Capitol Watch: April 16, 2021

Florida lawmakers will convene a 60-day session beginning March 2.
Florida lawmakers will convene a 60-day session beginning March 2.(News Service of Florida)
Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 7:13 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE (News Service of Florida) - Here’s what’s on tap in the Capitol today.

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. (8 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

TOLL ROAD REVAMP TAKEN UP: The House Appropriations  Committee will take up a bill (SB 100) that would largely scuttle a 2019 law that called for three controversial toll-road projects. The 2019 law, a priority of then-Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, called for building a toll road from Collier County to Polk County; extending Florida’s Turnpike to connect with the Suncoast Parkway; and extending the Suncoast Parkway from Citrus County to Jefferson County. But the new plan, which passed the Senate last month, would eliminate the toll road from Collier County to Polk County, while requiring plans to extend the turnpike west from Wildwood to the Suncoast Parkway. It also would lay out a route that would weave the Suncoast Parkway north along U.S. 19 to connect with Interstate 10 in Madison County. (8:30 a.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

TAX ‘HOLIDAYS’ EYED: The House Ways & Means Committee will consider a proposal (PCB WMC 21-01) that would provide $61.5 million in tax reductions next fiscal year, including holding sales tax “holidays” on back-to-school supplies and hurricane gear and a “freedom week” related to entertainment and outdoor activities. (8:30 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

SMOKING, VAPING AT ISSUE: The Senate Rules Committee will take up numerous issues, including a bill (SB 1080), filed by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, that would make a series of changes related to regulating smoking tobacco and vaping. (9 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

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


SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY BOARD MEETS: The Florida Board of Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology will meet. (9 a.m. Call-in number: 1-877-568-4106. Code: 506525493)

SPECIAL ELECTION SOUGHT: Democratic U.S. House members Charlie Crist, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz will hold an online news conference to call on Gov. Ron DeSantis to quickly schedule a special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings in Congressional District 20. (9:30 a.m. Reporters may register at

UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS RELEASED: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is scheduled to release March unemployment figures and will hold a media availability with chief economist Adrienne Johnston. (Report released at 10 a.m., with media availability at 10:30 a.m.)

FOOD INSECURITY AT ISSUE: Agriculture Nikki Fried will host a roundtable event in Miami-Dade County to discuss food insecurity. (10 a.m., Red Rooster Overtown, 920 N.W. Second Ave., Miami.)

UNION BILLS OPPOSED: Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees will hold a rally to oppose legislation (SB 1014 and HB 835) that would place new restrictions on public-employee unions. (10:30 a.m., outside the office of Sen. Ileana Garcia, 2828 Coral Way, Miami.)

‘IMPACT’ CONFERENCE HELD: The Revenue Estimating Conference will hold an “impact” conference, which involves analyzing potential costs of legislation. (11 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

ETHICS COMMISSION MEETS: The Florida Commission on Ethics will meet and take up issues from Tallahassee, Indian River County, Madison County, Monroe County, Delray Beach and Temple Terrace. (11 a.m., Leon County Courthouse, commission chamber, 301 South Monroe St., Tallahassee.)

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