Last Call for 2.12.24 — 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

The Legislature may be taking it easy on Super Bowl Monday, but Florida Medicaid officials aren’t.

The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) announced its intent to award six-year contracts to Florida Community Care as the state tests whether managed care can help integrate traditional health care with home- and community-based services.

The contracts are for Medicaid Regions D and I. Region D comprises Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee and Polk counties. Medicaid Region I covers Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

How many entities responded to the Medicaid Invitation to Negotiate (ITN), initially dropped in November 2023, is unclear. Under the terms of the new Medicaid managed care ITN, the state will assign individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities to Medicaid managed care plans, although those individuals can opt-out afterward. AHCA is anticipated to announce the statewide Medicaid managed care winners on Feb. 23.

Meanwhile, state economists estimated the potential impact of one of this Session’s most risqué bills

The takeaway from a Criminal Justice Estimating Impact Conference meeting: If the state of Florida wants to ban people under the age of 21 from exotic dancing, taxpayers might pay more for prison costs.

While the Senate took the day off, the House held several Committee meetings in the afternoon. Among the bills heard was a piece of legislation (HB 1071) that would ban the sale of cultivated meat.

Initially an outright ban, Hillsborough Republican Rep. Danny Alvarez tenderized the bill with an amendment allowing some exceptions for scientific research.

The House legislation heads now to the House Infrastructure Strategies Committee. A companion bill in the Senate (SB 1084), sponsored by Sen. Jay Collins, a Tampa Republican, awaits consideration in the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee.

Bill Day’s Latest


Evening Reads

—”Yes, Democrats, it’s Joe Biden or bust” via Christian Paz of Vox

—”Donald Trump revs up MAGA machine in Florida after defeating Ron DeSantis” via Zac Anderson of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

—”Unprecedented assignment: Defending Trump in criminal court” via Perry Stein, Shayna Jacobs, Josh Dawsey and Amy Gardner of The Washington Post

—“The good Republicans’ last stand” via David Frum of The Atlantic

—”House Democrat says Black lawmakers being shortchanged in proposed state budget” via Mitch Perry of the Florida Phoenix

—”Florida lawmakers may remove most ‘climate change’ references from state statutes” via Emily Mahoney of the Tampa Bay Times

—”What happens when TikTok is your marketing department” via David Segal of The New York Times

—”AI is starting to threaten white-collar jobs. Few industries are immune.” via Ray A. Smith of The Wall Street Journal

—”Inside the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win and the Travis Kelce speech that inspired them to victory” via Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated

Quote of the Day

“You’re not going to have cattle grazing on Mars anytime soon.”

— Rep. Thad Altman, on the carveout for cultivated meat research at NASA’s Space Life Sciences Laboratory.

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.

A plan to grant a two-month sales tax holiday on select items purchased with “virtual currency” would save consumers boatloads of cash — perhaps enough to pay for a few Crypto Nuggets.

Communism hasn’t been a legit threat since Gen Xers were in high school, if ever, but Rep. Chuck Brannan wants to make sure kindergartners know the dangers of Marxian thought. Every teacher who has to navigate that curriculum deserves a Red Dawn or three.

If the Legislature is going to ban cultivated meat, can they also ban meat-based cocktails? Seriously, Bring Home the Bacon and Breakfast Fizz both sound more offensive than lab-grown steak.

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

So long football, hello hoops

Football is gone until late summer (unless you favor the indoor game or are looking ahead to the UFL’s launch in late March), so we can turn our attention to college basketball, where the conference tournaments begin.

The first conference to tipoff tournament play will be the ASUN on March 4. 

The University of North Florida faces an important game for tournament seeding tonight.

UNF is on the road at Queens University in Charlotte. The Ospreys (13-13; 6-5 in ASUN) enter the game tied with two other teams for fourth place in the conference standings. Because of the way the ASUN tournament bracket is set up, there is a big difference between being the #2 seed and the #7 seed, while seeds three through six face the same path with one exception: the games are played on campus so earning a #3 or #4 seed means a home game for those teams. 

Seeds #7 through #10 play an opening-round game, while the higher seeds get a bye. The top two seeds face the winners of the games involving the lower seeds, while #3 through #6 face one another in the second round. The bottom two teams in the league standings do not qualify for the postseason tournament.

The top two seeds are the sites for the opening round games, an additional benefit to being a top two seed.

Also tonight:

9 p.m. — NCAAM: Prairie View A&M Panthers @ Florida A&M Rattlers


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
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