Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.
Could a new approach get Florida out of its gambling mess?
State Rep. Scott Plakon thinks maybe yes. The Longwood Republican filed a member bill that looks at the competing landscape, between the Seminole Tribe and the pari-mutuel tracks offering various casino games, not as a growing problem, but a potentially shrinking one.
What if the state offered to buy out those tracks, if they’re willing? he wondered.
“The pari-mutuel industry as a whole has been declining for many years. So what they’re basically doing is selling a product that people want less and less, and then hiring lobbyists to go to the Legislature and asking to sell new products. So rather than just keep doing that, like “Groundhog Day,” I’m just offering some potential ideas on how to solve the problem,” he said.
In authorizing the game rooms, Plakon charged, the state essentially traded $350 million in annual gambling revenue now being withheld by an angry Seminole tribe for the $8 million or so it gets from the other 20 or so much smaller operations.
HB 1195 would set up a pari-mutuel buyout fund, fueled by a small percentage of the Seminoles’ payments to the state, under a new compact he thinks the tribe would go for because of incentives to get competitors to quit the game. The track owners could be incentivized to redevelop.
He offers, as a poster child, the track in his hometown, the Sanford Orlando Kennel Club. The owners put most of the land up for sale and have received offers much higher than their list price. The city now expects a big mixed-use development in a stagnant part of town.
Win-win-win-win-win, Plakon suggested.
“’He Is Our O.J.’” via John Harris of POLITICO magazine
“DNC chair kicks off ‘battleground’ tour with Latino-focused health care talk in Miami” via Samantha Gross of the Miami Herald
“Florida Supreme Court rejects ‘energy choice’ idea” via Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times
“In Florida, homeowners come for the weather and stay for the tax relief” via Beth DeCarbo of Wall Street Journal
“Here’s why Florida knows more about its drug-overdose deaths than the feds” via Ben Conarck of the Miami Herald
“High school graduation rate shows slight improvement” via Andrew Atterbury of POLITICO Florida
“Chris Sprowls focuses on use of genetic information” via News Service of Florida
“PIP repeal to get serious consideration in 2020 Session” via Sarah Mueller of Florida Politics
“Matt Carlucci calls on Mayor Lenny Curry’s top administrator to resign” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union
“Joe Abruzzo sues Tampa Bay Times for libel, defamation” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics
“37 pressing questions about Harry and Meghan’s Royal Family exit” via of The Ringer
Quote of the Day
“Well shit … “ — Citizens for Energy Choices Chair Alex Patton, following the Florida Supreme Court decision to toss the “energy choice” amendment from the 2020 ballot.
Bill Day’s Latest
Wake Up Early?
The Revenue Estimating Conference will examine the financial impact of several pieces of legislation filed for the 2020 Legislative Session. That’s at 9 a.m. in the Knott Building.
The “2020 Python Bowl” begins. Hunters will descend on the Everglades for the competition, aimed at reducing the number of invasive Burmese pythons in the state. That’s at 10 a.m. and the competition runs through Jan. 25.
Medical marijuana company Trulieve will hold a grand opening for its 43rd dispensary in Florida. That’s at 10 a.m. at the new Fort Walton Beach store, located at 418 Mary Esther Cut Off NW.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release an updated forecast on citrus production for the 2019-20 season. That’s at noon. The call-in number is 1-855-384-4184. The conference code is 6486013.
Campaign finance reports covering December face a deadline for political parties, committees, and candidates for state office. That’s at midnight.