Capitol Watch for Tuesday, March 16

Capitol Watch for Tuesday, March 16
Florida lawmakers began a 60-day session March 2. (Source: News Service of Florida)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WWSB) - The following bills are being considered by committees in the Florida Legislature March 16:

UTILITY PREEMPTION BILL PROPOSED: The Senate Community Affairs Committee will consider a proposal (SB 1128), filed by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, that would prevent local governments from restricting the types of fuel that utilities can use for energy production. (9 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

BISCAYNE BAY DISCUSSED: The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 1177), filed by Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Miami Springs, that would take steps to improve water quality in Biscayne Bay. (9:30 a.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

CHARTER SCHOOLS AT ISSUE: The House Early Learning & Elementary Education Subcommittee will consider a proposal (HB 51), filed by Rep. Stan McClain, R-Ocala, that would allow state universities and colleges to sponsor charter schools. (9:30 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

IMPACT FEES EYED: The House Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 337), filed by Rep. Nick DiCeglie, R-Indian Rocks Beach, that would place additional restrictions on local impact fees. (9:30 a.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

SMOKING IN PARKS TARGETED: The House Professions & Public Health Subcommittee will consider a bill (HB 239), filed by Rep. Thad Altman, R-Indialantic, that would allow local governments to restrict smoking at their parks and beaches. (9:30 a.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

CITIZENS INSURANCE AT ISSUE: The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will take up a bill (SB 1574), filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, that would make a series of changes related to the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. That includes changes to surcharges that can be collected if Citizens runs deficits because of paying claims. (9:30 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

STATE PARKS COULD GO ON THE ROAD: The Senate Transportation Committee will consider a proposal (SB 676), filed by Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, that would create a Florida state parks specialty license plate. (9:30 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

INDEPENDENT LIVING AIDED: The Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee will take up a bill (SB 224), filed by Sen. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach, that would provide a sales-tax exemption for certain items that help people live independently. The items include bed rails, grab bars and shower seats. (12:30 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

VACCINE FRAUD BILL TEED UP: The Senate Criminal Justice Committee will take up a bill (SB 1608), filed by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, that would crack down on scammers who provide fraudulent information about COVID-19 vaccines and personal protective equipment. The House this month passed its version of the bill. (12:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

BRIGHT FUTURES ON AGENDA: The Senate Education Committee will consider a proposal (SB 86), filed by Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, that would make changes to student financial aid, including the Bright Futures scholarship program. (12:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

HUMAN TRAFFICKING TARGETED: The House Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 523), filed by Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, that would take a series of steps to help victims of human trafficking. (1 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

DUAL ENROLLMENT DISCUSSED: The House Post-Secondary Education & Lifelong Learning Subcommittee will consider a proposal (HB 281), filed by Rep. Wyman Duggan, R-Jacksonville, and Rep. Ardian Zika, R-Land O’ Lakes, that would reimburse colleges and universities for tuition and instructional material costs incurred by high-school students who are dual enrolled. (1 p.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

PSC MEETINGS EXEMPTION PROPOSED: The House Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 1311), filed by Rep. Bobby Payne, R-Palatka, that would create a public-meetings exemption for portions of meetings of the Public Service Commission that involve discussion of proprietary confidential business information. (1 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

LAWMAKER RECORDS EXEMPTION DEBATED: The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee will take up a bill (SB 1488), filed by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, that would create a public-records exemption for information about the home addresses, telephone numbers and dates of birth of state lawmakers, Cabinet members and their spouses and children. (3:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

PPE RESERVE PROPOSED: The Senate Military and Veterans Affairs, Space and Domestic Security Committee and the House Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee will consider proposals (SB 1760 and HB 1353), filed by Sen. Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula, and Rep. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville, that would require the state Division of Emergency Management to have an adequate amount of personal-protective equipment available that could be purchased by health-care providers during declared emergencies because of communicable or infectious diseases. (Senate committee at 3:30 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building. House committee at 3:45 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING TARGETED: The Senate Regulated Industries Committee will take up a proposal (SB 268), filed by Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, that would block occupational licensing by local governments. (3:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

WINE CONTAINERS ON MENU: The House Commerce Committee will take up a proposal (HB 6073), filed by Rep. Chip LaMarca, R-Lighthouse Point, that would repeal a law limiting the sizes of wine containers that can be sold in Florida. (3:45 p.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

COMMUNICATIONS TAX ON AGENDA: The Revenue Estimating Conference will analyze the communications services tax and the gross receipts tax. (2 p.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

ATLANTIC RIDGE PARK PLANS DISCUSSED: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is holding a virtual meeting on updating a plan for Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park in Martin County. (5:30 p.m. Register at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5672449070019426576)

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