Last Call for 12.12.23 — 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 Seminole snub is officially state business.

Attorney General Ashley Moody on Tuesday announced that her office’s Antitrust Division will send a Civil Investigative Demand to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee asking them to explain what was going through their heads when they decided on the final rankings.

“My Office is launching an investigation to examine if the Committee was involved in any anticompetitive conduct. As it stands, the Committee’s decision reeks of partiality, so we are demanding answers — not only for FSU but for all schools, teams and fans of college football. In Florida, merit matters. If it’s attention they were looking for, the Committee certainly has our attention now,” Moody said in a news release.

Undefeated teams have been cut out from competing for a natty a few times since the playoffs began in 2014. UCF fans felt the pain in 2017, even going so far as to design a National Championship license plate after they trumped SEC runner-up Auburn in the Peach Bowl on their way to a 13-0 record.

Still, that was before UCF was in the Big 12. The 2023 Seminoles, unlike the 2017 Knights, are a Power 5 team. And they’re the only undefeated Power 5 conference champion ever to be excluded from the playoff. Instead, two one-loss teams made the cut: Southeastern Conference champions Alabama and Big 12 champs Texas. FSU’s reward: A trip to the Orange Bowl where to face No. 6 Georgia.

The CFP’s unprecedented move has spurred unprecedented criticism, with Gov. Ron DeSantis even pledging to set aside $1 million in state money for a potential legal battle against the Committee.

Here’s what Moody is seeking:

— All communications relating to deliberations to or from the SEC, ACC, NCAA, ESPN, Group of Five conferences, Power Five conferences, or any other person relating to the deliberations;

— All documents relating to public statements relating to the deliberations, including media talking points and interview notes;

— Documents relating to restrictions of the Conferences against having alternate playoff schedules;

— Documents showing compensation of members in 2023;

— Documents sufficient to show all recusals of Committee members from deliberations; and

— The Committee’s standards relating to ethics and conflicts of interest.

Evening Reads

—”Ron DeSantis ‘banned China from buying land in the state of Florida.’ How did we get here?” via Mae Ngai for The New York Times

—“Why the GOP doesn’t really want a deal on Ukraine and the border” via David Frum of The Atlantic

—”Pharmacies share medical data with police without a warrant, inquiry finds” via Drew Harwell of The Washington Post

—”The curious alliance of Alex Jones and Elon Musk” via Miles Klee of Rolling Stone

—“Florida Senators ditch proposal to weaken school recess” via Jeffrey S. Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times

—“Florida GOP looks ready to remove Christian Ziegler as Chair, analysts say” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel

—“Florida school board to vote on demanding resignation from Moms for Liberty co-founder” via Max Greenwood of the Miami Herald

—“Maybe your cat loves you. Maybe it would kill you if it could.” via Emily Stewart of Vox

Quote of the Day

“There’s nobody who’s stepped up and said, ‘It’s unfortunate, but he should be able to remain as Chairman.’ Nobody’s said that. He doesn’t have a supporter.”

— Political consultant Mac Stipanovich, on RPOF Chair Christian Ziegler.

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.

DeSantis’ chances of becoming President are growing slimmer by the day, but that doesn’t mean Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo can’t enjoy an El Presidente — with Cruzan, of course — when he stumps for his boss in the U.S. Virgin Islands next month.

A second Senate panel signed off on a package of bills that would tamp back requirements for teacher training, governance issues and student promotion. A ‘deregathon’ bill calls for a pitcher of Gettin’ Loose.

Nothing too exotic for Reps. Tyler Sirois and David Borrero — they get an Old Fashioned for their bills calling for the state to request constitutional conventions on term limits and a balanced budget, both of which advanced Tuesday.

Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez and Rep. Peggy Gossett-Seidman deserve a Rest in Peace for their bill to ensure government or private entities “make best efforts” to notify loved ones before roadside memorials are removed or relocated.

Breakthrough Insights


Tune In

Panthers shoot for top spot

Riding a three-game winning streak, the Florida Panthers travel to Seattle to face the Kraken (10 p.m. ET, ESPN+). If Florida wins tonight and the Boston Bruins lose tomorrow in New Jersey, the Panthers would match Boston for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.

In addition, if the Panthers win and the New York Rangers lose at home to Toronto tonight, the Panthers would be tied for the best mark in the Eastern Conference.

The Panthers have performed well on the road this season, winning eight of 14 games away from home ice. They also earned a point for an overtime loss in two road games.

Seattle has lost eight straight games, including the last three games at home in the Pacific Northwest.

The Panthers’ most recent win came in dramatic fashion as Florida scored three times in the third period to beat the Blue Jackets in Columbus. The game kicked off a five-game road trip that includes the final three in Canada at Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary before returning to Miami for a game on Dec. 21.


7 p.m. — NCAAM: Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions @ South Florida Bulls

10 p.m. — Tampa Bay Lightning @ Vancouver Canucks


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


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