Last Call for 1.26.21 — 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

On Tuesday, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis told Florida Sheriffs he would back the anti-riot legislation favored by Gov. Ron DeSantis and do everything in his power to quash efforts to “defund the police.”

“Like any small business, state government must streamline and right-size services to meet its obligations to the taxpayers, but we shouldn’t do it on the backs of law enforcement. That’s why next Session, I vow to fight against anything that would defund or hurt police,” Patronis said to attendees at the Florida Sheriffs Association 2021 Winter Conference in Ponte Vedra.

The CFO also formally endorsed the “Combating Violence, Disorder Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act.” The controversial bill would increase penalties for violent protests. It would also make it more difficult for local governments to cut law enforcement budgets. 

The legislation has been in the works since the summer when mostly peaceful protests broke out across the country in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hand of a Minneapolis police officer.

“I may not have a vote in the legislature anymore, but I have a microphone like this one, and I plan to use it,” said Patronis, who served as a state Representative before becoming CFO.

Patronis also lamented “anti-law enforcement culture,” singling out Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani for her opposition to a proposed budget increase for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 1,637,296 FL residents (+9,466 since Monday)

— 30,467 Non-FL residents (+128 since Monday)


— 13,521 Travel related

— 612,805 Contact with a confirmed case

— 18,377 Both

— 992,593 Under investigation


— 70,802 in FL


— 26,080 in FL

Evening Reads

Senate confirms Antony Blinken as 71st Secretary of State” via The Associated Press

Marco Rubio, Rick Scott vote to declare Donald Trump impeachment trial as unconstitutional” via Alex Daugherty of The Miami Herald

Ron DeSantis and White House feud over held-back COVID-19 vaccines, but the actual policy remains unclear” via The Orlando Sentinel

Top House staffer Mat Bahl shuns the spotlight, but wields more influence than most lawmakers” via Brian Burgess of The Capitolist

Florida GOP to sidestep major mail-in voting changes, bucking national Republicans” via Gary Fineout of POLITICO

GOP lawmakers target big tech after Trump ban” via The News Service of Florida

Senate bill would expand Florida school vouchers” via Ana Ceballos and David Smiley of the Herald/Times

Bill to certify victims of reform school abuse progresses beyond last year’s roadblock” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics

Cellphone search protection bill clears first Senate committee” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics

Senate panel wants to reduce restrictions on craft distillers” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Loranne Ausley says she was exposed to COVID-19 by maskless Jason Shoaf; both can’t be certain” via James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat

Duval School Board petitions DeSantis for priority access to vaccine for educators” via Emily Bloch of the Florida Times-Union

Quote of the Day

“We’re not going to divert second doses away from seniors. Seniors want it; we’re going to do it. … And if the White House is suggesting that we shouldn’t be doing that, I think that’s not a good suggestion.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, firing back after the White House said Florida only used half its vaccine shipments.

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