Capitol Watch: April 8, 2021

Capitol Watch: April 8, 2021
(Source: News Service of Florida)

TALLAHASSEE (News Service of Florida) - Here’s what’s on tap in the Capitol today.

HOUSE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The House is scheduled to hold a floor session and pass a proposed $97 billion budget (HB 5001) for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The House also is expected to approve a measure (SB 50) that would require out-of-state online retailers to collect and remit sales taxes when Floridians make purchases. (9 a.m., House chamber, the Capitol.)

TELEHEALTH AT ISSUE: The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a bill (SB 700), filed by Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, R-Doral, that would make a series of changes that could help expand the use of telehealth in Florida. (9 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY SOUGHT: The Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (SB 1412), filed by Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, that would make a series of changes related to pedestrian crosswalks. (9 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

CITIZENS INSURANCE AT ISSUE: The Senate Agriculture, Environment and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee will consider 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. (11:30 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

LEGAL NOTICE CHANGES CONSIDERED: The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a proposal (SB 402), filed by Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, that would make changes in a requirement that local governments publish legal notices in newspapers. (11:30 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

TUITION AND FEE WAIVERS AT ISSUE: The Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a bill (SB 1798), filed by Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, that would provide tuition and fee waivers for students pursuing degrees in fields such as science, math and engineering at state universities. Students who pay full tuition and fees for one course in those areas would receive a tuition-and-fee waiver for another course. (11:30 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

REDISTRICTING AT ISSUE: Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, is expected to take part in an online media call to discuss the upcoming redistricting process. The call will be held by the League of Women Voters of Florida, FairDistricts Now, Florida Rising and All on the Line. (11:30 a.m. Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYvdOusqTIsGdQ5AZNofGI5PVosY368nom-)

SENATE DEMOCRATS GATHER: The Senate Democratic Caucus will meet before a floor session. (1:30 p.m., 228 Senate Office Building, the Capitol. Public access at https://flsenate.zoom.us/j/9165394846?pwd=STZscXo3UVBaeVE5ZUJ2MXpBWTBwdz09#success. Meeting ID: 9165394846. Passcode: 410275)

SENATE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The Senate will hold a floor session and is expected to approve a bill (SB 84), sponsored by Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, that would require most new government employees to enroll in a 401(k)-style retirement plan rather than the state’s traditional pension system. Senators also are expected to approve a measure (SB 86), filed by Sen. Dennis Baxley. R-Ocala, that would make changes in the Bright Futures scholarship program. (2:30 p.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)

INCARCERATED WOMEN AT ISSUE: The coalition Dignity Power, which works on issues related to incarcerated women and girls, will hold a news conference that is expected to include Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, Rep. Angie Nixon, D-Jacksonville, and Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando. (3 p.m., in front of the Old Capitol, Tallahassee.)

SPECIAL ORDER SET: The House  Rules Committee will set a special-order calendar, which will list bills to be heard April 13 and April 15 on the House floor. (4:30 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

MAIL-IN VOTING AT ISSUE: The House Appropriations Committee will take up a controversial bill (HB 7041), filed by Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, that would make a series of changes in state laws about voting by mail. (5:30 p.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

FLOODING TAX BREAK PROPOSED: The House Ways & Means Committee 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. (5:30 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

APPEAL HEARD IN INMATE MURDER: The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in two issues, including an appeal by Barry Noetzel, who was sentenced to death in the 2019 murder of fellow Mayo Correctional Institution inmate Donald Eastwood. (9 a.m. The arguments will be held by video conference. Livestream information at https://www.floridasupremecourt.org/Oral-Arguments/Oral-Argument-Broadcasts)

SOUTH FLORIDA WATER BOARD MEETS: The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board will meet. (9 a.m. Register at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_xzBK9J-tS1O8BYKUBthY5A)

MASSAGE THERAPY ISSUES ADDRESSED: The Florida Board of Massage Therapy is scheduled to meet. (9 a.m. Call-in number: 1-888-585-9008. Code: 508909666)

FRIED TESTIFIES ON TRADE PRACTICES: Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried will testify before the U.S. International Trade Commission as part of an investigation into foreign imports and unfair trade practices dealing with seasonal produce. (9:30 a.m. https://usitc.webex.com/webappng/sites/usitc/meeting/download/05831e9e565742cf9f67e409a1fcdeb1?siteurl=usitc&MTID=mef3328b249b29ef2fc760c287190f301)

ETHICS COMMISSION APPLICANTS INTERVIEWED: A Florida Commission on Ethics advisory committee will interview five candidates to become the commission’s executive director. The candidates are Thomas David, Rodney MacKinnon, Kenneth Peluso, William Spillias and Kerrie Stillman. (10 a.m. https://zoom.us/j/96121966752. Passcode: 868018. Call-in number 1-312-626-6799. Webinar ID: 96121966752)

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

UNEMPLOYMENT SYSTEM CRITICIZED: The South Florida AFL-CIO, the Broward AFL-CIO, the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast AFL-CIO and the Southwest Florida Labor Chapter will hold a news conference to discuss Florida’s unemployment system. (11 a.m. https://aflcio.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEuceyupzgvHN0-QuScJanm57jBeNwIE37N)

NURSING ISSUES DISCUSSED: The Florida Board of Nursing is scheduled to meet. (1:30 p.m. Call-in number: 1-888-585-9008. Code: 275112502)

SOUTHWEST SNOOK AND SEATROUT AT ISSUE: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will conclude a series of online workshops on the short-term management of snook, redfish and spotted seatrout in Southwest Florida. The meeting is focused on the Tampa Bay area. (6 p.m. Information at https://myfwc.com/news/all-news/sw-workshops-321/)

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