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The week ahead in Tallahassee

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THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, JANUARY 31, 2014…..It’s been a long time coming, but Florida is ready to get a new lieutenant governor. Former House Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera of Miami will be sworn in as lieutenant governor Monday, filling a job that has been vacant since Jennifer Carroll resigned last March. Also during the coming week, lawmakers will begin to scour Gov. Rick Scott’s nearly $74.2 billion budget proposal for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2014

Legislature:

PANEL DIALS UP TELEMEDICINE: The House Select Committee on Health Care Workforce Innovation will receive a demonstration and discuss telemedicine. State officials are looking at increased use of telemedicine to help deal with a shortage of primary-care physicians. (Monday, 1 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

COMMITTEE TO DISCUSS GAMBLING BILL: The Senate Gaming Committee will hear a presentation about the economic impacts of the horse industry and discuss possible issues to include in a gambling bill. (Monday, 1 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

HURRICANE TAX HOLIDAY UP FOR DEBATE: The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee will consider a proposal (SB 362), filed by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, that would create a 12-day sales-tax holiday for hurricane supplies. (Monday, 4 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

CONCEALED WEAPON APPLICATIONS AT ISSUE: The Senate Criminal Justice Committee will consider a bill (SB 544) that would allow county tax collectors to accept applications for concealed-weapon or firearms licenses. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services currently accepts the applications at regional locations, but supporters of the bill say it would address increasing demands. (Monday, 4 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

ETHICS AND ELECTIONS TO LOOK AT OPTIONS: The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee will hold an initial discussion about issues that could be included in an elections bill. (Monday, 4 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

LOPEZ-CANTERA TO TAKE OFFICE: Former House Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera, R-Miami, will be sworn in as lieutenant governor. Events will start at 11:45 a.m. with a media availability, followed by a noon luncheon at the governor’s mansion. The swearing-in ceremony will start at 5 p.m. in the House chamber.

NEW UNIVERSITY BOARD TO MEET: The Florida Polytechnic University Board of Trustees will meet as it prepares to open the state’s newest university. After the board meeting, the presidential search committee will meet. (Monday, 8:30 a.m., Florida Polytechnic University Admissions Center, 4700 Research Way, Lakeland.)

JUSTICES HEAR DEATH PENALTY CASES: The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in two death-penalty cases, including an appeal by Death Row inmate William Roger Davis III, who was convicted of a 2009 murder in Seminole County. The other case involves an appeal by inmate Emilia Carr, who was convicted in a 2009 murder in Marion County. (Monday, 9 a.m., Florida Supreme Court, 500 South Duval St., Tallahassee.)

STEWART TO NAME TOP PRINCIPAL, ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL: Education Commissioner Pam Stewart will announce the recipients of the “Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership” and the “Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award” during a luncheon ceremony. (Monday, noon, Atlantic Dance Hall, Disney Boardwalk Inn, Lake Buena Vista.)

JOLLY TO HOLD NEWS CONFERENCE: Republican David Jolly, who is running in a special election to replace the late C.W. Bill Young in Congressional District 13, will hold a news conference. (Monday, 2 p.m., EEI Manufacturing, 703 Grand Central St., Clearwater.)

DEEPWATER HORIZON PANEL TO MEET: The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees will meet and take public comment about a plan of proposed projects and about an environmental impact statement. (Monday, 6:30 p.m., Pensacola Bay Center, 201 East Gregory St., Pensacola.)

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2014

Legislature:

GOVERNOR’S BUDGET IN THE HOUSE: Gov. Rick Scott’s aides will go before House appropriations panels to present parts of the governor’s nearly $74.2 billion budget proposal for the 2014-15 fiscal year. Here are the panels receiving the presentations:
— House Appropriations Committee (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)
— House Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
— House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)
— House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee (Tuesday, 4 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

SEXUAL PREDATOR BILLS MOVING IN SENATE: The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up a series of proposals (SB 522, SB 524, SB 526 and SB 528) that are part of an effort to crack down on sexual predators. Legislative leaders have made the issue a priority after the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported last year that nearly 600 sexually violent predators had been released only to be convicted of new sex crimes. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES TAX EYED FOR CUTS: The Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee will consider a proposal (SB 266), filed by Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, that would reduce communications-services tax rates. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SINGLE-GENDER CLASSES DISCUSSED: The House Choice & Innovation Subcommittee will consider a proposal (HB 313), by Rep. Manny Diaz, Jr., R-Hialeah, that seeks to start a pilot program that would lead to some elementary-school students being separated into boys-only and girls-only classes. (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., 306 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

PANEL TAKES UP TELEMEDICINE: The Senate Health Policy Committee will take up a proposal aimed at increasing the use of telemedicine. The proposal (SPB 7028) would create requirements and standards dealing with issues such as the licensure of out-of-state physicians and insurance and Medicaid reimbursements for telemedicine services. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

INSURANCE POLICIES TARGETED IN GUN ISSUE: The House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee will consider a proposal (HB 255), filed by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, that would prevent property and auto insurers from refusing to issue or renew policies based on customers’ legal use, possession or ownership of firearms. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

OTHER HOUSE MEETINGS:
— House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee (Tuesday, 12:30 p.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
— House Business & Professional Regulation Subcommittee (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., 12 House Office Building, the Capitol.)
— House Transportation & Highway Safety Subcommittee (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)
— House Economic Development & Tourism Subcommittee (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 12 House Office Building, the Capitol.)
— House Higher Education & Workforce Subcommittee (Tuesday, 4 p.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

OTHER SENATE MEETINGS:
— Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee (Tuesday, 10 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)
— Senate Education Committee (Tuesday, 10 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)
— Senate Democratic caucus (Tuesday, 12:30 p.m., 200 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)
— Senate Banking and Insurance Committee (Tuesday, 2 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)
— Senate Community Affairs Committee (Tuesday, 2 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)
— Senate Military and Veterans Affairs, Space and Domestic Security Committee. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

‘TIMELY JUSTICE ACT’ GOES TO SUPREME COURT: The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in a challenge to a death-penalty law passed last year that was dubbed the “Timely Justice Act.” Attorneys for Death Row inmates contend the law, which deals with issues such as the signing of death warrants, is unconstitutional. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Florida Supreme Court, 500 South Duval St., Tallahassee.)

REGULATORS TO CONSIDER FPL PRICING FLEXIBILITY: The state Public Service Commission will take up a series of issues, including a proposal that would give Florida Power & Light greater flexibility in negotiating discounts with large commercial or industrial customers. The discounts, for example, could be used in negotiations to help keep companies from leaving the state. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

APD TO HOLD MEETING ON AIR FORCE BASE: The state Agency for Persons with Disabilities will hold a town-hall meeting at Eglin Air Force Base to discuss issues with retired and active-duty military families. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., 53rd Wing, 203 West D Ave., Suite 601, Eglin Air Force Base.)

BURGESS BRINGS IN BUCKS: Republican Danny Burgess, who is seeking to replace term-limited House Speaker Will Weatherford in House District 38, is expected to raise money at an event near the Capitol. (Tuesday, 5 p.m., Clyde’s and Costello’s, 210 South Adams St., Tallahassee.)

DLP, EVERS, SIMPSON RAISE MONEY: Senate Republican leaders are scheduled to host a fund-raising reception for Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami; Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, and Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby. (Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., The Governor’s Club, 202 South Adams St., Tallahassee.)

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2014

Legislature:

JUVENILE SENTENCING CHANGES DISCUSSED: The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will take up a proposal (PCB CRJS 14-08) that would seek to address sentencing for juveniles who are convicted of murders or other serious felonies. Lawmakers are grappling with two U.S. Supreme Court rulings that affect juvenile sentencing. One of the rulings held that mandatory life sentences without the chance of parole for juveniles convicted of murder were unconstitutional. The other ruling bars life sentences for juveniles convicted of non-homicide crimes. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

BUDGET PRESENTATIONS CONTINUE: House appropriations subcommittees will continue receiving presentations from Gov. Rick Scott’s staff about the governor’s proposed 2014-15 budget. Here are the subcommittees receiving the presentations:
— House Education Appropriations Subcommittee. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
— House Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
— House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

PHARMACY TECHNICIANS DEBATE IS BACK: The House Health Quality Subcommittee will take up a measure (HB 323), filed by Rep. Mike La Rosa, R-St. Cloud, that would allow pharmacists to supervise as many as six pharmacy technicians. The proposal was approved by the House during the 2013 session but died in the Senate amid heavy debate within the pharmacy industry. State law currently allows pharmacists to supervise one pharmacy technician, though the Board of Pharmacy can give permission to increase that number to three. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., 306 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

DENTIST PAYMENTS AT ISSUE: The Senate Appropriations Committee will consider a long-discussed proposal (SB 86), filed by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, that involves payment arrangements between dentists and health insurers. The issue relates to services that are not covered under contracts between health plans and dentists. The proposal would prevent insurers from requiring dentists to provide those non-covered services at fees set by the health plans. Also during the meeting, the Appropriations Committee will hear a presentation on Gov. Rick Scott’s budget proposal. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

HOUSE DEMOCRATS TO TALK WITH FIRST AMENDMENT CHIEF: Members of the House Democratic caucus will receive a presentation from Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation. (Wednesday, noon, 315 Capitol, the Capitol.)

TECHNOLOGY AGENCY DISCUSSED: The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee will take up a bill that would create a new state information-technology agency. The proposal (SPB 7024) comes as the state continues to grapple with problems in a new unemployment computer system. (Wednesday, 2 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

DJJ DEFICIT ADDRESSED: The Joint Legislative Budget Commission will take up a series of issues, including a plan to address a $35.5 million deficit at the Department of Juvenile Justice. The deficit stems from a court ruling about juvenile-detention costs that were being shifted to counties. (Wednesday, 4:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

OTHER HOUSE MEETINGS:
— House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)
— House Civil Justice Subcommittee (Wednesday, 1 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)
— House Healthy Families Subcommittee (Wednesday, 1 p.m., 12 House Office Building, the Capitol.)
— House K-12 Subcommittee (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
— House Rulemaking Oversight & Repeal Subcommittee (Wednesday, 1 p.m., 306 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

OTHER SENATE MEETINGS:
— Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee (Wednesday, 2 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)
— Senate Transportation Committee (Wednesday, 2 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol)

Also:

BRUCIA KILLER APPEAL GOES TO SUPREME COURT: The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in three cases, including an appeal by Joseph P. Smith, who was sentenced to death in the 2004 murder of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia in Sarasota County. The case was high profile in Florida and drew national attention. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Florida Supreme Court, 500 South Duval St., Tallahassee.)

PAROLE COMMISSION MEETS: The Florida Parole Commission will consider dozens of cases involving people convicted of crimes in the 1970s and 1980s. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 4070 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

GAMBLING REVENUES ANALYZED: The Revenue Estimating Conference will discuss estimates for slot machines and Indian casinos. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS PITCH FUNDING PLAN: University presidents, business officials and student leaders will hold a news conference to announce a proposal about funding the higher-education system. (Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Capitol rotunda, plaza level.)

DUDLEY, MURPHY COLLECT CAMPAIGN CASH: Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, and Rep. Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey, will hold a fund-raising reception. (Wednesday, 5 p.m., Andrew’s 228 Fountain Room, 228 South Adams St., Tallahassee.)

WILLIAMS RAISES MONEY: Democratic leaders will help host a campaign fund-raising event for Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee. (Wednesday, 5 p.m., Clyde’s and Costello’s, 210 South Adams St., Tallahassee.)

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2014

Legislature:

STEWART TO MAKE PRESENTATION: Education Commissioner Pam Stewart will make a presentation to the House Education Committee. Also, the panel will consider a bill (HB 137), filed by Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, that would change the name of Edison State College to Florida SouthWestern State College. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

SPEEDWAY TAX PROPOSAL CONSIDERED: The Senate Finance and Tax Subcommittee will take up a proposal (SB 208), sponsored by Chairwoman Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, that to direct $2 million a year in state sales-tax dollars for improvements at Daytona International Speedway. (Thursday, 9 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

FLOOD INSURANCE AT ISSUE: The Senate General Government Appropriations Subcommittee is scheduled to consider a measure (SB 542), sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, aimed at making it easier for private insurers to offer flood coverage in Florida. The subcommittee also will receive a presentation about Gov. Rick Scott’s 2014-15 budget proposals. (Thursday, 9 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

HHS, EDUCATION BUDGETS UNDER MICROSCOPE: The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee and the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee will receive presentations on Gov. Rick Scott’s 2014-15 budget proposals. Health and human services and education are the largest parts of the state budget. (Thursday. HHS Appropriations Subcommittee will meet at 9 a.m. Education Appropriations Subcommittee will meet at 1 p.m. Both meetings will be at 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ANALYZED: The House Economic Affairs Committee will hear a presentation about an evaluation of economic development programs. (Thursday, 12:30 p.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

E-CIGARETTE BILL MOVING IN SENATE: The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a proposal (SB 224), filed by Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, that would ban the sales of electronic cigarettes to minors. The proposal is moving quickly through the Senate, with it already receiving approval from two committees. The Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee also will hear about presentation about Gov. Rick Scott’s 2014-15 budget proposals. (Thursday, 1 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

TOURISM HALL OF FAME ON TAP: The Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a measure (SB 398), filed by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, that would establish a Florida Tourism Hall of Fame at the Capitol. The subcommittee also will receive a presentation on Gov. Rick Scott’s 2014-15 budget proposals. (Thursday, 1 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY MEETS: The Enterprise Florida Board of Directors will meet, after holding a series of committee meetings and related meetings Wednesday. (Thursday, 8:30 a.m., DoubleTree by Hilton, 101 South Adams St., Tallahassee.)

CABINET ENJOYS DAY AT THE FAIR: Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet will take up a series of issues as they hold a meeting at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Among the issues will be a study about state veterans’ nursing homes. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa.)

OKALOOSA, OKEECHOBEE DEATH CASES TO HIGH COURT: The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in four cases, including two death penalty appeals. One of the cases involves Death Row inmate Lamar Brooks, who was convicted of killing a mother and child in 1996 in Okaloosa County. The other case involves Death Row inmate Dale Middleton, who was convicted of a 2009 murder in Okeechobee County. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Florida Supreme Court, 500 South Duval St., Tallahassee.)

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2014

BOARD OF MEDICINE MEETS: The Florida Board of Medicine will consider disciplinary cases involving doctors from various parts of the state. The board meeting will follow a series of committee meetings Thursday. (Friday, 8 a.m., Embassy Suites-Lake Buena Vista South, 4955 Kyngs Heath Road, Kissimmee.)

RODRIGUEZ DISCUSSES IMMIGRATION AT ADL EVENT: State Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, is expected to speak about the prospects for immigration reform in 2014 during an Anti-Defamation League national meeting. (Friday, 2 p.m., The Breakers, Palm Beach.)

–Source: The News Service of Florida