Last Call for 5.12.21 — 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

Protect Our Care Florida says legislation to lower prescription drug costs is urgently needed, and it’s taking the message to the airwaves.

The aptly titled “Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices” is backed by a seven-figure investment that will include research, paid and earned media, and grassroots and grasstops engagement.

The campaign announcement said the ads will showcase the effects skyrocketing drug prices are having on real people and their families.

The group notes that prescription drugs cost three times as much in the United States as they do in other countries. That leaves some Americans to choose between paying for their drugs or covering basic living expenses, such as food and rent.

“Overwhelming majorities of voters across parties agree that Medicare should have the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans,” Protect Our Care Florida State Director William Miller said.

“Protect Our Care Florida will make sure people know which of their elected officials are supporting these efforts to bring down drug prices, and which ones are committed to protecting Big Pharma’s profits. As the country recovers from the economic and health crisis, Florida families cannot wait. The time to act is now.”

The Florida campaign is part of a national effort by Protect Our Care. It includes a national TV ad highlighting President Joe Biden’s commitment to reducing drug prices and makes the case for allowing Medicare to negotiate prices.

The ad will also run on digital in Florida as well as Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Coronavirus Numbers

Positive cases:

— 2,235,969 FL residents (+3,149 since Tuesday)

— 42,580 Non-FL residents (+35 since Tuesday)

Origin:

— 17,947 Travel related

— 895,710 Contact with a confirmed case

— 24,329 Both

— 1,297,983 Under investigation

Hospitalizations:

— 92,554 in FL

Deaths:

— 36,598 in FL

Vaccinations:

— 15,995,137 Doses administered

— 9,397,252 Total people vaccinated

— 2,146,487 First dose

— 652,880 Completed one-dose series (+8,691 since Tuesday)

— 6,597,885 Completed two-dose series (+85,277 since Tuesday)

Evening Reads

This is the center of the MAGA universe” via Molly Olmstead of Slate

Taming the virus: U.S. deaths hit lowest level in 10 months” via Heather Hollingsworth and Stephen Groves of The Associated Press

Joe Biden holds his first meeting with the top four congressional leaders to discuss infrastructure.” via Michael D. Shear and Nicholas Fandos of The New York Times

House GOP ousts Donald Trump critic Liz Cheney from top post” via Alan Fram and Kevin Freking of The Associated Press

Consumer prices jumped as economic recovery picked up” via Gwynn Guilford via The Wall Street Journal

Rick Scott, Marco Rubio hammer Biden as inflation surges” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

A U.S. envoy is heading to the Middle East to urge calm between Israel and Palestinians.” via Lara Jakes of The New York Times

The lost month that haunts the world” via Uri Friedman of The Atlantic

‘Unacceptable’: Only 7% of vaccinated Florida residents are Black” via Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida

Florida Chamber poll: Ron DeSantis leads all potential Democrats by double digits” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

DeSantis uses sports betting to craft gambling deal that would bring Florida $2.5 billion” via John Kennedy of USA Today Network

Nikki Fried inches closer to gubernatorial campaign with June 1 launch date via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

Florida can’t force cruises to restart during pandemic, feds say in legal battle” via David Lyons of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

This time, polling finds strong voter support for Seminole Compact” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Sexual-assault: A new wave of victim advocates goes after an underreported, under-investigated crime” via Laura Cassels of the Florida Phoenix

Florida will not extend work search waiver, rolls out back-to-work initiative” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

Lines build at gas stations in South Florida even as experts say don’t worry about shortages” via Eileen Kelley and Austen Erblat of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Do LGBTQ protections apply to those fired over rumors? A Bradenton challenge could test case law.” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Tampa’s Malfunction Junction fix could come sooner than expected” via C.T. Bowen of the Tampa Bay Times

Quote of the Day

“All over the Panhandle, I’ve seen signs that say, ‘Welcome to the new pandemic.’ The 2021 pandemic is unemployment, not being able to hire. So, we’ve got to put an end to that.” — Department of Economic Opportunity Director Dane Eagle, announcing the state reinstate work search requirements on June 1.

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Daniel Figueroa, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Mike Wright, and Tristan Wood.

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