Takeaways from Tallahassee — The rent is too darn high

Blue Tally Takeaways (3)
You're telling me rent has gone up how much?

Unaffordable housing

Residential rental rates have increased by more than a third in some parts of the state, according to a recent study from Florida TaxWatch.

In a report released Thursday, the budget watchdogs analyzed the accelerated demand for rental properties in Florida and rising prices since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The report comes amid concerns about inflation and the lack of affordable housing in the Sunshine State.

Dominic Calabro and Florida TaxWatch say young professionals are being priced out of the housing market. Image via Florida TaxWatch.

Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro said the rising cost of everyday items has pervaded the housing market, leaving would-be homebuyers with renting as their only viable option. In turn, and together with workforce migration from other states, the rental market is facing excessive pressure.

“While Florida is known for its robust job creation and low-tax environment, affordable housing is understandably a major concern for many, and it threatens to undermine the state’s continued economic recovery and ultimate success,” Calabro said. “Leaders and decision-makers should heed this warning and adapt as appropriate to ensure all who call — and hope to call — the Sunshine State ‘home’ can thrive here.”

The median rental prices hit $2,420 for one-bedroom and $3,220 for two bedrooms in the Miami metro area, 34% increases from February 2021 to February 2022. In the Orlando area, prices jumped to $1,630 — a 25% increase — for one-bedroom and to $1,910 — a 35% or 36% increase — for two bedrooms.

Prices have remained the steadiest in the Jacksonville and Tallahassee areas. In Tallahassee, the median price hit $900 for one-bedroom — a 12% or 13% increase — and $1,050 for two bedrooms — a 15% increase. In Jacksonville, those values hit $1,170 for one-bedroom and $1,380 for two bedrooms, both 15% increases.

“Especially for young professionals, being priced out of certain markets may lead to outbound migration from the state over time,” according to the report. “And since the pandemic has shown that where one works and where one lives can be different, this may further incentivize movement to more affordable regions in the U.S.”

The Legislature’s budget proposal, as drafted at the end of Session this month, includes $362.7 million for affordable housing programs. Affordable housing should have received more state aid, Democrats contend.

Rep. Fentrice Driskell, a Tampa Democrat, said the affordable housing crisis is a problem that has been brewing for years that Republicans need to own up to.

“The Republican-led Legislature has been derelict in its duties,” Driskell said. “The Republican-led Legislature has turned its back on Floridians that need affordable housing.

Homeowners and renters in August also faced the end of the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. TaxWatch said Florida hasn’t experienced an influx of evictions yet, but didn’t rule out that it could still be on the horizon. However, Driskell said lawmakers have already started to field calls from constituents facing evictions.

“Even on a constituent service level, that’s been a growing concern,” Driskell said.

___

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

But first, the “Takeaway 5” — the Top 5 stories from the week that was:

DeSantis proclaims Emma Weyant swimming champ — Gov. Ron DeSantis has named Sarasota native Emma Weyant the new 2022 NCAA women’s swim champion in the 500-yard freestyle. Weyant, competing with the University of Virginia, was the runner-up to University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas. Thomas is the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA swimming championship, setting off a frenzy among conservatives and people questioning whether a transgender woman should be allowed to compete in women’s sports. “By allowing men to compete in women’s sports, the NCAA is destroying opportunities for women, making a mockery of its championships, and perpetuating a fraud,” DeSantis tweeted. “In Florida, we reject these lies and recognize Sarasota’s Emma Weyant as the best women’s swimmer in the 500y freestyle.”

FDP cancels Disney convention over ‘parental rights’ bill — The Florida Democratic Party announced it has postponed the annual Leadership Blue conference after numerous members, particularly from the LGBTQ+ Caucus, threatened to boycott the weekend-long event. The Walt Disney Company has been under the gun for leadership’s initial stance to not publicly oppose Florida’s “parental rights in education bill” (HB 1557) and past donations to the bill’s supporters. “We have heard the feedback regarding our Leadership Blue weekend, including conflicts with Pride Month, Juneteenth and Father’s Day events, all of which we intended to honor,” Party Chair Manny Diaz said in a news release. “Our timing was not ideal. We also acknowledge that in our fight for freedom and fairness, we can always do more.”

DeSantis approves ‘curriculum transparency’ legislation — The Governor signed into law legislation (HB 1467) parents and others a mechanism to purge texts they don’t like from classrooms. Additionally, it will impose School Board term limit requirements statewide. The bill, which DeSantis touted as a “curriculum transparency” measure, will require school districts to list all library and instructional materials in use in an online database with a multistep adoption process, including a mandatory public hearing with public comment. It also requires elementary schools to hire a Department of Education-trained media specialist to curate materials while compelling school districts to report materials and books that draw public objections. DOE would then publish the list to guide content management decisions, including withdrawing texts deemed objectionable.

Lobbyist veto campaign flood begins — Now that the 2022 legislative Session is over the 2022 veto push is on. Unable to modify or stop bills they didn’t like, associations now are turning to DeSantis as a last-ditch effort to kill bills they don’t like and spending items they don’t agree with. AARP Florida, Equality Florida and the National Federation of Independent Business Florida are asking the governor to veto policy legislation. The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops wants DeSantis to veto a budget item, $2 million in recurring funds for long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). Senate President Wilton Simpson included the funding in the Department of Health budget. It’s the second time Simpson has put money for contraception for low-income women in the budget. Simpson in 2022 called LARC a “healthy” part of an anti-abortion agenda. But the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops sees things differently. It swayed DeSantis to veto the funding last year and is hoping to repeat its success again this year. A spokesperson for the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops said the veto request was being written.

DeSantis signs student financial literacy bill — Ninth graders will soon have to take a financial literacy course in order to graduate. Under the new law (SB 1054), which will apply to ninth graders beginning in the 2023-24 school year, schools must develop an elective class for personal literacy and money management. The law is named the “Dorothy L. Hukill Financial Literacy Act” in honor of the late Sen. Dorothy Hukill, a teacher who championed financial literacy education before she died in 2018. The new law “is really providing a foundation for students that’s going to be applicable in their lives regardless of what path they take,” DeSantis said before signing the bill into law.

Send us satoshis

Lawmakers ignored DeSantis’ request to set up pilot projects related to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in the Legislative Session that ended earlier this month, but that isn’t deterring him from pursuing similar programs.

DeSantis said Tuesday he’s moving forward with plans to allow state agencies to accept fees and other payments from businesses that want to use Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

Soon, you will be able to pay for groceries with crypto. Are state agencies next?

“I’ve told the state agencies to figure out ways where if a business wants to pay tax in cryptocurrency to Florida, we should be willing to accept that,” DeSantis said at a Wesley Chapel school during an event to sign a bill requiring financial literacy classes to graduate high school.

“We will accept Bitcoin; we’re working on doing that in the state of Florida.”

In DeSantis’ budget recommendations he called for three pilot programs: $250,000 for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to make vehicle titles available and transferable through blockchain, $250,000 to the Agency for Health Care Administration to use blockchain to uncover Medicaid fraud and verify transactions, and $200,000 for the Department of Financial Services to accept payments in cryptocurrency.

Cyber warning

Following warnings from Washington that Russia is exploring options for a potential attack, Attorney General Ashley Moody has issued a Consumer Alert warning over potential cyberattacks.

Critical infrastructure is the most likely cyberattack target. However, attacks can be more broad, meaning anyone with information online could be affected. Floridians could lose money, private information and the use of digital devices.

“Cyberattacks are not always narrowly targeted. In fact, many hackers cast wide nets in an effort to steal as much information as possible,” Moody said. “With the growing tensions in Europe and new warnings out of Washington, I want to encourage all Floridians to remain diligent in their efforts to protect identities and financial information online.”

Ashley Moody warns cyberattacks and scams could be on the rise.

Moody says to use strong passwords and not repeat passwords for multiple accounts, among several other safety measures, like ignoring and blocking robotexts.

The warning also coincided this week with Moody’s release of a new “Scams at a Glance” resource to help Floridians spot and avoid robotext and robocall scams.

Americans received more than 87 billion of these texts and 72 billion of these calls last year. Losses from those scams totaled more than $40 billion.

“Robotexts are now outpacing robocalls, and in many ways, these scam messages are more concerning, as they can contain links with malware — leading to hacking, identity theft and financial loss,” Moody said.

Don’t click links in messages from unknown numbers, she noted, and don’t pick up their calls or respond to texts. Responding will show that the targeted user is active and could lead to more frequent messages.

Lone Star fires

Florida Forest Service firefighters have been on the ground in the Lone Star State this week to combat an outbreak of wildfires in Southwest Texas.

The Forest Service, a division of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, deployed 19 wildland firefighters following a request for resources in various locations across Texas.

“In times like this, it is our duty to support our fellow Americans and agency partners,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said. “I am grateful for the men and women of the Florida Forest Service and their commitment to serve and protect communities alongside the Texas A&M Forest Service. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the first responders working to fight these devastating wildfires and the families impacted by them.”

Nikki Fried is sending reinforcements to battle Texas wildfires.

Texas was also hit by severe storms on Monday, including at least 27 tornadoes confirmed so far by the National Weather Service. Those storms, largely concentrated in North and Central Texas, didn’t affect the Florida Forest Service firefighters’ mission. However, the deployment followed other storms that had impacted the region.

“With recent rainfall across the northern half of the state, we are in a good position to give Texas a hand right now,” said Erin Albury, State Forester and Florida Forest Service director. “Florida knows what wildfire can do to a community, and we are dedicated to helping any way we can.”

The Fact. Your Future.

First Lady Casey DeSantis’ “The Facts. Your Future.” campaign is launching digital components to aid the effort to educate young Floridians about the impacts of substance abuse.

Floridians can find the campaign’s content at TheFactsYourFuture.org, which houses materials for schools, teachers, parents and others to download and use to instruct children.

“Governor DeSantis and I want to see all of Florida’s youth reach their full potential. Today’s announcement is the latest development of our The Facts. Your Future. initiative, which is redefining the way substance abuse prevention is taught in our schools to ‘Just Say No … and Here’s Why’,” the First Lady said. “We need to reach teens with important information related to substance abuse where they are spending their time — on social media — to help them lead long, healthy, and productive lives.”

Casey DeSantis announces a major appointment to help the state’s mental health response.

The First Lady launched the campaign in December 2019 to directly engage youth to improve their understanding of the life-altering effects of drug use and equip them with tools they need to make decisions about their health and future

The website will expand with new resources throughout the year. But for now, it contains a fact sheet and planning guide, shareable versions of social media ads, shareable versions of digital videos, a video on the harmful effects of substance use on the teen brain and links with crisis resources.

Debate teams

School officials are looking for tweens and teens who love to argue.

The Department of Education and the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative are taking a new round of applications from schools and school districts that wish to start a middle or high school debate team during the upcoming school year.

The Florida Civics and Debate Initiative helps budding politicians gain skills and civic knowledge.

Applications will be accepted through midnight on April 19. All Florida traditional public or public charter middle or high schools are eligible to apply.

“Being involved in debate empowers Florida students to develop important problem-solving, communication and critical thinking skills so they can advocate for themselves and become great citizens,” Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said. “Students who are active in civics and debate perform better in school and are more likely to go to college. We’re thrilled to see such incredible momentum and growth in this program, and Florida will surely benefit from it for generations to come.”

When the program launched in 2020, just 11 school districts participated in competitive debate. Now, FCDI includes more than 150 teams in 48 school districts across Florida.

This year, FCDI hopes to establish debate teams in all 67 counties in Florida.

“When students practice and compete in debate, they are not only more likely to perform better in school, but they are building skills that will serve them well throughout the rest of their lives,” FCDI Director Beth Eskin said.

Leesburg Main Street

Leesburg Partnership has named the March 2022 Florida Main Street Program of the Month.

“I am happy to recognize the Leesburg Partnership as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month,” said Secretary of State Laurel Lee. “In addition to maintaining their historic downtown and supporting local businesses, the Partnership has recognized the importance of incorporating natural assets into their community environment, offering residents and visitors the opportunity to live, work and play in their Main Street district.”

The sun sets of Leesburg’s Main Street. Image via Leesburg Partnership.

Florida Main Street is part of the Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources. The program revitalizes historic downtowns and encourages economic development through historic preservation.

Leesburg Partnership was established in 1994 with the goal to restore, promote and maintain the historic character and viability of Leesburg for the enjoyment of residents and visitors. In addition to creating a sense of place in their main street district, they have begun focusing on sports tourism and trails as a method of diversifying their community assets.

Leesburg Partnership hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as Mardi Gras, Fish Fry, Craft Beer, Christmas House, Christmas Stroll and Leesburg Bikefest.

“I love being the Executive Director of the Leesburg Partnership because I hope to make a difference in the community that I love and be able to show visitors why Leesburg is a great place to live, work and play,” said Executive Director Joanie Smalley, a Leesburg native.

Since its designation in 1994, Leesburg Partnership has reported $16 million in public and private reinvestments and welcomed 121 net new businesses and 355 net new full-time and part-time jobs to the district. The organization has also reported approximately 149,151 volunteer hours.

Instagram of the week

Park plates for pickup

The Florida State Parks specialty license plate is hot off the presses.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles says the new plates have been delivered to tax collector offices and license plate agencies statewide. Floridians who purchased presale vouchers for the specialty plate are now able to redeem them at their local tax collector office or license plate agency, and those who wish to purchase the new specialty plate may do so at their local office.

The State Parks plate is ready to pick up at local FLHSMV offices.

The Florida State Parks specialty plate is the first plate from the class of plates approved during the 2021 Legislative Session to meet all design, development, manufacturing and presale requirements to begin the distribution process. The plate cleared its 3,000-preorder threshold in less than 34 days.

The revenue collected annually from the sale of the Florida State Parks specialty license plate will be distributed to the Florida State Parks Foundation for their efforts to preserve, protect, sustain and grow Florida state parks.

Floridians interested in purchasing one of the many specialty license plates offered in Florida are encouraged to visit their local tax collector or license plate agency. A complete list of Florida’s specialty license plates can be found on the department’s website.

FLBC leadership

Rep. Kamia Brown is the new leader of one of the state’s oldest minority political groups, the Florida Legislative Black Caucus.

Brown, an Ocoee Democrat, will serve as Chair for the next two years and Democratic Sen. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg will be Vice Chair, the caucus recently announced. Brown succeeds West Palm Beach Sen. Bobby Powell in the leadership role.

“I am honored to have been elected to serve as the Chair to the Florida Legislative Black Caucus,” Brown said. “I look forward to the work that my colleagues and I will accomplish in our pursuit of uplifting and amplifying Black voices and issues during our time in leadership.”

Kamia Brown will be the FLBC’s next head honcho. Image via House media.

Jacksonville Democratic Rep. Tracie Davis was elected Secretary. Hollywood Democratic Rep. Marie Woodson will be the Treasurer, and Miami Gardens Democratic Rep. Felicia Robinson is the new Parliamentarian.

Caucus leaders serve two-year terms.

The caucus, which currently includes five senators and 20 House members, began when African Americans were still subject to racial segregation laws. Their membership makes up 17% in the House and 13% in the Senate.

In 1968, Joe Lang Kershaw became the first African American in the Florida Legislature since Reconstruction. However, the caucus did not formally launch until 1982, when 12 African Americans were elected to the Legislature. Since then, the state leaders have advocated in Tallahassee for issues that affect their constituents in majority-minority communities.

EPIC Award

Rep. Christine Hunschofsky is being recognized as a 2022 EPIC Award winner for her mental health advocacy.

Mental Health America of Southeast Florida pointed to her time as Parkland Mayor during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy in 2018, when she mobilized services and resources for her community to help start and continue healing. The organization says Hunschofsky continued to be an advocate for mental health during her first term in the Legislature.

“This award is very special to me,” Hunschofsky said. “I saw first-hand the need for services in our community not just in the immediate hours and days after the shooting but now in the years following. Taking care of our mental health and physical health is key to living a healthy life, and I am pleased to bring my shared experiences to the state level and work to make a positive difference for Floridians.”

Christine Hunschofsky has been a leader on mental health since before she joined the House.

Hunschofsky and eight other recipients will be awarded during the 26th Annual EPIC Awards Luncheon at the Signature Grand on May 25.

“These awards are presented to members of our community who have exhibited exceptional service to our community through their actions, advocacy, leadership or service delivery to the most vulnerable in our community,” said Paul Jaquith, president of the Mental Health America of Southeast Florida.

Jaquith pointed to Hunschofsky’s promotion of mental health resources, suicide prevention and self-care following the shooting. As a lawmaker, she was appointed by Speaker Chris Sprowls to serve on the Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse and currently serves as the Chair of its Business Operations Subcommittee.

Show me the taxes

Rep. Angie Nixon wants to know more about corporate taxes, who is paying them and how much they are paying.

Nixon on Thursday sent a list of eight detailed questions to the Department of Revenue about the state tax obligation of corporations that do business in Florida. The letter comes ahead of a $624 million tax reduction for the most profitable corporations in Florida.

Are corporations winning while poor Floridians are losing? Image via House media.

In a news release announcing the move, Nixon said she hoped to have the answers from the Department of Revenue “in a timely manner” in order to share with the public.

“As rent and property insurance rates skyrocket, the Governor is about to hand out hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to a small handful of big corporations. This is the second time that the Governor has given rich refunds to these same huge companies — many of which are now helping to fund the Governor’s re-election campaign,” Nixon said.

“Floridians can’t even get their rent assistance on time, but the Governor is racing to give these corporations $624 million by May. We deserve to know far more about the corporations that are taking so much of our money.”

Nixon is taking aim at a 2019 bill that DeSantis signed into law that, according to a staff analysis, maintained the linkage between the federal and Florida tax codes.

The bill also extended through fiscal year 2020-2021 a temporary, automatic corporate tax rate and refund mechanism.

Flying high

Air passenger numbers are beginning to surpass pre-pandemic levels, and bills and funding approved in the 2022 Legislative Session could help Florida’s airports soar to new heights.

Lawmakers pumped $314.5 million into the state’s aviation development grant fund, which will be used to pay for projects that will help Florida’s airports continue their upward trajectory and create a fleet of jobs in the process.

About half of the tourists who visit the state arrive by air and their first impression of the state comes at the terminal, making improvement projects of paramount importance to the state’s tourism economy.

Plane travel is soaring to new heights.

Florida’s aviation industry also stands to gain from lawmakers’ decision to push back VISIT FLORIDA’s sunset date to 2028.

As Americans again take to the skies after two years of pandemic hesitance, investments in Florida’s tourism industry will help meet rising passenger demand and improve the quality of the state’s airports.

The Florida Airports Council, the association of the publicly owned and operated airports within the state, also succeeded in grounding two measures it argued would hurt the state’s aviation industry: a reduction in the aviation fuel tax and an Uber-backed bill that would have restricted airports’ ability to manage ride-sharing operations.

Keep it PMA

With mental health issues and substance use disorders exacerbated by the pandemic, the Florida Association of Managing Entities spent the 2022 Legislative Session pushing for policies and funding to Florida’s behavioral health system.

On the policy front, the association led the charge to secure passage for the peer specialist bill (SB 282), which has already been signed into law by the Governor. Peer specialists are persons who have recovered from substance use disorder or mental illness who support a person with a current substance use disorder or mental illness.

The bill, sponsored by Rouson, amends state law to label certified peer specialists as an essential part of substance use disorder treatment and authorizes the Department of Children and Families to develop a competency test that certified peer specialists would be required to pass.

Darryl Rouson wants certified peer specialists as an essential part of substance use disorder treatment. Image via Colin Hackley.

The Managing Entities worked closely with Rouson and Reps. Elizabeth Fetterhoff and Dianne Hart to get the bill across the finish line. Of course, the association also owes a tip of the hat to the First Lady, who has made improving Florida’s mental health system one of her major priorities since the Governor’s inauguration.

In addition to passing SB 282, the Managing Entities received a budget increase that includes more than $100 million in recurring funds to expand behavioral health services, increase care coordination and enhance the overall system in Florida for residents of all ages.

Combined, Managing Entities expect their legislative victories to bring major improvements in behavioral health services across the state, benefiting the 300,000-plus Floridians battling mental health and substance use disorders.

Let’s eat!

More than 3.5 million Floridians, including 850,000 children, are struggling with food insecurity and organizations such as Farm Share work overtime to put food on the table for hungry Floridians.

In 2021 alone, Farm Share — the state’s oldest and largest food bank — distributed more than 118 million pounds of food and served more than 98 million meals to Floridians in all 67 counties.

But their job has become increasingly difficult amid skyrocketing inflation and the ongoing pandemic.

With Farm Share’s help, the food bill could be a little lower for some.

However, making their case in Tallahassee was relatively easy, as many lawmakers have first-hand knowledge of Farm Share’s challenges due to partnering with the organization for food giveaways in their districts. As a result, the final budget approved by lawmakers included the full $5 million sought by Farm Share.

The funding is as critical as ever.

About one in three employed Florida households are considered Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed (ALICE) households — that means they are below the federal poverty line despite having a job. There are far more ALICE households than nonworking households (13%).

These households have difficulties buying food, paying rent, putting gas in the car, or buying necessary medicines month after month. A family of four simply can’t scrape by on a household income of $50,000 to $60,000 anymore, and that is a bracket that includes swathes of Floridians, such as schoolteachers, nurses and hospitality workers.

With Farm Share’s help — and legislative funding — the food bill will be a little lower for those families, giving them a little breathing room to cover other important expenses.

Saving students

Simply Healthcare Plans has donated $50,000 to Leon County schools in an effort to prevent cardiac arrest among student athletes.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death among student athletes, with one student athlete dying from SCA every three days in the United States. It is also the second leading cause of death among all youth 24 and younger.

Simply’s donation to the Leon County School Foundation will fund electrocardiogram (ECG) scans for all sixth graders in the school district.

“There is a real opportunity to help our youth and prevent unnecessary deaths from SCA,” said Holly Prince, President of Simply. “Simply is proud to increase access to early detection in Leon County with free ECG scan for all sixth graders. Preventive care saves lives.”

Preventive screenings are critical to catching heart conditions before it is too late. Image via Simply Healthcare Plans.

Leon County will be the first county in the country to offer free ECG scans as part of its middle school wellness check, said Eric Clark, executive director of the Foundation for Leon County Schools.

“Leon County Schools are determined to do whatever it takes to prevent tragedy and protect our students from the consequences of undetected underlying heart conditions,” Clark said.

The preventive ECG screens will take place at all Leon County schools until Friday.

Seminole alumni

The Florida State University Alumni Association is holding its 2022 Spring Alumni Awards on April 8 at 5:30 p.m.

The ceremony, which will take place in the Alumni Center Ballroom, will commemorate recipients of the FSU Alumni Association and Omicron Delta Kappa’s Grads Made Good Awards, the Alumni Ambassadors Scholarship and the Garnet and Gold Key’s Ross Oglesby Award.

“The annual Spring Alumni Awards is always special, not only because it is one of the most beautiful times of the year to be on campus, but also because we get to recognize our outstanding honorees,” said Julie Decker, president and CEO of the FSU Alumni Association. “It really is an evening like no other where we can share in celebrating what makes FSU alumni unique — a commitment to excellence, community and Florida State.”

Sean Pittman is one recipient of the Grads Made Good Award.

The recipients of the Grads Made Good Award, which goes to FSU alumni, include:

Lisa Balskus, a registered nurse in the Mayo Clinic’s post-anesthesia care unit who displayed true heroism while providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

— José B. Fernández, who is a professor emeritus of history and modern languages at the University of Central Florida.

— Jocelyne Fliger, who is a certified crisis worker with the American Association of Suicidology and a certified information and referral specialist with the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems.

— Sean Pittman, CEO of Pittman Law Firm, which specializes in government, administrative and corporate law.

The Ross Oglesby Award, established in 1972, is presented each year by the Garnet and Gold Key to an FSU faculty or staff member who has worked at the university for at least 10 years. The recipient is kept a secret until the ceremony.

Tickets for the in-person event are $10 for current students, $25 for Alumni Association members and $35 for nonmembers.

Capitol Directions

Fla. Dems — Down arrow — Psst. If Disney employees are walking out, you shouldn’t be walking in.

Ron DeSantis’ election police — Up arrow — Looks like they’ve got another case deep in the heart of GOP country.

Richard Corcoran — Crossways arrow — Mrs. Corcoran and best friend Carlos have set up a new lobby firm, err, law office. How soon ‘til the Commish joins?

Your special project — Crossways arrow — Red Wedding II is coming.

Ileana Garcia — Down arrow — “I’m sorry. Until I’m not. And I’m the victim because you are mean.”

Annette Taddeo — Down arrow — Christian Ulvert knows what she doesn’t: it’s over.

Angie Nixon — Crossways arrow — Sorry, ‘the rent is too damn high’ isn’t state of emergency material.

Rene Plasencia — Up arrow — A good guy and a moderate, sensible legislator. He’ll be missed.

Allison Carter — Up arrow — They opened up the books and she got made.

Budget coffers — $$$ — Do state economists enjoy being wrong or is Florida just killing it?

Anti-riot law — Crossways arrow — The reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

R.J. Reynolds — Up arrow — It’s 2022. If you don’t know smoking is bad for you, it’s not Big Tobacco’s fault.

Sunshine Health — Down arrow — A $9M fine isn’t something they can put off for seven months.

Pat Bainter, Tim Baker — Up arrow — We see an expensive GOP Primary for Ag. Commissioner. Wilton Simpson’s consultants see dollar signs.

Ryan Tyson — Up arrow — The ghost candidate case is far from over, but prosecutors can’t shine their light on dark money donors. Small victories.

Taylor Walls — Down arrow — The Rays infielder should just ‘shut up and dribble’ or whatever the baseball equivalent is, amirite?

Mary Ellen Klas — Down arrow — Well, you just got disinvited to the DeSantis birthday party that you were never invited to.

Jack Porter — Down arrow — How do you forget becoming a City Commissioner?

FSU Black Law Students Association — Up arrow — Unconquered.

FSU athletics — Down arrow — … Conquered.

Carol Martin — Up arrow — TIA tried to strike her out, but she made it home safe.

Staff Reports



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