Good Friday morning.
Michelle, Ella Joyce, and I join millions around the world in mourning the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whose Platinum Jubilee we were honored to attend in June.
The impact of the Queen’s death is being felt throughout the world, as she has become known as a leader who helped stabilize and modernize the monarchy across decades of huge social change and family scandals.
Here’s how Florida leaders are responding to the news:
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio:
From the age of 14, when the then-heir presumptive made her first public radio address during World War II, Queen Elizabeth II lived a life of devotion to her nation and dedication to the people she served. America and Britain’s shared commitment to free institutions is constantly under threat in a world beset by dangers. For over seven decades, Queen Elizabeth II’s courage and inspiration guided our closest ally as it navigated an ever-changing world. Jeanette and I mourn the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and extend our deepest sympathies to the British people.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott:
For the past 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II has represented dignity, stability and wisdom as the leader of the British people. Even as the world has undergone immense political and cultural change, her leadership has remained steady. Under her reign, the United States and the United Kingdom significantly strengthened our special relationship, and our shared ideals of democracy and freedom spread to countless nations. The Queen’s death is an immense loss for the entire world. Today, Ann and I join many others to mourn the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, remember her legacy and pray for the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom
U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan:
The world mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. After a reign that spans seven decades, she leaves behind a legacy of servant leadership, humility and strength. I send my deepest condolences to the Royal Family and our friends in the United Kingdom.
U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack:
Queen Elizabeth II was a great ally to the United States over her 70 years on the throne. We’re praying for the people of the United Kingdom and the Royal Family amid this tremendous loss. May she rest in peace.
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor:
I am saddened by the passing of Queen Elizabeth II who epitomized grace, strength and devotion. On behalf of the Tampa Bay community, I send condolences to the people of the United Kingdom
Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, the gubernatorial Democratic nominee:
The first British monarch to visit Florida and a singular figure in world history, Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered for her lifetime of public service and her devotion to duty. My thoughts are with the Royal family, the United Kingdom, and all who admired the Queen.
U.S. Rep. Val Demings:
Today we celebrate the life of Queen Elizabeth II who reigned with style, grace, and strength. We all admired her and when she spoke, we listened. In her own words:
“The true measure of our actions is how long the good in them lasts.”
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch:
My heart goes out to the Royal Family and the British people. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered as a monumental figure, not just for the U.K., but for world history. The international community, including the U.S., will mourn her loss. May her memory be a blessing.
U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds:
Today the world mourns the loss of a remarkable woman, Queen Elizabeth II. A larger-than-life figure in history, her impact & commitment to the Royal Family, the people of the U.K., the U.S., & the world will live on forever. SWFL is praying for all who loved & adored her. RIP
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel:
Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-reigning British monarch, the female face of one of the strongest nations in the world, & a devoted leader to her nation. I’m sending my condolences to the people of the United Kingdom & the Queen’s loved ones.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz:
The Queen has had a remarkable impact on the history of the world. She was loved by many, and we extend our sympathies as we honor an incredible, graceful leader in her passing.
U.S. Rep. Darren Soto:
Saddened to hear the news of Queen Elizabeth’s passing. She leaves behind a legacy of dignity and grace as well as a commitment to charitable causes. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and the people of the United Kingdom.
U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz:
Thank you, Queen Elizabeth, for always standing side by side with America. Rest in Peace.
U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster:
Queen Elizabeth II was admired globally for her selfless leadership and sterling character. As Britain’s longest-serving monarch, she devoted her life for her nation. Sandy and I extend our prayers to the Royal Family, the U.K., and all who mourn the loss of Queen Elizabeth II.
Florida Sen. Danny Burgess:
We join our friends in the United Kingdom in mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and the nation she loved.
Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls:
From comforting her people during the Nazi blitz in WWII to honoring America in the wake of 9/11, Queen Elizabeth II has been one of the world’s most uniting figures of the last 100 years. May she rest in peace.
Gov. Ron DeSantis orders flags to half-staff in honor of Elizabeth — The Governor issued a memo late Thursday ordering all U.S. and Florida flags at state and local buildings, installations, and grounds to be lowered to half-staff through the day of Elizabeth’s internment, “pursuant to the President’s orders and as a mark of respect.” The Governor’s memo, sent to Director of Real Estate Management and Development Tom Berger, also recounted the Queen’s legacy, noting that her reign “encompassed over a quarter of this country’s existence” and saying that she “will be remembered for her devotion to public service, commitment to duty, and her diligence to deepen the alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States of America.”
The Lincoln Project extols Queen’s dedication to ‘democracy and decency’ — Shortly after the Queen’s death, anti-Donald Trump group The Lincoln Project released a statement praising the monarch for her commitment to democracy. “Beginning with her service as an Army mechanic during World War II, continuing with her steadfast leadership throughout the Cold War, and again during the War on Terror, Queen Elizabeth dedicated her life toward strengthening and promoting democracy and decency,” the organization said. “She was instrumental in maintaining the ‘special relationship’ between Great Britain and the United States that was the bedrock toward ensuring that liberalism would be the driving force for world order. She will remain an inspiration for anyone who aspires to see the expansion of democracy around the world. We mourn her passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and the people of Great Britain.”
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@JK_Rowling: Some may find the outpouring of British shock and grief at this moment quaint or odd, but millions felt affection and respect for the woman who uncomplainingly filled her constitutional role for seventy years. Most British people have never known another monarch, so she’s been a thread winding through all our lives. She did her duty by the country right up until her dying hours, and became an enduring, positive symbol of Britain all over the world. She’s earned her rest.
A double rainbow shimmered across the crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace. When the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death broke, after a hush, people broke into “God Save the Queen.” https://t.co/XgIbaYjsEL pic.twitter.com/g0Q3ZDsNuv
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 8, 2022
—@ChrisSprowls: From comforting her people during the Nazi blitz in WWII to honoring America in the wake of 9/11, Queen Elizabeth II has been one of the world’s most uniting figures of the last 100 years. May she rest in peace.
The Orlando Evening Star edition on the day Elizabeth became queen in 1952 pic.twitter.com/FJdr2maJyw
— Steven Lemongello (@SteveLemongello) September 8, 2022
—@OliviaCGeorge: Fielding phone calls from Brits across Tampa Bay this afternoon. In gathering reactions to the death of the queen, I’ve now heard this three times: “The tears keep coming. Even putting on the kettle isn’t helping today.”
VIDEO FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Royal Yacht Brittania arrives at Harbour Island in the @CityofTampa on May 20, 1991.
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) September 8, 2022
RIP to Queen Elizabeth II. In May, 1991, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh stopped at @DryTortugasNPS, while in the region aboard the royal yacht.
📷Wright Langley collection, Florida Keys History Center, Monroe County Public Library#keyshistory #libraryarchives pic.twitter.com/L3BqS7fWsp
— @keyslibraries (@keyslibraries) September 8, 2022
—@Kairyssdal: Hello. You do not have to find a local angle on the Queen.
—@MannyFidel: BREAKING: Andrew Yang announces candidacy for Queen of England
—@MPDillon: It’s so baked into the system it’s banal to even observe, but Steve Bannon is getting vastly more leeway to negotiate his surrender in a scheduled, dignified way than any of the Floridians arrested for the act of voting
—@ShaneGoldmacher: NRSC Chairman Rick Scott sent a nearly 1,000-word memo to “friends, donors, and allies” today attacking “the vultures in the left-wing news media” who “are being aided by the typical Washington ‘anonymous sources’ whose cowardice is only exceeded by their ignorance.”
— AG Gancarski (@AGGancarski) September 8, 2022
— DAYS UNTIL —
2022 Emmys — 3; JMI’s 2022 Tech & Innovation Summit begins — 6; final season of ‘Atlanta’ begins — 6; ‘Andor’ premieres on Disney+ — 12; vote-by-mail mailing deadline for General Election — 20; deadline to register for General Election — 32; 22-23 NHL season begins — 32; ‘Before You Vote’ TV debates (Senate) — 39; ‘Before You Vote’ TV debates (Governor) — 41; Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ release — 42; Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 45; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 46; Jon Meacham’s ‘And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle’ releases — 46; Early voting begins for General Election — 50; 2022 General Election — 60; ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ premieres — 63; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 63; FITCon 2022 begins — 69; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 69; The World Cup kicks off in Qatar — 73; The U.S. World Cup Soccer Team begins play — 73; Florida TaxWatch’s Annual Meeting begins — 82; ‘Willow’ premieres on Disney+ — 82; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 88; ‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 98; Bruce Springsteen launches his 2023 tour in Tampa — 145; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 161; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 179; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 196; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies’ 23 conference begins — 221; 2023 Session Sine Die — 238; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 238; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 266; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 315; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 420; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 434; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 567; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 686; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 686; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 791; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 969.
— TOP STORY —
“‘An excuse to racially profile’: How Florida trains police on bias” via Albert Serna Jr. of the Tampa Bay Times — Thousands of police officers across Florida have taken state training to educate them about discrimination, such as racial profiling, during traffic stops.
Eight experts who reviewed the online training found that it failed to teach officers to understand bias, shifted blame for disparate ticketing from police onto people of color and encouraged conduct that could lead to discriminatory policing.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement slideshow told officers that traffic stops preceded “nearly every serious race riot in the United States” but provided no details about the police brutality that accompanied the stops. It inaccurately described police interactions that led to riots in Miami and Los Angeles. It cited statistics from nearly 20 years ago that showed higher public confidence in police than is felt today.
And it took roughly 25 minutes to flip through the slides and complete a quiz that one expert called “embarrassingly simple.”
Even with the changes, the training does not acknowledge that police pull over and ticket people of color more often.
— DESANTIS V CRIST —
“DeSantis slams Democrats for comparing refugees to drug cartels: ‘How dare they make that comparison’” via Amber Cooper of Florida’s Voice — DeSantis criticized Democrats for comparing Cuban refugees to drug cartels who are illegally entering the United States. “I think it’s just bizarre that they’re trying to equate people that fled communism from Cuba under things like the Cuban Adjustment Act and Pedro pawn to someone running drugs across the southern border. How dare they make that comparison?” said DeSantis. The Governor’s response comes after Nikki Fried criticized Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez for comments she made on WURN, a Spanish-language radio station. Nuñez talked about busing illegal immigrants to other states like Delaware.
“DeSantis takes jab at Kathy Hochul for Lee Zeldin in latest round of Florida vs. New York feud” via Zach Williams of the New York Post — A simmering feud between DeSantis and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul boiled over with the conservative firebrand throwing rhetorical bombs on her record while fundraising for her rival Rep. Zeldin. “The corrupt, far-left, pro-criminal Andrew Cuomo 2.0, aka Kathy Hochul — recently declared that Lee was no longer a New Yorker because he disagrees with her radical policies. Hochul demanded that Lee get on a bus and move to Florida,” reads DeSantis’ fundraising pitch ahead of the Nov. 8 election. “Folks are fleeing a place where politicians like Hochul attack the wallets, safety, freedom, and kids’ education of the very people she is supposed to represent,” DeSantis adds in the message.
— 2022 —
“‘He goes into very scripted environments’: Val Demings argues Marco Rubio ‘not comfortable’ talking with diverse communities” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — On the heels of new polling numbers showing her closer than ever to overtaking Rubio in the race for U.S. Senate, Demings plans to put the pedal to the metal, literally and figuratively, to close the distance before Election Day. Demings, who served as Orlando’s first female Police Chief, said she will apply an outreach policy she established in that role and meet with many different compositions of communities throughout Florida. That, she argued, is something her opponent is uneasy doing. “I’m doing something Sen. Rubio is not comfortable doing. I’m traveling the state, talking to all voters about things that matter to them. I’m doing what I did as a Police Chief.”
📺 WATCH: I just launched a new ad to hold Marco Rubio accountable for his extreme stance on abortion.
Rubio would ban abortions with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest and criminalize doctors. Rape is a crime. Incest is a crime. Abortion is not. pic.twitter.com/1JEBoKBwVk
— Val Demings (@valdemings) September 7, 2022
Florida Democrats see cracks in Rubio campaign — Florida Democratic Party issued a news release Thursday highlighting recent media coverage of Republican U.S. Sen. Rubio’s re-election campaign. The email blast points to articles on his lackluster fundraising compared to his Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Demings, as well as polls that show the second-term Senator holds a negative favorability rating among Florida voters. FDP closed by linking to a clip from conservative outlet Newsmax where Conservative Political Action Coalition Chair Matt Schlapp said the incumbent “has a problem” and that “Republicans should be concerned” about his campaign.
To watch the video, please click on the image below:
Assignment editors — The Democratic National Committee will host a press call with former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack ahead of Scott’s trip to the Hawkeye State to campaign with Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Kim Reynolds: 10:45 a.m., RSVP for Zoom link here.
“Sierra Club endorses Adam Hattersley in CFO race” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — National environmental group Sierra Club is backing Hattersley in the Chief Financial Officer race, the organization revealed. David Harbeitner, Chair of the Sierra Club’s Florida Chapter Political Committee, cited the “ineffectiveness” of incumbent Republican CFO Jimmy Patronis and the “lack of meaningful reforms” in the aftermath of the collapse of the apartment building in Surfside in August 2021 for the group’s endorsement.
“Scotty Moore says NBC affiliate nixed congressional debate because he’s unvaccinated” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — An Orlando news network reportedly canceled a congressional debate because the Republican candidate has refused to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Moore, the Republican nominee challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, said WESH 2 canceled a debate based on his vaccination status. “Today, WESH 2 Orlando canceled the debate between Darren Soto and myself for what they cited as my being unvaccinated. Not only are liberal government politicians pushing mandates upon us, now woke corporate America is doing the same,” Moore said.
“Running for Congress, Rebekah Jones turns down plea deal in Florida DOH computer crime case” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Jones turned down a plea deal she believes is politically motivated and said she is willing to go to trial and risk jail to stand up to what she says is political retribution from DeSantis. On Tuesday, a Leon County Circuit Judge set a trial date for Jones’ case for Jan. 23, 2023. Jones is facing a felony charge of accessing a computer system without authority.
“Joy Goff-Marcil calls for investigation of 2020 SD 9 election, wants Jason Brodeur to resign” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Rep. Goff-Marcil and other Seminole County Democrats called for her 2022 Senate election opponent, Sen. Brodeur, to drop out of the race, resign from the Senate and be investigated by the new state elections police office. Goff-Marcil was joined on the steps of Brodeur’s office by Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, Seminole County Democratic Party Chair Lynn Dictor, and several Democratic candidates. They gathered after the latest news reports suggested Brodeur likely was aware of a “ghost candidate” scheme that has led to this summer’s arrest and conviction of Seminole Republican Party Chair Ben Paris, Brodeur’s assistant at the Chamber of Commerce, for a misdemeanor charge of laundering campaign finance money for the candidate.
By the way, here’s Brodeur’s new ad — please click on the image below:
“Kim Daniels re-elected to Florida House after write-in opponent withdraws” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — As first reported by Jacksonville Today, Daniels’ write-in opponent, Patrice Wynette Jones, withdrew from the race. Her main effect as a candidate was to close the Democratic Primary, ensuring that Republicans and NPA voters could not participate in what ended up being the decisive election in the heavily Democratic district. Daniels had 48% of the vote in August, dominating the competition. Jacksonville City Council member Garrett Dennis had 33%. Mincy Pollock had just 15%, and Iris Hinton just 13%. Former Rep. Daniels had previously represented the district, losing the 2020 Primary to current Rep. Angie Nixon, who will now represent HD 13 after redistricting. Nixon drew statewide support in the Democratic Party as she trounced Daniels in what would be the decisive August Primary that year.
“Can Derek Reich pull an upset on Fiona McFarland in HD 73?” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Based on the 2020 election alone, state House District 73 should be Florida’s hottest race. Statistics from MCI Maps show 49.7% of voters in the newly drawn district favored Trump while 49.34% went to Joe Biden, the closest margin for any House District in Florida. Yet, as it stands, Rep. McFarland enjoys a cash advantage and the full support of the Republican Party of Florida. Democrats, already at a severe disadvantage in the Legislature, shifted into defense mode this election cycle and remain focused on holding seats to prevent a supermajority in the House.
— STATEWIDE —
Data shows uptick in out-of-state women traveling to Florida for abortions — Data released by the Agency for Health Care Administration shows that 639 non-Florida residents traveled to the state for abortions in July, Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO Florida reports. The total marks a record for people traveling to Florida for the procedure and nearly doubles the number recorded in June though other recent months have seen totals north of 600. According to Christina Noce, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida, clinics in Tallahassee and Jacksonville had to bring in more personnel to deal with the influx of out-of-state patients. AHCA data shows 51,318 abortions have been performed in Florida through July. There were 79,817 performed in 2021.
“No cap: Nikki Fried blasts DeSantis’ latest medical marijuana restrictions” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — In Tallahassee with cannabis advocates, Fried voiced objections to new rolling limits in concentrates. The Florida Department of Health imposed a cap last month on patients, restricting them to 24,500 MG of THC per 70-day period, in the wake of Emergency Rule 64ER22-8 from the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use. The rule establishes daily limits for each individual route in categories ranging from edibles and topicals to vape carts and concentrates, but for many patients, the aggregate cap is the real impact. For some patients, the new restrictions subvert doctors’ recommendations and restrict them from buying their medicine until they are below the rolling cap, which at least in theory could be a boon for the black market.
Chris Sprowls joins group fighting ‘woke’ prosecutors — House Speaker Sprowls, who was a prosecutor before his election to the House, has joined a national group dedicated to electing so-called “enforce the law” prosecutors and fighting back against progressive, “soft-on-crime” prosecutors. “These hyper-political prosecutors bring a criminal-first, victim-last mindset to their job — and it’s wrong,” Sprowls said. “Their ideology-driven decisions make our communities less safe; they cause businesses to invest elsewhere, impacting jobs and economic development. That’s why we need to elect effective prosecutors who will put victims first.” A news release announcing Sprowls’ addition highlights instances where prosecutors released individuals who later committed violent crimes.
Assignment editors — Democratic House Leader-Designate Fentrice Driskell joins Reps. Dianne Hart and Christopher Benjamin for a news conference to express their concerns about a Department of Corrections proposal to send Florida National Guard troops into state prisons due to an ongoing staffing crisis: 10 a.m., Zoom link here.
“Lawmakers to look for alternative to Demotech amid insurance market troubles” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Two months after state officials lambasted property insurance rating agency Demotech for threatening to downgrade 17 carriers, the Legislature is set to go hunting for a new agency to rate Florida’s insurers. The Legislative Budget Commission will meet Friday and its agenda includes consideration of spending $1.5 million to hire consultants to search for a different ratings agency. The Department of Financial Services (DFS), which houses the Office of Insurance Regulation, is requesting the funds.
PSC responds to Supreme Court, reapproves Duke Energy solar program — The Public Service Commission has approved an order rejecting arguments that Duke Energy’s solar program is a prohibited subsidy to corporations, Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida reports. The PSC’s action comes after the state Supreme Court directed the utility regulatory body to provide more details in response to a lawsuit challenging the plan filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens of Florida. The PSC’s order says there is no subsidy and that even if there were it would not be a consideration in deciding whether “any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage” is being given to any of Duke Energy’s customers.
“They thought the ‘stand your ground’ defense would save them. Only once did a judge agree” Hannah Phillips via The Palm Beach Post — A man who shot his daughter’s boyfriend to death in Royal Palm Beach claimed he pulled the trigger to save his own life. The judge didn’t think so. With his motion to drop the murder charge denied, 51-year-old Joseph Hamilton joins a list of people in Palm Beach County who’ve tried — and failed — to use Florida’s “stand your ground” law to exonerate themselves. Circuit court records from the last three years indicate it’s rarely worked as a defense against murder and attempted murder charges.
— D.C. MATTERS —
“Why a narrow, hard-right GOP House majority could spell chaos” via Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times — As the General Election season begins in earnest, the House Republican conference appears destined for a more conservative, fractious future no matter which party wins a majority, thanks to the candidates chosen by voters in the most solidly GOP districts. Numerous Republican contenders in battleground districts have taken fringe positions or espoused conspiracy theories. It could mean that the government will struggle to perform such mundane tasks as keeping itself from defaulting on its debt and plunging the global financial system into chaos.
Vern Buchanan hits $2.75M raised for NRCC — A fundraiser hosted by U.S. Rep. Buchanan at his Torch Lake Home brought in $100,000 for the National Republican Congressional Commission, putting the GOP Congressman past the $2.75 million mark in total NRCC fundraising this election cycle. The event was attended by more than 100 donors as well as NRCC chair Tom Emmer, four incumbent U.S. Representatives from Michigan Congressmen and former House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp. Buchanan is expected to become Chair of the powerful committee if Republicans regain control of the U.S. House following the 2022 Election. The CD 16 Republican kicked off the event with a speech slamming policies put forward by the Biden administration.
Florida Food Banks issue plea for help from Congress as pantries run dry — Homestead-based Farm Share and food banks across Florida requested additional funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) from Florida’s Congressional delegation in response to the growing need for food assistance. The request urges Congress to act by establishing additional temporary or permanent emergency food supplies and/or re-establishing the Farmers to Families Food Box Program to meet food insecurity that has surged more than 200% above base demand this year due to inflation. Meanwhile, the supply of TEFAP food has plummeted, with an anticipated 340% decrease by the end of the year because of the non-renewal of prior enacted food supply programming. Millions of additional pounds of food have also been removed from the food banking system due to the termination of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Additional support from the federal government is needed to address this urgent need for food until inflation and food demand decreases and the food supply chain returns to normal. Farm Share has reported a significantly increased need across its network, and at the same time, continued supply chain issues have resulted in dramatic decreases in privately donated food products to food banks. Food banks say additional support from the federal government is needed to address this urgent need for food.
— EPILOGUE TRUMP —
“House urges judge to uphold Jan. 6 subpoena to top Donald Trump aide Mark Meadows” via Spenser S. Hsu of The Washington Post — Attorneys for the House on Wednesday urged a federal judge to uphold the authority of Congress and reject a bid by Meadows to quash a subpoena from the select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. House General Counsel Douglas N. Letter implored U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols of D.C. not to allow Trump to rebuff lawmakers’ demand for his testimony and records, and instead to issue a potential landmark ruling saying top presidential advisers do not enjoy “absolute immunity” from compelled testimony once the Presidents they serve leave office.
“Rick Scott doesn’t know why ‘authoritarian’ Mar-a-Lago raid happened” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — That’s the takeaway from comments made in a national television interview, where the Florida Senator discussed the enforcement action at Mar-a-Lago in context of Hillary Clinton warning about “authoritarianism” in the Republican Party. “Well, first off, if she wants to talk about authoritarianism, let’s talk about one, the Mar-a-Lago raid,” Scott said. “We don’t know why they did it.” “We need information,” Scott said, framing the warranted search as “against a former President” and “potential political opponent” of Biden. Scott then pivoted to “87,000 more IRS agents” as his second example of so-called authoritarianism.
“Federal grand jury probing Trump PAC’s formation, fundraising efforts” via Katherine Faulders and John Santucci of ABC News — A federal grand jury investigating the activities leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the push by Trump and his allies to overturn the result of the 2020 election has expanded its probe to include seeking information about Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America. The interest in the fundraising arm came to light as part of grand jury subpoenas seeking documents, records and testimony from potential witnesses, the sources said. The subpoenas are specifically seeking to understand the timeline of Save America’s formation, the organization’s fundraising activities, and how money is both received and spent by the Trump-aligned PAC.
— LOCAL: S. FL —
“After debate citing indoctrination and Nazis, Miami-Dade School Board rejects LGBTQ month” via Sommer Brugal of the Miami Herald — After listening to more than three hours of angry debate, with one side likening the measure to student indoctrination and the other talking about how Nazis ostracized gays and lesbians with a pink triangle, the Miami-Dade School Board voted to slap down a measure recognizing October as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer History Month and teaching 12th graders about two landmark Supreme Court cases impacting the LGBTQ communities. The vote was 8-1 with board member Lucia Baez Geller, who proffered the item, the only one voting for the measure.
“Miami Beach proposes more police officers in South Beach in $800 million city budget” via Aaron Liebowitz of the Miami Herald — Miami Beach officials are proposing increasing law enforcement in South Beach, known for rowdy crowds during spring break and other holidays, in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year that boosts overall spending on city operations. An $801 million proposed budget that City Manager Alina Hudak presented to elected officials Tuesday includes the permanent hiring of 17 police officers and six code enforcement officers who had been employed last year to patrol South Beach on a short-term basis, as well as the conversion of more than two dozen part-time park rangers to full-time employees.
“Daniella Levine Cava endorses ‘strong champion’ Marleine Bastien for Miami-Dade Commission” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Levine Cava is throwing her support behind fellow nonprofit founder Marleine Bastien’s bid for the County Commission seat representing District 2. In a Thursday press note, Levine Cava announced her endorsement of Bastien, whom she called a “good friend.” “Marleine has been on the front lines of our community advocating for affordable housing, empowering women, and making neighborhoods safer,” she said in a statement. “Marleine will be a strong champion for District 2 residents, and I am excited to support her campaign.”
“‘You have to care’: Jorge Fors Jr. promises transparency, family-first policies in lead-up to Miami-Dade Commission runoff” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Whether as an elected official, a lawyer, or a member of a government, business, or community organization, Fors Jr. said one principle has guided him. It’s what made him a good president of the Coral Gables Bar Association years ago, what makes him an effective City Commissioner today, and it’s what will continue to inform his service, he said, on the Miami-Dade County Commission. “You have to care,” he said. “If you don’t care, you won’t care about making mistakes. You won’t care about preparing, and you won’t care about leaving people behind.
“Redistricting, new rules complicate Joe Scott’s first run overseeing Broward elections” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — Administering this past Primary was a dry run for quite a new array of logistics. New voting rules were in effect. All Elections Supervisors faced down a decennial redistricting year that had legislative arguments about apportionment dragging into April, scrambling which voters would get what ballots late into the year. And there’s a new Office of Election Crimes and Security overseeing it all. Broward County Elections Supervisor Scott, first elected in 2020, faced all that, along with running his first countywide election in the state’s second-most populated county.
—LOCAL: C. FL —
“Tourist tax collection sets one-year record — with two months to go” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Tourists have paid $288.4 million in hotel taxes since Oct. 1, a record haul with two months remaining in fiscal year 2021-22. July 2022 collections, like those for February, March, April, May and June, broke a record for the month, though the $28.4 million tally for the month was about $3.9 million lower than June’s record total. The fiscal year-to-date total beats the previous high of $284 million set in fiscal year 2018-19, said Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond, whose office tracks hotel tax collections, and monitors spending.
“Mayor Ken Welch defends former Deputy Mayor Stephanie Owens amid allegations” via Colleen Wright of the Tampa Bay Times — Mayor Welch on Thursday defended his former Deputy Mayor, Owens, who resigned in the face of an accusation that she maintained a hostile work environment. He also said he is eliminating the position and replacing it with a chief of staff. Welch spoke at a news conference held at the St. Petersburg Police Department about the recent departures of Owens and Communications Director Janelle Irwin Taylor, who quit abruptly last week after leveling a hostile workplace claim. She said Owens created a “culture of bullying” while providing little communication or guidance.
“TradeWinds listens to the community, makes meaningful adjustments to expansion plan” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Many property owners and developers don’t take the time to listen to neighbors who will be affected by a new project or expansion. So, when you hear about what the owners of the TradeWinds Island Grand Beach Resort are doing in St. Pete Beach, it’s worth taking note. The resort is working on plans for an expansion that would include 650 new hotel rooms, more retail, a new ballroom, and other features. In total, the project is expected to bring about 300 new jobs and more than $19 million in new annual tax revenue to St. Pete Beach.
—LOCAL: N. FL —
“JEA ends agreement with EDF Renewables for five new solar farms” via The Florida Times-Union — EDF Renewables North America and JEA then mutually agreed to end the deal. That leaves JEA with eight smaller solar facilities that came online between 2010 and 2019 for a total of 39 megawatts of electricity production. The end of the EDF agreement shows how fast prices are shifting in the overall energy industry.
“TPD Chief Lawrence Revell defends training, says photo with ex-Navy SEAL shouldn’t have happened” via Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat — Tallahassee Police Chief Revell offered a full-throated defense of the tactical training his officers received alongside accused war criminal Eddie Gallagher, but reiterated the agency has no connection to the ex-Navy SEAL. Revell faced questions from two City Commissioners, Jack Porter and Jeremy Matlow, who asked Revell during Wednesday’s City Commission meeting to explain what has become a controversial concern that the police department is becoming more militarized. For the first time, Revell acknowledged that he admonished his officers for taking a picture with Gallagher, who was found guilty of illegally posing for a photo with a dead body but acquitted of other charges in military court.
“A nonpartisan school board race in Leon County is entangled in party politics. Here’s why” via Ana Goñi-Lessan of the Tallahassee Democrat — The race for Leon County Schools District 4, which covers part of the poorest ZIP code in the state and one of the most affluent ZIP codes in the county, will be on the ballot this November. Alex Stemle and Laurie Cox will vie for the seat in a runoff after Cox was just 4.4 percentage points shy of Stemle, who got 46.4% of the vote. While the race is a nonpartisan affair, the rematch between Cox and Stemle is being strongly shaped by party politics. The Leon County Republican Party has endorsed Cox and she drew solid support from conservative voters while unions and Democrats backed Stemle, who is positioning himself as the “middle candidate.”
“Florida has $21M to help victims of contractor scams. Few local victims will benefit.” via Benjamin Johnson of the Pensacola News Journal — The Florida Homeowners’ Contractor Recovery Fund seemed like a potential lifeline for area residents who allege they have been scammed out of thousands of dollars by former Pensacola contractor Matt Banks. Banks had his license revoked in both Escambia and Santa Rosa counties in August following numerous complaints from clients who say they paid the contractor thousands of dollars, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars, for remodel projects he never completed. Banks filed for bankruptcy in August, creating doubt he would ever return clients’ money, but the recovery fund was billed as a safety net to help citizens in situations just like these.
— TOP OPINION —
“Our insurance market is in crisis, but shooting the messenger won’t help” via Kevin McCarty for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Throughout my 13 years as Florida’s Insurance Commissioner, it was clear that given Florida’s vulnerability to catastrophic loss from tropical storms, every effort must be made to promote market stability. Despite policymakers’ best efforts, Florida’s property market is indeed in turmoil. Since February, five property insurers have been deemed insolvent and several other companies are choosing not to renew thousands of Florida policies in order to remain in business.
While positive steps were taken during the Special Session, the reality is that it will take months before insurers and consumers are able to see the impact of the policy changes. Many thought leaders believe more reforms will be necessary to return to a robust market.
Unfortunately, a company that rates the financial strength of Florida insurers has now become a target of those who unfairly blame the ratings organization for contributing to the market turmoil.
The company targeted, Demotech, has evaluated the financial strength of property insurers for decades. It does a thorough and professional job, using sound actuarial principles and a detailed methodology to determine financial stability ratings for hundreds of companies doing business in Florida.
— OPINIONS —
“Congress’s first job right now: Safeguarding democracy” via The Washington Post editorial board — Congress has a lot on its to-do list ahead of November’s midterm elections, confirming circuit-court judges, funding the government and possibly enshrining same-sex marriage protections along the way. But at least as important is a piece of business getting less attention: passing the Electoral Count Reform Act. Slightly trickier, but perhaps still achievable, is the matter of clarifying that the “conclusive” slate of electors presented by a state’s governor is still subject to challenge in court and in Congress
“Trump judge’s bad ruling might do some good” via Jonathan Bernstein of the Orlando Sentinel — A decision by a federal judge granting Trump’s request for an independent review of the FBI’s seizure of documents at Mar-a-Lago last month has prompted an unusually forceful backlash within the legal community. It isn’t just partisan analysts who are reacting with dismay; criticism of Judge Aileen Cannon’s decision has been widespread. The good news is that the judge’s decision has been so widely faulted that it could encourage media to resist the common temptation to hear out “both sides” of the argument when one side is so evidently flawed. The ruling also could motivate some Republican judges to shy away from hard-line decisions in order to avoid being labeled partisan — that is, nothing but apologists for their party and for Trump.
“The GOP wants to be the education party. Democrats have to fight back.” via Anya Kamenetz if The Washington Post — One of the most consequential legacies of America’s response to the pandemic could be a sharp rightward turn in education policy across much of the country — to the detriment of a generation of students. For decades, voters overwhelmingly trusted Democrats to make education policy. But that changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Democrats need to own up to this, and work hard to fix it. Otherwise, they risk leaving our nation and our schools in the hands of Republicans, whose activist vanguard deems public education a major internal threat to the country.
— INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY —
— WEEKEND TV —
ABC Action News Full Circle with Paul LaGrone on Channel 10 WFTS: Political strategist Anthony Pedicini with Strategic Image Management, Washington correspondent Joe St. George, Tallahassee correspondent Forrest Saunders, and political analyst Dr. Susan MacManus.
Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede on CBS 4 in Miami: The Sunday show provides viewers with an in-depth look at politics in South Florida, along with other issues affecting the region.
In Focus with Allison Walker on Bay News 9/CF 13: A discussion of the Sept. 11 attacks and how we’ve changed as a country over the past 21 years since. Joining Walker are state Rep. Andrew Learned; Stephen Spelman, retired FDNY emergency medical technician; and Luis Morales, retired NYPD Detective.
Political Connections on Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: A one-on-one interview with state Sen. Janet Cruz on her run for Senate District 14; and the latest polls on the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races.
Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando: A discussion on examining the potential impact the female vote will have on the November 2022 elections and beyond with Amy Akamine, president of the National Association of Asian American Professionals; Nicole Benton, voting rights activist; and Stephanie Meyer, teacher/adjunct instructor, Hillsborough Community College.
The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Gary Yordon and Jay Revell of Revell Media.
This Week in Jacksonville with Kent Justice on Channel 4 WJXT: Jacksonville City Council President Terrance Freeman, Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville President Nicole Thomas, and Shannon Nazworth of Ability Housing.
— ALOE —
“Orlando mourns Elizabeth II, remembered as a ‘grandmother’” via Austin Fuller and Katie Rice of the Orlando Sentinel — For Phil Barnard, the Queen’s death will be a day he remembers for the rest of his life, just like when Princess Diana died or the Sept. 11 attacks happened. “It’s been absolutely sad,” said Barnard, 57, of Mount Dora. “It’s one of those momentous days. … Even to this day, the Queen is still grandmother to 2.5 billion people in the Commonwealth.” His reaction was shared by scores of British residents who live at least part-time in Central Florida. An estimated 400,000 British expatriates live in the state, including about 150,000 in Orlando. Barnard said he tuned in every year to Elizabeth’s Christmas message and streams it online at his pub. “It’s part of tradition as much as your turkey dinner,” Barnard said.
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Celebrating today is hotelier Harris Rosen.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.