Last Call for 4.23.20 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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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

Floridians struggling to make ends meet walk to their mailboxes daily hoping that the mail carrier has delivered their stimulus check.

As many as 35,000 Floridians were given false hope when they rifled through their mail and found a $3,000 check claiming to be from the federal government.

It wasn’t. It was from a Bushnell car dealer promoting a tent sale.

Outlandish mailers from car dealerships aren’t rare — flyers posing as scratch-off tickets or promising gift cards and cash prizes find their way into mailboxes regularly.

But to Attorney General Ashley Moody a phony stimulus check is a bridge too far.

“This type of deceptive marketing is completely unacceptable and is even more outrageous during these challenging times. These marketing ploys prey on people’s desperate anticipation of stimulus assistance and falsely suggest that there is government stimulus funding for auto purchases,” she said.

On Thursday, her office filed a complaint and a motion for a temporary injunction against the dealer, MK Automotive, and the Tampa-based advertising agency behind the mailers, Traffic Jam Events. The dealership said it will cooperate in the Attorney General’s investigation.

Moody also issued a warning to others thinking about impersonating the government to lure customers.

“These misleading practices will not be tolerated, and if anyone tries to take advantage of this crisis and the legitimate financial assistance available for those in need, my office will hold you accountable,” she said.

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The National Federation of Independent Business issued a 10-part recommendation to the Re-Open Florida Task Force to ensure local businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Small business is critical to our economy,” NFIB State Executive Director Bill Herrle said.

Some of the federation’s recommendations include opening small and large businesses at the same time and not to differentiate between essential and nonessential businesses.

Both Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Federation have suggested no job is nonessential.

The plan also asks for a Sales and Bed Tax Holiday for small businesses and to suspend estimated sales tax payments.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 28,843 FL residents (+800 since 10 a.m. Thursday) 

— 805 Non-FL residents (+6 since 10 a.m.Thursday) 

Origin:

— 1,667 Travel related

— 9,096 Contact with a confirmed case

— 1,447 Both

— 16,633 Under investigation

Hospitalizations:

— 4,640 in FL

Deaths:

— 987 in FL

Evening Reads

Unemployment claims top 26M 5 weeks into pandemic” via Rebecca Rainey of POLITICO

Post-coronavirus business operations may look different in California versus Florida” via Katy Murphy of POLITICO

Coronavirus Florida: Curve-flattening proves stay-at-home policies work, experts say” via Jeff Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat

‘Florida is a terrible state to be an unemployed person’” via Patricia Mazzei and  of The New York Times

As coronavirus batters the economy, Florida leaders may have to slash budget” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel

‘Improper’ stimulus payments from IRS rattle Rick Scott” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Gov. Ron DeSantis: Elective surgeries will be back soon” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Re-Open Florida Task Force assesses the damages of a crippled agriculture industry” via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics

“Re-Open Florida: Education, manufacturing working group talks precautions” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Florida House Democrats call for Special Session” via Gary Fineout of POLITICO Florida

A lot of mojo: Employer of Florida congresswoman’s husband got $10M in COVID relief” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Miami-Dade County misses out on 1 million N95 masks when feds scoop up shipment” via Doug Hanks of the Miami Herald

Jacksonville looks at $1,000 relief grants for residents” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Cost impact misleading, All Voters Vote group claims in lawsuit against state” via Jeff Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat

Alan Grayson files to run in CD 6 just to mess with Michael Waltz’s franking” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

JEA receives federal grand jury subpoena” via Christopher Hong of The Florida Times-Union

Quote of the Day

“We have to make decisions based on what is the right and good thing for this state. You should keep the Executive Order in place through May 8. We can start May 9.” — Tampa General Hospital CEO John Couris, on resuming elective surgeries.

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

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