Last Call for 10.3.19 — 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

Nearly a year after Category 5 Hurricane Michael cut a swath of destruction across multiple communities in Northwest Florida, diverse leaders gathered Thursday in Tallahassee to issue an urgent plea for continued help.

There are critical needs in a regional rebuilding effort that will take years to finish, said former House Speaker Allan Bense, co-chair of REBUILD 850 and a business owner in Bay County.

“We appreciate everything that Gov. DeSantis, the Florida Legislature and our federal partners have done to help, and the leadership they’ve provided,” he said at a news conference. “Despite the help, there’s still a staggering gap between the money we need and the money that is coming our way.”

Co-Chair Will Weatherford, another former House Speaker and Bense’s son-in-law, emphasized that the storm’s widespread damage will require intense ongoing attention and assistance.

“Hurricane Michael made history as the first Category 5 to hit the U.S. mainland since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and yet there’s a sense that many in Florida have moved on,” he said. “We can’t let people forget that our fellow neighbors are hurting. We need to keep up with federal and state financial assistance and donations of dollars and volunteer time from our fellow Floridians.”

State Sen. Bill Montford, a Tallahassee Democrat, also made clear advocates for the damaged communities will not allow Northwest Florida to be forgotten: “We can’t forget that there are hardworking Floridians who are still hurting in the Panhandle, and they’re going to be rebuilding their communities for many years to come.”

Floridians outside of the Panhandle remain largely unaware of these hardships — a recent survey by the National Hurricane Survival Initiative found that most Floridians are unaware that extensive damage remains in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Michael.

Even more concerning is that the further a Florida resident is from Michael’s destruction, the less likely they are to recall that Hurricane Michael even hit the state in 2018.

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Evening Reads

Odd markings, ellipses fuel doubts about the ‘rough transcript’ of Donald Trump’s Ukraine call” via Carol D. LeonnigCraig Timberg and Drew Harwell of the Washington Post

FL lawmakers to play key roles in impeachment inquiry, and it’s not the first time” via Allison Stevens of the Florida Phoenix

Under impeachment cloud, Trump finds solace in Florida’s Republican retiree haven” via David Smiley of the Miami Herald

All Americans should support Trump impeachment inquiry. Here’s why” via Orlando Sentinel editorial board

Trump says China should investigate Bidens” via Zachary Basu of Axios

Trump’s impeachment saga stems from a political hit job gone bad” via Joshua Green of Bloomberg

Donald Trump Jr. is speaking at the University of Florida. Some aren’t happy about that” via Devoun Cetoute of the Miami Herald

Kevin McCarthy calls for Nancy Pelosi to suspend impeachment inquiry” via Alex Moe of NBC News

NRCC poll: Plurality of swing district voters oppose impeachment — but it’s close” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Casey DeSantis announces new opioid grant money, help for addicted moms” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Nikki Fried unveils sustainable energy legislative package” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Miami hosts four-day pop-up exhibit seeking ‘common ground’ on immigration” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Make it Legal Florida adult-use cannabis effort gathers 100,000 petitions in less than one-month” via Janelle Irwin of Florida Politics

Something is awry in the education world” via Diane Rado of the Florida Phoenix

Bill aims to gut Florida’s concealed carry regimen with ‘constitutional carry’” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

After spending controversy, university system tells UCF: Use leftover operating dollars for facilities” via Annie Martin of the Orlando Sentinel

Something is awry in the education world” via Diane Rado of the Florida Phoenix

Trooper Tracy Vickers, an Orlando native, remembered as leader, man of service” via Grace Toohey of the Orlando Sentinel

Quote of the Day

The Villages is “older, white, Republican as hell. In short, it’s a perfect lab for Trump and Trumpism.” — Trump critic and GOP political consultant Rick Wilson.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights

Wake Up Early?

A group of state economic forecasters that meet as the “Financial Impact Estimating Conference” will workshop a proposed state constitutional amendment, backed by the Sensible Florida political committee, to legalize the adult use of marijuana. That’s set to start at 8:30 a.m., 117 Knott Building.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell will host a “Conversation with Debbie” on local constituent issues. That’s at 9 a.m., Murray Nelson Government Center, 102050 Overseas Highway, Key Largo.

The Office of Insurance Regulation will consider a plan from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to cut the average workers’ comp insurance rate by 5.4 percent. It would be in effect as of Jan. 1. That’s set for 10 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building.

Triumph Gulf Coast’s board of directors will meet to consider funding for those affected by the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. That’s at 10:30 a.m. (Central time), in the Magaha Building, 221 Palafox Place, Pensacola.

Staff Reports


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.

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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.

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