Last Call for 4.1.24 — 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 Florida Supreme Court on Monday greenlit the recreational marijuana and abortion rights amendments to appear on the November ballot.

The recreational marijuana amendment could expand the current cannabis retail model beyond medical necessity, allowing visitors to the state and residents without qualifying conditions access to the product. It will appear on the ballot as Amendment 3.

“Our role is narrow — we assess only whether the amendment conforms to the constitutionally mandated single-subject requirement, whether the ballot summary meets the statutory standard for clarity, and whether the amendment is facially invalid under the federal constitution. In light of those limited considerations, we approve the proposed amendment for placement on the ballot,” the Court ruled with a 5-2 majority.

The abortion amendment, which will appear on the ballot as Amendment 4, would prohibit any law limiting the ability to obtain an abortion before fetal viability — generally between 20 and 25 weeks into a term — or if an abortion is “necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s health care provider.”

That would effectively restore abortion rights to the same state they were before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 2022.

The court faced a Monday deadline to decide the fate of the two amendments, and many expected the decisions to land late Thursday morning, when the court typically releases its decisions. However, the court put out a brief statement saying that no opinions were ready, which instantly brought a lot of speculation and bewilderment including from some of the proponents of the initiatives.

The amendments must earn support from 60% of voters to be enshrined in the state constitution.

Evening Reads

—”The Republican money class is slinking back to Donald Trump” via Chris Cillizza of So What

—“How Republicans texted and emailed their way into a money problem” via Josh Dawsey, Michael Scherer and Clara Ence Morse of The Washington Post

—“The Church of Trump: How he’s infusing Christianity into his movement” via Michael C. Bender of The New York Times

—“You can’t afford to buy a house. Joe Biden knows that.” via Rachel M. Cohen of Vox

—“Revisiting Florida 2000 and the butterfly effect” via Nate Cohn of The New York Times

—“Is Florida’s red flag law working? Gun deaths are up, but mass shootings down” via Rafael Olmeda of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

—“Florida is a very dangerous place for those who speak their mind or support causes GOP officials oppose” via Barrington Salmon of the Florida Phoenix

—”The state that’s trying to rein in DEI without becoming Florida” via Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic

Quote of the Day

“Recreational drugs, like pigs, don’t belong in Florida’s constitution.”

— Florida Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Mark Wilson, on the recreational cannabis amendment.

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.

The staffers at Smart & Safe Florida and Floridians Protecting Freedom are officially in General Election mode, so order them a round of Sixty Forties.

Florida has been getting redder by the year, so Biden-Harris 2024’s new Florida team certainly has their work cut out for them. Perhaps a Long Shot or two will help them get the ball rolling.

Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill could use a Pink Slip now that she’s been suspended from office by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Breakthrough Insights


Tune In

Rays open series against defending champs

The defending champions begin a three-game series in St. Petersburg as the Texas Rangers come to Florida for the second series of the year (6:50 p.m. ET, FS1 and Bally Sports Florida).

The Rays (2-2) split a four-game season-opening home series against the Toronto Blue Jays while the Rangers (2-1) took the first two games of a three-game set against the Chicago Cubs.

Texas is trying to become the first team to repeat as World Series champions since the 2000 New York Yankees, who won three straight titles. The Rangers return most of last season’s roster with a few changes.

Tonight’s pitching matchup finds Texas’ Dane Dunning facing Ryan Pepiot for Tampa Bay. Dunning returns to his home state for the start. He was a star at Clay High School in Green Cove Springs and later at the University of Florida.

It is the first start of the season for both pitchers.

At the plate for Tampa Bay, Randy Arozarena is off to a hot start. The Tampa Bay left fielder collected five hits including two home runs in the series against Toronto. 

Also tonight:

7 p.m. — Portland Trail Blazers @ Orlando Magic

7 p.m. — Detroit Red Wings @ Tampa Bay Lightning

7 p.m. — Florida Panthers @ Toronto Maple Leafs


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

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