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Sunrise

Author: Florida Politics

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If nothing else, Florida politics is always entertaining.


Now you can hear the stories that make politics in the Sunshine State so special.


So, start the coffee and listen to the stories that are driving the day.


Welcome to SUNRISE, the daily podcast on the issues, people and policies behind The Process — and beyond.


SUNRISE features guests from all stops on the political spectrum in the Sunshine State: elected officials, consultants, and other behind-the-scenes players.


Also powered by the plugged-in journalists of Florida Politics and elsewhere. Hosted by Tallahassee broadcast veteran Rick Flagg and brought to you by Peter Schorsch, publisher and editor-in-chief of Florida Politics and "SUNBURN," the daily digest of what is hot in Florida politics.


424 Episodes
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No pot

No pot

2021-06-1815:26

The conservative majority on the state Supreme Court rejected a constitutional amendment that would have legalized the recreational use of marijuana in Florida. It's the second pro-pot amendment rejected by the high court in the past two months. Also, on today’s Sunrise: — Florida's former chief science officer says the more than 200 million gallons of wastewater from Piney Point that ended up in Tampa Bay is NOT the cause of a red tide outbreak along the beaches of Pinellas County. — It may not have been the cause, but Dr. Tom Frazer says the Piney Point discharge made the red tide worse. — Once again, Ron DeSantis refuses to say whether he believes last year's election was rigged against Donald Trump. DeSantis answered, but it had nothing to do with the question. — The woman who wants to replace DeSantis next year — Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried — is holding a news conference to talk about an investigation of a Texas charity involved in conspiracy theories related to the 2020 presidential election. — Another Democratic rival, Congressman Charlie Crist, is also holding a news conference where he will ask DeSantis to investigate Florida's ties to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. — One more week before the end of federal unemployment benefits that have helped Floridians during the COVID-19 crisis. The state is dropping out more than two months early because business leaders claim people won't work while those $300 per week federal benefits are available. — And finally, there’s a Florida Man who stole from sick kids and a Florida couple busted after playing around at a playground.
Posse

Posse

2021-06-1720:37

Gov. Ron DeSantis is assembling a posse of Florida deputies to help patrol the Mexico border. Also, on today’s Sunrise: — The Governor says Mexican meth and fentanyl is flooding Florida, and he wants to cut it off at the source. But they haven't figured out how many officers will be making a run for the border … or when it will happen. — DeSantis and the state Clemency Board issue a blanket pardon for anyone charged with violating local health and safety orders … like Mike and Jillian Carnevale. — Yep, enforcing a mask mandate is persecution. And DeSantis says they were victims of government overreach. — Nikki Fried was the only Cabinet member to vote against the blanket pardon: She accuses the Governor of encouraging lawlessness and trying to turn Florida into a cradle for the insurrection. — It's the end of an era as Florida Power and Light begins demolition of their last coal-fired power plant in the Sunshine State. The CEO of the state's largest power company says they're moving on from coal. FP&L is building a new solar plant near the site of the Indiantown Cogeneration Plant in Martin County that just blew up. — It's been more than six weeks since the end of the Legislative Session, and we're still trying to figure out exactly what happened. A group of lawmakers describe it in just one word … “spaghetti politics.” — OK. it’s not one word … but there's always one guy who breaks the rules. — And finally, a Florida Man told police it was OK for him to go bottomless at the beach because he was still wearing a shirt. It was not.
Ignore

Ignore

2021-06-1622:47

Gov. Ron DeSantis claims he can ignore the state Cabinet when he picks a new boss at the Department of Environmental Protection. Agriculture Commissioner and Cabinet member Nikki Fried told DeSantis he's wrong. Also on today’s Sunrise: — Fried says she'll sue if DeSantis tries this power grab. They also clashed over the adoption of a new rule to implement House Bill 1 — the anti-protest law that allows the state to override any city or county's decision to reduce spending on law enforcement. — Fried is also calling on the Governor to reverse his decision and order the Florida Department of Health to resume issuing daily reports on COVID-19 cases. They're only doing weekly summaries now. — The Sierra Club of Florida issues a scorecard for the 2021 Session: it's not pretty. The club is concerned about assaults on the environment … and democracy. Deborah Foote with the Sierra Club is today’s Sunrise Interview. — And finally, police arrested a Florida woman for going commando at a Circle K.
Adios

Adios

2021-06-1519:18

Another promising young lawmaker has decided to get out of town. Michele Rayner-Goolsby made history last year when she became the first openly LGBTQ+ Black woman to be elected to the state Legislature. Rayner is running for a congressional seat in Saint Petersburg being vacated by fellow Democrat Charlie Crist. Also, on today’s Sunrise: — Gov. Ron DeSantis travels to a Jewish School in Surfside to sign a bill mandating a moment of silence at the start of every day in public schools. It's a not-so-subtle effort to put prayer back in the classroom. — DeSantis was also heckled by a free speech demonstrator who was hustled from the building by several officers before he could say much. — Attorney General Ashley Moody is thanking law enforcement officers; she traveled to the bustling metropolis of Perry in Taylor County as part of her “Thin Line Tribute.” — And finally, a Florida Man was busted not for a gun … but for the Samurai sword.
De-platform

De-platform

2021-06-1415:22

A federal judge has scheduled a hearing to discuss the legality of Florida's new law punishing social media companies that de-platform politicians for lying and spreading disinformation. Also, on today’s Sunrise: — The lawsuit challenging Florida's new social media law was filed by the Computer & Communications Industry Association and NetChoice — two groups that stand for online companies. — Gov. Ron DeSantis signs a new law designed to limit the amount of money insurance companies have to pay for roof repairs and legal fees. — DeSantis is right when he talks about the ups and downs of the insurance market. As in, your coverage going down and your premiums going up. This new law will not change that, but the insurance companies like it. — The COVID-19 relief bill known as the American Rescue Act includes $4 billion in debt relief to help minority farmers. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says that could help as many as 17,000 minority farmers … but white farmers are trying to stop it. — Fried says the best thing about that lawsuit is that it will create a national forum to air the grievances of Black farmers about discrimination, past and present. — One bit of personal news for Fried… her fiancée is no longer married. She's been engaged to medical marijuana entrepreneur Jake Bergmann since December of 2019, but his divorce has just been finalized. — And finally, a Florida Man signed over the deed for the water tower in Brooksville, after the city council sold it to him by accident.
CRT

CRT

2021-06-1116:59

“Critical race theory” can no longer be taught in Florida public schools. The Board of Education heard more than an hour of testimony where opponents said it was a Marxist plot to undermine America. Also, on today’s Sunrise: — Supporters of CRT say the state's new rule to prohibit discussion of critical race theory is whitewashing history for political purposes. — Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed the ban and was the biggest supporter of the new rule. Expect to hear a lot more about this on the campaign trail. — The Governor collected more than $7 million for his reelection campaign during the month of May and has almost $40 million in the bank. — Congressman Charlie Crist — who is running for Governor — picks up the endorsements of seven Democrats in the Florida House. — Today's the day the state will finally release an update on COVID-19 casualties. Thanks to the CDC, we have a pretty good idea how bad it will be because the feds are still releasing the numbers on a daily basis instead of releasing them once a week (like Florida). — And finally, a Florida Man is back behind bars after breaking out of the Pinellas County jail.
Indoctrinate

Indoctrinate

2021-06-1018:24

Florida’s Board of Education is being asked to crack down on radical teachers who indoctrinate their students to “hate the U.S.A.” and “shame white kids for what their ancestors did.” Or is it politically motivated censorship to teach an idealized version of America that whitewashes our history and refuses to acknowledge the racial bias that permeates our society? This should be a fun meeting. Also on today’s Sunrise: — After weeks of dropping hints, Congresswoman Val Demings drops a video saying she's in the race to unseat Republican Sen. Marco Rubio … and the former police chief says she's the crime fighter. — It won't lower your premiums, but Gov. Ron DeSantis says he's going to sign a bill that limits payouts for roof repairs … and attorneys. — The Governor made those remarks during a video conference of the Enterprise Florida board, where the state's Chief Financial Officer got heckled. — Pools are a fantastic way to beat the Florida heat, but Cassie McGovern says they can be deadly. McGovern manages the drowning prevention program for the Broward County Department of Health. Her daughter Em drowned when she was just 19 months old. — And finally, two Florida Men risked their lives for Taco Tuesday.
Unpleasant truth

Unpleasant truth

2021-06-0923:44

The union representing Florida teachers objects to a new rule that would force them to whitewash or ignore the unpleasant truths of U.S. history. Also, on today’s Sunrise: — Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar has more to say on that rule during the Sunrise interview. — Gov. Ron DeSantis joins in what's described as an "Urgent Town Hall Meeting on Antisemitism." — A Florida group trying to prevent sexual abuse of children is warning parents to keep better track of what their kids are doing online. One out of five kids who touch a digital device will receive some sort of sexual come-on and the number of reports of online enticements almost doubled last year during the pandemic. — Congressman Greg Steube says delays at the Department of Veterans Affairs are killing veterans. He's trying to rally support for a bill allowing veterans to ditch the VA and get health care elsewhere. — And finally, the stories of two Florida Men: One gets 30 years in the federal pen for drugs and dogfighting; the other used a sword to settle a fight over the TV.
Trade secrets

Trade secrets

2021-06-0826:17

Florida is taking a stand against the Chinese Communist Party. The Governor signed a bill to keep communist cash out of Florida research. Also, on today’s Sunrise: — Gov. Ron DeSantis also signed a bill creating a new law prohibiting the theft of trade secrets from Florida companies and institutions. That's the sort of thing the feds usually prosecute, but the House Speaker says Florida Man deserves a shot at them. — Road trip! Congressman and candidate for Governor Charlie Crist is spending the next four days in a statewide voting-rights tour. — Later this week, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff visits Tallahassee to encourage more people to get vaccinated. Is it wrong to call him Mr. Kamala Harris? — More than 80 years after it was founded, the League of Women of Florida finally has a Black president. Cecile Scoon is a civil rights lawyer and former JAG officer who ended up in Panama City — the Redneck Riviera — courtesy of the U.S. Air Force. Scoon is our guest on today's Sunrise Interview. — And finally, the stories of a Florida Man and a Florida Woman who are both in deep kimchi.
Reporting

Reporting

2021-06-0716:34

Florida’s Department of Health decided it will not release the daily COVID-19 casualty reports anymore. From now on, it’s only once a week. Also, on today’s Sunrise: — Speaking of COVID-19, Gov. Ron DeSantis has joined the latest GOP parlor game: “Let's Blame Fauci!” — Sen. Marco Rubio is calling the President to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, but Joe Biden says that's not gonna happen. — Florida courts have been working remotely since March 2020, but the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court says judicial circuits can reopen later this month and no later than August 2. — The Governor signs three bills to help make life a bit easier for military personnel and their families stationed in Florida. Lawmakers say they have one goal. — And finally, police are accusing a Florida Man of hurling his two-month-old son at officers as they tried to arrest him.
Reversal?

Reversal?

2021-06-0424:32

Gov. Ron DeSantis is the target of a new campaign to convince him to reverse course and allow Floridians to continue receiving federal unemployment benefits over the summer instead of cutting them off later this month. Also, on today’s Sunrise: — DeSantis and his business backers say cuts are necessary because unemployment benefits are so high that lazy people won't go back to work. But are they really? — The Governor is calling BS on something completely different. He’s fuming over a letter from the Miami Beach Mayor who is asking the feds to reject the new Seminole Compact because it could bring casinos to the Trump Resort in Doral and the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach. — Despite the Governor's claims, the Compact would indeed make it easier to bring two new casinos to Miami-Dade. — DeSantis made remarks in South Florida, where he held two news conferences: One on Biscayne Bay; the other on snakes. Ron Bergeron of the state wildlife commission says it's time to sign up for the annual Everglades Python hunt. It begins July 9 and lasts for 10 days. — Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell says he'll be running for the U.S. Senate in hopes of ousting incumbent Marco Rubio. — And finally, stories of a Florida Woman whose daughter got hold of a marijuana gummy and a Florida Man who is lucky to be alive after a gator attack.
Signed

Signed

2021-06-0323:28

Florida’s $101.5 billion budget approved by state lawmakers gets the Governor's blessing. Also on today’s Sunrise: — Ron DeSantis held a news conference in New Smyrna Beach to sign the budget, doing again a couple of hours later in Zephyrhills. The Governor also vetoed more than 140 spending projects, including his own pet project: a billion-dollar fund using federal COVID-19 bucks to respond to future disasters and emergencies. — We also heard the Governor's first official reaction to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried's announcement that she will run for Governor. — Despite DeSantis saying she “does nothing,” Fried does plenty, especially when she uses her Cabinet position to serve as the official burr under the Governor's butt. She's gotten under his skin on many occasions. — Former Florida Senator and current NASA Administrator Bill Nelson delivers a "State of Space Agency" speech with a little help from William Shatner. — In the aftermath of the 2020 election and the GOP campaign to limit voting, there's a new campaign in Florida to add the Fair Elections for Democracy Amendments to the state constitution that will make it easier to vote. — Sean Shaw, founder of the group "People Over Profits,” talks about those three amendments on the Sunrise Interview. — And finally, a Florida Man tried to avoid animal cruelty charges for killing an iguana by claiming he was standing his ground.
Running

Running

2021-06-0221:50

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is running for Governor next year. Fried made the official announcement in a video on her Twitter feed. Also, on today’s Sunrise: — Tuesday was the start of Pride Months for the LGBTQ+ community. What better time for Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign the bill banning transgender kids from taking part in high school and college sports. — Apparently, transgender kids are an ideology, not persons. The Governor also brought a woman from Connecticut to complain about transgender athletes because he couldn't find any evidence of the problem here. — Florida ranks third in the nation for the number of military vets; many of them are dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s. There's no cure, but there is help. Veterans Affairs and the Alzheimer's Foundation have some tips for coping with dementia. — And finally, a naked Florida Woman was rescued from an underground storm drain … again.
Hurricane

Hurricane

2021-06-0121:50

It’s the first day of the 2021 hurricane season. It could get just as nasty as last year, which set all sorts of records in the Atlantic basin. Also on today’s Sunrise: — The official prediction from the National Hurricane Center is similar to 2020, an above-normal number of storms. While we count on the Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service to give us adequate warnings when a storm heads this way, they rely on us to be prepared. — One good thing about the new season: You can forget about storms named after letters in the Greek alphabet. Turns out there was confusion last year when storms were named Zeta, Eta and Theta. — Speaking of confusion: There’s uncertainty in the cruise ship industry as they try to get back to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the vast majority of passengers and crew should be vaccinated before they set sail, but Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an edict that no one has to show proof of vaccination, and convinced the legislature to make that a law. The Governor also filed suit against the CDC to block any requirement for vaccine passports, so DeSantis is hoping they won't have to fine the cruise lines $5,000 per passenger. — But even if he loses, DeSantis says he's not backing down on the fines for cruise ships that ask for proof of vaccination. — Florida Man Matt Gaetz is at it again. The Panhandle Congressman suggests conservatives who oppose the liberals in Silicon Valley should do something about it … with guns. — And finally, police are accusing a Florida Man of stealing ventilators that were supposed to be shipped to critical care patients in El Salvador last year.
Tech suit

Tech suit

2021-05-2823:32

Two tech groups have filed a federal lawsuit to try to derail Florida's new law that tries to punish Twitter, Facebook, and other tech giants for censoring hate speech and misinformation spread by (among others) the former President of the United States. Matt Scheers with the Computer and Communication Industry Association says it’s an unconstitutional law that should never take effect. Also, on today’s Sunrise: — They filed the legal challenge just three days after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the tech bill. — Hurricane season starts next week, but the tax break on hurricane supplies is already underway. This is your chance to buy emergency supplies without paying the usual sales tax. — Scott Shalley with the Florida Retail Federation talks about the sales tax holiday. — The Florida Supreme Court rejects a challenge to the state's medical marijuana law that limits who can get into the business. It's a win for the 22 companies that already have a license to do business in Florida; Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says it's bad news for patients who will face ever-higher prices. — And finally, the stories of two Florida Men: One is charged with battering his daughter with a slice of pizza; the other almost killed himself when he tried to stick a pole into a parrot nest next to a hot power line.
Victory dance

Victory dance

2021-05-2722:10

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is celebrating the end of the school year at Baker County, the first district in Florida to reopen last August during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, on today’s Sunrise: — Gov. Ron DeSantis held his first news conference (and victory dance) of the day in Baker County, before moving on to Sarasota County to deliver the same message: Florida got in-person classes right and others got it wrong. — The third news conference of the day was in Destin; at each stop, the Governor visited teachers who said they supported his decision to reopen schools to in-person learning last year. — DeSantis posed for pictures at each stop with teachers holding a giant check for $1,000, the COVID-19 bonus for teachers and principals in the new state budget. — The Governor is also defending his decision to slash unemployment benefits by more than half, saying there are plenty of jobs available. — Sen. Rick Scott is attacking President Joe Biden, saying his free-spending ways are increasing inflation. — And finally, a Florida teen is outraged that her cleavage was Photoshopped out of the high school yearbook photo.
Whitewash

Whitewash

2021-05-2622:26

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran are asking the state Board of Education to adopt a new policy to whitewash American history by forbidding the teaching of “critical race theory.” Also, on today’s Sunrise: — DeSantis wants schools to stick with the approved version of history and penalize teachers and schools that don't toe the line. — The number of new COVID-19 cases is way down, but the Florida Department of Health reported 81 new fatalities Tuesday. — The COVID-19 crisis has decimated Florida's tourism industry, but Dana Young at VISIT FLORIDA says they're going to turn that around, thanks in part to a record-setting budget. — VISIT FLORIDA will be trying to lure more international travelers by hosting marketing trips to Mexico and the United Kingdom over the summer. — The COVID-19 crisis isn’t done yet, but Florida TaxWatch says we've already learned a lot, like the toll on our mental health. TaxWatch President Dominic Calabro talks about long-term changes in health care beyond the pandemic. — And finally, police arrested a Florida Man for dropping a deuce outside a synagogue in Broward County.
Cut off

Cut off

2021-05-2521:12

Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity will no longer be taking part in the federal program that boosted the state’s unemployment checks by $300 per week. Gov. Ron DeSantis says that's going to end June 26. Also on today’s Sunrise: — DeSantis says the federal money was a lifeline when the economy shut down, but now the benefits are so high they encourage people to stay home instead of finding a job. — The Governor signs a bill imposing new regulations on tech giants like Facebook and Twitter. This started after social media companies de-platformed Donald Trump for spreading lies and misinformation during the final days of his administration. Still, DeSantis claims social media censorship is the real threat. — Under the new law, any Floridian can sue social media companies if de-platformed, censored, or shadowbanned. — While DeSantis hasn't signed off on the new state budget yet, Florida TaxWatch is asking him to aim for more than $100 million in “turkeys” that have no business being in the budget. — TaxWatch is also asking lawmakers to stop using a sprinkle list to add spending projects to the budget after the formal negotiations have been finished. — Central Florida Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy has decided she won't run against Sen. Marco Rubio next year. Murphy's announcement clears the path for Orlando Congresswoman Val Demings to run against Rubio next year, and Murphy appears to be targeting Sen. Rick Scott in 2024. ؅Now that the pandemic is killing fewer Americans and mask rules are relaxing, people are getting the urge to travel again. But the folks at VISIT FLORIDA say they're going to have to work hard to overcome all the negative publicity heaped on the Sunshine State during the pandemic. — And finally, police are accusing a Florida Man of trying to hide cocaine where the sun doesn't shine. Too bad for him a deputy saw the whole thing.
Turkey talk

Turkey talk

2021-05-2420:43

Florida TaxWatch is releasing its annual list of legislative projects that somehow made their way into the new budget without following the usual procedure. It’s called the “Turkey List” and TaxWatch will be recommending that the Governor use his line-item veto power to hunt them down. Also, on today’s Sunrise: — Gov. Ron DeSantis signs the bill creating three sales tax holidays over the next two months. Along with the usual tax breaks for hurricane supplies and back-to-school supplies, there's something new this year. — “Freedom Week” includes the Fourth of July. The hurricane preparedness tax break starts Friday and just in time because there's already a storm out there before the official start of the season. Florida's new emergency management boss says this is becoming the rule rather than the exception. — Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis says if you don't stock up during the tax holiday, you might regret it. We can always count on the CFO to get to the bottom line. — Despite all the help wanted signs across the state, Florida's unemployment rate increased slightly in April to 4.8%. Florida added almost 17,000 new jobs in April, but the workforce grew by 73,000 as more people went looking for work ... so the jobless rate went up. — The rise of social media and the decline of traditional media has created an entirely new world. Orlando Public Relations expert Alex Armentano calls this the age of misinformation and he says we don't seem to trust anyone anymore. — Armentano shares three simple rules for countering misinformation and disinformation in the modern era. — And finally, a Florida Man found more than a million dollars of cocaine floating in the Keys and a Florida Woman led deputies and troopers on a high-speed chase in a stolen Caddy — while naked.
A break

A break

2021-05-2122:07

We're finally getting a break from the Legislature … but not the pandemic. Also, on today’s Sunrise: — Florida's death toll broke 37,000 Thursday, but the state's positivity rate was the lowest since October. — Dr. Anthony Fauci appears in a “Fireside Chat” with U.S. Southern Command and Florida International University to offer a three-point plan for getting COVID-19 under control. — Fauci says we need to do a better job convincing people to get vaccinated; a new report says people who live in Florida counties that voted for Donald Trump are less likely to get a shot. — The Biden Bucks from the American Rescue Plan is starting to go to local governments across the state … no thanks to the GOP. — But Republicans in Tallahassee had no problem using that money to fund the largest budget in Florida history. — An urban farm in St. Petersburg is trying to change the face of Florida agriculture with vertical farming in converted shipping containers. It's called Brick Street Farms. — A Central Florida Judge will have to make the trek to Tallahassee for a public reprimand because he tried to talk an attorney out of running against one of his fellow judges. That's against their code of conduct. — And finally, police are accusing a Florida Man of shooting at another driver because the guy threw a banana at his truck. Will he claim he was standing his ground?  
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