Last Call for 1.18.21 — 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

In recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried released a special episode of the FDACS Podcast featuring Desmond Meade.

Meade is the executive director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, a TIME 100 honoree, and the activist behind Amendment 4, the voting rights restoration amendment approved by nearly 65% of voters in the 2018 election.

Meade and Fried discuss what they describe as a “broken” clemency system for restoring civil and voting rights in Florida, as well as Meade’s personal journey of redemption and what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy means to him.

As a member of the Cabinet, Fried also serves on Florida’s Clemency Board. She has been a vocal critic of the state’s “crushingly restrictive” rights restoration process, through just 31 Floridians earned back voting rights since 2019 when the Governor and current Cabinet officers took office.

Under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ three predecessors, 234,000 Floridians had their rights restored.

In addition to the podcast, Fried presented a Cabinet Proclamation declaring January 18 as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Florida. A virtual ceremony featured a presentation hosted by Palm Beach Atlantic University and the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 1,550,444 FL residents (+7,877 since Sunday)

— 28,837 Non-FL residents (+125 since Sunday)


— 12,921 Travel related

— 578,619 Contact with a confirmed case

— 17,523 Both

— 941,381 Under investigation


— 68,170 in FL


— 24,657 in FL

Evening Reads

Joe Biden aims for unifying speech at daunting moment for U.S.” via Aamer Madhani of The Associated Press

Dr. Martin Luther King’s message is more important today than ever” via Marco Rubio for the Tampa Bay Times

King’s example can help fight hunger” via William Lambers for the Orlando Sentinel

Rudy Giuliani will not be part of Donald Trump’s defense in the Senate impeachment trial” via Maggie Haberman of The New York Times

FBI investigating whether woman stole laptop from Nancy Pelosi’s office to sell it to Russia” via Kyle Cheney of POLITICO

FBI warned of large-scale nationwide protests by Trump supporters, but they fail to materialize” via Patrick J. McDonnell of the Los Angeles Times

FBI moves on alleged members of extremist groups Oath Keepers, Three Percenters” via Devlin Barrett and Spencer S. Hsu of The Washington Post

‘A place to fund hope’: How Proud Boys and other fringe groups found refuge on a Christian fundraising website” via Amy Brittain and David Willman of The Washington Post

New Jersey reservist, with Navy base clearance, charged in connection to deadly Capitol riot” via David Li and Mohammed Syed of NBC News

Why rage over the 2020 election could last well past Trump” via Sabrina Tavernise of The New York Times

FBI vetting Guard troops in D.C. amid fears of insider attack” via Lolita C. Baldor of The Associated Press

The 15 most notable lies of Trump’s presidency” via Daniel Dale of CNN

Fox settled a lawsuit over its lies. But it insisted on one unusual condition.” via Ben Smith of The New York Times

A troubling new pattern among the coronavirus variants” via Sarah Zhang of The Atlantic

Single anonymous donor gives $40 million to fund 50 civil rights lawyers” via CBS News

The debt question facing Janet Yellen: How much is too much?” via Kate Davidson and Jon Hilsenrath of The Wall Street Journal

Kamala Harris tells Florida teens to ‘lead with conviction’ at MLK Jr. event” via Samantha J. Gross of the Miami Herald

We can create a Florida that is more just, more equal, and more free” via Micah Kubic of the Florida Phoenix

Rebekah Jones, state’s former COVID-19 data manager, bonds out of jail in Florida” via Lois K. Solomon of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Quote of the Day

“There really are serious crimes out there they could be investigating. I think we’ve seen that in the last few weeks. But they seem to be spending an extraordinary amount of time, effort, and resources on Rebekah Jones. It is really quite remarkable.” — Steve Dobson, attorney for Jones, a former DOH data scientist.

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