Category Archives: Member Announcements


Election Association Scholarship Deadline Approaches

Polk County Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards said today that college students have until March 29th to apply for one of three $1,200 scholarships to be awarded by the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections in 2018.  Applicants must be:

  • Registered to vote in the State of Florida
  • Enrolled as a full-time student in a senior college or university in Florida
  • Majoring in political science, public or business administration, or journalism/mass communications

Applicants must also possess at least a “C” average for the previous year, demonstrate financial need, and be available for an interview in the county where they are registered to vote.

“Interested students should contact the Supervisor of Elections in their county of residence to request an application packet,” said Ms. Edwards.   Polk County residents may contact Lori Edwards at 863-534-5888, or by email at

Scholarship applications, along with two letters of recommendation, must be returned by the March 29th deadline.



The Child of the Sun Distinguished Speakers Series at Florida Southern College continues next week with a conversation with one of America’s most experienced political journalists.

Domenico Montanaro, lead editor for politics and digital audience at National Public Radio in Washington, will explore the current media landscape and invite questions from the audience in a program, “Stand with the Facts,” at 7 p.m. on March 15 in the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel at FSC. The program is free and open to the public.

Montanaro directs political coverage across National Public Radio’s broadcast and digital platforms. Before joining NPR in 2015, he was political director and senior producer for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. There, he led domestic political and legal coverage, which included the 2014 midterm elections, the Supreme Court, and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo. He also has worked at all three major broadcast networks, including NBC News, where as deputy political editor, he covered two presidential elections and reported and edited for the network’s political blog, “First Read.”

The theme of the 2018 Child of the Sun Distinguished Speakers Series is “A Matter of Facts: Navigating a Post-Truth Era.” The series explores the murky waters of a “post-truth” era in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.


United Healthcare Medicare Store will host the Lakeland Fire Dept. in “Retire the Fire”.

March 21st United Healthcare Medicare Store (1547 Lakeland Hills Blvd.) will host the Lakeland Fire Dept. in “Retire the Fire”.  This will be an informational event for Seniors to attend on how to prevent fires in their homes and staying safe in their environment.   There will be (2) sessions:  Morning session begins at 10:30am-12pm and the afternoon session begins at 1pm-2:30pm.  All seniors are invited to attend and bring a friend.  Seating is limited and those who wish to attend can RSVP by calling The United Healthcare Medicare Store @ 863-284-3688.


Guest Post from Peterson & Myers, P.A.: Tom?to, Tomäto: Businesses and Credit Card Surcharges

You say “Tom?to”, I say “Tomäto”, a glass being half full should have the same meaning as being half empty, and a “surcharge” to one customer should be the same as a “discount” to another…but is it?

Florida law generally prohibits a seller from charging a surcharge to customers who pay by credit card. However, the law allows sellers to offer discounts to customers who pay with cash as long as the discount is offered to all prospective customers.  An exception to the general rule is that governments and municipalities are allowed to charge a convenience fee or surcharge, but that exception is not applicable to private businesses.  (See Fla. Stat. § 501.0117)

Surcharge Constitutionality

In 2014, a lawsuit was filed against the State of Florida by small businesses challenging the constitutionality of this law.  Cunning lawyers made the clever argument that the right to free speech was violated, because the statute prohibits or permits the surcharge for credit card payments (or discount for cash) based primarily on the words used to describe the pricing.

The United States District Court ruled in favor of the State, upholding the law.  The plaintiffs appealed, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the District Court’s ruling and concluded that the Florida law is unconstitutional.  The Eleventh Circuit remanded the case to the District Court.  The State appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court, but in 2017 the Supreme Court denied the State’s petition.  The District Court has not yet acted on the mandate.

The Eleventh Circuit agreed with other courts that have held similar statutes in other states to be unconstitutional, including statutes in New York and California. While Florida’s state courts will most likely be persuaded to follow the decision of the Eleventh Circuit, there is a conflict in Florida case law about whether the opinion should be considered binding on Florida’s state courts.  Until binding state court precedents come available, or the United States Supreme Court takes the case, there is not complete certainty that the Florida courts will follow the Eleventh Circuit.

Credit Card Contracts and Surcharges

In addition to the law, whether a seller can charge a surcharge may be controlled by the contract with a particular credit card company.  Before making decisions about whether to charge a surcharge, a seller should review the credit card company contract and seek legal advice.

The recent court rulings indicate change is in the wind, but there remains uncertainty in Florida whether the State will follow the Eleventh Circuit’s conclusion that the law is unconstitutional.  Until further determinations are made or the Florida legislature changes the law, sellers electing to charge a surcharge are proceeding at their own risk.


Artist and Conservationist Guy Harvey to Speak at FSC

Dr. Guy Harvey, internationally renowned painter of marine life, respected ocean conservationist and entrepreneur, will be Florida Southern College’s 84th Honorary Chancellor and the speaker at the College’s annual Founders Day Convocation. In addition to his fame as a wildlife artist, Dr. Harvey has generously funded ocean research and conservation efforts through the sale of his art and merchandise. The convocation is not open to the public, but media are invited to attend. Video and photos are permitted.

WHEN: 11 a.m., March 16

WHERE: Branscomb Auditorium, FSC campus

A press release about Dr. Harvey’s visit to FSC will be issued prior to the convocation. For more information, contact Rob Tate: (863) 680-4347,, or Cary McMullen: (863) 680-4975,