Takeaways from Tallahassee — The C-word: ‘Compromise’

Blue Tally Takeaways (5)
Is political compromise even possible anymore? FSU seeks to find out.

The C-word: ‘Compromise’

Republicans. Democrats. Independents. RINOs. Centrists. Socialists. Trumpsters. Libertarians. The Squad. Neo-Cons. Progressives. Populists. Greens. Conservatives. Globalists. Nationalists. Blue Dogs. Nativists.

In these days of polarized, paralyzed politics in Congress, it’s easy for legislators to slap a label on themselves — or have it slapped on them — to define a seemingly rock-solid, never-budging position on issues.

For the past 10 years, the nonprofit think tank No Labels has sought out lawmakers willing to shed the zero-sum thinking and reach out to others on the opposite side of the political spectrum to find common ground and — gasp — seek compromise.

“You’ve got to come to the center, treat each other civilly, talk about issues and negotiate compromise. Not on your ethics, but take a little less than everything you want,” said Joe Leiberman, former independent U.S. Senator from Connecticut, 2000 Democratic vice presidential candidate, and now co-chair of No Labels.

He was one of a trio of people affiliated with No Labels discussing the organization’s philosophy as part of Thursday’s webcast hosted by the Institute of Politics at Florida State University. Moderating was lobbyist Al Cardenas, GOP state chairman during the 2000 recount that included candidate Leiberman, and contributing was No Labels Co-Executive Director Margaret White.

During the discussion, White highlighted a recent visit to the Mexican border by House Problem Solvers Caucus members, inspired by No Labels. The caucus includes 58 House members, evenly divided between the parties. Immigration is one issue where the panelists said compromise is possible.

“They didn’t go down looking for political press or any kind of glitz and glamour. … They were there and paying attention,” she said. “They went to see and understand (the issue) firsthand, together, side by side, Republicans and Democrats.”

Now, “they’re doing the really hard, roll-up-your-sleeves work of figuring out exactly which pieces they can get agreement on,” she continued. “They know they’re never going to get 100% agreement on everything, but if they can find that 70, 80% where they can align, that’s the bill they’re going to bring to the White House and begin working.”

The group agreed another area that could be ripe for interparty cooperation is infrastructure.

“The House Problem Solvers (and) the Senate, Common Sense Coalition are focused on infrastructure and then immigration. And both of these should be capable of being solved in a bipartisan way,” Leiberman said.

He praised Joe Biden’s spirit of bipartisanship when they served in the Senate, but would counsel the President to resist the temptation to push major reforms to pass them before the 2022 election.

“You can rush to get a lot done quickly in your first two years as president and then lose control of Congress,” Leiberman said. “I saw this happened most recently with President Obama in 2010. I think the best road ahead for getting things done that last is because they’re bipartisan, and also giving the Democrats a chance to win.”

No Labels was founded 10 years ago by CEO Nancy Jacobson. Lieberman and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican and an FSU graduate, are its co-chairmen.

No Labels was in the news this week after hiring disgraced political commentator Mark Halperin as a consultant caused controversy within its ranks because of the multiple accusations of inappropriate sexual conduct that came to light in 2017. The Washington Post reported Thursday that after the announcement of Halperin’s appointment, one staffer threatened to quit, and two others took paid leave to “(work) through how they feel about this.”

To watch the webcast, click on the image below:

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Coming up, the usual assortment of tidbits, leftovers and not-ready-for-prime-time moments by Peter Schorsch, Drew Wilson, Haley Brown, Renzo Downey, Jason Delgado and the staff of Florida Politics.

Take 5

The “Takeaway 5” — the Top 5 stories from the week that was:

Compact signed, Special Session scheduled — After months of negotiations, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a 30-year gaming Compact with the Seminole Tribe. The Legislature will meet in a Special Session the week of May 17 to ratify the Compact to set aside time for a more “thorough vetting.” There’s a $2.5 billion revenue-sharing guarantee for the first five years, with $6 billion in revenue through 2030. Craps, roulette, and online sports betting get the green light. “This historic compact expands economic opportunity, tourism and recreation, and bolsters the fiscal success of our state in one fell swoop for the benefit of all Floridians and Seminoles alike,” DeSantis said in a statement.

DeSantis signs anti-riot bill — Monday feels like last month, but the Governor did sign the bill cracking down on violent protests into law this week. The bill took into effect just in time for the jury in Minnesota to release its verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial and the possible ensuing protests and/or celebrations. George Floyd’s death sparked this summer’s protests, some violent, that were the impetus for the bill. Before signing it, DeSantis called the Chauvin case “bungled.” And he sent addressed comments by U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California to “stay in the streets” and “get more confrontational.”

Transgender athletes bill all but dead — Legislation to limit transgender women and girls’ ability to play in women’s sports sounds like it will have to wait till next year when Senate sponsor Sen. Kelli Stargel postponed it, saying there was likely insufficient time to pass the measure. Stargel doubles as the Senate’s chief budget negotiator, and the past week has been committed to passing a budget that could top $100 billion for the first time in state history. Florida Republicans championed the proposal while it drew a sharp objection from Democrats and civil rights activists. The House passed a stricter version last week.

Lawmakers take different routes for the unemployed — Fault lines are emerging between House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson, who have been mostly in lock-step this Session. The Senate unanimously passed a bill to increase weekly unemployment checks from $275 to $375 and 12 weeks to 14 weeks. But last week, the House unanimously passed two measures to streamline and increase access to services connecting jobless Floridians to employers. Both Sprowls and DeSantis have been cold to Simpson’s proposal. Meanwhile, budget negotiations on both matters haven’t moved, as of Friday afternoon. With one week left in Session, something’s got to give.

Budget conference update brings federal outlines — Since the previous edition of Takeaways, lawmakers have been busily deciding the haves and have-nots for the 2021-22 fiscal year. However, much of those funds hadn’t started coming into focus until late this week. Negotiators bumped the entire education sections of the budget, as did the health budget negotiators, who never publicly presented offers to each other. And they deliberately didn’t discuss American Rescue Plan funding until after the bump Monday evening. Although some agreements are emerging, Piney Point will receive $100 million, as will a new State Operations Center. Other questions are being answered, including Medicaid rates for hospitals and nursing homes.

Coronavirus numbers

Positive cases:

— 2,155,319 FL residents (+40,128 since April 16)

— 41,183 Non-FL residents (+630 since April 16)

Origin:

— 17,205 Travel related

— 858,081 Contact with a confirmed case

— 23,571 Both

— 1,256,462 Under investigation

Hospitalizations:

— 89,201 in FL

Deaths:

— 35,443 in FL

Vaccinations:

— 13,393,823 Doses administered

— 8,370,705 Total people vaccinated

— 2,816,437 First dose

— 531,150 Completed one-dose series (+7,152 since April 16)

— 5,023,118 Completed two-dose series (+636,145 since April 16)

BP funds flow

Funds from the BP settlement will continue going into the Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund with DeSantis’ signature this week.

The trust fund, created in 2017, was set to lapse in July because the Florida Constitution requires that trust funds phase out within four years unless lawmakers agree to renew it by a three-fifths vote of both the House and Senate. However, through the settlement, Florida will continue to receive $106.7 million each year until 2033, $80 million of which goes to Triumph Gulf Coast.

With Ron DeSantis’ signature, the BP settlement money will continue to flow.

Triumph Gulf Coast is a nonprofit corporation created to disburse compensation for economic damages to the state that resulted from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The corporation uses the trust to fund projects across Bay, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Wakulla counties. Those projects and programs must meet those counties’ priorities for economic recovery, diversification and enhancement.

The Governor’s signature on SB 7054 keeps the trust fund, under the Department of Economic Opportunity, running indefinitely. The House and Senate both passed the measure unanimously.

The first official meeting of the Board of Triumph Gulf Coast was held on July 13, 2017, a little more than a month after then-Gov. Ron Scott signed the entity into existence.

Bring the bottle

Attorney General Ashley Moody wants you to give your unused drugs to law enforcement this Saturday — so they can dispose of them, not have a wild party.

The national effort, called National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, is led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

All day today, people can drop off unused prescriptions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at designated locations across the state. COVID-19 precautions will be observed.

Moody met with Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister and the Drug Enforcement Administration Wednesday for a news conference to encourage Floridians to help fight the opioid crisis by participating in the drug take-back event.

“The opioid crisis continues to ravage our state, claiming close to 17 lives each day. By Floridians taking stock of their medicine cabinets and bringing their unused or expired pharmaceuticals to take-back locations, we can prevent even more deaths,” Moody said. “I am asking every Floridian to please participate in Drug Take-Back Day and help keep addictive opioids and controlled substances from falling into the wrong hands.”

To watch the video, click on the image below:

The DEA said encouraging responsible disposal of prescription medication helps combat the drug epidemic because most abused prescription drugs come from the medicine cabinets of family and friends. 

The U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 87,200 Americans dying due to a drug overdose in a one-year period, which is the most ever recorded in one year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the DEA, a drug takeback day in October brought in a record-high 500 tons of unused prescription medication nationwide. Over the 10 years of take-back day, which occurs twice a year, Americans have turned over 6,800 tons of prescription drugs. 

‘Crime Victims’ Rights Week’

This week was the 40th annual National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. As part of that week, Moody announced winners for the Attorney General’s 2020 Distinguished Victim Services Award.

The award is meant to honor law enforcement and victim advocates for their work helping crime victims. During the video conference call ceremony, Moody presented a Cabinet resolution to the award recipients.

The Orange County Sheriffs Office celebrates National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2021, honoring its team of Victim Advocates who assist victims of crimes or their loved ones after a traumatic event. Image via Facebook.

The list of winners for victim advocates:

— Jude Castro of the Sarasota Police Department

— Sandy Ezell of the Florida Highway Patrol

— Chaplain Jason Low of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office

The list of winners for law enforcement:

— Deputy First Class Daniel LaVerne of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office

— Detective Tiffany Barry of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office

— Detective Maria Santos of the Sunrise Police Department

— Detective Michelle Gindlesperger of the Sunrise Police Department

“Many of our state’s victim advocates and law enforcement officers go above and beyond their job description to assist crime victims and their families. Amid uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a rise in violent crime this past year, these heroes held strong and assisted people suffering at the hands of criminal behavior and tragedy, from caring for injured children, to making breakthroughs in incredibly complex cases and much more,” Moody said.

‘Victory for Florida’s Health Care Heroes’

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis traveled to Jacksonville this week to celebrate the passage of a bill that creates COVID-19 liability protections for Florida’s health care community. 

Speaking at Brooks Rehabilitation, Patronis and health care representatives praised the protections at the ‘Victory for Florida’s Health Care Heroes’ event.

Jimmy Patronis celebrates the Victory for Health Care Heroes event for those who have gone above and beyond to ensure patients and residents receive exceptional and safe care.

“These front line heroes have been working long hours and maintaining stringent health safety processes to protect our state’s most vulnerable population,” Patronis said. “They have fought through PPE shortages, and put their own lives on the line to protect our friends, family, and loved ones from this serious virus. That is why it was so important for us to step up and protect them as they have worked to protect us.”

Sponsored by Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, the bill (SB 72) creates legal protections against COVID-19 related lawsuits.

Contending that a flood of frivolous lawsuits threatened the health and business community, Republican leaders fast-tracked the legislation to Gov. DeSantis’ desk.

“Florida’s hospitals remained open, and our doctors, nurses, and hospital workers ran toward the threat with ever-changing guidance and information,” said Florida Hospital President and CEO Mary Mayhew. “Florida’s health care providers were there for us when we needed them, and now Florida is there to protect them from unfounded lawsuits stemming from this pandemic.”

The legislation took effect immediately.

Instagram of the week

Big contribution for culture

The Legislature is signaling support for African American cultural contributions through a $30 million grant program.

Democratic Sens. Randolph Bracy and Darryl Rouson issued a news release Friday announcing that the funding had been included in a Senate budget proposal released earlier this week during budget conferencing.

“I thank Senate President Wilton Simpson for working with us to prioritize African American Cultural Arts funding. This funding will allow for our stories to be told, enlightening generations to come. The significant contributions of African Americans to the greatness of this state will be shared one community, one museum, and one facility at a time.” Rouson said.

Darryl Rouson and Randolph Bracy get a budget win for African American culture.

The Florida Council on Arts and Culture and the Florida Historical Commission will distribute the grants. The money can be used for capital facilities improvement and expansion, restoration of facilities on the National Register of Historic Places, or the design of additional facilities in areas of great cultural significance.

“African American museums are the wellsprings of knowledge and understanding and are vital to the community. Securing this funding will continue to keep the African American experience in its rightful place in our great state,” Bracy said.

Candid on camera

Florida’s public servants are diving into why they got involved in government in a new video series from the Institute of Politics at Florida State University ([email protected]) announced Wednesday. The videos will feature members of the Legislature and other public officials.

[email protected] said in a memo the series is for students to learn what motivates someone to serve their community. The series provides honest conversations with these individuals about why they chose to enter public service, who their mentors were, and their advice to those seeking to enter the field.

“The Institute of Politics at FSU launched in October 2020 and in a very short period of time has advanced its core mission to promote civil discourse and civic engagement in politics,” FSU President John Thrasher said. “I am particularly pleased that this launch features two great Florida State University alumni and leaders in their respective political parties.”

The first set of videos released feature Sarasota Senator and chairman of the Republican Party of Florida Joe Gruters. Also on tape is Lighthouse Point Senator and Senate Minority Leader Gary Farmer.

Gruters said serving the public is rewarding in his video. Farmer talked about civility in his video.

“We believe that these videos can serve as a source of inspiration to students and citizens seeking elected office or pursuing a career in politics and public policy,” said Tim Chapin, FSU College of Social Sciences and Public Policy Dean. “I am grateful to Senators Joe Gruters and Gary Farmer for participating in this initiative, as each is an example of an engaged, visionary leader in Florida.”

The [email protected] is Housed within the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at FSU and supports applied political research.

To watch Gruters’ video, click on the image below:

Up for debate

Florida’s future politicians will soon get a chance to hone their debate skills.

The Department of Education (DOE) announced Tuesday it is expanding a competitive speech and debate program to 20 new school districts at 100 new middle and high schools.

The goal of the program, called the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative (FCDI), is to elevate civic knowledge, skills and “disposition,” according to a statement from the DOE. 

“The Florida Civics and Debate Initiative supports student confidence, resiliency, and academic success while building great citizens,” Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said. “I am thrilled it is expanding to provide more opportunities to Florida students.”

The Florida Civics and Debate Initiative helps budding politicians gain skills and civic knowledge.

FCDI is already active in 30 school districts with 59 participating schools. The program is part of a multiyear, $5 million grant from the Marcus Foundation, Inc., to increase civic knowledge for middle and high school students through speech and debate.

“Debate is a team sport that helps students develop problem-solving, communication, teamwork and critical thinking skills,” Beth Eskin, Florida Civics and Debate Initiative Director, said. 

It is rewarding to watch students grow their confidence and see dedicated coaches and volunteers who are passionate about bringing these important life skills to fruition. As we move into Phase Two, I am excited to help the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative implement its mission.”

Parks plate

A new state-park specialty license plate could be cruising around Florida’s highways.

The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Sen. Dennis Baxley in the upper chamber and Rep. Allison Tant in the lower chamber, to create a new specialty license plate that benefits Florida parks cleared its final House and Senate Committee hurdles with unanimous support Tuesday.

The Florida State Parks Foundation backed the bills.

“We are delighted that PCS for House Bill 249 and CS/Senate Bill 676 were approved by their respective committees today and now go before the full House and Senate next week,” Foundation President Gil Ziffer said. “Both bills have received tremendous bipartisan support and, if passed, will provide significant and ongoing funding to enable us to protect and preserve Florida’s state parks.” 

Allison Tant is pushing a new specialty plate to honor Florida State Parks.

Ziffer added that the increase in outdoor recreation activity brought on by the pandemic means keeping Florida’s parks funded is extra important. 

“The demand for these open spaces will continue to increase as Florida’s population is expected to top 23 million by 2025 and tourism numbers grow,” Ziffer said.

Part of the registration fee for the specialty license plate will go to the State Parks Foundation. 

“Florida’s state parks are a treasure that need to be protected for future generations, but this will require significant and ongoing funding. I am delighted to support a specialty Florida State Parks license plate which would provide some of this much-needed funding,” Baxley said.

“Although our state parks are the only four-time National Gold Medal winners for excellence, there is much that needs to be done to ensure they continue to be recognized as world leaders,” Tant said. “Funds from a specialty license plate will help us achieve this.”

Florida State Parks Foundation is a nonprofit corporation with a mission to support and sustain the Florida Park Service. The volunteer Board of Directors represents private and public sectors, as well as local and statewide interests. 

Education package

Sprowls on Thursday celebrated the House’s passage of a package of bills this week addressing education. 

“Decisive and historic action taken by the Florida House today proves we are putting the significant resources and effort toward the educational success of our children,” Sprowls said. “The legislation passed today will give our students and parents the best opportunities and resources to ensure that every child is reading on grade level by 2030. These bills will also address the critical crisis among our boys and provide for the largest expansion of school choice the nation has ever seen.”

One bill (HB 7011) would help Florida students to read at grade level by 2030. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Vance Aloupis, makes sure teachers have a plan and resources to address the needs of struggling readers.

Vance Aloupis wants most Florida students to read at grade level by 2030. Image via Florida House.

Another measure (HB 7033) would create the Task Force on Closing the Achievement Gap for Boys within the Florida Department of Education. Rep. Traci Koster is carrying that effort.

Both bills passed unanimously.

Other measures passed this week addressed school choice and book distribution.

“The progress made by the Florida House today on behalf of parents and their students will have a lifelong impact for these children,” said House Education & Employment Committee Chair Chris Latvala. “We seized an opportunity to change the trajectory of children’s lives in our state to one of promise and lasting success.”

Police drones

The House prepared themselves Friday to vote on a bill that would allow law enforcement to use drones in Florida regularly. 

State law permits law enforcement to use drones under limited circumstances. According to statute, use is restricted to search warrants, prisoner escapes, and “imminent loss of life” situations.

However, the proposal (SB 44) would broaden usage to include traffic management, evidence collection, and crowd monitoring. 

Republican Rep. Mike Giallombardo is the House companion bill sponsor. 

Mike Giallombardo’s bill will greatly expand the use of drones by Florida police.

“If you think of this in terms of marrying it up with what they already can do in a helicopter or an observation tower … there’s really no difference,” Giallombardo said. “It’s just a tool or a piece of technology.”

Fire departments could also utilize drones to survey fire, flood and natural disaster damage under the measure.

Speaking Friday on the House floor, Giallombardo suggested that drones can save lives during dangerous situations.

Moreover, they’re a cheaper alternative to helicopters. 

“A helicopter costs about $12,000 an hour,” Giallombardo added. A drone does not cost that much to operate and run.”

Democrats, meanwhile, expressed privacy concerns over the legislation.

The House is expected to debate and vote on the bill next week. 

‘Vitiligo Awareness Day’

Rep. Daisy Morales published a resolution in the House journal to recognize “Florida Vitiligo Awareness Day” on June 25. The day coincides with an international initiative, World Vitiligo Day.

Vitiligo is a long-term, chronic medical condition that results in loss of pigmentation in patches on the skin, hair, eyes, and inside of the mouth. Around two to five million people are affected by vitiligo in the U.S. About half the cases were diagnosed during childhood, thus requiring lifetime treatment.

Daisy Morales wants to raise awareness of vitiligo, a long-term, chronic condition affecting skin pigmentation. Image via Colin Hackley.

Morales, who has vitiligo, said that while the day exists to raise vitiligo awareness, it has evolved to include recognizing the bullying, social neglect, psychological trauma, and disabled people who have the disease experience.

The Orlando Representative said she looks forward to championing the cause here in Florida.

“As someone who also has this disease, I want to thank those who are working tirelessly to produce real change in the lives of those with vitiligo and increasing awareness of this condition worldwide,” Morales said.

Port pay raise

The Port of Palm Beach charter could undergo some changes under a new bill.

The bill (HB 945) would update the Port of Palm Beach’s charter to raise the salaries of the ports commission, remove a bond requirement for commissioners and change the term “port manager” to “port director.”

A news release from West Palm Beach Rep. Matt Willhite said the changes will make the port’s charter “consistent with the scope of the port’s daily operations.”

Matt Willhite seeks raises for Port of Palm Beach Commissioner. Image via Colin Hackley.

“Thousands in Palm Beach County and South Florida rely on the Port for work. The Port of Palm Beach employs roughly 9,000 people. The Port contributes more than $300 million in business revenue and raises $12 million in state and federal taxes,” Willhite said.

The bill increases a commissioner’s salary from $9,500 to $12,500.

The Port of Palm Beach is a special taxing district established under provisions of Florida law 110 years ago. Though it has the authority to levy ad valorem millage tax, the district has not done so since 1975.

Located in Palm Beach County, the Port covers 971 square miles or roughly 50% of the county area.

“The numbers don’t lie. The Port of Palm Beach is an economic engine for South Florida. This is an important piece of legislation that updates the Port’s charter to amend some obsolete language and give the Port Commissioners a small pay raise. The Port of Palm Beach has been an asset to Palm Beach County for decades, and we must do what we can to ensure the Port’s success,” Willhite said.

The Senate still needs to take up the bill.

Last call!

Last call for Florida stone crabs is on May 1.

Florida’s recreational and commercial stone crab season comes to a close May 2, with the last day of harvest being May 1

According to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission memorandum from last year, commercial stone landings have shown a long-term decline in harvest, leading state officials to suspect overfishing and over-exploitation dating as far back as the 1990s.

Notably, some stone crab harvest regulations have not changed since the 1970s.

The stone crab season is coming to a close.

The memorandum said the changes are intended to “increase the stone crab population and add resiliency to the fishery by reducing harvest, reducing release and bycatch mortality, and reduce fishery interactions with egg-bearing females late in the season.”

FWC announced it would move the season closure date from May 15 to May 1 last year as part of a suite of changes intended to increase the stone crab population and build resiliency in the fishery.

If you harvest a stone crab in this last week of harvest, the crab must be two and seven-eighths inches.

FWC has produced a video that includes detailed instructions on how to measure claws. More information on stone crab season is available on the commission’s website.

If you can’t snag them yourself, don’t worry — You can still purchase stone crabs after the season closes. Commercially harvested stone crab claws can be sold after the season’s close as long as they were placed in inventory by a licensed wholesale or retail dealer before the cutoff.

MuniMod squad

Winners were announced Friday for a civic technology competition put on by the Florida League of Cities (FLC)

Known as MuniMod, the FLC-backed event is the state’s most significant civic technology competition and the only competition to focus solely on solutions for cities.

A Florida Atlantic University student, Paris Prince, took home first place and a $15,000 grand prize for a dissolvable water and soap capsule that allows users to wash their hands without using an external water supply called “SPods.”

Searching for solutions: MuniMod, an FLC-backed event, is the state’s most significant civic technology competition.

Two recent graduates of Flagler College and the University of Florida, Blake Richardson and Elezar Tonev, placed second and took home $5,000 for a tactile pre-alerting system for firefighters designed to combat the leading killer of firefighters: heart attacks.

The project is called “EaseAlert.”

The contest, now in its sixth year, was virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. A total of eight teams participated in the competition.

“The Florida League of Cities is dedicated to supporting our members through initiatives like MuniMod that help create innovative solutions to address the unique issues facing Florida’s municipal operations, especially during these challenging times,” said Tony Ortiz, FLC President and a commissioner for the City of Orlando.

“I commend all of this year’s teams for successfully working together to create new ways to deliver or improve upon Florida’s municipal services and would like to extend a very special congratulations to the winning teams. You now have additional resources and experience to help you achieve your dreams, and we can’t wait to see what your future holds. Thank you for helping us build stronger cities!”

The Florida League of Cities is a coalition of local municipalities that works to promote local self-government.

Eight-five-Oh, what a headache

The next time someone texts you “new phone, who dis?” they might be telling the truth. If you live in the Eight-Five-Oh, at least.

Starting May 22, those living in the 850 area code will need to dial all 10 digits to reach anyone.

It’s been more than two decades since Northwest Florida split from Jacksonville and was assigned the 850 code, which covers Tallahassee and everything west of it.

According to the North American Numbering Plan Administrator — the organization that plans out area codes — the current prefix will run out of numbers as soon as the first quarter of 2022.

Get ready, Tally, a new area code is coming your way.

“With Florida’s 850 area code running out of phone numbers, the 448 overlay plan and 10-digit dialing is necessary,” PSC Chairman Gary Clark said. “The good news is that Florida’s growing population and economy are driving this change. With today’s digital applications, programming 10-digit dialing into our contacts and devices is relatively easy.”

There is some bad news.

Well, not really.

If, for some reason, you’ve always wanted to have an 850 number, the door is shut — the next time you get new digits, you’ll have to settle for the objectively less cool 448.

The 850/448 area code region consists of 18 counties in the Florida Panhandle, including the cities of Pensacola, Panama City, and Tallahassee.

Capitol Directions

Staff Reports


One comment

  • Tom

    April 24, 2021 at 8:48 am

    Governor hits it of the park on Environmental policy/funding and efforts with stricter riot legislation signed into law. Gaming will receive a boost along with state fiscal revenues. This Governor is hitting it out of the park Consistently. He’s in commanding position as Fried is shrill, extreme and isolated along with the fact a tough primary costly primary highly likely. How about unemployment providing bonus to go back to work instead of typical raise benefits effort. Florida leading the country with economy and unemployment. Don’t ruin it.

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