 106; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 108; FITCon 2022 begins — 112; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 112; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 116; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 116; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 117; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 125; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 125; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 141; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 204; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 222; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 239; 2023 Session Sine Die — 281; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 281; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 309; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 358; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 463; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 477; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 610; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 729; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 729; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 834; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 1,009.

— TOP STORY —

Florida regulators to use Citizens as backstop to struggling insurance market” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Florida regulators have moved to shore up the struggling companies with a new source of reinsurance: Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.

The Office of Insurance Regulation is creating a “temporary reinsurance arrangement” where Citizens would pay the outstanding claims of companies that are downgraded and later go insolvent.

Citizens to the rescue — but for how long?

Triggering the move was Demotech, an Ohio-based ratings agency, which gave notice to at least 17 insurers on July 19 that it would lower their rating from “A” to “S” (substantial) or “M” (moderate) within a week. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, federal government-backed entities that underwrite mortgages, require Demotech to have an “A.”

Lowered ratings mean mortgage lenders would be compelled to force-place all affected homeowners in new companies. With hundreds of thousands of homeowners potentially affected, such a move would convulse the Florida insurance market — in the middle of hurricane season.

After Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier wrote to Demotech President Joseph Petrelli last week blasting the decision and asking for further explanation, Petrelli said he would hold off on any changes in the ratings of the companies but didn’t give a timeline for when the downgrades would occur, leaving the already-fragile market unsettled.

There has been no official declaration from OIR implementing the new program, but it would entail Citizens using its surplus to pay claims of companies that went insolvent after receiving a downgrade from Demotech.

— 2022 —

Ron DeSantis combats ‘woke’ corporate governance criteria in new legislative proposal” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — After targeting Critical Race Theory, DeSantis is taking the fight against “woke” corporations to ESG. Speaking at a restaurant in Tampa on Wednesday, DeSantis and House Speaker-Designate Paul Renner proposed legislation to curb “woke capital” and environmental, social and governance criteria, a set of standards commonly called ESG by socially conscious investors to rate companies’ values. The Governor’s proposal, announced months ahead of the 2023 Session but as the 2022 Midterms heat up, would prohibit the State Board of Administration (SBA) pension fund managers from using political criteria when investing state money. The SBA could only consider maximizing return on investment for retirees when determining investments.

Ron DeSantis is taking another swipe at his favorite punching bag — ‘wokeism.’

‘A horrible look’: Democrats bash abortion-rights groups for Nikki Fried snub” via Marc Caputo of NBC News — When she decided to back Fried, Democratic activist Pamela Goodman made sure to check the website of the abortion-rights group she used to lead because she wanted to borrow its endorsement of the party’s lone statewide elected Democrat. Goodman couldn’t believe what Ruth’s List Florida said: nothing. “What? Where is it? What? Why not?” Goodman, an attorney and former president and CEO of Ruth’s List Florida, remembered asking herself earlier this month. “They haven’t endorsed her? I was shocked.” Ruth’s List Florida’s mission is to recruit, train and elect “pro-choice” women, but Goodman said it wouldn’t discuss what happened with Fried.

Jason Pizzo endorses Daniel Uhlfelder for Attorney General Democratic Sen. Pizzo is endorsing Uhlfelder’s campaign to oust Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody. “As a former prosecutor, I worked to bring justice for hundreds of victims of fraud and violent crime, and it’s time the people’s attorney did the same. Florida needs an Attorney General who actually fights for our citizens and delivers justice for the most vulnerable, not the political aspirations of others,” Pizzo said. Uhlfelder is competing against former State Attorney Aramis Ayala and one other Democrat for the opportunity to take on Moody in November. He currently leads the Democratic field in fundraising and is the only Democratic candidate who will be receiving matching funds from the state.

Jason Pizzo gives his blessing to the ‘Grim Reaper.’

Marco Rubio has a prayer request before November’s midterms” via Spencer Brown of TownHall — As the midterm elections draw closer, U.S. Sen. Rubio has a prayer request: For President Joe Biden to campaign against him on his home turf. Issued via tweet, Rubio responded to a post from President Biden’s account that conflated support for the Second Amendment freedom of law-abiding citizens with being unsupportive of law enforcement. For Democrat candidates facing voters this November, especially those in red states, Biden is seen as a dead weight and a liability for their campaigns. In the 2022 midterm election cycle, several Democrats running for statewide office have shunned Biden when he’s visited their states.

Joe Rogan torches Rubio and other Republicans for going after same-sex marriage” via Brandon Gage of Alternet — Rogan, a controversial podcaster, issued a powerful defense of marriage equality and admonished the Republican Party’s assaults on civil liberties during Saturday’s edition of The Joe Rogan Experience. Silhouetted in a haze of smoke, Rogan and his guest, comedian Andrew Schulz, lamented the right-wing’s cultural crusades. “Gay marriage is not silly. It’s marriage,” Rogan continued. “It’s marriage for people that are homosexual, and for them, it’s important. They want to affirm their love and their relationship, and the fact that they’re going after that now almost makes me feel like they want us to fight.”

— 2022: CONG —

Anthony Sabatini makes $50K TV buy — State Rep. Sabatini’s congressional campaign has made a $49,975 media buy in the Orlando media market. According to AdImpact, the flight will put Sabatini’s ads on Fox News Thursday through the end of the Primary Election on Aug. 23. Sabatini is one of several Republicans seeking the nomination in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. A political committee known as American Principles Project has also spent $49,975 for ads on Fox News. The committee recently uploaded an ad to YouTube asking voters to support Sabatini in the Primary. CD 7 covers Seminole County and southern Volusia County and is expected to perform Republican in the fall. The seat is open due to incumbent Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy deciding not to run for re-election.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

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Alan Grayson drops $28K on TV ads — Former U.S. Rep. Grayson is hitting the airwaves in his bid to return to Congress in Florida’s 10th Congressional District. According to AdImpact, his campaign spent $27,879 on a cable flight that began Wednesday and will run through Tuesday. His ads will air on several cable networks, including BET, CNN, Fox Sports 1 and MSNBC. The ads will air in the Orlando media market. Grayson is one of several Democrats running to succeed U.S. Rep. Val Demings, who is running for Senate rather than re-election.

James Judge slams Jerry Torres for skipping 2010 oversight hearing on defense contract” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Opponents blasted congressional candidate Torres after unearthed video shows the longtime defense contractor bailed on a 2010 federal hearing. Judge pointed to a video of a 2010 hearing for the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq & Afghanistan. That entity formed in 2008 following criticism of the Department of Defense outsourcing in the war. At the 2010 hearing, Michael Thibault, former director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, publicly chastised Torres, then CEO of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions (AES), for sidestepping scrutiny. Torres did not appear, and his attorney said he was “nervous” about the questioning session, Thibault said.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s CD 25 rival matches her Q2 fundraising draw” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — As South Florida’s longest-serving Democratic Representative in Congress, Wasserman Schultz is in a strong cash position to glide to a 10th term. And that’s even though her chief rival in the race for Florida’s 25th Congressional District, Republican Carla Spalding, raised about the same quarter million dollars she did in the past quarter. The $255,627 Wasserman Schultz added in the second quarter of 2022 was just $2,564 more than what Spalding added to her campaign. Wasserman Schultz’s holdings, though, are like a jumbo jet to Spalding’s ultra-light. She has more than $1 million in holdings, compared to Spalding’s $107,000.

Ken Russell makes first cable buy in CD 27 — Democratic candidate Russell has made a $50,000 media buy in his campaign to represent Florida’s 27th Congressional District. According to AdImpact, the buy was placed through AKPD and will cover cable ads airing today through Monday in the Miami media market. The ads will air on several channels, including BET, CNN, ESPN, MSNBC, TNT and VH1. Russell, a Miami City Commissioner, is one of three Democrats vying to unseat first-term U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar in the new CD 27, which covers a large portion of Miami-Dade County, including the municipalities of Miami, Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Key Biscayne, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, North Bay Village, South Miami and West Miami.

— MORE 2022 —

NFIB endorses Shane Abbott for HD 5 — The National Federation of Independent Business is endorsing Republican Abbott in the race for House District 5. Abbott, a DeFuniak Springs small-business owner, said he was proud to receive the endorsement. “Bidenflation is especially damaging to the local businesses that power our economy, and I look forward to slashing spending and cutting taxes in the Florida House so our small businesses can thrive again,” he said. Abbot is one of three Republicans running to succeed exiting Rep. Brad Drake in HD 5. The district covers Holmes, Jackson, Walton and Washington counties as well as parts of Calhoun. Because no Democrat or third-party candidates qualified for the race, all voters in the area will be able to vote in the Aug. 23 Republican Primary Election.

Anti-abortion groups endorse Matt Silbernagel in HD 25 — Republican Silbernagel picked up endorsements from Florida Family Action and Florida Family Policy Council as he seeks the GOP nomination in House District 25. FFA and FFPC are conservative groups that support anti-abortion policies. “I am grateful for the support of Florida Family Action,” Silbernagel said. “As a husband and father, the well-being of Florida families is my top priority. I look forward to working with FFA to advocate and fight for legislation that will defend and protect our strong family values in the Florida House.” Silbernagel is one of four Republicans running for HD 25, a safe Republican seat covering part of Lake County.

Matt Silbernagel is solidly in the pro-life lane.

‘Cancel my registration’: GOP candidate pulled himself off voter rolls after 2020 election” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Fed up with the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election, Republican Kristopher Stark, a candidate to represent reconfigured Florida House District 37, sent the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections a request last year to be taken off state voter rolls. He said he was frustrated Trump won Florida but somehow lost the White House, which he wrongly believes was “stolen.” “My vote means nothing. Cancel my registration,” Stark wrote on the Seminole County removal form. Stark’s request to be clipped from the rolls of registered voters, granted by elections officials, might endanger his eligibility for the Republican nomination of the statehouse seat because of a clause in a 2021 bill, which was primarily aimed at restricting vote-by-mail options.

Charlie Crist endorses Rita Harris over Daisy Morales in HD 44” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Crist is endorsing Harris in House District 44, picking the challenger over an incumbent Democrat in the south-central Orange County election. Crist’s endorsement of Harris, a longtime Orange County Democratic activist, comes as she runs against first-term incumbent state Rep. Morales. There are no Republican or other candidates in HD 44, so the Aug. 23 Primary Election will be open to all voters. The winner between Harris and Morales will be elected.

Richard Corcoran backs Carolina Amesty for HD 45 — Former Education Commissioner and House Speaker Richard Corcoran has endorsed Amesty in the race for House District 45. “Carolina Amesty has been a hands-on leader in our schools, overseeing both K-12 and postsecondary education,” Corcoran said. “She is a passionate supporter of school choice and stood with Gov. DeSantis in his effort to protect parental rights in the classroom. It is my pleasure to endorse Carolina as the right choice and best conservative candidate for state representative in House District 45.” Amesty is one of five Republicans running for the seat, which covers Disney World and the surrounding communities in southwestern Orange and northwestern Osceola. The winner of the GOP Primary will face Democratic nominee Allie Braswell in November.

Carolina Amesty earns a high-profile Florida endorsement.

HD 45 Republican Primary floodgates are opening” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — House District 45 Republican voters are getting flooded with mailers, multiple TV commercials and other advertising, including attack ads, as five candidates vie for a shot at representing the coveted Walt Disney World area. Four of the Republicans are spending big this month, hundreds of thousands of dollars between them, on mailers and TV, for a House seat Primary. And they’re being joined by outside spending from at least four groups. The messaging includes a few shots at one another, particularly against Amesty, Vennia Francois and Bruno Portigliatti, some of which come from outside groups. HD 45 covers southwestern Orange County, including Walt Disney World and northwestern Osceola County. Results for the past few General Elections suggest it may have a slight Democratic lean.

This accused Tampa Jan. 6 insurrectionist is running for Florida House from jail” via Colleen Wright of the Tampa Bay Times — Jeremy Michael Brown, the lone Republican awaiting the Democratic Primary winner for a Florida House seat representing parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, is facing charges related to the Jan. 6 insurrection. And he’s running his campaign from the Pinellas County Jail, where he is held on felony federal weapons charges stemming from his arrest for misdemeanor trespassing and disruptive conduct in connection to the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Brown was photographed outside the Capitol in full tactical gear as hundreds disrupted congressional certification of Biden’s electoral victory. He said he believes fraud was involved in the 2020 Presidential election.

— STATEWIDE —

DeSantis: TikTok toddler dance at Miami drag show puts bar’s liquor license in jeopardy” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — A 16-second clip showing a toddler in a tiara dancing with a scantily clad drag queen at a Miami establishment has DeSantis vowing that won’t be allowed in his free state of Florida. The clip shared on the social media platforms TikTok and Twitter went viral earlier this month and got a mention Wednesday at the Governor’s news conference. He said the establishment, later identified as R House Wynwood, is under investigation through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), which may lead to the revocation of its liquor license. He argued such encounters are part of a disturbing trend of sexualizing children.

Tweet, tweet:

DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw makes sure reporters feel the burn” via Paul Farhi of The Washington Post — When Florida Republicans held their annual conference last week, party leaders decided to bar a large swath of the press corps from the event. While the hosts declined to discuss their reasoning, one unelected official applauded it. “My message to [journalists] is to try crying about it,” tweeted Pushaw, whose job as spokesperson for DeSantis is communicating with reporters. “Then go to kickboxing and have a margarita.” The derisive tone was typical of Pushaw, 31, a state employee who earns $120,000 a year.

‘Self-serving’: Parents, health care advocates criticize GOP leadership on child COVID-19 vaccinations” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — A group of parents joined health care advocates Wednesday afternoon to share their challenges of accessing COVID-19 vaccines for their children, pointing to DeSantis’ policies that put up barriers to vaccination access for those under five. The parents, who were hosted by For Our Future, Protect Our Care and Common Ground, expressed frustration over vaccine accessibility for their children, including some who are immunocompromised. Michael Womack, the state director of Protect Our Care, slammed the DeSantis administration and Republican leadership for limiting access to vaccinations for children.

Still no word on Renatha Francis appointment to Florida Supreme Court” via Michael Moline of the Florida Phoenix — It’s been more than a month since a Commission submitted the name of Palm Beach County trial judge Francis for a coming vacancy on the Florida Supreme Court. DeSantis has until the middle of next month to decide whether to place the Jamaican American judge on the court. He doesn’t plan to rush the process. “I anticipate that the governor will take as much time as he needs to get to know all the nominees and make the right decision, potentially up to the full allotment. We’ll let you know when he has made his decision,” Pushaw, DeSantis’ Press Secretary, told the Phoenix by email.

So, what’s the deal with Renatha Francis?

Florida Medical Association gets drafted into culture wars, considers resolutions on abortion, trans care, guns and diversity” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Members of the Florida Medical Association (FMA) House of Delegates will be asked in the coming weeks to vote on several resolutions that could not only pit members of the association against each other but put the FMA on a crash course with legislative leaders and DeSantis. Documents obtained by Florida Politics show members of the FMA’s House of Delegates will be asked to weigh in on issues ranging from abortion to constitutional carry to providing gender-affirming health care to patients. “This is a real culture war,” said one person who asked to remain anonymous, adding, “normally, you don’t have resolutions that are directly contradictory to each other.” According to those documents, two resolutions address gender-affirming care for transgender people and two different abortion resolutions for the Delegates to consider.

Like the idea of Florida prisons with no A/C? You try working there.” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — There’s a debate raging in Florida about whether the state’s prisons should be air-conditioned. Really, though, it’s tough to understand how this is a debate for anyone who has taken a moment to think beyond their gut reaction. Unless you’ve come up with some kind of fantasyland prison where inmates just watch themselves, the hardworking, underappreciated and underpaid correctional officers are subjected to the same rotten climate conditions as the people they guard. We’re talking cellblock temperatures that can well exceed 100 degrees in our subtropical state that offers guards starting salaries of around $38,000.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Biden emerges from COVID-19 isolation, tells public: Get shots” via Chris Megerian and Darlene Superville of The Associated Press — Biden ended his COVID-19 isolation on Wednesday, telling Americans they can “live without fear” of the pandemic if they take advantage of booster shots and treatments, the protections he credited with his swift recovery. “You don’t need to be president to get these tools to be used for your defense,” he said in the Rose Garden. “In fact, the same booster shots, the same at-home test, the same treatment that I got is available to you.”

Joe Biden returns from COVID-19 isolation ready to work. Image via AP.

New poll shows Biden’s 2024 Primary problems aren’t just abstract” via Aaron Blake of The Washington Post — Now comes Biden’s turn for grim news out of the Granite State. In recent weeks, we’ve seen several polls suggest a historically large number of Democrats would prefer someone other than Biden as their 2024 nominee. A valid question from there is: But whom? Remarkably, the latest University of New Hampshire poll shows that, like Trump, Biden is in a virtual first-place tie in the state, in this case with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who is pulling 17% to Biden’s 16%. That’s just 1 in 6 voters choosing the incumbent President.

White House braces for grim news on economy” via Ben White of POLITICO — The White House is scrambling behind the scenes and in public to get ahead of a potentially brutal economic punch to the face that could give Republicans the chance to declare that the “Biden recession” is underway. Wall Street analysts, economists, and even some in the Biden administration expect a report on Thursday to show the economy shrank for a second quarter, meeting a classic — though by no means the only — definition of a recession. Senior administration officials are hitting the airwaves and arm-twisting reporters privately, imploring anyone who will listen that the economy — despised by majorities of Republicans and Democrats fed up with inflation — is still healthy.

Senate passes major chip funding bill” via Margaret Harding McGill of Axios — The Senate voted 64-33 Wednesday to approve a $280 billion package meant to spur U.S. chip manufacturing, a significant victory for the Biden administration and chipmakers. The bill aims to reverse a long-term decline in domestic manufacturing of the computer chips that go into cars, computers, appliances, and a range of other everyday items after the pandemic exposed the fragility of the international supply chain. The bill, which has gone through many names (most recently the Chips and Science bill), includes $52 billion in funding for the domestic production of semiconductors.

19-year-old turns Matt Gaetz insult into $115K abortion rights fundraiser” via Andrew Jeong of The Washington Post — Olivia Julianna, a 19-year-old abortion rights advocate, wrote Rep. Gaetz a tongue-in-cheek thank-you note on the platform. “Dear Matt, although your intentions were hateful, your public shaming of my appearance has done nothing but benefit me,” she wrote after his tweet about her spurred a load of harassment — as well as a flood of donations to her reproductive rights advocacy organization. In just about a day, she’s helped raise approximately $115,000 for the Gen Z for Change nonprofit. Gaetz had mocked abortion rights activists, calling them “disgusting” and overweight.

Thanks again, Matt Gaetz. Image via @0liviajulianna/Twitter.

Gus Bilirakis joins community and health care leaders to discuss Medicare advantage” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — A recent roundtable with U.S. Rep. Bilirakis focused on the value of Medicare Advantage plans for Florida seniors who can access high-quality, comprehensive and preventive care that improves health care outcomes and lowers out-of-pocket health care costs. A diverse group of community leaders, health care professionals and Medicare Advantage beneficiaries were brought together by Better Medicare Alliance at the July 25 event. Members of the group discussed their professional and personal experiences with Medicare Advantage. They also highlighted the health care challenges Florida seniors face and thanked Bilirakis for his continued support of the program, which provides coverage to more than 2.5 million Floridians.


— JAN. 6 —

Jan. 6 defendant from Polk City wants new charge — a felony — dismissed” via Gary White of The Ledger — Joshua Doolin, a Polk City resident charged in connection with the U.S. Capitol Riot, is asking a judge to dismiss a recently added felony count and to limit testimony in his September trial. Allen H. Orenberg, Doolin’s lawyer wants U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols to remove the charge of obstructing, impeding or interfering with a law enforcement officer, added in a new indictment filed July 13 against Doolin and four fellow defendants. Orenberg filed a second motion requesting the judge to block prosecutors from mentioning weapons, ammunition or body armor.

Joshua Doolin begs for another chance. Image via FBI.

— MORE LOCAL: S. FL —

DeSantis warns committee backing Miami-Dade School Board member to stop using his photo” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — DeSantis is taking umbrage with a political committee’s use of his image in a campaign ad supporting the re-election of a Miami-Dade County School Board member, and he’s put the group on notice. Miami-headquartered law firm Shutts & Bowen, which represents DeSantis and his political committee, sent a cease-and-desist letter Monday to the chair of Parents United for School Excellence, a political committee backing School Board member Marta Pérez. The letter is in response to a mailer the group funded and sent to Miami-Dade residents showing DeSantis and Pérez standing side-by-side and another of the Governor giving a thumbs-up.

A PAC supporting Marta Pérez suggests an endorsement that isn’t there.

Miami considering plan to move homeless people to camp on island in Biscayne Bay” via Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald — Miami’s city government is studying the possibility of taking people experiencing homelessness off the streets and moving them to a city-sponsored encampment on Virginia Key. Commissioners on Thursday will discuss a list of five locations where the city could build a “transition zone” that would include temporary shelters and access to social services for people living on the street. Commissioners have for years debated how to address homelessness in Miami. In recent years, the city has made it harder for people to live in public spaces outside of a shelter.

Kionne McGhee elected to lead National Association of Black County Officials” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — For the next two years, Miami-Dade County Commissioner McGhee will lead the National Association of Black County Officials (NABCO), which represents African American officials throughout America’s 3,069 counties, boroughs and parishes. Members of the 47-year-old organization and its associated group, the National Organization of Black County Officials (NOBCO), elected McGhee as its President at the National Association of Counties (NACo) Conference in Denver. On Friday, after his induction ceremony, McGhee assumed his new responsibilities, taking over for Eddie Jones Jr., a Commissioner in Shelby County, Tennessee.

‘We are not paramedics’: Why PBSO continues to reject having deputies carry Narcan” via Mike Diamond of The Palm Beach Post — The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office will continue to bar its deputies from using Narcan to revive victims of opioid overdoses. Sheriff Ric Bradshaw’s top aide, Frank DeMario, told County Commissioners the Sheriff does not think it is necessary to equip deputies with the potentially lifesaving medication. The sheriff’s office lets Palm Beach County Fire Rescue handle the use of Narcan, claiming its crews routinely arrive at scenes ahead of deputies. In 2021, county Fire Rescue first responders administered Narcan 701 times.

— MORE LOCAL: C. FL —

Nearly 1 in 3 COVID-19 tests are positive in Orange County; hospitalizations stay low” via Caroline Catherman of the Orlando Sentinel — As COVID-19 continues to climb statewide, nearly one out of three COVID-19 tests in Orange County are coming back positive. Florida Department of Health Orange County announced a 28.4% 14-day rolling average positivity rate, an increase thought to be driven by the omicron BA.5 subvariant. This subvariant is believed to be the most infectious type of COVID-19 yet and is found in most SARS-CoV-2 viral genomes detected in sewer service areas that serve parts of Orange and Seminole counties.

— MORE LOCAL: SW. FL —

John Albion says DeSantis should have waited until Primary for Lee Co. appointment” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Albion is arguing DeSantis took bad advice filling a Lee County Commission vacancy. A candidate for Lee County Commission District 5, Albion said it was unnecessary to step in before voters had their say. “There is not a logical reason it was done,” Albion said. “There is nothing happening before Aug. 23 that would have required that seat be filled before Aug. 23.” DeSantis appointed former Boston Red Sox player Mike Greenwell to fill a vacancy left by the death of longtime County Commissioner Frank Mann.

John Albion takes umbrage at an oddly timed Ron DeSantis appointment.

Jason Bearden takes down pictures of students after accusations he used them as props” via Jacob Ogles of Florida — Bearden asked photos of him with students to be pulled from Facebook. That occurred after a School Board member said Bearden used pictures without parental permission to further a political campaign. The matter arose when photos were shared of an event where 941 Vets was invited to a school for a flag ceremony with students. Bearden then shared the images, posted initially by Potus Rico, on his candidate Facebook page and offered thanks for being allowed to participate in the event. “It was a great memory, and we had fun doing it,” he wrote. But Charlie Kennedy, a Manatee County School Board member, immediately questioned the appropriateness of using the pictures on a campaign site.

— MORE LOCAL: N. FLORIDA —

Former JEA board member ran afoul of Bar rule, committee finds” via Nate Monroe of The Florida Times-Union — The Florida Bar found that a Jacksonville attorney and former member of the JEA board of directors violated a conflict-of-interest rule when, during his term on the board, he discussed becoming a paid consultant to help the utility get acquired by a private company. A Bar grievance committee recommended a diversion program for Alan Howard, meaning he will take about $700 worth of ethics training. The committee said its finding “does not constitute a record of professional misconduct.” It also agreed with a Florida Commission on Ethics decision in January that the episode was not a violation of the state’s conflict-of-interest or ethics laws. Howard has no previous disciplinary record as an attorney.

Leon County Commission District 5 candidates talk economic development, Doak funding at forum” via Aimee Sachs of Florida Politics — Paula DeBoles-Johnson, Jay Revell and Dustin Rivest fielded questions from moderator Gary Fineout of POLITICO. Throughout the hourlong forum, DeBoles-Johnson stressed the importance of economic development, calling it the community’s most pressing issue. “It’s time for additional expansion of service when we’re talking about job training,” DeBoles-Johnson said. All three candidates said they would have voted down the $27 million allocation to upgrade Doak Campbell Stadium. “I personally don’t believe that stadiums are the right solution for economic development we need to be pursuing as a community,” Revell said. DeBoles-Johnson called the deal a “want, not a need,” while Rivest said it was “a little rushed.”

Leon County Commission District 5 candidates go in the weeds on local economic issues.

Dirty tricks alleged in Nassau Commission race as new PAC debuts” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — There’s some amount of controversy in a Nassau County Commission race after a previously little-used Facebook page posted screengrabs showing the creation of a new political action committee in Fernandina Beach and alleging it’s involved with Alyson McCullough’s campaign in the open Republican Primary for District 4. McCullough denied such involvement. Regardless, the new PAC, Vision Northeast Florida, appeared last month and received its first money on July 14. Vision Northeast Florida’s Chair and Treasurer is Aldebaran Partners Managing Partner Stewart Nazzaro. Its registered agent is Clyde Davis, a former attorney for the Port of Fernandina’s Ocean Highway and Port Authority (OHPA).

Fernandina Beach sets tentative flat millage rate over Bradley Bean objection” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — Fernandina Beach’s proposed millage rate ran directly into opposition as the City Commission took it up for adoption before it ultimately passed in a brief special session. “No. 1, I believe this budget has a lot of things that could be trimmed,” Commissioner Bean said. “I’ve gone through it with my No. 2 pencil, and I’ve identified a million dollars in items that I believe — and we all might agree on — shouldn’t be in this budget.” The second reason, he said, was the “manna from heaven” that are the dollars from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act.

— TOP OPINION —

Is the U.S. economy growing or not?” via Peter Coy of The New York Times — There is no gold standard against which to compare gross domestic product and gross domestic income to see which is more reliable. Instead, economists see how each of them compares to a variety of other measures, such as the jobs report and surveys of purchasing managers. Economists also consider whether the initial measure of GDP gets revised to be closer to GDI, or the other way around. At times, GDI has seemed a better choice, but at other times, GDP has looked more accurate. A simple solution is to split the difference. In fact, the Bureau of Economic Analysis has begun reporting a simple average of GDP and GDI growth, which in the first quarter was 0.1%. Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland released a more ambitious concept. The authors try to measure economic activity accurately and on a monthly — not just quarterly — basis by pulling together all of the data that goes into GDP and GDI, as well as other indicators, such as employment, and applying sophisticated econometric techniques to ferret out meaningful patterns.

— OPINIONS —

A hero of the Donald Trump right shows his true colors: Whites only” via Dana Milbank of The Washington Post — Thank you, Viktor Orban, for showing us where the American right is heading. The Hungarian strongman, who derailed his country’s nascent democracy, has been a darling of the MAGA crowd for his anti-immigrant policies. But Orban made things awkward for his American friends a few days ago. During a July 23 address (in which he said immigration should be called “population replacement or inundation”), he gave voice to the belief underlying his nationalism: He opposes the mixing of races. “Migration has split Europe in two — or I could say that it has split the West in two,” he said, after commending to his listeners a 50-year-old racist treatise.

In FPL’s playbook, dirty political tricks and propaganda seem to be business as usual” via the Miami Herald editorial board — Florida’s utility giant seems to get what it wants at all costs — whether it be by backing dirty political tricks to sway elections, using its power to bully dissenters or buying favorable news coverage. Florida Power & Light has tried to smear reporters and media outlets that publish stories it doesn’t like. One of its consultants went so far as compiling a 72-page dossier of personal information on a newspaper columnist who wrote critically about the potential sale of a Jacksonville-area utility to FPL’s parent company. The report was emailed to a top FPL executive, but the company claims it had nothing to do with the creepy report, which included photos of the journalist walking his dog.

— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —

— ALOE —

Disney breaks out MagicBand+ and its special effects” via Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel — The new wave of MagicBands spurred a lot of arm waving by theme park visitors at Walt Disney World on Wednesday. It was the first day of operation of MagicBand+, the resort’s updated wearable technology that offers increased interactivity at the attractions. A most visible addition is the MagicBand+ capacity to activate special effects at the Fab 50 character statues installed in the parks for Disney World’s 50th anniversary last year. By waving the new bands around the figure, music begins, or the character’s voice is heard.

Disney takes another technical leap forward with the MagicBand+.

Sugar farmers donate youth sports equipment to the Montura Clubhouse” via Florida Politics — Members of the Montura youth summer camp have a new set of soccer nets and basketball hoops to enjoy during their off time, thanks to charitable donations from Florida’s sugar farmers. U.S. Sugar helped ship the equipment to the Montura Clubhouse, located inside the small Hendry County community. The donation to the community included two recreational soccer goals and four basketball hoops. “This donation is exciting for the youth of Montura, which will now have new equipment to use for youth basketball and soccer,” said Juan Mata, Chairman of the Central County Water Control District, which oversees operations at the Montura Clubhouse.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Happy birthday to the great Bill Cotterell. Also celebrating today is Julie Fazekas of Red Hill Strategies and Jean Thrasher.

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


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