Last Call for 4.18.24 — 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

K-12 students are one step closer to getting some lessons from designated “patriotic” groups and volunteer chaplains after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed off on allowing certain groups access to K-12 campuses.

However, during a news conference in Kissimmee DeSantis stressed that some exceptions will apply to preachers and public-spirited groups allowed to influence Florida’s youth in taxpayer-funded facilities.

Rep. Wyman Duggan’s bill (HB 1317) allows representatives of so-called “patriotic organizations” to meet with students and distribute recruitment materials. Schools provide designated time for these groups to pitch their attendees.

These groups include Big Brothers-Big Sisters of America, the Boy Scouts of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Civil Air Patrol, National FFA Organization, the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, Little League Baseball, the Marine Corps League and the Naval Sea Cadet Corps.

The Governor also signed HB 931. The bill will “authorize volunteer school chaplains to provide supports, services, and programs to students as assigned by the district school board or charter school governing board,” with districts implementing the chaplain proposal at their discretion.

DeSantis said there had been “confusion” about whether districts can bring volunteer chaplains in for “additional counseling and support,” saying “some students … need some soul craft.”

Meanwhile, a new poll indicates that Floridians may be OK with DeSantis remaining in the Governor’s mansion after January 2027 — not as Governor, but as the First Gentleman. 

A poll conducted by Florida Atlantic University and Mainstreet Research shows that 38% of 372 Florida Republicans polled would choose the First Lady in a head-to-head race against U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is polling at 16%. An additional 21% of respondents want another candidate altogether, while 26% say they don’t know who they would back at this point.


Florida electrical lineworkers got a shoutout from TECO this week as part of “National Lineworker Appreciation Day.”

“Time and time again, the lineworkers at Tampa Electric stand ready to repair lines and restore power to Floridians after disaster strikes. And we are no stranger to natural disasters. As hurricane season approaches, let lineworkers across our state know how appreciated and valued they are by thanking them on your social media channels,” TECO said in a statement.

As the name portends, April 18 is a day of thanks for those who handle the nitty-gritty of keeping the electrical grid online.

Lineworkers have several roles, including substation electricians, network specialists, meter mechanics, streetlight repair and more. Even when there is no storm or hurricane, lineworkers toil daily with high-voltage electric lines while strapped in high above the ground. And if a storm does hit, many of them head to the front lines — even if that means leaving their home state.

The power pros clock in every day, so if you have a chance this National Lineworker Appreciation Day — or any day — a ‘thank you’ is always appreciated. Just use #ThankALineman on social media to ensure they see it.

Evening Reads

—”The U.S. just changed how it manages a tenth of its land” via Maxine Joselow of The Washington Post

—”Student loans, steel tariffs, protected land: Joe Biden courts key constituencies” via Michael D. Shear of The New York Times

—“The crucial factor of the Stormy Daniels case” via Hanna Rosin of The Atlantic

—”Gov. Ron DeSantis signs public school chaplains bill, says Satanists need not apply” via Michael Moline of the Florida Phoenix

—“DeSantis says Florida amendment allows abortions ‘until birth.’ What’s true?” via Alexandria Glorioso and Romy Ellenbogen of the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times

—“A national insurance company wrote a bill to obstruct asbestos lawsuits in Florida” via Jason Garcia of Seeking Rents

—“DeSantis approval on the upswing; Republicans like idea of Casey DeSantis for Governor” via GQLSHARE

—”Dickey Betts, Allman Brothers band singer-guitarist, dead at 80” via David Browne of Rolling Stone

Quote of the Day

“We’re not playing those games in Florida. That is not a religion.”

— Gov. Ron DeSantis, on Satanist chaplains in public schools.

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.

A new poll found support for the recreational marijuana amendment is so-so, which could be a red flag … kinda like when the bartender serves a lukewarm cocktail.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott’s new ad may be titled “Socialismo,” but he and the team making his creative are sipping on Capitalist Sours.

A cursory look at finance reports indicates U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan gets a 17 while GOP Primary opponent Eddie Speir gets a One.

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

Magic make playoff return

The Orlando Magic tip off in the NBA playoffs on Saturday against the Cleveland Cavaliers (1 p.m. ET, ESPN).

The Magic (47-35) earned the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs meaning they will not have home-field advantage during the best-of-seven series. The first two games of the series are scheduled to be played in Cleveland, then games three and four in Orlando. The final three games of the series, if necessary, will alternate between Cleveland and Orlando with game seven set for Cleveland.

The Cavaliers (48-34) edged the Magic in the standings despite struggling down the stretch. The Cavaliers lost nine of their final 14 games in the regular season. Three of their top five scorers have been dealing with injuries. Cleveland’s leading scorer Donovan Mitchell has been nursing a knee injury and has been listed as day-to-day. He did not play in the regular season finale for the Cavs. Second-leading scorer Darius Garland also missed the game with a back injury while fifth-leading scorer Chris LaVert also sat out the game with a knee injury.

This is the first time the Magic have made the playoffs since the 2019-2020 season. Orlando has not advanced out of the first round since 2009-2010 when they were led by Dwight Howard and Vince Carter.

Cleveland made the playoffs last season but was knocked out of the first round by the New York Knicks in five games.


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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