Takeaways from Tallahassee — Oh, the places you’ll shop!

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Summer of reading

Are your kids ready to load up their bedroom bookshelves with some new reads?

Beginning today, Saturday, Florida is lifting the sales tax on children’s books for the next three months. That’s part of the tax package Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law last week.

Per the exemption, children’s books are any fiction or nonfiction book primarily intended for children 12 or younger, including any board book, picture book, beginning reader book, juvenile chapter book or middle grade book. It does not include books intended for or primarily marketed to adults.

Chris Sprowls has leaned in big on child literacy. Image via the Governor’s Office.

Parents can take advantage of the tax break until Aug. 14, around the first day of school for most Florida public school districts. The time period also encompasses the annual back-to-school sales tax holiday, which this year will run two weeks, from July 5 through Aug. 7.

The children’s book tax waiver will save Floridians an estimated $3.3 million, according to the Legislature’s economic analysts.

Outgoing House Speaker Chris Sprowls made early education and reading a priority during his two Sessions leading the lower chamber. In a news release, the Palm Harbor Republican thanked Ways and Means Committee Chair Bobby Payne, who led the effort to assemble the tax package, and Senate President Wilton Simpson for helping to implement what might be the largest cost savings for everyday taxpayers in Florida history — worth $1.1 billion.

“The Florida House’s tax package — the largest middle-class tax relief package in the history of the state — is now the law of the land,” Sprowls said in a news release. “A bill like this has never been more needed than it is right now. Reckless federal spending sent inflation rates spiraling higher than we’ve seen in generations, and Floridians are feeling the impacts. From tools to diapers to books for summer reading, this billion-dollar tax package includes something for every Floridian, and that’s what I’m most proud of.”

As Speaker, Sprowls has highlighted research showing the literacy rate is directly tied to future success — both for individual children and the state at large.

The tax-free children’s book event builds off of the New Worlds Reading Initiative, a $200 million program that was Sprowls’ brainchild last year. That free book delivery program has so far reached more than 135,000 students.

“Research shows us that 88% of high schoolers who don’t graduate were struggling readers in third grade,” Sprowls said earlier this year. “We looked at struggling K-5th grade readers in the state, and we found that many of them don’t even own a book in their homes. We knew that was the pressure point — that is where we are failing our kids.”


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, Christine Jordan Sexton, Tristan Wood and the staff of Florida Politics.

But first …

Take 5

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

Judge opposes Tallahassee-Jacksonville congressional district — Leon Circuit Judge Layne Smith ordered new district lines in North Florida this week, calling the maps drawn by DeSantis’ office unconstitutional. In one of her final acts before departing the DeSantis administration (read more below), Secretary of State Laurel Lee and her office appealed the ruling, putting the judge’s call for a new map on hold. Smith said that map clearly diminishes the ability of North Florida’s Black communities to control a congressional election. In its place, he wants officials to use a map Harvard professor Stephen Ansolabehere submitted for consideration Tuesday night. The order doesn’t impact other controversial districts in Tampa Bay and Greater Orlando.

Lee out, Cord Byrd in at Dept. of State — Lee will step down Monday as Secretary of State amid rumors she will run for Congress in Florida’s 15th Congressional District. In her place, DeSantis appointed Neptune Beach Republican Rep. Byrd will be the next to helm the Department of State. Despite being at the center of a number of political battles around election administration, Lee has been generally well-regarded on both sides of the aisle. In three terms in the House, Byrd has made enemies among Democrats. “Cord Byrd has been an ally of freedom and democracy in the Florida Legislature, and I am confident he will carry that mission forward as Secretary of State,” DeSantis said in a news release.

Ramon Alexander forgoes re-election after harassment scandal — Rep. Alexander, who was the Democratic Leader-designate for the coming term, won’t run for re-election after sexual harassment allegations surfaced against him. The Tallahassee lawmaker was accused of sexting and groping by a former Florida A&M University athletics employee who left the school in January after what the Tallahassee Democrat reported was an “ugly” staff shakeup. While Alexander, a husband and 37-year-old father of two, said it was a consensual relationship and something his family has been working through, accuser Michael Johnson Jr. filed formal complaints in February.

Judge dismisses Reedy Creek lawsuit — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from Central Florida residents over DeSantis and Republican lawmakers’ decision to dissolve Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District. The lawsuit asserted legislation to dissolve the district is unconstitutional and will significantly “injure” nearby taxpayers, who may inherit upward of $1 billion in debt. It also alleged the repeal is punitive and aims to punish Disney’s opposition to the Parental Rights in Education bill. In an email, DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw called the judge’s decision not at all surprising, saying Orange and Osceola counties won’t have to bear the burden of Disney’s debt. “There is no scenario where the state would inherit Disney’s debt — this is misinformation,” she said.

DeSantis signs juvenile expunction bill — One year after vetoing a similar proposal, DeSantis has signed a measure allowing juveniles to have arrest records for felony charges expunged from their record. The proposal will broaden minors’ abilities to expunge their arrest records in Florida, opening the door to removing lesser felonies and multiple misdemeanors from their records. Under the proposal, a juvenile may expunge felony arrests — except for forcible felonies — and multiple arrests from their record for completing a diversion program. Forcible felonies include crimes such as murder, rape and kidnapping, among others. State law currently limits expungement solely to minors who complete a diversion program after a first-time misdemeanor arrest.

National Police Week

From May 11 to May 17, DeSantis is honoring the men and women of Florida’s police force by lighting the Florida Historic Capitol blue in recognition of National Police Week.

A tradition since 1962, National Police Week recognizes those who have dedicated their lives to protecting the United States.

We’re halfway through National Police Week. Image via the Governor’s Office.

DeSantis said Florida supports its law enforcement officers.

“In Florida, we back the blue,” DeSantis said. “While some states talk about defunding the police, we fund the police and then some because we respect the work they do to keep all of us safe. This week, we honor the men, women, and their families who have dedicated their lives to protecting our communities.”

Florida Police Chief Association President Stephan Dembinsky thanked DeSantis for his support of law enforcement and encouraged Florida residents to participate in the week by lighting their homes blue.

“National Police Week is a time to honor those who made the supreme sacrifice with their lives to safeguard the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and preserve law and order,” Dembinsky said. “Here in Florida, we’re fortunate to have a high level of professionalism among the men and women who serve, and a Governor who has our back.”

Wetlands permitting

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Wednesday to reverse the Trump Administration’s decision to shift Florida wetlands permitting authority from the federal government to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

In December 2020, the EPA ceded its authority under the Clean Water Act’s Section 404 program for permitting in protected wetlands to Florida, a decision that was criticized by environmental groups and opposed in hundreds of public comments.

Fried wants the feds to take back control. Image via AP.

In a letter to the EPA, Fried said she has consistently warned that ceding federal authority could threaten Florida’s ecology and environment.

“Unfortunately, I was correct to be concerned: the Florida Legislature has now passed an industry-backed law that has created a fast-track for wetlands destruction by allowing energy companies to review and expedite environmental resource permits,” Fried wrote. “This bill will be catastrophic for Florida’s environment if signed into law, and it is imperative that we do everything at both the state and federal levels to prevent corporations from being able to rubber-stamp their own plans to destroy our wetlands.”

Fried wrote that Republicans in the Florida Legislature are more focused on profits than protecting the environment.

“Your agency and the Biden Administration can help by taking this action to protect our wetlands and curtail what has become a deeply corrupt pay-to-play process in our state,” she wrote.

Higher proof

Fried also issued an emergency rule this week allowing gas stations to up the ethanol content in gasoline to 15%, which could potentially lower prices at the pump.

Also known as E15, the mixture includes an additional 5% ethanol content compared to the typical 90%-10% split available at most gas stations.

It might not be as green, but but it’s easier on the wallet. Image via Colin Hackley.

The lower crude oil content could reduce prices by about 10 cents a gallon according to the Biden administration, which authorized the sale of E15 outside of its seasonal availability — though its overall environmental impact is no worse than 10% ethanol gasoline, E15 is typically not sold during the summer because it produces more smog.

“After the Biden Administration and EPA issued its emergency waiver on fuel standards, we took immediate action to provide Floridians with additional relief from high gas prices,” Fried said.

“With many already struggling with the increased cost of living due to the inaction of Tallahassee Republicans on issues impacting hardworking Floridians, (Vladimir) Putin’s unprovoked war has resulted in additional financial strains for Florida families at the pump. As the state agency regulating fuel quality in Florida, we remain committed to working with our federal partners to keep our fuel supply strong and to help those struggling during these difficult times.”

The emergency rule will be in effect for 90 days or until the expiration of the Environmental Protection Agency’s waiver.

Decon equipment

Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis presented $133,000 in cancer decontamination equipment funding to ten fire departments in the Tampa area Wednesday.

The allocation is part of the nearly $500,000 Cancer Decontamination Grant Program within the Florida Department of Financial Services that was replenished during the 2021 Legislative Session. The program promotes the health and safety of firefighters by providing financial aid to mitigate exposure to hazardous, cancer-causing chemicals.

Jimmy Patronis wants to keep firefighters safe. Image via CFO office.

Patronis said he was excited to provide Tampa-area firefighters with the equipment and supplies needed to help mitigate exposure to cancer-causing contaminants.

“These brave men and women protect Floridians everyday no matter the cost. Between digging through the rubble of Surfside in South Florida to suppressing wildfires in the Panhandle, our firefighters are always ready to run toward imminent danger to save the lives of others,” Patronis said. “Our firefighters dedicate their lives to protect our communities and we must do everything we can to protect and support these heroes.”

St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Chief James Large, whose department received $12,000 of the funding, applauded Patronis for supporting firefighters

“The CFO understands the burdens our fire service community carry. Ask any firefighter and they will say they live to serve, and this grant funding will go a long way to protect these heroes from cancer-causing contaminants,” Large said. “I applaud CFO Patronis stepping up for Florida firefighters and ensuring they have the resources and support they need to stay safe.”

Instagram of the Week

The Week in Appointments

Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience — DeSantis appointed Patrick Hogan to the ABLE Board of Directors on Friday. Hogan, of Land O’Lakes, is the managing shareholder of Hogan Legal Services, P.A. and works with Bay Area Legal Services. He is a member of the Florida Bar, the Florida Institute of CPAs, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Hogan earned his bachelor’s degree in accountancy and a law degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Board of Optometry — The Governor has appointed Kevin Rollin to the board. Rollin, of Sebastian, is a partner at Napier and Rollin, PLLC. He currently serves on the Indian River County Environmental Control Hearing Board and is a member of the Vero Beach Rotary Club, the Indian River County Bar Association, and the Florida Academy of Collaborative Group. Rollin earned his bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College and law degree from Mercer University.

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission — DeSantis on Friday named Gary Jennings to the Commission. Jennings, of Windermere, is the Director of Keep Florida Fishing for the American Sportfishing Association. He currently serves on the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and is also a member of the Florida Coastal Conservation Association, the Seaplane Pilots Association, and the Aircraft Pilots and Owners Association. Jennings earned his bachelor’s degree in human resource management and hospitality administration from Florida State University.

Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission — DeSantis named James Brown to the Commission on Friday. Brown, of Apalachicola, is the former Law Enforcement Division Director for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the former Sales Manager for Boston Whaler Boats. He is the recipient of the National Association of State Law Administrators Bonner Award. Brown is the current Chairman of the City of Apalachicola’s Battery Park Committee.

Main Street Marianna

Main Street Marianna was recognized by Secretary of State Laurel Lee this week as the “Main Street Program of the Month.” Historic Marianna in Jackson County was hit by Hurricane Michael in 2018, which ripped through the town, leaving significant damage in its wake.

“The entire community of Marianna has shown resilience and determination in rebuilding and returning life to their historic downtown,” Lee said in making the announcement.

Main Street Marianna has seasonal activities throughout the year. Image via Main Street Marianna.

Since its establishment in 1992 Main Street Marianna has reported approximately $34 million in public and private reinvestments and welcomed 98 net new businesses and 574 net new full-time and part-time jobs to the district since first being established in 1992. The organization has reported more than 12,055 volunteer hours.

Main Street Marianna has seasonal activities throughout the year, such as Pumpkins in the Park during fall, Shamrock Shenanigans in the spring and the Annual Independence Day Celebration, and Concerts in the Park in the summer.

Conservation check-in

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct five-year status reviews of 35 endangered or threatened fish, wildlife, and plants found across the southeastern United States as well as a handful of other states.

The public is invited to provide information and comments concerning these species on or before July 12. The five-year reviews allow for the tracking of species’ recovery progress and can yield information that can help in future conservation plans.

The Key Largo woodrat is one of 10 endangered animals on the list. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

There are 21 endangered species, 10 fish and wildlife and 11 plants, that will be reviewed. Fish and wildlife being reviewed are the: Black Warrior waterdog, Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk, Puerto Rico nightjar, yellow-shouldered blackbird, orangefoot pimpleback (pearlymussel), boulder darter, pygmy madtom, Key Largo woodrat, red wolf and Anthony’s riversnail.

There are 11 threatened fish and wildlife that will be reviewed. Threatened wildlife are: heelsplitter, yellow lance, Pearl darter, Louisiana pine snake, and yellow-blotched turtle, Threatened plants are: Cumberland rosemary, Everglades bully, Florida bonamia, Florida crabgrass, Godfrey’s butterwort, higo chumbo, pineland sandmat, scrub buckwheat, and seabeach amaranth

Five-year reviews help to ensure listing classifications under the ESA are accurate and recommend changes in status where appropriate. The Federal Register notice announcing the status review of these 35 federally listed fish, wildlife and plants is available online at https://www.regulations.gov, search for Docket # FWS–R4–ES–2022–N002.

Right call

After a Florida judge said the congressional map signed by DeSantis violates the state constitution, the top Democrats on the House’s redistricting committees said he made the right call.

“I’m pleased the court recognized the constitutional right to fair districts and fair representation. We know the new congressional map proposed by the Governor diminishes the voting rights of Black voters, yet the Governor chose to waste taxpayer dollars convening a special session to double-down on diminishing minority voting rights,” said Aventura Rep. Joe Geller, who served as the ranking member on the House Redistricting Committee. “While this isn’t the final opinion, we have to continue advocating for a constitutionally compliant Congressional map that does not infringe on Floridians’ rights.”

Lawmakers, like Joe Geller, know this isn’t the end of the legal battle. Image via Colin Hackley.

House Congressional Redistricting Subcommittee ranking member and Boca Raton Rep. Kelly Skidmore added, “While enduring the Special Session on redistricting and the despicable process of eliminating Black voters’ representation in Congress, I held out hope and faith that the court would do its job, and today it did. No matter how they repeatedly tried to justify themselves, it should come as no surprise to the Governor and this Republican-led Legislature that the map is a violation of Florida’s Fair Districts amendments and the U.S. Constitution.”

Though Smith, the Circuit Judge on the case, said the map clearly diminishes the ability of North Florida’s Black communities to control a congressional election, the final fate of the state’s congressional map will hinge on appeals.

Asked and answered

Florida’s top tax collector has answered Rep. Angie Nixon’s questions about corporate tax collections and how the state will disburse $624 million to businesses by May 2.

The Department of Revenue data show that 8.1% of the largest corporations in the state will benefit from the corporate tax refund, Nixon said in a release announcing the results of her data inquiry.

There are 254,372 corporations in Florida but just 21,343 refunds will be sent to companies that paid Florida corporate income or franchise tax or that received a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program credit on their taxable year returns between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020.

Angie Nixon wants answers. She’s getting them. Image via Colin Hackley.

The data comes in response to Nixon’s request in March for information regarding corporate income tax collection over the past four years.

Overall just one in ten businesses in Florida paid corporate income tax in 2020. Out of 214 corporations with $1 billion in revenue, 35 owed zero corporate income tax.

“What this data shows is that while most Floridians pay taxes each day, the wealthiest corporations are not paying what they owe due to a system designed to benefit only those at the very top,” Nixon said.

Build back better

Members of the Florida Legislative Jewish Caucus issued a statement this week saying they are “united in (their) resolve” to see the Florida State University Chabad Center for Jewish life in Tallahassee be “rebuilt better than before.”

Rabbi Schneur Z. Oirechman said the fire destroyed Torah scrolls, hundreds of books and 20 years of teachings.

Everything was totally destroyed in the flame. Image via Chabad of Tallahassee.

The fire, which occurred May 8, is under investigation by the state Fire Marshal — Patronis. The blaze coincides at a time when Americans celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month. May is the designated month that recognizes the contributions that American Jews made to the United States of America.

“As such, the loss of the Torah scrolls, hundreds of books and 20 years of teachings is magnified, and the loss to the community will be felt for years,” caucus members said in a prepared statement. “The Florida Legislative Jewish Caucus, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers, shares in mourning this tragic and significant loss. The burning of a Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, is heartbreaking to Jewish people and ignites a hole in the souls of Jews everywhere.”

DeSantis tweeted that he hopes and prays the burning was a tragic accident. While the state investigates, he promoted a link for members of the community to donate to the rebuilding effort.

The donation portal is available here: thechesedfund.com/chabadoftallahassee/fire.

Sterling performance

The Sterling Council this week announced that the Alachua County Tax Collector’s Office has earned the Governor’s Sterling Award for 2022.

The Governor’s Sterling Award recognizes organizations and businesses “that have successfully achieved performance excellence within their management and operations.”

The Alachua County Tax Collector’s Office, located in Gainesville, has 81 full-time employees and 16 interns who provide services to citizens from three facilities within Alachua County.

Shiny award for a shiny new office. Image via Alachua County Tax Collector.

Approximately $390 million in taxes and fees are collected and distributed annually to 25 taxing authorities. The Tax Collector also provides services for motor vehicle titles and registrations; driver licenses, including road tests; concealed weapons licenses; and birth certificates.

The office has sustained customer satisfaction of 98% from 2018 through 2021. This customer satisfaction rating has remained above the performance of benchmark peers for four consecutive years. The transaction accuracy of 99.84% in 2021 also exceeded the best peer benchmark of 99.5%. Additionally, overall workforce satisfaction improved from 89.4% in 2018 to 89.6% and the annual external audit findings remained at zero from 2017 through 2020, meeting the best peer benchmark of zero results and zero recommendations from the external auditors.

The Alachua County Collector’s Office is a first-time recipient of the Governor’s Sterling Award.

Marsy’s Law 2.0

Florida voters in 2018 passed “Marsy’s Law,” a constitutional amendment that  expanded the rights of crime victims. Those constitutional rights, though, weren’t reflected in Florida statutes until a new law (SB 1012) was signed by DeSantis this week.

The move drew immediate praise from Marsy’s Law of Florida spokesperson Jennifer Fennel, who said in a statement the bill “creates uniformity and accuracy in terms of the information law enforcement agencies provide crime victims regarding their Marsy’s Law for Florida rights It also makes clear to everyone involved in the criminal justice system the rights crime victims have and when they should be applied.”

Danny Burgess sponsored the bill. Image via Colin Hackley.

The bill amends the law that spells out how victims and witnesses in the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems must be treated to ensure that victims are told that they have the right to hire private legal counsel.

It also makes clear that victims who are not incarcerated, as well as the victim’s parents, guardian if a minor, or lawful representative  have a right “upon request” to be informed, to be present, and to be heard at all stages of a criminal or juvenile proceeding. Those rights are extended to the next of kin if there is a homicide victim. The bill amends statutes to make clear that incarcerated victims  “upon request” have the right to be informed and to submit written statements at all stages of the criminal proceedings, parole proceedings, or juvenile proceedings.

A legislative bill staff analysis  says the changes shouldn’t the changes to shouldn’t increase costs for law enforcement agencies because they should already be providing victims the information.

Comparing collections

Coming in at $3,435 for 2021, Monroe County had the highest per capita property tax in the state. Conversely, Union County had the lowest with $335, according to a report issued by Florida TaxWatch this week.

Property taxes in Leon County — home of the Florida Capitol, scores of state buildings and two state universities — were $1210, well below the statewide average of $1,810.

Congrats, Union County. Image via Union County.

In determining property tax values, TaxWatch considers all taxing jurisdictions in each county, including counties, cities, schools and special districts, and uses the total county population. Data is collected from the Florida Department of Revenue as of Feb. 2022.

Walton County has had the largest growth, 137% in total property since 2012. Walton County includes the Crestview, Fort Walton Beach and Destin areas. The southern border of Walton County kisses the Gulf Coast. Land-locked Washington County, which is in the heart of the Florida Panhandle in northwest Florida, saw a 1.4% reduction in total property taxes since 2012.

Fallen officers

The Tallahassee Police Department will honor all fallen law enforcement officers during a ceremony this Wednesday.

The ceremony will take place in front of its headquarters on Seventh Avenue at 8:30 a.m. In a statement to Florida Politics, TPD officials said the event commemorates those who bravely and courageously gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving the community and serves as a reminder of the dedication and commitment required by law enforcement officers to ensure the safety of the community every day.

Chief Lawrence Revell’s department will host a ceremony capping off National Police Week in Tallahassee.

Seventh Avenue will be shut down between Thomasville Road and Monroe Street from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for the ceremony. TPD’s Honor Guard will lower the department’s flags to half-staff for the day.

The community is invited to watch the ceremony and honor those who have passed in person or via a live stream on TPD’s Facebook page.

Rat in the Kitchen

Nikki Pettineo, a Tallahassee chef and small business owner, is hosting a watch party at RedEye Coffee in Midtown this month to celebrate her appearance on a new TBS reality cooking show.

Pettineo will appear in an episode of the new show “Rat in the Kitchen,” which premieres on May 26 at 9 p.m.

Nikki Pettineo will be dishing it out on TBS. Image via Nikki Pettineo.

“Rat in the Kitchen” is a game of high-stakes cat and mouse where viewers get to play detective. Over the course of the 10-episode season, a mix of professional chefs and passionate home cooks compete in a series of creative cooking challenges, earning money for each dish that impresses Chef Ludo Lefebvre, all while attempting to expose an undercover mole (the rat) out to sabotage the diabolical scheme.

“Being on Rat in the Kitchen was really exciting because it is not your average cooking show,” Pettineo said. “You have to focus on the cooking, but also keep your eyes and ears open for sabotage to the dish. I’m always up for a challenge to test my cooking skills in new ways.”

The watch party for the episode, “The Case of the Awful Waffles”, will run from 8:00 p.m to 10:00 p.m. Community members are invited to attend and cheer on their hometown chef as she competes to either expose or sabotage her competitors.

“Just Concrete”

Screenwriter and director Liam Fineout is back again with another short film, this time, a political satire.

If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Fineout is the son of POLITICO’s Gary Fineout and Florida Politics’ Christine Jordan Sexton.

Richard Strong (Cameron Diskin) gets a nose job. Image via FSUFilm/YouTube.

When watching the film, it’s clear Fineout has some insight, and he should. He’s the offspring of a Capitol Press Corps power couple. He spent multiple years in the Florida Senate Page Program. Plus, he’s a former FSU Student Government Association Senator.

In the five-and-a-half-minute short, concrete lobbyist Richard Strong (Cameron Diskin) scrambles to keep alive an infrastructure bill that is his ticket from Tallahassee to Washington. Meanwhile, Strong’s assistant, Sam (Landon Hogue), tries to keep the lobbyist’s mind and body in one piece.

Along the way, Fineout explores what the lobbying profession can do to someone.

Fineout wrote and directed the film, called “Just Concrete,” for his Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts F3.

The short was screened Thursday night at the FSU student film theater, but it will be available online for the next two weeks at the following link: youtu.be/iAD4l8INmuY?t=5210.

Jump to 1:26:50 to view the film.

Capitol Directions

Ron DeSantis — Up arrow — How soon before TIME calls him “The Republican Savior?”

Ron DeSantis — Up arrow — He won another battle against Disney, but the war isn’t over.

DeSantis map — Crossways arrow — It got tossed by a DeSantis-appointed judge, but the ballgame is at the appeals level.

Jimmy Patronis — Up arrow — Man, what did he do to piss off Fineout? Well, at least he still has the FL Chamber behind him.

Laurel Lee — Crossways arrow — Oversee Florida’s Midterm Elections or serve in dysfunctional D.C. We’d have chosen neither.

Cord Byrd — Crossways arrow — The good news for QAnon Cord: he’s supposedly DeSantis’ top pick to replace Lee. The bad news for Florida: he’s supposedly DeSantis’ top pick to replace Lee.

Ramon Alexander — Down arrow — 2022-24 House Democratic Leader, take three.

Democratic legislative leaders — Down arrow — Alexander is just the latest donkey who couldn’t keep their zipper up.

Randolph Bracy — Crossways arrow — He’s leading the pack among CD 10 Primary voters who base their decisions on Wikipedia stubs.

Keith Perry, David Smith — Up arrow — It took a couple of tries, but they delivered a signable juvenile expungement bill.

Gayle Harrell, John Snyder — Up arrow — Keep it local, kleptos.

Christian Minor — Up arrow — Perry and Smith were the on-field stars, but he’s the behind-the-scenes MVP on juvenile expungement.

Communism — Down arrow — We would have settled for a Che Guevara T-shirt ban, but a “Victims of Communism Day” works, too.

Crypto bros — Crossways arrow — You can’t give up on Web 3.0 now, you’ll miss Deregathon.

Firefighters — Up arrow — Legal protections and workers comp. Another successful Session for the everyday heroes.

FP&L — Down arrow — Hell hath no fury like a Panhandle ratepayer scorned.

Board of Ed. — Down arrow — Save some money on the next meeting and rent out the Fernandina Ritz.

Dep’t of Ed. — Down arrow — If we’re allowing 20-year-olds to review math textbooks, can they at least be MIT students?

Dana Young — Up arrow — Job security through 2028.

Your Disney vacation — Down arrow — Want to be an extra in a live-action remake of Mickey’s Fire Brigade? Too bad.

Greenberg Traurig — Up arrow — The white-shoe firm got a good one with its hire of Beau Beaubien.

Trulieve — Up arrow — Schwag stock price, kush profits.

Sachs Media — Up arrow — A top firm according to Forbes, PRNews and now PR Daily. They completed the set.

Chabad House — Prayer hands — It’s a smoldering heap. But it’ll be back, better than ever.

Staff Reports


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