Jacksonville Bold for 1.10.24: Lucky 13?

Months before the Primary in House District 13, business is picking up, with challenger Brenda Priestly Jackson and incumbent Rep. Angie Nixon saying what they really think on social media.

“Together we will be better and do better in HD-13 … don’t let the protest & posturing fool you,” Priestly Jackson posted to X Sunday. “You deserve better in HD-13 & together, we will achieve it!”

Priestly Jackson, who was on the City Council through last year, then took aim at a Nixon fundraiser with “The Squad.”

“I’m a D & support Democratic values. I don’t disparage our current Democratic President Biden & I don’t raise funds from what some deem a questionable Caucus,” she said. “Neighbors in HD-13 want & deserve better. Sooooo … I’ll share with neighbors & earn their votes, draft legislation, and garner funding in elected office again. It’s what I do!”

Nixon unsurprisingly is pushing back, spotlighting endorsements from AFSCME and NOW Jax, noting that Priestly Jackson has not always been a loyal Democrat in terms of political allegiances.

Nixon has also been proactive in early fundraising, bringing in more than $57,000 in the fourth quarter of 2023, which raised more than $60,000 overall. Recent donors include the Florida Educational Association and a political committee associated with the AFL-CIO.

We still haven’t seen Priestly Jackson’s first finance report at this time.

Whale tale

If Rep. John Rutherford loses his Primary in August, he has a future in financial planning.

That’s one takeaway from the Unusual Whales recap of 2023 legislative trades, which Rutherford strongly contests.

John Rutherford might have a fallback plan if he should lose his seat.

The claim: Rutherford outperformed the S&P index by 69% — the best number for any Florida legislator. Unusual Whales did even better than former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who only outperformed the index by 65%.

Rutherford strenuously contends the report is off base and says he’s not directly managing his money.

“This is news to me. The only stocks I own is my retirement account, which is predominantly mutual funds managed by a third party and all fully disclosed publicly every year as required by House rules. This fabricated report — that somehow my mutual fund holdings are performing better than others — is nothing more than clickbait.”

Coroner cloak

A new filing from Sen. Clay Yarborough would give medical examiners and their families protection from the public’s prying eyes.

SB 1272 would offer “an exemption from public records requirements for the personal identifying and location information of current or former medical examiners and the spouses and children of such medical examiners” similar to those other public servants have.

Clay Yarborough wants to protect medical examiners from prying eyes.

This would apply to “any district medical examiner, associate medical examiner or substitute medical examiner … any employee, deputy, or agent of a medical examiner.” It would cover schools, day cares, workplaces, and other information that could identify — or worse — the MEs or their families.

The bill would take effect immediately if signed into law but could have a window for repeal in 2029.

Medicaid marker

Sen. Tracie Davis is seeking Medicaid Behavioral Health Provider Performance evaluation reforms with SB 1280.

The bill would compel the Agency for Health Care Administration “to specifically and expressly establish network requirements for each type of behavioral health provider serving Medicaid enrollees, including community-based and residential providers.

Tracie Davis seeks accountability in Medicaid Behavioral Health Provider Performance.

“Testing of the behavioral health network must include provider-specific data on timeliness of access to services,” reads the proposal.

Data collection would begin in 2025 and include demographic breakdowns per federal criteria.

The Davis bill would also “establish specific outcome performance measures to reduce the incidence of crisis stabilization services for children and adolescents who are high users of such services.”

The bill would take effect in July. A similar piece of legislation has already been filed in the House.

Booze bill

Rep. Wyman Duggan is carrying a bill allowing Floridians to carry more liquor per container.

HB 603 would increase the permissible size of distilled spirits containers from 1.75 to 1.8 liters.

Wyman Duggan wants Floridians to drink more.

It would also expand tasting privileges to facilities “licensed in any other state to manufacture distilled spirits, a primary American source of supply.”

Of course, caveats apply, such as those sampling the libations being of legal age to do so.

If this bill passes, it will take effect in July.

Party line

The chair of the Duval County Republican Party thinks voters need to know who appointed judges seeking re-election.

Rep. Dean Black’s HB 1175 would make a simple but potentially significant change to ballots starting in July.

Dean Black wants voters to know who appointed them to the bench.

“With respect to (the) retention of justices and judges, the question ‘Shall Justice (or Judge) (name of justice or judge), appointed by Governor (name of Governor who appointed the justice or judge, if applicable), of the (name of the court) be retained in office?’ shall appear on the ballot in alphabetical order and thereafter the words ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’”

Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, the former chair of the statewide GOP, is carrying the Senate version of this legislation. It is identical to Black’s bill.

VP and slavery?

Speaking of Ingoglia, he’s teaming up with Rep. Kiyan Michael on new legislation that namechecks the most powerful woman in America.

The so-called Kamala Harris Truth in Slavery Teaching Act (SB 1192, HB 1139) contemplates “requiring instruction on the history of African Americans to include a comprehensive account of the sociopolitical circumstances surrounding slavery, including which political parties supported slavery by adopting pro-slavery tenets as part of their platform, etc.”

A new bill from Kiyan Michael trolls Kamala Harris.

Sponsors make it clear that the legislative intent would be to make it clear that Southern Democrats were vital in promulgating human suffrage.

“Like most Black Americans, I was raised never knowing the truth that the Democrat Party was the party of fighting for and keeping slavery, and the reason for the formation of the Republican Party was to abolish it. It is a valuable, yet hidden piece of our American history. This bill will bring forth these truths and expose the political parties’ roles regarding the heinous institution of slavery,” Michael said.

Harris came to Jacksonville last Summer to voice her outrage over standards that suggested slavery benefited the enslaved, comments Gov. Ron DeSantis called a “hoax.”

Millage supermajority

Meanwhile, another area legislator is carrying the House version of an Ingoglia bill.

Rep. Sam Garrison is sponsoring HB 1195, which would ban localities from raising property tax without a two-thirds vote by the legislative body.

Sam Garrison says no new property taxes until legislators have their say.

The bill would go into effect in July, affecting any millage increase after this year.

The original filing of the bill contemplated a two-thirds vote in a referendum to be held during the General Election.

Lethality assessment

Rep. Jessica Baker’s HB 729 would compel law enforcement officers responding to domestic violence complaints to ask specific questions regarding the dynamics between complainants and their partners.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement would develop the guidelines for these lethality assessments. They would compel responding officers to ask about weapons in the home, whether there have been death threats, whether the alleged perpetrator has ever choked the complainant, whether the alleged perpetrator works, and whether that person has ever attempted suicide.

Jessica Baker wants Florida to develop a script for law enforcement to use during domestic violence investigations.

Baker, an Assistant State Attorney by trade, has prioritized legislation to protect victims’ rights since she was elected in 2022.

If this bill becomes law, the lethality assessment must be developed and implemented by July 2025.

Police protection

Speaking of Baker, she and Sen. Jonathan Martin are teaming up on legislation that would remove what they call “contradictory” language that “often confuses juries in cases involving the death of a police officer.”

“A person is not justified in the use or threatened use of force to resist a lawful or an unlawful arrest or detention by a law enforcement officer or to resist a law enforcement officer who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties as described in s. 943.10(1), if who is engaged in the execution of a legal duty, if the law enforcement officer was acting in good faith and he or she is known, or reasonably appears, to be a law enforcement officer,” reads the proposed language from SB 1092 and HB 1657.

Jonathan Martin hopes to clear up some confusing language.

“The men and women in uniform serving and protecting our communities deserve the strongest protections we can give them under the law,” said Martin. “This bill lets them know that we have their backs and that criminals who disregard their lives will be punished accordingly.”

“Florida’s law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to keep our families safe,” said Baker. “Our goal is simple: kill a cop, and you are voluntarily surrendering your freedom for the inside of a cell for the rest of your life.”

“This bill will provide Florida law enforcement officers — who risk their lives every day — the protection they deserve and give those who kill law enforcement officers the punishment they have earned,” said 7th Circuit State Attorney RJ Larizza.

Worth noting: Baker worked as an Assistant State Attorney in Larizza’s office.

Homestead help

A new Rep. Kim Daniels bill would offer further homestead protections for first responders.

HB 171 would remove the “limitation requiring disabilities caused by cardiac events to meet certain requirements.”

A Kim Daniels proposal will offer a break for first responders.

The language currently requires the heart incident to be documented “no later than 24 hours after the first responder performed non-routine stressful or strenuous physical activity in the line of duty” would be stricken from the statute. So, too, would the requirement that the first responder provides documentation from their cardiologist attesting that there was not a preexisting condition.

This bill has yet to have a Senate companion, which could complicate its path.

Voucher push

Rep. Nixon is carrying the House version of a bill to create the Early Child Care Universal Voucher Program (HB 1197).

The legislation, identical to one carried by fellow Democrat Bobby Powell in the Senate, would give options to families with “limited financial resources” and children under 6 years old.

Angie Nixon is working on a universal voucher for early child care.

The program contemplates similar benefits for families of children aged 13 and younger with documented disabilities, extending to child care, transport, instructional materials, fees, and tutoring services.

Families making 85% or less of the state median income for their family size wouldn’t be obligated to make co-payments, and a sliding scale is envisioned for progressively bigger copays based on families making more money.

A waitlist of people who didn’t qualify initially would be compiled.

If this becomes law, it will take effect in July.

Jaguars’ changes

Less than 36 hours after the completion of the Jaguars’ precipitous fall from AFC favorites to out of the playoff, the hammer fell.

The day after the NFL regular season ends is known as Black Monday because that’s the day so many coaches are fired after disappointing seasons.

On Monday, the Jaguars fired defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell and nearly all defensive assistants.

It’s a move that makes sense. After all, at the midway point of the season, the Jaguars’ defense was among the best in the NFL before falling apart. Before the bye week, the Jaguars allowed 19.5 points per game as the team started 6-2. After the bye week, they averaged 23.9, even with a shutout of the hapless Carolina Panthers mixed in. The Jaguars won just three of their final nine games.

Mike Caldwell gets his walking papers.

While those stats are part of the story — missed assignments, poor tackling, and a lack of turnovers forced were all themes in the second half of the season — the fact the Jaguars’ defense needed to keep up their surprising pace of the first half for the Jaguars to make the playoffs is an indictment of the offense.

Then, on Tuesday, more changes. This time on the offensive staff.

Running backs coach Bernie Parmalee was let go, and assistant offensive line coach Todd Washington’s contract expired and was not extended.

The Jaguars were among the worst teams in the league at short-yard rushing. The running game took a significant step back from the 2022 season and impacted play-calling all season long.

Speaking of play-calling, the biggest complaint from the fan base began shortly after Doug Pederson announced he was handing off play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Press Taylor. Pederson was somewhat protective when asked about the change several times during the year. It should be pointed out that Pederson did the same thing in Philadelphia, which was cited as one of the reasons for Pederson’s dismissal from the Eagles.

Taylor was not among the coaches who lost their jobs this week.

Pederson is one of the best play callers in the NFL, and while the Jaguars continued to be hyper aggressive in 2023, in line with Pederson’s approach, the success of the Jaguars’ offense totaled 303 yards fewer this season. They were worse on third-down conversions, fourth-down conversions, and in the red zone.

There are personnel improvements that must be made in the offseason. The interior of both lines must be more physical. Josh Allen, who set the franchise record for sacks, will be a free agent and deserves a big contract. Then, there is the decision on what to do with Calvin Ridley looms. If the Jaguars sign him to a new contract, it will cost them a second-round pick as part of the trade with the Atlanta Falcons. If he walks, it’s a third-round pick.

There will be blood when a team falls apart, as the Jaguars did. 2024 will determine whether enough blood was spilled after a 9-8 season.

Post Views: 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *