Sixty Days for 1.24.19 — A prime-time look at the 2019 Legislative Session

State Capitol Building in Tallahassee, Florida

Sixty Days — A prime-time look at the 2019 Legislative Session

The Last 24

Good Thursday evening. Legislators wound down another committee week in advance of the 2019 Legislative Session, but the executive branch again dominated the headlines. Secretary of State Mike Ertel resigned after a newspaper confronted the Governor’s Office with 14-year-old pics of him in blackface, playing a Hurricane Katrina victim. Ertel’s sudden downfall reminds us that the past is never really in the past. Here’s your nightly rundown.

Resignation ruckus: Ertel quit after photos emerged of him posing as a Katrina victim in blackface at a private Halloween party.

Vets’ leader picked: DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet unanimously approved state Rep. Danny Burgess as Executive Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

War on drugs: A pair of bills were introduced in the Senate to help officials fight the opioid epidemic.

The future got brighter: Lawmakers OK’d the Department of Education spending another $25.3 million on Bright Futures scholarships.

More help: A Carlos Smith bill would make DACA, refugee students eligible for college financial aid.

LGBTQ legislation: A Joe Gruters bill would end discrimination against LGBTQ people in Florida workplaces.

Gambling galore: A meeting of the House Gaming Control Subcommittee gave lawmakers a look at gambling money coming into state coffers.

Quote of the Day

“There’s nothing I can say.” — Former Secretary of State Mike Ertel, who resigned Thursday after 14-year-old photos surfaced of him in blackface portraying a Hurricane Katrina victim.

Bill Day’s Latest

3 Questions

Budget chiefs Sen. Rob Bradley and Rep. Travis Cummings fielded questions from media Thursday, offering an early glimpse of how they’ll work through potential budget problems during the 2019 Legislative Session.

Q: Does something have to be done to try to rein in Department of Corrections spending?

Cummings: Not to just point to other members, but I think Chair [Paul] Renner, [Chris] Sprowls and some others are really looking at that area from a policy perspective, which obviously will have appropriations resolve. There are some areas of DOC that I think we can clear. We got new leadership there so I think that’s refreshing. You know, there are some areas where we probably need to look at some additional funding that relates to health care and some other areas. I think DOC is an organization that probably can have some improved efficiencies as well as…

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