Takeaways from Tallahassee — FSU political powerhouse

Blue Tally Takeaways (4)
Florida State University’s newest advisory board will pack political power.

Political powerhouse

The Institute of Politics at Florida State University named Al Cardenas this week as chair of its inaugural advisory board.

A former two-term Republican Party of Florida chair, Cardenas boasts an extensive and diverse background in American politics.

He’s served as an adviser to several U.S. Presidents, including Ronald Reagan, and is a frequent guest on national TV outlets. The Hill, a beltway news publication, named Cardenas among DC’s top lobbyists.

He serves now as a senior partner with The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners.

Al Cardenas will give a powerful start to the FSU Institute of Politics advisory board.

In a statement, Cardenas described the new institute as “uniquely poised” to rank among the premier public service institutes in the nation.

“I am proud to lead the advisory board for The Institute of Politics at Florida State University,” Cardenas said. “It is important in this current political environment to support a framework from which future leaders may learn to work together for the betterment of their local communities and beyond.”

Unveiled in October, the non-partisan center focuses on relevant research and engagement at the state, regional and national levels.

It also hosts forums and workshops that merge political experts with students, staff, elected leaders, and members of the private sector. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney spoke with students late last year.

Notably, Cardenas is no stranger to FSU. He also teaches an undergraduate course on government intuitions and the importance of political participation.

The institute plans to announce the new advisory board members over the course of several weeks.

“It’s an honor to have Al Cardenas serve as chairman of the inaugural advisory board for the [email protected],” said College of Social Sciences and Public Policy’s Dean Tim Chapin. “Chairman Cardenas was the initial visionary for the institute, and our students benefit from his experience, leadership and commitment to promoting political engagement and civil discourse.”

For more information about the Institute of Politics at Florida State University, visit its website.

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Coming up, the usual assortment of news, intel, and observations from the week that was in Florida’s capital city by Peter Schorsch, Drew Wilson, Renzo Downey, Jason Delgado, Christine Jordan Sexton, Tristan Wood, and the staff of Florida Politics.

Take 5

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

‘Rookie’ mistake or continued mistakes? – Senate President Wilton Simpson promised this week that the Florida Senate would vote on whether to confirm Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo. He attributed Ladapo’s rocky relationship with the Florida Senate to bad manners and ‘rookie’ mistakes. Senate Democrats stormed out of his first confirmation hearing after he stonewalled members of the Health Policy Committee by refusing to clearly answer questions about vaccines and masks. Ladapo also didn’t appear to lament his masking incident with Sen. Tina Polsky. “And I think that’s a mutual issue,” after being asked whether he regretted his treatment of the Boca Raton Democrat. After Democrats left the hearing, Republicans on the panel voted to recommend confirmation.

DeSantis bashes federal monoclonal reversal – Gov. Ron DeSantis condemned President Joe Biden and his administration this week for “playing games” with the state’s monoclonal antibody therapy supply after medical experts deemed the treatments ineffective against the omicron variant and barred its use. The move wasn’t backed by clinical data, according to DeSantis, who disputed whether the scientific findings were definitive. Plus, the treatments are still effective against delta. While omicron might be the prevailing variant, some people might still be seeking treatment for delta, he continued. “We know definitively this stuff is great against the delta variant,” he said. “So, why would you take that out of play for somebody?”

DeSantis priorities move in committee – Several bills and subjects marked as priorities for DeSantis rolled forward during committee meetings this week. Legislation to dissuade transportation companies from helping the federal government relocate immigrants who are in the country illegally received its first hearing. A bill to replace standardized tests with digitized progress monitoring also passed through to its final Senate committee. Additionally, the House took its turn for one of its panels to consider legislation to quell classroom or corporate training discussions Republican leadership considers “woke” indoctrinations of cultural guilt. “Now, some movements threaten to take us backward, asking us to consider people not as individuals but as groups, assigning certain groups and experiences to people based on the group they fit into and not their individual experience,” he added.

Abortion bill advances despite derailed meeting – Another priority DeSantis has acknowledged is protecting life through righter abortion measures. In Thursday’s House committee hearing for a Mississippi-style bill banning abortions after 15 weeks, pro-abortion-rights activists began chanting “let us speak” in protest after the committee stopped taking public comment. Lawmakers had listened to more than an hour of public testimony, before ending the comment period. House Sergeants were forced to clear the public from the room to continue the committee meeting. Beyond abortion, the bill includes tobacco education program provisions for pregnant women, an infant mortality review process, bolstered infant mortality-reduction initiatives, and increased Florida’s abortion reporting requirements to include instances of human trafficking.

Simpson to push $15 minimum state worker wage – Simpson wants to put state workers four years ahead on the push to a $15 an hour minimum wage. That comes after he led last year’s push for a $13 minimum hourly wage for state workers. The move would cost $1 billion in state funds and affect thousands of state workers and even more contractors, like in the education and health care sectors. It would include all K-12 school personnel and nursing home workers. “We have the cash this year to do it, so there’s no excuses,” Simpson said. “If we don’t do it this year it’s because we didn’t have the courage to do it.”

Don’t fall for it

The only thing worse than jury duty is a jury duty scam.

That’s not a reference to the awful 1995 Pauly Shore vehicle “Jury Duty,” though if you forked over $3.99 to rent that abomination then it’s certainly understandable why you would feel that way.

The only thing jury duty scams have in common with the movie, if you can call it that, is they both feature weasels. The modern variety isn’t trying to be your bud-dy, though.

According to a warning issued by Attorney General Ashley Moody, the grift comes by way of a phone call alerting Floridians that they failed to show up for jury duty. The impostor then claims if the fine isn’t paid immediately, the citizen may be arrested or forced to pay late fees.

“There are few civic duties as important to our judicial system as serving on a jury. As a former judge, I am livid that anyone would exploit this process to scare citizens into paying a ransom or attempt to steal personal and financial information. Please know that failure to appear for jury duty is not grounds for immediate arrest,” she said.

Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady backed her up.

“I am especially troubled when people with bad intentions base their scams on what appears to be court business. Our courts depend on jury service, and we rely on Floridians who are essential to this process. Protect yourselves from scammers and protect our system of justice by taking part in jury service,” he said.

The latest jury duty scam sightings were in Citrus, Collier, Lake, Polk and St. Johns counties.

Moody said suspected jury duty scams should be reported to County Clerk’s offices and local law enforcement. Anyone who encounters a jury duty scam, or any other type of fraud, can also file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office online at MyFloridaLegal.com or by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM.

To watch the video alert, click on the image below:

Keep yourself warm

This weekend is expected to be the coldest Florida has seen in years, and heaters will be going full bore.

But Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who doubles as the State Fire Marshall, says Floridians could get a little too hot if they don’t take the proper precautions.

“As Florida families brace for frigid temperatures, it is important to remember that safety always comes first when heating your home with space heaters, wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. Incorporating just a few heating safety tips can help prevent accidents and make sure your home and family are safe this winter,” he said.

According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), heating is the second leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Fire departments in the U.S. respond to an average of 48,530 house fires caused by heating equipment each year. Those fires cause an estimated 500 civilian deaths; 1,350 civilian injuries; and $1.1 billion in direct property damage.

The CFO said the easiest way to avoid becoming a statistic is to have a professional install stationary heating equipment or clean out your chimney.

If you’re relying on a space heater, simply turn it off before you go to sleep. If a woodfire is your heating method of choice … well, use a screen and safely dispose of the ashes when you’re done.

Finally, test your smoke alarms — with the button, not by putting them through a trial by fire.

To watch the video, click on the image below:

Fee free

Legislation to waive fees and expedite the professional and occupational licensing process for the spouses of active-duty military personnel is in its final committee stops after getting an affirmative from House and Senate panels on Tuesday.

The proposal (SB 562/HB 559) would allow spouses to quickly get to work when they move to Florida. Senate bill sponsor Sen. Janet Cruz told the Senate Regulated Industries that Florida recognizes and respects active military and veterans.

Get to work: Janet Cruz wants to help military spouses get up to speed with licensing.

More than a third of military spouses work in a licensed profession. In one case, problems arose for one family when one wife waited several months for her nursing license.

“We know that many of our enlisted officers are living just about paycheck to paycheck, so not being able to work for a few months made a big difference for this family,” Cruz said.

The legislation next heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee and the House Health & Human Services Committee. After clearing those panels, the bills could appear before all lawmakers.

Florida’s largest military base, MacDill Air Force Base, is located just miles south of Downtown Tampa. Both the base and downtown are in Cruz’s district.

Rep. Christine Hunschofsky and Rep. David Smith sponsor the House bill.

Hourly rates

A bill to crack down on prostitution and human trafficking by banning hourly rates at hotels, motels and vacation rentals is moving through the House committee process.

In addition to targeting hourly room rates, the Human Trafficking Reduction Act (HB 1439) would require customers’ identification and increase criminal penalties for soliciting or procuring another person to engage in prostitution.

The bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Jackie Toledo, on Tuesday, told the House Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee that human trafficking can “hide in plain sight.”

Time’s up; no more renting rooms by the hour, says Jackie Toledo.

In 2021, she successfully proposed a sweeping bill that, among other provisions, bolstered victim advocate training and provided confidentiality to the criminal records of human trafficking victims as they seek expungement. The new measure, Toledo explained, aims to build upon those provisions by broadening the confidentiality to include paperwork related to the expungement process.

The bill is moving quickly through the House side. It’s slated for a hearing next Tuesday in the House Commerce Committee, its second of three committee stops.

Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera is a co-sponsor on the measure. On the Senate side, where the bill (SB 1852) has not yet been scheduled for a hearing, Sen. Jennifer Bradley is carrying the measure.

“Ultimately, what this bill would do is send a strong message that, although we are the free state of Florida, we are closed to human trafficking,” Toledo said.

Reddick Road

Sen. Randolph Bracy tacked on an amendment to a road designation bill (SB 160) he’s sponsoring that would name a section of State Road 423 “Rep. Alzo Reddick Road.”

Alzo Reddick, a former state Representative who served from 1982 through 2000. An alum of Florida A&M University and Nova University, was the first Black man elected to represent the Orlando area in the state Legislature since Reconstruction.

On the road: Alzo Reddick was a true trailblazer for Central Florida. Image via UCF.

Reddick, who still lives in Orlando, was the first in many things — according to the Orlando Sentinel, he was the first Black man hired to teach at Winter Park High School; the first Black administrator at Rollins College; and the first Black lawmaker to see bills he sponsored become law.

Members of the Senate Transportation Committee approved Bracy’s amendment and advanced the overall bill with a unanimous vote. If Bracy’s bill becomes law, the stretch of S.R. 423 between S.R. 408 and Orange Center Boulevard will bear Reddick’s name.

“I stand on the shoulders of giants like Rep. Alzo Reddick, who was the first Black man from Orlando elected to the state Legislature since the Reconstruction Era,” Bracy said in a news release. “Rep. Reddick has deeply impacted my personal career and is still revered by many in the Central Florida area. I can think of no better honor than to name a street designation after him which will run through the heart of Orlando.”

Huddle up

VISIT FLORIDA announced this week that it will hold next year’s “Florida Huddle and Encounter” Feb. 3-4, 2023, at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach.

“As one of the world’s premier vacation destinations, Florida Huddle and Encounter are invaluable for showcasing the best of the Sunshine State to travel professionals from around the globe. We are looking forward to hosting next year’s events in West Palm Beach and unlocking unlimited business potential for destinations, hotels, and attractions throughout the state,” said VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young.

Huddle up: VISIT FLORIDA is already looking toward 2023.

Florida Huddle is the Sunshine State’s official travel trade show, showcasing the best of Florida to international and domestic tour operators, wholesalers, and media with one-on-one appointments, educational sessions and networking opportunities.

Florida Encounter will take place in conjunction with Florida Huddle 2023. Encounter features appointments between fully hosted, qualified planners with proven business for Florida and Florida suppliers.

“The Palm Beaches are excited to once again welcome our trade, meetings, media and destination partners to the 2023 Florida Huddle and Encounter,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches.

“While we are all fortunate to boast about Florida’s sunshine and weather, we look forward to showcasing our vibrant blend of people, cultures and coastal towns that welcomes everyone and sets us apart as America’s First Resort Destination. In partnership with our friends at VISIT FLORIDA, we will make this a truly memorable event.”

Best buds

Veterans Florida announced this week that it will have a ninth partner in the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program this year.

Embarc Collective joins eight existing partners — Action Zone, Domi Station, the Florida Association of Veteran-Owned Businesses Space Coast Chapter, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Groundswell Startups, Tampa Bay Wave, and the Veterans Entrepreneurship Initiative — in providing veteran entrepreneurs with a variety of resources.

Besties: Embarc Collective is the newest partner in the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program. Image via Facebook.

“The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program served the most veterans in its six-year history last year. Adding Embarc Collective to our statewide network of entrepreneurship partners builds on that success to meet veterans anywhere at every stage of their entrepreneurial journey,” said Veterans Florida executive director Joe Marino.

“As the state’s largest creator of veteran-owned businesses, Veterans Florida continues to add partners and equip veteran entrepreneurs with the powerful tools and resources that make Florida the preeminent place for veterans to start and grow their businesses.”

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program connects veterans with courses, services and amenities offered by partners across the state at no cost, including startup and growth cohorts, coworking spaces and conference rooms, exclusive workshop admission, veteran networking events and more.

The Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program has served 2,372 veterans who have opened 504 businesses, hired 744 employees, and generated more than $124 million in revenue. Participants have received national recognition and numerous awards for their accomplishments.

— Instagram of the week —

FAMEous

Several members of the Florida Association of Managing Entities (FAME) have been appointed to serve within the state Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

The 19-member Commission, housed within the Florida Department of Children and Families, works with four subcommittees, which include additional members besides those on the main Commission.

FAME: Natalie Kelly and Christine Cauffield will be key players in Florida’s mental health services.

FAME CEO Natalie Kelly joined the finance subcommittee, while the CEOs of two of the state’s seven managing entities — LSF Health Systems’ CEO, Dr. Christine Cauffield, and Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network CEO Ann Berner — joined the business operations subcommittee.

In her role on the finance subcommittee, Kelly will help review all major funding sources and applicable limits across major agencies for mental health and substance abuse treatment. On the business operations subcommittee, Cauffield and Berner will review the mental health and substance abuse services currently provided by the state

“With the ongoing pandemic, a great many Floridians are experiencing significant challenges to their mental health and overall well-being. It’s especially important for this Commission to carefully examine current practices and seek effective ways to serve those who need help,” Kelly said. “We look forward to sharing our direct experience with this population so that working together, we can identify the best ways to help the people we serve.”

In addition to serving on the business operation subcommittee, Berner has been appointed by House Speaker Chris Sprowls to the main Commission.

The Florida Legislature established the Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse last year to look into the effectiveness of the state’s current methods of providing mental health and substance abuse services.

The Great Imbalance

Inflation is lowering the purchasing power for many Floridians, resulting in consumer decisions that Florida TaxWatch says could impact Florida’s economy and government, according to the group’s latest report.

The report, titled “The Great Imbalance: Inflation’s Influence in the COVID-19 Economy,” analyzes the pandemic-era inflation and its possible effects on public policy.

Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro says you don’t need to be an economist to witness inflation. But economists can put what people are feeling into data.

Dominic Calabro and Florida TaxWatch take a deep dive into inflation and the ‘Great Imbalance.’

“As the trusted eyes and ears of Florida’s taxpayer, Florida TaxWatch monitors inflation, consumer sentiment, and government spending to ensure that Florida’s state and local leaders plan, invest, and legislate with attention to the needs of Floridians,” Calabro said.

Price increases have led to lower purchasing power for Floridians.

TaxWatch states that the current inflation is the result of low supply, caused by declining production capacities and constrained supply chains, and high demand, which soared after vaccines became widely available and federal stimulus payments were received.

“With the state getting ready to act on one of the largest budgets in Florida’s history, and recently reporting higher than expected revenues due to economic activity, it’s important for elected leaders to keep focus on the need to invest wisely, grow prudently, but also to return excess dollars back to taxpayers whenever they can, so that Florida families and businesses can deal with the pressures and realities our report touches on,” Calabro said.

‘CO of the Year’

The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) has named Flagler County Corrections Officer Deputy First Class (DFC) Paul Luciano as the 2022 Corrections Officer of the Year, a 25-year veteran who died of COVID-19 in 2021.

After suffering a serious hip injury that sidelined him for nearly three months, Luciano battled through pain to accompany fellow officers within the facility.

When he returned, Luciano worked through a COVID-19 outbreak within the facility and was exposed to COVID-19-infected inmates during three separate shifts. At the time, the FSA says, COVID-19 cases reached upward of 20%.

Luciano died with COVID-19 on Aug. 26. He served with Flagler County for 25 years.

“He always treated inmates with dignity and respect knowing they were returning to our community,” said Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly. “DFC Luciano represents the dangers our invisible heroes face daily while serving as Detention Deputies in our county jails.”

Attendees applauded members of Luciano’s family at the annual winter conference banquet.

“Being recognized posthumously as the Florida Sheriffs Association Correction’s Officer of the Year is an honor for his family and recognition of his devotion to service and the final sacrifice, he made serving our community,” Staly added.

To watch the ceremony, click on the image below:

Dispached

The Florida Sheriffs Association named Miami-Dade Police Department Dispatcher Rebeca Sanchez as the 2022 Dispatcher of the Year.

Sanchez has amassed several awards including 23 letters of commendation since joining the department in 2004.

“As a communication specialist, each shift is different, and dispatchers never know what is going to be on the other end of the call,” the Association said in a press release. “Communication specialists must be mentally prepared, skilled and ready to handle any emergency.”

Most recently, Sanchez in October helped police navigate a complex ‘officer down’ situation. The Association credits Sanchez with helping direct first responders to an injured officer and civilian while also managing other tasks such as establishing a perimeter and directing aviation and K9 units.

Miami-Dade Police Department Director Alfredo Freddy Ramirez highlighted the recognition, saying the work of dispatchers often goes unnoticed.

“We are very proud of Dispatcher Rebeca Sanchez for earning this prestigious award,” Ramirez said. “Her swift thinking and experience made a difference for all those involved. The entire Miami-Dade Police Department is honored and thankful to the Florida Sheriffs Association for recognizing the humble efforts of Dispatcher Sanchez.”

To watch the award ceremony, click on the image below:

Chiles Award

Children’s Week Florida and The Children’s Forum is honoring Doug Sessions with the Chiles Children’s Advocate Award for 2022.

The award, named for former Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles and his wife, Rhea, is presented each year to a Floridian who has dedicated extensive time, philanthropic effort, and advocacy on statewide issues affecting the status and well-being of children, youth, and families. With a quarter-century under his belt as president and CEO of The Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, Sessions has long been an advocate for Florida’s children and families.

Doug Sessions is ‘relentless’ in his advocacy for Florida children and families.

“Doug Sessions has been relentless in his dedication to the vision of Lawton and Rhea Chiles, and has worked every day to create a better place for Florida’s less fortunate children and families, who have been hit so hard by the modern pandemic,” said Dr. Phyllis Kalifeh, President and CEO of The Children’s Forum. “Doug is the embodiment of the giving spirit of the late Governor and First Lady, and he is richly deserving of this recognition.”

The Ounce identifies, funds, supports and tests innovative programs to improve the life outcomes of children, preserve and strengthen families, and promote healthy behavior and functioning in society, recognizing that the wisest money spent is on prevention.

Sessions raised funds to support underserved and vulnerable children and young mothers, protected and leveraged those investments, and tirelessly called on state leaders to recognize that the wisest money spent is on prevention. His advocacy efforts resulted in an additional $42 million for The Ounce and the establishment of Healthy Families Florida, the state’s largest evidence-based home visiting program that has proven to keep families together and out of the child welfare system.

Florida Oceans Day

Mark your calendars. The Florida Ocean Alliance plans to host a “Florida Oceans Day” at the State Capitol on Feb. 1.

The event theme — Florida’s Economic Recovery and the Blue Economy — will feature lawmakers, scientists and researchers.

They will focus on the “state’s recovery from the pandemic and the role that the ocean economy and maritime industries can play in that recovery,” Florida Ocean Alliance said in a press release.

The shape of water: As Florida recovers, the ‘ocean economy’ can play a major role.

The Mote Legislative Reception will take place on the 22nd floor from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 1.

“Florida’s economy is dependent on key water-related industries, among them tourism, seaports, and recreation industries,” said Florida Ocean Alliance President Paul Anderson. “As Florida recovers from the economic losses of the pandemic, these industries will be crucial to the state regaining momentum in economic growth and expansion of jobs.”

Economic prognosticators widely agree Florida’s Blue Economy is key to the state’s overall health.

More than 75% of Florida residents reside in 35 coastal counties. What’s more, Florida’s Blue Economy generates hundreds of billions in economic revenue and supports over a million jobs.

“Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, declining water quality, damaged natural habitats, and the vulnerability of both human-built and natural infrastructure continue to put Florida’s Blue Economy at risk,” the Alliance said in the release.

Big Blue crew

The Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation announced this week its new 2022 leadership team.

The foundation is a coalition of companies, spearheading efforts to develop and adopt environmentally sustainable business practices.

Florida Beverage Association CEO Elizabeth Castro DeWitt will serve as chair and Corporate Services Bealls Director Karl Berven will serve as chair-elect.

Rinse and repeat: Elizabeth Castro DeWitt and Karl Berven will help Floridians learn the benefits of recycling.

The Foundation also named three new board members. CEMEX’s Jeanna Emerson joined the board along with Billi Jo Huddleston of Florida Power & Light and Mike Rubin of the Florida Ports Council.

“Their mission is to educate policymakers, business leaders and the public about the benefits of recycling,” the Foundation said. “In the past eight years, the organization has grown from five to 26 members and have conducted approximately 20 recycling workshops/summits throughout the state.”

The board members will also help coordinate Florida Recycles Week with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The following Board Members will continue to serve: Erin Black of Coca-Cola Beverages Florida; Harold Bowman of DAR PRO; Lisa Gilliard of Publix Super Markets; Steve Lezman of PepsiCo; Dawn McCormick of Waste Management Inc. of Florida; Jeremy Miller of Florida Goodwill Association; Derieth Sutton of Niagara Bottling and Andrew Williams of MARPAN.

Keyna Cory will continue as the Foundation’s Executive Director.

FSU High Flying Circus

Florida State University’s Museum of Fine Arts is showcasing three new exhibits highlighting the university’s Flying High Circus.

The showcases feature the work of photographer Bruce Davidson and ceramist Jiha Moon. They feature photo and video installations as well as interactive displays and historic and contemporary circus costumes.

The three exhibitions are open to the public now through March 19.

Three-ring artwork: FSU celebrates the beauty of the big top. Image via FSU.

“The three shows we have in the museum right now offer something for everyone,” said Meredith Lynn, curator of the Museum of Fine Arts. “‘75 Years of Flying High’ is a fun, engaging show that families will love.

In a press release, Lynn further explains that Davidson’s work is a testament to documentary photography. She further describes Moon’s ceramics as “beautiful entry points into vital conversations in contemporary culture.”

Founded in 1974, FSU’s Flying High Circus is a globally recognized performance featuring students’ creativity and athletic ability.

“It takes a lot to be a circus performer, but students and alumni repeatedly reflect on the importance of trust — trusting oneself, trusting one’s partner, trusting one’s apparatus — to achieving the magic that animates each act: a transformation from the everyday and ordinary into the amazing and extraordinary,” said Preston McLane, director of the Museum of Fine Arts.

More information is available online.

— Capitol Directions —

Ron DeSantis — Up — Everyone with a badge has his back.

Charlie Crist — Crossways — He’s saying the right things, but the mic isn’t plugged in.

Richard Corcoran — Down — As nobody once said, “You either go out a hero, or live long enough to get a pair of Gucci loafers.”

Joseph Ladapo — Crossways — Part of us wants him to just answer the damn questions Senators put to him, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. His confirmation is a lock.

DEP — Down — What’s the P stand for … because it ain’t “protection.”

Committee Mtg. Attendance — Up — Looks like omicron tuckered itself out two weeks into Session.

Wilton Simpson — Up — He won the ‘Fight for $13’ for state employees. Next stop, $15.

Chris Sprowls’ Big Idea — Up — It’s getting big results — 81,000 books in kids’ hands.

Lauren Book — Up — We may never know who hacked her phone, but they probably won’t be targeting Floridians again.

Jeff Brandes — Up — It feels like he’s the only one who wants to save Floridians, rather than insurers, money on property insurance.

Joe Gruters — Down — At this point, let’s just play the national anthem before family court proceedings and call it a day.

Travis Hutson — Down — How about a bill requiring lawmakers to be lawyers?

Tom Leek — Up — People may complain the process was slow and not all that transparent, but the House map seems pretty fair.

Fentrice Driskell — Up — It’s not every day a redistricting committee chair cheers his bill’s chief detractor.

David Borrero — Down — Congratulations on winning that House seat. Now, we’re putting you in a tiny corner of a future Speaker’s district.

Christopher Benjamin — Down — His constituency is moving down the block. He’ll have to as well.

Mike Caruso — Down — After two close races and a deep blue redraw, it’s time to call up a real estate agent.

Felicia Robinson — Up — Well, that Democratic Primary resolved itself quickly.

Leda Kelly — Crossways — The House staff has been working hard, but their transparency and precision pales in comparison to the Senate.

Randy Fine supporters — Down — Can we put a gag on them or is there a special place in hell for that, too?

Christine Hunschofsky — Up — She gets results.

Bob Rommel — Crossways — Is there a secret maintenance worker cabal we don’t know about?

David Smith — Down — If you can’t look into a camera and explain your bill, you probably shouldn’t be sponsoring it.

Jackie Toledo — Up — By-the-hour hotels sound like breeding grounds for lots of things, not just human trafficking. Good riddance.

School Choice — Up — Nearly half of Florida students exercise their right to choose.

Charter Schools — Up — … and it’ll be a lot higher than 48% if the Charter School Review Commission gets the OK.

Sticky Icky — Down — So, when are we banning Limburger and sauerkraut?

Troubled youth — Up — They deserve a do-over.

Unions — Crossways — The union-busting paperwork bill is back … but apparently it helps unions drum up members. Color us skeptical.

Crypto — Up — You might be able to use meme coins for something other than a Tesla T-shirt soon.

Key Lime Pie — Down — Big Strawberry doesn’t pull punches.

Pitbulls — Up — That’s American Staffordshire terriers to you.

Daryl Campbell — Up — The letter was overnighted.

Mary Glowacki — Up — If you give an archeologist a reason to dig, expect them to uncover something.

Chris Dorworth — Down — We thought his megadevelopment was a sure thing. We also thought he’d be Speaker in 2014, so what do we know?

Evan Power — Up — Thanks to Power, Washington County residents now have the power to buy a bottle of Powers.

Families — Down — “Welcome to Florida, the 39th best state to raise a family.”

Sports betting — Down — Now accepting bets for Super Bowl LIX … maybe.

Vroom — Down — Based on the speed they file paperwork, they should rebrand as Screech.

Sharks — Down — Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, the International Shark Attack File releases its annual report.

Florida State soccer — Up — To the winners go the NIL spoils.

Staff Reports



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