Good Wednesday morning.
In an op-ed exclusive to Florida Politics, veteran consultant Mac Stipanovich casts an eye on the Democratic race for Governor. Here is a snippet:
The circumstances of this column require full disclosure: I support Charlie Crist in the Governor’s race. There are many reasons for this, ranging from a sincere belief that the affable and experienced Crist is the candidate best suited to govern Florida in these contentious times to a visceral aversion to the dour, right-wing, beetle browned pugnacity of Ron DeSantis.
Not the least of my reasons, however, is loyalty. And Charlie is my friend.
That said, I would be of the opinion that Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried should drop out of the Governor’s race for the good of the order, even if I had never met Charlie. She is not going to win the Democratic nomination, and her continued candidacy will only deplete resources — hers and Charlie’s — available to be deployed in the General Election against DeSantis, who already has more money than God.
The problem is not that a contested Democratic primary will be fatally divisive. Nikki and Charlie are both center-left Democrats whose differences on the fundamental issues are not earthshaking. The problem is that it is a wasteful distraction in the long-shot effort to unhorse DeSantis.
It is never too late to do the right thing.
“Gov. Ron DeSantis sets property insurance Special Session for late May” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics — DeSantis is calling the Legislature back for a Special Session to stabilize Florida’s rickety property insurance market. He issued the official proclamation Tuesday, setting the dates for the Session from May 23 to 27. The proclamation notes the industry has experienced two straight years of at least $1 billion in underwriting losses, and several companies have gone bankrupt or refused to renew hundreds of thousands of policies. No bills for the Session have been filed yet, but DeSantis gave a clue as to what remedies will be on the table in his proclamation. The message states the exclusive purpose of the Session will be to consider bills regarding property insurance, reinsurance, changes to the Florida building code, the Office of Insurance Regulation, civil remedies and appropriations.
—“Gov. DeSantis sets weeklong Special Session on property insurance for May 23” via Jeffrey Schweers of the Orlando Sentinel
—“Gov. DeSantis sets dates for Legislature to convene to deal with property insurance crisis” via Ana Ceballos of the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times
—“Gov. DeSantis sets Special Session to fix Florida’s deepening property insurance rate crisis” via John Kennedy of the USA TODAY Capital Bureau
—“Five days that could save the insurance world: DeSantis calls Session” via William Rabb of Insurance World
“Is the Florida homeowners insurance market on the brink of collapse?” via Cate Deventer of Bankrate — Florida has always been a complex home insurance market, but recent issues are pushing the state’s market to the point of collapse. Since 2017, six property and casualty companies that offered homeowners insurance in Florida liquidated. Two more are in the liquidation process in 2022. Other insurance companies are voluntarily leaving the state, and still more are choosing to non-renew swaths of home insurance policies or drastically tighten their policy eligibility requirements. Why? What is behind these companies’ aversion to insuring Florida homes? The biggest issue right now in Florida is home insurance fraud, driven by fraudulent roofing claims. Instead of leaving altogether, some companies are tightening their underwriting restrictions to lessen the risk of these scams.
Florida teachers are among the lowest paid in the country, according to new figures released by the National Education Association.
Though lawmakers’ plan to raise starting teacher pay to $47,500 has helped the state climb from No. 30 to No. 16 in that metric, overall teacher pay is still languishing near the bottom, moving from No. 49 to No. 48.
Inflation isn’t helping. The figures show that when it’s factored in, Florida’s average teacher salary for 2020-2021 was 10% percent less than in 2012-2013.
Florida’s pay scale doesn’t stack up against neighboring states either, with Alabama at No. 35 and Georgia earning the No. 21 spot.
“We all want our students to get a high-quality education, and we know it takes qualified teachers and staff to make that happen. Florida has a severe shortage of educators, due in large part to low pay,” said Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar.
“We’re in a double bind in Florida. Even when increases are funded, Tallahassee has tied districts’ hands with more than 20 laws affecting pay. The upshot is that while salaries improve for new teachers, experienced educators are left behind. Improving pay for all career levels would help keep experienced professional teachers in front of our students and attract new people to the field.”
Per-pupil funding — a figure often used to contextualize overall education funding — is also lagging, according to the NEA, which ranked Florida No. 44 in its “Rankings of the States 2021 and Estimates of School Statistics 2022” report. That ranking remained unchanged from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021.
The NEA reports are available at nea.org/educatorpay.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@ElonMusk: The extreme antibody reaction from those who fear free speech says it all
—@marcorubio: The meltdown over the @Twitter purchase by @elonmusk is all because the far-left fears losing the power to threaten, silence and destroy anyone who doesn’t agree with them
—@lennycurry: @ElonMusk @CityofJax Mayor here. We’re a haven for tech talent with the 3rd largest monthly tech job growth in the U.S., outranking LA, Houston & Miami. We’re home to @FIS and @Dnbsmlbusiness and the state’s 1st Fintech Academy. I’m with @JimmyPatronis move the @Twitter HQ to Jax!
—@RealDLHughley: Ain’t it weird that on the same day #DeSantis the Governor of Florida signs a bill to prevent free speech #ElonMusk buys Twitter to supposedly protect it? #TeamDl
—@WindsorMann: Elon Musk should buy Florida and make it a bastion of free speech.
On one day alone, when DeSantis’ campaign sent out its first fundraising email chastising Disney, his candidate account received nearly 950 small donations totaling around $30,000.
Many of those donors live outside Florida. https://t.co/0kitjImpIY
— Emily L. Mahoney (@mahoneysthename) April 26, 2022
—@Mdixon55: Served his purpose in that this hung over @WiltonSimpson‘s head for a key Special Session. Seems like the sort of thing that could land one a future @GovRonDeSantis endorsement for a congressional seat
—@BryanDGriffin: History is required to be taught in Florida. Partisan, ideologically driven lenses through which to view and interpret history (like CRT) being taught as fact in the classroom — in other words, indoctrination — is prohibited.
Y’all already knew C-3PO was gay, right?! ????
We just got this gift from a South Florida supporter who wanted to honor our work as part of the #rebellion in Tallahassee!!
— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) April 26, 2022
—@CookOut: It was a very close finish, but the winner is: TALLAHASSEE, FL at 46%, followed by Louisville, KY @ 45%, Outer Banks @ 5% Ocean City, MD @ 2%. We will now start looking for a location! Stay tuned!
—@FSU_Barstool: Cookout and Wawa in Tallahassee are the steppingstones to the natty