12/06/2017 07:01 AM EDT

By Marc Caputo (mcaputo@politico.com; @MarcACaputo) with Emily Goldberg (egoldberg@politico.com; @ejgold94), Sergio Bustos (sbustos@politico.com; @sbustosFL) and the staff of POLITICO Florida

It's Wednesday, December 6. The date matters. Numbers matter in state Sen. Jack Latvala's sex-harassment case. And the math changed significantly yesterday evening when state Sen. Lauren Book filed her own complaint alleging Latvala broke the chamber's rules in fighting dirty against accuser Rachel Perrin Rogers. (You read it first on POLITICO Florida.) Book's complaint gives the state Senate a new tool to keep Latvala in line or punish him without judging Perrin Rogers' j'accuse.

- "Book slaps Latvala with complaint for 'scorched earth' tactics against sexual harassment accuser," by POLITICO Florida's Marc Caputo, Alexandra Glorioso and Matt Dixon: Read more.

FESTIVAL OF FIGHTS - The next date to pay attention to: December 12, when Hanukkah starts at sundown. By then, under the state Senate's original hoped-for calendar, a Rules Committee special master hearing Perrin Rogers' complaint should determine whether there's probable cause against Latvala. It's a low, easy standard to meet. Latvala doesn't sound positive about his chances. But due to the holidays, the Rules Committee might not meet until the first week of 2018. Session starts January 9.That's five weeks away.

TO EXPEL OR NOT EXPEL - The likelihood of a Latvala departure greatly increases if probable cause is found against him. Will there instantly be the required two-thirds vote to expel him in the state Senate? No. But the number will increase. Meanwhile, Book's complaint (like any) can be withdrawn from Rules anytime during a full meeting of the chamber and directly placed on the floor. All it takes is two-thirds vote. That's the same number to expel. If given the choice between resigning due to Book's complaint or Perrin Rogers', Latvala would probably rather be branded a bully than a lewd groper.

ISOLATED - Though she's a Democrat, Book's complaint has a broad measure of support in the Republican-led chamber. Resignation calls are rising. Latvala, who became a millionaire thanks to politics, can count. He sounds discouraged on Facebook for a reason.

... TALLAHASSEE TALES ...

CONTENTIOUS - "'Union-busting' bill clears lone House committee stop amid union furor," by POLITICO Florida's Daniel Ducassi: A controversial measure that could have a broad impact on public-sector unions in Florida cleared its only House committee in a 15-9 vote Tuesday as union members rallied outside the House office building against the legislation. Under the bill, H.B. 25 , public-sector unions that see their total dues-paying membership fall below half those eligible will be required to petition the Public Employee Relations Commission for recertification. However, the bill - which has been fast-tracked by House leadership - exempts unions that represent police officers, prison guards and firefighters. Read more

LOLWUT - "If u txt while u drive, FL wants u to stop. But will that add to racial profiling?" by Tampa Bay Times' Steve Bousquet: "Support is building across Florida for a stronger law banning texting while driving, but some black legislators say they'll fight the idea, claiming that it could invite more abuses by police. A broad coalition of groups representing police, sheriffs, parents, retirees, doctors, businesses and others is mobilizing to pass a bill to elevate texting from a secondary to a primary offense, meaning police could ticket drivers who text, without needing another reason to stop them. 'It's time to strengthen the law,' argues the FL DNT TXT N DRV Coalition. 'Drivers who choose to text and drive are a danger not only to themselves, but to everyone else on the road.'" Read more

GUNSHINE STATE - "Shot down: Three pro-gun bills defeated in Senate committee," by the Tampa Bay Times' Steve Bousquet: "It was a rough day Tuesday for pro-gun forces in the Florida Legislature. Three Second Amendment proposals were killed one by one in the Senate Judiciary Committee, as one or two Republicans sided with Democrats to send the bills to the legislative scrap heap. Two bills were sponsored by the panel's chairman, Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, who is one of the Legislature's most reliable supporters of the gun lobby.But opposition from two Miami-Dade Republicans, Sens. Anitere Flores and Rene Garcia, was decisive." Read more

HERE WE GO AGAIN - "Annual fight over local tourist taxes kicks off in Senate," by POLITICO Florida's Matt Dixon: The annual big-money legislative fight over the use of coveted local tourist tax dollars began Tuesday, as a Senate panel passed legislation expanding usage over the expected opposition of the tourism industry ... One of those proposals this year, FL SB658 (18R) , would allow local counties to spend those tax dollars on public facilities that "are needed to increase tourist-related business activities." That definition includes things not directly associated with tourism like transportation, sewer infrastructure, solid waste facilities or pedestrian facilities. Read story here

NOT SO FAST - "Environmental group asks federal court to block St. Johns River dredging," by POLITICO Florida's Bruce Ritchie: An environmental group is asking a federal judge to issue an injunction against dredging the St. Johns River in Jacksonville. The 11-mile, $484 million project will stretch from near the mouth of the St. Johns River to the Blount Island Marine Terminal. Gov. Rick Scott has praised the project and said the state is committed to helping pay for it. The project will create 15,000 jobs, according to the Jacksonville Port Authority. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says construction is expected to begin in January. Read more

VIEW FROM DIXIE - "Creation of slavery memorial at Florida Capitol moves forward," by News Service of Florida's Lloyd Dunkelberger: "A bill that would lead to the creation of a slavery memorial at the Florida Capitol began moving Tuesday in the state Senate. The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee unanimously approved the bill (SB 286), sponsored by Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, who said the memorial would recognize 'the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery' in Florida and rest of the nation. The vote was significant because the House voted 118-0 during the 2017 legislative session to authorize a slavery memorial, but the proposal never received a hearing in the Senate." Read more

COLLEGE DOUGH - "Senate wants Bright Futures expansion funding inside university bill," by POLITICO Florida's Daniel Ducassi: Read more

BOOK'S BILL - "First responders push bill to add mental health services to workers comp law," by POLITICO Florida's Alexandra Glorioso: Read more

DEVELOPER DOLLARS - "Senate panel amends impact fee bill," by POLITICO Florida's Matt Dixon: Read more

... PENINSULA AND BEYOND ...

GATOR! - "'Alligator Ron' says he'll still be involved after not being reappointed to wildlife panel," by POLITICO Florida's Bruce Ritchie: Former state wildlife commissioner Ron Bergeron said Tuesday he was disappointed at not being reappointed to the panel last week but he respects Gov. Rick Scott's decision. Often clad in an alligator leather jacket, a black cowboy hat and a neck bandana, "Alligator Ron" Bergeron, a 74-year-old construction contractor and alligator wrestler, was flamboyant and colorful during his 10 years on the commission and was closely involved in Everglades issues on behalf of the agency. "The Everglades is my passion, it's my world," Bergeron told POLITICO Florida on Tuesday. "And I'll spend the rest of my life trying to save one of the natural wonders of the world and all of the wildlife that lives in it." Read more

SO SLICK - "Everglades oil drilling fight resumes," by Sun Sentinel's David Flesher: "A fight over oil drilling in the Everglades resumed Tuesday, when a Miami family that owns thousands of acres in western Broward County appealed the state's rejection of its application for an exploratory well. Kanter Real Estate LLC, which represents the family of South Florida real estate pioneer Joseph Kanter, filed a legal challenge to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's denial of a permit to drill a well six miles west of Miramar. Kanter's filing with the Fourth District Court of Appeal makes no legal arguments, which will come in a later filing. 'We are committed in our resolve to move forward with this project,' said John Kanter, Joseph Kanter's son. 'We've worked diligently to assure that our application met and exceeded all requirements for our permits.'" Read more

HALF NELSON - "Nelson scores victory on insurance plan but it helped passage of GOP tax bill he dislikes," by TC Palm's Ledyard King: "A proposal to drive down health insurance costs that Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson helped craft played a key role in the passage of a massive GOP tax reform bill he fiercely opposes. Senate leaders said the measure Nelson is co-sponsoring with GOP Sen. Susan Collins will finally get a vote, one of the conditions the moderate Republican from Maine sought before she could vote for the tax bill. The bill passed 51-49 early Saturday with every Republican but Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee in support. Had Collins opposed it as well, Vice President Mike Pence would have had to cast the tie-breaking vote." Read more

GRINCHWATCH - "FEMA says it might bill employees for working overtime through hurricanes and wildfires," by The Slot's Prachi Gupta: "Some disaster relief responders from FEMA, who worked around the clock to respond to a record number of natural disasters in 2017 (including Hurricanes Harvey and Irma), say they have been told they might be asked to return part of their overtime pay to the federal government. Bloomberg reports that due to a federal law capping maximum pay for some federal employees, FEMA told staffers they may withdraw funds from future paychecks of employees who have reached the maximum amount for 2017.'" Read more

FISH TALE - "Gulf of Mexico red snapper get traded like stocks. So just how big is the market?" by Miami Herald's Jenny Staletovich: "For the next two years, a team of researchers studying red snapper - the sweet and nutty star of seafood menus that also happens to be at the center of a heated regulatory battle - will do the seemingly impossible: count the number of fish swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. The $10 million study, meant to provide an independent tally for fishermen around the Gulf, may ultimately offer the largest fish survey ever performed, and lead to more accurate counting tools for the complex job of assessing fish stocks. It's also a stab at resolving the ongoing dispute over strict snapper rules that critics say favor commercial fishermen, allowing a few powerful ones to control lucrative catch limits traded like shares in the stock market.'" Read more

DICTATOR WATCH - "Poll gives Venezuela's Maduro clear lead ahead of 2018 presidential race," by Miami Herald's Jim Wyss: "Facing a divided and demoralized opposition, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro would coast to an easy victory if snap elections were held, according to the closely watched Venebarometro poll released Tuesday. The survey found that Maduro would win 28.6 percent of the vote, followed by Leopoldo López with 18 percent and former Miranda Gov. Henrique Capriles with 15.4 percent. However, López is under house arrest and Capriles has been barred from participating in politics, making the point moot." Read more

... ODDS, ENDS AND FLORIDA MEN ...

- "Monday Mailbag: "I am the Senate" Edition," by The Capitolist: Read more

- "Miami Open tennis at 'grave risk' of leaving Miami after county changes Hard Rock deal," by Miami Herald's Douglas Hank: Read more

- "This 'Moonlight' writer will tell the story of segregation walls with Miami art project," by Chabeli Herrera: Read more

- "Homegrown: Fort Pierce surfboard maker Charles Williams has 'Impact' on surfing worldwide," by TC Palm's Tyler Treadway: Read more

- "Hey officer, you wanna smoke a joint with me?" by TC Palm's Will Greene: Read more

- "Venice fisherman dives off pier to help sea turtle," by Herald-Tribune's Carlos R. Munoz:Read more

- "Skydiving 'Santa Claus' crash lands on Florida beach," by Bradenton Herald's Samantha Putterman: Read more

- "10 manatees rescued in South Carolina and taken to Florida," by AP: Read more

- "Illegal landfill leads to charges for Florida man," by AP: Read more

- "Grand jury examining FSU pledge's death," by Tallahassee Democrat's Karl Etters: Read more

IGUANA - "How do so many iguanas get in Florida toilet bowls?" by the Tampa Bay Times' Craig Pittman: "Iguanas are commonly found in Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. In 2017, you could add 'Florida toilets' to that list. So far this year, news stories reported that iguanas have turned up in Florida commodes at least five times - although there's reason to believe it's happened more often than that. What are they doing in the toilet? Besides the backstroke, that is? Trying to get out." Read more

PYTHON! - "17-foot python that could 'pretty much kill any full-grown man' caught in Everglades," by Sun Sentinel's Brett Clarkson: "Three hunters caught a 17-foot, 132-pound Burmese python in the Florida Everglades in southern Miami-Dade, a record for the program aimed at curbing the proliferation of the non-native species, according to media reports. The giant snake was caught Friday at Big Cypress National Preserve, according to NBC 6 Miami . 'That snake could pretty much kill any full-grown man,' said one of the hunters who caught the python, Jason Leon, to NBC 6. 'If that snake was alive right now, it would probably take like three of us to be able to control that snake.' It's so far the largest snake to be caught under the South Florida Water Management District's python elimination program." Read more

SNAKE! - "Miami man claims self-defense against a 5-year-old boy 'armed' with a tennis racquet," by Miami Herald's David Ovalle: "The accused is tennis instructor Osmailer Torres, who was arrested in July 2016 after Miami police said he took away the boy's pint-size racquet and hit him with it - giving the child a bruise on the right arm and a lump on his eyebrow. Surveillance video captured the incident on the playground at Miami's First Presbyterian Church on Brickell Avenue. But Torres, 30, says the blow was inadvertent as he tried to rescue other students in harm's way." Read more

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