Last Call for 12.30.19 — 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

Fifteen minutes into the last calendar year of his life, a drunken 48-year old man opened 2018 by smashing his Chevy Avalanche into a pole in rural Lake County. He died at the scene.

Forty-five minutes later, a 31-year-old woman, a passenger, died when the drunk who was driving the car crashed in Jacksonville.

Five minutes after that, a 29-year old man riding with a drunken driver died in a West Palm Beach crash.

New Year’s 2018, the most recent for which such data are available, went on like that all night long.

National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration data confirm: Wee hours of New Year’s is pretty much the deadliest time of all for crashes involving drunken drivers. [A random night in June 2018 had one more.]

As it was with the woman in Jacksonville and the man in Palm Beach, it’s not just a matter of not driving drunk, but also not riding with someone driving drunk. Consider alternatives.

“We are here to serve,” said Florida Taxicab Association board member and Mears Transportation spokesman Roger Chapin.

As are Uber and Lyft. 

AAA and Budweiser offer their free ‘Tow to Go’ program, providing tow trucks to take both people and vehicles home.

With all of them though, demand will be sky-high, so rides won’t be so timely. Patience is required.

Taxis are regulated to one rate. Ride-share drivers can charge premium fares [stated in the apps,] with the highest fares likely right after midnight.

Uber spokesman Javi Correoso also cautions: Lots of cars, legit or not, will be making rounds, and: “A lot of riders may be consuming alcohol.”

So remember to double-check the plate number, driver’s name, and car make and model.

Evening Reads

3 years in, no sign of Donald Trump’s replacement for Obamacare” via Aamer Madhani and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of The Associated Press

Florida school prayer gets new champion: Rick Scott’s former general counsel” via the News Service of Florida

Democrats wooing Latino voters in Florida are fighting back against GOP accusations of socialism” via Adriana Gomez Licon of The Associated Press

A bevy of new Florida laws go into effect New Year’s Day” via Mark Bergin for Florida Politics

2019 was a big year for cannabis in Florida. Here’s what happened and what lies ahead” via Samantha J. Gross of the Miami Herald

Florida’s insane number of license plates is costing FDOT millions” via Noah Pransky for Florida Politics

Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith says he was told to stop holding hands with his husband at the Vatican” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel

‘Sad and disgusted’: Before it was Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion, it was my school campus” via Madeleine Marr for the Miami Herald

Cars and trucks were panthers’ worst enemies in 2019” via Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times

Lime and Bird have asked to launch electric scooters in Orlando” via Ryan Gillespie of the Orlando Sentinel

Quote of the Day

“I am sure there will be some who think our holding hands was disrespectful to the Church regardless of whether or not we are legally married in our own country. To those people, I say this — imagine existing in the world and constantly being told that your existence is offensive or disrespectful to others.” — state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who was asked by Vatican officials not to hold hands with his husband while walking through St. Peter’s Square.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights

Wake Up Early?

State offices will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

On New Year’s Day, several new laws will go into effect, including one that allows law enforcement to ticket texting drivers.

Staff Reports


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