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Last Call for 7.1.20 — 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

Florida’s ports are looking for ways to get commerce flowing again, and working to boost trade with Mexico could be the spark they’re looking for.

This week, the Florida Ports Council and the Puertos y Marina Mercante held the first meeting of the Florida/Mexico Working Group, which was formed to identify issues, opportunities, and challenges in strengthening international commerce at all Florida seaports.

The tête-à-tête was long in the making. Representatives from FPC ports, Enterprise Florida and World Trade Center Miami traveled to Mexico a year ago, and Mexican port officials came to the Sunshine State in November to hammer out the details of the working group.

“The establishment of the working group, proposed in the Letter of Intent signed by the Merchant Marine and the Florida Ports Council last November, is an example of the commitment and interest of both parties to make this relationship an axis of trade and investment between Mexico and the United States,” said Mexico in Miami Consul General Jonathan Chiat Auerbach, who helped schedule meetings for the delegation when they visited Mexico.

The group’s first meeting also comes at an opportune time — the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement went into effect today.

“Mexico has long been one of Florida’s strongest trading partners, but we see substantial opportunities for growth in bilateral waterborne trade,” FPC President and CRO Doug Wheeler said. “The Letter of Intent that was signed in November by Florida and the Mexican gulf ports was just the first step in this process, and the meeting of the working group this week furthered our commitment to pursue benefits and solutions an all-water route will provide.”

Puertos y Marina Mercante coordinator Héctor López Gutiérrez added, “For Mexico, sea routes including cabotage service and short-distance navigation are very important … for the ports of Florida and Central America, with which we have already started a new route, a very important panorama of development of intermodal chains has opened up and is convenient for all the countries that are involved. It helps to solve many of the problems that currently appear in the mentioned chains.

“So, I hope that the integration of the working group and the participation of the ports and agencies that participate will make it a very successful project, we could even say exemplary, in regards to national and international trade.”

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 156,288 FL residents (+6,507 since Tuesday)

— 2,709 Non-FL residents (+56 since Tuesday)

Origin:

— 2,527 Travel related

— 53,823 Contact with a confirmed case

— 2,483 Both

— 97,455 Under investigation

Hospitalizations:

— 14,825 in FL

Deaths:

— 3,650 in FL

Unemployment numbers

As of Tuesday:

Total claims: 2,787,054

— Confirmed unique claims: 2,569,304

— Claim verification queue: 187,363

— Claims processed: 2,381,941

— Claims paid: 1,604,550 (+19,975 since Monday)

Total paid out: $8.32 billion (+$60 million since Monday)

Evening Reads

Donald Trump: Black Lives Matter is a ‘symbol of hate’” via Max Cohen of POLITICO

The ‘rocket ship’ economic recovery is crashing via Jim Tankersley and Ben Casselman of The New York Times

Marco Rubio, Rick Scott howl at Hong Kong crackdown via AG Gancarski of Florida Politics

Inside Moderna: The COVID vaccine front-runner with no track record and an unsparing CEO via Peter Loftus and Gregory Zuckerman of The Wall Street Journal

“‘Cries for help’: Drug overdoses are soaring during the coronavirus pandemic via William Wan and Heather Long of The Washington Post

When proof is not enough via Mimi Onuoha of FiveThirtyEight

Ron DeSantis’ silence on masks betrays military lesson: Protect yourself via Philip Levine for the Orlando Sentinel

DeSantis, on Fourth of July coronavirus risk: ‘take some small precautions’” via Kirby Wilson of the Tampa Bay Times

Dem lawmakers increasingly frustrated with Gov. DeSantis’ timing on foreclosure/eviction moratorium via Michael Moline of the Florida Phoenix

RNC chair Ronna McDaniel insists Jacksonville convention will be ‘safe and healthy’ after city mandates masks via Talia Kaplan of Fox News

As Central Florida testing increases again, so do COVID-19 cases via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Jackson Health to halt elective surgeries as South Florida adds nearly 2K more COVID-19 cases via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Miami-Dade to limit access to restaurants, hotels as July Fourth weekend nears via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Southwest Florida sees further rise in COVID-19 caseload via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Court clears way for case against Parkland school monitor via Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida

A push to make Black history classes a college graduation requirement in FL is mostly talk but no action via Isaac Morgan of the Florida Phoenix

Hollywood and the police: A deep, complicated and now strained relationship via Tatiana Siegel of The Hollywood Reporter

Quote of the Day

“Doing things outdoors in Florida is less risky than doing things where you’re packed indoors. By and large, the virus does not like sunshine, heat and humidity. I think every study has shown that.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, recommending Floridians celebrate 4th of July at the beach.

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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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