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Florida GOP pushes gun bill nearly 5 years after Parkland


Hello and welcome to Tuesday.

Here it comes— Republicans, in a move telegraphed for a while now, are marching ahead with plans to end the permitting requirements for concealed weapons in the state — or the removing of a “government permission slip,” as Florida House Speaker Paul Renner put it.

Timing— The Monday announcement by Renner that he was pressing ahead this year with the legislation came about two weeks shy of the fifth anniversary of the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland that left 17 people dead.

About that vote— Renner voted for the legislation that state legislators passed in the immediate aftermath, a bill that raised the minimum age to purchase a rifle to 21 and put a red flag law in place that allows authorities to ask a judge to block someone from possessing a firearm. The vote at the time was significant because it marked a moment when the GOP-controlled Legislature enacted restrictions on guns.

Explanation — When asked about that legislation — which was deeply opposed by the National Rifle Association at the time — Renner framed it on Monday as a flawed bill that contained provisions he opposed. (Worth pointing out: The NRA is still suing the state over the law.)

On board— The NRA is backing the measure that would now make Florida the 26th state that lets people carry concealed weapons without a permit, which also eliminates the requirement that people go through training before they obtain the permit.

Response — Democrats and advocates for gun restrictions responded quickly to the new bill. Rep. Jared Moskowitz, who was deeply involved in the Parkland legislation before getting elected to Congress, lashed out saying “Republicans in the Florida legislature who supported the MSD Act were re-elected. When you take steps to keep your community safe, the voters reward and stand by you. This proposal is about politics, it’s ‘Political Carry’ and they know it.”

Another one— Getting rid of permits for concealed weapons or “constitutional carry,” as the proponents call it, has the backing of Gov. Ron DeSantis — and it will be another item he can add to the checklist he can tout when his much-anticipated presidential campaign launches later this year. The upcoming legislative session is poised to be a significant one for the Republican supermajority: vouchers, guns and likely abortion will be on the docket.

Some gun advocates still not happy— Florida, however, will not go as far as other states and authorize the open carry of weapons in public. That drew the ire of conservatives such as former legislator — and now Lake County GOP Chair Anthony Sabatini — who called the bill being pushed by Renner and others as a “fake version of ‘constitutional carry.’” He added it was a “BIG win for Woke Disney-HUGE loss for conservatives.”

— WHERE’S RON? — Gov. DeSantis is holding a press conference in Bradenton with State University System of Florida Chancellor Ray Rodrigues.

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ARMED— Florida weighs allowing concealed carry guns without permit, by POLITICO’s Matt Dixon: Florida is set to become the 26th state to allow citizens to carry firearms without a permit under legislation outlined Monday by Republican House Speaker Paul Renner. Conservatives and gun rights groups in Florida have long pushed to give Florida residents to ability to carry firearms with a permit, known by supporters as “constitutional carry,” but past legislation has routinely gotten bogged down. This year’s efforts are bolstered by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has repeatedly said he would sign a permitless carry bill if lawmakers sent it to his desk.

REACTION — “Parkland families, South Florida leaders warn permitless gun carry would jeopardize public safety,” by South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Anthony Man: “Among those condemning the legislation were U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Parkland, a Stoneman Douglas graduate, state Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, a northwest Broward Democrat who was mayor of Parkland on Feb. 14, 2018, when the massacre took place, Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime, was killed at her high school, and Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was killed there. Guttenberg said on Twitter that ‘many’ people in Florida ‘will be killed as a result of’ more guns being carried by people who don’t have to go through the permit process. ‘There is no freedom from the grave,’ he wrote.”

— “Florida’s red flag gun law enforced haphazardly five years after Parkland massacre inspired legislation, research shows,” by Florida Bulldog’s Noreen Marcus

TOSSED OUT— “Judge dismisses public records lawsuit over Florida migrant flights,” by News Service of Florida’s Jim Saunders: “A Leon County circuit judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that the Florida Department of Transportation and a contractor did not fully comply with public records requests about state-funded flights of migrants to Massachusetts. Judge Angela Dempsey last week issued two similar decisions rejecting the lawsuit that the nonprofit Florida Center for Government Accountability filed in October against the Department of Transportation and Vertol Systems Company Inc.”

— “Before vote to ban trans youth healthcare, Florida doctor board skewed comment toward allies,” by USA Today Network-Florida’s Kathryn Varn

FOLLOWING THE MONEY— “Money for 2020 attack ads traces to Florida Chamber-linked group, FDLE probe finds,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Annie Martin: “An affiliate of the Florida Chamber of Commerce indirectly provided the funding for a secretive political committee that didn’t disclose its donors and spent more than $160,000 on mail ads in a competitive Central Florida state Senate race in 2020, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records released this week.”

— “‘Historic’ plunge in Hispanic turnout led to Democratic collapse in Osceola,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Steven Lemongello

— “Moderator lands House candidate Jose Juarez as ‘Jose Cuervo’ at HD 24 forum,” by Florida Politics’ Jacob Ogles

QUESTIONS — “Is DeSantis positioned as more than the anti-Trump?” by Washington Post’s Philip Bump: “Now [Gov. Ron] DeSantis sits in an enviable position for 2024. He generally trails [former President Donald] Trump in polling for the nomination, but as the clear second-place contender, not simply as a member of the trailing pack. In other words, he’s what there wasn’t in 2016: someone who could serve as the locus of anti-Trump support. That’s in part because the Republican establishment sees him as acceptable, with Jeb Bush attending his second inauguration as governor (as Trump and his allies have repeatedly pointed out).”

— “New College faces upheaval as remade board of trustees meets for first time,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Divya Kumar and Ian Hodgson

— “New College board member floats leadership shakeup, ‘terminating’ all employee contracts,” by Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Zac Anderson

— “Can’t wait 20 years: Gov. DeSantis announces $7B infrastructure plan for Central, South Florida,” by Florida Politics’ Christine Jordan Sexton

STORMY WEATHER — “Manhattan prosecutors begin presenting Trump case to grand jury,” by The New York Times’ William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess, Jonah E. Bromwich and Hurubie Meko: “The Manhattan district attorney’s office on Monday began presenting evidence to a grand jury about Donald J. Trump’s role in paying hush money to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign, laying the groundwork for potential criminal charges against the former president in the coming months, according to people with knowledge of the matter.”

TO COURT — Trump sues Woodward over audiobook recordings,” by POLITICO’s Olivia Olander: Former President DonaldTrump’s copyright interests and “rights he holds as an interviewee” were violated by the audiobook, the lawsuit alleges. He is requesting damages and a declaration of his copyright interests, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Fla. The lawsuit also named as defendants Simon & Schuster — the audiobook’s publisher — and Paramount, Simon & Schuster’s parent company. “When it came to treating President Trump fairly, [Bob] Woodward talked the talk, but he failed to walk the walk,” said the suit, filed in the Northern District of Florida.

— “In Iowa, potential 2024 GOP Trump challengers quiet for now,” by The Associated Press’ Thomas Beaumont

— “Trump’s opening volley at DeSantis doesn’t make much sense,” by Washington Post’s Aaron Blake

New Window


PORTFOLIO — “House Democrat on climate change caucus rakes in cash from oil and gas investments,” by Washington Examiner’s Gabe Kaminsky: “A Democratic congresswoman who is part of a congressional caucus aiming to fight the effects of climate change is earning major profits on her oil and gas stock purchases in recent years, according to records reviewed by the Washington Examiner. Rep. Lois Frankel is a member of the Safe Climate Caucus, which has targeted the fracking industry and aims ‘to solve the important issues facing our country because of climate change.’”

HOW TO WIN FRIENDS — “Congressman sends inert grenades to colleagues at House offices,” by The New York Times’ Emily Schmall: “A reporter for The Daily Mail posted a picture of a grenade and [Rep. Cory] Mills’s letter on Twitter, where the gift drew mixed reviews from fellow House freshmen. Representative Mike Collins, a Republican from Georgia, said that he ‘loved’ his and just needed a launcher, while Representative Jim Himes, a Democrat from Connecticut who did not receive one, made a comparison to Representative George Santos, the Republican congressman from New York whose lies about his biography are under scrutiny. ‘Not even George Santos could make this stuff up,’ Mr. Himes said.”

ANOTHER FLORIDA ANGLE— “Impossible’ parking fees, puzzling dinner bills: Retracing George Santos’ steps in Miami,” by Miami Herald’s Aaron Leibowitz: “A Miami Herald review of Santos’ spending in the region raises questions about some of his campaign reports, and about what, exactly, he did here — aside from holding a fundraiser on a yacht in Fort Lauderdale, which event organizers say did happen. The managing partner of a diner where the campaign reported spending more than $200 over back-to-back days said he had no receipts matching items on the campaign reports.

— “MSNBC Host confronts Matt Gaetz over ‘Pardon’ testimonies,” by The Daily Beast’s William Vaillancourt

Emily Bruno has joined the Florida Senate Minority Office as chief legislative analyst. Bruno, who was once an attorney analyst for the House Judiciary Committee, comes to Senate Democrats from a position as claims counsel for the Florida Sheriffs Risk Management Fund. She also previously worked as an assistant state attorney in Miami-Dade and Leon counties.

Keith Nagy is now press secretary for Rep. Jared Moskowitz. He most recently was an associate at Pocket Aces Consulting.

Justin Thames is joining TECO as its director of state government relations on Feb. 10. Thames joins Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas from the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, where he had worked since 2011.

Bill Rockwood is now finance counsel for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). He previously was deputy legislative director for Rep. Darren Soto and executive director of the Future Forum Caucus.

CHANGE OF PLANS — Bolsonaro wants to extend his stay in Florida, by POLITICO’s Anna Wilder: Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro wants to be a Florida man for a little longer. Bolsonaro is seeking to extend his stay in Florida as authorities in his home country investigate him for alleged wrongdoing, including whether he inspired his supporters to storm government buildings in Brasilia. Felipe Alexandre, co-founder of the law firm AG Immigration, said in a statement that he’s representing Bolsonaro in his visa application and that the former Brazilian president wants to stay in the U.S. for at least another six months.

THE PITCH— “St. Petersburg mayor picks Tampa Bay Rays, Hines to redevelop Tropicana Field,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Colleen Wright: “Mayor Ken Welch made the biggest decision of his political career on Monday, selecting the team led by the Tampa Bay Rays to redevelop Tropicana Field. With the selection, Welch sought to remake history, trying to keep the Rays in St. Petersburg after the team’s threats to leave, to repay the mostly Black community that was plowed over for a stadium, and to court baseball by building a new district that creates jobs and offers affordable homes.”

St. Petersburg mayor Ken Welch gestures during his State of the City speech Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Welch selected the team led by the Tampa Bay Rays to redevelop Tropicana Field. The Rays made their pitch as part of a joint proposal to rebuild Tropicana Field and the 86 acres it occupies with international real estate investment and development group Hines.(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

St. Petersburg mayor Ken Welch gestures during his State of the City speech Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Welch selected the team led by the Tampa Bay Rays to redevelop Tropicana Field. The Rays made their pitch as part of a joint proposal to rebuild Tropicana Field and the 86 acres it occupies with international real estate investment and development group Hines.(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara) | AP

RESPONSE — “Homeland Security chief defends parole process for Cubans, Haitians during Miami visit,” by Miami Herald’s Syra Ortiz Blanes, Nora Gamez Torres and Jacqueline Charles: “The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Monday defended a parole process that allows up to 30,000 Haitians, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans monthly to come to the United States, following a legal challenge from Florida’s governor and those of 19 other Republican-led states. ‘It is remarkable to me that states will attack a solution to the problem about which they complain,’ said Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of DHS, during a press conference Monday at the Little Haiti Cultural Center with Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.”

— “Judge: Jacksonville has ‘no mechanism to deviate’ from rule making Black firefighters shave,” by Florida Times-Union’s Steve Patterson

— “‘American pain’: Former Wellington pill mill kingpins Chris, Jeff George subjects of CNN documentary,” by Palm Beach Post’s Julius Whigham II

— “Jacksonville church addresses concerns over member requirement to sign ‘biblical sexuality’ statement,” by Florida Times-Union’s Teresa Stepzinski

— “Sex-education policy will be revised for Broward schools due to new state law,” by South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Shira Moolten

— “Rashada case in Florida highlights issues in NIL, recruiting,” by Associated Press’ Ralph D. Russo

— “Jacksonville mayor candidates charge the other cannot be trusted after JEA sales attempt,” by Florida Times-Union’s David Bauerlein

— “Ten people shot in ‘targeted attack’ in midtown Lakeland, a little north of downtown,” by the Ledger’s Andy Kuppers and Sara-Megan Walsh

— “Tampa loses control of historic Black cemetery. A property flipper now owns it,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Paul Guzzo: “The city of Tampa has been maintaining the 104-year-old segregation era Memorial Park Cemetery since its owner died in 2019 and the Black burial ground was abandoned. They hoped to officially take ownership of it earlier this month by placing a lien and foreclosing on the 20-acre property and then purchasing it at a county auction held about two weeks ago. But they were outbid in the blind auction process.”

BIRTHDAYS: Rep. Michael Waltz … Gwen Graham, assistant secretary for legislation and congressional affairs in U.S. Department of Education … Jossie Barroso, communications director for Florida Senate Democrats … Ryan Ray, chair of Leon County Democratic Party … Spectrum News’ Jason Delgado


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