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Last Call for 9.17.20 — 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 TaxWatch Thursday released a voter guide to help voters make sense of the constitutional amendments slated for the November ballot.

The 2020 Florida Taxpayers’ Voter Guide to Florida’s constitutional Amendments includes FTW’s positions on the half-dozen ballot amendments going before voters this fall, but it also summarizes the other side of the argument and explains each amendment’s impact in plain English.

The guide breaks down each amendment into six sections on the ballot summary, what a “yes” or “no” vote means, the arguments for and against, FTW’s analysis, the state fiscal impact, and the organization’s recommendation.

As a part of the 2020 Voter Guide, FTW also includes the full text of each proposed amendment and a notes page for voters to jot down their own thoughts on these issues and take it with them to the polls.

“The six amendments before Florida voters on this year’s ballot have the power to significantly change the way Floridians vote and amend our laws, alter how Florida’s large and small companies do business, and revise homestead property tax benefits,” Florida TaxWatch Chair and former Florida Sen. Pat Neal said.

“Each of the amendments under consideration is consequential and Florida TaxWatch is proud to again provide the in-depth analysis needed to help educate our fellow citizens in preparation for Election Day.”

Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro added, “The Florida Constitution is our state’s fundamental organic law and Florida TaxWatch strongly believes that its contents should be limited to matters that are essential to the well-being and governance of our state and its taxpayers.

“In offering this Voter Guide, we are proud to provide Florida taxpayers with the thoughtful and thorough analysis they need to make informed decisions on the issues before them. As we prepare for the 2020 general election, Florida TaxWatch encourages all voters to do their part to educate themselves on local and state ballot issues and make their voices heard with their informed vote.”

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Attorney General Ashley Moody is clawing back millions of dollars for the state from the company that processes motor vehicle crash reports purchases for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

LexisNexis Coplogic Solutions’ contract allowed them to collect a small fee for processing providing crash reports to the public at $10 apiece. The company allegedly underreported the number of reports sold, resulting in DHSMV getting shortchanged on fees.

The contract was terminated last year after a whistleblower told the state LexisNexis was pocketing DHSMV’s cut of the proceeds. An investigation revealed the company was cavalier about the scheme, too, with an internal PowerPoint describing the money “is 100% profit to us.”

LexisNexis has agreed to pay the state $10 million to resolve the allegations.

“The State of Florida trusted this private company to help Floridians access crash reports to assist them with insurance claims and other important matters that can arise following an automobile accident,” Moody said. “But instead of passing the agency fee along to the FLHSMV, millions of dollars were pocketed as corporate profits. My office will continue to hold responsible companies that seek to abuse the public’s trust in order to bolster their profits.”

FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes added, “We are thankful for Attorney General Ashley Moody’s efforts to hold LexisNexis accountable for their scheme to defraud the State of Florida.”

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 666,507 FL residents (+3,273 since Wednesday)

— 7,949 Non-FL residents (+18 since Wednesday)

Origin:

— 5,302 Travel related

— 235,317 Contact with a confirmed case

— 5,602 Both

— 420,286 Under investigation

Hospitalizations:

— 42,047 in FL

Deaths:

— 13,247 in FL

Evening Reads

Donald Trump reveled in COVID denial during last weekend at Mar-a-Lago” via Antonio Fins of the Palm Beach Post

Does Trump own the ocean?” via Christopher SpataSteve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida takes another election-eve hurricane hit. How Trump responds will matter.” via David Smiley and Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald

Gov. Ron DeSantis dismisses POLITICO’s deep-dive article about him as ‘typical false nonsense’” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Mike Bloomberg makes initial ad buy in Florida, targets Trump’s pandemic response” via Alex Roarty of McClatchy D.C.

Here are 5 questions Florida Democrats need to answer about the PPP loan controversy” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics

Jason Brodeur and his wife claimed homestead exemptions on 2 homes” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel

Florida reports 3,255 new COVID-19 cases Thursday; statewide deaths pass 13,000” via the staff of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Jobless claims down as companies face continued problems” via Jim Turner of The News Service of Florida

Florida National Guard rescues 113 as relief efforts continue in Panhandle” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

No consequences after Florida officers admit to sexually abusing inmates, lawsuit says” via Romy Ellenbogen of the Tampa Bay Times

Quote of the Day

“A Governor or President can have all sorts of policy issues, but it’s how they handle disasters that gets them remembered — either in good or bad ways.” — Ron Sachs, a spokesman for Rebuild 850, asked about the political impact of Hurricane Sally.

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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, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
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