Preview of Florida's political events: Week of January 16, 2012
By the News Service of Florida
THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE…..The highlight of the legislative week will be on the Senate floor where the chamber will take up redistricting on Tuesday with a vote expected on Wednesday. Also Wednesday, the Senate Rules Committee is scheduled to take up a bill that would privatize several prisons in 18 counties, and a Senate Committee on Tuesday looks at a measure to ban "simulated gambling devices" which are popping up in Internet cafes. A House committee has the bill banning Internet cafes on Tuesday.
The highlight in the House this week may be continued listening to universities about possibilities for higher education reform.The House Education Committee this week will hear from President John Hitt of UCF, Judy Genshaft of USF, John Delaney of UNF, Wilson Bradshaw of Florida Gulf Coast University, Judy Bense of West Florida and Gordon Michalson of New College.
The week starts easy – Monday state government takes the day off for Martin Luther King Day.
MONDAY, JAN. 16, 2012
MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY is a state holiday. Government offices are closed.
TUESDAY, JAN. 17, 2012
BUDGETS AND EARLY LEARNING: The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee meets to hear an auditor general report about the Office of Early Learning and hears a presentation from the agency on a funding formula for school readiness. The committee is also slated to hold a workshop on budget issues. (Tuesday, 8 a.m., 17 House Office Building, The Capitol)
CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The House Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday considers legislation giving special treatment to certain military veterans accused of crimes (HB 117), and barring some restraints on pregant prisoners (HB 367), among other bills. (Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., 404 House Office Building, The Capitol.)
LIFTING FOG ON GAS PRICES: The House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 391) that would require gas-station signs to make clear if motorists have to pay different amounts when they use credit cards instead of cash. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)
SENATE IN SESSION: MAPS: The Senate is scheduled to take up its redistricting plans on the special order calendar. Democrats did not file alternatives to either the Senate plan (SJR 1176) or the congressional map (SB 1174) approved by the Senate Reapportionment Committee. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Senate Chamber, The Capitol)
HOUSE FINANCE AND TAX: House F&T hears proposed constitutional amendments dealing with limiting homestead assessment increases for seniors (HJR 55), and property tax exemptions for military surviving spouses (HJR 93). (Tuesday, 10:45 a.m., 17 House Office Building, The Capitol.)
PULLING PLUG ON INTERNET CAFES: The House Business & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee will consider a proposal (HB 3) aimed at shutting down Internet cafes. Critics say the cafes offer electronic games that involve gambling, but café operators say the games are a form of legal sweepstakes. (Tuesday, 12:30 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)
HOUSE AG AND NAT RESOURCES: The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee has a long list of bills that includes legislation dealing with spraying septage on the ground (HB 479), discharging of wastewater in the ocean (HB 989), reclaimed water (HB 639) and bonfires (HB 4171), among others. (Tuesday, 12:30 p.m., 102 House Office Building, The Capitol.)
NURSING HOME REGULATIONS EYED: The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 621) that supporters say would reduce duplicative nursing-home regulations and reduce paperwork for nurses and nursing assistants. AARP and trial lawyers, however, have argued the bill goes too far in scaling back regulations. (Tuesday, 12:30 p.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)
FEDERAL HEALTH REFORM DEBATE RETURNS: The House Federal Affairs Subcommittee will consider a House Memorial (HM 1281) urging repeal of the federal health-care overhaul that Congress and President Obama approved in 2010. (Tuesday, 3:30 p.m., 12 House Office Building, the Capitol.)
SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR ALZHEIMER'S CENTERS: The House Health & Human Services Access Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 529) that would create a new licensing category of adult-day care facilities that specialize in serving people with Alzheimer's disease. The centers would have to meet certain standards to receive the designation. (Tuesday, 3:30 p.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)
COORDINATING AND CASH FOR COLLEGES: The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee meets to hear from the Higher Education Coordinating Council on its report calling for more coordination of the system and to begin working on the budget for next year. (Tuesday, 3:30 p.m., 102 House Office Building, The Capitol)
HOUSE INSURANCE: The House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee takes up legislation dealing with commecial lines policies (HB 941), and proposed committee bills that deal with the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (HB 643) and Citizens Property Insurance bill (HB 1127). (Tuesday, 3:30 p.m., 404 House Office Building, The Capitol)
PRISON CONSOLIDATION AND PRISON HEALTH PRIVATIZATION: The House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee hears presentations from the Department of Correcttions on health services privatization and on prison consolidation. (Tuesday, 3:30 p.m., 17 House Office Building, The Capitol)
ALSO IN THE LEGISLATURE
EVERGLADES CAUCUS: The bipartisan Everglades Legislative Caucus holds its first meeting on Tuesday. Former U.S. Sen. And Gov. Bob Graham will speak at the meeting on the importance of Everglades restoration. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., 116 Knott Building, The Capitol.)
GREYHOUND BILL NEWSER: Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach and Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, discuss legislation (SB 382, HB 641) that would end the requirement that dog tracks actually offer live dog racing to be able to have card rooms. Opponents of greyhound racing say the tracks don't make money on the racing anyway, just the card rooms. Two greyhound dogs will be at the news conference. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Fourth Floor Rotunda, House side, The Capitol.)
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 18, 2012
SENATE FLOOR SESSION: REDISTRICTING VOTES: The Senate is scheduled to vote on plans to redraw districts for the Senate (SJR 1176) and the state's congressional delegation (SB 1174). (Wednesday, 8 a.m. and 2:15 p.m., Senate Chamber, The Capitol.)
SALES OF PUBLIC HOSPITALS: Sales of public hospitals to private companies is the subject of a bill (HB 711) before the House Community and Military Affairs Subscommittee. Public hospitals have been under heavy scrutiny by Gov. Rick Scott and a panel he created to look at their mission. The panel also has a long agenda that includes some local bills, but also a closely-watched proposed constitutional amendment (HJR 785) providing for term limits for county officers. The panel also takes up a growth management bill (PCB CMAS 12-02.) (Wednesday, 8 a.m., 212 Knott Building, The Capitol.)
LOTTERY VENDING MACHINES: House Government Operations takes up a bill (HB 843) that loosens requirements for lottery vending machines. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 306 House Office Building, The Capitol.)
HIGHER ED REFORM, PART II: The House Education Committee meets twice to hear from six university presidents about proposals to reform higher education and focus more attention on science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees. The committee heard from the presidents of the University of Florida and Florida State University last week and is expected to hear from more presidents on Thursday. (Wednesday, 10:45 a.m. and 2 p.m., 102 House Office Building, The Capitol)
SENATE RULES TAKES UP PRISON PRIVATIZATION BILL: A proposed committee bill in Senate Rules brings back the plan to privatize all the prisons in 18 Florida counties from Tampa Bay south. The Legislature passed the same thing last year, but put it in proviso in the budget, which was found unconstitutional by a circuit court judge in September. That ruling is on appeal, but in the meantime, the Senate will push this bill, which would achieve the same end through presumably constitutional means. The measure is SPB 7172, and is one of two bills before the panel on Wednesday. It also will consider a proposed committee bill (SPB 7170) that says that agencies that are required to privatize certain functions don't have to provide certain financial information about that privatization until after they've executed the contract. (Wednesday, 1:15 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)
WATER SUPPLY: The House Select Committee on Water Policy considers a broad proposed committee bill dealing with consumptive use permits for development of alternative water supplies. (Wednesday, 2 p.m., 404 House Office Building, The Capitol.)
CABINET MEETS: SBA'S WILLIAMS UP FOR REAFFIRMATION: State Board of Administration Executive Director Ash Williams will go before the governor and Cabinet to be re-affirmed in his position as the state's top money manager. The SBA oversees the state's investment portfolio, including the massive Florida Retirement System fund that like other pensions has come under pressure as the market fluctuates. The Cabinet has a relatively light agenda, but is expected to consider the sale of $580 million in PECO bonds to pay for school construction projects. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Cabinet Chamber, Lower Level, The Capitol.).
RETAIL DAYS AT THE CAPITOL: The Florida Retail Federation kicks off its annual Retail Days at the Capitol with a reception and dinner. The guest speaker is Leon County Commissioner Bryan Desloge. (Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., Hotel Duval, Horizon Ballroom, Monroe St., Tallahassee.)
THURSDAY, JAN. 19, 2012
SCOTT SPEAKS TO RETAILERS: Gov. Rick Scott is the breakfast speaker for those attending Retail Days at the Capitol, sponsored by the Florida Retail Federation. Later, retailers will hear from CFO Jeff Atwater and Sen. Don Gaetz. (Scott: Thursday, 7:30 a.m., Hotel Duval, Tallahassee.)
WORKERS COMP AND CITIZENS: Senate Banking and Insurance takes up a number of pieces of legislation on insurance including bills (SB 1094, SB 668) on workers compensation and another (SB 1346) dealing with Citizens Property Insurance. (Thursday, 8 a.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol.)
THE GO DADDY TRAIL?: Companies would be able to buy naming rights for state greenways and trails under a bill (SB 268) under consideration by the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee, which also looks at several other bills on Thursday. The panel also holds a workshop and takes testimony – though with no vote – on a bill (SB 392) that attempts to provide some consumer protections in the event ticket selling business. (Thursday, 8 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)
SENATE TRANSPORTATION: Ads on school busses (SB 344), a program to notify parents when their teens break traffic laws (SB 854) and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles agency bill (SB 1122) are among the bills before the Senate Transportation Committee. (Thursday, 8 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)
INTERNET CAFÉ BAN: Sen. Steve Oelrich's bill (SB 428) to ban simulated gambling devices at Internet Cafes is before Senate Regulated Industries early Thursday morning. The measure declares that companies are offering "simulated gambling" "while attempting to avoid Florida's prohibition on slot machines," and that the cafes are "attracting convenience gamblers and encouraging unplanned repeated convenience gambling." (Thursday, 8:15 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)
SENATE HIGHER ED COMMITTEE GETS A WORKOUT: The Senate Higher Education Committee considers a measure (SB 1270) that would create the Dan Marino Foundation Florida Vocational College and a bill (SB 492) doing away with a requirement that high schools offer certain versions of a sport if colleges offer the same sport. The panel will also hear a presentation on university athletics and consider appointees for the board of trustees for several universities. (Thursday, 10:15 a.m., 301 Senate Office Building, The Capitol)
SENATE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES: The Senate Children and Families Committee has a long list of bills including one (SPB 7162) dealing with sexually violent predators, and measures related to drug abuse and mental health services (SPB 7164), child protection (SPB 7166), and a bill the committee is working on to address concerns that have been raised about some assisted living facilities (SPB 7048) and comes out of an interim project reviewing the issue. (Thursday, 10:15 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)
SENATE CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Senate Criminal Justice considers bills dealing with unauthorized copying of music (SB 432), stalking (SB 950) and a bill that would lower the age for a concealed weapon permit for people who were in the military and presumably were already carrying a gun when they were in. (SB 998). (Thursday, 10:15 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)
HOSPITAL SALE OR LEASE: A bill spelling out conditions for the sale of a public hospital (SB 1568) comes to Senate Health Regulation on Thursday. The panel also hears measures dealing with Medicaid managed care plans (SB 730), nursing homes (SB 482), and a bill that allows cities and counties to ban smoking on city or county property that goes beyond the current statewide ban on smoking in workplaces (SB 746). (Thursday, 10:15 a.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol.)
SENATE JUDICIARY – OLDER JUDGES: A proposed constitutional amendment before the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJR 408) would raise the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75 Bills dealing with clerks of court (SB 860) and court costs (SB 882), which would allow the Supreme Court to tax the costs of copies against the losing party in some cases are also on the agenda. (Thursday, 10:15 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)
HIGHER ED REFORM, PART III: The House Education Committee is expected to finish hearing from the presidents of the state's 11 university presidents on proposals for reforming higher education and increasing the focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees. (Thursday, 11 a.m., 102 House Office Building, The Capitol)
LOOKING FOR MONEY: The Senate Budget Committee officially hears about the new revenue estimates from Amy Baker, coordinator of the Office of Economic and Demographic Research and reviews an idea for restructuring the trial court budget. The committee also hears two bills dealing with several trust funds (SB 2026, 2028). (Thursday, 1 p.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol)
EDUCATION BUDGET: Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education PreK-12 Appropriations meets to work on the budget and hear presentations on FEFP calculations, digital instructional materials and autism centers. (Thursday, 2:45 p.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol)
HIGHER ED BUDGET: The Senate Budget Subcommittee on Higher Education Appropriations meets to work on the budget and hear presentations on financial aid and higher education audits. (Thursday, 4:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol)
OTHER BUDGET SUBS: Other Senate Budget Subcommittees meeting Thursday:
Criminal and Civil Justice: 2:45 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building.
General Government: 2:45 p.m., 401 Senate Office Building.
HHS: 2:45 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building.
Transportation, 4:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building.
PSC LOOKS AT GAS PIPELINES: The Public Service Commission will hold a workshop to discuss safety issues related to natural-gas pipelines. (Thursday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)
FRIDAY, JAN. 20, 2012
FINAL COMMITTEE STOP FOR NEW MAPS: The House Redistricting Committee takes up proposals for maps for the state House and the Florida congressional delegation. It has three options to choose from on each. (9 a.m., 404 House Office Building, The Capitol)
MEDICAID LONG-TERM CARE DISCUSSED: The Long-term Care Managed Care Technical Advisory Workgroup will discuss details of moving seniors into managed-care plans as part of the state's Medicaid overhaul. (Friday, 2 p.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee.)
PUTNAM SPEAKS TO SOD GROWERS: Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is the featured speaker at the annual meeting fo the Florida Sod Growers Cooperative. (Friday, Shades of Green at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista.)