Last Call for 7.26.18 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics


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

First Shot

Call it the law of unintended consequences of banning dog racing.

A proposed constitutional amendment aimed at ending dog racing shouldn’t go on the November ballot, an attorney said Thursday, because its ballot title and summary don’t disclose that “humane treatment of animals would become a fundamental value of the people of Florida.”

Major B. Harding, a retired Florida Supreme Court justice, represents the Florida Greyhound Association, which opposes Amendment 13. He argued before Circuit Judge Karen Gievers in a final hearing on their lawsuit to strike the proposal.

The measure, put on the November ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), needs no less than 60 percent approval to be added to the state constitution. It’s aimed at ending commercial greyhound racing in the state. In Florida, live racing is still conducted at 11 tracks.

If the amendment passes, it would equate “humane treatment of animals” with the “education of children,” Harding said, another “fundamental value” enshrined in the Florida Constitution. That could lead to a whole parade of horribles, he added, including an end to animal experimentation at the state’s universities.

He also said the language will mislead voters that the amendment will curtail gambling, when it actually allows other gambling at tracks, such as card games, to continue after live racing ends effective Jan. 1, 2021.

But a lawyer for the defendants, including the state’s Division of Elections, reminded Gievers that the “only judicially enforceable mandate” in the amendment is the phase-out of racing in connection with gambling.

And attorney Stephen Turner of Tallahassee, representing the pro-amendment Committee to Protect Dogs, told Gievers that unless the language is “clearly and conclusively defective” – a high legal standard – she must find for the state and let the amendment on the ballot.

Gievers said she would rule as soon as possible.

Evening Reads

Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan in running for House Speaker” via Alayna Treene of Axios

Here’s how the FL GOP became the Trump party of Florida” via Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

Gwen Graham scrutinized over family’s partnership in developing America’s biggest mall near Everglades” via Julie Houseman of the Florida Phoenix

Judge to hear Marsy’s Law case in August” via the News Service of Florida

When primaries go wild! Mike Miller, Scott Sturgill attack each other on positions … where they agree” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel

Greg Steube lobbied Congress while in Legislature” via Jacob Ogles for SRQ Daily

Disney announces plan to eliminate plastic straws and stirrers” via the Associated Press

DeSoto County rejects new Mosaic phosphate mine” via Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Sportsman temporarily closes Stuart office; Algae bloom making staff sick” via Tyler Treadway of Treasure Coast Newspapers

After 15-year legal battle, checks finally going out to South Florida homeowners who lost trees in citrus canker battle” via David Fleshler of the Sun Sentinel

Quote of the Day

“There is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (Jack) Latvala was unlawfully compensated or rewarded for his official behavior … Since criminal charges are not warranted, this office will take no further action.” — State Attorney Jack Campbell of Tallahassee, announcing he would not prosecute the former Clearwater lawmaker.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights

Wake Up Early?

The Florida Commission on Ethics will meet at 8:30 a.m., 1st District Court of Appeal, 2000 Drayton Dr., Tallahassee.

The Florida Housing Finance Corp. Board of Directors will also meet at 8:30 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.

The Revenue Estimating Conference will analyze highway-safety revenues at 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.

State Rep. Paul Renner, a Palm Coast Republican, will be a guest on David Ayres’ “Free for All Fridays” show, discussing Florida education funding. That’s at 9 a.m. on WZNF 94.9 FM/1550 AM.

Gov. Rick Scott will highlight the newest proposal of his “Make Washington Work” Plan, requiring Congress to work full time in order to receive their full-time salary, at a U.S. Senate campaign event in Palm Beach County. That’s at 10 a.m., Cotleur & Hearing Landscape Co., 1934 Commerce Lane, #1, Jupiter.

The Revenue Estimating Conference will dig into data about the communications-services tax and the gross receipts tax at 1:30 p.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.

Democratic candidate for Governor Gwen Graham says she is “wrapping up her campaign’s weeklong #GrassrootsWithTheGrahams tour by announcing a major endorsement from a prominent Hillsborough elected official.” A news conference will be at the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 3102 N Habana Ave., Tampa.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson will hold a campaign rally on Medicare and Social Security, where the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans will make a “special campaign announcement.” That’s at 3:30 p.m., Wildwood Community Center, 6500 County Road 139, Wildwood.

The League of Women Voters of Florida has relocated its state headquarters from Tallahassee to Orlando and plans an open house. That’s at 5:30 p.m., Credo Conduit, 1001 N. Orange Ave., Orlando.

The Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus will start a summer conference, with appearances Friday night by Democratic candidates Philip Levine and Chris King. That’s at 6:30 p.m., Hilton Palm Beach Airport Hotel, 150 Australian Ave., West Palm Beach.

Republican Nicolas Kimaz, who is seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, will hold a campaign event in Broward County. That’s at 7 p.m., Duffy’s Sports Grill, 4800 West Hillsboro Blvd., Coconut Creek.

State political candidates and committees face a Friday deadline for filing reports showing finance activity through July 20.

Looking Ahead

The Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus will hold a summer conference and leadership dinner. Expected speakers include gubernatorial candidates Graham and Jeff Greene, Agriculture Commissioner candidate Nikki Fried, congressional candidates Lauren Baer and David Richardson and state Democratic Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo. Events begin Saturday at 8:15 a.m., Hilton Palm Beach Airport Hotel, 150 Australian Ave., West Palm Beach.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist will host a town-hall meeting in Pinellas County. That’s Saturday at 10 a.m., St. Petersburg Palladium Theater, 235 Fifth Ave. North, St. Petersburg.

Numerous Republican candidates will take part in a rally and straw poll in Sarasota County. Among the expected participants are Gov. Scott, running for U.S. Senate, gubernatorial candidates, state Cabinet candidates, congressional candidates and legislative candidates. That’s Saturday at 11 a.m., Robarts Arena, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.

Peter Schorsch

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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