Last Call for 6.12.24 — 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

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Florida’s new budget, cutting close to $1 billion in line-item vetoes.

DeSantis signed the budget (HB 5001), which the Florida Legislature approved in March. He slashed around $900 million of the proposed spending through line-item vetoes, resulting in a $116.5 billion budget, which is roughly $1 billion less than the current budget. 

The list of vetoes includes cuts in spending on various institutions, including higher education programs, government programs, and others. Among the largest vetoes are $30 million from the New Worlds Tutoring Program and $28 million each from Legislative Support Services for the House and Senate. DeSantis has said that the vetoes were motivated by a desire to reduce spending as time goes on, despite signing bills that already include around $2 billion in spending in addition to the budget.

“A little less than we did last year because I thought it was important and I told the speaker that we want to hold the line,” DeSantis said. “So, to get to that point where we’re reducing spending year over year, we had to hold the line-item veto authority.”

The budget — dubbed the “Focus on Florida’s Future” — includes $28.4 billion in public school spending, a $1.8 billion increase from the last budget. It also includes $200 million for increasing teacher salaries. The budget also includes $14.5 billion for the Florida Department of Transportation and $1.7 billion for programs to help Florida’s water quality.

The budget will take effect on July 1.

Evening Reads

—“Why Senate Democrats are outperforming Joe Biden in key states” via Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times

—“Challenger Debbie Mucarsel-Powell surges in U.S. Senate poll, closing in on Rick Scott via Anthony Man of the Orlando Sentinel

—“Courts are supposed to be above politics. Why are they weighing in on elections?via Mark Sherman of AP News

—“Treasury expands sanctions threat against banks dealing with Russia via Michael Stratford of POLITICO Magazine

—“Election workers worry that federal threats task force isn’t enough to keep them safe” via Zachary Roth of the Florida Phoenix

—“Florida appeals court declines to consider Ron DeSantis’ ‘executive privilege’ argument via Douglas Soule of USA Today

—“State declines to investigate ‘pay-for-play’ allegation against School Board members via Scott Travis of the Sun Sentinel

—“An iconic Disney World ride is officially gone. What’s its replacement like? via Gabrielle Lazor of the Tampa Bay Times

Quote of the Day

“Florida is the fourth largest economy in the nation — and with this budget, the Governor has claimed he has so much money, he doesn’t know what to do with it,” 

— Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar on Ron DeSantis spending $200 million on teacher raises.

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 was a good day for Florida’s environment, with the Cabinet approving multiple new conservation easements and advocates cheering the newly signed budget. Maybe try an eco-friendly cocktail to celebrate.

Time to pop open a Shock Top because a shocking new poll of Florida’s U.S. Senate race has Democratic challenger Debbie Mucarsel-Powell just two points behind incumbent GOP U.S. Sen. Rick Scott. Is it realistic? Unlikely, but maybe you could talk yourself into believing it after a few cold ones.

Mix up a first lady for the First Lady because Casey DeSantis is leading in yet another poll of the hypothetical 2026 Governor’s race. Despite her husband’s attestations that she won’t run, Casey is nearing majority support among GOP voters and is more than 20 points ahead of second-place Byron Donalds. Maybe she’ll make the plunge with some liquid courage?

Breakthrough Insights


Tune In

USMNT in search of second-ever win vs. Brazil

The U.S. Men’s National team hosts Brazil in a friendly at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium as the teams prepare for the Copa America later this month (7 p.m. ET, TNT).

The USMNT was embarrassed in a 5-1 loss to Columbia on Saturday at FedEx Field outside of Washington, D.C. It was the most goals conceded by the USMNT in Gregg Berhalter’s time as the head coach. The U.S. will need a better performance against another top team. Colombia came into last week’s match ranked 12th in the FIFA World Rankings and had not lost a match in 22 straight appearances.

Brazil is ranked No. 5 in the FIFA world rankings. The United States is 11th in the world.

In the wake of the loss, there were some calls for Berhalter to be fired as head coach. He led the USMNT in the 2022 World Cup where the U.S. advanced out of the group stage only to be run off the pitch by the Netherlands in a 3-1 defeat. After some deliberation, Berhalter was brought back to pilot the U.S. during the run-up to the 2026 World Cup, which will be played in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Brazil has dominated the all-time series 18-1. The only time the USMNT beat Brazil came in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 1998, a 1-0 win at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The last meeting between the two squads was an international friendly played in 2018 won by Brazil 2-0. Roberto Firmino and Neymar scored, the latter coming from the penalty spot.


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.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704