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Last Call for 12.2.19 — 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

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s crusade to address China’s mass oppression of the Uyghur ethnic minority in western China may be about to score a major Congressional victory.

Rubio is sponsor of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, S 178, which was approved by the Senate in September. The House version, HR 649, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith, a New Jersey Republican, is on the verge of passage Tuesday.

The bills address U.S. response to China’s mass internment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims for “political re-education” in the Xinjiang region and intimidation of Uyghur refugees abroad, including those in the United States.

Both bills have broad bases of bipartisan support. Cosponsors of the House version have included Republican U.S. Reps. Ted Yoho and Brian Mast, and Democratic U.S. Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Ted Deutch, Donna Shalala and Alcee Hastings.

It’s unclear if President Donald Trump intends to sign the bill, should it pass the House.

“It’s long overdue for the United States to hold Chincese government and Communist Party officials accountable for the systemic and egregious human rights abuses and probable crimes against humanity in Xinjiang,” Rubio declared earlier.

Evening Reads

Steve Bullock drops out of 2020 presidential race” via Reid Epstein and  of the New York Times

Nikki Fried, Florida’s lone statewide Democrat, sparks up state’s hemp industry” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel

Russell Weigel named Office of Financial Regulation chief” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

Florida not stopping on-shore oil drilling” via Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times

Loans now available to Florida small businesses hurt by Hurricane Dorian” via Marcia Pounds of the Sun Sentinel

Noah Valenstein highlights ‘huge issue’ of sea level rise during Florida Taxwatch talk” via Ryan Nicols of Florida Politics

Florida lags on Fortune 500 companies … quite badly” via Scott Maxwell of Orlando Sentinel

Tourism is all grown up now; it doesn’t need Visit Florida’s help to flourish” via Orlando Sentinel editorial board

New higher-speed Florida train has highest US death rate” via Terry Spencer of the Associated Press

Neil Combee files for Polk County Commission” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics

Martin Hyde may not quit Sarasota campaign after allegation of racist comment” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

UCF will open campus to electric scooters for rent” via Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel

Patriotism is the theme of Christmas at the White House” via the Associated Press

Quote of the Day

“What has come across our southern border in some months has been the equivalent of the U.S. presence in the D-Day invasion. And that’s literally true. That’s how many people have come across our southern border in one month.” — U.S. Rep. Brian Mast during a speech at Florida TaxWatch’s 40th annual meeting in Palm Beach.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights

Wake Up Early?

Florida TaxWatch’s annual meeting enters its second day in Palm Beach. The agenda includes talks from former Attorney General Bill McCollum, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux and former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp. The slate begins at 8 am. at The Breakers, 1 South County Road.

The Governor and Cabinet will meet to discuss land conservation purchases in DeSoto and Dixie counties. The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. at the Cabinet meeting room in the Capitol.

The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments on a proposed constitutional amendment that would open partisan primaries to all voters, regardless of their party affiliation. The hearing begins at 9 a.m. at the Florida Supreme Court building, 500 South Duval St.

A federal judge will hear arguments in a case challenging the Legislature’s implementation of the successful ballot amendment to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. at the United States Courthouse, 111 North Adams St. in Tallahassee.

The Demographic Estimating Conference will meet to discuss its forecast at 1:30 p.m. in the Knott Building at the Capitol.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried will hold a town hall meeting to discuss clemency and voting rights restoration, concealed weapons laws, and nutrition and wellness initiatives. That’s at 6 p.m. at the New Mt. Zion AME Church, 1401 Old Bainbridge Road, Tallahassee.

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