Last Call for 5.6.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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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

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a sweeping elections bill into law Thursday at a closed-door event at the Hilton at Palm Beach International Airport.

The measure, which goes into effect immediately, mainly changes rules surrounding mail ballots. It limits when voters can slip their mail ballots into drop boxes to voting hours. It also requires election officials to guard or monitor drop boxes during the hours they are available to voters.

Additionally, the new law aims to curb so-called “ballot harvesting” by blocking anyone from dropping off ballots from more than two people who are not in their immediate family.

The new law comes after Florida had what Republicans praised as a smooth election last year. They claim the rule changes are aimed at preventing potential voter fraud in future elections. Democrats, meanwhile, have blasted the changes as overt voter suppression.

The bill signing event itself drew controversy for the DeSantis administration’s decision to allow Fox News to air it as an exclusive, blocking press from other outlets from entering the event. Some media criticized it as a “secret” bill signing.

DeSantis laughed off the suggestion, saying “It was on national TV; it wasn’t secret.”

Still, the production was met with criticism from U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, as well as Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is widely expected to run for Governor.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 2,216,159 FL residents (+4,431 since Wednesday)

— 42,274 Non-FL residents (+73 since Wednesday)

Origin:

— 17,790 Travel related

— 885,770 Contact with a confirmed case

— 24,125 Both

— 1,288,474 Under investigation

Hospitalizations:

— 91,652 in FL

Deaths:

— 36,257 in FL

Vaccinations:

— 15,168,192 Doses administered

— 9,101,152 Total people vaccinated

— 2,437,366 First dose

— 596,746 Completed one-dose series (+8,288 since Wednesday)

— 6,067,040 Completed two-dose series (+122,432 since Wednesday)

Evening Reads

In Joe Biden’s infrastructure moonshot, a big question: Can the nation still achieve its highest ambitions?” via Michael Laris and Ian Duncan of The Washington Post

Republicans promote pandemic relief they voted against” via Steve Peoples of The Associated Press

Bidenomics really is something new” via Ronald Brownstein of The Atlantic

After 100 days, Biden’s approval rating is treading water in Florida, trailing national numbers” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Ron DeSantis signs GOP voting law critics call ‘un-American’” via Bobby Caina Calvan of The Associated Press

Newly signed election laws face court challenges” via Haley Brown of Florida Politics

No Casinos: We could talk Seminole Compact expansion if online gambling were dropped” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

‘They’re going to starve you’: Charlie Crist attacks elections bill as voter suppression” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Poll shows DeSantis leading all Democrats, Crist topping primary field” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Crist courts Jacksonville voters as gubernatorial campaign launch continues” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

As criticism circles, DeSantis celebrates Fox News exclusive” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Nearly one million people signed up for Obamacare this spring, a sign of growing demand for health insurance.” via Margot Sanger-Katz and Sarah Kliff of The New York Times

The chip shortage keeps getting worse. Why can’t we just make more?” via Ian King, Adrian Leung and Demetrios Pogkas of Bloomberg

Florida Chamber, Florida Prepaid launch Path to Prosperity Scholarship Program” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics

Worshipers celebrate 70th National Day of Prayer outside Florida Capitol” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

Elon Musk is maybe, actually, strangely, going to do this Mars thing” via Marina Koren of The Atlantic

Quote of the Day

“This essentially requires the state and tribe to enter good faith negotiations that would turn every cell phone into a slot machine in Florida.” — No Casinos President John Sowinski, on the new Seminole Compact.

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