Capitol Watch for Monday, March 15

Capitol Watch for Monday, March 15
(Source: News Service of Florida)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WWSB) - The following state legislative hearings and meetings are scheduled Monday, March 15:

CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM AT ISSUE: The House Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee will take up a proposal (PCB CFS 21-01) that would make wide-ranging changes in the state’s child welfare system, addressing issues such as reports and investigations of child abuse. (1 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

FLOODING TAX BREAK PROPOSED: The House Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee will consider a proposed constitutional amendment (HJR 1377), filed by Rep. Linda Chaney, R-St. Pete Beach, that would provide a property-tax break to homeowners who make improvements to try to protect their properties from flooding. Under the proposal, the improvements would not be considered in determining the assessed values of properties. (1 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

HIGHER ED PROJECTS EYED: The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee will take up about two-dozen bills filed by lawmakers seeking money for programs and projects throughout the state. (1 p.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

CROSSING COUNTY LINES TARGETED: The House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a proposal (HB 279), filed by Rep. John Snyder, R-Stuart, that would increase penalties for criminals who cross county lines to commit grand theft. (1 p.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

DCF, VETERANS’ AFFAIRS MAKE PRESENTATIONS: The Senate Select Committee on Pandemic Preparedness and Response will receive presentations from the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Central Florida Behavioral Health Network. (1 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

SPECIAL ORDER SET: The Senate Special Order Calendar Group will set a special-order calendar listing bills that will be heard on the Senate floor. (3 p.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

UNEMPLOYMENT CHANGES EYED: The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee will take up a bill (SB 1948), filed by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, that would make wide-ranging changes at the Department of Economic Opportunity, including directing the development of a cloud-based computer system to manage the unemployment assistance program. The proposal comes after widespread problems last year with the department’s CONNECT online system. (3:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SEA LEVEL RISE TARGETED: The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee will consider a proposal (SB 1954), filed by Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, that would seek to address sea-level rise and flooding. Among other things, the bill would create a Resilient Florida Grant Program, which would provide money to cities and counties for planning related to flooding and sea-level rise. (3:30 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

DEMOCRATS HOLD MEDIA AVAILABILITY: House Minority Co-leader Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach, and Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, will hold an online media availability. (9:30 a.m. Reporters may participate at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89575729971?pwd=YWZwdEtvR0xhN3o4eVpuejdicXlvdz09. The availability also will be livestreamed by The Florida Channel.)

Also:

CITIZENS INSURANCE RATES DISCUSSED: The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation will hold an online public hearing about a proposal that would raise rates for customers of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. The rate increases would vary, but the average increase for homeowners with “multi-peril” policies would be 6.2 percent. (9 a.m. register at  https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4085903269972686606. Call-in number 1-877-309-2074. Code: 638111167)

MEDICAID MONEY AT ISSUE: The Social Services Estimating Conference will discuss the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, or FMAP, which helps determine how much money the federal government provides for Florida’s Medicaid program. (9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

KIDCARE PROGRAM CONSIDERED: The Social Services Estimating Conference will discuss expenditures in the KidCare program, which offers health insurance for children. (9:30 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

UNEMPLOYMENT REPORT RELEASED: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will release a January unemployment report, which will be followed by a media call with Adrienne Johnston, the agency’s chief economist. (Report released at 10 a.m., with call at 10:30 a.m.)

CRIST VISITS BUSINESSES: U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., will visit three businesses to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and a new federal stimulus package. (10 a.m., Tabitha’s Exquisite Touch Beauty Salon, 1614 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Also, 10:30 a.m., Funky Flamingo, 1418 58th St. South, Gulfport. Also, 11:15 a.m., Heavy’s Food Truck, 2243 11th St. South, St. Petersburg.)

RECREATIONAL ISSUES DISCUSSED: The South Florida Water Management District will hold an online forum about recreational issues within the district. (5 p.m. Register at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Z-MrzAHsShWE1a2FJfsqQw)

DEMINGS SPEAKS TO NORTH FLORIDA DEMOCRATS: U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., will speak during a Women’s History Month celebration held by the Democratic Club of North Florida. (7:10 p.m. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85098329739?pwd=MmNDa3E0YkR6QytGVEF1V0RUdjhQdz09)

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