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Sunburn — The Morning Read Of What’s Hot In Florida Politics — 2.16.22

A battle of wills?

By Peter Schorsch    

Good Wednesday morning.

Speaker Chris Sprowls, who has gained national attention this week for his focus on fatherlessness, is holding a news conference today (1 p.m., Capitol Courtyard-facing steps of Florida Historic Capitol Museum) to shine a light on this issue and the House’s legislation that is meant to address it.

Chris Sprowls’ vision is drawing the national spotlight.

The Speaker points to the fact that one in four children live without a father figure in their home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and nearly every negative outcome plaguing so many of today’s youth has been linked to their lack of a present and intentional father. Studies conducted by the National Fatherhood Initiative have shown that when children are raised in father-absent homes, they have a four-times greater risk of living in poverty and are twice as likely to drop out of high school. Six in 10 youth suicides come from fatherless homes. Fatherless boys are three times more likely to spend time behind bars. At the same time, children who have relationships with their fathers have critical positive outcomes in education, socioeconomic and development and future success. Children who have an involved father are twice as likely to go to college and 80% less likely to spend time in jail.

The event comes on the heels of legislation recently filed and on the House Floor today, HB 7065, that invests nearly $70 million to address the lack of involved fathers and resulting at-risk youths through several initiatives.

In addition to the Senate President, bill sponsor, Senators and House Dads who will be in attendance, the effort has attracted attention from many notable organizations who will also be at the event today, including Jack Brewer from the Federal Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, Jeffrey Ford from Man Up and Go, and Jason Hood from All Pro Dad.


Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio leads Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings in his bid for a third term, but all the ingredients for an upset are there if Demings can capitalize on them.

Horserace: Marco Rubio polls well, will that be enough?

A new poll from Mason-Dixon showed Rubio with 49% support to Demings’ 42%. While Rubio’s lead falls outside of the margin of error, the pollster noted that “an incumbent running below 50% often leaves the door open for a challenger to significantly tighten a race under the right circumstances.”

Currently, both candidates enjoy strong support from their respective bases, with Rubio’s top-line lead largely coming from his 10-point advantage among the NPA crowd, 47% of whom say they’d vote to re-elect him.

But his 95% name ID might mean some of that support is soft. Demings, currently known by about two-thirds of voters, will undoubtedly be similarly well-known on Election Day. Mason-Dixon says as the name ID gap shrinks, “independent voters must swing to Demings … absent that shift, Rubio will be re-elected.”

She faces an additional challenge: President Joe Biden.

Florida voters aren’t fans of the Commander in Chief. He holds a minus-15 approval rating overall. Independent voters are even less fond of him — just 33% said they approve of the job he’s done so far, while 61% disapprove.

“In order to flip Rubio’s seat, Demings needs Biden’s standing among state voters to significantly improve over the next eight months,” the polling memo reads. “It will be difficult for her to make the necessary gains among those who are unaffiliated as long as they remain hostile to the President.”

The Mason-Dixon poll was conducted Feb. 7-10. It has a sample size of 625 registered Florida voters and a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.


It’s “Wild Florida Wednesday” at the Florida Capitol.

The day will bring representatives from Conservation Florida, the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation, and the Path of the Panther project to the Plaza Level, where they will showcase artwork by Paul Schulz and famed National Geographic photographer Carlton Ward Jr., who fought for years to secure wildlife habitats in the corridor.

The Capitol celebrates photographer Carlton Ward Jr., a longtime environmental conservationist. Image via Carlton Ward Jr.

At 5 p.m., Conservation Florida will host a “Wild Florida Reception” on the 22nd floor of the Capitol to celebrate the passage of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act and Florida’s conservation legacy. State Laurel M. Lee, Sens. Jason Brodeur and Linda Stewart, as well as Reps. Kristen ArringtonMelony BellKamia BrownDan DaleySam KillebrewJosie Tomkow, and Keith Truenow are on tap to attend.

“The Wild Florida Reception marks an opportunity to celebrate both Florida’s rich conservation legacy and its promising future. Land conservation is a tool that protects the places we love, offers habitat and room to roam for our native species, cleans and stores our water, provides ample outdoor recreational opportunity, supports Florida’s family farms and ranches, conserves the Florida Wildlife Corridor, and safeguards our natural heritage, all while accounting for Florida’s future growth,” Conservation Florida CEO Traci Deen said.

“Florida has led the way in conservation efforts in the past and is leading the way again. We’re celebrating that together.”

Those looking to drop by can shoot an RSVP to chelsea@conserveflorida.org.

When the reception wraps at 7 p.m., the groups will hold a screening of “Saving the Florida Wildlife Corridor,” a short documentary produced by the National Geographic Society and Florida Wild. As the first film since the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act passed, it provides a window into the Florida Wildlife Corridor and aims to help viewers understand why protecting it is vital to Florida’s future.

The event is open to the public, but those looking for a seat should RSVP.


@TheRickWilson: That was a Presidential speech from a President who takes the job of Presidenting seriously and doesn’t spend his life polishing Putin’s junk.

@JuddLegum: Facebook’s News Feed has a bunch of far-right propaganda masquerading as news. So they’ve renamed it “Feed” Problem solved!

@DaveWeigel: Enes Freedom tells me that he’s not going to speak at CPAC, as previously announced. “I need to figure out this NBA stuff first,” he says. “So I won’t be going to CPAC now.”

@TarynFenske: Caring for orphans is Christ-like. Encouraging mothers to send their children 1,000s of miles, risking death, kidnapping & trafficking, while creating orphans isn’t. Archbishop (ThomasWenski knows the consequences of unaccompanied minors crossing the border but leaves out those details.

@MDixon55: DeSantis giveth, and he taketh away. Held presser to praise tourism numbers and hospitality industry that helps attract tourists, but asks when they will stop making staff wear masks “When are they going to liberate you from the mask?” DeSantis says he asks restaurant servers

@LoriBerman: Governor DeSantis and House leadership want to defund some of Florida’s largest public school districts by $200 MILLION for not bending to their political will. I am disgusted, to say the least. And I don’t think parents will appreciate it either.

@SteveBousquet: FL House Speaker Chris Sprowls is criticizing Democrats for “leading questions” about a highly controversial 15-week abortion bill. You’re kidding, right, Chris? This is democracy at work. It’s a political body, the “people’s house,” not a courtroom. Put that Bar license away.

@NikkiFried: Do me a favor and thank/tag a @FLHouseDems or @FLSenateDems member fighting for us in the Florida Legislature. The amount of awfulness they are trying to stop right now is unbelievable. They deserve all the love and help we can give.

@Chris_Minor10: It’s #GatorDay at the Capitol. Perfect day to work from home.

Tweet, tweet:


@AEdwardsLevy: was willing to accept “big air” and “skeleton” but I must draw the line at “monobob”

@JeffPassan: Pitchers and catchers were supposed to report today.

FloridaPolitics, excerpt posted on  SouthFloridaReporter.comFeb. 16, 2022

Republished with permission