Last Call for 2.28.23 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it is keeping tabs on bird deaths throughout the state amid the avian flu outbreak.

The bird flu strain currently making the rounds was first detected in the United States in 2021 and the first case hit Florida in January 2022.

As of Tuesday, FWC said it has documented the virus in 37 counties and across a variety of bird species.

The most common species affected in Florida include black vultures, lesser scaup and Muscovy ducks. Owls, bald eagles and other raptors, along with aquatic birds and waterfowl, have also been affected.

Though it’s possible for people to contract bird flu, it is rare.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA, the current outbreak has affected 6,218 wild birds (387 in Florida) and nearly 58.5 million poultry birds as of Feb. 15, yet the CDC reports just one human case in the U.S. during the current outbreak.

“Sporadic highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) virus infections in mammals have been reported in the United States, Canada, and other countries, but the risk to the general public from these viruses remains low,” the CDC explains.

FWC stressed that Floridians can further minimize their risk through basic safety protocols, the most important being to not touch sick or dead wildlife. FWC also recommends preventing wild birds from interacting with domestic birds.

Floridians are urged to report any dead wild birds to FWC. Domestic poultry deaths should be reported to the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. Further precautions for hunters, the general public and wildlife rehabbers can be found on FWC’s website.

Evening Reads

—”The ‘God Emperor’ who could cost Donald Trump the election” via Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone

—“‘Make Trump a non-person’: Rupert Murdoch’s Ron DeSantis pivot, explained by a legal filing” via Andrew Prokop of Vox

—“DeSantis says 2024 decision will be made ‘once the dust settles’” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

—“Federal judge nixes part of Florida’s lobby ban for officeholders” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics

—”Latino Republicans push back on party’s immigration agenda” via Adriana Gomez Licon of The Associated Press

—“‘It’s shameful’: Monique Worrell responds to criticisms from DeSantis, Rick Scott” via Christopher Cann of the Orlando Sentinel

—“Elon Musk has broken disaster-response Twitter” via Juliette Kayyem of The Atlantic

—“UF hits pause on West Palm Beach campus” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics

—“SeaWorld, lagging behind Disney and Universal in pay, turns to mobile ordering to deal with labor shortage” via Gabrielle Russon of Florida Politics

—“Blaise Ingoglia bill would ‘cancel’ Democratic Party” via Mike Wright of Florida Politics

—“Trial delayed; proffer stays sealed: Paradoxical evidence that justice is afoot in Dan Markel murder case” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics

Quote of the Day

“Even if I was able to proceed that case, there is no sentence in the entire state of Florida that would have required Mr. Moses to be incarcerated in prison.”

— Orange-Osceola State Attorney Monique Worrell, pushing back on criticism from DeSantis and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott.

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Last Call is published by Peter Schorsch, assembled and edited by Phil Ammann and Drew Wilson with contributions from the staff of Florida Politics.

Staff Reports


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

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