Advances: Week of April 16, 2017
ADVANCES: WEEK OF APRIL 16, 2017

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THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, APRIL 14, 2017........ With the scheduled May 5 end of the legislative session drawing closer, the Florida House and Senate will take up a series of high-profile bills during the coming week. Those bills will include proposed changes to the workers' compensation insurance system and proposed statewide regulations for ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft. Meanwhile, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will again grapple with the issue of managing the state's black-bear population.

MONDAY, APRIL 17, 2017

Legislature:

LATVALA AT TIGER BAY: Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, is scheduled to speak to the Capital Tiger Bay Club. (Monday, 11:30 a.m., Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, 505 West Pensacola St., Tallahassee.)

'SPECIAL ORDER' CALENDAR SET: The Senate Special Order Calendar Group will meet to set the "special order calendar," which lists bills that will be heard on the Senate floor. (Monday, 1 p.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

STADIUM FUNDING AT ISSUE: The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee is expected to take up a bill (SB 236), filed by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, that would repeal a controversial 2014 sports-development program. The program set up a process for professional sports franchises to seek money for stadium projects. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION DEBATED: The Senate Criminal Justice Committee will consider a proposal (SB 1662), filed by Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. The bill would lead to civil penalties instead of criminal charges. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

GARDINER SCHOLARSHIPS CONSIDERED: The Senate Education Committee will take up a bill (SB 902), filed by Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, that would expand the Gardiner Scholarships program, which helps parents pay for education services for children with disabilities. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

FOSTER CHILDREN DISCUSSED: The Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee will receive a presentation by the state Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, or OPPAGA, about the characteristics of children in foster homes and group homes. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

INSURANCE FRAUD TARGETED: The House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a proposal (HB 1007), filed by Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, that would place requirements on insurers to try to prevent fraud. (Monday, 2 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

TRAUMA CENTERS CONSIDERED: The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a bill (HB 1077), filed by Rep. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, that would repeal limits on the numbers of trauma facilities across the state. (Monday, 2 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

EXPRESS LANES ON THE AGENDA: The House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a proposal (HB 1387), filed by Rep. Jeanette Nunez, R-Miami, that would make changes related to highway express lanes. (Monday, 2 p.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

HEALTH LEADERS UP FOR CONFIRMATION: The Senate Health Policy Committee will hold confirmation hearings for Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Justin Senior and state Surgeon General Celeste Philip, who is secretary of the Department of Health. (Monday, 4 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

TAX REFERENDUMS AT ISSUE: The Senate Community Affairs Committee will consider a bill (SB 278), filed by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, that would only allow local governments to hold sales-tax referendums during primary and general elections. Also, the bill would require referendums held during primary elections to get the support of 60 percent of voters for approval. (Monday, 4 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DISCUSSED: The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee will consider a proposal (SB 600), filed by Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, that would make changes in the state's rural economic-development efforts. (Monday, 4 p.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

FIRST RESPONDERS AT ISSUE: The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will take up a bill (SB 1088), filed by Sen. Victor Torres, D-Orlando, that seeks changes that could help first responders receive benefits for mental or nervous injuries. (Monday, 4 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

TERRORISM TARGETED: The Senate Military and Veterans Affairs, Space and Domestic Security Committee will consider a proposal (SB 476), filed by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, that would address in state law a series of terrorism-related crimes. (Monday, 4 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

WATER PROTECTION ON THE TABLE: The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a bill (HB 573), filed by Rep. Colleen Burton, R-Lakeland, that is dubbed the “Heartland Headwaters Protection and Sustainability Act.” The bill deals with water-protection issues in areas of Central Florida such as Green Swamp. (Monday, 4 p.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

UTILITY SERVICES THEFT AT ISSUE: The House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 879), filed by Rep. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, aimed at cracking down on the theft of utility services. Such thefts can occur, for example, in the operation of illegal marijuana grow houses. (Monday, 4 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION BILL CONSIDERED: The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a proposal (HB 907), filed by Rep. Sam Killebrew, R-Winter Haven, that would make changes related to the Florida Endowment for Vocational Rehabilitation. (Monday, 4 p.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

MURPHY MEETS WITH CONSTITUENTS: U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., will hold a "coffee with your congresswoman" event. (Monday, 2 p.m., Maitland Public Library, 501 Maitland Ave. South, Maitland.)

DESANTIS APPEARS AT EMBRY-RIDDLE: U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., is slated to take part in Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Spring Speaker Series. (Monday, 7 p.m., Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Willie Miller Instructional Center, Daytona Beach.)

TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 2017

Legislature:

MEDICAL MARIJUANA ON THE TABLE: The House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee will consider proposals (HB 1397 and SB 406), filed by House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, and Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, that would carry out a November constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in the state. (Tuesday, House Appropriations at 9 a.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol. Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations at 4 p.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SENATE DEMOCRATS HUDDLE: The Senate Democratic caucus will meet in advance of a floor session. (Tuesday, 9:15 a.m., 200 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

RIDESHARING BILL HEADS TO SENATE FLOOR: The Senate will hold a floor session and consider a series of bills, including a proposal (SB 340), filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, that would create statewide regulations for ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)

COMMUNICATION TAXES AT ISSUE: The House Ways & Means Committee will hold a workshop on "taxation of communication services." (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

HOUSE WEIGHS WORKERS' COMPENSATION CHANGES: The House will hold a floor session and take up numerous issues, including a proposal (HB 7085), filed by Insurance & Banking Chairman Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, that would make changes in the workers' compensation insurance system. Lawmakers are grappling with the issue after regulators last year approved a 14.5 percent rate increase for businesses. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., House chamber, the Capitol.)

CREDIT CARD 'SKIMMING' TARGETED: The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a bill (SB 766), filed by Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, that would take further steps to crack down on the use of "skimming" devices to fraudulently obtain credit-card information. (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

'BEST AND BRIGHTEST' EDUCATORS AT ISSUE: The Senate Pre-K-12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a series of issues, including a bill (SB 1552), filed by Chairman David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, that would revamp the Best and Brightest teacher-bonus program. Among other things, the bill would expand the program to include school principals. (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCIES CONSIDERED: The Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (SB 1770), filed by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, that would place new requirements on community redevelopment agencies and could lead to the termination of some of the agencies. (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

CRAFT BREWERIES COULD GET BOOST: The Senate General Government Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a proposal (SB 554), filed by Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, that could help craft brewers through changes in distribution laws. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

FOOTBALL PLAYER'S DEATH AT ISSUE: The Senate Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a "claim" bill (SB 48), filed by Minority Leader Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, that would compensate the family of Florida State University football player Devaughn Darling, who died while working out in 2001. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

DUNN STAFF HOLDS 'MOBILE' OFFICE HOURS: Staff members for U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., will hold "mobile" office hours in Liberty and Gulf counties. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Jimmy Weaver Memorial Library, 22149 N.E. State Road 20, Hosford. Also, 1:30 p.m., Charles Whitehead Public Library, 314 North Second St., Wewahitchka.)

GILLUM SPEAKS IN BREVARD: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is expected to speak at an event hosted by Speak Out Brevard. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., Viera High School, 6103 Stadium Parkway, Viera.)

WATER RATES AT ISSUE: The Florida Public Service Commission will hold a customer meeting about a proposal by LP Waterworks, Inc. to raise rates in Highlands County. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., Lake View Clubhouse, 231 Shoreline Dr., Lake Placid.)

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 2017

Legislature:

SENATE DEMOCRATS GATHER: The Senate Democratic caucus will meet in advance of a floor session. (Wednesday, 9:15 a.m., 200 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SENATE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The Senate is scheduled to hold a floor session. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)

SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS AT ISSUE: Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, Rep. Kristin Jacobs, D-Coconut Creek, and organizations such as Lauren's Kids and the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence will hold a news conference as part of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and National Child Abuse Prevention Month. (Wednesday, 12:30 p.m., Capitol rotunda.)

HOUSE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The House is scheduled to hold a floor session. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., House chamber, the Capitol.)

DRONES TARGETED: The Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee will consider a bill (SB 832), filed by Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, that would make it a misdemeanor to operate drones around "critical infrastructure facilities," such as power plants and gas or oil pipelines. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

BLACK BEARS AT ISSUE: The Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee will take up a proposal (SB 1304), filed by Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, that would prevent black bears from being hunted in Florida for a decade and set aside money to help with the purchase of bear-resistant trash containers. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

HEARINGS HELD ON UNIVERSITY TRUSTEES: The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee will hold confirmation hearings for trustees of all 12 state universities. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

LOTTERY WARNING PROPOSED: The Senate Judiciary Committee will take up numerous issues, including a bill (SB 1370), filed by Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, that would require a warning to be placed on lottery tickets. The warning would say, "WARNING: GAMBLING CAN BE ADDICTIVE." (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SCHOOL BUS SAFETY SOUGHT: The Senate Transportation Committee will consider a proposal (SB 1622), filed by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, that would increase penalties for motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses. The bill is named after Cameron Mayhew, a 16-year-old from Fort Myers who died after being hit by a vehicle that illegally passed a stopped school bus. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SENATORS CONSIDER WORKERS' COMP: The Senate Rules Committee will take up a series of bills, including a proposal (SB 1582), filed by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, that would make changes in the workers' compensation insurance system. (Wednesday, 4 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

OTHER SCHEDULED LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS:
--- House Commerce Committee (Wednesday, 8 a.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)
--- House Government Accountability Committee (Wednesday, 8 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
--- House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee (Wednesday, 8 a.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

BEAR MANAGEMENT DISCUSSED: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will start a two-day meeting and is expected to discuss issues related to managing the state' black-bear population. The issue has been controversial since 2015, when the commission approved a bear hunt. The management efforts are aimed at reducing potentially dangerous interactions between humans and bears. (Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., Florida Public Safety Institute, 85 Academy Dr., Havana.)

WORKERS' COMP PANEL MEETS: The state's "Three-Member Panel," which deals with health-care issues in the workers' compensation insurance system, will meet. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Larson Building, 200 East Gaines St., Tallahassee.)

HASTINGS HOLDS TOWN HALL: U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., is expected to hold a town-hall meeting in Palm Beach County. (Wednesday, 12:30 p.m., Boynton Beach Jewish Community Center, 8500 Jog Road, Boynton Beach.)

ROONEY SPEAKS TO SOUTHWEST CHAMBER: U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., is scheduled to speak to The Chamber of Southwest Florida. (Wednesday, 11:30 a.m., The Club at Pelican Preserve, 9802 Pelican Preserve Blvd., Fort Myers.)

DEVELOPMENT FINANCE BOARD MEETS: The Florida Development Finance Corporation Board of Directors is scheduled to meet. (Wednesday, 2 p.m., Enterprise Florida, 800 North Magnolia Ave., Suite 1100, Orlando.)

BUCHANAN SPEAKS TO LONGBOAT KEY GOP: U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., is expected to speak to the Republican Club of Longboat Key. (Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., Longboat Key Club, 220 Sands Point Road, Longboat Key.)

SANDERS, DNC CHAIR APPEAR IN MIAMI: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez will make an appearance in Miami as part of what has been dubbed the "Come Together and Fight Back” tour. (Wednesday, 7 p.m., James L. Knight Center, 400 S.E. Second Ave., Miami.)

THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017

Legislature:

HOUSE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The House is scheduled to hold a floor session. (Thursday, 1 p.m., House chamber, the Capitol.)

OTHER SCHEDULED LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS:
--- House Education Committee (Thursday, 8 a.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
--- House Health & Human Services Committee (Thursday, 8 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
--- House Judiciary Committee (Thursday, 8 a.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)
--- Senate Appropriations Committee (Thursday, 10 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION MEETS: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will finish a two-day meeting and take up a series of issues related to fisheries, manatee-protection zones in Collier County and the status of bald eagles. (Thursday, 8:30 a.m., Florida Public Safety Institute, 85 Academy Dr., Havana.)

DEFENSE ISSUES DISCUSSED: The Florida Defense Support Task Force is scheduled to hold a conference call. (Thursday, 9 a.m. Call-in number: 1- 800-501-8979. Code: 1869945.)

DUNN STAFF HOLDS 'MOBILE' OFFICE HOURS: Staff members for U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., will hold "mobile" office hours in Jackson and Calhoun counties. (Thursday, 10 a.m. Central time, Government Complex, 2864 Madison St., Marianna. Also, 1 p.m. Central time, Calhoun County Library, 17731 N.E. Pear St., Blountstown.)

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

BUCHANAN SPEAKS TO SARASOTA GOP: U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., is expected to speak to the Sarasota Republican Club. (Thursday, 6 p.m., Marina Jack, 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota.)

CRIST AT TIGER BAY EVENT: U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., is scheduled to appear at a Suncoast Tiger Bay "after hours" event. (Thursday, 6 p.m., The Hangar, 540 First St. S.E., St. Petersburg.)

FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 2017

ETHICS COMMISSION MEETS: The Florida Commission on Ethics will take up a series of issues, including a move by House and Senate leaders to place additional restrictions on the commission's operations. (Friday, 8:30 a.m., 1st District Court of Appeal, 2000 Drayton Dr., Tallahassee.)

REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE MEETS: The Revenue Estimating Conference will hold what is known as an "impact" conference. (Friday, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS RELEASED: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is scheduled to release March unemployment figures. (Friday, 10 a.m.)

MORGAN AT TAMPA TIGER BAY: Orlando attorney John Morgan, a potential gubernatorial candidate who led efforts to pass a medical-marijuana constitutional amendment last year, is slated to speak to the Tampa Tiger Bay Club. (Friday, noon, Bryan Glazer Family Jewish Community Center, 522 North Howard Ave., Tampa.)

TELEHEALTH DISCUSSED: The Telehealth Advisory Council will meet to look at ways to increase the use of telehealth, also known as telemedicine. (Friday, noon, GuideWell Innovation, 6555 Sanger Road, Orlando.)

RUTHERFORD AT GOP EVENT: U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., and St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar are expected to take part in a St. Johns County Republican Party fundraising event. (Friday, 7 p.m., St. Joseph Academy, 155 State Road 207, St. Augustine.)

SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 2017

BITTEL AT HILLSBOROUGH EVENT: Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel is expected to appear at the Hillsborough County Democratic Party's "Spring Fling" fundraiser. (Saturday, 6 p.m., Hilton Tampa Downtown, 211 North Tampa St., Tampa.)


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4/14/2017

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