• Fri. Dec 2nd, 2022

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The ‘blockbuster’ Florida election law ruling no one saw coming – POLITICO

Good Friday morning.

Getting ready — No one expected Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker to bless Florida’s contentious 2021 voting law.

Here it comes — But his “blockbluster” ruling — as well-known election law expert and University of California, Irvine professor Rick Hasen put it — went far beyond what many observers predicted.

Sermon — His 288-page ruling, written with the thunder-from-the-heavens type of command that has come to signify Walker’s style, didn’t just swipe down many elements of the law (SB 90) that placed restrictions on mail-in voting and on groups registering voters. It was a stinging takedown that quoted Martin Luther King Jr. and drew the ire of Florida Republicans who called it a partisan performance and unprofessional.

Deep dive — Walker weaved in history and the background of some of the legislative sponsors, including how state Sen. Dennis Baxley opposed establishing a slavery memorial at the Capitol and opposed a bill to replace the statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith in Washington, D.C., with one of Mary McLeod Bethune, the famed Black educator. (Walker did note that this information — which was put in the record by those suing the state — had “marginal relevance.”)

Conclusion — The bigger point of course is that Walker insisted that Florida has engaged in intentional discrimination and that legislators were told — and then ignored — that their voting law would disparately hurt minorities because it was crafted in a way to blunt Democratic turnout and Black voter representation.

Remedy — And because of a what he called an ongoing pattern, Walker ruled that the state must get court approval for the next 10 years if it wants to make any future changes to laws involving drop boxes, third-party voter registration groups and regulating what is called “line warming” conduct such as giving out food and water at polling places.

Will it stand? — Many outside observers — including Hasen —- are skeptical that such an approach will withstand review by an appeals court. What is true is that state legislators already anticipated one small part of the ruling because this past session they repealed a portion of last year’s law regarding disclaimers third-party groups had to give to those signing up to vote. Another element that may get lost is that Walker also did sign off of some elements of the new law, including restrictions on “ballot harvesting.” But the key question, of course, is how quickly an appeals court will consider this case and whether the injunction Walker agreed to impose will still be in place during this year’s elections.

— WHERE’S RON? — Nothing official announced for Gov. DeSantis.

Have a tip, story, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch:gfineout@politico.com","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"mailto:gfineout@politico.com","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8450003","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8450004","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>[email protected]

‘CIVILITY VS. MADNESS’ — “Does the nicest person in Florida politics have what it takes to beat Ron DeSantis?” by POLITICO’s Michael Kruse: Such a general election matchup would make for an unusually stark contrast, pitting Charlie Crist, whose calling card has been nothing if not a velvety public persona, against the relentlessly confrontational Gov. Ron DeSantis, nearly universally recognized as charmless but effective.

Taking a chance — Beyond the high stakes in this cycle, and perhaps the next one, too, this ultra-important race could have yet broader implications. Because the way Crist is running is a bet. That people are exhausted of the nonstop politics of conflict. That what they want really is to dial down the volume and the vitriol. And that almost all Democrats will vote for Crist and almost all Republicans will vote for DeSantis but that enough of the people somewhere in whatever’s left of the middle will vote because of this for Crist.

BLASTED — “Federal judge overturns part of Florida election law, citing ‘horrendous history’ of racism,” by POLITICO’s Gary Fineout: A federal judge on Thursday struck down key provisions of a 2021 Florida election law championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and, in a remarkable move, ruled the state must get court approval for the next 10 years before it enacts further changes in three areas. Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, in a blistering 288-page decision, said the law placed restrictions on voters that were unconstitutional and discriminated against minority citizens. Those included limits on drop boxes used for mail-in voting, on giving items to voters waiting in line and new requirements placed on voter registration groups.

CAMPAIGN ROUNDUP — Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced several additions to her campaign for governor that start work on Friday. Marissa Tully will serve as deputy campaign manager and finance director. Adrienne Bogen will join the team as deputy campaign manager of strategic voter engagement. Abi Yisrael will serve as director of voter engagement and outreach. Malcolm Robbs begins as voter engagement and outreach coordinator. Tully has worked for multiple campaigns, including serving as Bill Nelson’s Central Florida finance director. Bogen has also worked for multiple campaigns in the state and most recently launched Florida Ground Game, a voter registration organization. Yisrael has also worked on campaigns at multiple levels, including on Jon Ossoff’s 2021 campaign in Georgia. Robb is a former legislative aide who also worked as deputy campaign director for Perry Thurston’s congressional campaign.

Communication Workers of AmericaFlorida Presidents Council on Thursday endorsed Rep. Charlie Crist for governor. “Charlie Crist has a proven track record of putting Florida’s working class first,” said Steve Wisniewski, President of CWA Local 3108 in a statement.

TO THE COURTHOUSE— “LGBTQ advocates sue over Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill,” by POLITICO’s Andrew Atterbury: A group of LGBTQ advocates, including organizations, students, parents and a teacher, sued Florida and the DeSantis administration in federal court Thursday over recently passed parental rights legislation branded as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by opponents. The lawsuit contends that the legislation, which has sparked an uproar with opponents like The Walt Disney Co. and the Biden administration, “is an unlawful attempt to stigmatize, silence, and erase LGBTQ people in Florida’s public schools.” It marks the first legal challenge for the high-profile measure that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Monday.

— “‘I hope this law is obliterated’: Plaintiffs in the first lawsuit challenging ‘don’t say gay’ in Florida speak out","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://time.com/6163464/dont-say-gay-lawsuit-plaintiffs-interview-florida/","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d84d0003","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d84d0004","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>I hope this law is obliterated’: Plaintiffs in the first lawsuit challenging ‘don’t say gay’ in Florida speak out,” by Time’s Madeleine Carlisle

MOUSETRAP — “DeSantis calls for end to Disney’s ‘special privileges’ in Florida","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.orlandosentinel.com/politics/os-ne-desantis-disney-privileges-20220331-gqpgxris7rbmxpj3q7wfga5pd4-story.html","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d84d0005","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d84d0006","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>DeSantis calls for end to Disney’s ‘special privileges’ in Florida,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Skyler Swisher: “Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed his support Thursday for ending Disney’s “special privileges” in Florida, saying the entertainment giant’s political sway is waning. DeSantis has been battling the Walt Disney Co. over its opposition to HB 1557, officially titled Parental Rights in Education but known by many as the ‘don’t say gay’ bill. ‘As a matter of first principle, I don’t support special privileges in law, just because a company is powerful, and they’ve been able to wield a lot of power,’ he said at an event in West Palm Beach.”

What about Disney’s exemption from the tech bill? — “DeSantis said Thursday that carve-out for Disney was “ridiculous” and “embarrassing,” but public records showed his legislative affairs director served as a liaison between Disney and lawmakers to craft its language. Those records were revealed in a report in the Seeking Rents newsletter. DeSantis said he signed the bill because he didn’t want to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ and wants the carve-out repealed.”

RUSH JOB — “Joseph Ladapo hiring violated UF procedures, faculty report says,","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.tampabay.com/news/florida-politics/2022/03/31/joseph-ladapo-hiring-violated-uf-procedures-faculty-report-says/","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d84d0007","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d84d0008","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Joseph Ladapo hiring violated UF procedures, faculty report says,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Kirby Wilson and Divya Kumar: “The University of Florida violated its own hiring procedures while bringing Joseph Ladapo onboard for a tenured position, according to a faculty committee report released Wednesday. The hiring of Ladapo, whom Gov. Ron DeSantis picked last year to be the state’s surgeon general, did not adequately involve the input of faculty normally charged with reviewing a candidate’s application for tenure, the report found. Administrators accelerated Ladapo’s start date to accommodate DeSantis’ announcement that the doctor would become the state’s next surgeon general, it said. And some faculty members felt Ladapo was the subject of ‘preferential treatment on the basis of his political opinions,’ the report said.

FOR YOUR RADAR — “Group files civil rights complaint over Florida incinerator permitting","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://subscriber.politicopro.com/article/2022/03/group-files-civil-rights-complaint-over-florida-incinerator-permitting-00022156","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d84f0003","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d84f0004","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Group files civil rights complaint over Florida incinerator permitting,” by POLITICO’s Bruce Ritchie: The Miami-based nonprofit Florida Rising on Thursday filed a civil rights complaint against the state for permitting waste incinerators in Miami-Dade County and elsewhere in the state. Florida Rising told the Department of Justice that seven of the 10 incinerators in the state are in neighborhoods with high populations of racial minorities. Six of the 10 plants, many of which burn waste to produce electricity, also are in neighborhoods with more households that have non-fluent English speakers.

SPROWLS LEGACY — “Florida’s free book program to improve reading enrolls 100,000 kids so far","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-ne-florida-books-struggling-students-20220331-wlbvympqcja2bbzlutbzbx3s2y-story.html","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8500000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8500001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Florida’s free book program to improve reading enrolls 100,000 kids so far,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Leslie Postal: “Starting in December, Florida has shipped nearly 336,000 free books to elementary school students, kicking off a program that aims to deliver a new book every month to youngsters who need to boost reading skills. More than 100,000 students so far are enrolled in the state’s New Worlds Reading Initiative, and officials hope thousands more sign up. The program mails nine free books a year to public school students in kindergarten to fifth grade with a ‘substantial reading deficiency.’ More than 500,000 Florida students are likely eligible, officials said.”

WHEN TALLAHASSEE IS ON YOUR SIDE — “State regulators let embattled property firm keep its license. Now dozens of communities have accused it of fraud","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.pnj.com/story/news/2022/03/31/state-regulators-knew-american-property-management-services-under-criminal-scrutiny-issued-fine/7091811001/","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8500002","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8500003","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>State regulators let embattled property firm keep its license. Now dozens of communities have accused it of fraud,” by Naples Daily News’ Dan Glaun: “State regulators had a chance last year to pull the license of a property management firm whose alleged multimillion-dollar embezzlement scheme has now pushed multiple community associations in Southwest Florida to the financial brink. Instead, they chose to slap the company with a $1,000 fine, which it never paid. Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which is responsible for policing community association managers, acknowledged in a statement that it knew Naples-based American Property Management Services was under criminal scrutiny when the agency allowed it last June to settle a 2020 embezzlement complaint and keep its license.”

— “More money, more problems: Lawmakers mum on health projects as Gov. DeSantis hints at vetoes","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://floridapolitics.com/archives/512775-more-money-more-problems-lawmakers-mum-on-health-projects-as-gov-desantis-hints-at-vetoes/","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8500005","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8500006","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>More money, more problems: Lawmakers mum on health projects as Gov. DeSantis hints at vetoes,” by Florida Politics’ Christine Jordan Sexton

— “Florida senator helps developers get revenge on conservation boards","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://floridaphoenix.com/2022/03/31/florida-senator-helps-developers-get-revenge-on-conservation-boards/","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8500007","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8500008","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Florida senator helps developers get revenge on conservation boards,” by Florida Phoenix’s Craig Pittman

— “Gov. DeSantis urges Legislature to pass his congressional redistricting map","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://floridapolitics.com/archives/512956-gov-desantis-urges-legislature-to-pass-his-congressional-redistricting-map/","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8500009","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d850000a","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Gov. DeSantis urges Legislature to pass his congressional redistricting map,” by Florida Politics’ A.G. Gancarski

THE SCOTT DOCTRINE — “Income taxes for all? Rick Scott has a plan, and that’s a problem","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/31/us/politics/rick-scott.html","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8550000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8550001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Income taxes for all? Rick Scott has a plan, and that’s a problem,” by The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman: “Senator Rick Scott of Florida, the somewhat embattled head of the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, said one utterly indisputable thing on Thursday when he stood before a packed auditorium of supporters at the conservative Heritage Foundation: His plan for a G.O.P. majority would make everyone angry at him, Republicans included. It was an odd admission for the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.”

‘DIRE CONDITIONS’ — “Rubio, Menendez ask Biden’s DHS to extend TPS for Venezuelans","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/naked-politics/article259992515.html","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8550002","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8550003","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Rubio, Menendez ask Biden’s DHS to extend TPS for Venezuelans,” by Miami Herald’s Bianca Padró Ocasio: “U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Robert ‘Bob’ Menendez asked the Biden administration to redesignate Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans, which is set to end this fall. The letter sent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Thursday cites the ongoing political and humanitarian situation under Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro as grounds for an extension of the temporary relief, which is set to expire on September 9.”

— “U.S. must prepare for migrant surge when COVID restrictions end, Miami congresswoman says","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/immigration/article259974265.html","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8550004","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8550005","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>U.S. must prepare for migrant surge when COVID restrictions end, Miami congresswoman says,” by Miami Herald’s Syra Ortiz-Blanes and Tampa Bay Times Lawrence Mower

— “White House taps Shevrin Jones to serve on President’s Board of Advisors on HBCU’s","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://floridapolitics.com/archives/513159-white-house-taps-shevrin-jones-to-serve-on-president-board-of-advisors-on-hbcus/","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8550006","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8550007","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>White House taps Shevrin Jones to serve on President’s Board of Advisors on HBCU’s,” by Florida Politics’ Anne Geggis

‘POLITICAL ABUSE’ — “UF professor files lawsuit claiming political interference over COVID-19 safety on campus","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.gainesville.com/story/news/education/campus/2022/03/30/professors-lawsuit-claims-university-florida-let-politics-trump-safety/7216207001/?utm_source=gainesville-Daily%20Briefing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_briefing&utm_term=list_article_thumb&utm_content=FLORIDA-GAINESVILLE-NLETTER65","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8570000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8570001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>UF professor files lawsuit claiming political interference over COVID-19 safety on campus,” by The Gainesville Sun’s Douglas Ray: “A professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida has filed a lawsuit against administrators who he claims offered conflicting and shifting demands for in-person classes at the start of the fall term, forbade him from discussing COVID-19 with his students, and ordered him to undergo a mental exam when he pushed back. Professor Richard Burt, who teaches in the English department, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Gainesville on Tuesday, seeking unspecified monetary damages and an order from the court blocking administrators from suppressing his rights to free speech.”

NEXT STEP — “Florida approves plan to clean up, shutter Piney Point","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/2022/03/31/florida-approves-plan-to-clean-up-shutter-piney-point/","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8580004","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8580005","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Florida approves plan to clean up, shutter Piney Point,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Zachary T. Sampson: “Florida regulators have approved a plan to remove hundreds of millions of gallons of wastewater from the site of the old fertilizer plant at Piney Point. The goal, the Department of Environmental Protection said, is to shut down the looming environmental menace to Tampa Bay. Piney Point was the source of 215 million gallons of wastewater dumped into the bay last spring. ‘Today, as a result of ongoing efforts on the part of DEP, Manatee County and the court-appointed receiver, we are in a significantly better place than we were then, and this approval marks a key milestone in ensuring this is the last chapter in the long history of Piney Point,’ said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton in a statement.

— “State lawmaker calls for permanent closure of Orlando amusement ride after teen’s death","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://floridaphoenix.com/2022/03/30/state-lawmaker-calls-for-permanent-closure-of-an-orlando-amusement-ride-after-teens-death/","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8590000","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8590001","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>State lawmaker calls for permanent closure of Orlando amusement ride after teen’s death,” by Florida Phoenix’s Isaac Morgan

— “Proposed 11% rate hike for Citizens Property Insurance customers goes before regulators","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article259997190.html","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8590002","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d8590003","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Proposed 11% rate hike for Citizens Property Insurance customers goes before regulators,” by News Service of Florida’s Jim Saunders

— “Brian Laundrie’s parents file to have negligence lawsuit against them dropped","link":{"target":"NEW","attributes":[],"url":"https://www.heraldtribune.com/story/news/local/2022/03/31/gabby-petito-lawsuit-dismissal-brian-laundrie-parents/7229058001/","_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d85a0001","_type":"33ac701a-72c1-316a-a3a5-13918cf384df"},"_id":"0000017f-e5b3-d202-ad7f-e7f3d85a0002","_type":"02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266"}”>Brian Laundrie’s parents file to have negligence lawsuit against them dropped,” by Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Earle Kimmel: “The attorney for the parents of Brian Laundrie filed a motion in circuit court Thursday to dismiss a negligence suit filed against them by the parents of Gabrielle Petito. The suit, filed March 10 against Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, claims that the couple knew about the whereabouts of their son, Brian Laundrie, following Petito’s death and may have been trying to get him out of the country prior to his death.”

BIRTHDAYS: Former Rep. Peter Deutsch … (Saturday) Gary Yordon, president of The Zachary Group and host of “The Usual Suspects”