By Marc Caputo ([email protected]; @MarcACaputo) with Emily Goldberg ([email protected]; @ejgold94), Sergio Bustos ([email protected];@sbustosFL) and the staff of POLITICO Florida

Good Friday morning. Lots of news. Let’s get to it.

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HOME IS WHERE THE SUBPOENAS ARE — “Criminal probe swirls around state Rep. Baez as Florida House investigates residency controversy,” by POLITICO Florida’s Marc Caputo: Under investigation by the state House over her residency, Democratic state Rep. Daisy Baez was recently interviewed by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office in a related criminal probe as the Democrat’s defense attorney sat by her side, POLITICO Florida has learned. Baez — who is facing the possibility of expulsion from the Republican-led Florida House and is under pressure from some fellow Democrats to resign — has maintained her innocence. She said she legally complied with a Florida constitutional requirement that state legislators be “an elector and resident of the district from which elected.” There is no criminal statute solely concerning a lawmakers’ residency — it’s strictly a state constitutional issue — and the criminal investigation for now has been put on hold as a special Florida House committee investigates. “The fact that the state House has initiated action is certainly a good indication that the state House is the one that should be handling this matter,” said Baez’s Miami attorney, Benedict P. Kuehne, who sat with her during the interview with prosecutors. “This should not be anything that any governmental agency other than the legislative body looks into.” Read more

— “[State] House panel issues subpoena in residency, Visit Florida cases,” by POLITICO Florida’s Matt Dixon: Read more

BLACKFISH LEVINE — “Free Lolita! Killer whale politics and Levine’s possible bid for governor,” by POLITICO Florida’s Marc Caputo: Likely gubernatorial candidate and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine wants his city commission to pass a resolution next Tuesday calling on the Miami Seaquarium to release the orca “Lolita” — and the Democrat says he doesn’t care if he’s accused of figuratively riding the killer whale to the governor’s mansion. “People are going to say what they say, but this is the right thing to do,” Levine told POLITICO Florida when asked about the inevitable charges that he’ll be accused of political opportunism. “I’ve been doing this for years. I have a track record for years of calling for her release,” Levine said. “And the reason this has come up again is because of Hurricane Irma and the fact that Miami Seaquarium left her in harm’s way.” Ultimately, Lolita was unharmed after the massive storm made landfall in South Florida on Sept. 10. But the park was damaged and has remained closed. It is scheduled to reopen Friday. “A mayor looking for publicity in order to advance his political career is not an expert when deciding what is best for Lolita,” said Maritza Arceo-Lopez, a spokeswoman for the park. Read more

… POLITICAL STORM …

DEBRIS DOLLARS — “Exclusive: Debris Debacle In Keys After Gov. Scott Issues Emergency DOT Contract,” by CBS Miami’s Jim DeFede: “Under the emergency contract awarded through the Florida Department of Transportation, MCM and Community Asphalt are being paid anywhere from three to 10 times more to do the same work that AshBritt is doing under a separate agreement the firm has with Monroe County … Rick Scott’s handling of Hurricane Irma is expected to be a key component of his campaign next year if he decides to run for the United States Senate against Bill Nelson. Scott was a constant presence on television before the storm urging folks living in evacuation zones to leave. Following the storm he has crisscrossed the state promising to speed the recovery along while at the same time protecting the interest of taxpayers … A DOT spokesman defended the need for an emergency contract, claiming they couldn’t rely on the contracts negotiated before the storm.” Read more

PAY UP — “A year after Hurricane Matthew, counties ask Rick Scott: Where’s our money?” by the Tampa Bay Times’ Steve Bousquet: “After Hurricane Irma ravaged Florida, an impatient Gov. Rick Scott ordered counties to remove debris, reopen roads and restore normalcy as fast as possible. Yet as the costs of Irma’s Category 4 fury are still being calculated, North Florida cities and counties hammered by Hurricane Matthew a year ago are still waiting to be paid for the cost of debris removal, road repair and police overtime. Strangled in red tape, counties fault the state for persistent delays, noting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized tens of millions in reimbursement dollars that Scott’s administration still has not yet distributed.” Read more

MORE PROBES — “Rubio calls for congressional investigation of nursing home,” by POLITICO Florida’s Marc Caputo: Sen. Marco Rubio wants a congressional investigation into a troubled Florida nursing home where 14 residents died after Hurricane Irma knocked out power last month and shut off the facility’s air conditioning. “This has shocked the state of Florida, and rightfully raised questions about the oversight of nursing homes, particularly the enforcement of existing emergency preparedness requirements,” Rubio wrote in his letter, released Thursday. The letter calls for an investigation by the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees Medicare and Medicaid, and by extension nursing home funding. Read more

BASHED — “Industry calls key witness to challenge Scott’s generator rule for nursing homes, ALFs,” by POLITICO Florida’s Alexandra Glorioso: A former top state official said Gov. Rick Scott’s emergency rules requiring nursing homes and assisted living facilities to install generators to avoid power outages by Nov. 15 were hastily written and do not give operators enough time to be in compliance. “I read this rule and it was like either somebody doesn’t know how to write this rule or it was rushed or something was wrong here,” James Gregory, a former official with the Agency for Health Care Administration, told an administrative judge on Thursday at a hearing where the industry was challenging Scott’s emergency rules. Read more

BACKING OFF A BIT — “AHCA will make some exceptions to nursing home generator rule,” by POLITICO Florida’s Alexandra Glorioso: The state’s health care agency announced on Thursday that “under extreme circumstances,” nursing homes and assisted living facilities can request more time to provide backup generators under an emergency rule issued last month. Read more

HIS BAD — “After Democrats pounce, Baxley apologizes for nursing home comments,” by POLITICO Florida’s Matt Dixon: Republican state Sen. Dennis Baxley apologized on Thursday after suggesting the previous day that some of the 14 Hollywood nursing home residents who died following Hurricane Irma would have died anyway. Read more

DROP AND FORGET — “Some ALFs left residents at storm shelters without needed care, local officials tell House panel,” by POLITICO Florida’s Bruce Ritchie Read more

ORANGE — “USDA citrus forecast meets skepticism,” by The Ledger’s Kevin Bouffard: “few growers at a Sebring event expressed confidence in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s initial crop forecast of 54 million boxes of oranges, 4.9 million boxes of grapefruit and 1 million boxes of tangerines and tangelos.” Read more

SIGN OF THE TIMES — “Missing Key West sign has been found — 300 miles away,” by Miami Herald’s Monique O. Madan: “The missing ‘Welcome to Key West’ sign — iconic signage that pronounced Key West as Paradise U.S.A.— was found 300 miles away early Thursday in Fort Myers Beach … found at the Key West Express docking station in fort Myers early Thursday after an unidentified couple dropped it off.” Read more

“Florida citrus industry won’t see quick aid from Congress,” by the Tampa Bay Times’ Alex Leary: Read more

“Lee County tourism council backs half-million dollars for post-Hurricane Irma marketing,” by News-Press’ Laura Ruane: Read more

“I-75 was log-jammed during the Irma evacuation. Gov. Scott wants a review to speed it up next time,” by Miami Herald’s Kristen M. Clark: Read more

… TRUMPLANDIA AND THE SWAMP …

BORICUA BAROMETER — “Polls: Trump, government earn low marks for Puerto Rico hurricane response,” by POLITICO’s Steve Shepard: “According to the latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, only 32 percent of registered voters think the federal government has done enough in response to Hurricane Maria. A 51 percent majority thinks the government hasn’t done enough … The numbers were similar in a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Thursday: Forty percent say the government is doing enough to restore electricity and access to food and water in Puerto Rico, while 52 percent say the government isn’t doing enough … a Quinnipiac University [found] a majority of voters, 55 percent, say Trump and his administration haven’t done enough to help Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Only 36 percent say the Trump administration has done enough.” Read more

HE TWEETED WHAT? — “Trump sparks new backlash after threatening Puerto Rico aid,” by POLITICO’s Louis Nelson and Matt Nussbaum: Read more

TURBULENCE — “Trump’s pick for NOAA chief causes a storm,” by POLITICO’s Andrew Restuccia: “As a top executive at AccuWeather, Barry Myers has pushed for limits on the kinds of products that the National Weather Service offers to the public, saying they offered unfair competition to his industry. Now, President Donald Trump’s nomination of Myers to lead the weather service’s parent agency could allow him to make those kinds of restrictions mandatory — to the benefit of his family-run forecasting company.” Read more

FREE TRADE WARS — “Florida business groups to Trump: Back off plans to kill NAFTA,” by the Tampa Bay Times’ Alex Leary: “A letter sent this week to Trump was signed by 314 state and local chambers of commerce, including the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce and JAX Chamber.” Read more

OBAMACARE WARS — “Trump’s salvo on Obamacare unlikely to result in quick changes” by POLITICO Adam Cancryn: Read more

— Trump will scrap critical Obamacare subsidy. Read story here.

‘AMAZING GRACE’ — “Menendez case gets potential ‘death blow’,” by POLITICO New Jersey’s Matt Friedman: Read more

… PENINSULA AND BEYOND …

SCOUTSPLAINING — “South Florida candidate for Congress slams Boy Scouts plan to admit girls,” by the Sun Sentinel’s Anthony Man: “Carlos Reyes, a South Florida Republican candidate for Congress, expressed outrage Thursday over the Boy Scouts’ decision to admit girls. ‘Going down this path further waters down the foundational values and traditions that have made the Boy Scouts part of our American life,’ Reyes said in a written statement.” Read more

OVERREACH? — “Leery senators say Scott is stepping on their budget turf,” by POLITICO Florida’s Matt Dixon: here

WINDFALL — “Special election helps Senate Republicans with record fundraising quarter,” by POLITICO Florida’s Matt Dixon: Senate Republicans are flexing their fundraising muscles, touting a nearly $4 million quarter between their two primary fundraising committees, a number driven in part by a contentious Miami special election. Those efforts are led by incoming Senate President Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican who is coordinating Senate races for his party this election cycle. During the past three months, he raised $3.2 million through the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, the main Senate committee, and another $700,000 through Innovate Florida, his personal political committee that is also helping GOP Senate candidates. “The record fundraising levels reached over the last few months reflect the strength of our Republican leadership and the faith donors place in our commitment to prove and effective policy that benefits all Floridians,” said Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson. Read more

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY — “Political parties raise big money in September,” by POLITICO Florida’s Brendan Cheney: Political party committees were the biggest recipients of campaign cash in September. The Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee received $1.2 million in September and the Florida Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee received $1 million. The Republican committee’s money included $150,000 from Innovate Florida, the PAC associated with state Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton), $100,000 from Jobs for Florida, the PAC associated with state Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) and $50,000 each from Robert Rubenstein, the Florida Phosphate Political Committee and the Florida Medical Association PAC. The Democratic committee’s money included $283,000 from the Florida Democratic Party, $200,000 from Emerging American Majorities PAC, $75,000 from Each Vote Counts PAC — connected to Democratic state Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) — and $50,000 each from Chris Findlater, AFT Solidarity 527, and the Florida Education Association. Read more

CITRUS VS. OPIOIDS — Latvala: State should use $25 million in citrus money to combat opioid crisis,” by POLITICO Florida’s Alexandra Glorioso: After Gov. Rick Scott set aside $25 million for the Hurricane Irma-damaged citrus industry, the Senate’s budget chief said on Thursday that he would rather steer that money toward the state’s opioid crisis. “There is no one dying from oranges falling off trees,” state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, said a Senate Appropriations Committee meeting. “The opioid issue is having an impact on human life every single day.” Latvala, who is running for the 2018 Republican gubernatorial nomination, is partly annoyed with Scott’s decision on citrus funding — growers suffered an estimated $760 million in storm damages — because he said the governor circumvented the Legislature. Read more

GULAG FOR KIDS — “How small rebellions by Florida delinquents snowball into bigger beatings by staff,” by Miami Herald’s Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch: “First he lost his freedom. Then his privileges. Then his kidney. It started with a tantrum at a youth program on Straight Line Road over what the Tampa boy considered unfair punishment for a fight he didn’t start. A program supervisor hurled the teen to the dayroom floor, crashing him into a metal table along the way. It ended with the boy tethered to a ventilator. Are you calm now? the supervisor asked as the boy writhed in pain on the floor. The Department of Juvenile Justice declared the worker’s takedown at Okaloosa Youth Academy a case ofexcessive force. The boy called it a deliberate act of violence that consigned him to a life without a right kidney. ‘By the look on his face,’ said a youth who witnessed the takedown, the worker ‘appeared to be angry.’” Read more

ZIKA! — “Florida reports 1st local Zika case for 2017,” by AP: “Florida’s Department of Health said Thursday a Manatee County couple traveled to Cuba. One of them contracted Zika while on the Caribbean island and was bitten by a mosquito after returning home. That mosquito then bit and transmitted the virus to the other partner.” Read more

WHITE MOVES — First-term state Rep. Frank White of Pensacola will officially enter the race for attorney general today. After filing, he is expected to address the state Fraternal Order of Police Board Meeting in Jacksonville. Last night, he joined fellow panhandle Republicans at the Walton County Lincoln Dinner. White works as general counsel and CFO for a chain of auto dealerships in Northwest Florida.

EARWIG — “Dangerous sound? What Americans heard in Cuba attacks,” by AP: “It sounds sort of like a mass of crickets. A high-pitched whine, but from what? It seems to undulate, even writhe. Listen closely: There are multiple, distinct tones that sound to some like they’re colliding in a nails-on-the-chalkboard effect.” Read more

— “Cuba health attack victim: Complaints ‘were ignored,’” by CBS News’ Steve Dorsey: Read more

“U.S. will maintain the family reunification program for Cubans,” by Miami Herald’s Nora Gámez Torres: Read more

OUT AND ABOUT IN D.C. — SPOTTED last night at Hawthorne on U Street NW for the Florida State Society D.C hurricane fundraiser for One American Appeal fund, which raised $5k+: Over 200 Floridians and alumni of Florida universities including Reps. Francis Rooney, John Rutherford and Al Lawson, state Society President Caroline Campbell, VP Katherine Rodriguez, Fritz Brogan, Todd Thompson, Taryn Fenske, Andrew Giacini, Melissa Luke, Cody Yanniello, Alex Masi, Mary Elizabeth Russell. Per a tipster: “We also just got word that Washington Intern Student Housing Founder Jackie Lewis is going to donate $21,000 to the disaster fund that the nine sponsoring Florida colleges created.”

… ODDS, ENDS AND FLORIDA MEN …

DR. JEKYLL AND … — “Video captures Florida doctor screaming at patient for complaining about wait,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Tiffini Theisen: “The patient, Jessica Stipe, says things got out of hand after she asked the office to return her $80 copay. During the argument in the waiting room, captured on video by Stipe’s teen daughter, Dr. Peter Gallogly of Gainesville After-Hours Clinic charges toward Stipe, shouting and jabbing a pointed finger toward her face. ‘Go to the ER and wait nine hours!’ he yells at one point. ‘Get the f*** out of my office. Now.’” Read more

“NEW: Two Palm Beach Zoo bush dogs presumed dead after habitat floods,” by Palm Beach Post: Read more

“Casey Anthony: From ‘Star Wars’ to public outrage,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Hal Boedeker: Read more

“Aramis Ayala: ‘If we really want public safety, we have to do what works,’” by Orlando Sentinel’s Gal Tziperman Lotan and Bianca Padró Ocasio: Read more

BEAR! — “Bear caught on camera roaming on UCF campus, police report,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Bianca Padró Ocasio: “The rare spotting was caught on a security camera on Wednesday, where the bear can be seen approaching an outdoor table and set of chairs. UCF campus police asked students to stay away from the wild animal, to refrain from feeding it, attracting it or making sudden movements.” Read more

KRISPY KREME TWEAKER — “Man arrested after cops mistook doughnut for meth gets $37,500 from Orlando,” by Orlando Sentinel’s David Harris: “The City of Orlando paid $37,500 to a man to settle a lawsuit after police officers arrested him for what they thought was meth but was actually tiny flakes of glaze from a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Daniel Rushing sued the city after a field test incorrectly showed he had drugs and he was arrested and taken to jail. He received the check in the mail last week, he said. Rushing said he was pleased with the outcome and hopes he can get his record expunged. He said he’s been trying to start a security business, but to no avail.” Read more

‘WILD THINGS’ — “State: Dade City’s Wild Things diverted zoo donations for personal use,” by the Tampa Bay Times’ Tracey McManus: “he owners of Dade City’s Wild Things have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the nonprofit zoo into their personal business account, paying for their son’s wedding and other private expenses with donations raised in the name of saving animals, according to a lawsuit filed by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.” Read more

FOR MORE political and policy news, check out Politico Florida’s home page: http://politi.co/1jkJUyL. And please follow our staff @mdixon55, @sbustosFL, @aglorios, @dducassi, and @bruceritchie on Twitter.

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