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Last Call for 1.8.20 — 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

An insurance assurance too far?

Democratic state Sen. Annette Taddeo feels that way, after hearing Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier assure the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee in September that there was general satisfaction in the way Florida’s insurance companies were serving hurricane victims.

That’s when the Democrat from Miami decided something was very wrong.

Because that’s not what she was hearing from people, from constituents still waiting on claims from Hurricane Irma of 2017, or from people like Republican former House Speaker Allan Bense, who has been banging the drum for more response to victims of Hurricane Michael of 2018.

Time for a change, Taddeo said. Time for a return to an elected, Cabinet-level Insurance Commissioner in Florida, a state where insurance can commonly be a far more prominent part of anyone’s lives than in most states.

Time, she said, for a commissioner who sounds like he or she is representing the citizens, not the insurance companies.

On Monday, Taddeo filed Senate Joint Resolution 1460, which would put a constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot to make Insurance Commissioner a statewide elected Cabinet official, as it was until 2003.

“It’s been extremely frustrating,” Taddeo said. “When you have our Insurance Commission say, and I’m going to quote, he hasn’t seen ‘even an instance’” of illegally delayed claims.

Taddeo was stunned. And she might not have been alone, as suggested when Republican state Sen. Tom Lee, after hearing Altmaier, pressed, “What do you think is your role?” and then, “Do we have an insurance [consumer] advocate?”

“I think by having it back as an elected position, you have somebody who has to respond to the citizens every time they have to get reelected, or elected,” Taddeo said. “Until we get back to that, I don’t think anything’s going to change.”

Evening Reads

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle ‘to step back’ as senior members of Royal Family” via The Associated Press

Mike Pence’s Tampa Bay visit moved to new venue” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Progressives play whack-a-Joe with Biden” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO

Did you get a text from an unknown number? It might be Bernie Sanders’ campaign” via Emily Cadei of the Miami Herald

Marco Rubio emerges as Donald Trump’s top defender on Iran” via Steve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times

Anna Eskamani: Remembering family in Iran, and hoping to avoid war” for the Orlando Sentinel

Ron DeSantis drives agenda as lawmakers take on teacher pay, abortion, school safety and more in 2020 Session” via Gray Rohrer and Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel

Florida set to create some of the most restrictive barriers in the nation for teens seeking abortions” via Lloyd Dunkelberger of the Florida Phoenix

Teachers to ‘Take on Tallahassee’ with a march on the Capitol on eve of 2020 Session” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat

Here are the Florida congressional candidates pushing wildly stupid QAnon conspiracy theories” via Colin Wolf of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay

Florida regulatory agency lawyer fired after child porn arrest” via Jeff Burlew of the Tallahassee Democrat

Comments to state leaders about tourism resonate in Sarasota County” via Virginia Haley for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Quote of the Day

“Whatever the company asked Andy to do, he would do it willingly and well … with good cheer and great confidence.” — Times Publishing Co. CEO Paul Tash on Andy Corty’s retirement announcement.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights

Wake Up Early?

The Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce will discuss their priorities for the 2020 Legislative Session during a breakfast meeting at the Halifax River Yacht Club in Daytona Beach. That’s at 7:30 a.m.

The Education Estimating Conference will analyze enrollment data for the state’s K-12 schools. That’s at 9 a.m. in the Knott Building.

Florida Chamber of Commerce economist Jerry Parrish will livestream the Chamber’s 2020 outlook on the state economy. That’s at 10 a.m.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez will participate in Spirit Airlines’ headquarters groundbreaking ceremony. That’s at 10:30 a.m., 1757 North Pointe Dr., Dania Beach.

DNC Chair Tom Perez and Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo will gather with Florida Latino leaders to highlight Democrats’ health care plans and protest the “broken promises” of President Donald Trump. That’s at 10:45 a.m.,  Floor Conference Room of the Borinquen Medical Center, 3601 Federal Highway, Miami.

The Florida Department of Transportation will discuss a proposed toll road expansion connecting Polk and Collier counties during an open house event in Bartow. That’s at 5:30 p.m. at the W.H. Stuart Conference Center, 1710 U.S. 17 South.

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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, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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