Last Call for 3.12.24 — 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

Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers will help Floridians with suspended licenses get back on the road next month.

From April 6-20, county clerks of court across the state will host events as part of “Operation Green Light.”

In Florida, driver’s licenses can be revoked as a penalty for unpaid traffic tickets or other court obligations. During Operation Green Light, many local Clerks work with individuals to lower or waive fees so they can pay back their outstanding court obligations and have their licenses reinstated.

“Clerks of Court are proud to offer our residents the opportunity to get back on the road and save money through the many Operation Green Light events being held statewide,” said 2023-24 FCCC President and Suwannee County Clerk of Court and Comptroller Barry Baker. “Thousands of people across the state currently have a suspended license, and Operation Green Light is our effort to reduce that number, promote court compliance, and foster safer roads for our communities.”

Under a law passed in 2019, clerk’s offices statewide are required to offer a driver’s license reinstatement program at least once a year. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Chip LaMarca, was aimed at reducing the number of would-be drivers whose licenses are suspended due to unpaid fines or other easily reconciled matters.

Since the law went into effect, Florida Clerks of Court have helped 56,000 drivers have their licenses either reinstated or made eligible for reinstatement. Operation Green Light events have also collected more than $14.8 million in revenue, including $5.8 million distributed to the state, more than $3.7 million distributed to local governments, and more than $5.3 million retained by Clerks of Court.

A listing of 2024 Operation Green Light events is available on the Florida Clerks website.

Evening Reads

—“Donald Trump repeats Barack Obama’s mistake” via David A. Graham of The Atlantic

—“Trump-endorsing Florida lawmakers fear Ron DeSantis will seek retribution” via Kimberly Leonard of POLITICO

—”Joe Biden goes on an age offensive” via Chris Cillizza of So What

—”How the Special Counsel’s portrayal of Biden’s memory compares with the transcript” via Charlie Savage of The New York Times

—“DeSantis’ next chapter in book bans backlash? Blame someone else” via Richard Luscombe of The Guardian

—“The most confusing, chaotic college admissions season in years” via Oyin Adedoyin and Melissa Korn of The Wall Street Journal

—“The Supreme Court may let Texas get away with a totally unconstitutional deportation law” via Ian Millhiser of Vox

—”Cats aren’t jerks. They’re just misunderstood.” via Colleen Grablick of The Washington Post

Quote of the Day

“When the Florida Legislature was created, it wasn’t created for people like me to speak truth to power in the halls of the Capitol, but here I am.”

— Rep. LaVon Bracy Davis, during a panel held for Women’s History Month.

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.

As Attorney General Ashley Moody will tell you, you don’t want to know what happens when there’s a pinch of fentanyl in your drugs. But why bother with dealers anyway when a Good Old Fashioned Buzz will do the trick? 

In the waning hours of the 2024 Legislative Session, the House stood its ground on the “Home Tax” bill dealing with estoppel certificates and who can pay for them. The stout defense earns Representatives a Full Stop

The Florida Trucking Association is launching a campaign to remind drivers to “Share the Road.” Pay attention and there could be a Fuzzy Mack Truck in it for you.

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

Division leaders Panthers, Stars meet in Texas

In what could be a preview of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Florida Panthers visit Dallas to face the Stars for the second time this season (8 p.m. EDT, ESPN+).

Florida (44-17-4, 92 points) leads the Eastern Conference on the strength of winning eight of their last 10 games and 20 of their last 23. Part of the recipe for success has been the play of goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who leads the NHL with a 2.29 goals-against average. Bobrovsky has allowed more than two goals only three times this calendar year.

Dallas (40-17-9, 89 points) leads the Central Division and sits just two points behind the top spot in the Western Conference. With the NHL regular season ending in 37 days, both teams will look at tonight’s matchup as a tone-setter should they meet again for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

In the first meeting between the two teams on Dec. 6, Florida won a high-scoring game, 5-4. Since then, both teams have bolstered their rosters. The Stars added defenseman Chris Tanev from Calgary. In three games since the trade, Tanev has scored a goal and posted a plus-minus rating of plus-four.

Florida brought in more firepower before the trade deadline, adding winger Vladimir Tarasenko from Ottawa and forward Kyle Okposo from Buffalo. Tarasenko scored twice and assisted on another goal on Saturday in the Panthers’ win over Calgary. Okposo could make his Panthers debut tonight.

Also tonight:

7 p.m. — NCAAM: Miami Hurricanes @ Boston College Eagles

7 p.m. — NCAAW: Austin Peay Governors @ Florida Gulf Coast Eagles

9 p.m. — NCAAM: Florida International Panthers @ Jacksonville State Gamecocks


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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