Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 3.25.22 – Florida Politics

Florida politics — and more — you can read in as much time as your first cuppa joe.

Good Friday morning.

First in Sunburn — House Speaker-designate Paul Renner has selected government and public policy expert Allison Carter to serve as his Chief of Staff during the 2022-2024 term.

“Allison brings an unmatched level of expertise through her work within the public and private sector,” said Renner, a Palm Coast Republican.

“Her extensive experience at the legislative and Cabinet levels, along with her government affairs engagement in the state and federal arena, have prepared her well to serve the Florida House of Representatives and our great state. I look forward to working with Allison as we continue to make Florida the place Americans think of when they think of freedom and opportunity.”

Allison Carter
Congrats to Allison Carter for bringing her extensive public policy resume to Paul Renner’s office.

Carter is currently the Director of Government Affairs at the Florida Electric Cooperatives Association. Previously, the Florida State University alum served as the House’s Chief Process Adviser, the Director of Program Management under former CFO Jeff Atwater, and the Senate Majority Office’s Staff Director.

“Public policy has always been an integral part of my career and a passion of mine, and I am thrilled to continue that calling under Speaker-designate Paul Renner’s leadership,” Carter said. “I look forward to working with him on behalf of the Florida House of Representatives and on the important opportunities and challenges facing our nation’s third-largest state.”

Renner is set to become House Speaker after the November elections. Carter will be on staff at the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee from mid-April through his swearing-in.

___

Facing the possibility of another Republican entering the GOP Primary for Agriculture Commissioner, Senate President Wilton Simpson hits the campaign trail running with a new digital ad.

Simpson is term-limited from the Senate and has already secured a “complete total endorsement” in the AG race from former President Donald Trump.

The one-minute spot describes the wealthy (and well-regarded) egg farmer from Trilby as a “workhorse” who will defend the Second Amendment from “Socialist Democrats.” (He won an early endorsement from the NRA.) The ad also boasts how Simpson stopped “Planned Parenthood radicals” from seeking “taxpayer-funded abortions” and “limousine liberals” who call for a state income tax. Simpson also gets major props for battling “RINOs,” shutting down the idea of “sanctuary cities” and fighting to secure the state’s borders. The ad concludes by leaning heavily into Trump’s endorsement.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Army veteran and star of Bud commercial poised to challenge Wilton Simpson” via Gary Fineout of Politico Florida — Chuck Nadd is a former Black Hawk pilot and an Afghanistan veteran whose homecoming was detailed in a well-known Budweiser Super Bowl commercial. Rumblings about Nadd’s possible entry into the race for Agriculture Commissioner have been building for weeks. Nadd acknowledged he is strongly considering jumping into the contest and accused Simpson of failing to show enough support for DeSantis. “Unfortunately, corrupt career politicians like Wilton Simpson have done nothing but stand in his way,” said Nadd. “My wife Shannon and I refuse to let the Tallahassee establishment reverse the Governor’s hard-fought victories. Floridians deserve a battle-tested leader in the Florida Cabinet who will serve alongside the Governor and fight for our shared priorities over the next two or four years, not roadblock them.”

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@mkraju: (Mitch) McConnell: “I cannot and will not support Judge (Ketanji Brown) Jackson to her lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”

@NikkiFried: I wish that @GovRonDeSantis went after Nazis the way he goes after high school kids and college athletes.

@JimmyPatronis: Do you want the latest updates from @FLDFS? Follow @RyanWalkerFL, our newest employee and press secretary for our office. Welcome aboard, Ryan!

@FinalLevel: I was robbed at a gas station in NJ last night. After my hands stopped trembling, I managed to call the cops, and they were quick to respond and calmed me down … My money is gone … the police asked me if I knew who did it … I said yes … it was pump number 9 …

Tweet, tweet:

On National Puppy Day, I want to thank my office pups—Carmela and Stanley—for their really, really hard work today. pic.twitter.com/nXe7It6w1c

— U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (@RepStephMurphy) March 24, 2022

— DAYS UNTIL —

The Oscars — 2; ‘Macbeth’ with Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga preview performances on Broadway — 3; Florida Chamber’s 2nd Annual Southeastern Leadership Conference on Safety, Health + Sustainability begins — 4; Grammys rescheduled in Las Vegas — 9; John Dingfelder to be replaced on Tampa City Council 12; MLB Opening Day — 13; ‘Better Call Saul’ final season begins — 24; Magic Johnson’s Apple TV+ docuseries ‘They Call Me Magic’ begins — 28; 2022 Florida Chamber Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Solution Summit — 34; ‘The Godfather’ T.V. series ‘The Offer’ premieres — 35; 2nd half of ‘Ozark’ final season begins — 35; federal student loan payments will resume — 37; ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 42; Florida TaxWatch’s Spring Meeting — 47; ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ starts on Disney+ — 61; ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ premieres — 63; ‘Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 69; California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota hold midterm Primaries — 74; ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 106; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 119; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 137; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 161; ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 195; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 213; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 232; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 235; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 242; ‘Avatar 2′ premieres — 267; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 331; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 347; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ premieres — 364; 2023 Session Sine Die — 407; ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 490; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 574; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 854.

ad for sunburn ftba

— TOP STORY —

Florida law professors endorse Ketanji Brown Jackson for Supreme Court, urge Senate to keep politics out of it” via Jeff Schweers of the Orlando Sentinel — Seventy-one Florida law professors and legal scholars sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of confirming Jackson’s historic nomination. They touted her experience and Florida upbringing in the two-page letter while at the same time urging Senators not to let the confirmation process “devolve into a polarized partisan affair, as it regrettably has in the past.”

jackson
Can Senators be civil in the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson? Doubt it.

Republicans had aggressively questioned Jackson about several cases she’d already been asked about the previous day, interrupting her as she attempted to answer their questions. She also was grilled over child pornography sentencing guidelines and her stance on immigration, while Sen. Lindsay Graham accused her of being a judicial activist.

“To see what this highly qualified, remarkable woman had to face is a shame on those who try to declare themselves as Senators,” Sen. Patrick Leahy said after Wednesday’s hearing. “It’s beneath this body. It’s beneath the U.S. Supreme Court, and it is beneath our great country.”

Unknown

— STATEWIDE —

No state had a bigger gap last year between deaths and births, but migration kept Florida’s population growing” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Florida deaths outnumbered births during the height of the 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic by more than 45,000 people, slowing the Sunshine State’s otherwise impressive population growth. Overall, from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021, Florida’s population grew by 211,196. That’s an increase of just under 1% over those 12 months. It could have been more, as Florida’s net migration was higher than any other state. Florida saw 259,480 more people move into the state than move out during those 12 months. Yet while Floridians gave birth to 210,305 new babies during that span, 255,553 Floridians died.

populations
Elbow room: While deaths outpaced births in 2021, Florida still managed to grow its population.

—“Census: Orange, Broward populations declined amid pandemic, despite Florida growth” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel

Florida COVID-19 adult hospitalizations below 1,000 for first time since December — but cases are up” via Eric Wallace of News 4 Jax — Florida just dipped below 1,000 adult COVID-19 hospitalizations for the first time since the early days of the omicron variant. In the latest data report from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 941 adults in Florida hospitals with COVID-19. It’s the first time the number has been below 1,000 since the Dec. 6 report, when there were 973 hospitalizations. It almost hit the mark on Tuesday, at 1,001 hospitalizations. As of Wednesday, 157 adults with COVID-19 in the ICU and 22 pediatric patients with COVID-19 across the state.

How safe are Floridians from COVID-19? State overcounts vaccinations by 600,000 people” via Chris Persaud of The Palm Beach Post — Florida has overstated how many residents are vaccinated against COVID-19 by more than half a million people. Health officials and DeSantis, who were alerted last year about impossibly high inoculation rates across the state, say they have no plan to fix or investigate this statistical flaw, driven by out-of-staters. More than 100 Florida ZIP codes each report that more than 100% of their residents have gotten at least one coronavirus vaccine shot. In some cases, the number of vaccine recipients recorded by the state Health Department exceeded U.S. Census population estimates by more than 1,000%. These ZIP codes, popular among seasonal residents and tourists, counted about 622,000 more inoculations than people living there year-round.

CDR Health closes statewide COVID-19 monoclonal antibody sites” via Tristan Wood of Florida Politics — CDR Health announced their COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapy sites across Florida will close Thursday at 5 p.m. due to recent announcements that federal COVID-19 funding will expire. In a statement released on Twitter, the company said they closed the sites this week and statewide testing sites last week because Congress has not renewed funding. However, CDR Health’s Tallahassee Clinic will continue offering the treatment, in addition to COVID-19 tests and vaccines. CDR Health CEO Tina Vidal-Duart said the company would reopen the sites across Florida if Congress passes a funding bill that covers monoclonal antibody treatments.

Omicron leads to 13,000+ Darden employees out sick in January” via Austin Fuller of the Orlando Sentinel — Orlando-based Darden Restaurants was hit hard by the omicron variant of the coronavirus pandemic in January, with more than 13,000 employees missing work that month, company leaders revealed Thursday. In January, the owner of Olive Garden and other chain restaurants saw employees unable to work at a level three times greater than the monthly peak it experienced during the earlier delta variant, said chief operating officer Rick Cardenas. Darden has about 175,000 employees.

darden people
Darden gets walloped by omicron.

Military mystery: Who stole tons of valuable ammunition brass from Army’s top helicopter gun range? Feds focus on Florida man” via Fresh Take Florida — The thief, wearing camouflage gear and gloves, crept through the woods onto the Army base in southern Alabama where most U.S. military helicopter pilots train. His objective: Collecting sandbags he had filled with used 30 mm brass shell casings from the attack helicopters flying and firing over the base’s range during practice missions. In federal court records, a military detective, Robert Evans, said the DNA on the Gatorade bottles belonged to Eric Lee Culpepper Sr. of Crestview in Florida’s Panhandle, about 80 miles southwest of Fort Rucker.

— DATELINE TALLY —

Opponents call it the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. Here’s what it says.” via Dana Goldstein of The New York Times — DeSantis is expected to sign House Bill 1557, which supporters call the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, but that opponents refer to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. In recent weeks, it has become a national lightning rod, with President Joe Biden calling the legislation “hateful.” Meanwhile, many conservatives have argued that the bill is limited in scope and has been misinterpreted by its critics. All of that has obscured the text of the bill itself, which is complex, if at times vague, and is about much more than gay rights. It could have far-reaching implications for Florida children, potentially even those with no connection to L.G.B.T.Q. issues.

biden
Joe Biden chimes in on ‘Don’t Say Gay.’ The vague language is especially troublesome. Image via Reuters.

DEP’s language for protecting Florida springs copies what doesn’t work” via Craig Pittman of Florida Politics — I generally have low expectations for the agency that some people have dubbed “Don’t Expect Protection.” But the DEP did something good. Astounding, right? Then, given a second opportunity to upend my presumptions, the DEP surprised me again, but in a bad way. The agency screwed up, and not a little bit but a lot. Let’s talk about the success first: Last week, the DEP rejected a request from the aptly named BS Ranch in Polk County to renew its permit to operate an organic waste facility. I wrote about the BS Ranch in January 2021 because the owners had gotten county and state permission to recycle benign waste, then brought in toxic sludge that drove their downwind neighbors bonkers. What was really interesting was what DEP did about it — or rather, didn’t do.

—”Agency for Health Care Administration hires new Communications Director” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics

102102

— 2022 —

Donors to key nonprofit in ‘ghost’ candidate scandal to be kept secret, judge rules” via Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel — The names of donors to a nonprofit at the center of Florida’s “ghost” candidate scandal will be redacted from bank records released to the public, the judge overseeing the criminal case against former state Sen. Frank Artiles has ruled. The public won’t find out who contributed to Let’s Preserve the American Dream, a nonprofit organization that provided funding used for ads promoting Artiles’ friend, Alex Rodriguez, and two other candidates who ran as independents for highly contested Florida Senate seats in 2020 but did no campaigning of their own.

New Ron DeSantis ad highlights fed-up New Yorkers who’ve fled to Florida” via Selim Algar of the New York Post — A new ad from DeSantis highlights the stampede of Northeastern emigres into the Sunshine State and features former New Yorkers to drive home the point. Filmed over spring break in New Smyrna Beach, the spot encourages viewers to “Vote Free, Be Free” while flashing an animated image of the polarizing Governor in aviator sunglasses. “I’m a New Yorker,” declares one woman. “And now I’m living in Florida.” Another Empire State escapee is asked where her native soil ranks in terms of general freedom. “I think we’re pretty much at the bottom,” the woman replies.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Christian Ulvert leaves Annette Taddeo’s gubernatorial campaign” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Veteran Democratic consultant Christian Ulvert has left Sen. Annette Taddeo’s campaign to become Florida’s first Latina Governor. Ulvert tendered his resignation as chair of Taddeo’s political committee, Fight Back Florida, Thursday afternoon, marking a new chapter in a lengthy working relationship between the two. In a letter to Donna Brown of the Florida Bureau of Election Records, he acknowledged a new chair of Fight Back Florida had been identified. Ulvert called Taddeo “a fighter” whose voice and leadership strengthens the Democratic Party. He said he considers her a friend and someone who cares deeply about Florida’s future, noting he and his husband “are proud donors” to Taddeo’s campaign. He’s leaving, he said, to focus on other work.

Charlie Crist says Sunshine State Health Plan fine; sanctions were overdue — U.S. Rep. Crist praised the Agency for Health Care Administration’s decision to levy a $9.1 million fine against Sunshine State Health Plan, though he criticized the agency for waiting until the Medicaid managed care vendor had failed to pay claims for sick children several months. Crist, running for Governor, said, “the DeSantis Administration ignored the cries from Florida parents and small-business owners over the complete meltdown occurring in the Medicaid program serving children with severe disabilities. All credit goes to the parents who would do anything for their children who raised their voices and refused to take silence for an answer. This sanction is a testament to the resilience and tenacity of Florida’s disability community, and I’m proud to stand with them.”

Val Demings energizes Democrats in deep-red Lee County” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Demings rallied Democratic voters in one of the most conservative corners of Florida on Thursday. Rep. Demings is challenging GOP Sen. Marco Rubio in the midterms this year. She told supporters at the Flip Florida Blue Luncheon in Fort Myers that the race will undoubtedly be hard, but that’s more reason to fight to flip the seat. “We don’t agonize. We organize,” Demings told supporters. She stressed her background as a law enforcement officer and former chief of police in Orlando. “The first woman in the history of the department,” she said of her tenure to applause. She didn’t shy from discussing her time in the House, including being selected as a House manager the first time Trump was impeached.

Webster Barnaby, Elizabeth Fetterhoff both running in HD 29 GOP Primary” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Two Republican Representatives living in the new House District 29 both intend to run for the seat. Reps. Fetterhoff and Barnaby currently represent House Districts 26 and 27, respectively. But a new House map (H 8013) puts both those communities in the same jurisdiction. Barnaby, a freshman lawmaker, told Florida Politics before the close of Session he intended to run for a second term in the redrawn House District 29. On Wednesday, Fetterhoff tweeted in response to Florida Politics that she too would run for the seat.

fetterhoff barnaby 3.24.22
Elizabeth Fetterhoff and Webster Barnaby will make a Primary barnburner in HD 29.

— “Republican Rich Santos names campaign committee for HD 36 run” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Ricky Tsay shifts campaign to wide-open HD 119 race” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Tsay, a hotelier, has shifted his campaign for state office to House District 119, where he will face at least two fellow Republicans hoping to secure a first-time state legislative win. Tsay initially filed to run in House District 118, where he would have met GOP incumbent Juan Fernandez-Barquin and repeat candidate Daniel Sotelo for the party nod. But the address he listed with the Florida Division of Elections places him squarely within the redrawn borders of HD 119 that state lawmakers OK’d last month. In a statement accompanying the announcement that he will run in HD 119, Tsay committed to pushing for minimal government involvement in Floridians’ day-to-day lives and took aim at so-called “socialist policies” coming from the federal government.

22 LDP COThankYou

— D.C. MATTERS —

Americans want Joe Biden to be tougher on Russia” via Hannah Fingerhut of The Associated Press — As Biden meets with key allies in Brussels to coordinate a stronger response to Russia’s monthlong assault on Ukraine, a new poll shows Americans have yet to rally around his leadership. Concern about Russia has swelled, and support for a major U.S. role in the conflict strengthened in the last month, but Biden’s negative approval rating has not budged. Few are very confident that he can handle a crisis, and a majority thinks he lacks toughness in dealing with Russia. Only 43% of Americans approve of Biden, and a similar percentage approve of his handling of the relationship with Russia. Both measures are slightly different from an AP-NORC poll conducted days before the Feb. 24 invasion.

joe bien ap 1094156 1648088066
America wants Joe Biden to take his beef with Russia up a notch. Image via AP.

Biden administration prepares sweeping change to asylum process” via Eileen Sullivan of The New York Times — The Biden administration has finalized a plan to overhaul the system for immigrants seeking asylum in the United States, aiming to take a burden off the backlogged immigration courts in what some experts see as the most sweeping change to the process in a quarter-century. Under the new policy, which the administration released on Thursday as an interim final rule, some migrants seeking asylum will have their claims heard and evaluated by asylum officers instead of immigration judges. The goal, administration officials said, is for the entire process to take six months, compared with a current average of about five years.

Did Marco Rubio’s former intern storm the Capitol on January 6?” via Alex Deluca of the Miami New Times — As members of the far-right Proud Boys are being prosecuted for their roles in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, most recently the group’s Miami-born leader Enrique Tarrio, one lesser-known figure seen with them that day appears to have multiple ties to high-profile GOP politics in Florida and beyond. In the months since the insurrection, online sleuths, including the group Sedition Hunters, have played a key role in helping to identify January 6 insurrectionists, such as Weston’s own #Tweedledumb. Recently, they’ve zeroed in on a woman they dubbed “#PinkGaiterPBG,” who appears to have been photographed inside the Capitol sporting a baseball cap with an American flag and a black-and-pink gaiter and later alongside Proud Boys Gabriel Garcia and Ethan Nordean.

Miami sunrises at 8 a.m.? Scientists slam Rubio bill making daylight saving time permanent” via Alex Deluca of the Miami New Times — Americans across the political spectrum appear to have finally found something they agree on: changing the clocks twice a year for daylight saving time is a real pain in the circadian rhythm. It’s probably why you’re yawning now, can’t fall asleep at night, and your microwave clock is still an hour behind. No one person has been more vocal about this than U.S. Sen. Rubio, who has spent the past several years on a quest to abolish what he considers a “dumb” and “stupid” time change. But the Miami-born politician finally experienced victory earlier this week when his bill, called the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make daylight saving time permanent across the nation, passed unanimously in the Senate on Tuesday.

coastalcloud ad 1

—LOCAL NOTES —

—”Hazelle Rogers making Broward County Commission bid; raises $33K in first month” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics

Call the DeSantis election police — “Vice-chair of Charlotte County Airport Authority arrested on election charges” via WINK — Commissioner James Walker Herston, the vice-chair of the Charlotte County Airport Authority, was arrested Thursday on election crime charges. Herston, elected as a board member representing District 5, is accused of falsifying election documents by misrepresenting to voters that he lived in District 5 when he did not. The bylaws of the Charlotte County Airport Authority require that each Commissioner must reside in the district from which the candidate seeks election for at least six months immediately before the time of qualification to run for the seat. It is alleged that Herston never lived in District 5 at all.

James Walker Herston
James Walker Herston gets nabbed for residency shenanigans.

Did ‘culture of favoritism’ break the law? Manatee County sends report to state prosecutors” via Ryan Callihan of the Bradenton Herald — The Manatee County Commission is asking prosecutors to review a report that implicated a former board member in the county building department’s “culture of favoritism.” Tuesday’s 52-page report revealed that not all customers in the building department were treated fairly. A yearlong investigation by the county’s Division of the Inspector General determined that building department supervisors had urged staff to look the other way and resolve certain issues for friends and associates. “This inconsistent and preferential treatment based on relationships appears to have created a culture of favoritism within the (Development Services) Department,” Inspector General Lori Stephens wrote.

Thank you 2022 Florida Tele CPR Ad 600x400 1

— MORE LOCAL —

JAXPORT’s quest for JEA cash intensifies with appeals to DeSantis” via Nate Monroe of The Florida Times-Union — Jacksonville Port Authority officials in recent weeks have intensified a behind-the-scenes effort to pressure JEA to capitulate to their demands that ratepayers finance a risky project raising high-voltage transmission lines crossing the St. Johns River, going as far as appealing to DeSantis to step in. DeSantis has no formal role in the spat between the port and JEA; the city-owned utility is governed by a board of mayoral and council appointees. But port authority officials are trying to raise the political temperature on utility officials who are reluctant to use millions of dollars in ratepayer money to bolster the port’s top priority: Dredging the St. Johns River to 47 feet. “Time is not on our side,” JAXPORT board member Jamie Shelton wrote.

Fernandina Port Commissioners eye ethics, public record policy changes” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — The ongoing process to professionalize the operations of the Port of Fernandina’s Ocean Highway and Port Authority (OHPA) took a step forward as the board’s attorney sought feedback on reorganizing and streamlining board policies. Public records access, an ongoing issue involving the port and a source of active litigation, was a particular focus. “There are some things that I’m going to recommend that we change, given some recent activities,” board attorney Patrick Krachowski said at Wednesday night’s meeting.

272055345 307978864691046 2395149614183964765 n
Fernandina Port Commissioners look to clean up their act.

Central Florida salon gets military drone, body armor for Ukraine soldiers” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel — A thermal imaging drone used by Ukrainian forces trying to expel invading Russian troops from their borders was purchased by the clients of a salon in a small Lake County city just outside of The Villages. Soon, nine sets of body armor will be purchased for troops there, with money collected at the Mia Bella Salon & Spa in Fruitland Park, population 8,000 or so. About $10,000 has been collected in roughly three weeks by the salon, which offers services from hair highlights to massages, said Dawn Coulliette, who owns the business with her daughter.

Blue Origin again delays upcoming New Glenn rocket’s first launch from Florida” via Emre Kelly of Florida Today — Blue Origin’s upcoming heavy-lift New Glenn rocket will have to wait at least another year for its Florida debut, according to recent comments by an executive later confirmed by the company itself. Speaking Tuesday during the Satellite 2022 conference in Washington, D.C., Blue Origin’s senior vice president of the New Glenn program, Jarrett Jones, said the rocket would not fly from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station before the end of this year as previously planned. A Blue Origin spokesperson later confirmed Jones’ comments and said the 322-foot rocket recently completed a design review but will not be ready in time to fly from Launch Complex 36 this year.

Man, 59, dies after driving into 11-foot alligator on Lithia roadway, deputies say” via Josh Fiallo of the Tampa Bay Times — A 59-year-old man died Thursday morning after hitting an 11-foot alligator on Balm-Picnic Road, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies said that the crash happened around 12:30 a.m. about 2 miles west of County Road 39 on Balm-Picnic Road, also known as County Road 672. The impact with the gator caused the vehicle to veer off the roadway and flip before settling in a ditch on the north side of the road. The driver, John Hopkins of Lithia, was pronounced dead at the scene. The alligator also died.

rubinturnbull ad

—TOP OPINION —

Chasing daylight, Rubio descends into darkness” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — Rubio finally showed up for work. Then he did the wrong thing. Last week, Florida’s senior Senator sneaked through the chamber a bill to make daylight saving time permanent. It’s been a Rubio priority for years. According to published reports, it took all of 14 seconds to get the Sunshine Protection Act approved by voice vote through what the Senate calls unanimous consent. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who was presiding, said: “I was surprised that someone didn’t object.”

—OPINIONS —

DeSantis and the new Republican Party” via Rich Lowry of The New York Times — DeSantis had another moment that lit up the right, this time pushing back against Disney’s critique of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. In his statement, DeSantis was absolutely stalwart, saying that the chances are “zero” that he’s going to back away from his support for the law. And he didn’t hesitate to go on offense against Disney. He said it had made a fortune off being family-friendly, so it should understand that families don’t want inappropriate material injected into the curriculum at schools and smacked the company for making money in China without denouncing the brutal practices of the Chinese Communist Party. This is the voice of the new Republican Party.

The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is worse than it sounds” via Jay Michaelson of The Intelligencer — Nicknamed “Don’t Say Gay” by opponents, the legislation prohibits any discussion of LGBTQ+ sexuality or gender in the classroom and empowers parents to sue for violations. The bill’s broad language not only says “classroom instruction … on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3,” but it also bans such instruction “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” So, what happens if a teacher or counselor does help? That’s where the bill’s vigilante provisions kick in. Taking a cue from recent laws targeting “critical race theory,” HR 1557 empowers citizens to enforce its provisions.

— WEEKEND TV —

Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede on CBS 4 in Miami: The Sunday show provides viewers with an in-depth look at South Florida politics and other issues.

In Focus with Allison Walker on Bay News 9/CF 13: A look at the Local Business Protection Act, which would hold local governments liable for any new ordinances that cause businesses to lose significant income in one year. Joining Walker are Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry; Stacey Gallagher, Development Coordinator and Lighting Project Specialist, Sea Turtle Conservancy; and Bob Nave, senior vice president of Research, Florida TaxWatch.

Political Connections Bay News 9 in Tampa/St. Pete: U.S. Rep. Demings will discuss her campaign for U.S. Senate, a look at the possibility of the Legislature returning for a Special Session, and a recap of Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Political Connections on CF 13 in Orlando: Rep. David Smith will discuss the 2022 Session; and a profile of former Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince, the first Black woman to serve on Florida’s highest court.

The Usual Suspects on WCTV-Tallahassee/Thomasville (CBS) and WJHG-Panama City (NBC): Host Gary Yordon speaks with Liz Joyner from The Village Square.

— ALOE —

‘It’s going to be loud.’ Fans, performers and security are ready for Ultra’s return” via David Catanese of the Miami Herald — After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Ultra Music Festival returns to Miami this weekend, back downtown after a brief and problematic interlude on Virginia Key. For festival veterans, it’ll feel like 2018 again. That’s because Ultra organizers aren’t requiring proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test or masks for entry. Though the festival will make available free masks to any ticket holder who wants one, the addition of hand sanitizing and hand-washing stations will likely be the only visible remnant of a pandemic that derailed the three-day electronic music extravaganza for the past two years.

72893714 10156993404717739 8443787141363793920 n
No vax, no problem at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival. Image via Facebook.

Retirement the Margaritaville way” via Nick Paumgarten of The New Yorker — The housing stock, a range of villas and cottages, is, by today’s standards, compact and tasteful, single-story buildings with sensible layouts and patios that, typically screened-in, can look like aviaries. People covet three-car garages, for their golf carts and motorcycles — there are a lot of both in Margaritaville, but most have two-car garages. A popular indulgence is eight-foot-tall interior doors. The citizens of Latitude Margaritaville testify so consistently to a life of gratification that one suspects, but finds no evidence for, a regimen of happy pills or talking points. Disgruntlement and curmudgeonliness must exist, but not in view of a visitor susceptible to such traits.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Best wishes to the doubling-down-even-more-incredibly-talented-than-last-year-yes-we’re-repeating-ourselves Sara Clements of Maguire Woods, former state Rep. John Cortes, the Port Tampa’s Matt Floyd, Andrew Rutledge, and former Sen. Maria Sachs.

___

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

Post Views: 0