12/05/2017 07:00 AM EDT
By Marc Caputo (email@example.com; @MarcACaputo) with Emily Goldberg (firstname.lastname@example.org; @ejgold94), Sergio Bustos (email@example.com; @sbustosFL) and the staff of POLITICO Florida
Good Tuesday morning. If today is anything like yesterday, it's going to be wild.
AS THE LATVALA TURNS - We can tell you all the bills to be heard on this second day of the year's final legislative committee week in Tallahassee, but it'll sound like that teacher in the old Peanuts cartoons. A former congresswoman was sent to prison. Gov. Rick Scott, on a trade mission in Israel, begins a new public service commissioner search after soon-to-be-commissioner Ritch Workman withdrew his name when a senator accused him of "vulgar" conduct last year at a charity. (We told you first, by the way. Again.) But everyone's still talking about the sexual harassment charges against state Sen. Jack Latvala. And we're now starting to hear the first mentions of resignation from fellow Republicans within the chamber.
NAPALM JACK - "First calls for Latvala resignation surface in Fla. Senate over sexual harassment," by POLITICO Florida's Marc Caputo and Matt Dixon: "This highly respected and regarded establishment is being burnt to the ground and I feel Sen. Latvala is running around with the Napalm and the matches," said state Sen. Travis Hutson (R-St. Augustine). State Sen. Debbie Mayfield (R-Vero Beach) stopped short of Hutson's full-blown call for a resignation, but said "it might be better for him, and his family and the Senate if he considered stepping down. That's a choice he has to make. It's not my choice. I'm not prejudging the facts." The calls from the two Republicans mark the first time that senators from Latvala's own party have publicly said he should consider stepping down. Both said they were not judging the allegations against Latvala, first reported by POLITICO Florida; instead, they're disturbed by his tactics to out his accuser, Rachel Perrin Rogers, the top aide to future Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby. Read more
ENOUGH - "Wilton Simpson: 'Smear campaign' against Rachel Perrin Rogers must end," by POLITICO Florida's Alexandra Glorioso and Marc Caputo: Read more
CLAIMS, COUNTER-CLAIMS - "Perrin Rogers refutes Senate staffer's claims of trying to 'sabotage' her career," by POLITICO Florida's Alexandra Glorioso: In a 14-page affidavit, first reported by Florida Politics, 22-year-old Lillian Tysinger described a yearlong professional and personal relationship with Perrin Rogers from her first day as a staffer in the Senate Majority Office on Nov. 14, 2016, to her last day on Nov. 5. She also said she did not submit the affidavit "as a favor" to Latvala. In Tysinger's affidavit, which was filed in Leon County court last Thursday, she accused Perrin Rogers of spreading false rumors about her prior to her being transferred to another office, including that she had had "numerous affairs with people in the political process." Tysinger said she was transferred to the Senate secretary's office, where her salary was $11,000 less annually than her previous job, and was given no reason for the transfer, which took effect on Nov. 5. Read more
NO CAN DO - "Scott declines to assign special prosecutor to Latvala sexual harassment case," by POLITICO Florida's Alexandra Glorioso: Read more
NO WORK, MAN - "PSC nominee withdraws after state senator accuses him of 'vulgar' conduct at charity event," by POLITICO Florida's Marc Caputo, Bruce Ritchie and Matt Dixon: Ritch Workman, a former state representative from Melbourne, said he doesn't remember the incident, but he promptly offered his resignation and an apology to Scott and state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-Fort Myers) when he was informed of her allegations by a POLITICO reporter. Read more
... THE SWAMP AND TRUMPLANDIA ...
CORRINE DELIVERED ... TO PRISON - "Corrine Brown sentenced to 5 years in federal prison," by POLITICO Florida's Matt Dixon: A federal judge in Jacksonville on Monday sentenced former Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown to five years in federal prison after she was convicted last May on corruption charges for her role in using a scam charity to bilk donors and use the money for personal expenses, the Florida Times-Union reported. The 71-year-old disgraced congresswoman's chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, got 48 months in prison, while the founder of the charity, One Door for Education President Carla Wiley, received a 21-month sentence for her role. U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan said Brown abused the public trust to carry out a criminal conspiracy, the newspaper reported. The prison sentence marks the end of a legendary figure in Florida politics. Read story here
DREAMER SCARE - "As Dreamers protested outside Marco Rubio's office, a U.S. Border Patrol truck showed up," by Miami Herald's Monique O. Madan: "As immigrant advocacy groups rallied outside Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart's offices in Doral Monday, protesters say a U.S. Customs and Border Protection truck circled around the group. '@ICEgov just sent a truck to intimidate the dreamers fasting outside of the offices of Senator @marcorubio and Congressman @MarioDB. #CleanDreamAct #DreamActNow,' posted Florida Immigrant Coalition's Tomas Kennedy. The protest was organized to demand the protection for Dreamers, those who were brought by their families to the United States as children even though they were undocumented immigrants." Read more
CEASE AND DESIST - The ACLU of Florida is telling the Monroe County sheriff's office it must stop "its unconstitutional practice of detaining immigrants so that federal authorities can investigate them for possible deportation." Also signing Monday's letter: the Southern Poverty Law Center and LatinoJustice. The groups say the local authorities are using a detainer form that federal courts across the country have explicitly ruled unconstitutional. "Not only does this practice present serious constitutional concerns and exposes the county to lawsuits, but it also harms the local community," says Amien Kacou, staff attorney at the ACLU of Florida, in a statement.
SHOCK! - "Trump's Florida friend Chris Ruddy bashes Robert Mueller investigation," by the Tampa Bay Times' Alex Leary: Read more
FLORIDA WOMAN - "Woman shares new evidence of relationship with Roy Moore when she was 17," by Washington Post's Stephanie McCrummen: "Debbie Wesson Gibson was in her [Delray Beach] attic hauling out boxes of Christmas decorations last week when she noticed a storage bin she said she had forgotten about. Inside was a scrapbook from her senior year of high school, and taped to a page titled 'Those Who Inspire' was a graduation card. 'Happy graduation Debbie,' it read in slanted cursive handwriting. 'I wanted to give you this card myself. I know that you'll be a success in anything you do. Roy.' The inscription, Gibson said, was written by Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican nominee for U.S. Senate who in recent days has repeatedly denied the accounts of five women who told The Washington Post that he pursued them when they were teenagers and he was an assistant district attorney in his 30s. Since those allegations were published last month, four more women have come forward to allege that Moore made unwanted sexual advances." Read more
STILL ON - "Donald Trump's Pensacola visit is confirmed. Here's how to register for tickets," by Pensacola News Journal's Kevin Robinson: Read more
CONGRESSIONAL STORM - "Florida, Texas lawmakers threaten government shutdown over hurricane relief funding," by Miami Herald's Alex Daugherty: "It's been 82 days since Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys, and lawmakers from Florida and Texas huddled together on Friday to gain leverage for their hurricane-stricken states as they seek billions in relief. If congressional leaders don't do enough to allay the concerns of lawmakers from Florida and Texas, the two states' delegations will vote en masse against a disaster funding plan that could be attached to a spending plan known as a continuing resolution that keeps the government running. 'Unless substantial changes are made, we are not going to support the CR,' said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, who co-authored a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi signed by members from Florida and Texas on Friday. 'We will use the clout of both of our delegations. Without significant changes this supplemental cannot be allowed to go through.'" Read more
- The letter can be read here.
... PENINSULA AND BEYOND ...
IRMA FALLOUT - "House hurricane panel deals with power, development issues," by POLITICO Florida's Bruce Ritchie: Recommendations submitted by members of a House panel reviewing the response to Hurricane Irma include putting utility power lines underground, providing tax breaks for agricultural equipment and establishing shoreline buffers to prevent future damage from hurricanes. The massive storm hit the Florida Keys and Marco Island on Sept. 10 before moving up the peninsula, knocking out power for millions, creating gasoline shortages and slow evacuations, and causing billions of dollars in damage. The storm killed 72 people in Florida. Read more
'MODERN DAY PIRACY' - "Bill requiring estimates for servicing disabled boaters passes first stop," by POLITICO Florida's Bruce Ritchie: A Senate bill that would require marine salvage and towing companies to provide an estimate for towing disabled watercraft back to shore passed its first committee stop despite opposition from some groups. FL SB664 (18R) would require the written cost estimate if requested by customers before providing salvage work costing more than $500. State Sen. Dana Young (R-Tampa) said in November that she was filing the legislation to prevent what she calls "modern-day piracy." Read more
HOAXER UPDATE - "FAU prof wasn't fired because of Sandy Hook blog, FAU official testifies," by Sun Sentinel's McMahon: "By the time James Tracy was fired from his job as a professor in January 2016, Florida Atlantic University officials said they had made it clear they were not stifling his free speech about Sandy Hook conspiracy theories . Tracy authored a blog that questioned whether the 2012 mass shooting, which killed 20 children and six teachers, had really occurred and suggested it was a government conspiracy to promote gun control. That controversial, but constitutionally protected, free speech brought a lot of unflattering attention to FAU's Boca Raton campus in January 2013 when the communications professor's blog posts made headlines on local, national and international media, officials said." Read more
SLUDGE SLOG - "Fort Myers council OKs $150,000 to fight lawsuits on toxic sludge site," News-Press' Patricia Borns: "A surprisingly high arsenic reading at a decades-old sludge dump has spurred the City of Fort Myers to up its budget almost $200,000 - not to clean it up, but to defend against possible litigation. Fort Myers leaders voted 5-1 Monday evening to budget $150,000 for an outside law firm to represent the city's interest in its toxic South Street dump, with an option to request more.. Another $42,000 was approved for testing to see if someone else, not the city, contaminated the site. 'You take our tax money to sue us. That's not right,' said Annie Freeman, a neighbor of the South Street dump for 49 years. 'You got it all backwards.'" Read more
DEATH PENALTY POLITICS - "Gov. Scott demands information on death-penalty panel from Aramis Ayala," by Orlando Sentinel's by David Harris: "Gov. Rick Scott's general counsel sent Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala a letter Monday demanding information about her death-penalty review panel and an explanation about why her office missed a filing deadline. The tersely worded letter is the latest barb in the back-and-forth battle between Scott and Ayala since she announced in March that she was not going to seek the death penalty in any case. Read more
REBEL FELL - "Lakeland commission moves to relocate Munn Park Confederate monument," by The Ledger's Christopher Guinn: "The statue of a Confederate soldier in the center of Munn Park will be moved to another spot in the city, the Lakeland City Commission decided Monday after rejecting a plan that would have kept the monument in place but built other monuments near it. The surprise turn came after the failure of the proposal on the agenda that would have created a 'heritage trail' of other monuments in Lakeland, a plan that had received 4-to-3 support in informal discussions among commissioners two weeks ago. When it came time to vote on the resolution, it failed to receive a 'second' in support and thus died before an official vote. After its failure, Commissioner Don Selvage introduced a new resolution to 'direct the city manager to immediately begin the process of moving the Munn Park statue followed by an analysis of possible relocation sites.'" Read more
TOXIC ASSET - "Escambia County close to taking ownership of Pensacola Superfund site," by Pensacola New Journal's Kevin Robinson: "Escambia County is soon expected to take ownership of a Superfund site in the heart of Pensacola. The county is working to finalize the details of the transfer of the "Escambia Wood - Pensacola" site, roughly 100 acres of property northwest of the intersection of North Davis Highway and Fairfield Drive. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency owns the majority of the land, and the agency is handing the property back to the local government as part of closing a longstanding soil cleanup effort. 'Assuming everything goes smoothly, (the property) could be available for transfer by the end of the year,' Assistant County Administrator Amy Lovoy said." Read more
NO - "Can Venezuela's 'Bitcoin' rescue a tanking economy?" by Miami Herald's Jim Wyss: "Did Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro just conjure up a cutting-edge solution for the nation's economic woes or create another distraction amid a tanking economy? The day after Maduro said his government would launch a national crypto-currency called the Petro to break through the U.S. 'financial blockade,' experts, including some of the government's own advisers, were debating whether it will actually work. John Villar, a Caracas-based crypto-currency entrepreneur who has served as an informal adviser to the government, said the Petro has the potential to solve several of the nation's problems." Read more
TRANSITIONS - RUBIO ALUMNI -- Natalie Boyse has started as a special assistant in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Education. She was most recently the deputy finance director at the MassGOP and is an alumna of Marco Rubio's and Mitch Romney's presidential campaigns and Poolhouse, an ad agency in Richmond, Virginia,
... ODDS, ENDS AND FLORIDA MEN ...
- "Red tide disperses off Lee County while Collier waters are clear," by Naples Daily News' Chad Gillis: Read more
- "Court rules against insurer on assignment of benefits," by News Service of Florida's Jim Saunders: Read more
- "How did Miami end up with the best airport in the country for transit?" by Miami Herald's Douglas Hanks: Read more
- "Tod Mowery resigns from St. Lucie County Commission, citing 'deeply private' issues," by TC Palm's George Andreassi: Read more
- "'Salt Bae' caught posing as Fidel Castro - and he just opened a Miami restaurant," by Miami Herald's Carlos Frías: Read more
- "Authorities investigating death at Century CI, marking sixth inmate mortality this year," by Pensacola News Journal's Emma Kennedy: Read more
- "Man accused of recording women in Forever 21 fitting room at Altamonte Mall," by Orlando Sentinel's Michael Williams: Read more
- "She struck a cop, he punched her, and now she has to write him a letter of apology," by Miami Herald's Charles Rabin: Read more
- "Firefighters use CO2 extinguishers to help victims of bee swarm on Cape Coral Parkway West," by The News-Press' Michael Braun and Sarah Jarvis: Read more
- "She spent her last night at a motel. The motel owes her mother and father $12 million," by Miami Herald's David J. Neal and Johanna Alvarez. Read more
CAN'T YOU HEAR WHAT I'M SEEING? - "Sign language interpreter delivered gibberish in Florida," by AP: "Hearing-impaired people tuning in to a news conference about the arrest of a suspected serial killer got a message of gibberish from an American Sign Language interpreter. As Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan announced the arrest of Howell Donaldson Wednesday night, interpreter Derlyn Roberts was there beside him, making signs that made no sense. 'She sat up there and waved her arms like she was singing Jingle Bells,' Rachell Settambrino, who is deaf and teaches American Sign Language at the University of South Florida, told the Tampa Bay Times through an interpreter." Read more
AT LEAST HE WAS WORKING - "Riviera mayor's car repossessed during council meeting," by Palm Beach Post's Tony Doris: "It wasn't on the agenda but in the middle of acontentious city council meeting in October, outside the mayor's car was towed away by a repo man. Police records obtained last week through a public information request show that at 6:37 p.m. on Oct. 18, Mayor Thomas Masters' silver 2014 Subaru was towed from near the meeting at the city's Marina events center by Strong Recovery, an involuntary repossession on behalf of a lien holder. 'One, it was a personal matter,' Masters said Monday. 'Two, it was a misunderstanding. Three, we were able to straighten it out within a few hours.' The mayor said he didn't find out his car was gone until after the meeting, one in which debate raged over three council members' recent decision to fire Riviera Beach's popular new city manager, Jonathan Evans, without explanation." Read more
FOR MORE political and policy news, check out Politico Florida's home page: http://politi.co/1jkJUyL. And please follow our staff @mdixon55, @sbustosFL, @aglorios, @dducassi, and @bruceritchie on Twitter.
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