Last Call for 4.23.24 — 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 campaign backing the recreational marijuana amendment is launching a new initiative aimed at convincing veterans to pull the lever in November.

Smart & Safe Florida’s “Vets Vote #YesOn3” statewide Veterans Coalition will emphasize to former service members and other voters that the proposal, which will appear on the ballot as Amendment 3, would guarantee “safe, regulated access to adult use of cannabis for those 21 years of age and older” if passed.

The political committee said the newly announced coalition consists of over 600 Florida veterans who have signed up to advocate for the passage of Amendment 3 in November’s General Election.   

“Many of our brave veterans across the country and here in Florida have been strong advocates for the freedom to access a legal, regulated cannabis market,” the Smart & Safe Florida campaign said in a statement.

“The ‘Vets Vote #YesOn3’ coalition will work throughout Florida to educate, advocate, and turn out voters to support Amendment 3 on the November ballot, focusing on the significance of cannabis as a safe and effective alternative to synthetic opioids, which are commonly prescribed to treat PTSD and other conditions.”

Smart & Safe Florida said veterans who are already convinced of the merits of recreational marijuana can join the battalion by signing up online. The committee also said “Vets Vote #YesOn3” is “the first of many” such coalitions it plans to announce in the lead-up to the November election.


President Joe Biden trashed Florida’s six-week abortion ban during a campaign stop in Tampa. And if he wins re-election with Democratic majorities in Congress, he promised to preempt the state law in Florida and nationwide.

“Elect a Democratic Congress and I will make Roe v. Wade the law of the land again,” Biden said.

Biden’s visit to Tampa marked the clearest sign yet that the Democrat believes Florida will be a battleground state in November. The campaign has emphasized that prospect ever since the Florida Supreme Court upheld the 15-week abortion ban, clearing the way for the six-week ban lawmakers passed last year.

While the law was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and approved by Republican supermajorities in the Legislature, Biden put responsibility for the law at one man’s feet: former President Donald Trump.

“Trump bragged how proud he was to get rid of Roe v. Wade. He took credit for it,” Biden said. “He said there has to be punishment for women exercising their reproductive freedom. His words, not mine. He described the Dobbs decision as a miracle. Maybe that’s coming from the Bible he’s trying to sell.”

But Biden said Trump and others now conspicuously avoid campaigning on abortion.

“Donald Trump is worried voters are going to hold him accountable for the chaos he created, folks,” Biden said. “The bad news for Trump is we are going to hold them accountable.”

Read more about Biden’s visit on Florida Politics.

Evening Reads

—”Ron DeSantis slams President Joe Biden’s support of abortion rights ahead of Tampa campaign stop” via Jackie Llanos of the Florida Phoenix

—”Here’s what Biden said in Tampa — and how his critics responded” via Kirby Wilson of the Tampa Bay Times

—”Donald Trump called this visa ‘very bad’ for Americans. Truth Social applied for one” via Adriana Gomez Licon of The Associated Press

—”Tabloid exec lifts curtain on ‘catch and kill’ scheme to boost Trump in 2016” via Nikki McCann Ramirez and Catherina Gionio of Rolling Stone

—”Inside the week that shook Columbia University” via Nicholas Fandos and Sharon Otterman of The New York Times

—”Rick Scott threatens federal defunding of Columbia University” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

—“The conservative who turned White anxiety into a movement” via Ari Berman of The Atlantic

—”They were a bad NBA team. So the Knicks became a college one.” via Robert O’Connell of The Wall Street Journal

Quote of the Day

“This November, add Florida to that list.”

— President Joe Biden, predicting the abortion rights amendment will pass.

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.

It’s not every day the President visits Florida … at least not the current President. Grab Joe Biden an Old Eagle to sip on during his flight back to the District.

After announcing Everglades cash Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced another slate of state-funded environmental projects in the Florida Wildlife Corridor. That earns him a Florida Panther (really, it’s just a Black Panther made with Florida-distilled rum).

This one goes on U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s tab, but every American who is newly concerned about TikTok’s China connections gets a Wake Up Call.

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

Panthers, Lighting drop puck in Game 2

After taking Game 1 of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series, the Florida Panthers look to strengthen their grip on the series against in-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 p.m. ESPN2, Bally Sports Sun, Bally Sports Florida.

The Panthers won a physical, intense series opener 3-2 on Sunday and dominated from the opening minutes. In the first 15 minutes of the game, the Lightning did not take a single shot.

Florida’s Sam Reinhart scored just over six minutes into the first period, but Tampa Bay tied it up with just under four minutes left in the first on a Brandon Hagel goal.

The second period was without a goal but not without some hard-hitting defense from both teams.

Carter Verhaeghe scored a power-play goal in the opening minute of the third period to give the Panthers the lead at 2-1. For the next 17 minutes, Tampa Bay scrambled to equalize. The Lightning pulled the goaltender in the final minutes which led to an empty-net goal by Matthew Tkachuk that made it 3-1. Tampa Bay scored a goal with 10 seconds remaining when Steven Stamkos put away a power play opportunity, but it was too little, too late for the Lightning.

After Game 2 tonight, the series shifts to Tampa for games three and four. 

Also tonight:

6:50 p.m. — Detroit Tigers @ Tampa Bay Rays

7:20 p.m. — Miami Marlins @ Atlanta Braves


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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