The state Capitol is again a ghost town, with lawmakers having headed home after a special session that produced new measures tackling skyrocketing insurance rates and crumbling condos. How much the legislation will actually help won’t be known for a while, but what’s clear is that some politicians came out of it with positive talking points. This week’s Winners & Losers hits on high-profile legislative victories, courtroom catastrophes and a certain someone just named “one of the most influential people of 2022.”
Jim Boyd & Jay Trumbull -
These Republican lawmakers take matching Ws this week as legislation they carried to rescue the home insurance industry in the state passed during the special session. “The solution lawmakers came up with … is more focused on stabilizing struggling insurers than delivering immediate rate relief,” as reporter John Kennedy put it. Will it actually solve anything? Who knows. But it did get bipartisan support and – no surprise – the governor signed those bills (and condo safety ones) Thursday.
Ron DeSantis -
The state’s chief executive made Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people – with a blurb written by former Gov. Jeb Bush, no less. He asked for and got legislation out of the special session on insurance “reform” (we’ll see how reformed it gets) and condo safety. And – hey now – he has the financial support of 42 billionaires who have given big bucks toward his reelection later this year. It’s good to be the governor.
Bill Galvano -
Remember him? With another mass shooting weighing on the nation, the former Florida Senate president (2018-20) got props this week for his backing of a red flag law immediately after the 2018 high school shooting in Parkland that left 17 students and faculty members dead and 17 others wounded. Despite pushback from the NRA and other gun-rights advocates, Galvano got enough Republican support to get it over the finish line – and it may well have made a difference.
Brian Barnes -
The state’s high-powered, D.C.-based lawyer tried to convince a federal appellate court to go along with a new Florida statute that was championed by DeSantis and GOP leaders because they thought social-media platforms have been disproportionately muzzling conservative voices. A Tallahassee judge appointed by Bill Clinton preliminarily froze the law. Shocker: A three-judge panel of the conservative 11th Circuit agreed. The case goes on, but the guts of the measure now carry the stain of “likely unconstitutional.”
Randy Fine -
In response to President Joe Biden’s statement after the Uvalde, Texas elementary school shooting, Fine tweeted, “I have news for the embarrassment that claims to be our President — try to take our guns and you’ll learn why the Second Amendment was written in the first place.” Fine, a GOP state representative from Brevard County, later explained he was only trying to teach the president “a history lesson” – after bearing the brunt of negative national coverage for seeming to issue a not-so-subtle threat against the nation’s commander-in-chief.
Eric Foglesong, Jestine Iannotti & Ben Paris -
The trio was criminally charged in a high-profile election fraud case, spinning out of the 2020 election for Senate District 9, now held by Republican Jason Brodeur. You may know it better as one of the “ghost candidate” scandals, with investigators saying Iannotti was set up as a no-party candidate to siphon votes from Democrat Patricia Sigman. Foglesong and Iannotti now face felony charges – ghostbusted, if you will.