Last Call for 3.27.24 — 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

A fleet of bills were sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk on Wednesday.

Among the 18 measures coming from the engrossing and enrolling is a measure that would relegate the regulation of “food delivery platforms” that corral orders from multiple restaurants to the state.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Bradley, would require delivery platforms to obtain restaurants’ consent before picking up orders, promptly remove them from their platforms upon request, and prohibit platforms from intentionally inflating or deflating restaurant pricing.

The Governor also received a bill that would recognize April as “Hot Car Prevention Month,” which would raise awareness about the dangers of leaving children in cars unattended as well as the criminal penalties for doing so.

The bill has been referred to as “Ariya’s Law,” named after 10-month-old Ariya Paige, a Baker County baby who was left in a vehicle by a babysitter and died from the July heat.

DeSantis also signed a piece of legislation on Wednesday.

The bill (HB 621) aims to make it easier for police to remove squatters from a residence — or, in the Governor’s parlance, “end the Squatters Scam.”

During a bill signing ceremony in Orlando, DeSantis said the bill, which passed through the Legislature unanimously, was needed to crack down on a scourge affecting states led by Democrats, such as New York and California.

“Homes are being invaded and those states and their laws are not siding with the homeowners; they’re siding with the squatters,” DeSantis said. “You are not going to be able to commandeer somebody’s private property and expect to get away with it. We are, in Florida, ending the squatters scam once and for all.”

During the Great Recession, Florida experienced instances in which squatters assumed living in a property, typically an unoccupied, foreclosed home.

The Legislature passed reforms in 2011 making it harder for a squatter to take over a home. Previously, under a legal doctrine known as “adverse possession,” a squatter who lived in a house for seven years and made improvements on the property could assume ownership.

Evening Reads

—“The *really* hard (and important) question the Ronna McDaniel debacle raises for the media” via Chris Cillizza of So What

—“Kari Lake and the Donald Trump movement’s billion-dollar defamation problem” via Aaron Blake of The Washington Post

—”How Trump moved money to pay $100 million in legal bills” via Molly Cook Escobar, Albert Sun and Shane Goldmacher of The New York Times

—”In a secret game of prisoner swaps, Vladimir Putin has held most of the cards” via Aruna Viswanatha, Bojan Pancevski, Drew Hinshaw and Joe Parkinson

—”Where RFK Jr. goes from here” via John Hendrickson of The Atlantic

—”States are cracking down on deepfakes ahead of the 2024 election” via Kaleigh Rogers of FiveThirtyEight

—”Top Trump surrogate DC Draino may run for Congress against Laurel Lee” via Javier Manjarres of The Floridian

—”The Baltimore bridge collapse is only the latest — and least — of global shipping’s problems” via Caroline Houck of Vox

Quote of the Day

“Squatters is actually a very, very kind term. These are criminals and con artists that need to be held to the fullest extent of the law.”

— Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, on ending so-called squatters’ rights.

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.

According to DeSantis’ narrative, Disney’s California HQ — not its Orlando theme parks — is to blame for his feud with the company. Sounds like a Burbank Special is in order.

Getting out of Haiti on Air Florida is a lot cheaper than an airlift from the U.S. State Department. Since taxpayers are floating the bill, the least they could do is buy us an In-Flight Cocktail.

Now that squatters’ rights are going by the wayside in Florida, send your uninvited tenants packing with a cocktail by that very name.

Breakthrough Insights


Tune In

Magic eyeing better playoff seed

With 10 games remaining in the regular season, the Orlando Magic have already clinched a spot in the postseason. The question remains as to what their playoff path will look like as they host the Golden State Warriors tonight (7 p.m. ET, Bally Sports Florida).

If the season ended today, the Magic (42-39) would be the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and would face the New York Knicks in the first round. However, Orlando sits just a game and a half behind third-place Cleveland entering tonight’s games. There is plenty of time for the standings to shift before the postseason begins.

Overall, Orlando has won five of their last six games. The only loss in that stretch came on Saturday in a 109-107 loss to the Sacramento Kings. Jonathan Isaac scored 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds off the bench for Orlando in the loss.

This is the second meeting of the year between the Magic and the Warriors. Golden State (37-34) won the first matchup on Jan. 2 121-115 behind 36 points from Steph Curry. Golden State is fighting for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. They enter tonight’s game a game ahead of Houston in the chase for the final spot in the play-in tournament. 

Also tonight:

7:30 p.m. — Boston Bruins @ Tampa Bay Lightning


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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