Last Call for 12.8.22 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Late breaking (again): Rep. Joe Harding has resigned from the House one day after being indicted on wire fraud and money laundering charges.

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Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell is bolstering her leadership team with a slate of Deputy Whips for the minority caucus.

Reps. Kristen Arrington, Christopher Benjamin, Michele Rayner-Goolsby, Allison Tant and Marie Woodson will support lead Whip Christine Hunschofsky for the 2022-24 term. The entire team of Whips and Deputy Whips are second-term state lawmakers.

“It’s important we continue to fight for every Floridian’s right to be healthy, prosperous and safe, especially when it comes to issues at the front of mind like skyrocketing property insurance costs, rent affordability and defending personal freedoms,” Driskell said in a statement.

As she acknowledged, the coming term will be a rebuilding one for Democrats after surrendering a supermajority to Republicans.

“Rep. Arrington brings a common sense, levelheaded perspective to everything she does,” Driskell said of the Kissimmee lawmaker. “She is a team player, her laughter is infectious, and I am excited to bring her aboard to help lead our Caucus with a balanced approach as we rebuild.”

“Known for his keen legal acumen and straightforward approach to lawmaking, Rep. Benjamin brings precisely the sort of gravitas we are looking for in our Whip team,” she added regarding the Miami Gardens Democrat.

“To know Rep. Rayner-Goolsby is to know her brilliance and the joy that she carries with her everywhere she goes,” she said of the St. Petersburg Democrat. “She is a fierce advocate for all peoples, and I believe she will lead her assigned team with the high standard of excellence she is known for.”

Driskell called Tant, a Tallahassee lawmaker who previously served as the Chair of the Florida Democratic Party, a “force of nature.”

“Her work ethic is unparalleled, which has allowed her to be one of our most effective members in the House,” she said. “Her years of policy experience make her an excellent addition as we will all lean on her expertise in navigating the upcoming Legislative Session.”

Finally, Driskell said Woodson, of Hollywood, will play a key role in reinforcing the caucus’ values.

“Rep. Woodson is the conscience of our Caucus, always calling upon members on both sides of the aisle to rise up to meet the highest version of themselves,” Driskell said. “Her professionalism is unassailable.”

Evening Reads

—“Joe Harding resigns after wire fraud, money laundering indictment” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics

—“Bill protecting same-sex, interracial unions clears Congress” via Mary Clare Jalonick of The Associated Press

—“New-look Florida Legislature tackles old problem — homeowners insurance” via John Kennedy of USA Today Network — Florida

—“Citizens Insurance wants rate hikes enacted during next week’s Special Session” via Ron Hurtibise of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

—“Not ‘enough money to save them all.’ Volusia grapples with double hurricane whammy” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel

—“Harry and Meghan are playing a whole different game” via Helen Lewis of The Atlantic

—“Viktor Bout for Brittney Griner a bad trade according to Florida Republicans” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

—“America’s first Gen Z Congressman can’t find an apartment in Washington” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

—“Republicans have a post-election epiphany on mail voting” via Meridith McGraw of POLITICO

—“Vern Buchanan calls possibility he will resign ‘laughable and ridiculous’” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

—“Everglades Foundation seeks criminal contempt finding against its former top scientist after settlement deal implodes” via Dan Christensen of the Florida Bulldog

—“Jack and Chris Latvala: a money trail and continued influence in Pinellas politics” via Tracey McManus of the Tampa Bay Times

—“Cats were seen flying from a car in the Florida Keys. A driver is now in trouble” via David Goodhue of the Miami Herald

—“New Minions attraction and land coming to Universal Studios” via Gabrielle Russon for Florida Politics

—“Rogue iguana causes widespread power outage in Lake Worth Beach” via Shira Moolten of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Quote of the Day

“This ain’t meant for people who don’t already have money.”

— U.S. Rep.-elect Maxwell Frost on struggling to find housing in Washington.

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

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