Last Call for 2.7.24 — 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

With a few words, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo may have shut down a proposal that would block local governments from moving or removing Confederate monuments. At the very least it’s on wobbly ground.

Following a fiery debate in a Senate Committee hearing Tuesday, the Naples Republican intimated that the bill (SB 1122) may not get a floor vote even if it clears its final stop in the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee.

“There are problems with the bill,” Passidomo said. “More than that, there are problems with the perceptions among our caucus, on all sides. So I’m going to take that into consideration. I’m not going to bring a bill to the floor that is so abhorrent to everybody.”

Wednesday’s House committee meetings were stocked with bills, including a risqué plan to ban people under 21 from working as strippers.

The subject matter of Rep. Carolina Amesty’s bill (HB 1379) may not be couth, it isn’t controversial, either — the House Judiciary Committee advanced the bill with a 17-2 vote after amending it to impose felony penalties on club and establishment owners who let 18- to 20-year-olds on the stage.

It wasn’t the only ban on the House docket. Also on the chopping block: “Gas station heroin.”

The substance, tianeptine, is commonly sold as a diet supplement under brand names such as “Pegasus,” “Tianaa” and “Zaza Red.” It’s been on Attorney General Ashley Moody’s radar for months — she issued a temporary ban via emergency order in September.

A House bill by Lake Mary Republican Rep. Rachel Plakon (HB 1595) would make it permanent. It cleared its last hurdle in the chamber when the members of the House Judiciary Committee voted for it 19-0 after little discussion.

A twin measure (SB 1512) by Lake Mary Republican Sen. Jason Brodeur cleared the first of three committees to which it was referred last month by an 8-0 vote. It’s scheduled to be heard tomorrow in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Criminal and Civil Justice.

Meanwhile, the peanut gallery chimed in on the House plan (HB 1) to ban children under 16 from social media, one of Speaker Paul Renner’s top priorities. During an NPR interview, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a former Speaker himself, said if the bill becomes law “some court would probably strike it down.”

Bill Day’s Latest

Evening Reads

—”​Why Americans are so down on a strong economy” via Aaron Zitner, Amara Omeokwe, Rachel Wolfe and Rachel Louise Ensign of The Wall Street Journal

—”A legal outsider, an offbeat theory and the fate of the 2024 Election” via Charlie Savage of The New York Times

—“Welcome back to the chaos of the Donald Trump Era” via David A. Graham of The Atlantic

—“Time for reflection? Not for Gov. Ron DeSantis after his loss.” via Gary Fineout of POLITICO

—”Let Trump be dictator for a day, 74% of Republicans say” via Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone

—“Why the border is such an impossible political issue” via Amber Phillips of The Washington Post

—”Florida Supreme Court peppers both sides about abortion amendment” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel

—”In defense of internal polling” via Leah Askarinam of FiveThirtyEight

—”Can the courts save us from dangerous AI?” via Dylan Matthews of Vox

Quote of the Day

“It’s pretty obvious that this is a pretty aggressive, comprehensive approach to dealing with this issue. This doesn’t seem like this is trying to be deceptive.”

— Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz, during oral arguments for the abortion rights ballot amendment.

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.

We’re not sure there’s much overlap between our readership and people steamed about the Gas Station Heroin ban, but for the few of you out there, your next Liquid Heroin is on us.

According to Suzanne Pollak, the dean of the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits, former President James Madison consumed upward of a pint of whiskey a day. We’re not saying exiting James Madison Institute SVP Sal Nuzzo should do the same, but after 10 years on the job, a bottle of the good stuff would make a good parting gift.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s re-election bid snagged an endorsement from Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell. We’re not sure what kind of drink that merits, but it’s probably Banned in the USA.

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

Two of the Eastern Conference’s best teams meet as the Tampa Bay Lightning face the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden tonight (7 p.m. ET, TNT).

The Lightning (27-18-5) stand in third place in the Atlantic Division and fifth place overall in the Eastern Conference after winning their last two games, both 6-3 home victories over the Arizona Coyotes and the New Jersey Devils. The Lightning have not played a game since Jan. 27. 

New York (31-16-3) played on Monday, winning a 2-1 overtime decision against the Colorado Avalanche. The Rangers lead the Metropolitan Division and rank third overall in the Eastern Conference.

Tampa Bay has been led by Nikita Kucherov, who is tied for the league lead with 85 points (32 goals, 53 assists). The Russian right-winger has added at least a goal or assist in four straight games, highlighted by a hat trick and an assist in a 6-3 win over the Flyers in Philadelphia on Jan. 23. Kucherov led the league in points in the 2018-19 season.

The Rangers’ Artemi Panarin is tied for fourth in the league in points this season. New York’s Jonathan Quick ranks among the top five goaltenders in the league surrendering 2.35 goals per game, half a goal better than Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Tampa Bay is rested and in form having won eight of their last nine games. The Lightning scored at least five goals in five of those eight wins. 

Tampa Bay will be looking for some revenge. When the two teams met on Dec. 30 in Tampa, the Rangers took a 5-1 victory. 

Also tonight: 

6 p.m. — NCAAW: Cincinnati Bearcats @ UCF Knights

6:30 p.m. — NCAAW: Florida Atlantic Owls @ Charlotte 49ers

6:30 p.m. — NCAAW: Lipscomb Bisons @ JU Dolphins

6:3­0 p.m. — NCAAM: Stetson Hatters @ Bellarmine Knights

7 p.m. — NCAAW: Rice Owls @ South Florida Bulls

7 p.m. — NCAAW: Austin Peay Governors @ North Florida Ospreys

7:30 p.m. — San Antonio Spurs @ Miami Heat

9 p.m. — NCAAM: Florida Gulf Coast Eagles @ Eastern Kentucky Colonels


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.

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

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