Good Tuesday morning. Our fellow Floridians, the state of the union is divided. And don’t expect President Trump’s speech tonight change that. Before we get into that, and speaking of division, let’s look a little closer to home for fireworks between self-styled “Pot Daddy” John Morgan and Tallahassee lobbyist Barney Bishop over smokable cannabis as a prescription …
BROKE BARNEY — So, ummmm, turns out those two really don’t like each other. Bishop and Morgan tussled on Twitter after a Senate committee watered down legislation that would do away with the state’s ban on smoking medical marijuana. The spat started over Bishop claiming that Morgan didn’t specify whether medical weed could be smoked in his successful 2016 ballot measure legalizing medical marijuana. Bishop, who worked against the pot measure, said Morgan excluded “smokable” language so it could get enough votes to pass. Morgan is a big opponent of the smoking ban and did not take kindly to Bishop’s contention.
— @JohnMorganESQ: “I don’t know if Broke Barney went to college. There is a reason Broke Barney has no clients and his clothes are from the 80s. His suits Johnny Cash reversible #BrokeJokeDontSmoke”
— @Barney_Bishop: “John, your [sic] the author. You could have/should have put the language in to smoke. You didn’t because it wouldn’t have pissed. What other excuse do you have for not putting in succinctly in the amendment? So you could litigate it and get more publicity? #PublicityHound”
It got better from there. Or maybe worse? Anyway, you can see the whole spat here.
BON APPETIT — That Twitter beef was coming as a Senate committee did one of the most entertaining things any committee can do: force-fed an amendment onto a bill. This, of course, happens when an amendment is passed over the sponsor’s objections. In this case, Republican state Sen. Jeff Brandes’ bill getting rid of the state’s ban on smoking medical marijuana was watered down through an amendment he opposed. When it was all over, Brandes was left telling the committee it should vote to kill his own bill.
UP IN SMOKE — “Senate panel adds restrictions to smokable marijuana bill, riling advocates,” by POLITICO Florida’s Arek Sarkissian: A bill that would reverse the state’s ban on smokable medical cannabis cleared a key Senate hurdle on Monday with restrictions that might help the measure win support from reluctant House leaders. The Senate Health Policy Committee passed FL SB182 (19R) on a 6-4 vote, incorporating a provision from Chairwoman Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) that would require non-terminally ill patients to seek a second opinion from a physician who isn’t certified to recommend medical marijuana before being prescribed the smokable drug. The same would go for patients who are under the age of 18. Read more
— “Senate committee takes step to eliminating smoke ban,” by News Service of Florida’s Dara Kam
HEADLINE SO LIT — “Future of marijuana in Florida could be hazy,” by WFLA’s Evan Donovan: “Since Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took office, he’s made it clear how he feels about medical marijuana — he is pushing to end a state ban on smokable medical marijuana. Patients finally have a governor who supports a doctor’s recommendation on how to take their medicine.” Read more
NEWS YOU CAN USE — “How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida,” by New Times’ Falyn Freyman: “OK, we’re gonna put it to you straight: Getting a medical marijuana card in Florida can take several weeks and run you $200 to $300 before your ID card arrives in the mail. The good news is, once you’ve obtained your doctor’s referral and your medical marijuana use registry application has been approved, you can pretty much start shopping for your THC right away. Clear the relatively uncomplicated hurdles outlined below, and you’ll be enjoying your legally purchased pot in no time.” Read more
CLOSE TO HOME — “Fox and Friends to broadcast State of the Union segment from Viera,” by Florida Today’s John McCarthy: “Fox & Friends, Fox News’ popular morning show, will broadcast live segments from the Indian River Colony Club Wednesday. A Fox news reporter, likely Todd Piro, will be talking to patrons at the community’s At Ease Club as part of the program’s ‘Breakfast with Friends’ feature.” Read more
COMEYFICATION — “Standing ovations for James Comey in Sarasota as he slams Trump’s leadership,” by Herald-Tribune’s Zac Anderson: “Former FBI Director James Comey has a lot to say — on leadership, his disdain for President Donald Trump and plenty of other topics — and on Monday the self-described “semi-employed celebrity” spent more than an hour expounding on his views during an appearance in Sarasota, where he contradicted Trump’s frequent assertion that the special counsel investigation is a “witch hunt.” “It sure caught a lot of witches,” Comey said Monday during a press conference before a speech at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall as part of the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall lecture series.” Read more
THE PARKLAND 3 — “Three fathers of Parkland victims will attend Trump’s State of the Union,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Steve Contorno: “Three fathers of children killed in the Parkland school shooting tragedy will attend Tuesday’s State of the Union address as guests of Congress members of different parties and chambers. Andy Pollack is the invited guest of Republican Sen. Rick Scott.” Read more
FACES OF THE SHUTDOWN — “Central Florida Congressmembers invite federal employees affected by shutdown to State of the Union,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Steven Lemongello: “Central Florida members of Congress invited federal aviation and Coast Guard employees affected by the shutdown to Tuesday’s State of the Union address.” Read more
SOS VENEZUELA — Via press release: “U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of Venezuela to the United States Carlos Vecchio will be his official guest for President Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday evening. Vecchio, a Venezuelan lawyer and co-founder of the opposition party Voluntad Popular, fled Maduro’s narco-terrorist tyranny in 2014 and is currently living in exile. Following the inauguration of Provisional President Juan Guaidó, Vecchio was appointed by the National Assembly as Chargé d’affaires at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C.”
SOS COAST GUARD — “Living like there’s still a shutdown, Coast Guard wife joins Crist as State of the Union guest,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Howard Altman: Read more
‘NEBULOUS’! — “Mary Beth Jackson attorney claims ‘nebulous allegations,’” by News Service of Florida: “A special master Monday backed a request by suspended Okaloosa County Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson to require Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office to provide more information about why she was removed from her job. Special master Dudley Goodlette, who was appointed by Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, to oversee Jackson’s appeal of her suspension, held an initial case-management conference to resolve procedural issues.” Read more
THE AFTERMATH — “How much Hurricane Michael debris has been collected? Enough to fill 8 Empire State Buildings,” by News Herald’s Katie Landeck: “More than 10 million cubic yards of debris have been removed by the three largest municipalities in Bay County since Hurricane Michael. That’s enough to fill the Empire State Building roughly eight times. Or for a more Florida-centric reference, it would fill Spaceship Earth — you know, that iconic ball structure at heart of Epcot — about 125 times.” Read more
SUBSCRIBE TO YOUR LOCAL PAPER — “Donations pour in after story reported anemic Hurricane Michael charitable giving,” by Miami Herald’s Emily L. Mahoney: “In the days following a Herald/Times report about the lack of donations toward Hurricane Michael recovery, Bryan Taylor, the president of the United Way of Northwest Florida, arrived to the post office to see the charity’s mailbox stuffed with envelopes. ‘We’re so grateful for the overwhelming response,’ he said.” Read more
NY DAILY NEWS — “Puerto Rico governor to attend Trump’s State of the Union, will warn him against using hurricane recovery cash for wall”
REDFISH REVIVAL — “10,000 redfish to be released in Florida after red tide killed 267 tons of marine life,” by AccuWeather’s Chaffin Mitchell: “Ten thousand redfish are set to be released after the worst red tide outbreak in more than a decade killed 267 tons of marine life in the Gulf Coast shores of southwestern Florida. The red tide killed thousands of small fish, dolphins, 72 Goliath groupers, sea turtles and a 21-foot whale shark since July 2018, so the Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CAA), Duke Energy and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (WCC) are going to release the redfish to repopulate the fishery.” Read more
SO SLICK — “More oil drilling proposed for southern Florida,” by Sun Sentinel’s David Fleshler: “The boom in U.S. oil production may one day extend to southern Florida, where several companies have proposed operations to extract the valuable black liquid from some of the most sensitive habitats in the state. No drilling is imminent, since these projects require extensive permitting and preparation.” Read more
GOOD GREEN FOR CITRUS — “Florida Set to Receive Funds as USDA Awards $200 Million to Agriculture Organizations,” by Space Coast Daily: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $200 million award to 57 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program to help the nation’s agriculture community identify and access new export markets. The Florida Department of Citrus was one of the specified organizations and is set to receive $550,000 in funding to promote citrus in various new markets.” Read more
HISTORY OF A KILLER — “Serial Killer Ted Bundy Found the Spotlight During His Miami Trial,” by New Times’ Malcolm Lauredo: “In June 1979, during a break in Ted Bundy’s murder trial, Judge Edward Cowart walked into a room tangled with wires, screens, and TV lights five floors above his courtroom in the Miami Metropolitan Justice Building. ‘It was really something,’ he said. ‘I thought I was in a space center.’” Read more
SHAKEDOWN — “St. Petersburg housing agency refuses to release documents to a member of its own governing board unless she pays for them," by Tampa Bay Times’ Christopher O’Donnell: “As a commissioner on the St. Petersburg Housing Authority’s governing board, Terri Lipsey Scott considers it her duty to scrutinize how the agency is run. So Scott was taken aback when she recently received an email from the agency telling her she would have to pay $280 for agency records she requested to review. The cost would rise up to as much as $400 if she wanted paper copies.” Read more
DEATH OF A THOUSAND CUTS — “McClatchy buyouts could claim chain’s full-time Guantanamo reporter,” by Washington Post’s Erik Wemple: “Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald witnessed the arrival of the first al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba on Jan. 11, 2002. … Over the intervening 17 years, a great many reporters have dipped in and out of Guantanamo coverage as the news has warranted. That whole time, however, Rosenberg has stayed, monitoring the lawsuits, the hearings, the repatriations, the transfers and quite a bit more …
“Rosenberg’s permanence on the Guantanamo beat, however, has now come into question: On Friday, McClatchy, the chain of 30 media brands including the Herald, the Sacramento Bee and the Kansas City Star, made a predictable announcement for a 21st-century newspaper company. Four-hundred-and-fifty employees would be receiving a voluntary early retirement offer, noted president and chief executive Craig I. Forman in a memo to colleagues.” Read more
HAPPENING THURSDAY — Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) has signed on as an honorary co-host for a bi-partisan fundraiser on Thursday to support Yellowstone Forever Young Patrons at Mission Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. Tickets
SPOTTED — Former Florida AG Pam Bondi last night at a fundraiser for Kentucky AG candidate Daniel Cameron at BGR Group. Other attendees included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Indiana AG Curtis Hill, Kristin Strobel, Samantha Dravis, Loren Monroe, Adam Piper, Brian McGuire and Ashley Montenegro.
— “Florida State University says ‘yes’ to more than 19,000 early first-year applicants,” by Tallahassee Democrat’s Byron Dobson: Read more
— “JEA unveils concepts from contenders for headquarters,” by Times-Union’s David Bauerlein: Read more
— “Spano named to Small Business Subcommittee,” by The Ledger’s Gary White: Read more
— “UF faculty hiring push remains on track,” by Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway: Read more
— “After Margaritaville decision, critics take issue with claim impact fees could halt Volusia growth,” by News-Journal’s Clayton Park: Read more
— “Most CEOs are in ‘growth mode’ with plans to hire more,” by Miami Herald: Read more
— “State Attorney’s Office investigating possible Sunshine Law violation in Loxahatchee Groves,” by The Palm Beach Post’s Kristina Webb: Read more
— “Federal arbitrator upholds firing of Hillsborough County fire medic in motorcycle gang,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Anastasia Dawson: Read more
SAY ‘CHEESE’ — “Deputies: Daytona man who yelled at detective in traffic observed making 15 drug deals,” by News-Journal’s Patricio G. Balona: “A Daytona Beach motorist stopped at a traffic light thought a woman in a car behind him was taking pictures of his Jaguar, so he got out and yelled obscenities at her, authorities said. What Altoine Miller, 29, didn’t know was that the person he yelled at — saying, ‘take another picture (expletive)’ and ‘what are you doing (expletive)?’ — was an undercover detective with the East Volusia Narcotics Task Force, his arrest report states.” Read more
D’OH! — “Florida man used a wig as a disguise during robbery, deputies say. It worked against him,” by Miami Herald’s Carli Teproff: “A man wearing a gray sweatshirt and a wig walked up to the cash register at a Florida 7-Eleven as if he was going to make a purchase. But instead he pulled out a gun and demanded cash, Lee County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies say the wig helped them nab the robber.” Read more
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