Monday is deadline to register to vote in Florida primary

A “Vote Here” sign stands outside the Ezell Hester Jr. Community Center in Boynton Beach Tuesday, January 30, 2018. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

Monday is the last day to register to vote before Florida’s Aug. 28 primary election.

Floridians who want to switch their party affiliation for the primary also must act by the deadline.

KNOW YOUR CANDIATES: Complete guide to the Aug. 28 election

There are contested primary races for governor on both the Republican and Democratic sides. Voters will also pick nominees for attorney general and agriculture commissioner. There are also several contentious races for Congress.

Florida residents can check their current registration status, register to vote or update their existing registration through the state’s online voter registration website RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov. Users will need their Florida driver license or Florida identification card and the last four digits of their social security number.

Florida residents can also print a paper application that can be mailed or hand-delivered to their local election supervisor

Source: The Associated Press

NEW: Trump names South Florida GOP leader as ambassador to Costa Rica

President Donald Trump will nominate a longtime Republican Party official from South Florida to be ambassador to Costa Rica, the White House said Wednesday night.

Sharon Day currently serves as national committeewoman for the Broward County GOP, where she has been a key figure for more than 20 years.

Broward County’s Sharon Day speaks to the 2016 Republican National Convention. (Getty Images)

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Latest news on President Donald Trump

Day was tapped last year to speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where she said Trump would be “a president who tells the truth.”

The White House also on Wednesday announced Trump would nominate Kelly Knight Craft of Kentucky to be ambassador to Canada.

Here is the White House announcement on Trump’s intent to nominate Day:

Sharon Day of Florida to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Costa Rica. Ms. Sharon Day most recently served as co-chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), having been first elected in January 2011 and reelected in 2013 and 2015. She has served the Republican Party at the local, state, and national level for more than twenty years, with a focus on engaging and empowering women candidates and activists, as well as strengthening state parties and volunteerism. She is an active political columnist and commentator. Earlier in her career, she was the chief executive officer and vice president of Marketing of Stop Loss International, a general managing underwriter and reinsurance company, headquartered in Indianapolis. Ms. Day has also been active in community service, including as housing authority chair for the Broward County Housing Authority and as commissioner on the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.”

 

List: Gov. Rick Scott signs Lake O reservoir bill, 10 other measures into law

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed 11 bills into law on Tuesday, including one that sets aside money to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

The bill, CS/SB 10, “authorizes a significant increase in southern water storage to further the goal of reducing and eventually eliminating harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee,” one of Senate President Joe Negron’s top priorities, Negron’s office said in a news release.

(Getty Images)

» Gov. Rick Scott: ‘I have the option of vetoing the entire budget’

» More Florida Legislature coverage

Negron, a Stuart Republican, has been pushing for relief for his Treasure Coast district, which has been hit hard by algae blooms tied to the Lake Okeechobee discharges in recent years.

In addition to SB 10, Scott signed the following bills, all of which take effect July 1 except where noted:

CS/CS/HB 111: Public Records/Identity of Witness to a Murder — Creates a public records exemption for criminal intelligence or criminal investigative information that reveals personal identifying information of a witness to a murder.

» Florida governor money chase: Putnam PAC tops $300,000 in April; Gillum, King near $100,000

CS/CS/HB 151: “Therapy Dog for Children Bill” — Allows children, victims and individuals with intellectual disabilities to use therapy animals and facility dogs in legal proceedings. “This legislation will help children and individuals with unique abilities in our state as they face some of the most challenging times in their life,” Scott said in a statement released Tuesday evening by his office. “I cannot imagine the emotional toll these terrible circumstances place on our state’s most vulnerable populations. The comfort and support provided by therapy animals can make a profound difference in someone’s life and I’m proud to sign HB 151 today.”

CS/HB 221: “Uber/ Lyft Bill” — Sets consistent operating standards throughout Florida for ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, including requirements for insurance coverage and driver background checks. “I’m proud to sign this legislation today to make it easier for ridesharing companies to thrive in Florida and help ensure the safety of our families,” Scott said in a news release after signing the bill. “Florida is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation because of our efforts to reduce burdensome regulations and encourage innovation and job creation across all industries, including transportation. I look forward to seeing the continued growth of ridesharing companies in our state.”

» Former Dem Senate hopeful Pam Keith explores challenge of Rep. Brian Mast

CS/HB 239: Public Records/Protective Injunction Petitions — Creates a public records exemption for petitions for protection against domestic violence, stalking or cyberstalking if it is dismissed.

CS/HB 305: Law Enforcement Body Cameras — Allows a law enforcement officer using a body camera to review the recorded footage before writing a report or providing a statement.

CS/HB 399: Guardianship — Revises procedures relating to incapacity hearings and the circumstances under which the court may approve divorce for persons under the protection of a guardianship.

CS/HB 401: Notaries Public — Allows public notaries to accept a veteran health information card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a valid form of I.D.

» Trauma center, certificate of need bills die in Legislature again

» Drivers ask why bill to save $81 per car by ending PIP stalled

HB 671: Reemployment Assistance Fraud — Authorizes the Department of Economic Opportunity to access digital records maintained by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to prevent reemployment assistance claims fraud.

CS/CS/HB 805: Relating to Insurance Policy Transfers — Allows an insurer to transfer a residential or commercial residential property insurance policy to an authorized insurer of the same group or owned by the same holding company.

CS/HB 6533: Relief/Jennifer Wohlgemuth/Pasco County Sheriff’s Office — Directs Pasco County and the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office to compensate the family of Jennifer Wohlgemuth for injuries sustained in an incident involving the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. Effective immediately.

Note: List provided by Gov. Scott’s office.

FAA: Trump to travel to Bedminster on Thursday, stay through Sunday

President Donald Trump will travel to his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., from New York on Thursday and stay through Sunday, according to temporary flight restrictions posted Tuesday morning by the Federal Aviation Administration.

President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport on March 17, 2017, with his wife Melania and son Barron. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

The restrictions counter two notices to pilots posted by the FAA on Monday that indicated Trump would stay in Bedminster from Friday through Sunday after spending the night in New York City. One of those notices, the one for Trump’s Bedminster stay, remained posted on the FAA Safety Team website Tuesday morning. The other, for Trump’s time in New York City, was edited and reposted to only include a trip there Thursday.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

A notice posted Monday by the FAA indicated President Donald Trump would arrive at his Bedminster golf club on Friday and stay through Sunday. (www.faasafety.gov)

However, it is not unusual for notices to change several times before being final, and pilots are cautioned to frequently check with the FAA for updates.

The notices and flight restrictions have served as the first sign for Palm Beach County residents that Trump is planning a trip to his Mar-a-Lago Club. Intended for use by pilots, the flight restrictions set the parameters for where aircraft can fly when a VIP visits an area. Restrictions are issued for the president and vice president’s travel, and also for air shows, natural disasters, rocket launches and military operations.

» Palm Beach police chief has Trump advice for Bedminster

Presidential-level flight restrictions are among the most strict. They include a 10 nautical mile inner ring where all flights are banned except those “directly supporting the United States Secret Service (USSS) and the office of the President of the United States, approved air ambulance flights and regularly scheduled commercial passenger and all-cargo carriers.” The outer, 30 nm ring is less strict but still requires pilots to follow specific guidelines available on the flight restrictions notice.

It’s been reported that with Mar-a-Lago’s club closing for the summer, Trump and his family instead will spend the occasional weekend in Bedminster. Before his campaign, Trump reportedly spent summer weekends at his residence there, and he hosted potential cabinet members at the Bedminster property’s clubhouse in November following his election win. Reports from multiple media outlets, including Politico and The New York Times, have focused on what some are calling Trump’s “Camp David North.”

» FLORIDA FACTOR: How Mar-a-Lago visits were a big part of President Trump’s first 100 days

Trump will be in New York City on Thursday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of a World War II battle and meet with Australia’s prime minister, the White House has said.

 

 

 

Scott signs two bills, including one to help foster kids get licenses

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed into law two bills, including one designed to help children in foster care in Florida get driver’s licenses.

Senate Bill 60, known as the “Keys to Independence Act,” cements a pilot program Scott signed into law three years ago and expands it to children in settings outside foster homes, including children living with relatives or non-relative caregivers, Scott’s office said in a news release.

(Getty Images)

» RELATED: Complete Florida Legislature coverage

“I’m proud to sign this legislation today to help Florida’s teens in foster care and out-of-home settings obtain their driver’s licenses. This bill continues our efforts to help children in our foster system thrive and live their dreams in our state,” Scott said in the news release.

Under the law, which went into effect with Scott’s signature, teens in foster care in Florida could be eligible for help from the state to pay for a driver education course “for up to 6 months after the date the child reaches permanency status or 6 months after the date the child turns 18 years of age,” according to the bill’s text. The program also could pay for “the costs of licensure and costs incidental to licensure” for children in foster care who are able to show that those costs are preventing them from staying employed or attending school.

On Monday, Scott also signed SB 7004, retains the public record exemptions for biomedical and cancer research programs within the Department of Health.

MORE COVERAGE

Republican Adam Putnam enters governor race; Dem Gwen Graham tomorrow?

Senate passes homestead exemption resolution

Florida state workers to see pay raise, pension changes

Florida House, Senate moving closer on medical marijuana plan

Florida film industry first casualty in incentives cutbacks

How many tweets has President Trump sent in his first 100 days?

Since taking office on Jan. 20, President Donald Trump has made national and international news with tweets sent from his @realDonaldTrump account.

And as of Saturday afternoon, Trump had tweeted from that account 516 times since becoming president, according to a search of TrumpTwitterArchive.com.

President Donald Trump works his phone after finishing a round of golf at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach on Feb. 5. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

» Trump’s first 100 days: How does his Palm Beach travel compare to past presidents’ trips?

In those tweets, Trump accused the Obama administration of “wire tapping” him in tweets sent early on March 4. He took on North Korea and Snoop Dogg. And he touted his accomplishments over his first 100 days in office. But according to an Associated Press analysis of his first 100 days of tweets, engagement with Trump’s brief messages through the social media channel is waning, meaning the number of likes, retweets, quotes and replies is dropping. Read more from the AP.

» First 100 days? What about Trump’s first 100 tweets?

Trump’s most popular tweets have commented on the economy, including the national debt and jobs numbers. Some of his most retweeted messages are those regarding his wiretapping claims. His tweets about allegations of ties between Russia and his campaign have drawn hundreds of thousands of retweets, likes and replies. His holiday messages also have proved to be among his most-retweeted: As of Friday afternoon, his Easter post had more than 41,000 retweets, and his Presidents’ Day tweet had nearly 50,000.

Those still are only a fraction of the number of retweets on Trump’s most popular tweet since announcing his candidacy in 2015: At 6:43 a.m. Nov. 8, election day, Trump tweeted, “TODAY WE MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” It has more than 344,000 retweets.

Here’s a look at Trump’s top 20 most popular tweets from his first 100 days.

 

 

 

 

 

Trump’s Labor secretary confirmed by Senate; his Palm Beach County ties

President Donald Trump’s Cabinet is now complete, as the Senate confirmed Alexander Acosta as secretary of the Department of Labor on a 60-38 vote Thursday evening.

The vote came just two days before Trump will mark his 100th day in office.

Alexander Acosta

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

» Statecraft & controversy: A fifth of Trump’s first 100 days in Florida

Acosta, who now serves as dean of the Florida International University School of Law, was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida from 2006 to 2009. He led several public corruption prosecutions in Palm Beach County following Palm Beach Post reports and federal investigations.

From an earlier report by Palm Beach Post reporter John Pacenti:

Acosta’s “office also was involved in the controversial prosecution of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, deciding in 2008 to let state prosecutors handled charges that Epstein engaged in sex with dozens of underage girls in what victims in a court document called ‘a sweetheart plea deal.’

“But Acosta’s public corruption prosecutions took plenty of scalps.

“Palm Beach County Commissioners Tony Masilotti, Warren Newell and Mary McCarty and West Palm Beach City Commissioners Jim Exline and Ray Liberti ended up doing time on corruption charges. And they were just the big names.”

» Read John Pacenti’s full report on Acosta’s background in Palm Beach County

Acosta is the first Hispanic on Trump’s Cabinet. He joins two other Floridians: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a Palm Beach resident, and Housing Secretary Ben Carson, who lives in Palm Beach Gardens.

Trump nominated Acosta for the Labor secretary post in February after Trump’s initial pick, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his name from consideration.

 

 

President Trump names former West Palm attorney to OSHA post

President Donald Trump has named former West Palm Beach attorney Heather MacDougall to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, the White House said in a news release.

Heather MacDougall (file photo)

MacDougall, who worked for Akerman LLP in West Palm, has been with OSHA’s Review Commission since she was nominated for the position in 2014 by President Barack Obama. MacDougall has been acting chair of the Review Commission since January, the White House said. She was unanimously confirmed by the Senate at that time, and is one of two members serving on the commission. One seat on the commission is vacant.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

Here is the full statement released by the White House on MacDougall’s nomination:

“(The president intends to nominate) Heather L. MacDougall of Florida to be a Member of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Ms. MacDougall was designated acting Chair of the Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission in January 2017. In 2014, she was nominated to the Commission by then-President Obama and confirmed unanimously by the Senate. Before this, Ms. MacDougall had 20 years of experience representing employers throughout the United States in matters involving labor, employment, and occupational safety and health law, most recently with Akerman LLP in West Palm Beach, Florida. In addition, she served as Chief Counsel to OSHRC Chairman W. Scott Railton. Earlier in her career, she was Associate General Counsel to the HR Policy Association, a public policy organization that advocates for the human resource officers of major employers, where she represented the association as amicus curiae in U.S. Courts of Appeals and Supreme Court cases. Chairman MacDougall received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and a J.D. from Marquette University Law School.”

NEW: President Trump tells Scott feds will help pay to fix Herbert Hoover Dike

Just two days after Gov. Rick Scott asked state lawmakers to dedicate $200 million to repair the aging Herbert Hoover Dike over the next five years, Scott says President Donald Trump has pledged federal support for the work.

While visiting the White House today for the president’s signing of a veterans health care bill, Scott spoke to Trump about the dike and the president committed to “provide the resources” to make needed repairs, Scott said in a news release.

Gov. Rick Scott (center) delivers brief remarks after President Donald Trump signed the Veterans Choice Program And Improvement Act with representatives of veterans’ organizations, politicians and members of his administration, including Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Wednesday in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

» Scott offers surprise solution to Lake Okeechobee pollution fight

The federally operated dike was built in the 1960s as an expanded form of levees and dams that had been put in place over the previous decades to protect nearby residents from devastating flooding that ensued each time a hurricane hit the lake. It has undergone many rounds of repairs ranging from minor to more intensive.

Speaking to members of the Florida Legislature in a news conference on Monday, Scott said he was “tired of waiting” for a solution to issues stemming from Lake Okeechobee’s nutrient-rich waters, including algae blooms that have plagued the St. Lucie River in Martin County and the Caloosahatchee River to the lake’s west. Scott also noted Monday that he had spoken to members of Trump’s administration about the dike and needed repairs.

Crews work to repair the aging Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee in 2012. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

Lawmakers, including state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, have expressed reservations about Scott’s proposal, saying the state should not have to foot the bill for something the federal government should cover.

“I want to make sure we do not spend hundreds of millions of dollars of (state) general revenue funds on what is unquestionably a federal responsibility,” Negron said in a statement issued Monday.

Here are Scott’s comments on his conversation with Trump, via today’s news release:

“Today, I spoke with President Trump on the importance of fixing the federally operated Herbert Hoover Dike and he committed that his administration would help provide the resources to do that. President Trump is clearly focused on protecting Florida’s environment and investing in our infrastructure, and I want to thank him for partnering with us to solve the water issues around Lake Okeechobee by fixing the dike.

“While I called on President Obama multiple times throughout his administration to step up and fulfill the federal government’s funding commitment to fixing the dike, it never happened. Today, President Trump is fighting for Florida’s families and this news is a big win for our state. My goal is for the dike to be completely repaired by 2022, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Trump Administration to complete this important project. With this commitment from the president, I hope that the Florida Legislature will immediately allocate $200 million in the budget they send me to help fix the dike.”

 

 

 

 

Comparing dinners: What Trump and Obama served Xi on visits to U.S.

When President Barack Obama hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping for a state dinner at the White House in 2015, then-candidate Donald Trump declared he would not do the same if elected.

“I would get him a McDonald’s hamburger and say we’ve got to get down to work because you can’t continue to devalue (U.S. currency),” Trump said during an appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor” at the time.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Palm Beach. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

But a McDonald’s hamburger was not on the menu last Thursday as Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, dined at Mar-a-Lago with President Trump as part of a summit between the two leaders and top-ranking officials from both countries.

Here’s a look at the dinner menu at Mar-a-Lago Thursday night, along with the state dinner hosted by Obama in 2015 for Xi.

Mar-a-Lago menu, 2017

Caesar Salad with homemade focaccia croutons, parmigiano-reggiano

Entree options:

Pan-seared Dover Sole with champagne sauce, served with herb-roasted new potatoes, haricots verts and thumbelina carrots

Dry aged prime New York strip steak, served with whipped potatoes and roasted root vegetables

Dessert options:

Chocolate cake with vanilla sauce and dark chocolate sorbet

Trio of sorbet (lemon, mango and raspberry)

Wine options:

2014 Chalk Hill Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast

2014 Girard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

White House menu, 2015

Wild mushroom soup with black truffle

Entree options:

Butter poached Maine lobster with spinach, shiitake and leek rice noodle rolls

Grilled cannon of Colorado lamb with garlic fried milk and baby broccoli

Dessert:

Poppyseed bread and butter pudding with Meyer lemon curd lychee sorbet

Wines:

Shaoxing wine (served with soup)

Penner-Ash Viognier “Oregon” 2014 (served with lobster)

Pride Mountain Merlot “Vintner Select” 2012 (served with lamb)

Schramsberg Cremant Demi-Sec 2011 (served with dessert)