Capitol Watch: April 19, 2021

Capitol Watch: April 19, 2021
(Source: News Service of Florida)

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

CONFIRMATION HEARINGS HELD: The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee will consider the confirmations of dozens of appointees to state jobs and boards. Among the appointees on the agenda are Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris; State Board of Education members Monesia Brown and Tom Grady; and state university system Board of Governors members Aubrey Edge, Edward Haddock Jr., H. Wayne Huizenga Jr. and Kenneth Jones. (8:30 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SOCIAL MEDIA CRACKDOWN ON AGENDA: The Senate Appropriations Committee will take up numerous issues, including a bill (SB 7072), sponsored by Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, that is designed to crack down on social media companies that block users from their platforms. The bill, in part, would bar social media companies from removing political candidates from the companies’ platforms. Companies that violate the prohibition could face fines of $100,000 a day for statewide candidates and $10,000 a day for other candidates.  The proposal also would require social-media companies to publish standards about issues such as blocking users and apply the standards consistently. Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republican leaders have made the issue a priority after decisions by Twitter and Facebook to block former President Donald Trump from their platforms in January after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol to try to prevent certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory. (10 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

PROPERTY INSURANCE CHANGES EYED: The House Commerce Committee will take up a proposal (HB 305), sponsored by Rep. Bob Rommel, R-Naples, that would make changes in Florida’s property insurance system. Among other things, it would gradually allow larger annual rate increases for customers of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. (10 a.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

DEMOCRATS HOLD MEDIA AVAILABILITY: House Minority Co-leader Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach, Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, and Rep. Tracie Davis, D-Jacksonville, will hold an online media availability. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried also is expected to take part. (10 a.m. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87214481320?pwd=SFBSNytndGxkN0lwL2luWVpLcmpWdz09)

EMERGENCY POWERS AT ISSUE: The House Health & Human Services Committee will take up a bill (HB 7047), sponsored by Rep. Tom Leek, R-Ormond Beach, that would make a series of changes related to emergency management, including placing restrictions on local emergency orders. (Noon, Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

‘GRANDPARENT TUITION WAIVER’ CONSIDERED: The House Education & Employment Committee will take up a bill (HB 1273), filed by Rep. Patt Maney, R-Shalimar, that would allow high-performing students who live outside of Florida to pay in-state tuition rates at public universities if their grandparents reside in the Sunshine State. (2:30 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

NO-FAULT REPEAL ON AGENDA: The House Judiciary Committee will take up a proposal (HB 719), filed by Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, that would end Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system. The proposal seeks to replace the requirement that motorists carry personal-injury protection coverage --- key to the no-fault system --- with mandatory bodily injury coverage. (2:30 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

MAIL-IN VOTING AT ISSUE: The House State Affairs Committee will take up a bill (HB 7041), filed by Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, that would make a series of changes in elections laws, including controversial changes to the vote-by-mail system. (2:30 p.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

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

HOUSE SPECIAL ORDER SET: The House Rules Committee will set a special-order calendar, which will list bills to be heard on the House floor. (6 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

LATE NIGHT WITH COMMERCE COMMITTEE: The House Commerce Committee has scheduled a meeting to resume considering issues from earlier in the day. (8:30 p.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

SEMINOLE STATE TRUSTEES MEET: The Seminole State College of Florida Board of Trustees will meet. (8 a.m., Seminole State College of Florida, Sanford/Lake Mary Campus, Building C, 100 Weldon Blvd., Sanford. Online at https://www.seminolestate.edu/live-video)

SERVICE HELD FOR LONGTIME SENATE SECRETARY: A graveside service will be held in Liberty County for Joe Brown, who served from 1974 to 1996 as secretary of the Florida Senate. Brown died Friday at age 88 at Big Bend Hospice in Tallahassee. (11 a.m., Bristol cemetery, Bristol.)

TCC TRUSTEES MEET: The Tallahassee Community College Board of Trustees will meet. (2:30 p.m., Tallahassee Community College, Student Union, 444 Appleyard Dr., Tallahassee. Online registration at https://tccfl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_K4yNrtnFQySCMWpghobPfg)

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