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Last Call for 2.26.19 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day’s politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

How’d you like to interview for a job that may not exist by July?

The Florida Transportation Commission posted a public notice of a March 4 workshop at which commissioners will “interview candidates for the executive director position.”

Here’s the rub: Legislation has been filed for the 2019 Legislative Session to eliminate the commission.

Rep. Ardian Zika, a Land O’ Lakes Republican first elected last year, filed a bill (HB 681) to strike language creating the panel from state statute. If passed, it goes into effect July 1.

“Too often government can seem to be run like the ‘Department of Redundancy Department;’ duplication and bureaucracy stymie innovation and cost taxpayers unnecessary dollars,” Zika told us.

“People don’t want commissions and boards — they want action when it comes to improving Florida’s transportation systems,” Zika added. “This bill is a step in the right direction.”

The nine-member body, created in 1987, is an oversight board for the Florida Department of Transportation that oversees transportation issues and helps select the department’s secretaries.

Zika’s bill has been assigned to three panels: the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee, Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee and the State Affairs Committee. It doesn’t yet have a Senate companion.

Meantime, we asked a commission spokesman for a list of names of executive director applicants to find out what they thought. We were told, “I don’t have a list.”

Evening Reads

Michael Cohen, once keeper of Donald Trump’s secrets, plans to accuse the president of ‘criminal conduct’” via Bart Jansen of USA Today

DeSantis administration is vetting, replacing, and re-upping Rick Scott’s appointees” via Mitch Perry of the Florida Phoenix

Democrats ask DeSantis to return money from billionaire charged in prostitution sting” via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times

Noah Valenstein to stay as DEP Secretary” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida

Ronald Rubin hired as new OFR Commissioner” via Dan McAuliffe of Florida Politics

In Legislature, there may be a new attitude toward criminal justice this year” via Mitch Perry of the Florida Phoenix

Ex-UCF President Hitt won’t talk with House investigators in spending probe” via Samantha Manning of WFTV 9

To impress Pasco GOP voters, you pitch your bona fides. Or maybe you don’t.” via C.T. Bowen of the Tampa Bay Times

Red tide: Last year’s bloom was among 5 worst ever recorded” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Our own ‘Green Book’: How a black Times reporter chronicled his 1964 trip across the South” via Gabrielle Calise of the Tampa Bay Times

Quote of the Day

“No” — Gov. Ron DeSantis when asked if he will return $600,000 in campaign funds from John Childs, one of Floridas largest GOP donors. Democrats called on DeSantis to return the money because Childs, a private equity investor, has been tied to same prostitution sting that ensnared billionaire New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights

Wake Up Early?

Florida’s congressional delegation will hold a hearing on water-quality issues such as red tide and algae blooms. That’s at 8:30 a.m., 2261 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce, along with school, law enforcement and workplace leaders will announce the formation of a new institute focusing on school and workplace safety. That’s at 11 a.m., Florida Press Center Press Conference Room, 336 E. College Avenue, Suite 100, Tallahassee.

Rep. Mike Caruso of Delray Beach will speak to the Republican Club of the Palm Beaches about the November recount in his victory over Democrat Jim Bonfiglio in House District 89. That’s at noon, Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center Palm Beach Airport, 1301 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach.

The Criminal Justice Estimating Conference will hold what is known as an “impact” conference at 1:30 p.m., 117 Knott Building.

Rep. Geraldine Thompson, an Orlando Democrat, will host a town-hall meeting about election reform issues. That’s at 5:30 p.m., Windermere High School, Performing Arts Center, 5523 Winter Garden Vineland Road, Windermere.

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro is scheduled to appear at Palm Beach Atlantic University. That’s at 6 p.m., Palm Beach Atlantic University, DeSantis Family Chapel, 300 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach.

Democratic Sen. Kevin Rader of Delray Beach, and Rep. Matt Willhite, a Wellington Democrat, will hold a town-hall meeting to discuss issues in advance of the 2019 legislative session, which starts March 5. That’s at 7 p.m., Village of Wellington, 12300 Forest Hill Blvd., Wellington.

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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