WEEK OF MARCH 20, 2017

MONDAY, MARCH 20, 2017

ADVANCES: WEEK OF MARCH 19, 2017

©2017 The News Service of Florida. All rights reserved. Posting or forwarding this material without permission is prohibited. You can view the Terms of Use on our website.

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, MARCH 17, 2017....... Florida lawmakers are ready to move into the legislative session's third week, which will include discussions of hot-button issues such as red-light cameras and school accountability. Also during the week, regulators will consider a proposal by Gulf Power to raise base electric rates, and the Florida Constitution Revision Commission will hold its initial meeting.

MONDAY, MARCH 20, 2017

Legislature:

UNDERGROUND POWER LINES CONSIDERED: The House Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 1055), filed by Rep. Clay Ingram, R-Pensacola, that would make clear the state Public Service Commission has "exclusive jurisdiction" to require that electric transmission lines be buried underground. The proposal comes after a 3rd District Court of Appeal ruling in a dispute about transmission lines for a proposed Florida Power & Light nuclear project in Miami-Dade County. (Monday, noon, 12 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

LOCAL PROJECTS REVIEWED: The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee and the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee will take up numerous bills dealing with local projects. (Monday, Higher Education, noon, 212 Knott Building, the Capitol. Also, PreK-12, 3:30 p.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES AT ISSUE: The House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a bill (HB 165), filed by Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, that would clarify and broaden a law that makes it a crime for people who know they have sexually transmissible diseases to engage in sexual relations without first informing their partners. The bill, in part, would add human papillomavirus and hepatitis to the list of diseases covered in the law. (Monday, noon, Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

BILL EYES STUDENT ASSESSMENTS: The House PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 549), filed by Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, that would periodically require the education commissioner to post on the Department of Education's website tests that have been administered to students in previous years. (Monday, noon, Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

CREDIT UNIONS DISCUSSED: The House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee will consider a series of issues, including a bill (HB 1347), filed by Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, that would exempt credit unions from regulation under a law known as the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. (Monday, noon, 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

TREATMENT OPTIONS PROPOSED FOR VETERANS: The House Health Innovation Subcommittee will consider a bill (HB 55), filed by Rep. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, and Rep. Frank White, R-Pensacola, that would allow the Department of Veterans' Affairs to contract for several types of "alternative" treatments for veterans who have traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder. Those treatments include such things as acupuncture, music therapy and yoga therapy. (Monday, 1 p.m., Mashburn Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

HIGHER ED CHANGES DEBATED: The House Post-Secondary Education Subcommittee will consider a plan (HB 3), filed by Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah, that would make wide-ranging changes in the higher-education system --- a priority issue for Senate President Joe Negron. The bill, in part, would expand Bright Futures scholarship awards for the top-performing students and require the 12 state universities to begin using "block" tuition. (Monday, 3:30 p.m., Mashburn Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

HUMAN TRAFFICKING TARGETED: The House Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee will take up a proposal (HB 1383), filed by Rep. Jeanette Nunez, R-Miami, that would take a series of steps to try to help children who are victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. (Monday, 3:30 p.m., 12 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE APPOINTMENTS AT ISSUE: The House Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee will consider a bill (HB 1225), filed by Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, that would revamp the way administrative law judges are appointed, giving power to the governor and judicial nominating commissions. (Monday, 3:30 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

CLAIM BILLS CONSIDERED: The House Civil Justice & Claims Subcommittee is scheduled to consider 10 claim bills that stem from lawsuits filed against state and local government agencies. (Monday, 3:30 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

GULF POWER RATE HEARING STARTS: The Florida Public Service Commission will start a hearing on a proposal by Gulf Power Co. to raise base electric rates by $106.8 million. The hearing could continue throughout the week. (Monday, 1 p.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

CHILDREN'S ISSUES DISCUSSED: The Florida Children and Youth Cabinet will meet. (Monday, 1 p.m., Cabinet meeting room, the Capitol.)

CONSTITUTION PANEL HOLDS FIRST MEETING: The Constitution Revision Commission, which will recommend proposed constitutional amendments for the November 2018 ballot, will hold its first meeting. (Monday, 2 p.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)

TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2017

Legislature:

PUBLIC ASSISTANCE CHANGES PROPOSED: The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 23), filed by Rep. Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral, that would make changes in the state's public-assistance system, including increasing penalties for failure to comply with work requirements. (Tuesday, 8 a.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICES AT ISSUE: The House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee will consider a bill (HB 949), filed by Rep. Cord Byrd, R-Neptune Beach, that would expand the mandatory use of ignition interlock devices in drunken-driving cases. (Tuesday, 8 a.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

POLLUTION NOTIFICATION SOUGHT: The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (SB 532), filed by Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, that is aimed at better notifying the public when pollution occurs. The bill comes after controversy about high-profile pollution incidents involving a sinkhole at a phosphate plant in Polk County and sewage discharges into Tampa Bay. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

INSURANCE TAX CREDIT AT ISSUE: The Senate Finance and Tax Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (SB 378), filed by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, that would eliminate a decades-old insurance industry tax credit while also lowering the state's communications-services tax on cell-phone and pay-TV services. Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, has long called for eliminating the tax credit. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

HEALTHY FOOD SOUGHT: The House Agriculture & Property Rights Subcommittee and the Senate Agriculture Committee will take up bills (HB 1083 and SB 1592), filed by Rep. Larry Lee, D-Port St. Lucie, and Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, that would create a program at the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to help small retailers increase the availability of healthy food in low- and moderate-income communities. (Tuesday, House subcommittee, 9 a.m., 12 House Office Building. Also, Senate committee, 4 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SENATE DEMOCRATS HUDDLE: The Senate Democratic caucus will meet. (Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., 200 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

'LIQUOR WALL' GOES TO SENATE FLOOR: The Senate will hold a floor session and is scheduled to take up several issues, including a proposal (SB 106), filed by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, that would end a Depression-era law requiring liquor stores to be separated from groceries and other retail goods --- an issue commonly referred to as the "liquor wall." (Tuesday, 11 a.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)

'SANCTUARY CITIES' TARGETED: The House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee will consider a proposal (HB 697), filed by Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, that would crack down on local governments that don't comply with federal immigration laws --- an issue involving what are known as "sanctuary cities." (Tuesday, 12:30 p.m., 12 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

LOCAL PROJECTS REVIEWED: The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee will take up dozens of bills dealing with local projects. (Tuesday, Agriculture & Natural Resources, 12:30 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol. Also, Transportation & Tourism, 12:30 p.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

DIRECT PRIMARY CARE ON THE TABLE: The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (SB 240), filed by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, that would help clear the way for "direct primary care" agreements between physicians and patients. Direct primary-care agreements generally involve regular payments that patients or their employers make to physicians or other health providers. The payments cover patients' routine primary-care services, cutting out the role of insurers. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

VACATION RENTALS DISCUSSED: The Senate Regulated Industries Committee will consider a proposal (SB 188), filed by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, that would prevent local governments from restricting the use of vacation rentals. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

WELFARE DRUG TESTS PROPOSED: The Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee will consider a proposal (SB 1392), filed by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, that would require drug tests for public-assistance applicants who have drug-related criminal records. The bill focuses on people applying for benefits in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

UTILITY SERVICES THEFT AT ISSUE: The Senate Criminal Justice Committee will take up a bill (SB 776), filed by Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, aimed at cracking down on the theft of utility services. Such thefts can occur, for example, in the operation of illegal marijuana grow houses. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

EDUCATION ACCOUNTABILITY DISCUSSED: The Senate Education Committee will receive a presentation from the Department of Education about accountability issues and also will hold a workshop on a series of issues related to high-school graduation requirements, student assessments, school grades and mandatory student retention. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

COURT CASELOADS REVIEWED: The House Appropriations Committee will hear presentations about judicial caseloads in circuit courts. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

OTHER SCHEDULED LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS:
--- House Careers & Competition Subcommittee (Tuesday, 8 a.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)
--- House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee (Tuesday, 8 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
--- House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee (Tuesday, 8 a.m., Mashburn Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
--- House Criminal Justice Subcommittee (Tuesday, 12:30 p.m., 404 House Office building, the Capitol.)
--- House Health Quality Subcommittee (Tuesday, 12:30 p.m., Mashburn Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
--- House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee (Tuesday, 1 p.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)
--- House Ways & Means Committee (Tuesday, 4 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

HASTINGS DISCUSSES ANIMAL PROTECTION: U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., will host a briefing about protecting dogs and cats from human consumption in the United States. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Rayburn House Office Building, Gold Room, Washington, D.C.)

CHARTRAND SPEAKS TO ECONOMIC CLUB: Gary Chartrand, executive chairman of Acosta, Inc. will speak to the Economic Club of Florida. (Tuesday, noon, FSU Alumni Center, 1030 West Tennessee St., Tallahassee.)

TELEHEALTH AT ISSUE: The Telehealth Advisory Council, which is looking at ways to increase the use of telehealth, or telemedicine, will meet. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., Goodwood Museum & Gardens, 1600 Miccosukee Road, Tallahassee.)

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 2017

Legislature:

SUPREME COURT DELAYS AT ISSUE: The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a bill (SB 878), filed by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, that would require the Florida Supreme Court to file annual reports about cases that take long periods of time to decide. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISCUSSED: The Senate Health Policy Committee will hold a workshop on SB 406, filed by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, and other legislation related to carrying out a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in the state. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

RED LIGHT CAMERAS TARGETED: The House will hold a floor session and take up a series of issues, including a proposal (HB 6007), filed by Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah, and Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, that would repeal laws allowing red-light cameras. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., House chamber, the Capitol.)

HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION EYED: The Senate Community Affairs Committee will consider a proposed constitutional amendment (SJR 1774), filed by Chairman Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, that would increase the homestead property-tax exemption. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

'COURTHOUSE CARRY' CONSIDERED: The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee will take up a bill (SB 616), filed by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to store firearms with security officers at courthouses. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

MILITARY SUPPORT SOUGHT: The Senate Military and Veterans Affairs, Space and Domestic Security Committee will consider a bill (SB 1588), filed by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, that would take a series of steps to help support veterans and military members. The proposals include trying to streamline the process for military spouses to practice law and work as teachers in Florida when their families are stationed in the state. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

INDIAN RIVER LAGOON MONEY PROPOSED: The Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee will take up a proposal (SB 982), filed by Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, that would provide money for restoration work in the Indian River Lagoon system. The proposal would send $15 million to the St. Johns River Water Management District and another $15 million to the South Florida Water Management District. (Wednesday, 4 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

TAX REFERENDUMS AT ISSUE: The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee will consider a bill (SB 278), filed by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, that would prevent local governments from holding sales-tax referendums during primary and special elections. The bill would only allow such referendums to be held on the dates of November general elections. (Wednesday, 4 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

APOLOGY SOUGHT FOR 'GROVELAND FOUR:' The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up numerous bills, including a proposal (SCR 920), filed by Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Fort Lauderdale, that would apologize for "egregious wrongs perpetrated" against four black men who were accused in 1949 of raping a white woman in Lake County. The men, who are known as the "Groveland Four," were accused despite a lack of evidence and "established alibis," the bill says. (Wednesday, 4 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

TEXTING WHILE DRIVING TARGETED: The Senate Transportation Committee will take up a proposal (SB 144), filed by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, that would make texting while driving a "primary" offense. Under current law, texting while driving is a "secondary" offense, meaning motorists can only be cited if they are pulled over for other reasons. Under Garcia's bill, police could pull over drivers for texting while driving. (Wednesday, 4 p.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

OTHER SCHEDULED LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS:
--- House Commerce Committee (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.
--- House Government Accountability Committee (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
--- House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

MAYORS DISCUSS LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES: The Florida League of Mayors will hold a news conference to discuss its priorities for the legislative session. (Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., fourth floor, the Capitol.)

BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETS: The State Board of Education is scheduled to meet. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Cabinet meeting room, the Capitol.)

ATWATER GIVES KEYNOTE AT CHAMBER EVENT: State Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is expected to give a keynote address during the Florida Chamber of Commerce's "Capitol Days" event. Other speakers are expected to include Cissy Proctor, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity; Mike Grissom, interim president and CEO of Enterprise Florida; Barry Gilway, president and CEO of Citizens Property Insurance; and Ken Lawson, president and CEO of Visit Florida. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Florida State University, Turnbull Conference Center, 555 West Pensacola St., Tallahassee.)

THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2017

Legislature:

SPECIAL ORDER SET: The Senate Special Order Calendar Group will set the "special order calendar," which lists bills that will be heard on the Senate floor. (Thursday, 9:30 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SENATE DEMOCRATS GATHER: The Senate Democratic caucus will meet. (Thursday, noon, 200 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SENATE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The Senate is scheduled to hold a floor session. (Thursday, 1 p.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)

HOUSE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The House is scheduled to hold a floor session. (Thursday, 1:30 p.m., House chamber, the Capitol.)

OTHER SCHEDULED LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS:
--- House Education Committee (Thursday, 9 a.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
--- House Health & Human Services Committee (Thursday, 9 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
--- House Judiciary Committee (Thursday, 9 a.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)
--- Senate Rules Committee (Thursday, 10 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

UWF TRUSTEES MEET: The University of West Florida Board of Trustees will meet in Fort Walton Beach. (Thursday, 9 a.m., UWF Emerald Coast Fort Walton Beach Campus, 1170 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fort Walton Beach.)

REVENUE ESTIMATES REVIEWED: The Review Estimating Conference will analyze monthly revenue estimates. (Thursday, 9:15 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

SUPREME COURT RELEASES OPINIONS: The Florida Supreme Court is expected to release its weekly opinions. (Thursday, 11 a.m.)

MEDICAID DRUGS AT ISSUE: The Medicaid Drug Utilization Review Board will meet. (Thursday, 2 p.m., Tampa Marriott Westshore, 1001 North Westshore Blvd., Tampa.)

FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2017

HOUSING ISSUES ON THE TABLE: The Florida Housing Finance Corp. Board of Directors will meet. (Friday, 8:30 a.m., Tallahassee City Hall, 300 South Adams St., Tallahassee.)

REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE MEETS: The Revenue Estimating Conference will hold what is known as an "impact" conference. (Friday, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS RELEASED: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is expected to release February unemployment figures. (Friday, 10 a.m.)

MEDICAID DRUG LIST AT ISSUE: The Medicaid Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee, which recommends drugs for a preferred drug list, will meet. (Friday, 1 p.m., Tampa Marriott Westshore, 1001 North Westshore Blvd., Tampa.)

SATURDAY, MARCH 25, 2017

SCOTT SPEAKS TO SUMTER REPUBLICANS: Gov. Rick Scott is expected to be the keynote speaker at a Sumter County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner. (Saturday, 6 p.m., Savannah Center, 1575 Buena Vista Blvd., The Villages.)


--END--
3/17/2017

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