Takeaways from Tallahassee — No apologies

Blue Tally Takeaways (5)
Ron DeSantis dispenses some wisdom — never, ever apologize.

No apologies

Gov. Ron DeSantis offered some advice this week, telling Joe Rogan not to apologize for past racial slurs, which has raised the hackles of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus. The group is now calling on the Governor to apologize for his “unacceptable remarks.”

No worries: Ron DeSantis gives some advice to Joe Rogan — never, ever apologize.

Rogan has become a lightning rod for criticism after singer India Arie showed a mashup of numerous times Rogan used the N-word on his podcast. After that, Rogan himself agreed he “f—ed up” by using the slur.

But DeSantis told Fox News three days ago that Rogan shouldn’t have apologized. Sen. Bobby Powell said DeSantis is erroneously portraying those offended by using the N-word as a “mob” that should be told to “pound sand.” Powell called the N-word “a dehumanizing slur rooted in slavery.”

“People throughout Florida and our nation outraged over the ignorant use of racist slurs by a man in a position of great influence are not a mob lusting for blood,” Powell said in a news release issued on behalf of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus. “They are a collection of individuals demanding human dignity and respect — something our Governor will not or cannot understand.”

An inquiry to the Governor’s press office was not immediately answered Friday. This week, Charlie Crist has also rebuked DeSantis’ advice to Rogan, saying the Governor’s remarks were “shameful statements.”

The N-word controversy is not the sole reason “The Joe Rogan Experience” has landed in headlines in the last 15 days. Rocker Neil Young said he didn’t want his music played on Spotify, the music and podcast streaming service because it also finances Rogan’s podcast. He and folk singer Joni Mitchell spotlighted Rogan’s spread of COVID-19 misinformation.

Rogan apologized for that on Jan. 31 and pledged to bring more mainstream viewpoints about the virus to the show.

DeSantis also criticized that apology too.

Powell argued DeSantis’ advice to Rogan is part of a long line of attacks against minorities in Florida and part of his strategy to win the White House with culture war issues.

“From the beginning, his tendency has been catering to his ultra-conservative base by tearing down and tearing into the rich diversity of Florida, eroding the freedoms every one of us is entitled to as Americans,” Powell added in a news release from his office.

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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:

Court declines redistricting opinion; veto threat returns – The Florida Supreme Court unanimously denied DeSantis’ request that the Court provide an advisory opinion over Florida’s 5th Congressional District. And even though DeSantis holds the veto pen, the House is rolling forward with a tweaked map that still includes a similar district currently represented by U.S. Rep. Al Lawson. Without any legal answer to DeSantis’ “novel legal argument,” House Speaker Chris Sprowls said Friday. Despite the Court’s declination to comment, The House Congressional Redistricting Subcommittee has pushed its next meeting to Feb. 18 to get extra time to scrutinize the new lines.

“Don’t say gay” draws national attention – President Joe Biden has weighed in on Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill, dubbed by critics as the “don’t say gay” bill. On Tuesday, the day after DeSantis defended the legislation, the White House bashed conservative politicians, and Biden echoed the sentiments, calling it a “hateful bill.” He vowed his administration would “continue to fight for the protections and safety” LGBTQI+ kids and the community deserve. Biden’s and the White House’s comments came the evening after the Senate Education Committee voted along party lines to advance the bill.

Budget measures move to chamber votes – The House and Senate budgets are ready for votes on their chamber floors after the respective Appropriations committees approved the multibillion-dollar spending plans. Both committees also prepared budget-related bills for votes. Among the measures are bills to create a $2 billion fund to help state agencies cope with rising costs of goods because of inflation, create a 6th District Court of Appeal and change the qualifications for serving on the new Gaming Control Commission. However, some of DeSantis’ priorities are missing from the budgets, including an $8 million program to send to other states immigrants who are in Florida and the country illegally.

DeSantis, Wilton Simpson spar over water – After the Senate advanced a major water policy measure as part of their slate of budget bills, DeSantis bashed the bill and said his agencies were left “in the dark” as the bill was rammed through the process. “I reject any attempt to deprioritize the EAA Reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee,” the Governor said Thursday. Later that day, Senate President Wilton Simpson defended the bill and the process. “No Senator has to check in with a state agency before filing a bill,” Simpson said. “I report to the people of Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties, not appointed bureaucrats.”

Lawmakers extend providers’ COVID-19 protections – Health care providers will continue to enjoy protection from COVID-19 liability lawsuits until next June, assuming DeSantis signs the Legislature’s liability extension. Extending the lawsuit protections was one of the top priorities for health care organizations and business groups that favor restrictions on litigation. Existing restrictions, a priority of DeSantis last year, are slated to expire on March 29. Sprowls insisted that the protections for health care providers be time-limited. “What the Legislature will do a year from now will depend probably on the facts at the time,” the term-limited Republican told reporters Thursday.

Hearts 4 Heroes

Attorney General Ashley Moody invites Floridians to join a law enforcement support campaign throughout February.

The campaign — #Hearts4HeroesChallenge — calls on locals to “show their love” for law enforcement on social media. The gesture, Moody explained, can be as simple as a quick post or selfie using the hashtag.

“Our law enforcement officers put their lives at risk daily, and along with their noble profession, comes a great deal of stress—and with the rise in fallen officers nationwide over the past few years—I want Florida to continue showing support for our brave law enforcement heroes,” Moody said.

Moody also challenged retired American professional wrestler, Titus O’Neil, to join the campaign.

O’Neil — a University of Florida and Boynton Beach native — responded Wednesday with a picture alongside a Tampa police officer and a Hillsborough County deputy.

Not a social media fan? No worries, Moody added.

“It can be as simple as a smile and a handshake, giving a small gift or simply saying thank you to show appreciation for law enforcement officers,” she said. “So please, join our challenge and do something nice for an officer in your community.”

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

Rescue me

On Tuesday, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis honored members of Florida’s Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Task Force 7.

The Tallahassee-based team is among the sea of first emergency workers who scrambled to rescue survivors from the rubble of the Surfside condominium collapse in South Florida.

Challenger: Jimmy Patronis honors the eight Urban Search and Rescue teams across the state. Image via @JimmyPatronis/Twitter.

Patronis offered each member a challenge coin, highlighting the funding he is pursuing to provide them with better training and equipment.

The coins feature the State Fire Marshal Office seal on one side and a picture of the Champlain Tower on the other.

“It was an honor to be in Tallahassee today and recognize the brave men and women of Florida’s US&R Task Force 7,” Patronis said. “When I became State Fire Marshal, I fully expected to talk about: changing batteries in smoke detectors and not dropping frozen turkeys into deep fryers. I saw the work of God when hundreds of Florida’s Urban Search & Rescue Team members fought, and kept fighting, for any hopes of life.”

Florida has eight teams throughout the state. Patronis plans to visit each throughout the 2022 Legislative Session.

Florida Professional Firefighters President Bernie Bernoska and Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association CEO Ray Colburn stood alongside Patronis at the event.

Bernoska thanked Patronis for recognizing the efforts of emergency workers.

“The men and women who answered the call and came to Surfside have been through hell and back, and we all owe them our gratitude for their service,” Bernoska said.

Searching for love?

Looking for love on Valentine’s Day? Take a look at the state database of unclaimed property.

There is $7 million in unclaimed property for people with Valentine-related names that Patronis wants to return.

Cash is king: What says love more than unclaimed property?

There is $2.4 million in unclaimed property in 6,000 accounts that include the word Rose, making it the most lucrative of all the words in Patronis’ list.

Files with the word Red, 6,900, is more than any Valentine-inspired words on Patronis’ list. Other Valentine-inspired words that made the CFO’s lost hearts lists are: Heart, Valentine, Kiss, Flower, Sweet, Pink, and Candy.

“Roses are red, violets are blue, search now because you could have unclaimed property waiting for you,” Patronis said in a prepared statement.

Instagram of the week

The week in appointments

Florida Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced appointed Chad Poppell to the Florida Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council on Friday. Poppell is the former Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families and now works as managing director of health and government solutions at KPMG US. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Valdosta State University.

A bit of “Magic”

Clear Health Alliance hosted a conversation Monday with health care providers, community leaders, and nonprofit organizations on prevention and care of HIV/AIDS that featured NBA Legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson at the Jacksonville River City Downtown Hotel.

The event focused on how HIV/AIDS affects Black/African American people, disproportionately likely to have HIV. In 2019, Black/African American people represented 13% of the U.S. population, but 40% of people with HIV.

In Jacksonville, Magic Johnson talks about advances in HIV/AIDS over the past 30 years.

“I learned of my diagnosis more than three decades ago, and the world was in a completely different space,” Johnson said, who is living with HIV. “Now, through research and innovations, we can combat this virus and disease, and the stigma associated with it. I’m proud to work with Clear Health Alliance and our community partners to raise awareness, promote testing and provide treatment, especially to African American people, who are at greater risk.”

According to the latest data from the Florida Department of Health, more than 117,000 Floridians are living with HIV. In 2019, the state reported nearly 5,000 new infections to the CDC, which is the highest number of new infections nationwide.

Home care

Florida hospitals that want the ability to use paramedics to offer inpatient services outside the facility’s four walls are lobbying SB 1222, which the Senate Rules Committee will consider Tuesday.

The bill authorizes certified paramedics working under the supervision of a physician to perform essential life support services, advanced life support services, and additional health care services to acute care at-home patients in non-emergency community settings.

Headway: The Aaron Bean co-sponsored SB 1222 is moving along nicely.

The bill clarifies that supervising physicians are liable for any act or omission of the paramedic. The bill also authorizes the Department of Health to adopt and enforce rules.

Initially, the bill authorized hospitals to provide the care in community settings, but the bill was narrowed to only care provided to a person in their permanent home.

Last week, the House Professions & Public Health Subcommittee approved HB 937, a similar (but not identical) bill. According to House documents, 40 lobbyists have registered to lobby on HB 937, including physicians from Mayo Clinic Jacksonville.

Mayo Clinic Jacksonville has received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to provide inpatient care in settings outside the hospital.

It also has received temporary approval from the state Agency for Health Care Administration which regulates hospitals. Tampa General Hospital also has received a similar waiver from the federal government. With less than 30 days left in the 2022 regular Legislative, both chambers are moving the bills.

Behavior, not breed

The end of Miami-Dade County’s 32-year-old prohibition against pit bulls might be the biggest news that results when and if legislation against breed-specific rules on dangerous dogs succeeds.

The legislation (HB 721/SB 614) would make it so that rules about “dangerous dogs” address behavior and not breed. It strips out the line in state statute that grandfathered in Miami-Dade County’s pit bull ban passed in 1990.

Blame the behavior: Don’t focus on the breed of dog, James Buchanan says.

But for Rep. James Buchanan, his effort is more about ending public housing rules that break up families — and leave the family dog out in the cold. He’s sponsoring the House version of the legislation that got unanimous subcommittee approval this week.

He said that not being able to move the whole family into public housing because of rules that ban specific dog breeds shouldn’t be happening.

Buchanan evoked “Fluffy” at Tuesday’s committee hearing, but there’s a whole parade of dogs in his life that meant so much, yet some others might see it as the definition of “dangerous,” he said.

In particular, Maximus, a Doberman pinscher, had a close relationship with his daughter, starting when she was a toddler. Maximus died a year ago at 15.

Dobermans might be on the Centers for Disease Control’s list of most common dogs that cause fatal bites, but Buchanan just didn’t see it in Maximus.

“He was amazing,” Buchanan said.

‘Time does not heal all wounds’

Coral Springs Rep. Dan Daley issued a statement Friday honoring the upcoming fourth anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Tragedy. Daley is an MSD alumnus.

“Time does not heal all wounds. Four years ago, on Feb. 14, our community changed forever. While most of the world has moved on, I know that many in our community are still healing. Many are still dealing with the pain and frustration. Many families now have a permanently empty seat at the dinner table,” Daley said.

He said he had seen glimmers of hope in the years since the tragedy.

Heartbroken: Dan Daley says some wounds may never fully heal.

“I have seen and worked beside survivors and families of those we lost who have taken their grief and sorrow and turned it into community activism — becoming strong advocates for change in the battle to end gun violence. Our community refused to settle for the way things were and have since marched, organized, and advocated for change. They have inspired the nation,” he said.

He highlighted legislation, like the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act, “Alyssa’s Law’ (the alert system in public schools), and School Safety Legislation that included the “Parents Need to Know” bill (which will alert parents of potential threats).

“These are small but monumental steps in the right direction to make the world a safer place, but there is still so much work to be done,” he said. “The MSD 17 are in our hearts today and every day. As time moves forward, we will never forget, and we will never stop working.”

Parole hearing

Legislation to update Florida prison inmates’ early release program received its first hearing of the Session this week.

The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Subcommittee voted unanimously on Tuesday to advance the bill (HB 169), a longtime effort of Tampa Democratic Rep. Dianne Hart, to its second committee stop.

Catch and release: Dianne Hart is working on a program to grant early parole for certain prison inmates.

The measure would direct the Department of Corrections and the Florida Commission on Offender Review to create eligibility requirements for those seeking parole. It would require officials to consider an inmate’s institutional achievements, disciplinary history, and indications of risk to the public in deciding whether to parole the inmate.

“My bill looks to alleviate some of the physical and financial strain on the Department by allowing those who have been incarcerated for decades and have changed their lives to be reintegrated into society while prioritizing public safety,” Hart said.

Similar legislation on the Senate side hasn’t been heard in committee.

While it might be the only hearing the legislation gets this year, Hart was thankful the measure received consideration.

“I am excited to see some movement on important criminal justice reform legislation. I hope that we as a legislature can come together to solve the pressing issues facing the Department of Corrections,” Hart said. “Conditions are not only unsafe for the officers, but for those incarcerated as well.”

Trafficking prevention month

On Feb. 2, 2022, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland released the Justice Department’s new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.

The strategy aims to enhance the Department’s capacity to prevent human trafficking, prosecute human trafficking cases, and support and protect human trafficking victims and survivors.

“Human trafficking is an insidious crime,” Garland said. “Traffickers exploit and endanger some of the most vulnerable members of our society and cause their victims unimaginable harm. The Justice Department’s new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking will bring the full force of the Department to this fight.”

New approach: Merrick Garland is changing strategies for fighting human trafficking.

According to the Florida Department of Children and Families and based on the human trafficking intake rate per 100 children in the population, the Panhandle had one of the highest rates of reporting of human trafficking between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

The Department’s strategy will be implemented under the direction of the National Human Trafficking Coordinator designated by the Attorney General following the Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017.

If you believe that you or someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking, please contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.

Solar warriors

Florida municipalities have sat mainly on the sidelines of one of the most controversial issues this Legislative Session — bills that would curb rooftop solar incentives (SB 1024/HB 741). However, that may be changing as the legislation continues to advance.

Broward Mayor Michael Udine has been one of the more vocal opponents of the legislation. He traveled to Tallahassee to testify earlier this Legislative Session, and his message to lawmakers was that the proposal would threaten the county’s bond rating because the county generates (and plans to generate) a lot of solar energy, for which it is compensated at current rates.

Sunny disposition: Michael Udine points out that solar is an important part of Broward’s bond rating.

The county’s financial planning and models are based on those rates, and the proposed legislation would dramatically cut revenues to the county.

Municipalities are potentially some of the largest beneficiaries of distributed solar energy because they maintain some of Florida’s most significant physical assets, such as convention centers, libraries, and parks — all of which are ideal locations for solar arrays.

This week, representatives from Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Gulfport, Coral Springs, and Hallandale Beach all voiced their opposition to the net metering legislation in the Senate Community Affairs Committee. According to testimony, Coral Springs and Hallandale Beach have recently passed resolutions opposing the bill.

This mirrors earlier efforts by the state’s municipalities to protect current rates. Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Monroe County and Palm Beach County signed a joint letter in late 2020 stating that they “support Florida’s existing net metering policies and oppose any changes to them.”

They weren’t alone. Orange County, Largo and St. Pete sent similar letters to the Public Service Commission (PSC), as did the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN), which counts 40 Florida municipalities among its members.

As noted by SSDN in its letter to the PSC, many municipalities are also making commitments to reach carbon neutrality or net-zero by 2050, and net metering is central to those plans.

Solar installers and environmentalists have led the coalition opposing SB 1024/HB 741, but more stakeholders are likely to join the conversation as the legislation continues to advance.

Credit union hero

This week, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates honored Rep. Clay Yarbrough as its 2021 “State Lawmaker of the Year.”

Yarbrough chairs the House Finance and Facilities Subcommittee, which considers bills impacting health care financing and facility construction.

Besties: Clay Yarborough is tight with credit unions.

“Throughout his tenure in the state House, Rep. Yarborough has remained a friend and supporter to credit unions. He has vocalized his support on many credit union issues, including public deposits and COVID-19 liability,” stated Patrick La Pine, CEO of LSCU & Affiliates.

“Rep. Yarborough’s future is exceptionally bright in the Florida Capitol, and we look forward to continuing to work with him on credit union priorities throughout his tenure in public service.”

MakeMore findings

Florida TaxWatch has outlined its recommendations to improve the manufacturing industry in Florida, methods that could bolster Florida’s economic independence.

The findings come from the 2021 MakeMore Manufacturing Summit, the latest iteration of a program started in 2018 to explore ways to improve and diversify the state’s manufacturing industry to ultimately improve Florida’s quality of life.

“The typical Floridian can hardly go a week without some reference to ‘supply chain disruptions,’” TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro said. “The solution to such disruptions is to make more here in Florida.”

Making more: Is Florida going through a manufacturing renaissance?

In a report titled “Manufacturing a Transformational Shift: Expanding Florida’s Workforce Development Through Sector Strategies,” TaxWatch identified four takeaways from the 2021 summit. The first is to find people with the right skills to keep up with manufacturing needs, technology and emerging industries. Developing resilient and sustainable supply chains would also improve manufacturing.

TaxWatch also highlighted accelerating the adoption and implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies and attracting the next generation of manufacturers.

“The global markets are evolving, and this report highlights some of the challenges and opportunities that manufacturing in Florida has to increase its relevance and impact,” Calabro said. “With the ongoing collaboration of valued stakeholders — like those that participated in the 2021 MakeMore Manufacturing Summit — we can build on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, leverage the different resources and opportunities available to us, and ensure this growing sector continues to evolve and thrive, thereby making significant contributions to Florida’s future success.”

Capital Regional rebrand

Capital Regional Medical Center is rebranding as HCA Florida Capital Hospital.

Capital Regional has been Tallahassee’s HCA Healthcare-affiliated hospital for more than 40 years. In the coming month, the hospital will join the more than 400 HCA Healthcare sites in Florida as HCA Florida Healthcare.

“The state’s largest health care network is uniting to create an easier path for Floridians to find the high-quality, compassionate care they need and deserve. HCA Healthcare hospitals, free-standing emergency rooms, physician practices and other sites of care are uniting under a new statewide brand: HCA Florida Healthcare,” according to a media release.

Branded: Capital Regional Medical Center is joining the HCA Healthcare brand.

The rebrand will take place on March 3 and include a sign unveiling at the renamed HCA Florida Capital Hospital.

Capital Regional opened as Capital Medical Center in the 1970s when Tallahassee native Jim Tully envisioned the second hospital in the city to address concerns from the medical community over the lack of access to health care. Tully died in 1978, at the age of 50, one year before Capital Medical Center (CMC) opened its doors.

The hospital has undergone multiple name changes. After starting as CMC, it became HCA Tallahassee Community Hospital (TCH) in 1982. And in 2003, the hospital opened a replacement hospital and renamed itself Capital Regional Medical Center.

#DefendDemocracy

The Tallahassee Branch NAACP is holding a rally on the steps of the Old Capitol Building Thursday to call on the U.S. Senate to pass the Voting Rights Act and to “stand against voter suppression efforts by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.”

The rally is part of the National NAACP’s #DefendDemocracy campaign and directly opposes SB 524. It is also backed by several state and local advocacy groups, like the ACLU, Florida Rising, All Voting is Local, Faith in Florida, Florida Council of Churches, Equal Ground, Black Voters Matter, Students for a Democratic Society, and others.

Tallahassee NAACP President Mutaqee Akbar said they are calling on the community to act now against the bill.

On defense: The Tallahassee NAACP is ready to defend democracy.

“The intent of this legislation is clear: voter suppression. And the guilty conscience of our legislators is evident through its expedited passage through our legislative process,” Akbar said. “Defending democracy is a continuous commitment, and the NAACP rises up to the challenge.”

The rally is on Feb. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Electric performance

This week, the Florida Municipal Electric Association honored 10 public utilities with “Restoring Communities Awards.”

The awards recognize utilities that provided exemplary service after emergencies and those that provided or received mutual aid, an industry term for assistance partnerships between utilities.

In 2021, Florida’s public utilities helped restore power in Louisiana and Florida following severe weather, including Winter Storm and Hurricane Ida.

Answering the call: 10 public utilities were recognized for ‘Restoring Communities.’

“While providing mutual aid last year, Florida Public Power crews faced extreme weather conditions from bitter cold snow and ice to the brutal heat of August in the South. But weather conditions are never what’s on their minds. They have a genuine desire to help those in need and will do whatever it takes, in all sorts of conditions, to get the power back on,” said Amy Zubaly, FMEA Executive Director.

“That is one of the greatest strengths of public power — communities serving other communities and people helping other people. We are so proud of our award recipients and the crews who answered the calls for aid.”

The awards were presented at the FMEA Safety Committee & Florida Lineman Competition Committee meeting in Fort Pierce. The honorees: Bartow, Fort Meade, Tallahassee, the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, JEA, Keys Energy Services, the Kissimmee Utility Authority, Lakeland Electric, OUC, and the New Smyrna Beach Utilities Commission.

FSU top cop

Florida State University announced Thursday that Rhonda Harris, a 37-year law enforcement veteran, is its new assistant vice president for public safety and chief of police. She will start in the position in May.

Harris comes to FSU from Old Dominion University, where she served as chief of police since 2012, adding the title of assistant vice president for public safety in 2014.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead this department,” Harris said. “I’m looking forward to meeting the FSU community and working together to help ensure we maintain a safe campus environment.

Keeping the peace: Rhonda Harris is FSU’s new police department head.

Before Old Dominion, Harris spent 23 years at Rutgers University, where she started as a police officer in 1989 and rose through the ranks to serve as chief of police from 2006-2012.

FSU Vice President of Finance and Administration Kyle Clark said Harris’ credentials and track record of success help make her a welcome addition at FSU.

“I am delighted that Chief Harris has agreed to join us. Her dedication to public safety and decades of experience, including serving campus communities, make her a great fit to lead the FSU Police Department,” Clark said.

Granted

The City of Tallahassee’s John G. Riley Center and Museum was recently awarded an African American Civil Rights Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Service (NPS).

The grant of $50,000 over two years will support, in part, a publication chronicling the history of African American educators in Leon County.

Battle for change: The John G. Riley Center received a big check to dive into the history of school segregation and desegregation.

The publication will dive into the periods of school segregation and desegregation. It aims to document the stories of African Americans who grew up during the mid to late 20th century and demonstrate how families navigated the system and battled for change during the Jim Crow era.

Staff anticipates the publication will be available in summer 2023.

Capitol Directions

Joe Biden — Up — He can’t stop the “don’t say gay” bill, but he won’t sit silent either.

Ron DeSantis — Down — The Florida Supreme Court wouldn’t touch his congressional map with a 10-foot pole. And he appointed half of them.

Adela Suliman — Down — Can WaPo tell us why its London-based reporter who mainly covers China is writing stories about Florida?

Ashley Moody — Up — Retail crime rings beware; the crackdown is coming.

Jimmy Patronis — Down — “Burn down the Capitol” wasn’t the best choice of words, but at least he didn’t say it on Jan. 6 … right?

Wilton Simpson — Double up — If you challenge him on agriculture, expect to get Alpha Gamma Rholled.

Captains For Clean Water – Down arrow – When you spend more time lobbying in Tallahassee and Washington than on the water, the jig is up. Just register already.

Chauncey Goss – Down arrow – His John Kerry moment happened on Wednesday. He was for SB 2508 before he wasn’t against it.

Key West Fundraiser — Crossways — With all of those charter boat captains testifying against the Sen Prez’s priority, the next deep sea fishing trip could be awkward.

Ileana Garcia — Down — We said she should stop talking about race. We should have said she should stop talking.

Shevrin Jones — Up — His voter engagement effort has all the ingredients for success.

Chuck Clemons — Up — He’s not taking any guff from Big Tech defenders in $2K suits.

Tracie Davis — Crossways — The voter choice argument against term limits was logical … until she undermined it by saying Lee County voters shouldn’t be able to elect superintendents.

Randy Fine — Down — Schools don’t need an accountabilibuddy. They need funding.

Erin Grall — Up — PIP opponents called her repeal bill legislative “malpractice.” Well, she knows how to use that word too.

Fentrice Driskell — Up — The African American cemeteries bill earned a lot of praise in committee, but she deserves a bit more … take an up arrow, Rep.

Tommy Gregory — Crossways — A week ago he said there was “0% chance” he’d move to avoid a primary vs. James Buchanan. Well, guess who blinked?

Lawrence McClure — Up — Net metering is a thorny issue, but he’s being an honest broker for those on all sides.

Fiona McFarland — Up — Poised and in full command of her very complicated data privacy bill, she still managed to win the praise of every lobbyist who opposed the bill.

Lauren Melo — Up — Positive reinforcement for high schoolers who get a job is good policy.

Danny Perez — Up — He’s expertly managing Surfside, elections and Risk Assessment Office PCBs. The Speaker has brought the wide receiver off the bench and is throwing deep bombs.

Rene Plasencia — Up — Coach P knows there is no “I” in team.

Anthony Sabatini — Down — He skipped the school board term limits vote to run around Wyoming spewing nonsense. Can he just be their problem now?

Kaylee Tuck — Up — Sabatini’s army of Twitter trolls doesn’t scare her.

Jay Trumbull — Up — Be grateful he didn’t name his bill B.R.A.N.D.O.N.

Trial Lawyers — Crossways — They took an “L” on the “free kill” bill, but a bump in the sovereign immunity cap is a pretty sweet consolation prize.

Amazon — Crossways — Congrats on the $1M tax break. Can you maybe not jack up the cost of Prime now?

Doctors — Crossways — Feel free to get a second opinion … doctors may be allowed to have them soon.

Paramedics — Up — It’ll be nice to not have to dial 9-1-1 for a house call.

School Board’ers — Crossways — They’ll get to keep their paychecks, but they’re losing tenure.

Afternoon Quickies — Down — They’re about to get a lot more expensive.

K9s — Up — They’re getting a pretty sweet retirement package.

Pit Bulls — Up — You won’t have to pretend your pitty mix is a “hound” next time you sign a lease.

Speed Cameras — Up — Slow your roll in school zones. Big brother is watching.

Florida Chamber — Up — Does redistricting make your head hurt? The Chamber’s new map tool is the cure.

Progressive — Down — Flo, you’ve got some explaining to do.

Publix — Up — Shopping there is a pleasure … for the Everglades.

Craig Waters — Up — The man who brought the Florida Supreme Court into the digital age is hanging up his hat. Enjoy retirement!

Leroy Butler — Up — He earned his spot in Canton. That’s five Seminoles in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, for those counting.

Josh Williamson — Up — COVID-19 couldn’t squash his Olympic dreams. Beijing bound!

Staff Reports



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