Wednesday legislative agenda includes flood insurance, warning shots, budgets and red light cameras

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Both chambers of the Legislature have morning sessions on Wednesday; the Senate will vote on the private flood insurance marketplace proposed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, a controversial bill limiting lawsuits in the cases of nursing home abuses and decriminalizing the firing of a “warning shot” in the state’s Stand Your Ground self-defense laws.

Senate committees will also consider moving the responsibility for choosing textbooks from the state to local school boards, as well as the repeal of Florida’s red-light camera laws.

On the House side, budgets are on the agenda, in addition to hammering out details on various sales-tax holidays, as part of a package of tax reductions. Another committee will work on a measure to the U.S. congress urging them to abolish all taxes on income and enact a national retail sales tax.

9 a.m.:

The House meets in a morning session.

9:30 a.m.:

The Senate will meet in a morning session and could take up a wide range of issues, including a proposal (SB 542), filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, that would seek to boost a private flood-insurance market in Florida. It also could consider issues such as proposal (SB 670), filed by Sen. John Thrasher, that would add restrictions on lawsuits against nursing homes, as well as final consideration of bills prohibiting the collection of certain data of public school students and protecting the right to fire a warning shot when an individual feels threaten.

10 a.m.:

Gov. Rick Scott’s appointees receive a special welcome to the Gulf Consortium in the Tallahassee City Commission Chambers. More information can be found here

1 p.m.:

The House Appropriations Committee meets in Room 212 of the Knott Building to take up the House’s initial budget proposal for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

The House Finance & Tax Subcommittee meets in Morris Hall of the House Office Building to consider a package of proposed tax cuts, including a series of sales-tax holidays.

The House Appropriations Committee meets in Webster Hall, Room 212 of the Knott Building to consider a dozen bills, including HB 5201, to update Medicaid calculations in the disproportionate share program and HB 5305, to determine the total amount of non-fiscally constrained counties’ annual contribution for costs of juvenile detention care.

The House Finance & Tax Subcommittee meets in Morris Hall, Room 17 of the House Office Building to consider eight bills, including HM 15, a memorial urging Congress to repeal all taxes on income and enact a national retail sales tax; HB 117, which makes changes to public retirement plans; HJR 473, to exempt municipality-owned properties from ad valorem taxes; and HB which attempts to lower the communications services tax.

1:30 p.m.:

The Senate Governmental Oversight & Accountability Committee meets in Room 412 of the Knott Building to take up a proposal (SB 864), filed by Sen. Alan Hays, to shift responsibility for selecting instructional materials from the state to local school boards.

The Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee meets in Room 110 Senate Office Building.

The Senate Regulated Industries Committee meets in Room 301 of the Senate Office Building.

The Senate Transportation Committee meets in Room 37 of the Senate Building to consider a bill (SB 144), filed by Chairman Jeff Brandes, that would repeal the state’s red-light camera law. The committee postponed SB 144 temporarily when the committee met March 20.

4 p.m.:

The Senate Rules Committee will meet in Room 110 of the Senate building to consider a wide range of bills, including SB 278, filed by Sen. Denise Grimsley, which would increase the number of pharmacy technicians that pharmacists can supervise. They will also take up a proposal to provide the Miami-area with a needle-and-syringe pilot program. The city is battling epidemics of HIV and intravenous drug addiction. 

Elsewhere in Florida:

The Elections Canvassing Commission will meet at 9 a.m. in the Cabinet meeting room to certify the results of two elections held March 11. Republican David Jolly won a special general election in Congressional District 13, while former state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle won a special Republican primary election in State House District 44.

Rep. Ricardo Rangel, will continue to host health-care “navigators” in his district office at 9 a.m. in 704 Mabbette St., Kissimmee to try to help increase enrollment in coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.

The Florida Supreme Court will hear oral arguments at 10 a.m. in T.S., a juvenile v. State. The case centers around whether police may search people based solely upon a physical description. A police officer’s search of a juvenile led to weapons charges. The officer stopped the juvenile based on information from an unidentified man who said he was threatened with a gun. The juvenile argues that the stop was unconstitutional because it stemmed only from a physical description provided by the unidentified man. The Florida Supreme Court is located at 500 South Duval St., Tallahassee.

The Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy tour comes to Tallahassee to visit facilities using renewable energy and hold a legislative briefing. The tour starts at 1 p.m. with a site visit to Folsom Manufacturing, 2380 Plant Street. More information can be found here.

Democratic attorney-general candidate George Sheldon will take part in a fund-raising event in Tampa at 5:30 p.m., 1523 East Seventh Ave., Tampa.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a meeting in Marion County at 6 p.m. to gather information about a plan by Sabal Trail Transmission to build a 474-mile natural gas pipeline from Alabama to Central Florida. The meeting is at Rainbow Springs Country Club, 19330 Southwest 82nd Place Road, Dunnellon.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.