Last Call for 1.10.22 — 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.

Sixty Days — A prime-time look at the 2021 Legislative Session:

First Shot

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the 60-day Legislative Session, but it also marks the first time that the “Biggest Loser” competition is open to those who work outside the Capitol.

The Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists and the Florida Retail Federation have joined efforts to host what Sen. Aaron Bean calls the sister competition to the popular “Biggest Loser” competition.

Lobbyists, journalists and others in and around the legislative process can pony up $50, step on the scale, and enter the competition. The proceeds will benefit the PACE Center for Girls, Leon.

“There are a lot of people in the process that are getting too big for their britches,” Bean jokingly told Florida Politics Monday.

Contestants must weigh in at the Florida Retail Federation’s offices Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between noon and 6 p.m. The competition will run throughout the Legislative Session, with the final weigh-out on March 2.

“Eating healthy and exercising during a Session always proves to be a challenge,” FAPL Chair Candice Ericks said in a prepared statement. “Participating in the Biggest Loser is a great reminder to do our best to stay active and make healthier choices.”

Meanwhile, lawmakers, legislative staff and Capitol employees interested in participating can weigh in at the Capitol Clinic on the third floor. The entry fee is $20. 

Weigh-ins for all participants, Bean stressed, are private. There is no fat shaming. Prizes will be awarded to the contestants in both weight loss competitions who lose the most weight — that’s actual pounds, not a percentage of total body weight.

Evening reads

With 3 vacant South Florida seats, Democrats start 2022 Session in even weaker posture” via Bianca Padró Ocasio of the Miami Herald

Florida Legislature 2022: Teacher and police pay raises, redistricting to dominate Session” via Gray Rohrer, Skyler Swisher and Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel

‘What pandemic?’: Dems bash House for taking Ron DeSantis’ COVID-19 cues” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Florida’s 2022 Legislative Session largely driven by DeSantis agenda” via Brendan Farrington of The Associated Press 

Senate committee narrows proposed congressional districts map to two choices” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Melissa McKinlay announces she won’t run for Agriculture Commissioner” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Jacksonville activist Ben Frazier, attorney speak out against arrest and demand sit-down with Governor” via Dan Scanlan of The Florida Times-Union

Florida private schools can require masks, but public schools can’t. Why?” via Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times

AARP wants to ensure nursing homes aren’t Florida seniors’ only option for care” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics

The data are pointing to one major driver of America’s murder spike” via Jeff Asher and Rob Arthur of The Atlantic

Despite string of mass shootings, Miami-Dade bucks national trend of rising murder rate” via Charles Rabin of the Miami Herald 

‘Nothing will be the same’: A prison town weighs a future without a prison” via Tim Arango of The New York Times

Quote of the Day

“It seems that Gov. DeSantis is leading on this, and his prevailing narrative in this election year is that there is no pandemic. ‘What pandemic?’ I think what we’re seeing is that legislative leadership tends to be following that lead.” — Tampa Democratic Rep. Fentrice Driskell, on the lack of health protocols in the Capitol this Session.

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