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Last Call for 7.8.19 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

State alcoholic beverage regulators have declined to give an Orlando man an opinion as to whether he needs a liquor license to open a “Jell-O shot” business.

Jon Whitehouse had asked the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco for what’s called a ‘declaratory statement’ in April.

“No one has attempted to start a retail business whose sole purpose is the making of Jell-O shots,” he wrote. “It is my belief there is an untapped retail opportunity that hasn’t been explored due to permitting and licensing requirements.”

Legend has it that musical satirist Tom Lehrer invented the Jell-O shot in the 1950s to “circumvent restrictions on alcoholic beverages” at the military base where he was stationed.

But bartender Jerry Thomas, considered “the father of American mixology,” first published a recipe for what he called “punch jelly” in an 1862 book.

In his petition, Whitehouse raised two questions:

— Is an “alcohol infused gelatin” considered an alcoholic beverage under state law?

— If a customer provides his own liquor, does a Jell-O shot business still need a license?

Alas, the state took a pass, saying his request failed to pass muster on a number of technical grounds, according to an administrative order released Monday.

Among other things, Whitehouse didn’t cite “any statutes, rules or orders that may apply to (his) particular circumstances.”

Evening Reads

In Florida, Donald Trump’s campaign faces shifting Republican politics on climate change” via Michael Wilner and David Smiley of the Miami Herald

Tom Steyer reconsiders 2020 and plans to enter the race” via Daniel Lippman and Daniel Strauss of POLITICO

Florida’s 27,000 ‘Dreamers’ are living their lives in fear and uncertainty” via Michael Moline of the Florida Phoenix

Florida’s tax law exemptions” via Jason Garcia of Florida Trend

Five things we know (so far) about Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet’s trip to Israel” via Emily Mahoney of the Tampa Bay Times

FDLE says Florida’s rape kit backlog cleared ‘for all intents and purposes’” via Courtney Robinson of 10 News

State approves new round of vote security grants” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics

RollExit argues disabled should ‘Roll Away’ from liberalism” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Kathy Castor puts Tampa Bay at center of gender equality debate after U.S. Women’s World Cup win” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics

Kim Daniels sued by former legislative assistant for wrongful termination” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

One nation under a lawsuit: Pulpit, politics collide again in Jacksonville” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics

A state long linked to oranges looks to a lucrative future — with hemp” via Lori Rozsa of The Washington Post

Quote of the Day

“I can only hope that those who enabled (Jeffrey) Epstein’s enslavement and exploitation will also be held accountable for their roles in his house of horrors. For all others lurking in the shadows: your days are numbered.” — state Sen. Lauren Book, a childhood sexual abuse victim and victims’ advocate, reacting to the sex trafficking indictment of Epstein, a billionaire and alleged pedophile.

Bill Day’s Latest

Breakthrough Insights

Wake Up Early?

The Florida Public Service Commission will take up a series of issues, including approval of storm-hardening plans for Florida Power & Light, Tampa Electric Co., Duke Energy Florida, Gulf Power Co. and Florida Public Utilities Co. That’s at 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.

The Florida Public Service Commission will hold a hearing on a plan by Duke Energy Florida to pass along costs to customers for solar-power projects in Gilchrist, Highlands and Volusia counties. The plan is an outgrowth of a 2017 base-rate settlement that allows Duke to recover solar-project costs, though the utility has to show that the projects are reasonable and cost-effective. Hearing will follow a 9:30 a.m. regular Public Service Commission meeting and internal affairs meeting, Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.

The Florida Public Service Commission will hold a hearing to consider Florida Power & Light’s costs in restoring power after Hurricane Irma in 2017. FPL and the state Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers in utility issues, reached a settlement last month on about $1.3 billion in Irma-related costs, and a process to better track expenses during future storms. Hearing will follow a 9:30 a.m. regular Public Service Commission meeting, an internal affairs meeting and a Duke Energy Florida solar-project hearing, Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.

The Education Estimating Conference will analyze enrollment issues in the pre-K through 12th-grade system. That’s at 9:30 a.m., 117 Knott Building.

Democratic Sen. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, and Rep. Ben Diamond, also of St. Petersburg, are expected to take part in a roundtable discussion about affordable housing. That’s at 10 a.m., Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth St. North, St. Petersburg.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is expected to take part in a building dedication ceremony at a Nassau County assisted living facility. That’s at 10:30 a.m., Dayspring Senior Living, 553600 U.S. 1., Hilliard.

The Revenue Estimating Conference will discuss what are known as post-Session “outlooks” and measures that affect revenue at 3 p.m., 117 Knott Building.

Sen. Ed Hooper of Clearwater, Rep. Chris Latvala of Clearwater, and Rep. Nick DiCeglie of Indian Rocks Beach, all Republicans, are expected to discuss the 2019 Legislative Session during a meeting of the Pinellas County Young Republicans. That’s at 6 p.m., St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

Rep. Kamia Brown, an Ocoee Democrat, will host a town-hall meeting about the 2019 Legislative Session. That’s at 6 p.m., Pine Hills Community Center, 6408 Jennings Road, Orlando.

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