The Republican panic over the Alabama in vitro fertilization (IVF) ruling trickled into Florida this week.

A invoice from GOP Sen. Erin Grall would have modified Florida’s Wrongful Death Act by guaranteeing it covers unborn youngsters. Grall stated the invoice comes from a superb place: permitting somebody to get well civilly if an act of negligence leads to the demise of an unborn little one.

However as our personal Jacob Ogles reported last month, some critics warned the invoice may have unintended penalties.

“Some critics say the invoice, deliberately or not, may open girls who abort pregnancies to lawsuits from companions, and will even expose docs offering in vitro fertilization companies to legal responsibility if pregnancies show unviable.”

Sound familiar?

That is an nearly similar rationale which led Alabama IVF clinics to pause service following the Alabama Supreme Court docket’s ruling. As Republicans scramble on learn how to message that consequence, Florida determined to dodge the arrows altogether and easily pull Grall’s bill.

Republicans listed below are already involved {that a} potential poll referendum to guard abortion rights may drive Democratic turnout. Passing a invoice that threatened the state’s IVF companies would have ensured that actuality. Republicans correctly determined to punt given the election 12 months.

Now, it’s on to our weekly sport of winners and losers.


Honorable point out: Stuart. With Brightline’s South Florida to Orlando line lastly opening late final 12 months, all eyes turned to the Treasure Coast, as Brightline was deciding the place to put its subsequent cease.

Presently, the northernmost cease in South Florida is in West Palm Seashore. That leaves fairly a niche between that cease and Orlando. A station within the Treasure Coast would assist serve one other populated area and assist facilitate journey to main locations northward and southward.

This week, Stuart officers introduced the station can be placed there, with the town profitable out over a possible location in Fort Pierce. The choice begins a brand new chapter after a interval of turmoil between the area and Brightline, as officers there in years previous had been vehemently against the railroad constructing by means of the area.

Flash ahead to immediately, and officers had been eager on getting a station, with Stuart and Fort Pierce submitting bids for the venture. Clearly, Fort Pierce was unhappy with the decision, however the transfer might be a boon for Stuart and make it simpler for residents of Martin and St. Lucie counties to entry Brightline’s companies.

Development is alleged to start in 2026, with the brand new station having a goal opening of 2028.

Nearly (however not fairly) the largest winner: Paul Renner. When has a veto ever felt so good?

Gov. Ron DeSantis did resolve to veto HB 1, Renner’s precedence invoice this Session which aimed to dam social media accounts on addictive platforms for customers underneath 16 (that’s, 14- and 15-year-olds, as federal legislation already barred such accounts for minors 13 and youthful).

However as DeSantis held the invoice and weighed his determination, his crew and the Speaker hammered out another, which is ready to cross throughout this last week of Session. The compromise invoice (HB 3) would enable mother and father to have a say in whether or not their 14- or 15-year-old youngsters can open such accounts. The unique invoice was an outright ban, giving mother and father no say.

A courtroom problem for this invoice continues to be inevitable. And we now have been essential up to now when Republicans have accredited laws positive to finish up in courtroom, costing huge bucks to the state to defend them regardless of the GOP’s purported insistence on fiscal accountability.

However whereas a few of these earlier payments had been mere tradition conflict purple meat objects, this laws is contributing to a dialog that we have to have: Ought to authorities/tech firms/mother and father be doing extra to maintain youngsters away from doomscrolling the web?

To the extent this invoice is driving a bigger dialog on that matter, we predict this transfer has some benefit. Regardless of the courts do, giving mother and father a say is an effective transfer, and Renner deserves credit score for overcoming skepticism from the Governor’s Workplace and dealing on a compromise that accomplishes lots of his similar targets underneath the unique invoice.

The largest winner: County Commissioners. A invoice pushing for time period limits for County Commissioners all through the state has died again this Session, with Senate and Home lawmakers unable to resolve their variations.

Republicans tried establishing time period limits last year as well, however that invoice failed to achieve the end line. Some conservatives need an eight-year cap on County Fee service. However different Republicans within the Senate don’t need to go to date, preferring as an alternative 12-year time period limits.

The most recent model of the Senate invoice would have put this query to voters, requiring a referendum in 2024 in counties that don’t at the moment have time period limits. Nevertheless it seems as soon as once more that variations are too nice to resolve.

These native races obtain much less consideration than larger contests, making it simpler for County Commissioners who’ve established a reputation to remain in place for lengthy durations. They will breathe a sigh of aid realizing that’s nonetheless the case … a minimum of till the 2025 Session.


Dishonorable point out: Christian Ziegler. Actually, we hold considering we’re performed with this man. We actually need to transfer on from this story. However alas, thanks partially to the Zieglers’ refusal to depart the general public eye quietly, the hits simply carry on coming.

A brand new piece from Michael Barfield of the Florida Trident particulars how Ziegler refused to answer police questions surrounding a rape allegation. However that doesn’t imply he was completely silent on the difficulty.

“This might be a nationwide story,” Ziegler informed police as they interviewed him at his house final Fall. “I’m Chairman of the Republican Get together of Florida, so there’ll be a excessive public curiosity within the case.”

And right here was the kicker from Ziegler: “I’m extra delicate in regards to the PR facet, the political facet, than I’m in regards to the info.”

Allow us to translate that for you: “I’ve made a complete public profession out of preaching and lecturing the general public about household values, and that is actually going to screw me over if information of threesomes and extramarital intercourse goes public.”

We suppose he wasn’t flawed about that.

Let’s be clear: The rape allegation has not led to expenses. However there stays an investigation into whether or not Ziegler videotaped a sexual encounter with a lady who was not his spouse with out that lady’s consent.

So there are many info to be nervous about right here for the now-former Florida GOP Chair. And regardless of his insistence that he’s “delicate in regards to the PR facet,” the Zieglers arguably couldn’t have dealt with this entire fiasco worse in the event that they tried. Are there nonetheless extra dominoes to fall to embarrass them additional?

Nearly (however not fairly) the largest loser: Matt Gaetz. As Republicans hauled Hunter Biden to Capitol Hill this week for a closed-door listening to of their ongoing play-acting of an impeachment course of to maintain the GOP base pacified, one change between Gaetz and the youthful Biden stood out.

Gaetz sought to delve into Biden’s drug use, a well-reported truth of Biden’s previous which he has tried to beat. Let’s simply say Biden wasn’t eager on fielding such a query from the Panhandle Consultant. Right here’s the transcript:

— Gaetz: Had been you on medicine whenever you had been on the Burisma board?

— Biden: Mr. Gaetz, look me within the eye. You actually suppose that’s applicable to ask me?

— Gaetz: Completely.

— Biden: Of all of the folks sitting round this desk, do you suppose that’s applicable to ask me?

— Gaetz: Yeah. Are you going to reply it?

— Biden: I’ll reply it this fashion: I’ve been completely clear about my drug use. Once more, I spoke to you all earlier this morning about that. I’m sorry; I’m an addict. I used to be an addict. I’ve been in restoration for over 4 and a half years now, Mr. Gaetz. I work actually, actually exhausting at it. Let me reply. I work actually exhausting at it, underneath an unlimited quantity of stress. Was I an addict? Sure, I used to be an addict. What does that should do with whether or not or not you’re going to go ahead with an impeachment of my father apart from to easily attempt to embarrass me?

Biden managed a close to unattainable feat there of turning a probing query into one which made him look sympathetic whereas additionally delivering an epic, but nonetheless refined, smackdown of Gaetz, given Gaetz’s own past.

Gaetz can convey the warmth in addition to the subsequent man, however he was no match for Biden. And this change was emblematic of the general push by Home Republicans into the so-called “Biden crime household,” in that it’s failing miserably.

The largest loser: Anthony Sabatini. Ah, one in every of our state’s perennial losers is again right here once more, this time for main a silly cost towards Senate President Kathleen Passidomo for (*verify notes*) focusing extra on laws that really improves the lives of Floridians as an alternative of inflaming web troll-driven tradition wars.

Weeks in the past, we praised Passidomo for exhibiting management and common sense in shutting down a bunch of laws aimed solely at riling up the fringes. Laws banning the federal government show of Pleasure flags, proscribing native officers from taking down Accomplice memorials and regulating pronoun utilization all died, amongst different payments.

Critical folks perceive that these should not points a majority of Floridians are strolling round worrying about. Unserious folks, like Sabatini, continuously hype up adjustments like these to drive engagement on social media and inflame folks. He is aware of that selling anger amongst our fellow Floridians drives engagement (and infrequently votes), and doesn’t give a rat’s ass whether or not it additionally drives division and mistrust.

That’s as a result of Sabatini’s sole focus is on constructing his profile (once more, primarily on social media). So it was once more this week when Sabatini, in his position as Lake County Republican Get together Chair, censured Passidomo for daring to place the brakes on these virtue-signaling payments.

Sabatini can also be mounting a run for Congress in an try to unseat GOP U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, a observe Passidomo’s marketing campaign crew pointed to in response to the Lake County GOP transfer.

“It’s extraordinarily disappointing to see Anthony Sabatini slandering conservative leaders in Florida in a egocentric try to advance his personal marketing campaign,” stated Amanda Bevis, a political spokesperson for Passidomo.

However let’s give Sabatini the good thing about the doubt for a second and simply take a look at this objectively. We’re positive even Sabatini would admit that his messaging is focusing on extra to the GOP base. That’s what animates him and that’s who he’s reaching out to. He definitely should know that moderates and liberals aren’t asking for these items.

Are there individuals who get up day-after-day and eat nothing however Nick Fuentes and Charlie Kirk content material who reply to Sabatini’s fixed doomsaying in regards to the newest tradition conflict hysteria publish? Positive. However Passidomo is accountable to assist govern the whole state, and her laws needs to be geared toward all Floridians, not a slender slice.

So who has been extra profitable at their respective goals right here? Nicely, that is one state of affairs the place the official response from one camp just about stated all of it.

“Anthony Sabatini misplaced the assist of his personal constituents in 2022, the identical election cycle that Kathleen Passidomo led the marketing campaign operation that elected the most important Senate Republican supermajority in additional than a decade,” Bevis added.

Sure, that’s proper. Sabatini is operating for Congress this cycle as a result of he misplaced a race for a completely completely different seat in 2022. That was an open race, and he didn’t lose within the Basic. No, Sabatini couldn’t even emerge from the Republican Major.

That’s, even the bottom of the occasion, the goal of Sabatini’s kayfabe candidacy, selected to cross on nominating him and chosen Cory Mills as an alternative (who went on to win the seat. Sabatini couldn’t even win over the subset of the GOP he was pandering to!

So now he’s again in a completely completely different race attempting to unseat a person he calls a RINO incumbent. But Sabatini, who worships Donald Trump in the identical approach a 7-year-old worships his favourite athlete, couldn’t even land the previous President’s endorsement. As a substitute, Trump backed Webster.

Sabatini is a failure on each entrance. Not simply within the eyes of humble opinion columnists at Florida Politics, however within the eyes of the very voters this schtick is meant to enchantment to.

Passidomo, in the meantime, helped generate a Senate supermajority for the GOP in 2022 amid the most effective cycles the occasion has ever had. We’re fairly assured she has a greater pulse on what it takes to make Republicans within the state profitable. Possibly after Sabatini will get rebuked once more in August, he’ll lastly take the trace. However we doubt it.

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