Last Call for 5.23.24 — 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

Memorial Day is for celebrating the soldiers who gave their lives defending the U.S., not mourning the teen drivers who die in preventable car accidents.

While that’s not revelatory info to most Americans, statistics show that Memorial Day weekend marks the start of a stretch with a fittingly morbid title: The 100 Deadly Days of Summer.

Over the three-month span, which overlaps with summer vacation, an average of seven Americans will die in an auto accident involving a teen driver every day. While youths don’t comprise all the victims, car crashes have long been the leading cause of death for 16- to 19-year-olds.

And for every casualty, there are dozens of injuries — many of them severe. According to the new “Arrive Alive Crash Dashboard” launched by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, teens were involved in nearly 20,000 crashes during last year’s Deadly Days.

Attorney General Ashley Moody wants Florida parents to do their part to buck the trend by sitting down with their teens and having a frank discussion about safe driving habits — and it shouldn’t be a one-time thing, either.

Some launching points: Be clear, direct and firm when setting curfews and passenger limits; emphasize the importance of seat belt usage; and hammer home that texting while driving is a non-starter. Parents and guardians should likewise strive to practice what they preach — hearing a teen shout, “I learned it from you,” is a tired trope, and there’s no excuse for giving your young driver a valid reason to trot it out.

“The summer travel season begins this weekend, and so does heightened risks on our nation’s roadways. Ahead of what is expected to be a record-breaking Memorial Day travel weekend, I am asking Floridians to exercise caution, be patient and avoid distractions behind the wheel,” Moody said.

“Florida lost 83 travelers in car crashes last year between Memorial Day and Labor Day. By teaming up with FHP, FDOT and MADD and warning teen drivers now, we are hoping that we can prevent fatal crashes this summer.”

Moody, Florida Highway Patrol Colonel Gary Howze, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue and Mothers Against Drunk Driving Program Manager Sharon Hall are encouraging parents to scope out FLHSMV’s tip list before Deadly Days kicks off — if tragedy strikes, it would be a painful thing to regret.

Evening Reads

—“Nikki Haley isn’t the hero the Never Trumpers were waiting for” via Chris Cillizza of So What

—“Many Haley voters won’t back Donald Trump. They weren’t going to anyway.” via Geoffrey Skelley of FiveThirtyEight

—”Trump’s money problems are becoming a crisis for the entire country” via David A. Graham of The Atlantic

—“The Joe Biden administration is actually doing something about ludicrously expensive concert tickets” via Nicole Narea of Vox

—“By signing bill deleting climate change from Florida law, Ron DeSantis shows he’s living in denial” via Craig Pittman of the Florida Phoenix

—”Poll Watcher: Are Republicans more pro-choice?” via Dave Trotter of Voting Trend

—”Home-insurance payouts are shrinking. Here’s how to prevent the worst.” via Patrick Cooley of The Washington Post

—”Almost 6,000 dead in 6 years: how Baltimore became the U.S. overdose capital” via Alissa Zhu, Nick Thieme and Jessica Gallagher of The New York Times

—”How Kid Rock went from America’s favorite hard-partying rock star to a MAGA mouthpiece” via David Peisner of Rolling Stone

Quote of the Day

“So much for the brotherhood of law enforcement.”

Michelle Lahera, wife of CCSO officer Andy Lahera, who is being terminated while still recovering from an on-duty accident.

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.

If you wanted to order Lauren Book an Awaiting Grace, sorry, you missed the boat — the Senate Democratic Leader’s nonprofit, Lauren’s Kids, already bagged a 2024 Gracie Award for its “Think, Feel, Act” anti-child sexual abuse safety video.

Hamburger Mary’s, the LGBTQ+-friendly restaurant involved in a landmark lawsuit against the anti-drag law, is closing its downtown Orlando location. We’d suggest bidding them farewell with a Cheeseburger Cocktail, but honestly, whoever enjoys those should be the one who relocates.

If unemployment claims are anything to go by, the grind set is on the rise in Florida. At least it’ll be easier to afford a Working Man’s Old Fashioned with a paycheck instead of a paltry UI payout.

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

It’s slim pickings for Florida sports this evening, but here’s what’s on deck for over Memorial Day weekend.


6:50 p.m. — Kansas City Royals @ Tampa Bay Rays

8 p.m. — Game 2: Florida Panthers @ New York Rangers

9:40 p.m. — Miami Marlins @ Arizona Diamondbacks


4:10 p.m. — Kansas City Royals @ Tampa Bay Rays

10:10 p.m. — Miami Marlins @ Arizona Diamondbacks


1:40 p.m. — Kansas City Royals @ Tampa Bay Rays

4:10 p.m. — Miami Marlins @ Arizona Diamondbacks

3 p.m. — Game 3: New York Rangers @ Florida Panthers


6:40 p.m. — Miami Marlins @ San Diego Padres


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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