04/19/2017 07:02 AM EDT
By Marc Caputo (firstname.lastname@example.org; @MarcACaputo) with Bianca Padró Ocasio (email@example.com; @BiancaJoanie), Sergio Bustos (firstname.lastname@example.org; @sbustosFL) and the staff of POLITICO Florida
Good Wednesday morning. Well, not for state Sen. Frank Artiles. Let's start there.
SAY WHAT? - "After 'niggas' comment, Miami state senator fends off calls for resignation, condemnation," by POLITICO Florida's Marc Caputo: A Miami state senator is fending off calls for his resignation, a possible Florida Senate complaint and the condemnation of fellow Republicans after he oddly referred to six white colleagues as "niggas" during a heated discussion with black lawmakers, one of whom he called a "bitch." As pressure mounts, state Sen. Frank Artiles plans to formally apologize to the entire Florida Senate on Wednesday and ask for forgiveness.
Artiles let the pejoratives fly during a private conversation Monday in the members-only Governors Club, where he was complaining about what he sees as the failed leadership of Senate President Joe Negron, who was not moving enough Republican legislation event though Republicans outnumber Democrats 25-15 in the chamber."Joe Negron is a pussy," Artiles told Democratic senators Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville and Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale. "Things are running the way they are because of the six niggas who put him there." Read more
...But wait.... There's more .... "Secret 2014 recording caught Artiles using 'hajis' slur," by Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei: Read more
... MEANWHILE, IN TRUMPLANDIA ...
HOOKING PENCE - "Sanibel fisherman's battle with sawfish catches VP's attention," by Naples Daily News' Levi Ismail: Beach fisherman Elliot Sudal hooked a large sawfish that he fought for 11 hours (it's not 500 lbs as the reporter here claims). During the fight, he saw secret service boats off shore and knew they were part of VP Pence's security detail. Word got back to Pence, who stopped by as Sudal fought the fish. "He kinda came over. He was super nice. He was excited about the whole scenario," said Sudal, who finally landed, tagged and released the rare fish. Read more
BUT PALM BEACH IS NICER - "GOP senator: Trump should spend less time at Mar-a-Lago," by The Hill's Max Greenwood: "Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa said on Tuesday that President Trump's frequent trips to his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida bother not only her, but other members of the Republican caucus. 'I do wish he would spend more time in Washington, D.C.,' Ernst said during a town hall meeting. 'That's what we have the White House for.' Since he took office, Trump has spent seven out of the last 13 weekends at his self-described 'winter White House' in Palm Beach. The visits have stirred controversy, in part because of the enormous costs associated with such frequent travel." Read more
'ENEMY OF PEOPLE' NOT INVITED - "Melania Trump hosts secret Easter party at Mar-a-Lago," by AOL's Kelsey Wheelman: "Amid the chaos of planning the annual White House Easter Egg roll, Melania Trump hosted a private Easter brunch and egg hunt at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday. According to White House pool reports, the event at the 'Winter White House' in Florida was closed to the press. Guests, including Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump with their respective families, arrived on the resort's red carpet in the early afternoon." Read more
- "What is Mar-a-Lago? Everything you need to know about Donald Trump's Florida home," by BT's Louisa McKenzie: Read more
- "Opulent Mar-a-Lago is now second White House," by Si Liberman for Las Vegas Review-Journal: Read more
- "Ivanka Trump awarded trademark approval in China, dines with Chinese president at Mar-a-Lago," by AP's Erika Kinetz and Anne D'Innocenzio: Read more
- "Trump visits divert planes over my West Palm house, ruining my weekend," by Palm Beach Post's Barbara Marshall: Read more
BUELLER? TRUJILLO? - "Florida House budget chief's absence stokes rumors of ambassador appointment by Trump," by Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei and Mary Ellen Klas: "Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Trujillo was conspicuously absent Tuesday morning from a meeting of the Florida House budget committee he leads. The reason? Word in the state Capitol was that Trujillo is away in Washington - interviewing with President Donald Trump's administration for a potential ambassadorship to Latin America. Reached Tuesday afternoon, Trujillo declined to comment. The powerful budget chief was an early Trump supporter, one of only a handful of state elected officials to back his long-shot candidacy early. He's been under consideration to be ambassador to Argentina or Panama." Read more
HIGH-TECH MOVE - "Rubio's longest serving staff adviser leaves for TechNet," by POLITICO Florida's Marc Caputo: "Sen. Marco's Rubio's longest-serving paid adviser, Alex Burgos, is leaving the Republican's Capitol Hill office to lobby and plot strategy for the technology industry. Burgos will officially begin work at [TechNet]TechNet - which bills itself as the "national, bipartisan network of innovation economy CEOs and senior executives" - on April 25 as its vice president of federal policy, government relations, and communications. Read more
... TALLAHASSEE REPORT ...
REAL LIFE - "Medical marijuana debate injected with dose of reality," by POLITICO Florida's Daniel Ducassi: State lawmakers at the Florida Capitol are often detached from the real world consequences of their legislation, but debate over medical marijuana legislation was injected with a dose of reality Tuesday after an epileptic advocate had a seizure during public testimony on the subject. Michael Bowen, a board member of the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida, was listening to public testimony on medical marijuana legislation when he suddenly had an epileptic seizure in the committee room. "What happened today is another reminder, along with the many people I've met over the last several years who are suffering from epileptic seizures and other serious conditions ... what we're dealing with is people's lives," said state Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, who is sponsoring the bill. "We need to be compassionate in our dealing with this." Read more
SHOW ME THE BOOKS - "House Speaker Richard Corcoran demands state audit of TIA," by Tampa Bay Times' Steve Bousquet: "House Speaker Richard Corcoran is demanding that state auditors review a $1 billion expansion project at Tampa International Airport as part of a budget deal to end the legislative session. Corcoran told the Times/Herald he has concerns about the project's cost and possible construction delays that can only be answered by an independent review by the state auditor general, who is appointed by the Legislature." Read more
OUTTA HERE - "State's chief inspector general overseeing Opa-locka's financial crisis resigns," by Miami Herald's Jay Weaver and Mary Ellen Klas: "Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel, the top investigator for two governors who has been accused of suppressing whistleblowers at the state's prison agency and most recently was assigned the task of sorting through the financial troubles in Opa-locka, has resigned her post saying she 'wanted to leave on my terms.' ... 'It's been an honor to serve in this position and serve two governors. I'm tired, to be honest,' said Miguel, 53, who was first appointed chief inspector general by former Gov. Charlie Crist and then reappointed by Gov. Rick Scott." Read more
BEFORE ARTILES ... - "Florida legislators formally apologize for past misdeeds," by AP's Brendan Farrington: "It's taken decades, but Florida is now apologizing for two of the darker misdeeds of its past. The Florida House unanimously passed two resolutions Tuesday. The first acknowledged decades of abuse at a Florida reform school and the second apologized to the families of four young black men known as the 'Groveland Four.' They were accused of raping a white girl 68 years ago in what's now seen as a case of racial injustice." Read more
FROM JEB WITH LOVE - "Anitere Flores gets love from Jeb Bush's education foundation with web ad," by Miami Herald's Kristen M. Clark: Read more
The NRA's gun bills are dead this year, its sponsor admitted in The Sarasota Herald Tribune.
GILLUM'S GAIN - Former Florida Democratic Party Chairman Scott Arceneaux joins the 2018 gubernatorial campaign of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. "Scott brings a wealth of knowledge and savvy about the Sunshine State to our team, and I'm excited to welcome him as our Chief Strategist," says Gillum in a statement. Arceneaux previously held senior roles in numerous state and national campaigns, including John Bel Edwards' defeat of then-Sen. David Vitter in the 2015 Louisiana governor's race, according to the campaign.
THE KING'S MEN - "Chris King hires veteran campaign staff in run for Florida governor," by Orlando Sentinel's Steven Lemongello: Read more
ADAM'S LAMENT - "Why I hope John Morgan runs for governor but doubt he will," by Tampa Bay Times' Adam C. Smith: Read more
FULL NELSON - "Bill Nelson seeks to turn Internet privacy into campaign issue," by Tampa Bay Times' Alex Leary: Read more
... STATE AND HEMISPHERE ...
BUGGIN' OUT - "Florida tests bacteria-infected mosquitoes to kill off bugs," by AP's Jennifer Kay: "Thousands of bacteria-infected mosquitoes were released in the wild Tuesday near Key West, testing a new way to kill mosquitoes that carry Zika and other viruses. The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District released 20,000 male mosquitoes infected by the Kentucky-based company MosquitoMate with naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria." Read more
SEEKING EXPLANATION - "'They're just hiding': Experts say Puerto Rico may be underreporting Zika-affected births," by STAT's Helen Branswell:"The number of babies born in Puerto Rico with microcephaly and other birth defects caused by the Zika virus appears to be unexpectedly low - so low that experts are beginning to question whether the actual count is being significantly underreported by authorities on the island. Puerto Rico has reported only 16 cases of congenital defects associated with Zika, even though more than 3,300 pregnant women are known to have contracted the virus and several times that number are believed to have been infected." Read more
SAD DEVELOPMENT - "With even birth control in short supply in Venezuela, some women turn to sterilization," by Miami Herald's Mariana Zuñiga: "It is almost 6 p.m. in San Diego, a town one hour west of Caracas, Venezuela, and Flor Peña is exhausted. Peña is 40 years old and has four children. She's been out all day searching stores for food - and she's come home empty-handed. 'You can't find anything,' says Peña. 'Food, medicine. Nothing. I lined up for hours. Just as I was about to enter a store, there was suddenly nothing to buy.' ... There are chronic shortages of everything, even condoms and birth control pills. Peña's youngest child is a result of that particular scarcity. 'I couldn't find birth control pills,' says Peña, 'so I got pregnant again.' But she's made sure it won't happen again. Last year, Peña got sterilized." Read more
- "Senator Bill Nelson wants tougher sanctions against 'economic basket case'Venezuela," by Miami Herald's Alex Harris: Read more
WATER WOES - "Despite drought, there's plenty of water. But officials ready to warn of possible future restrictions," by Bradenton Herald's Hannah Morse: "A water shortage order could be in the future for 16 Florida counties due to the ongoing drought. The governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, or Swiftmud, will discuss a vote on a staff-recommended phase 1 water shortage order for their 16 counties." Read more
HELP WANTED HELP - "South Florida employers want skilled workers, but find recruitment difficult with high cost of living," by Sun Sentinel's Marcia Heroux Pounds: "Half of more than 300 South Florida employers surveyed say they're finding it difficult to find employees who have the technical and soft skills they need, according to a new tri-county Workforce Skills Gap report released Tuesday." Read more
REALLY? - "Mom films autistic 10-year-old's arrest at school. Then he spent the night in jail," by Miami Herald's Teresa Welsh: "A Florida mother filmed the arrest of her 10-year-old son as school resource deputies handcuffed him and took him away. The boy, who has autism, is accused of battery of a school employee in Okeechobee County because he kicked a teacher last November. The offense is a third-degree felony. His mother Luanne Haygood said her son shouldn't have been arrested for the incident." Read more
SKY-HIGH RATES - "Miami-Dade Schools, union push costly private loan program for lowest paid workers," by Florida Bulldog's William Gjebre: "A union representing the lowest-paid Miami-Dade Public Schools employees has endorsed a proposed private loan program for its members that would charge 24 percent interest with the school district collecting loan repayments by deducting them from employee paychecks." Read more
REGULATING MEDICAL WEED - "Board approves limits on pot dispensaries in Orlando," by Orlando Sentinel's Jeff Weiner: "An Orlando planning board approved rules on Tuesday that would place limits on medical marijuana dispensaries and restrict the maximum number of legal-pot sellers in the city to seven. The City Council will have final say on the proposed restrictions, likely in June." Read more
WHAT - ME WORRY? - "EXCLUSIVE: Not a care in the world! Freewheeling United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz cycles near his $6 million Florida beach house as mistreated passengers pile on and company stock implodes," by Daily Mail's Jose Lambiet: "With United Airlines reeling from viral videos showing a bloodied and screaming passenger getting dragged and carried from his seat in Chicago, CEO Oscar Munoz spent Easter Weekend relaxing at his palatial Florida beach house, and DailyMail.com has the exclusive photos. Munoz, 58, appeared to enjoy time off from the onslaught of complaints and charges against the airline with his wife and four children in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, despite the fact that his company lost nearly $1 billion in stock value in the wake of the April 9 scandal." Read more
- Rep. Neal Dunn wants to end airlines' ability to bump overbooked passengers from a flight.
... ODDS, ENDS AND FLORIDA MEN ...
COSTLY SILENCE - "After failing to report 'box full of cash' offer, Miami airport bigwig demoted," by Miami Herald's David Ovalle: "A high-level Miami International Airport manager who apparently failed to report an offer of a 'box full of cash' from a corrupt employee has been demoted - and his pay slashed by more than $48,000. Carlos Jose had been the assistant director for facilities, maintenance and engineering for the airport, until a Miami Herald report last month chronicled his failure to alert authorities to an employee who was later convicted and sent to prison." Read more
- Will Evans @willCIR: "Miami Beach hotel fired all the Haitian dishwashers (had called them 'slaves') & replaced them with light-skinned Latinos, says @USEEOC suit" http://bit.ly/2olaATp
- "Fugitive who escaped in canal is accused of slitting man's throat and slicing up body," by Miami Herald's David Goodie: Read more
- "Mysterious brown spots appear on metal in Springfield," by News Herald's Katie Landeck: Read more
- "Man loses piece of ear in fight over case of beer," by Tallahassee Democrat's Karl Etters: Read more
- "Boy, 9, burned with iron for being 'forgetful,' cops say," by Orlando Sentinel's Linda Trischitta: Read more
- "George W. Bush coming to Vero Beach Book Center next week," by TCPalm's Ginny Beagan: Read more
- "Commissioner pushes for audit of district amid complaints of high water bills," by Sun Sentinel's Lisa J. Huriash: Read more
- "Liberty City street renamed Moonlight Way after Oscar-winning film," by Miami Herald's Douglas Hanks: Read more
- "Oops: Volusia teachers union withdraws lawsuit against school district," by Daytona Beach News-Journal's Erica Breunlin: Read more
GOING REALLY POSTAL - "Postal worker's busy day off included robbing a bank in Palm beach County, feds say," by Sun Sentinel's Paula McMahon:"On George Murillo's day off from his job with the U.S. Postal Service, investigators said he had a lot planned: Pick up his girlfriend's son from high school, take his girlfriend's daughter to lunch, and oh yes, rob a bank. Murillo, 40, confessed and told FBI agents that he committed the armed bank robbery in Palm Beach County because he was in a 'desperate financial situation' due to his failed marriage and his new relationship, according to court records." Read more
CHUCK E. CHEESE + FB LIVE = JAIL - "Wanted Florida woman arrested after posting trip to Chuck E. Cheese on Facebook Live," by Palm Beach Post's Ryan DiPentima: "Sometimes, Chuck E. Cheese can be a law enforcement officer's best friend. According to WTSP, 18-year-old Markesha Wilkerson, of Lakeland, was so excited about her trip to Chuck E. Cheese she decided to document her outing through a Facebook live video. Wilkerson, who was wanted for violation of probation and failure to appear, streamed herself in the restaurant in Lakeland, posing alongside the Chuck E. Cheese character. The Polk County Sheriff's Office notified the Lakeland Police Department, which sent officers over to Wilkerson's location and arrested her." 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, @christinesexton, @dducassi, @jessicabakeman and @bruceritchie on Twitter.
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