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Sunburn — The Morning Read Of What’s Hot In Florida Politics — 4.27.21

"Florida's State Capitols" by jimmywayne is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Peter Schorsch    

Breaking overnight — It appears as though Gov. Ron DeSantis has opted not to extend the declared “State of Emergency” through Executive Order 20-52, and that will likely have an impact on mask-wearing in your city, county and school district.

For the order to be extended, it was supposed to be signed once again by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 26. However, his office has made no announcements nor posted an updated executive order on websites for the State of Florida.

Since March 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis has been extending his original emergency order in 60-day increments, declaring a public health emergency.

It’s directed the state to ask for assistance from the federal government. As many have seen out at federally-supported vaccine sites, the order has allowed the state to deploy the Florida National Guard.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings’ death gives several Democrats a chance at a promotion. But it also allows Gov. Ron DeSantis to build an insurmountable lead in the Legislature and chip away at Democrats’ progress in flipping the state’s congressional delegation.

How? He’s the one who will set the special election dates in Florida’s 20th Congressional District as well as the special elections for whatever seats it leaves vacant in the Legislature.

Bobby Powell and Perry Thurston are possible contenders for the now-vacant CD 20 seat. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTOs

Already, it looks like there will be at least two openings — Sen. Perry Thurston has declared for the seat and Sen. Bobby Powell is considering it. Whether one or both run for the seat, they would have to resign their Senate seats effective the day they would take their new office, which would most likely be shortly after the special election.

Special elections are expensive, so one would assume the Governor would call for state Senate elections to be held alongside the CD 20 special. It would be the most efficient way to do things.

But he doesn’t have to. And there’s really little incentive for DeSantis to call for special elections for CD 20 or state Senate other than voters not being represented.

If DeSantis were to slow-walk it, that could, in effect, really stick it to Florida’s Senate Democrats.

Let’s play this out.

Let’s say he sets the special for CD 20 for late August or early September — he has to have enough time for overseas voting in both a primary and a general, so the campaign window will be more than 3 months. He could even set it later in the year.

And at the same time, he holds off on calling for special elections in the state Senate seats that will become vacant.

Instead, he waits until the CD 20 election is over to order the Senate specials, setting a primary for deep into November or December and a general in late January or early February.

And that’s an aggressive calendar — not one the Governor has to follow. But if he follows anything like that, it would set up a scenario where Democrats would be down 24-14 in the Senate heading into a reapportionment cycle. Remember, the Legislative Session begins in January next year.

While 24-14 is not a two-thirds majority, it puts Democrats one positive COVID-19 test away from handing one to the GOP. With a two-thirds majority, Republicans could waive the rules during Session and muscle through whatever extreme ideas that normally wouldn’t pass even with a majority.

FloridaPolitics, excerpt posted on  SouthFloridaReporter.comApril 27, 2021

Reprinted with permission