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

Good Thursday morning.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will appear in Sarasota Thursday night to accept the local GOP’s Statesman of the Year award.

With a war in Europe, tensions in Asia, and a high interest in global affairs, Republicans in Sarasota expect an insightful event.

“He was peacekeeper of the U.S. and the world for four years,” said Jack Brill, acting chair of the Republican Party of Sarasota. “I’m curious about his comments on (Vladimir) Putin and everything. With what’s going on in the world, the only place you want to be is in Sarasota.”

Mike Pompeo to get special recognition in Sarasota.

Pompeo led the State Department at the end of former President Donald Trump’s term and before that served as Trump’s CIA Director.

“He did a great job,” Brill said. “We had no wars during his four years, and we actually were getting out of Afghanistan on our terms.”

Sen. Rick Scott will also attend the dinner, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Nathan Benderson Park in University Park. More than 600 guests, who paid $100 to $300 a plate for individual tickets, are expected to attend.

Of note, both men appear to have future aspirations of running for President, making conspicuous visits to Iowa(though Scott said he doesn’t plan to run in 2024).

The Statesman of the Year Dinner has become a bit of a must-stop for national figures with White House aspirations. Gov. Ron DeSantis accepted the honor at a dinner in October last year. Trump won the distinction twice, the only person to do so. Scott also received the award.

“In the past, Sarasota has been a stopping point or place to speak for aspiring presidential candidates,” Brill noted.

___

It’s fundraising season, and Senate Democrats have an extensive lineup of events scheduled for the summer and fall.

The caucus, led by Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, unveiled four high-dollar fundraising events benefiting the party’s Senate campaign apparatus.

The first in the series will be on April 20 in Tampa. Democrats have snagged a box for a Journey concert at Amalie Arena, welcoming anyone with a $5,000 check to join, presumably with “Open Arms.”

Those missing the concert will need to book a flight — the next stop on the agenda is Napa, California, where the caucus welcomes donors to join them for a “Napa Getaway” from May 31 through June 3. It’ll take $15,000 to get in the door.

Don’t stop believin,’ Democrats.

In September, the crew is planning a weekend in New York. Specific dates are still in the works, but the cost of admission is $10,000.

The final planned event is a trip to a blackberry farm in Walland, Tennessee. Donation packages range from $15,000 to $25,000, but those hoping to tag along will also need an invite from Senate Democratic leadership. Dates are still to come, but the party penciled it in for November or December.

Currently, Democrats hold 17 of 40 seats in the Senate. The party faces long odds to flip the chamber this year, but redrawn maps approved during the Legislative Session could see the party pick up a seat.

According to a performance analysis by MCI Maps, the redistricting plan includes 22 Senate districts where voters favored Trump in the 2020 presidential election and 18 that went for Democrat Joe Biden.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@POTUS: Madeleine Albright was a force for goodness, grace, and decency — and for freedom. Hers were the hands that turned the tide of history. Jill and I will miss her dearly and send our love and prayers to her family.

@DrLeanaWen: For those who don’t agree that the vaccinated can return to pre-pandemic normal, I ask: What should we all do? Perpetual masking? Forever not dining out, avoiding large weddings & indoor gatherings, etc.? Virtually everything has risk, and zero COVID is not a viable strategy.

@Rebel19: The way that a Black woman in America can be as highly, hyper-educated, intelligent, elegant, skilled, experienced, and qualified as KBJ and still be treated like this by white men on national television. It’s not even symbolic. It’s a glaring body of evidence.

@TheRickWilson: Wilson‘s 2nd Rule: There are two kinds of people in this world: Ted Cruz, and people who hate Ted Cruz.

@AaronParnas: In a world full of people like Josh Hawley, be like Cory Booker.

@Redistrict: Rep. David McKinley‘s (R) campaign is out w/ a new poll showing him up 46%-39% over Trump-endorsed Rep. Alex Mooney (R) in #WV02. If the Trump-endorsed R in *West Virginia* doesn’t win, it would be a real sign of waning influence in GOP primaries.

@AliZaslav: More than 2 years after the U.S. Capitol closed to the public amid COVID-19, starting *Monday* limited public tours will resume. It’s the first step toward fully reopening the complex to the public, which will occur in phases in the coming months

@_RyanBenk: If you would’ve told me that the Republican Governor of Utah would have a better response to anti-LGBTQ legislation than Fl Democrats, I would have … actually no, that really does track.

Tweet, tweet:

@JosephPHarding: To the dozens of fake journalist and ⁦far-left extremist that have posted or messaged me or called my office wishing harm on myself and family … News flash, my home wasn’t destroyed. To the mentally sick journalist that have spread this misinformation, shame on you.

@KDTrey5: There’s No relax champ. No relax when I’m on Twitter. I’m on 10 until the second I close the app. You relax!!

@Conarck: On this #NationalPuppyDay, let’s remember that most animal shelters have air conditioning, but Florida prisons don’t.

— DAYS UNTIL —

Season two of ‘Bridgerton’ begins — 1; The Oscars — 3; ‘Macbeth’ with Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga preview performances on Broadway — 5; Florida Chamber’s 2nd Annual Southeastern Leadership Conference on Safety, Health + Sustainability begins — 5; Grammys rescheduled in Las Vegas — 10; John Dingfelder to be replaced on Tampa City Council 一 13; MLB Opening Day — 14; ‘Better Call Saul’ final season begins — 25; Magic Johnson’s Apple TV+ docuseries ‘They Call Me Magic’ begins — 29; 2022 Florida Chamber Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Solution Summit — 35; ‘The Godfather’ T.V. series ‘The Offer’ premieres — 36; 2nd half of ‘Ozark’ final season begins — 36; federal student loan payments will resume — 38; ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 43; Florida TaxWatch’s Spring Meeting — 48; ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ starts on Disney+ — 62; ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ premieres — 64; ‘Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 70; California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota hold midterm Primaries — 75; ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 107; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 120; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 138; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 162; ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 196; Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Passenger’ releases — 214; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 233; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 236; McCarthy’s ‘Stella Maris’ releases — 243; ‘Avatar 2′ premieres — 268; ‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 332; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 348; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ premieres — 365; 2023 Session Sine Die — 408; ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 491; ‘Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 575; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 855.

— TOP STORY —

Florida Medicaid hits Sunshine Health with $9M sanction for not paying providers’ claims” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — State regulators also are placing sanctions on Sunshine State Health Plan and requiring the managed care plan to take a series of “corrective” actions before members can be auto-assigned to the plan. The temporary enrollment ban impacts the Medicaid-managed medical assistance and Medicaid-managed long-term care plans.

“The Agency for Health Care Administration takes our obligations seriously to ensure high-quality health care is delivered to all enrollees in the Florida Medicaid program,” states the letter levying the sanctions. That letter was sent by Brian Meyer, assistant deputy secretary for Medicaid, to Sunshine President and CEO Nathan Landsbaum.

The letter to Sunshine stated more than 121,000 claims from health care providers where payments were either delayed or not made. The claims were identified either through complaints from providers or by the health plan itself. Sunshine officials have previously stated that the errors resulted from the company’s merger last year with WellCare, the state’s second-largest Medicaid managed care plan.

Florida comes down hard on underpayments by Sunshine Health.

— STATEWIDE —

Citizens Property Insurance looks to cut costs as market sags” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — Citizens Property Insurance Corporation will take steps to reduce administrative spending and review its vendors and contracts, despite rampant inflation, to cut costs during a hectic time for the property insurance market in Florida, the company’s chair said Wednesday. During a board meeting, Chair Carlos Beruff said cost-cutting action is needed because the state-run company continues to add policies and risk, increasing the possibility that all homeowners will be hit with assessments if a large hurricane hits Florida this year. “We just want to be solvent, so when a (catastrophic) event comes, we are not sticking Floridians with Citizens’ assessments across the state,” Beruff said. “That is my mission.”

Carlos Beruff says it’s time to cut fat from Citizens Property.

Critics of Rocky Hanna read aloud ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill in full at Leon school board meeting” via Ana Goñi-Lessan of the Tallahassee Democrat — After Hanna, Leon Schools Superintendent, referred to contentious legislation as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, several women read aloud the whole bill during Tuesday’s school board meeting. It took three of them to read the entire 7-page bill (HB 1557), formally titled “Parental Rights in Education,” during the public comment portion of the Leon County School Board meeting. Each had three minutes to speak.

Democrats cancel Disney event over “Don’t Say Gay.” They’ll be back.” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Today we’re talking about the possibility of higher taxes in Orange County, tasty eats at the Orlando airport and how lawyers for DeSantis got smacked around by a conservative judge who wondered if they even understood their own legal arguments. But first, let’s talk about Florida Democrats boycotting Disney over the company’s tepid response to Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Democrats announced they’re moving their June conference away from Disney’s Coronado Springs.

Happening today — A panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will take up a challenge to a 2018 Florida law preventing those under age 21 from buying rifles and other long guns, 9 a.m., James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building, 99 N.E. Fourth St., Miami.

Happening today — The Florida Transportation Commission meets, 10 a.m. Call-in: (850) 739-5589. Call-in code: 519999419.

Back on the boat: Cruise industry shows steady post-pandemic rebound” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — AAA Travel is reporting the cruise industry is steadily rebounding after being slammed hard by the pandemic. Over the past four weeks, Bookings were “twice as strong as this time last year,” the agency said in a release. “Destinations are loosening travel restrictions, and cruise lines hope to reach full capacity in the second half of the year,” said Debbie Haas, vice president of Travel for AAA. AAA said about 58 million Americans are considering booking a cruise in the next two years. Millennials are among the most eager to travel, with the top destinations including Alaska, the Caribbean, and Europe. What’s helping boost consumer confidence is the CDC lowered its cruise travel warning to a level 2, the lowest level since the CDC began tracking coronavirus statistics, AAA said.

Florida manatees eat ‘every scrap’ in food trial, officials say” via Curt Anderson of The Associated Press — One thing wildlife officials have learned during the winter experimental feeding program to help manatees avoid starvation is that if you feed them, they will come. Manatees have eaten virtually all of the estimated 160,000 pounds of lettuce provided at a warm-water power plant site where manatees typically congregate during cold months, officials said Wednesday during a virtual news conference. “They’ve eaten every scrap of food we’ve put out,” said Scott Calleson of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. By the time the operation winds down in a few weeks, Calleson said the lettuce total will probably reach 200,000 pounds, almost all paid for by donations from people across the country.

— DATELINE TALLY —

After defeat, Tampa lawmakers vow to push abandoned Black cemeteries bill in next Session” via Fresh Take Florida — The state Senator who proposed a bill to catalog and restore abandoned African American cemeteries across Florida said she is disappointed the legislation died in the just-ended Session at the Capitol but isn’t giving up the fight. Sen. Janet Cruz said she was very frustrated her bill was not taken up in the Republican-led Senate and plans to reintroduce the “Abandoned and Historic African American Cemeteries Act” during the next Legislative Session. A companion House bill, sponsored by Rep. Fentrice Driskell, passed unanimously in three House committees, with support from Republicans and Democrats. But it died last week after never coming to a full House vote. The stalled measure was not taken up by any Senate committees.

Janet Cruz is frustrated but determined.

Carlos Guillermo Smith, Anna Eskamani say HB 1557 will endanger teens” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Two leading Democratic House critics of the “Parental Rights in Education Bill” joined other detractors Wednesday in predicting that it will reignite homophobic oppression and suppress gay teens. Reps. Smith and Eskamani were joined by Rep. Charlie Crist, Ohio activist Jim Obergefell, and Winter Park student Will Larkin in predicting a new hostile environment for gay students in many schools. The bill (HB 1557) is a legislative green light to homophobia, transphobia, and renewed denial of LGBTQ people in schools, they said at a forum entitled “Say Gay” hosted by the College Dems at the University of Central Florida. They predicted that it would also discourage gay students from seeking help in schools.

— 2022 —

Ron DeSantis campaign promotes Miami event with UFC fighter involved in sucker punch incident” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — UFC star Jorge Masvidal could be facing felony battery charges over an alleged Monday night attack in Miami Beach, but that isn’t stopping DeSantis from promoting the fighter as his co-host at an upcoming campaign stop. DeSantis’ campaign emailed invitations Wednesday for a March 30 appearance at a to-be-disclosed location in Miami. An accompanying graphic shows Masvidal and DeSantis in a mock-up of a fight poster. Below it: “Fighting to keep Florida free.”

Happening today — U.S. Rep. Val Demings will speak during a luncheon for the Lee County Democratic Party, 11 a.m., Caloosa Sound Convention Center, 1375 Monroe St., Fort Myers.

Charlie Crist pushes theme to ‘bring back good’” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — U.S. Rep. Crist on Wednesday defined DeSantis as someone belittling respect and human dignity and promised to “bring back good.” During a whirlwind four-stop tour of Democratic base groups in Orlando Wednesday, Crist bemoaned that politics and society, particularly in Washington and Tallahassee, have taken on a coarseness and a meanness “that’s unattractive and unjust.” He attributed that to the leadership and rhetorical styles of Trump. He said DeSantis practices them as well, to the detriment of Florida.

Local Pinellas County leaders endorse Michele Rayner for CD 13” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — State Rep. Rayner has secured endorsements from a slew of Pinellas County elected officials, including St. Petersburg City Council members Deborah Figgs-Sanders and Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, as Rayner pursues a congressional seat. The St. Pete City Council members join Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith and Gulfport City Commissioner Paul Ray in backing Rayner’s run for the seat in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. “This is the moment where we must put action to words as a collective, and I trust Rep. Rayner to continue her dedication to boldly address these disparities,” Figgs-Sanders said in a statement.

Michele Rayner collects more high-profile endorsements for her congressional run.

—”Angie Nixon slots into HD 13 as Jacksonville legislative map takes shape” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Fentrice Driskell shifting her candidacy to H.D. 67” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Rep. Driskell will relocate to the new House District 67 to seek re-election. The Tampa Democrat told Florida Politics she would follow much of her constituency east to a new seat. “New Tampa and its surrounding communities have been a strong base. You have to take all factors into account,” Driskell said. The new state House map put Driskell’s current home in the new House District 66, which she shared with Republican Rep. Traci Koster. By changing seats, Driskell will avoid a race against a fellow member of the House. The move also shifts her from a Republican-leaning seat to a safe Democratic one. While 52% of voters in the new HD 66 voted for Trump in the 2020 Presidential election, 59.25% of voters in H.D. 67 supported Biden.

Tom Fabricio to run in new HD 110” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Rep. Fabricio will seek re-election in a new locale. On Wednesday, Fabricio announced he would run in the new House District 110. That makes him the first candidate to file for the seat, one in which no other House members seeking re-election currently live. Running in the seat will require a move for the Miramar Republican, who currently lives in the new House District 104. “My family and I will move into the newly drawn district,” Fabricio told Florida Politics. “We haven’t selected our new home yet. That will be forthcoming shortly.” HD 110 includes portions of Fabricio’s current House District 103.

David Borrero swaps candidacy to HD 111” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Rep. Borrero has shifted his candidacy to the new House District 111. He notified the Florida Division of Elections of his move in a letter received on March 17. “I am notifying your office that due to the newly approved 2022 State House redistricting map, I am changing my candidate designation for the 2022 election cycle,” the freshman Republican wrote. That new map (H 8013) originally put Borrero in the new House District 116. He landed in the same district as Rep. Daniel Perez, a Miami Republican in line to be House Speaker in 2024.

Save the date:

— CORONAVIRUS —

Pandemic relief money spent on hotel, ballpark, ski slopes” via Brian Slodysko of The Associated Press — Thanks to a sudden $140 million cash infusion, officials in Broward County, Florida, recently broke ground on a high-end hotel that will have views of the Atlantic Ocean and an 11,000-square-foot spa. In New York, Dutchess County pledged $12 million for renovations of a minor league baseball stadium. And in Massachusetts, lawmakers delivered $5 million to pay off debts of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate in Boston. The three distinctly different outlays have one thing in common: Each is among the scores of projects that state and local governments across the United States are funding with federal coronavirus relief money despite having little to do with combating the pandemic.

Thanks to pandemic relief funds, Broward County gets a new luxury hotel. Image via AP.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Joe Biden’s never-ending campaign to build on Obamacare” via Joanne Kenen of POLITICO — Biden must revive his domestic agenda; one thing is clear: Even if he succeeds, it will be a far cry from completing one big unfinished task he promised to tackle. His vow to expand and strengthen it was a central theme of his presidential campaign, and part of how he distinguished himself from his challengers in the 2020 primary. Obamacare had survived the Trump administration’s attempts to repeal and replace it. Biden promised to repair and renew it. Fully realizing the promise of the sprawling legislation means addressing all three of its goals: expanding coverage, curbing costs, and improving the still uneven quality of American health care. Biden had some early successes getting more Americans covered in his first year in office, but his efforts have since stalled out.

‘It’s bulls—‘: Dems reject that Ketanji Brown Jackson’s soft on crime” via Burgess Everett of POLITICO — Republicans’ line that Supreme Court nominee Jackson is soft on crime and child pornographers isn’t landing with centrist Democrats. Just ask Sen. Jon Tester. “I think it’s bullshit. Look at the source,” said the Montana Democrat, referring to Sen. Josh Hawley, who first raised the issue of Jackson’s child pornography sentencing record. Coming from someone else, Tester said “it may have more credibility. The guy’s running for president, and he says outlandish things.” Tester’s red state is the second-toughest Democratic seat to hold, and his dismissive response shows a hardening resolve among Democrats to confirm Jackson.

Democrats call ‘bullshit’ on attacks of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record on crime. Image via AP.

Marco Rubio to file bill to punish countries like Russia for space debris” via Richard Tribou of the Orlando Sentinel — The fallout from the debris created when a Russian weapons test threatened the International Space Station last fall could mean countries will face sanctions if a similar event happens in the future. That’s the goal of the Deterring Errant Behavior Risking International Space Act, or the DEBRIS Act, set to be filed as early as Thursday by Sen. Rubio, according to his staff. “We must punish reckless space behavior. Russia and China should be held accountable for negligently creating space debris and endangering space assets critical to our national security,” Rubio said in an email.

Rick Scott touts importance of ‘bookkeeping’ classes when asked about financial literacy bill” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Financial literacy legislation first filed when Sen. Scott was Governor was signed into law on Tuesday. Wednesday morning, Scott addressed the concept favorably before offering suggested additions of his own. During an appearance on the Fox Business Network, Scott was asked about SB 1054. The so-called “Dorothy L. Hukill Financial Literacy Act” compels schools to “establish specific curricular content for, at a minimum, personal financial literacy and money management,” starting with students entering 9th grade in the 2023-24 school year. The bill was named after the late Sen. Hukill, who championed the initiative during her time on the Legislature.

A more unified House GOP aims to get everyone on same page” via Emily Brooks of The Hill — House Republicans head to their annual issues conference in Florida on Wednesday confident about taking back the chamber as they plan their midterm messaging. The GOP is also hopeful for a much less turbulent retreat than one year ago when Republicans met months after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that showcased splits within the party. Weeks after the 2021 retreat, Rep. Liz Cheney, then the third-ranking House GOP leader, was removed from her leadership spot over her frequent criticisms of Trump, whom she blamed for inciting a mob of his supporters to interrupt the Electoral College count by a Joint Session of Congress on Jan. 6.

— LOCAL NOTES —

Hillsborough County revives transportation tax” via Read Shepherd of WFLA — By a 6-1 vote, Hillsborough County Commissioners have agreed to try again with a 30-year, 1% transportation sales tax. Commissioners are asking county staff to return on April 6 with the language for a proposed referendum. If that passes, it will go to the voters in November. Nearly 60% of voters approved a transportation tax in 2018, but it was struck down by the Florida Supreme Court last year after a challenge from Commissioner Stacy White. In discussion this morning, Commissioner Harry Cohen urged his colleagues “not to sacrifice good for the sake of perfect.”

Citrus County Commissioners say tax hike may be needed” via Mike Wright of Florida Politics — Citrus County’s property tax rate, which has dropped the last six years steadily, could be jumping to pay for high-profile programs that citizens say they want. During a preliminary budget discussion Tuesday, county commissioners said they generally supported increasing the property tax by nearly a half mill to help fund mental health services, residential road resurfacing, and emergency medical services. And commissioners say they believe Sheriff Mike Prendergast is preparing a budget increase to bump deputy pay that would require an even higher tax rate.

A Citrus County tax increase may be needed to cover Mike Prendergast’s projected budget.

New Jacksonville residents may no longer be part of ‘the 904’” via Wes Wolfe of Florida Politics — “The 904” is a significant place in both physical size and number of residents, but it’s getting too big for its prefixes. They’re set to exhaust again by September 2024, so the Public Service Commission (PSC) set to address it. Redrawing or drawing new area code boundaries isn’t all that different from political redistricting, in that communities of interest, natural boundaries, and the like are taken into consideration. “A new area code is needed to replenish the supply of prefixes,” said Cecilia McCabe, an area code relief planner with the North American Numbering Plan Administrator, the neutral third party that assigns area codes and prefixes.

— MORE LOCAL —

Bobby DuBose resurfaces, raising $36K in one month for Broward Commission” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics — A former state Representative who gave up his seat to run for Congress is now pursuing a seat on the Broward County Commission. Former Rep. DuBose, who had been representing Broward’s House District 94 since 2014 until he resigned last year to run for Congress, will be facing Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Robert McKinzie. The two are vying for the Commission seat formerly occupied by Barbara Sharief, now being filled by DeSantis appointee Jared Moskowitz. DuBose said he sees an opportunity to contribute to his community and stay close to home in the open seat. “Local government is where my heart is,” DuBose said, noting that he has two young sons.

Bobby DuBose is ready for a comeback.

Judge orders Escambia County to pay Doug Underhill’s legal fees in Facebook libel lawsuit” via Jim Little of the Pensacola News Journal — Escambia County will have to pay Commissioner Underhill‘s legal fees in a libel case from 2019, a judge ruled Tuesday. Escambia County Circuit Judge Jan Shackelford ordered Escambia County to pay Underhill’s $24,616 legal fees in a libel case brought by former Rolling Hills landfill director of operations and political consultant Scott Miller. Miller sued Underhill in 2019 after Underhill made comments about Miller’s involvement in the Rolling Hills landfill in an exchange with Miller on a public Facebook group.

—TOP OPINION —

Callous state lawmakers reject lifesaving fentanyl drug test” via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board — Florida has been dealing with the cost and pain caused by illegal drug use for generations. The state spends billions on treatment and even more in dealing with crime associated with addiction and drug trafficking. It’s impossible to address public policy in Florida without facing these realities, most recently, the surge of cheap, incredibly potent synthetic opioids that claim thousands of lives each year. Because a lethal dose is so small, it’s easy to produce a dose that could easily kill someone and will keep killing. We call on DeSantis, whose stance on illegal drugs has been far more compassionate and sensible, to find a way to make the strips widely available in Florida, even without legislative approval.

—OPINIONS —

Why you should (almost never) wait in line” via Scott Lincicome of The Dispatch — Perhaps the most brain-altering thing about practicing in “Big Law” is that recording your entire professional life in detailed, six-minute increments — and getting compensated on that basis — makes you acutely, obsessively aware of time and its value. However, unlike the other disorders, this last one is an objectively good thing. (Well, most of the time.) I thought of this a couple of weeks ago during my regular Costco run when I noticed the literal traffic jam in the parking lot, caused by antsy shoppers waiting in long lines — each at least 15 cars deep — for the company’s famously cheap gas. My decision to forgo the line and pay a little more for gas across the street also hit on an economic principle — “opportunity cost”— that gets little attention in Washington yet should inform our thinking on not only personal line-waiting protocols but also public policy.

— ALOE —

Elementary school music program extended in some Florida classrooms” via Fresh Take Florida — When Laura Edwards wanted to furnish her classroom with cubbies featuring clear drawers so her students could see what’s inside, she didn’t have to worry about pulling money from her own pocket for the purchase. She also didn’t have to worry about having enough funds to ensure that each student had a hand drum to play. “Ninety-nine percent of educators in America cannot think, you know what, this would be academically best for the learning of my kids, and then put it on a list and have it bought,” she said. “Nobody has that happen.” Edwards, who has taught music for seven years, is one of the few music teachers in Florida participating in a $400,000 state-funded early childhood music education program. After extending into this school year because of COVID-19 restrictions, the pilot program will receive another extension and continue next year.

UCF’s video design program, kudos for a gamer talent pipeline” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics — The University of Central Florida’s graduate game design program is getting some kudos as downtown Orlando is becoming a pipeline for video game developers. The Princeton Review and P.C. Gamer magazine rated UCF’s program, called the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, as the No. 1 in the world for the third straight year, UCF announced this week in a news release. UCF beat out New York University, Southern Methodist University, the University of Southern California, and the University of Utah for the honor. FIEA is run from the school’s downtown Orlando campus that opened in 2019 about 15 miles from the main campus. Downtown Orlando has emerged as a prime location for those who want to break into video game development.

The hottest spot in gaming? Downtown Orlando. Image via UCF.

Leon County Schools District offers ECG to sixth grade students” via Kandace Blake WTXL — Keeping students safe by checking for abnormal heart conditions. That’s what a Tallahassee middle school is doing. Deer Lake Middle School gives free electrocardiogram (ECG) scans to 6th grade students. The scans are provided by the Who We Run For organization through a $50,000 grant from Simply Healthcare and the Leon County Schools Foundation. Sixth grade is when school athletics usually ramp up and is the perfect time to screen.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Celebrating today are Anthony Rodriguez, Brian Blanco, former state Rep. Adam Hattersley, our friend Glen Gilzean, Karen Giorno, Zach Hubbard, Jena Kingery, Fred Menachem, Giancarlo Sopo, and Kristin Crawford Whitaker.

___

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.

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