Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics.

By Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry and Jim Rosica.

CALLING ALL SUNBURN READERS: It’s been a crazy year, but Thursday is a day to give thanks. Let us what you’re thankful for this year. Send your thoughts to [email protected]


The Florida Senate has a brand new look, and not a moment too soon.

Eight months after kicking off a long-awaited renovation of the Florida Senate Chamber, outgoing Senate President Andy Gardiner showed off the new digs to members at a ceremonial grand opening Monday.

The $6 million upgrade was completed just days before members returned to Tallahassee for organizational session. It’s the first major renovation of the Chamber since the current Capitol was built in the 1970s.

“It’s much more modern, both in feel and in practical use,” said Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, a member of the Chamber Renovation Working Group. “I love the way it feels. It’s very comfortable, and it feels like it’s been here forever.”

Good-bye, wood paneling and dingy carpet. Hello, domed ceiling and a stained glass pendant.

The pendant is surrounded in by the names of all of Florida’s 67 counties and the bright white dome is a nod to the style of the 1949 chamber, which was almost entirely white, said Gardiner.

Another point of pride for Gardiner? The state’s motto — “In God We Trust — is now displayed prominently above the President’s rostrum.

Gardiner said the Senate worked hard to make sure the Chamber was “more accessible for people with unique abilities,” adding a hearing loop so people with hearing loss can tap into the system.

The President’s Rostrum and Secretary’s Desk platforms are wider to accommodate the use of wheel chairs, and Victoria Gaetz, the wife of former Senate President Don Gaetz, helped

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