Last Call for 11.18.21 — 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

The second Special Session of 2021 is a wrap, and while the bills sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis are controversial, they have the full support of Americans for Prosperity-Florida.

On Thursday, the libertarian-conservative advocacy group issued a “thank you” to the Governor and lawmakers for passing legislation aimed at blocking employer vaccine mandates.

AFP-FL said placing the onus on employers could put some businesses at a disadvantage and could possibly cause them to give up on hiring altogether.

“Government overreach in this form only erodes trust at a time when Americans need it most. Key stakeholders, such as workers and businesses, should have a say in this process,” AFP-FL State Director Skylar Zander said.

“Through the creation of the State Occupational Safety and Health Plan, Floridians will be able to work together with lawmakers to create a more effective and tailored approach that will keep workers safe and allow for businesses to thrive. Thank you, Gov. Ron DeSantis and lawmakers, for pulling us together in this way to improve the COVID-19 response, not dividing people further.”

Though AFP-FL is a fan, withdrawing from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is not a given — the state plan would need to be as strict as OSHA’s requirements, and approval must go through the federal government.


The 14th annual National Summit on Education kicked off today with an address from former Gov. Jeb Bush emphasizing the need for the state to focus on students and families.

“We need to re-imagine education through the lens of the family, think of how to unbundle, re-bundle and personalize a student’s learning experience to ensure they reach their God-given potential,” Bush said. “Success is never final; reform is never complete. The future we envision requires us to think big, to be bold and to never relent. That’s how we put students and families first in everything we do.”

Hosted by ExcelinEd, the summit brings together educators, policymakers and advocates from across the nation. This year’s edition is being hosted at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort today and Friday.

In addition to Bush, speakers on the first day of the event included Romy Drucker, Director of the K-12 Education Program at the Walton Family Foundation.

The lunch keynote featured a conversation between moderator Juan Williams, Dr. Cornel West and Professor Robert George on the state of civil discourse in the United States.

And the afternoon agenda included a panel with bestselling author Tim DeRoche, former Georgia state Rep. Valencia Stovall and parent-advocate Kelley Williams-Bolar on inequity in school attendance zones and the disturbing endurance of redlining in education, with moderator Derrell Bradford.

The summit agenda for the second day is available online.

Evening Reads

Gov. Ron DeSantis signs vaccine mandate ban, ‘freedom’ policies in COVID-19 package” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

DeSantis taunts Joe Biden with bill signing event in Brandon” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

Florida lawsuit over DeSantis cutting off $300 federal unemployment benefits is still alive” via Caroline Glenn of the Orlando Sentinel

2024 poll: Vaccinated voters like DeSantis more than the unvaxxed do” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

Congressional panel to investigate UF over free speech allegations” via Divya Kumar of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida files legal challenge to Medicare, Medicaid vaccine rule” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics

The pandemic’s next turn hinges on three unknowns” via Sarah Zhang of The Atlantic

First known COVID-19 case was vendor at Wuhan market, scientist claims” via Carl Zimmer, Benjamin Mueller and Chris Buckley of The New York Times

Wilton Simpson to Army Corps: Make sure state has a say in Lake O water allocation” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Joe Gruters again seeks to revive Florida’s film industry with incentive program” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Ten years in, Give Miami Day goes from barely known to spreading millions to nonprofitsvia Howard Cohen of the Miami Herald

New study finds vacation rentals spur long-term housing construction” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

Florida Democrats have one job” via Sean Phillippi for Florida Politics

Quote of the Day

“I think that Brandon, Florida, is a great American city. I think the people here are fantastic.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, sidestepping questions on his location choice for the anti-mandate bill signing.

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