Last Call for 2.27.24 — 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

Budget conferences are here, but lawmakers are still taking care of a few loose ends on the policy front.

The Senate Fiscal Policy Committee on Tuesday advanced a handful of bills that have a lot of eyes on them, including a measure that would shore up Florida’s condo laws and give state regulators more power to punish unscrupulous board members.

SB 1178, which is now headed to the chamber floor, would mark a major overhaul of state statutes governing condo oversight and management by providing for criminal penalties for records violations, kickbacks and condo board election fraud.

Despite public pushback, the same Committee also sent legislation to the floor that would ban sales of all but 23 tobacco-flavored vaping products sold by Big Tobacco companies. The measure (SB 1006) wouldn’t explicitly limit retailers to selling those products. However, it would prohibit sales of any vapes that have not received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

And a controversial bill (HB 1317) that grants designated “patriotic organizations” more access to students in schools is also now one step away from passage. Which groups are considered “patriotic” in the eyes of the bill? The list names six groups: the mentoring organization Big Brothers-Big Sisters of America, the Boy Scouts of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Civil Air Patrol, the National FFA Organization and the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.

The Senate Appropriations Committee also made some edits to its tax cut package (SB 7074) on Tuesday, adding in tax credits for businesses operating a child care facility or paying child care costs for their employees. A credit for railroad companies was also added, but that measure hasn’t been analyzed by state economists so it’s unclear how much it will cost the state.

As for budget conferences, follow along for the latest updates on Florida Politics.

Bill Day’s Latest

Evening Reads

—”Florida’s war on public health” via Scott A. Rivkees for TIME

—“Debunking a Republican fantasy about Joe Biden” via Chris Cillizza of So What

—”Black History Month in the age of book bans” via Vann R. Newkirk II of The Atlantic

—”Nvidia billionaire co-founder created a $70 million supercomputer at University of Florida. Then Ron DeSantis banned top AI experts from China” via Michael Smith of Bloomberg

—”State police officials say Florida Governor’s staff targeted them over flight records” via Lawrence Mower of the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times

—”Florida college hit with rare sanction after DeSantis’ ‘egregious’ takeover” via Josh Fiallo of The Daily Beast

—”Term limits: The most useless debate in politics” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel

—”10 measles cases reported in Florida as criticism rises over top health official’s response” via Cindy Krischer Goodman and Shira Moolten of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

—“Senate Committee approves $20 million compensation to Dozier School victims who suffered abuse” via Mitch Perry of the Florida Phoenix

Quote of the Day

A lot of us, I believe, are sometimes unhappy that we have to amend our bills to match the bills that come across from the other chamber. I wish it were the other way too, and maybe someday we’ll get that fixed.”

— Sen. Ed Hooper, on a change in a Clerk of Courts bill to match the House bill, erasing an amendment he had put on in an earlier Committee.

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.

Former state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees deserves a Quarantini for his new op-ed blasting what he’s dubbed Florida’s “war on public health.”

Public school students could be hearing from some “patriotic organizations” soon, including the Girl Scouts. That earns your local Troop Leader either a Samoa Sour or a Thin Mint Julep.

If the Senate gets its way, companies who take care of their employees’ kids might save enough money on their tax bill to buy the whole team a round of Daga Daycares — sounds tasty! 

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

Seminoles looking for turnaround

With just three more games remaining in the regular season after tonight, Florida State travels to North Carolina State trying to improve its positioning as the ACC tournament approaches (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

The Seminoles (14-13; 8-8 in ACC) have lost seven of their last 10 games including a nine-point loss at Clemson on Saturday. FSU sits in ninth place in the conference, a game behind Syracuse. Leonard Hamilton’s team would like to stay in ninth or higher because teams seeded below that spot will have to play an additional game in the ACC tournament.

What has gone wrong with the Seminoles’ season? In short, Jamir Watkins has not gotten enough help. Florida State’s leading scorer also leads the team in rebounding and steals. He has been the Noles’ leading scorer in eight of the last 10 games. During FSU’s five-game winning streak at the start of the calendar year, five different players led the Seminoles in scoring.

FSU will have to play better down the stretch than they did against Clemson when they scored only eight points in the final five minutes. 

With games against Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, and Miami remaining after the trip to Raleigh, Florida State has opportunities to pick up wins before the conference tournament field is set but time is running out to garner momentum before the postseason arrives.

Also tonight:

7 p.m. — Tampa Bay Lightning @ Philadelphia Flyers

7 p.m. — Buffalo Sabres @ Florida Panthers

7 p.m. — Brooklyn Nets @ Orlando Magic

9 p.m. — NCAAM: NC State Wolfpack @ Florida State Seminoles


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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