Daily News Portal

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 2.15.24

Good Thursday morning.

This is an extraordinarily abbreviated version of Sunburn reflecting that yesterday was Valentine’s Day.

Full-service consulting firm LSN Partners announced three new additions this week, all of them former officials in President Joe Biden’s administration.

New to the crew are Lynda Tran, former senior adviser to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Director of Public Engagement for USDOT; Andrew Rogers, former Deputy Federal Highway Administrator under Buttigieg; and Andrew Wishnia, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy in the USDOT.

Former Joe Biden staffers Lynda Tran, Andrew Rogers and Andrew Wishnia are making the jump to LSN Partners.

“This expansion reinforces LSN Partners’ commitment to providing exceptional strategic counsel to help our clients navigate through national transportation, sustainability and climate-related challenges,” said Alex Heckler, Managing Partner of LSN Partners.

In a news release, the firm said the new additions reaffirm its dedication to offering clients top-tier strategic guidance. Their collective knowledge and deep-rooted experience in government, advocacy, and industry will be instrumental in uncovering and exploring opportunities that lie ahead.”

LSN Partners, based in Miami, is a full-service consulting firm offering strategic advice and advocacy in government affairs, government procurement, emergency management, business development and communications.


Florida Realtors has released research to back up its claim that eliminating the business rental tax would benefit the state.

According to the “An Economic Impact Analysis of Eliminating Florida’s Commercial Rent Tax,” eliminating the tax levied on commercial rents would grow the Sunshine State economy by $19.7 billion and create another 58,653 jobs over the next half-decade.

The 21-page report conducted by the Regional Economic Impact Consulting Group gives some of the credit to Sunshine State transplants, who are expected to offset revenue losses if the state were to abolish the business rent tax.

“Nearly 1,000 people move to Florida every day. It is essential to remove this tax burden to allow for more investment in housing, retail, and development to support growth and keep Florida one of the top-performing economies in the world’s largest economy,” the study says.

It continues, “The study shows the state will grow by $6.52 for every dollar of lost revenue when comparing the initial loss to the overall economic gain. When the new tax collections mitigate the initial state losses, the increase becomes $8.39 per dollar of lost revenue.”


Ninth Annual Suits for Session begins — 5; Season 6 of ‘Drive To Survive’ premieres on Netflix — 8; South Carolina Republican Primary — 9; Michigan Democratic Primary — 12; James Madison Institute’s ‘Red, White and Bluegrass’ dinner — 13; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 15; Michigan/Idaho/Missouri GOP Primaries — 17; Netflix to stream “The Netflix Slam,” Rafael Nadal/Carlos Alcaraz faceoff — 17; Super Tuesday — 19; State of the Union address — 21; last day of Regular Session, if Legislature completes work in 60 days — 22; 2024 Oscars — 24; Georgia Democratic Primary — 26; Arizona/Florida/Illinois/Kansas/Ohio Primaries — 33; James Madison Institute’s ‘2024 Naples Dinner’ with keynote speaker Laura Ingraham — 35; ‘3 Body Problem’ premieres on Netflix — 35; The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the mifepristone/abortion pill case — 40; Major League Baseball’s (MLB) 2024 season — 42; March Madness Final Four (women’s) begins — 49; March Madness Final Four (men’s) — 52; Florida TaxWatch’s Spring Meeting — 56; The Masters begin — 57; Kentucky Derby — 80; 2024 Leadership Conference on Safety, Health & Sustainability — 85; ‘Bridgerton’ new season (part one) premieres on Netflix — 92; French Open begins — 95; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 97; Dave Matthews Band 2024 Summer Tour begins in Tampa — 97; Monaco Grand Prix — 101; the 2026 World Cup begins — 117; ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ premieres — 135; Republican National Convention begins — 151; the 2026 World Cup ends — 155; 2024 MLS All-Star Game — 160; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games on NBC/Peacock — 162; Alien: Romulus’ premieres — 180; Democratic National Convention begins — 186; Georgia Tech to face Florida State in 2024 opener in Dublin — 191; Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour stops in Miami — 246; 2024 Florida Chamber Annual Meeting & Future of Florida Forum — 246; 2024 Presidential Election — 261; Las Vegas Grand Prix — 277; MLS Cup 2024 — 292; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ premieres — 365; ‘Moana’ premieres — 495; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 526; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 526; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 631; ‘Avatar 3’ premieres — 673; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 810; Untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 826; Another untitled ‘Star Wars’ movie premieres — 1,037; ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,177; ‘Avatar 4’ premieres — 2,136; ‘Avatar 5’ premieres — 2,858.


1 dead and at least 15 injured after shooting near Kansas City Chiefs parade, police chief says” via Heather Hollingsworth and Nick Ingram of The Associated Press — A shooting at the end of the parade to celebrate the Super Bowl win by the Kansas City Chiefs, sent terrified fans running for cover and marring yet another high-profile public event with gun violence.

Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves detailed the shooting’s toll at a news conference and said two people had been taken into custody. She said she had heard that fans may have been involved in apprehending a suspect but couldn’t immediately confirm that.

The latest numbers are one dead and more than 20 injured. Image via AP.

“I’m angry at what happened today. The people who came to this celebration should expect a safe environment.” Graves said. Police did not immediately release any details about the people taken into custody or about a possible motive for the shootings.

Social media users posted shocking videos of police running through a crowded scene as people in attendance hurriedly scrambled for cover and ran away. One video showed someone apparently performing chest compressions on a shooting victim as another person, seemingly writhing in pain, lay on the ground nearby. People screamed in the background.

Another video showed two onlookers chase and tackle someone, holding that person down until two police officers arrived.

Kansas City has long struggled with gun violence, and in 2020 it was among nine cities targeted by the U.S. Justice Department in an effort to crack down on violent crime. In 2023 the city matched a record with 182 homicides, most of which involved guns.

Mayor Quinton Lucas has joined with Mayors across the country in calling for new laws to reduce gun violence, including mandating universal background checks.


Bill defining antisemitism in Florida Statutes heads to Senate floor” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — A bill defining antisemitism in Florida Statutes is heading to a Senate floor vote after clearing its final Committee hurdle with unanimous support. Members of the Senate Rules Committee voted to advance the measure (SB 148), which would largely adopt the definition the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance set in 2016. The definition reads as “a certain perception of Jewish individuals which may be expressed as hatred toward such individuals. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish and non-Jewish individuals and their property and toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Lori Berman is that much closer to a statutory definition of antisemitism.

Senate hemp bill tweaked before full floor vote” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Sen. Colleen Burton’s bill (SB 1698) proposes a number of material changes to what the sponsor calls an “unregulated market” and a “continuation” of work begun by the Legislature in 2023. These include a ban on currently commercially available and federally legal products, along with a cap on delta-9 THC, which could negatively affect the 487 growers and roughly 10,000 retail outlets in the state. Amendments added at this stop include language deeming products that look like “toys” as attractive to children and $2 million in nonrecurring funds to allow the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for testing equipment, and language pushing back the effective date of the legislation to Oct. 1, 2024, to allow more time for implementation.

House panel OKs elimination of local wage, heat protection rules for contractors” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Local governments wouldn’t be able to set minimum wages for their contractors and subcontractors, and couldn’t require businesses to protect their workers from heat exposure, under a bill passed by the House State Affairs Committee. The bill (HB 433) passed on a party-line vote, with Democrats opposed. They said it takes away local control from governments, such as Miami-Dade County, which have passed minimum wage ordinances for contractors. “This bill is very let-them-eat-cake-ish,” said Rep. Ashley Gantt, a Miami Democrat. “It’s all about profits, it’s not about people.” Gantt added that it would likely affect 33,000 workers in Miami-Dade, potentially lowering their wages.

Bill mandating disclosure for artificial intelligence in political ads headed to House floor” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Political ads using artificial intelligence (AI) technology will need a statement disclosing the fact under a bill advancing in the House. The bill (HB 919) from Rep. Alex Rizo was amended to add a criminal penalty. Any candidate or political committee that puts out an ad using AI without disclosing it would commit a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a prison sentence of one year and a fine of $1,000. “There are some teeth within this to make sure that we have everyone … must go ahead and comply with these disclaimers,” Rizo said. The bill passed on an 18-2 vote, with Reps. Ashley Gantt and Felicia Robinson voting against it. They expressed concern with how the investigation process will play out and with the potential for a candidate to be charged with a crime when a third-party vendor who created the ad didn’t tell them AI was used.

Legislative push to give Sheriffs more budget power continues” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The Rules panel advanced Republican Sen. Clay Yarborough’s bill (SB 1704) that would allow a Sheriff, including one of a consolidated city/county government, to move funds “between the fund and functional categories” without the approval of the County Commission or Budget Commission after their budget is approved by the legislative body. This independence extends to procurement and personnel issues. The legislation is backed by the Florida Sheriffs’ Association and was presented by Sen. Danny Burgess in Committee Wednesday. Republican Rep. Wyman Duggan is carrying the companion bill (HB 1447), which was temporarily postponed in Wednesday’s meeting of the State Affairs Committee due to an amendment that changed the title, requiring that procedural delay. It’s not likely that postponement will slow the bill’s progress though.

Bill uncorking wine bottle size limits ready for Senate floor vote” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Florida’s latest legislative attempt at uncorking limits on wine bottle sizes is barreling toward a Senate floor vote after finishing its last Committee hearing with full-bodied support. The Senate Rules Committee voted unanimously to oak-kay a bill (SB 1134) to amend a state statute banning the commercial sales of wine in bottles larger than 1 gallon or reusable 5.16-gallon containers. First-time violators of the current law, which detractors say is past its drink-by date, face a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Repeat offenders can be charged with a third-degree felony with an up to five-year prison sentence penalty. Under the proposed new language, it would be legal for restaurants and retailers to sell wine bottles in glass containers of 4.5, 9, 12 and 15 liters. A gallon is about 3.8 liters.

 We’re gonna need a bigger liquor cabinet.

Miss trial: Legislature passes bill excusing new mothers from jury duty” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Of all the things new mothers in Florida must deal with, jury duty soon won’t be one of them. A bill (HB 461) excusing women from jury service if they’ve given birth within six months and request an exemption cleared its last stop in the Legislature by a unanimous vote. Effective July 1, the measure enjoyed similar support when House members approved it last month. Sen. Erin Grall, who sponsored its twin (SB 462), briefly explained the bill’s effects before the Wednesday vote but offered no other comments. The House sponsor, Carolina Amesty, previously called the measure “important.”


Happening today — Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis will give remarks at the Fire Service Day at the Capitol. Noon Eastern time, Capitol Courtyard — North Plaza. The event will be livestreamed on The Florida Channel.

Jimmy Patronis will give remarks on Fire Service Day at the Capitol.

9 a.m. The Senate holds a floor Session. Senate Chambers.

9 a.m. House Commerce Committee meets. Room 212, Knott Building.

9 a.m. House Health & Human Services Committee meets. Room 17, House Office Building.

9 a.m. House Infrastructure Strategies Committee meets. Room 404, House Office Building.

Noon Senate Fiscal Policy meets. Room 412, Knott Building.

Noon Senate Appropriations Committee meets. Room 110, Senate Office Building.

2 p.m. The House holds a floor Session. House Chambers.

5:15 p.m. Senate Special Order Calendar Group meets. Room 401, Senate Office Building.

6:15 p.m. House Rules Committee meets. Room 404, House Office Building.


They know Nikki Haley’s chances against Donald Trump, but they’re voting for her anyway” via Jazmine Ulloa of The New York Times — Everything about Haley’s latest barnstorm through South Carolina was intended to evoke a candidate on the upswing. She had a sleek, new navy-blue campaign bus with her name on it. Her campaign, backed by a fresh infusion of funds, pumped $2 million more into ads, for a total $6 million buy. And she had fresh lines of attack to deploy against Trump. But the stops, carefully tailored to highlight her ties to the place she calls home and remind voters of her past political successes in the state, frequently served more as reminders of how much has changed here since her last winning bid for Governor. Haley hosted fewer attendees at events in some of the more conservative strongholds crucial to a victory in the Feb. 24 Primary. Almost everywhere she went, even staunch supporters excited to see her speak conceded that her chances were slim.

Pro-Haley super PAC takes on Trump’s ‘attacks’ on the military — SFA Fund, the super PAC supporting Haley, is releasing a new ad in South Carolina this week. “Doesn’t Get It,” highlights Trump’s yearslong “attacks” on U.S. service members. “Ironically, Donald Trump has the gall to attack the brave men and women of our military — especially those who gave it all for our freedom,” SFA representative Preya Samsundar said. “Our service members, our veterans, and their families deserve a commander in chief who is not only proud of their service and sacrifice but is someone they can be proud of as well. Unfortunately, Donald Trump has failed on both counts.”

To watch the ad, please click the image below:


Florida’s immigration crackdown is scaring patients away from seeking care” via Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO — One of DeSantis’ most controversial immigration moves has led to women shunning mammograms and prenatal care out of fear that they’ll be forced to reveal their immigration status. At issue is a new Florida law requiring hospitals that receive Medicaid dollars to ask patients about their immigration status. Undocumented migrants in Florida are now steering clear of hospitals and clinics, worried that they’ll be arrested or deported, according to 10 immigration advocates, lawmakers and health care officials.

Ron DeSantis’ crackdown on immigration has a chilling effect on health care.

Florida shines under new national air quality standards” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Often, Florida feels the heavy hand of the federal government when the Biden administration rolls out new regulations. Policies advanced by a Democrat in the White House tend to infringe on the rights freedom-loving Floridians fear, impose new costs on businesses and stand in the way of prosperity. But one recent reg rolled out by Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proves to be the exception to the rule. The EPA introduced new air quality standards last week to protect families, workers and communities, and these standards do not harm the Sunshine State. Instead, they demonstrate that Florida is a national leader in air quality.

Most Taylor Swift conspiracy theorists are also election deniers, poll finds” via Kierra Frasier of POLITICO — Americans who believe the conspiracy theory that Swift is part of an elaborate scheme to help Democrats win the November election are also more likely to not believe the 2020 election results. Almost three-quarters of those who believe the Swift conspiracy also believe the 2020 election outcome was fraudulent. Eighteen percent of Americans surveyed believe in the conspiracy theory and 71% of those Americans identify with or lean toward the Republican Party. Eighty-three percent indicated they are likely to support Trump in the Fall. Notably, 42% of those who believe in the Swift theory also say they had not heard about it before being contacted for the poll.

Not where you want to be: 2 Florida cities ranked in top 15 for worst drivers in major metropolises” via Drew Dixon of Florida Politics — When it comes to bad drivers, Florida has two cities that are ranked among the top 15 with the most deadly results on the road, according to a new analysis of road safety in the nation’s largest cities published by Forbes magazine. The numbers are not flattering for Tampa (No. 10 in terms of worst drivers) or Jacksonville (No. 14). Both landed in the upper half for dangerous driving among America’s largest cities. Miami came in at No. 26, just around the middle of the list. Tampa had 14.47 total fatal auto accidents per 100,000 people per year. That single metric alone is the eighth highest among the states sampled. Tampa also had 15.42 people per 100,000 killed in those wrecks and 0.75 people per 100,000 who died in a crash involving a drunken driver in the Gulf Coast metropolis.



Jill Biden sends Valentine’s Day love to Americans with an art display on the White House lawn” via Darlene Superville of The Associated Press — Jill Biden once again is sending her love to Americans on Valentine’s Day through an art display on the White House lawn. The first lady’s “Valentine to the Country” was revealed as the sun rose Wednesday. The installation features a large wooden red envelope addressed in her handwriting, “To America with Love.” It is accompanied by a large pink envelope and a card with the message,…

Read Nore:Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 2.15.24