Last Call for 12.7.23 — 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

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo has released the deets on one of her top priorities for the 2024 Legislative Session.

The title of her plan has been known for a while now, and the chairs of the chamber’s various health care committees, such as Sen. Colleen Burton, have previewed it in bits and pieces over the past couple of months.

Today, the Naples Republican outlined the full scope of the “Live Healthy” initiative.

The Senate is expected to direct $1 billion on the initiative. While wide-ranging, will primarily focus on addressing workforce shortages in the health care sector, which, without intervention, are expected to worsen as Florida’s population continues to grow and age.

It will tackle the issue by putting more cash toward medical residency slots as well as Medicaid rate reimbursement rates for those providing preventive care and serving vulnerable populations, including more than $150 million for increased payments to hospitals to support maternal care for moms and babies in labor and delivery.

Other provisions address health care pricing transparency and would offering forgivable loans to doctors and nurses who agree to provide volunteer health services. Notably, the initiative won’t touch on medical malpractice liability, nor will it contain a Medicaid expansion component, something Passidomo contended would not address the root problem of health care access.

“Access to health care is important at every phase of life,” Passidomo said. “Insurance does not guarantee access, as even Floridians with great insurance face barriers to care. Live Healthy is a robust package of policy enhancements and strategic investments that will help make sure Florida’s health care workforce is growing at the same pace as the rest of our great state.”

Read more about the “Live Healthy” initiative, including the spending breakdown, on Florida Politics.

Evening Reads

—”Ron DeSantis names President he’d take inspiration from — and it’s not one you’d expect” via Brendan Rascius of McClatchy

—“How did DeSantis get to be so weird?” via Julie DiCaro of Deadspin

—”Should Joe Biden really run again? He prolongs an awkward conversation.” via Reid J. Epstein of The New York Times

—”Nikki Haley’s South Carolina strategy has a Donald Trump problem” via Jazmine Ulloa, Maya King and Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times

—“The sanctions against Russia are starting to work” via Leon Aron of The Atlantic

—“Tom Edwards sees long overdue comeuppance for Bridget and Christian Ziegler” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

—“Hundreds died using kratom in Florida. It was touted as safe.” via Helen Freund, Sam Ogozalek, Langston Taylor and Hannah Critchfield of the Tampa Bay Times

—”Gamblers, celebrities crowd Seminole casinos as craps and roulette begin” via Shira Moolten of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

—”You can say no to the tipping tablet. That doesn’t mean you should.” via Emily Stewart of Vox

—”The tune is out there: The search for a mysterious ‘X-Files’ country song” via David Browne of Rolling Stone

Quote of the Day

 “We know that Florida is one of only 10 states in this country that has refused to expand Medicaid access. And that has a real cost, not just monetary, but in terms of people’s lives. We want to talk about ‘Live Healthy,’ we need to make sure that people have access to health care.”

— House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell, on the Senate President’s 2024 health care priority.

Put It on the Tab

Look to your left, then look to your right. If you see one of these people at your happy hour haunt, flag down the bartender and put one of these on your tab. Recipes included, just in case the Cocktail Codex fell into the well.

“The Great Refrainer” would only be a fitting nickname for Gov. Ron DeSantis … on opposite day. Still, he deserves a drink or two for picking someone not named Reagan as his favorite Prez, and there just so happens to be a Coolidge cocktail.

Sen. Tracie Davis’s bill going after “ghost candidates” earns her a Phantom. Don’t worry; if you’re not in Tally, there’s probably a losing state legislative candidate in your neck of the woods who would drink it in her stead.

If you see a Tesla or Bolt in the parking lot, snag the owner an Electric Lemonade … it’ll help defray the potential registration fees Senators are advancing through committee.

Mix that Felix Felicis (liquid luck) because the Senate’s ‘Live Healthy’ health proposal doesn’t allow low-income, uninsured, childless adults to qualify for the Medicaid program to fund their health care needs.

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

Weekend best bet: Jaguars’ quarterback questions on Sunday

After losing to the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime on Monday Night Football, the Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4) no longer control their playoff destiny. Had the Jaguars won out, they would have been the top seed in the AFC. Now, they must rebound from the loss and there are questions about who will be under center.

Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence left the game with a high ankle sprain and will likely miss Sunday’s game in Cleveland against the Browns (7-5). Wide receiver Christian Kirk will miss the game (abdominal injury) while left tackle Walker Little (hamstring), cornerback Tre Herndon (concussion), and defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi (ankle) could also miss the game.

Both teams are in playoff contention with the Browns clinging to the seventh and final spot entering the weekend. Cleveland reverted veteran quarterback Joe Flacco to the practice squad on Monday. Dorian Thompson-Robinson could make his third start of the year for the Browns. 

If the Jaguars win, it sets up a highly important meeting with the Baltimore Ravens the following Sunday. A Jacksonville loss opens the door for the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts to join the Jaguars atop the AFC South. Both the Texans and Colts enter the weekend with 7-5 records.



8 p.m. — Tampa Bay Lightning @ Nashville Predators


5:30 p.m. — NCAAW: South Alabama Jaguars @ Florida A&M Rattlers

7 p.m. — NCAAW: DePaul Blue Devils @ Miami Hurricanes

7 p.m. — Pittsburgh Penguins @ Florida Panthers

7 p.m. — Detroit Pistons @ Orlando Magic

8 p.m. — Cleveland Cavaliers @ Miami Heat


Noon — NCAAM: Florida Gulf Coast Eagles @ Minnesota Golden Gophers

1:30 p.m. — NCAAM: Florida State Seminoles @ USF Bulls

2 p.m. — NCAAM: Georgia Southern Eagles @ UNF Ospreys

2 p.m. — NCAAW: Warner University @ Bethune-Cookman Wildcats

3 p.m. — NCAAM: LeMoyne-Owen @ Florida A&M Rattlers

3 p.m. — NCAAW: Stetson Hatters @ Denver Pioneers

4 p.m. — NCAAM: Richmond Spiders @ Florida Gators

10 p.m. — Tampa Bay Lightning @ Seattle Kraken 


Noon — NCAAW: UCLA Bruins @ Florida State Seminoles

Noon — NCAAW: Florida Gulf Coast Eagles @ Duke Blue Devils

1 p.m. — NCAAW: Gardner-Webb Bulldogs @ South Florida Bulls

1 p.m. — Florida Panthers @ Columbus Blue Jackets

1 p.m. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons

2 p.m. — NCAAM: Colorado Buffaloes @ Miami Hurricanes

2 p.m. — NCAAW: Florida Gators @ Tulsa Golden Hurricane

4 p.m. — NCAAM: Ole Miss Rebels @ UCF Knights


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

Phil Ammann

Phil Ammann is a Tampa Bay-area journalist, editor and writer. With more than three decades of writing, editing, reporting and management experience, Phil produced content for both print and online, in addition to founding several specialty websites, including His broad range includes covering news, local government, entertainment reviews, marketing and an advice column. Phil has served as editor and production manager for Extensive Enterprises Media since 2013 and lives in Tampa with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul. He can be reached on Twitter @PhilAmmann or at [email protected].


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.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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