Last Call for 7.3.19 — 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

Late breaking — Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed the final bill of the 2019 Legislative Session, shutting down the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority and replacing it with the new Greater Miami Expressway Agency. HB 385 transfers all of MDX’s liabilities and assets — including toll facilities — to the new entity. Toll rates will stay the same under the Greater Miami Expressway Agency.

The law also freezes toll rates until 2029, though the board can overrule that provision with a two-thirds vote.

Program note: Last Call will not appear Thursday. Here’s to a safe and enjoyable Independence Day.

Listen up: The latest “He Said, She Said’ podcast, hosted by Florida Politics founder and publisher Peter Schorsch and wife Michelle Todd Schorsch, is available for listening now, or you can download for later.

This week’s episode is titled, “2020 Dems Miami debate night recap; a Disney Cruise special episode featuring Ella Joyce.”

Catch the full episode online here or you can download via Apple Podcast, Google Play, or Stitcher.

Transitions: As oral arguments in the Pat Roberts/MAT Media matter approaches later this month, changes at the 1st District Court of Appeal have occasioned some changes on the panel slated to hear the case.

The original 3-judge panel set earlier this year was made up of Judges Kent Wetherell, Stephanie Ray and Allen Winsor.

Now, Wetherell is expected to be confirmed next week as a north Florida federal judge (likely sitting in Pensacola), Ray became the appellate court’s chief judge, and Winsor is now a federal judge sitting in Tallahassee and Gainesville.

So Ray remains, but Judges James Wolf and Timothy Osterhaus have rotated in.

Roberts, while a VISIT FLORIDA contractor, received nearly $13 million to produce a cooking show with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse.

The Florida House appealed a 2018 decision by now-retired Circuit Judge Karen Gievers.

She invalidated what she called “facially defective” subpoenas under then-Speaker Richard Corcoran in his crusade against Roberts.

Roberts’ attorneys had asked for a delay in the case because of a federal bankruptcy he was planning to file. The court said no.

Oral argument is set for 10 a.m. July 15.

Evening Reads

3 reasons not to worry about Donald Trump’s Fourth of July — and 1 big reason to worry” via Jeff Greenfield for POLITICO Magazine

Trump Facebook ads use models to portray actual supporters” via Bernard Condon of The Associated Press

Where Kamala Harris’s new voters came from” via Nathaniel Rakich and Laura Bronner of FiveThirtyEight

Israel trip cost taxpayers, but questions remain” via Ana Ceballos of the News Service of Florida

Jailing the mentally ill: Attorney General Moody looks for solutions” via Michael Moline of the Florida Phoenix

Women still don’t have equal rights in the Constitution. Florida could change that. It won’t.” via Daniel Figueroa IV and Romy Ellenbogen of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida’s bizarre fireworks law still in place” via Jim Rosica of Florida Politics

Scott Orsini drops out of City Council race after ‘crass’ Twitter comments” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics

Iguanas spread in Florida as climate warms: ‘They’re a menace’” via Lori Rozsa of the Washington Post

The perils of empire” via Rick Atkinson for the Washington Post

Was that a UFO in the early morning night skies over Florida? Well, it was from space” via Howard Cohen of the Miami Herald

The ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ controversy that altered the course of American music” via by Alex Ross of The New Yorker

Red, white, and boom? How fireworks came to America” via Claire Wolters of National Geographic

Quote of the Day

“Typical of the @TB_Times … Yes, net worth went up, mostly because my house (same one I’ve lived in for 5 years) went up in value and I [paid] down student loans. Also, if you had a question, most reporters would actually call and ask … but hey.” — state Rep. and future House Speaker Chris Sprowls, responding to a tweet by the Tampa Bay Times’ Michael Van Sickler, who questioned how Sprowls’ worth rose while in office.

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Wake Up Early?

State offices will be closed for the Fourth of July.

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.


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 @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704