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Last Call for 6.29.20 — 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

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision Monday that, similar to the recent ruling on LGBTQ workplace protections, was a surprise given the conservative bent of recent additions to the high court.

In a 5-4 ruling, SCOTUS struck down a Louisiana law that required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

While proponents argue the law protects the health of women who seek abortions, opponents say it creates a roadblock to abortion access. The court agreed with the latter opinion.

The Louisiana law has been put forward in many states, including Florida, which passed a law with a similar provision in 2016.

Texas had such a law as well, and it too went before the Supreme Court in 2013. Just as in the Louisiana case, the court voted to overturn the Texas law, though Chief Justice John Roberts flipped from his 2013 position in Monday’s ruling citing precedent.

Abortion-rights activists cheered the decisionboth nationally and in the Sunshine State.

“The Supreme Court just sent a resounding message to politicians all across the country: Stop trying to make abortion inaccessible,” said Stephanie Fraim, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. “Today’s ruling affirms yet again that abortion care is essential care and is protected under the U.S. Constitution.”

Orlando Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani, who worked for Planned Parenthood before becoming a lawmaker, also praised the ruling.

“The Court’s decision means that people in Louisiana will continue to have access to abortion care. Four years ago the Supreme Court held admitting privileges laws unconstitutional and, the Court stepped in — yet again — to block this clinic shutdown law,” she said.

“We must remain vigilant for reproductive health, rights and justice. We must focus our energy on advancing a future where people can access an abortion when they need it with love and support — not shame and judgment. Now is the time to work together to build the world where each one of us has the power, resources and support to care for ourselves, our families, and our communities.

Miami-Dade Mayoral candidate and county commissioner Daniella Levine Cava also issued a statement: “For almost 50 years, states around the country have tried to limit women’s access to health care and their reproductive rights. Today’s decision is a reaffirmation of these rights and an important victory for health care advocates and women around the country and I proudly applaud it.”


After slashing $1 billion in spending, Gov. Ron DeSantis gave his signature the 2020-21 budget Monday.

The vetoes ranged from sturgeon farm and beef marketing cash to “Universities of Distinction” and guardian program funding. But most of them had one thing in common: They appeared on Florida TaxWatch’s 2020 Budget Turkey Watch Report.

Coincidence or not, FTW President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro praised the Governor for signing a spending plan that tracked closely with the watchdog’s recommendations.

“Today, we are proud that Gov. DeSantis has heeded TaxWatch’s proposals and vetoed more than $1 billion from the FY2020-21 budget, including vetoing 81%, or 146 of the 180 projects and budget items identified by FTW as Budget Turkeys. The Governor also vetoed 518 member projects cutting more than $264 million from the budget,” Calabro said in a news release.

Calabro also pointed to flagging state revenues as proof the vetoes were justified.

“The May General Revenue collections report from the Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) showed declines in revenue incomes for the second straight month, placing Florida down nearly $1.5 billion below estimates year to date. These losses underscore the need to resist complacency, double down on our resolve to defeat COVID-19, and continue to create and implement innovative solutions that ensure enduring fiscal accountability and strength for the Sunshine State,” he said.

“Just as we have for the past 40 years, FTW will continue to work tirelessly with state and local leaders on fiscal policy recommendations in the days, weeks and months ahead. Today’s vetoes from Gov. DeSantis are a measured and thoughtful approach and we thank him, his administration, and the countless officials who are working to guide Florida forward and help us emerge from this historical challenge stronger than ever before.”

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 143,805 FL residents (+2,730 since Sunday)

— 2,536 Non-FL residents (+28 since Sunday)


— 2,481 Travel related

— 50,522 Contact with a confirmed case

— 2,443 Both

— 88,359 Under investigation


— 14,354 in FL


— 3,546 in FL

Unemployment numbers

As of Sunday:

Claims submitted: 2,732,868

— Confirmed unique claims: 2,523,951

— Claims processed: 2,360,433

— Claims paid: 1,584,572 (+26,174 since Thursday)

Total paid out: $8.19 billion (+$430 million since Thursday)

Evening Reads

This coronavirus mutation has taken over the world. Scientists are trying to understand why.” via Sarah Kaplan and Joel Achenbach of The Washington Post

Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana abortion law” via Sam Baker of Axios

A Sun Belt time bomb threatens Trump’s reelection” via Natasha Korecki, Marc Caputo of POLITICO

Jacksonville to order mask-wearing ahead of GOP convention” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO

Drop in Orlando area new COVID-19 cases driven by fewer tests” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

‘Circumstances have changed’: Gov. Ron DeSantis approves slimmer $92.2 billion Florida budget” via Lawrence Mower and Mary Ellen Klas of the Tampa Bay Times

House budget chair Travis Cummings backs Governor’s veto decisions” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Big win for Florida state workers as pay raise survives Governor’s veto, coronavirus cuts” via Jeff Schweers of the Tallahassee Democrat

Florida housing trust fund survives COVID-19 budget slash” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

DeSantis vetos water projects in 2020-21 state budget” via Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida

DeSantis axes $21M for downtown St. Pete office to house 2nd District Court of Appeals” via Janelle Irwin of Florida Politics

Education funding vetoes hit Southwest Florida, including in Bill Galvano’s district” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Broward Sheriff’s Office loses out on $500K for Real Time Crime Center expansion thanks to budget cuts” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Be racist or be dumb. But don’t be both — and definitely not in public” via Carl Hiaasen of the Miami Herald

This history isn’t worth preserving” via Diane Roberts of The Florida Phoenix

Florida gas prices stall on COVID-19 fears, could drop soon” via Drew Dixon of Florida Politics

Georgia fires back in Florida in water war” via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida

Quote of the Day

“We are the beneficiaries of good decisions made by past Legislatures and Governors to spend within our means. Gov. DeSantis continues in that tradition and I believe we are better off for it in the present and the people of Florida will reap the benefits of this sustainable budgeting well into the future.” — House Speaker José Oliva, on Gov. Ron DeSantis veto list.

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