Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.
First, a quick note: It’s Christmas in October for Florida politics fans. The latest campaign finance reports are due tomorrow to the state’s Division of Elections.
Representatives of the Seminole Tribe and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) met last week, but there was no easing of tensions between the sides.
In May, the Tribe stopped paying the state millions each month from its casino gambling revenue.
That’s money that could help pay for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal, announced this week, to raise starting teachers’ salaries to $47,500 a year (though there’s still some question whether Tallahassee — and not local school boards — can change teacher pay).
The state had promised, as a result of a 2016 lawsuit over blackjack, that regulators would “aggressively enforce” the Tribe’s exclusive rights to offer the popular card game in Florida.
It didn’t, said outside counsel Barry Richard. The meeting is provided for in the Seminole Compact, Richard said, referring to the 2010 gambling agreement between the state and Tribe.
He was unaware of any breakthrough in getting the Tribe back to the negotiating table: “The Tribe is certainly willing to listen to whatever anybody has to say, but it will not resume payments until a new deal is inked,” Richard told Last Call on Wednesday.
DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears did not attend the meeting, Richard added. Requests for further comment were pending as of late Wednesday with spokespeople for DBPR and the Tribe.
The Seminoles had paid $19.5 million monthly, with the occasional balloon — or “true-up” — payments. For example, they kicked in a total of nearly $320.7 million in the 2017-18 fiscal year, according to state records.
To date, the arrangement has been worth over $2.3 billion to state coffers.
As Richard previously explained, “If the state stops the infringement, then the Tribe is obligated to resume payments.”
“Six things to know about the U.S. Census and Florida” via Amy Keller of Florida Trend
“Matt Gaetz turns Trump support into recognition” via Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press
“Democrats call for Venezuelan TPS, see chance to woo Florida voters” via Abraham Mahshie for the Palm Beach Post
“Contributions to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ PAC slowed during September” via Michael Moline of the Florida Phoenix
“State ponders workers’ comp rate cut” via Christine Sexton of the News Service of Florida
“Did Port Richey turn a corner just to get mugged by legislator?” via C.T. Bowen of the Tampa Bay Times
Quote of the Day
“If you eliminate all legal reasons to arrest people differently, and you still find that black offenders are more likely to be arrested than white offenders, what you’re left with is bias and discrimination.” — Marin Wenger, assistant professor in the FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, on a new study she co-authored based on FBI data.
Bill Day’s Latest
Wake Up Early?
The Office of Insurance Regulation meets to consider proposed rules on a variety of issues. That’s at 9:30 a.m., Larson Building, Room 116, 200 E. Gaines St., Tallahassee.
The Florida Supreme Court releases its weekly opinions at 11 a.m.
GOP Congressman Mike Waltz speaks to the Tiger Bay Club of Volusia County at noon, LPGA Clubhouse, 1000 Champions Dr., Daytona Beach.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is set to issue its initial forecast of the 2019-20 citrus growing season at noon.
Should Florida ratify the Equal Rights Amendment? That’s the question before the Tampa Tiger Bay Club’s next panel discussion. That’s at noon, DoubleTree Airport Westshore, 4500 W. Cypress St., Tampa.