Last Call for 3.24.20 — 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

As Congress works on a deal to send relief to the people and businesses struggling through the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz wants to ensure all stimulus funds help U.S. companies — not Chinese ones. His proposal, the “No CHINA Act,” would bar any money from heading to companies owned by the Chinese government.

The measure would allow President Donald Trump to waive the restriction on a case-by-case basis if the funding is in the best interest of national security.

“Every single American worker displaced by COVID-19 should be fully compensated before one nickel from our treasury goes to Chinese-owned corporations operating here in the United States. Full stop,” the Northwest Florida Republican said.


Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried joined the Federal Trade Commission in warning Floridians about coronavirus scams, which have spiked as the disease has spread throughout the country.

“Especially during these difficult and uncertain times, we have zero tolerance for scammers who would take advantage of Floridians,” Fried said. “As the state agency regulating charities, we are cracking down on anyone who misleads or deceives Floridians during our collective time of need.”

Fried said the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has received 41 complaints on coronavirus scams since February, most of them related to travel and lodging cancellations. She also warned of websites selling phony products and emerging scams related to stimulus checks the federal government may send to American taxpayers.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 1,379 FL residents (+ 49 since 11 a.m. Tuesday)

— 88 Non-FL residents (+ 6 since 11 a.m. Tuesday)


— 277 Travel related

— 267 Contact with a confirmed case

— 190 Both

— 733 Under investigation


— 20 in FL

Evening Reads

India announces nationwide lockdown to stop spread of coronavirus” via Axios

President Donald Trump’s job approval rating up to 49%” via Jeffrey Jones for Gallup

Trump wants ‘the country opened,’ but easing coronavirus restrictions now would be disastrous, experts say” via The Washington Post

Trump will use Defense Production Act to secure thousands of test kits” via Quint Forgey, Sarah Owermohle and Megan Cassella of POLITICO

Before Trump called for reevaluating lockdowns, they shuttered six of his top-earning clubs and resorts” via David Fahrenthold, Joshua Partlow and Jonathan O’Connell of The Washington Post

Floridians 65 and older urged to stay home for 14 days” via WFLA Channel 8

Travelers from NYC must self-isolate for 3 weeks, list contacts, Ron DeSantis says” via Samantha Gross of the Miami Herald

‘Dumbest s—’: Ron DeSantis takes heat as he goes his own way on coronavirus” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

Florida’s budget to take big hit as sales taxes collapse” via Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel

An employee at a Florida prison has tested positive for coronavirus, officials say” via Michelle Marchante of the Miami Herald

Baby boy, 2-year-old girl test positive for coronavirus in Broward, officials say” via Michelle Marchante of the Miami Herald

Immigration agent at Miami International Airport tests positive for COVID-19” via Monique Madan of the Miami Herald

Jane Castor will issue a stay-at-home order for Tampa” via Janelle Irwin of Florida Politics

Rick Kriseman holds off on stay-at-home order as he hopes for a regional approach” via Janelle Irwin of Florida Politics

Welcome to Orlando. You’re from New York? Come with us” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Orlando’s Ritz-Carlton closing for two months” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Chip LaMarca tells cruise ship with 42 ailing passengers to stay away from Port Everglades” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Hundreds laid off as 2 Manatee employers shut down operations” via the Herald-Tribune

Florida woman yells “Go Donald Trump!” after buying out store’s toilet paper” via Manuel Madrid of the Broward New Times

Quote of the Day

“If you’re doing a big block party in California during a lockdown, wouldn’t it be better to just go to work? I mean, you’re probably going to transmit the virus less in the office than you are with a bunch of drunk idiots.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, on those who aren’t taking “social distancing” seriously.

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Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Jesse Scheckner, Scott Powers, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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