advertisement

SSN on Facebook SSN on Twitter SSN on YouTube RSS Feed

4 Comments
Politics

What's Going on the Week of March 31

April 1, 2019 - 9:00am
Constitutional Revision Commission
Constitutional Revision Commission

When Floridians went to the polls in November, they approved 11 constitutional amendments on issues ranging from restoring felons’ voting rights to banning greyhound racing.

Now, it’s clear that many Republican lawmakers hope to avoid a repeat of such ballot-driven decision-making in the future.

Proposals are floating in the Legislature that would make it harder for citizens and groups to put constitutional amendments on the ballot --- and make it tougher to pass amendments that get there.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday will consider a bill that, in part, would place new restrictions on the petition-gathering process that is critical to getting citizens’ initiatives on the ballot. That comes after the House Judiciary Committee approved a similar bill Thursday.

Also moving forward in the House last week was a proposal that would require two-thirds of voters to approve future constitutional amendments. That would be up from the current 60 percent threshold.

The proposals are the latest chapter in a long-running debate in Tallahassee about the constitutional-amendment process.

Supporters of changing the process argue that the Constitution shouldn’t be a playing field for policy disputes that can be resolved in the Legislature. But opponents of the changes contend that groups are forced to go the constitutional route because lawmakers won’t act on issues supported by voters.

As the debate continues, 2020 is shaping up as potentially another year of ballot battles. Issues that could go before voters include increasing the minimum wage, revamping the electric utility industry and banning possession of “assault” weapons.

MONDAY, APRIL 1, 2019

Legislature:

CENSUS NUMBERS AT ISSUE: Senate Minority Leader Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, Sen. Bobby Powell, D-West Palm Beach, and Rep. Susan Valdes, D-Tampa, will join the group New Florida Majority at a news conference about the need for an accurate U.S. Census count. (Monday, 10:30 a.m., fourth floor, the Capitol.)

VACATION RENTAL REGULATION DEBATED: The House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 987), filed by Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, that would give the state regulatory authority over vacation rental properties, a concept known as “pre-empting” local regulations. (Monday, noon, Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

COLLEGE FEE WAIVER CONSIDERED: The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a proposal (HB 593), filed by Rep. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, that would waive out-of-state fees for students attending state colleges that sustained large enrollment losses because of Hurricane Michael. Waiving the out-of-state fees could help the colleges recruit more students who live outside of Florida. The bill could affect Chipola College in Marianna and Gulf Coast State College in Panama City. (Monday, noon, 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

HUMAN TRAFFICKING GETS ATTENTION: The House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 259), filed by Rep. Patricia Williams, D-Lauderdale Lakes, and Rep. Rene Plasencia, R-Orlando, that would require school health classes to include information about child abuse and human trafficking. (Monday, noon, Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

CRIMINAL SENTENCING AT ISSUE: The Senate Criminal Justice Committee will consider a proposal (SB 1656), filed by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, that would address a constitutional amendment approved in November that dealt with what is known as the “Savings Clause” of the Florida Constitution. The bill would require that lawmakers sign off on the retroactive application of any new sentencing laws. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

‘DIRECT PRIMARY CARE’ EXPANSION EYED: The Senate Health Policy Committee will take up a bill (SB 1520), filed by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, that would expand a law encouraging the use of “direct primary care” agreements between patients and doctors. Under direct primary care, patients or their employers make regular payments to doctors to provide primary-care services. The 2018 law made clear that such arrangements were not regulated under insurance laws, with backers saying the agreements provide another health-care option for patients. The bill would change the terminology to “direct health care” agreements and allow such arrangements with dentists. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

NO-FAULT REPEAL CONSIDERED: The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will consider a proposal (SB 1052), filed by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, that would repeal the state’s no-fault auto insurance system. The system requires motorists to have personal-injury protection, or PIP, coverage. The bill would require motorists to have bodily injury coverage. (Monday, 4 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

AGENCY HEADS REVIEWED: The Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee will hold confirmation hearings for Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom and Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director Barbara Palmer. (Monday, 4 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

BALLOT INITIATIVES TARGETED: The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up a bill (SPB 7096) that would make it harder for citizens and groups to put proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot. The proposal, for example, would require that petition gatherers be Florida residents and would prevent them from being paid based on the number of petitions they collect. (Monday, 4 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SPECIAL ORDER SET: The Senate Special Order Calendar Group will meet to set a special-order calendar, which lists bills that will be heard on the Senate floor. (Monday, 15 minutes after committees, 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

MINIMUM WAGE HIKE ANALYZED: The Financial Impact Estimating Conference will hold a workshop about a proposed constitutional amendment that would raise the minimum wage in the state. The proposal, which could go on the November 2020 ballot, would raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour on Sept. 30, 2021 and increase by $1 each year until it hits $15 an hour on Sept. 30, 2026. The state’s minimum wage this year is $8.46 an hour. (Monday, 8:30 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

THREE RIVERS PARK REOPENS: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a reopening ceremony for the Panhandle’s Three Rivers State Park, which had been closed since Hurricane Michael in October. (Monday, 9 a.m. Central time, Three Rivers State Park, 7908 Three Rivers Park Road, Sneads.)

ENTERPRISE FLORIDA ISSUES ON TABLE: Various committees of the Enterprise Florida Board of Directors will meet in advance of a full board meeting Tuesday. They are the Finance & Compensation Committee, the Business Development & Marketing Committee, the International Committee and the Stakeholders Council. (Monday, meetings start at 10 a.m. Alfred Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center, Florida A&M University, 1800 Wahnish Way, Tallahassee.)

SPACE ISSUES DISCUSSED: The Space Florida Board of Directors, which is chaired by Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, will meet. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., Florida A&M University, Alfred Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center, 1800 Wahnish Way, Tallahassee.)

ENTERPRISE FLORIDA RECEPTION HELD: A reception for the Enterprise Florida Board of Directors, which is chaired by Gov. Ron DeSantis, will be held. (Monday, 5 p.m., Governor’s Mansion, 700 North Adams St., Tallahassee.)

TUESDAY, APRIL 2, 2019

Legislature:

HELP PROPOSED FOR PANHANDLE DISTRICTS: The Senate Education Committee will consider a proposal (SB 520), filed by Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, that would help provide additional money to Northwest Florida school districts that lost enrollment because students were displaced by Hurricane Michael. The bill would apply to Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty and Washington counties. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

ELECTIONS RECORDS EXEMPTION SOUGHT: The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee will take up a bill (SB 342), filed by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, that would create a public-records exemption for information about 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds who pre-register to vote. Information would become available when they turn 18. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

UTILITY REGULATORS UP FOR CONFIRMATION: The Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee will hold confirmation hearings for Public Service Commission members Julie Brown and Gary Clark. Brown and Clark were reappointed to the utility-regulatory panel last year, with their terms taking effect in January. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

LAUREN’S KIDS WALK LAUNCHED: Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, will host a news conference to launch an advocacy walk by the group she leads, “Lauren’s Kids,” which works on issues related to child sexual abuse. Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell and Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young are expected to take part in the walk. (Tuesday, news conference at 11:45 a.m., plaza level, the Capitol.)

CITIZENS RATES EYED: The Senate Community Affairs Committee will take up a bill (SB 1476), filed by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, that would prevent the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. from raising rates in Monroe County by more than 5 percent a year. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

‘WATER WAR’ DISCUSSED: The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee will receive an update about a legal battle between Florida and Georgia about the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system. Florida filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court alleging that Georgia is using too much water from the system, damaging the Apalachicola River and Apalachicola Bay in Northwest Florida. A federal appellate judge is handling the case as a special master appointed by the Supreme Court. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

RED LIGHT CAMERAS TARGETED: The Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee will consider a proposal (SB 622), filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, that would repeal laws allowing the use of red-light cameras. Critics contend the cameras have become an excessive source of revenue for local governments, while supporters say they help improve traffic safety. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

OTHER SCHEDULED MEETINGS:

--- House Ways & Means Committee (Tuesday, 8 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

--- House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee (Tuesday, 1 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

--- House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee (Tuesday, 1 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

--- House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee (Tuesday, 1 p.m., 306 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

--- House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee (Tuesday, 1 p.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

--- House Appropriations Committee (Tuesday, 3:30 p.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

ENTERPRISE FLORIDA BOARD MEETS: The Enterprise Florida Board of Directors will meet after holding an executive committee meeting. (Tuesday, executive committee at 8:30 a.m., with board of directors at 9:45 a.m., Florida A&M University, Al Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center, 1800 Wahnish Way, Tallahassee.)

CABINET WEIGHS LARGE LAND BUY: Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet next week are slated to consider buying 5,534 acres in Hendry County through the Florida Forever conservation program. Under the proposal, the state would pay $14.775 million to Alico, Inc. for the land, which is part of what is known as the broader Devil’s Garden Florida Forever project. A Cabinet agenda said the targeted land includes 3,233 acres of uplands and 2,301 acres of wetlands. Also during the meeting, DeSantis and the Cabinet are slated to consider acquiring 160 acres in Columbia County. That proposal involves paying $518,400 to the Bar D Ranch Partnership for property within the Ichetucknee Trace Florida Forever project. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Cabinet meeting room, the Capitol.)

DUKE SOLAR PROJECTS CONSIDERED: The Florida Public Service Commission will hold a regular meeting and a hearing on a proposal by Duke Energy Florida to pass along costs to customers for solar-energy projects in Hamilton and Columbia counties. Under terms of a base-rate settlement approved by the Public Service Commission in 2017, Duke is allowed to seek recovery of solar-project costs, though it also has to show that the projects are reasonable and cost-effective. (Tuesday, regular meeting at 9:30 a.m., followed by Duke solar hearing, Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

LAWSON FOCUSES ON STUDENT ATHLETES: U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, will host a panel discussion and a screening of the documentary “Student Athlete.” The discussion will focus on issues related to unpaid student athletes. (Tuesday, media availability at 5:30 p.m., event starts at 6 p.m., U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Auditorium North, First Street N.E., Washington, D.C.)

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3, 2019

Legislature:

SENATE TAKES UP BUDGET: The Senate will hold a floor session and take up a proposed $90.3 billion budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Approval of the proposal will help set the stage for Senate and House leaders to negotiate a final spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)

HOUSE TAKES UP BUDGET: The House will hold a floor session and consider an $89.9 billion budget proposal for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The House spending plan is smaller than a $91.3 billion proposal offered by Gov. Ron DeSantis. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., House chamber, the Capitol.)

OTHER SCHEDULED MEETINGS:

--- House Education Committee (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

--- House Health & Human Services Committee (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

--- House Judiciary Committee (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

--- Senate Military and Veterans Affairs and Space Committee (Wednesday, 4 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

--- Senate Rules Committee (Wednesday, 4 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

COLLEGE PRESIDENT INTERVIEWS HELD: The Board of Trustees of Florida State College at Jacksonville will interview finalists to become the college’s president. Former President Cynthia Bioteau retired last year. (Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., Florida State College at Jacksonville administrative offices, 501 West State St., Jacksonville.)

ST. JOHNS DEATH CASE HEARD: The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in three cases, incl1uding an appeal by a Death Row inmate convicted in the 2011 murder of his estranged wife in St. Johns County. Attorneys for inmate Sean Alonzo Bush, now 50, are asking the Supreme Court to overturn his conviction in the murder of Nicole Bush, who was shot in the head in her home. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Florida Supreme Court, 500 South Duval St., Tallahassee.)

UNEMPLOYMENT CASES CONSIDERED: The state Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission will meet. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., 101 Rhyne Building, 2740 Centerview Dr., Tallahassee.)

THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2019

Legislature:

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

SENATE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The Senate is scheduled to hold a floor session. (Thursday, 2:30 p.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)

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, 15 minutes after floor session, 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

OTHER SCHEDULED MEETINGS:

--- House Commerce Committee (Thursday, 8 a.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

--- House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee (Thursday, 8 a.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

--- House State Affairs Committee (Thursday, 8 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

--- Senate Agriculture, Environment & General Government Appropriations Subcommittee (Thursday, 10 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

--- Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee (Thursday, 10 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

--- Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee (Thursday, 10 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

--- Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee (Thursday, 12:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

--- Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee (Thursday, 12:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

--- Senate Finance & Tax Committee (Thursday, 12:30 p.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

JUSTICES TAKE UP BATTERY ACID CASE: The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in two cases, including a lawsuit in which a tow-truck driver alleges he was injured by battery acid that spilled onto Interstate 75 after a traffic crash near Jasper in North Florida. The case stems from a 2011 accident in which a tractor-trailer owned by Simon’s Trucking crashed while transporting batteries and spilled battery acid onto the interstate. Tow-truck driver Charles Lieupo responded to the scene to tow away the truck and said he came into contact with battery acid, causing injuries, according to court records. Lieupo filed a lawsuit against the trucking company under part of state law that imposes liability for discharging pollutants. Simon’s Trucking argued that the law could not be used to recover money for personal injuries. While a circuit judge rejected that argument, the appeals court overturned the verdict. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Florida Supreme Court, 500 South Duval St., Tallahassee.)

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

FRIDAY, APRIL 5, 2019

Legislature:

SENATE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The Senate is scheduled to hold a floor session. (Friday, 10 a.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)

Also:

BOARD OF MEDICINE MEETS: The Florida Board of Medicine will meet in Palm Beach County. (Friday, 8 a.m., Embassy Suites West Palm Beach-Central, 1601 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach.)

NURSING HOME ADMINISRATORS MEET: The Florida Board of Nursing Home Administrators will meet in Orange County. (Friday, 9 a.m., Rosen Plaza Hotel, 9700 International Dr., Orlando.)

OBAMA SPEECHWRITER AT ORLANDO TIGER BAY: David Litt, a special assistant and speechwriter for former President Barack Obama, is slated to speak to the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida. (Friday, 12:30 p.m. Citrus Club, 255 South Orange Avenue, #1800, Orlando.)

RAIL BONDS AT ISSUE: The Florida Development Finance Corp. will take up issues related to bonds to help finance the Brightline passenger-rail system, which is planned to go from Miami to Orlando. (Friday, 3:30 p.m., Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, 9300 Jeff Fuqua Blvd., Orlando.)

Comments

This is ALL about political banality, bloat, bluster, platitudes, and "Legislative sleight-of-handS", guided by massive amounts of "Special Interest Groups" in very close attendance... (COVER YOUR EARS AND HOLD TIGHT TO YOUR POCKETBOOKS & WALLETS, Taxpayers......!) Florida's "quickly fattening" tax coffers are like an addictive drug to politicians and their "backroom supporters"...!

"College fee waiver" for out of State application because of "weather"?!?!?...*NO !* College tuition is ALREADY OUT OF CONTROL AND OVER- SUBSIDIZED with TAXES, in one form or another !!! Let colleges suspend their "land grab purchases" for campus expansion for awhile, to see and understand how "the rest of us live on a budget"!

The "Constitution Revisionalist Commission" MUST be abandoned and outlawed !!! ("Too many Cooks spoil the broth" !!!) Legislators ignore THEIR "jobs",... and the Public TAXPAYERS ALWAYS suffer "in THAT vacuum"!

I do not want to express ANY opinion on ANY proposed Constitutional change - instead, I think the entire process needs to be review and modified to be more in keeping with the long-term SANITY of the change. What I see is far too many "KNEE JERK" solutions that have not been well thought out for the future. Florida has a great 'homeless' problem as well as 'educational funding' problems; Gambling could have a HUGE effect on these (and other) issues. We must 'ease up' on such huge issues based on items not well understood by the PEOPLE! Please engage the Gray Matter...

Comments are now closed.

politics
advertisement
advertisement
advertisement
Live streaming of WBOB Talk Radio, a Sunshine State News Radio Partner.

advertisement
advertisement