Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.
By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel McAuliffe, Jim Rosica, and Drew Wilson.
BREAKING OVERNIGHT via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat — Tallahassee City Commissioner and former Mayor Scott Maddox, one of Tallahassee’s most prominent politicians, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on public corruption charges, according to sources close to the investigation.
Downtown Improvement Authority Executive Director Paige Carter-Smith also was indicted, one of the sources said. The source, who asked to remain anonymous, could not provide details on the charges.
The FBI declined to comment. No indictments of Maddox or Carter-Smith could be found on the website for the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee. Neither Maddox nor his aide returned phone calls from the Democrat. Carter-Smith also could not be reached for comment.
Florida has billions of dollars of transportation infrastructure work that needs to be done, but it’s competing against other states for limited federal resources.
Coalition for America’s Gateways & Trade Corridors director Elaine Nessle gave an overview of the funding battle at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Growth & Infrastructure Summit.
Nessle said tax reform was seen as a “golden opportunity” to wedge in some infrastructure funding, but that has “come and gone.”
And bumping up the gas tax, which hasn’t increased since 1993, isn’t the panacea many think it would be — gas tax revenues are trending down year over year.
A possible solution to the funding shortfall is a “Vehicle Miles Traveled,” or VMT, tax.
That method, as the name implies, would tax people based on how far they drive: “It may take five, six or 10 years before we can figure out a way for VMT to be ready at the federal level,” Nessle said.
The takeaway: The federal government doesn’t have $1.5 trillion sitting around for infrastructure, and Florida’s couch cushions aren’t exactly flush either.
For the rest of the story, click here.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@MDixon55: Why did one of my family Thanksgivings just break out in the White House?
—@DaneEagle: Congratulations to @on his appointment as Secretary at DBPR! Our loss is @ ’ gain. At this time I am petitioning a formal recount for “the man with the coolest name in state government”
—@LobbyTools: Packets are trickling out for Wednesday’s Senate Appropriations Committee & Subcommittee meetings … Oh how we’ve missed you, committee packets!
—@DeFede: Okay, just want to let @@ and @ know the first round of drinks in New York in January for @ is on me, @ and @ . Great to see local journalism in Florida alive and well.
—@GennX: 2019 request. Let’s retire “breaking news” emails. Bc by time release approved, sent and read. Well, the news has broken.
— DAYS UNTIL —
116th Congress convenes — 22; College Football National Championship — 26; Florida’s gubernatorial inauguration — 27; Office of Insurance Regulation’s OIR Summit begins — 34; Super Bowl LIII — 53; ‘Hamilton’ comes to the Straz Center — 62; 2019 Legislative Session starts — 83; Tampa mayoral election — 83; ‘Captain Marvel’ release — 86; Iowa Caucuses — 418; 2020 General Election — 692.
— TOP STORY —
“Another Democrat gets a 2020 look: Andrew Gillum” via Marc Caputo and Alex Thompson of POLITICO Florida — With his stature enhanced by an exceedingly narrow loss in the nation’s largest swing state, Gillum has hit the Democratic speaking circuit across the nation, urging the party to stay the course on social justice and taking private meetings with top party officials — among them, former President Barack Obama. “He was a rock star yesterday, he’s a rock star today, and he will be a rock star in the future,” Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee, said when he introduced the former mayor at a closed-door Democratic National Committee finance gathering in Washington, where Gillum got a standing ovation, according to two attendees. New York Democrat Alex Kirk said he was impressed with Gillum after hearing him for the first time. “Very charismatic, speaks from the heart,” Kirk said.
“Top Democratic donors hear from rising stars ahead of 2020” via Bill Barrow of The Associated Press — Gillum and Representative-elect Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, among others, got a warm welcome from about 300 Democratic donors gathered in Washington for an all-day, closed-door session. Gillum’s appearance, a surprise for attendees, was sure to fuel speculation that he might run for president — a once-unthinkable prospect rendered plausible by the White House buzz around Beto O’Rourke, the Texan who narrowly lost a competitive race against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. Donor and activist Woody Kaplan summed up the party’s challenge in a cycle where the DNC must compete with other party committees and a hoard of presidential candidates. “It’s in the teens the numbers of (presidential) candidates I’ve met with already,” said Kaplan, who declined to name them publicly.
— THE TRANSITION —
“Ron DeSantis taps Halsey Beshears to be next DBPR Secretary” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — Beshears will serve as the next Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Governor-elect DeSantis announced the hire Tuesday. Florida Politics first reported earlier this month that Beshears was under consideration for the post. “Florida’s trillion-dollar economy is founded on thriving businesses — from the small mom and pop shops to the largest corporations headquartered in the Sunshine State,” DeSantis said in a statement. Pending Senate confirmation, Beshears will replace current DBPR Secretary Jonathan Zachem, whom Gov. Rick Scott appointed last year.
“’Champion for deregulation’ to lead regulatory agency” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida — DeSantis has tapped a lawmaker he called a “champion for deregulation” to oversee the agency that handles licenses and regulations for a wide range of fields, including the gambling industry. Beshears, a Monticello Republican who was recently named to run the committee that is expected to produce the House’s annual tax cut package, was selected to lead the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation. DeSantis expects the agency under Beshears to become “the focal driver that will make Florida a premier destination for entrepreneurs and companies seeking to relocate.” DeSantis added: “It is vital to our state’s continued success that we streamline the way we approach business regulation and eliminate the bureaucratic barriers that stifle growth.”
“DeSantis taps owner of condo he lived in to lead transition panel” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida — Leading the 45-person advisory panel is Kent Stermon, an executive at Total Military Management, which had been a campaign donor. The Jacksonville-based company serves as a third-party relocation service for U.S. military personnel. After dropping his 2016 bid for U.S. Senate, DeSantis, a former three-term congressman, moves into a Flagler County condo co-owned by Stermon and Matt Connell, another executive at the company. DeSantis did so to maintain a residence in the 6th Congressional District, which was redrawn as part of the redistricting process. DeSantis first ran for the House in 2012. Since that time, he has received nearly $60,000 in contributions from the company, which has also lobbied the Department of Defense on procurement issues in recent years. When POLITICO first reported DeSantis was living in the condo in March, his campaign said the two owners never directly lobbied DeSantis — they were just longtime friends.
“Nikki Fried calls latest orange forecast ‘encouraging’” via Danny McAuliffe of Florida Politics — Expectations toward Florida’s most-iconic crop are shifting from sour to sweet more than a year after Hurricane Irma inflicted catastrophic damage on Florida’s citrus industry. Growers in the state are expected to produce 77 million boxes of oranges during the 2018-2019 growing season, according to citrus forecasts released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That means growers are on track to produce more crops than they did in 2017 before Irma. That’s welcome news to the incoming Agriculture Commissioner. “The Citrus Production Forecast is encouraging, and I plan on being a strong advocate for our citrus growers to help them succeed,” Agriculture Commissioner-elect Fried said in a prepared statement.
“Mike Watkins wants a seat in the Florida House” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat — Watkins, CEO of Big Bend Community Based Care, opened a campaign finance account in February. In less than eight weeks he had stockpiled more than $60,000 to campaign for the seat currently held by Beshears. Watkins will run as a Republican to replace the term-limited Beshears. The Monticello native has represented the 10-county district since 2012 and will enter his final two years at the statehouse as the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Watkins’ campaign finance reports list 208 contributors and more than $108,000 raised since he opened the account in February. Contributors include at least 10 lobbyists or firms who pitched in $1,000 each, along with university students and university social work professors. When asked about his fundraising ability, Watkins said it showed community support and added that his career has provided “a lot of opportunities” to see how the legislative process works.
“It’s official: Dan Daley files paperwork to succeed Jared Moskowitz in HD 97” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Daley declared his intent to run for the seat after Rep. Moskowitz was chosen by DeSantis to head the state’s Division of Emergency Management. Daley says the paperwork to declare his candidacy was officially filed Tuesday morning. “Serving at the local level, knowing the families, knowing their needs and knowing how to be an effective public servant will help me be an effective and strong voice for this district from day one.” Democrats are favored to hold onto the seat, which includes parts of Sunrise, Tamarac and Coral Springs. But Daley is expected to face a challenge from other Democrats.
— THE ROAD TO SESSION —
“‘You can’t strike fear‘: Lawmakers get ethics tips” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics — New and returning lawmakers had their mandatory ethics training on Tuesday, covering everything from the obvious — don’t take a bribe — to the nuanced — if you’re given a bottle of water, pay for it. House General Counsel Adam Tanenbaum presented to his members in the morning, while Senate General Counsel Jeremiah Hawkes gave a class in the afternoon. The former was part of Speaker Jose Oliva‘s “Legislator University” that helps orient new representatives and refreshes returning ones … “You can’t use your office to strike fear” in someone to do or not do something, Tanenbaum said, “as well-meaning as it might be.”
“Perry Thurston files bill to reform Judicial Nominating Commissions” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — Thurston has filed a new bill (SB 138) which would alter the makeup of judicial nominating commissions (JNCs) starting in 2019. The bill would reduce the Governor’s control over the commissions, reverting the nominating process to the one that existed before 2002. Currently, the Governor is allowed to make five appointments to the nine-member commissions, giving him or her control over the majority. The Board of Governors of the Florida Bar names the other four members. Thurston’s measure would limit the Governor and the Bar to appointing three members each. The remaining three members would be “selected and appointed by a majority vote of the members of the commission appointed” by the Governor and Florida Bar.
Thad Altman files E-Verify legislation — The Indialantic Republican’s bill (HB 89) would “prevent the hiring of illegal immigrants in the State of Florida,” he said in a statement. It would require all private and public employers and state contractors to enroll in E-Verify and ensure all new hires are eligible to work in the United States. E-Verify is a voluntary electronic database maintained by the feds that “allows enrolled employers to check the work eligibility of new hires (with) the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security.” “Citizens and residents who abide by the law are having the opportunity to work taken away from them,” Altman said in a statement. “Hiring illegal immigrants gives some businesses a clear advantage with cheap labor, but a lot of businesses want to do this right. This is a real problem, and we have to fix it.” An effort to require the use of E-Verify through a constitutional amendment failed at the Florida Constitution Revision Commission earlier this year.
— TRIBUTE —
State Senators met Tuesday afternoon to hold a touching memorial service for the late former Sen. Dorothy Hukill.
Hukill passed away in October shortly after a recurrence of cervical cancer that had interrupted her role in the 2017 Legislative Session.
“Senators recalled a late colleague who mixed an assertive nature with a quick wit,” writes Jim Turner for The News Service of Florida.
Watch and learn: Senate President Bill Galvano “said lawmakers could take lessons from Hukill, such as her practice of putting up signs to welcome people from her district who often planned months in advance to trek to the Capitol,” writes Turner.
“Diva Dorothy’: During the ceremony, lawmakers from across the partisan aisle shared their memory of Hukill, a Republican from Port Orange. “Senate Minority Leader Audrey Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat, said she misses ‘my diva friend’ and recalled serving earlier in the House together and being able to discuss opposing views on bills while sharing Chinese food or exchanging ‘trinkets’ of jewelry.”
A legacy: Despite her tragic passing, one of Hukill’s priorities will remain topical. State Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, a former aide of Hukill’s who was elected this year “has filed legislation (HB 73) for the 2019 Session that would require high-school students to take courses on financial literacy,” writes Turner. Sen. Travis Hutson, a St. Augustine Republican, is carrying the same measure in the Senate.
— STATEWIDE —
“PolitiFact’s 2018 Lie of the Year: Against the Parkland students” via PolitiFact — The lies went like this: David Hogg, an outspoken student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was really a “crisis actor” coached on what to say. Hogg wasn’t even from Florida, he was from California. Students, who began to advocate for restrictions on guns, had secretly organized before the shooting or were backed by radicals with a history of violence. Another student, Emma González, was a communist with ties to Cuba. She even ripped up the U.S. Constitution. The students and the country were about to learn a hard lesson about participating in democracy in 2018. That you don’t have to be a politician to be on the receiving end of the internet’s worst hoaxes. The attacks against Parkland’s students stand out because of their sheer vitriol. Together, the lies against the Parkland students in the wake of unspeakable tragedy were the most significant falsehoods of 2018. We name them PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year.
“Everglades documentary brings prestigious journalism award to CBS’ Miami TV news station” via Howard Cohen of the Miami Herald — The 16 winners of the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards were announced — and South Florida’s WFOR CBS4 Miami was a recipient. The station was honored for its documentary, “The Everglades: Where Politics, Money and Race Collide.” CBS4’s reporting team — which included reporter, writer and producer Jim DeFede, a former Miami Herald columnist, and executive producer Caridad Hernandez — spent a year investigating how toxic blue-green algae shut down beaches and businesses on Florida’s Treasure Coast in 2016. The environmental crisis, the station revealed, “prompted a political and economic crisis throughout the state.” In addition to Roldan, DeFede and Hernandez, the winning “Everglades” team included photojournalist/video editor Tony Jerez, special projects editors Alex Bombard and David Agudelo; and Adam Levy, the station’s vice president and general manager.
“2018 TIME Person of the Year: The Guardians, and the War on Truth” via Time magazine — Jamal Khashoggi: Columnist. Murdered. Wa Lone & Kyaw Soe Oo: Reporters. Convicted. Maria Ressa: Editor. Indicted. The Capital Gazette: Newspaper. Attacked. TIME Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal writes, “Today, democracy around the world faces its biggest crisis in decades, its foundations undermined by invective from on high and toxins from below, by new technologies that power ancient impulses, by a poisonous cocktail of strongmen and weakening institutions … In its highest forms, influence — the measure that has for nine decades been the focus of TIME’s Person of the Year — derives from courage … This year we are recognizing four journalists and one news organization who have paid a terrible price to seize the challenge of this moment.”
Florida TaxWatch: Voters OK’d $1.5B in annual local tax hikes — The financial watchdog, in a follow-up to the 2018 Florida TaxWatch Voter Guide, detailed local tax measures and bond issues voters approved last month and provides an update on what’s next for the 11 amendments now part of Florida’s Constitution. “The new report shows that voters in many Florida counties were in a generous mood on Nov. 6, 2018, voting in favor of $1.5 billion in county and school district sales and property tax increases,” according to a news release. “In addition, voters in two counties and eight cities approved $1.2 billion in local government bond issues, which will necessitate property tax increases to pay off the bonds.” This follows tax increases for 11 additional counties and four special districts that were approved by voters during the August primary election. These August increases totaled $335 million annually. The report is here.
“Constitutional amendment spurs call for stay of execution” via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida — With an execution looming, attorneys for Death Row inmate Jose Antonio Jimenez say he should be spared from lethal injection because of a constitutional amendment passed last month by Florida voters. The Supreme Court has rejected earlier appeals from Jimenez, but his attorneys contend that a relatively noncontroversial constitutional amendment approved in the Nov. 6 election should justify tossing out his death sentence — an argument that Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office disputes. Without a stay, Jimenez is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. Thursday at Florida State Prison. The arguments center on part of Amendment 11, which was approved by 62 percent of voters. That part changed what is known as the “Savings Clause” of the Florida Constitution, a more than century-old provision dealing with how revisions in criminal laws should be applied to older crimes. Jimenez’s attorneys contend in court documents that the amendment is important in his case because of changes in Florida’s death-penalty sentencing laws in 2017.
“Extension of FPL voluntary solar program approved” via the News Service of Florida — Florida Power & Light received state approval to extend a program in which customers voluntarily pay $9 a month to help add small-scale solar energy projects. The program, initially approved in 2014, will continue through Dec. 31, 2019. Without the approval of the extension by the Florida Public Service Commission, the program would have expired at the end of this year. The program pays for the installation of solar structures on such things as rooftops, covered walkways and parking canopies, according to a Public Service Commission staff recommendation.
“Regulators back plans to protect utility workers” via the News Service of Florida — State regulators approved proposals that will allow Tampa Electric Co. and Peoples Gas System to disconnect or refuse service to customers who threaten utility workers. The companies, which are part of TECO Energy, requested approval from the Florida Public Service Commission because of what they said were numerous incidents of threats to employees, according to commission staff recommendations. The approval added threats to employees to a series of other circumstances in which service can be disconnected or refused, such as failure to pay bills and tampering with meters.
“Virtual school probe of Frank Kruppenbacher details charges of questionable spending, ‘boorish’ comments to women” via Lesley Postal and Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel — Kruppenbacher, 66, is a well-known lawyer in Central Florida whose clients have included the city of Apopka, Bright House Networks, and the Orange and the Osceola county school boards. He resigned from his general counsel role at the virtual school on Aug. 12, the same day the school’s board of trustees voted to hire an outside law firm to investigate a dozen complaints against him. The complaints from employees — none of whom are named — accused Kruppenbacher of making “off-color jokes” and using profanity. The accusations about Kruppenbacher’s use of “boorish and gender-based comments” to women “likely” occurred, the report said. If Kruppenbacher was still an employee, “the appropriate employer action” to the accusations “would be to either discipline or remove the offending employee,” the report said.
“The Florida Highway official who sent a crew to clean up Georgia home has resigned.” via the Miami Herald — Two officials at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles have resigned after state workers were sent to clean up damage from Hurricane Michael at the Georgia home of one of the officials. Kelley Scott, the department’s director of administrative services, and William “Shane” Phillips, chief of office services, handed in their resignations following an investigation by the department’s inspector general. Scott failed to report a “possible ethics violation” relating to state workers taking department vehicles and equipment to her storm-damaged property in Colquitt, Georgia, in October. And Phillips was “not forthcoming with information” during the investigation into possible misuse of state resources, according to the report.
“Florida trial features homicide, infidelity and alligators” via Gary Fineout of The Associated Press — Prosecutors contended that Denise Williams planned the December 2000 slaying of her husband with a man that she was having an affair with and later married. On a cold morning in north Florida, Mike Williams disappeared while duck hunting on a large lake near Tallahassee, and initially it was believed that he had fallen from his boat and that his body had been devoured by alligators. It was revealed years later that Williams had died from a shotgun blast to the head and had been buried near a lake. The man who shot him was his best friend and insurance agent Brian Winchester, who confessed last year to the killing. At the time of his death, Williams had three life insurance policies worth $1.75 million. Williams is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and accessory after the fact in her husband’s killing.
“Florida greyhounds coming to [Pennsylvania] after state bans dog racing” via WJAC — In November, Florida voters approved Amendment 13, which will end live greyhound racing in the state. The move has some animal lovers concerned about what will happen to all the dogs, who will no longer be needed for racing. “I’m excited about it, they’re so special,” said Toni Duchi, president of Nittany Greyhounds. “It really is a lot of fun when they come off the truck and they’re wide-eyed and they don’t know why they’re here.” Nittany Greyhounds is finding homes for those four-legged best friends. The kennel will be welcoming five new ones from Tampa.
— LOCAL —
“Top All Children’s executives resign following Times report on heart surgeries” via Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi of the Tampa Bay Times — In a statement, the health system said All Children’s CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen, Vice President Jackie Crain and cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs had resigned. Dr. Paul Colombani had also stepped down as chair of the department of surgery, the statement said. It was not immediately clear if he had left the hospital. He was removed from the hospital’s website along with Ellen, Crain and Jacobs. The Times investigation, “Heartbroken,” reported that the mortality rate at the hospital’s Heart Institute tripled between 2015 and 2017. The increase came after at least eight hospital employees warned supervisors about problems with the program’s surgeries. Several employees told the Times they warned Colombani directly. Jacobs was a co-director of the institute at the time of the problems and was one of the surgeons highlighted in the Times report. Crain oversaw risk-management at the hospital.
Ashton J. Hayward III named president of Andrews Research & Education Foundation — Hayward begins serving as president as of Jan. 7. The leadership of the Foundation selected the former Pensacola mayor to “direct its efforts to fulfill the mission of being an international leader in bringing new and groundbreaking solutions to sports medicine through research and education,” a news release said. “Hayward’s visionary leadership and result-oriented mindset will help AREF continue to advance the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of athletic injuries and enhance human performance and quality of life for people of all ages,” said James Andrews M.D., founding partner and president of the Board. Hayward joins AREF from the City of Pensacola where he served as Mayor for the past eight years. The Foundation was established to develop sports and musculoskeletal medicine programs to prevent and treat injury.
— D.C. MATTERS —
“Did Ross Spano rely on questionable loans during 2012 race, too?” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — As U.S. Representative-elect Spano faces questions about how he financed his recent congressional campaign, new questions have arisen about how he funded another close race, his first election in 2012 to the state House. The Dover Republican won election to District 59 after winning the Republican nomination over Joe Wicker by a scant 175 votes, then winning a close general election over Democrat Gail Gottlieb by 1,051 votes. Spano spent more than $242,000 throughout the campaign, more than 20 percent of it via candidate loans. Perhaps, most notably, Spano received his financial advice from one of the individuals embroiled in his current scandal. Spano initially appointed Cary Carreno as his campaign treasurer in 2012.
“Michael Waltz focuses on health care, veterans, national security — and space” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — When Republican Waltz takes his seat in Congress next month he’ll be bringing his concerns about health care costs from his business background, veterans and national security from his military background, and space from both. “Commercial space flight is ready to explode, truly grow, and I think the triangle from Daytona to Cape Canaveral to Orlando should really benefit from that,” Waltz said during a stop in Orlando. “That’s not just an economic issue; that’s a national security issue. The Chinese and Russians have explicitly stated in their national security strategy that they will eclipse the United States in the 21st century. I don’t know that many Americans and Floridians truly appreciate how dependent we are, in our modern economy, on space.”
— OPINIONS —
“Welcome to Congress, Rep. Spano. Now please resign.” via John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times — All of the accusations and details are important — and need to be investigated by the appropriate authorities — but the bottom line is Spano broke some pretty important rules to win a congressional seat. It doesn’t matter if it was unintentional. It doesn’t matter if it fails to rise to a criminal level. It doesn’t matter if he was the favorite anyway. This Hillsborough County politician won an election unfairly, and that reality cannot be ignored. Thus, he needs to resign. Before he even takes office. Really, it shouldn’t even be a debate. The evidence is clear enough that Spano himself has acknowledged potential misdeeds, although he claims it is a case of ignorance more than malfeasance.
“Sean Pittman: Not just felons need a second chance at voting” via Florida Politics — Voting may well be the sport Americans must play to participate in a democracy, but it seems that it’s not just felons with restored rights who can benefit from a civics refresher course. Florida has a voting-awareness problem. Too many of us just don’t understand or simply don’t care enough about the complexities of casting a ballot or managing an election. One thing though is clear. The current process to restore civil rights to deserving felons is more an impediment than a pathway to the ballot box. Florida’s clemency process starts with a five-to-seven year waiting period before the felon can formally apply to the Office of Executive Clemency. Amendment 4 may be the best thing to come out of the November elections. The amendment potentially adds more than 1.4 million new voters to the rolls. How will Florida handle it, and more importantly, what lessons will these new voters take from their fellow citizens who can vote and do, or rather, those who can vote and don’t?
— MOVEMENTS —
Personnel note: C. Scott Jenkins joins Wilson & Associates — The public affairs and governmental advocacy firm based in Tallahassee announced Jenkins’ hire this week as a Government Relations Consultant. “With his vast understanding of the legislative process including lobbying, campaign and message management and legislative committee operations, Scott has a proven track record of success advocating in Tallahassee and other state capitals,” firm President Rob Wilson said in a statement. Scott recently left Wells Fargo, where he served as Senior Vice President/State Government Relations Director covering Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina for eight years. Before Wells Fargo, he served as a Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the Florida Bankers Association covering state and federal issues. Scott has also served as an analyst and intern in the Florida House of Representatives, Field Director and Campaign Manager for the Republican Party of Florida, Lobbying Assistant for Watson & Gosnell, and auditor for the Florida Division of Elections. Jenkins said he believes his “broad experience with economic issues affecting multiple industries will contribute greatly to understanding the possible impacts of government action on clients.”
League of Women Voters of Florida hires new lobbyist — Katia Saint Fleur has accepted the position of League lobbyist for the 2019 Legislative Session. “We are very excited to have a woman with the professional background and skill set that Katia brings,” said Patricia Brigham, president of LWV Florida. “Our board is confident in her ability to be able to work across multiple issues and communicate effective advocacy with our legislators to benefit all Floridians.” Saint Fleur has over a decade of experience in Florida government and politics and is currently the principal of the governmental affairs firm KSF & Associates. Saint Fleur also works with local organizations in South Florida “to assist women in regaining their stability and independence who have suffered from domestic violence,” a release said. She also works closely with an orphanage in her parents’ home country of Haiti.
New and renewed lobbying registrations:
Erika Alba, Foley & Lardner: Institute of Hazardous Material Management
Brett Bacot, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney: Bad Boy Bail Bonds, MTM
Stuart Brown, SKB Consulting Group: KIPP Miami
Albert Dotson, Elise Gerson, Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod: Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe
Rich Heffley, Kelly Horton, Heffley & Associates: IMAGE API
Scott Jenkins, Wilson & Associates: Energy Transfer, Florida Energy Pipeline Association, Florida Home Builders Association, Florida Road Material and Construction Association, National Utility Contractors Association of Florida
Robert Schenck, The Legis Group: Ultimate Health Plans
— HAPPY HOLIDAYS —
“Christmas tree farmers targeting millennials to combat popularity of artificial trees” via The Associated Press — Between 75 and 80 percent of Americans who have a Christmas tree now have an artificial one, and the $1 billion market for fake trees is growing at about 4 percent a year — even though they can be reused again and again. To combat this trend, Christmas tree farmers have joined forces as the Christmas Tree Promotion Board and are running a social media ad campaign this holiday season to tout the benefits of a real evergreen. The campaign, called “It’s Christmas. Keep It Real!,” is funded by a 15-cent fee that tree farmers pay for each tree they harvest. A series of short movies on Instagram and Facebook follow real families as they hunt for the perfect tree, cut it down and decorate it. The target audience is the “millennial mom” because tree farmers are increasingly worried that young adults starting their own family traditions will opt for an artificial tree, costing farmers a generation of customers.
— ALOE —
“Disney Springs restaurants go for greatness with celebrity chefs, modern cuisines” via Kyle Arnold of the Orlando Sentinel — The dining and entertainment district at Disney World has spent the past four years not only bringing in celebrity chefs such as Rick Bayless and Art Smith but revitalizing its most prolific dining spots to offer elegant surroundings and modern menus. The new Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill that opened in late November is the latest example, with its timber-beamed ceilings, farmhouse look and California cuisine that made Puck a star in the dining world. He said the new restaurant gave him the chance to start fresh. One by one, the dining destinations have disappeared that once anchored Downtown Disney, the district’s former name. New entrants such as the Boathouse and Morimoto Asia have become some of the most popular dining spots there, according to Restaurant Business Online rankings.
What Mitchell Cyprus is reading — “Meet the craft distillers of Native America” via PEW Stateline — One of the last relics of federal prohibition may soon come to an end, after Congress two weeks ago voted to lift a 184-year-old ban that prohibited distilleries on tribal lands. Once signed into law, Native Americans across the country can finally tap into the budding industry of craft spirits on their own lands, no longer stifled by a policy from a time when federal authorities forcibly removed tribes from their homelands and enacted discriminatory statutes aimed at choking off Native wealth. The future of Native American distilling already has begun in northern Wisconsin, along the birch-lined shores of Lake Superior, where one family has found a way to bring jobs to a reservation — and perhaps, move past the stereotype of the “drunken Indian” that has long haunted its people.
“Aaron Sorkin says he’s open to a ‘The West Wing’ reboot if he gets ‘a good idea’” via Michael Burke of The Hill — Sorkin said during an appearance on ABC’s “The View” that he and the cast of the political drama have dinner together about once every three months. He added that a reboot is something they would “love to do.” “But we’re all so very protective of the memory of the show and so I don’t want it to be a Brady Bunch reunion. If I can get a good idea, which is something that doesn’t happen very often, then I’ll do it,” he said. “I’m not slamming the door on it,” Sorkin added.
— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —
Celebrating today are state Rep. Jennifer Webb and B.G. Murphy as well as two of Orlando’s best, Dick Batchelor and Roger Chapin.