On Tap in the Capital: Wednesday, March 15, 2017
ON TAP IN THE CAPITAL: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

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Legislature:

LOCAL PROJECTS REVIEWED: The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee will take up numerous bills dealing with local projects. (Agriculture & Natural Resources, 8 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol. Also, Transportation & Tourism, 8 a.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

TOUGHER PENALTIES SOUGHT FOR UNDOCUMENTED CRIMINALS: The House Criminal Justice Committee will consider a proposal (HB 83), filed by Rep. Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral, that would lead to increased penalties for undocumented immigrants who commit crimes such as assault, aggravated assault and battery. (9 a.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

UNDERGROUND POWER LINES CONSIDERED: The House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 1055), filed by Rep. Clay Ingram, R-Pensacola, that would make clear the state Public Service Commission has "exclusive jurisdiction" to require that electric transmission lines be buried underground. The proposal comes after a 3rd District Court of Appeal ruling in a dispute about transmission lines for a proposed Florida Power & Light nuclear project in Miami-Dade County. (9 a.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

OPTOMETRIST POWERS WEIGHED: The House Health Quality Subcommittee will consider a proposal (HB 1037), filed by Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, that would expand the authority of optometrists, including allowing optometrists to perform surgical procedures. (9 a.m., Mashburn Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

INSURANCE TAX CREDIT AT ISSUE: The Senate Finance and Tax Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (SB 378), filed by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, that would eliminate a decades-old insurance industry tax credit while also lowering the state's communications-services tax on cell-phone and pay-TV services. Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, has long called for eliminating the tax credit. (9:30 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

FOSTER FAMILIES COULD GET FEE BREAK: The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a proposal (SB 64), filed by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, that would require the Department of Environmental Protection to provide free annual state-park entrance passes to foster families. Also, the families would receive a discount on campsite fees. (9:30 a.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

FINANCIAL LITERACY SOUGHT: The Senate PreK-12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a proposal (SB 392), filed by Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, that would require high-school students to take financial-literacy courses. (9:30 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

ZIKA THREAT AT ISSUE: Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-North Fort Myers, and the Florida Mosquito Control Association will take part in a news conference to discuss the upcoming mosquito season and the threat of a Zika outbreak. (9:30 a.m., Room 333, the Capitol.)

SENATE DEMOCRATS GATHER: The Senate Democratic caucus is scheduled to meet. (Noon, 200 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SENATE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The Senate is scheduled to hold a floor session and could vote on a measure (SB 128), sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, that would shift a key burden of proof in "stand your ground" self-defense cases. The proposal stems from a Florida Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that said defendants have the burden of proof to show they should be shielded from prosecution under the "stand your ground" law. In "stand your ground" cases, pre-trial evidentiary hearings are held to determine whether defendants should be immune from prosecution. The bill would shift that burden of proof from defendants to prosecutors. (1 p.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)

BUDGET REDUCTIONS DISCUSSED: The House Appropriations Committee will receive a report from subcommittee chairs about a budget-reduction exercise. (2:30 p.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

STATE COLLEGE CHANGES SOUGHT: The Senate Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (SB 374), filed by Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, that would make wide-ranging changes in the Florida College System. In part, the bill would re-establish a State Board of Community Colleges to oversee the 28 state colleges. Florida previously had a community college board, but it was abolished in 2003 and its oversight duties were given to the State Board of Education, which also oversees the pre-kindergarten-through-high school system. (4 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

OTHER LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS:
--- House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee (8 a.m., 12 House Office Building, the Capitol)
--- Senate General Government Appropriations Subcommittee (4 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)
--- Senate Regulated Industries Committee (4 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

FLORIDA POLYTECHNIC TRUSTEES MEET: The Florida Polytechnic University Board of Trustees will meet after holding a series of committee meetings. (Committee meetings start at 8:30 a.m., with full board scheduled at 3 p.m., Florida Polytechnic University, Admissions Center, 4700 Research Way, Lakeland.)

CITRUS ISSUES ON THE TABLE: The Florida Citrus Commission is scheduled to meet. (9 a.m., Florida Department of Citrus, 605 East Main St., Bartow.)

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

CITIZENS INSURANCE BOARD HOLDS CALL: The Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Board of Directors is scheduled to hold a conference call. (4:30 p.m. Call-in number: 1-888-942-8686. Code: 5743735657#)


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3/15/2017

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