Capitol Watch: April 20, 2021

Capitol Watch: April 20, 2021
(Source: News Service of Florida)

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

ELECTIONS BILL DEBATED: The Senate Rules Committee is slated to take up numerous high-profile issues, including a measure (SB 90), sponsored by Ethics and Elections Chairman Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, that would add a series of restrictions to voting by mail. Other bills on the agenda include a proposal (SB 522), filed by Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, that targets local regulation of vacation-rental properties; a proposal (SB 1922), filed by Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, that would revamp alimony laws; and a proposal (SB 2012), filed by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, that could block transgender females from participating in girls’ and women’s high-school and college sports. (8:30 a.m. 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

HOUSE TO TAKE UP VOUCHERS REVAMP: The House will take up dozens of issues during a floor session, including a proposed revamp of the state’s school-vouchers programs. The proposal (HB 7045), sponsored by PreK-12 Appropriations Chairman Randy Fine, R-Brevard County, would expand eligibility for vouchers and consolidate current voucher programs. Among other bills, the House will take up a proposed constitutional amendment (HJR 1461), sponsored by Rep. Sam Garrison, R-Fleming Island, that seeks to impose eight-year term limits on county school board members and a bill (HB 1559), sponsored by Rep. Anthony Rodriguez, R-Miami, that would overhaul the state’s alimony laws. (10 a.m., House chamber, the Capitol.)

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

HOUSE RULES MEETS: The House Rules Committee is slated to meet. (15 minutes after the House floor session, 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

MEDICAID EXPANSION BACKED: U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., state Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, and state Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, are expected to take part in an online rally to support expanding eligibility for Medicaid. The event will be hosted by the group Health Care for Florida. (6 p.m. Register at


NEW COLLEGE TRUSTEES MEET: The New College of Florida Board of Trustees will hold an online meeting. (2:30 p.m. Meeting ID: 91515384981)

WATER, SEWER RATES AT ISSUE: The Florida Public Service Commission will consider a proposal by Utilities, Inc. of Florida to raise water and wastewater rates in Charlotte, Highlands, Lake, Lee, Marion, Orange, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Seminole counties. (9:30 a.m. Online at

DRUG POLICY DISCUSSED: The Statewide Drug Policy Advisory Council will meet. (8:30 a.m. Call-in number: 850-792-1375. ID: 861461119)

VIRTUAL SCHOOL BOARD MEETS: The Florida Virtual School Board of Trustees will hold an online meeting. (9 a.m. Meeting ID: 89425596085. Passcode: 602645. Call-in number: 1-312-626-6799)

ST. PETERSBURG COLLEGE TRUSTEES MEET: The St. Petersburg College Board of Trustees will meet. (9 a.m., EpiCenter, 13805 58th St. North, Clearwater.)

MIAMI DADE COLLEGE TRUSTEES MEET: The Miami Dade College Board of Trustees will meet. (8 a.m., Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, Chapman Conference Center, 300 N.E. Second Ave., Miami. Livestream at

TRIUMPH GULF COAST MEETS: The Triumph Gulf Coast Board will meet, with the agenda including a $3.86 million truck-driver training program at Pensacola State College and a $2.84 million grant for the Okaloosa County School District’s Artificial Intelligence Learning Institute. (9:30 a.m. Central time. Call-in number: 1-877-568-4106. Code: 733061565)

FAU TRUSTEES MEET: The Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet. (10 a.m., Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton Campus, Schmidt Family Complex, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton. Online at

UNION MEMBERS FIGHT DUES BILL: Republican members of several unions will hold a news conference to oppose a bill (SB 1014) that would make a series of changes affecting public-employee unions. (Noon, outside the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, 505 West Pensacola St., Tallahassee.)

PATRONIS TOUTS LIABILITY PROTECTIONS: State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis will hold a news conference in Duval County to discuss the recent passage of a bill (SB 72) that shields health-care providers from lawsuits related to COVID-19. (2 p.m., Brooks Rehabilitation, 3599 University Blvd. South, Jacksonville.)

SANTA FE COLLEGE TRUSTEES MEET: The Santa Fe College Board of Trustees will hold a workshop, followed by a regular board meeting. (Workshop at 2 p.m., board meeting at 4 p.m., Santa Fe College, 3000 N.W. 83rd St., Gainesville.)

PENSACOLA COLLEGE TRUSTEES MEET: The Pensacola State College Board of Trustees will meet in Santa Rosa County after holding committee meetings. (Committees at 5 p.m., with full board at 5:30 p.m., Pensacola State College, Milton Campus, 5988 Highway 90, Milton.)

NORTH FLORIDA COLLEGE TRUSTEES MEET: The North Florida College Board of Trustees will meet. (5:30 p.m., North Florida College, Lakeside Room, Student Center, Madison.)

PASCO-HERNANDO COLLEGE TRUSTEES MEET: The Pasco-Hernando State College Board of Trustees will meet. (6 p.m., Pasco-Hernando State College, Spring Hill Campus, Rao Musunuru, M.D. Conference Center, 450 Beverly Court, Spring Hill. Online at Meeting ID: 95402898356. Call-in number: 1-646-558-8656)

CHIPOLA COLLEGE TRUSTEES MEET: The Chipola College Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet. (6:30 p.m., Chipola College, Public Service Building, Marianna.)

HURRICANE MICHAEL MONEY AT ISSUE: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will hold a meeting in Jackson County to gather input about the state’s efforts to access $46.9 million in federal mitigation funding for communities affected by Hurricane Michael. (5:30 p.m. Central time, Chipola College Continuing Education and Conference Center, Building S, 3094 Indian Circle, Marianna.)

STATE ROAD 20 DISCUSSED: The Florida Department of Transportation will hold a hearing to discuss improvements to State Road 20 from Okaloosa County to Washington County. (5:30 p.m. Central time, Heritage Church, 926 County Highway 83A West, Freeport.)

FRIED SPEAKS TO VOLUSIA DEMOCRATS: Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is slated to speak during an online meeting of the Volusia Young Democrats. (7 p.m. Register at

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