Last Call for 2.28.24 — 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

According to the official timeline, the state budget will be out of Conference Committee Chairs’ hands in just a few more hours.

After three days of negotiations, the House and Senate have come together on a number of key items, but there are still several high-profile issues for Budget Chiefs Rep. Tom Leek and Sen. Doug Broxson to hammer out.

As of press time, major gaps remained in the TED silo — although the House upped its offer for the Job Growth Grant Fund to $56 million, that’s still $19 million off the Senate’s plan for $75 million. The Senate, meanwhile, hasn’t put any cash toward Camp Blanding, which the House initially funded at $100 million before halving its ask in the latest round of offers.

And then there’s the largest section of the budget, which coincidentally lays claim to the largest question marks. Health care budget Chairs Rep. Sam Garrison and Sen. Gayle Harrell have already kicked their plans up to the Budget Chiefs, with the Senate’s decision not to include member projects in its first offer being a top reason.

Still, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo’s $717 million Live Healthy priority was settled before budget conferences began and the chambers did align on a handful of other big-ticket items, such as $80 million for cancer innovation grants. For the full rundown on the HHS spending plan, be sure to check out this week’s edition of Diagnosis.

This afternoon also saw the Senate pass a handful of bills, including a unanimous vote for a measure that would make Florida the 13th state to statutorily define antisemitism — the bill already cleared the House, but the chamber will need to approve it a second time due to an amendment tacked on by the Senate.

One thing that won’t be heard on the Senate floor, however, is a controversial bill limiting transgender individuals from changing their gender on their driver’s licenses. Passidomo confirmed her chamber will not bend the rules to put the proposal, which is mired in committee, to a floor vote.

Follow the latest developments on the state budget on Florida Politics.

Evening Reads

—“Nikki Haley just exposed a *key* falsehood about Donald Trump” via Chris Cillizza of So What

—“Young, Black, and done with Joe Biden: The issues that could decide the election” via Andre Gee of Rolling Stone

—”Mitch McConnell Surrenders to Trump” via David A. Graham of The Atlantic

—”So far, Ron DeSantis isn’t saying whether he’ll veto social media ban for younger teens” via Michael Moline of the Florida Phoenix

—”Ten issues to watch as Florida lawmakers negotiate a new state budget” via Jason Garcia of Seeking Rents

—”Florida knew prison well could be contaminated but let women keep drinking” via Max Chesnes and Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times

—”Florida lawmaker pushes for congressional hearing on kratom” via Sam Ogozalek and Hannah Critchfield of the Tampa Bay Times

—”Condo sales fell in Florida because of rising insurance and HOA fees, report says” via Ron Hurtibise of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

—”Black Nazis? A woman pope? That’s just the start of Google’s AI problem.” via Sigal Samuel of Vox

Quote of the Day

“Truly, this has been a bipartisan effort since Day One, supporting Israel and this bill as well. So, we really — from the bottom of our hearts; there aren’t a lot of us in here — appreciate very much everyone’s support.”

— Sen. Tina Polsky, ahead of a unanimous vote for a bill defining antisemitism in state law.

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.

For his property insurance doom and gloom statements, Gov. Ron DeSantis gets a Dark ‘n Stormy. Actually, go ahead and order one for the Florida homeowner sitting next to you, too.

Florida voters would have to sign off, but if the Senate’s plan to kill public campaign financing comes to fruition, scrappy candidates will need to adopt The Money Maker mentality.

If Sen. Clay Yarborough manages to land a deal to revise the Chinese real estate crackdown, he’ll have earned a few Green Tea shots.

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

Red-hot Gators host hapless Missouri

The Florida Gators are suddenly one of the hottest teams in college basketball as they host Missouri tonight in Gainesville (6:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network).

Since a Jan. 16 loss at No. 6 Tennessee, No. 24 Florida (19-8; 9-5 in SEC) has lost a one-point game at Texas A&M and an overtime decision at then-No. 13 Alabama. Coming into tonight’s game, the Gators are tied for fifth in the SEC standings with a chance to climb into the top three by the time the conference tournament tips off on March 13 in Nashville.

The Gators have gotten contributions from some young players lately. Freshmen Alex Condon and Thomas Haugh combined for 15 points off the bench as the Gators beat Vanderbilt on Saturday. Condon has scored in double figures 10 times this season including two of the past three games for Florida.

Haugh hasn’t been as productive, but he scored 17 points in Florida’s win at Georgia on Feb. 17.

Missouri (8-19; 0-14) has struggled all season. The Tigers’ lone win since Dec. 4 was a victory over Central Arkansas on Dec. 30. After Mizzou, the Gators will face a pair of ranked teams, No. 18 South Carolina and No. 14 Alabama before concluding the regular season on March 9 at Vanderbilt.

Also tonight:

6 p.m. — NCAAW: Kansas Jayhawks @ UCF Knights

7 p.m. — NCAAW: Tulane Green Wave @ Florida Atlantic Owls

7 p.m. — NCAAM: Stetson Hatters @ Jacksonville Dolphins

7 p.m. — NCAAM: Florida Gulf Coast Eagles @ North Florida Ospreys

8 p.m. — NCAAM: UCF Knights @ Oklahoma State Cowboys


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

One comment

  • Look up PROJECT 2025

    February 28, 2024 at 6:08 pm

    Why don’t you start publishing the Project 2025 which is the blueprint DeSantis has been using for Floriduh and the Right wing extremist have devised to turn our country into an authoritarian country, destroying every governmental agency we have. They have the loyalists to trump in waiting and have devised how they will STEAL the next election. Please start educating people ..It is all documented. Google Project 2025. OUTRAGEOUS>.

Comments are closed.


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