Capital preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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The race to the November election continues this week with both President Obama and Mitt Romney back in the state this week, as well as Paul Ryan and Michelle Obama.

In legislative races, the week starts with a judge in Tallahassee deciding a South Florida Senate recount issue, examining ballots. There are several high profile campaign appearances, including a Alan Grayson-Todd Long Tiger Bay debate in Orlando.

A number of lobbyists will head this week to Jacksonville for the annual conference of the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists.


RECOUNT: Circuit Judge Terry Lewis will take a look at 42 questionable ballots to determine if they were properly rejected last month in the Senate District 27 Democratic primary pitting Jeff Clemens against Mack Bernard, who has contested his 17-vote loss to Clemens. Lewis has ordered the questionable ballots to be transported from Palm Beach County to his office for the review. (Monday, 9 a.m., Leon County Courthouse, Tallahassee.)

SBA INVESTMENT ADVISORS:  The SBA’s Investment Advisory Council meets to go through a number of issues on the eve of the SBA’s quarterly presentation to the governor and Cabinet. The advisory panel will review the agency’s investment portfolio, receive an economic forecast  and get updates on the global real estate markets. (Monday, 1 p.m., 1801 Hermitage Blvd., Tallahassee.)

CENSUS BUREAU OUTLINES PLANNED DATA RELEASE: The Census Bureau on Monday holds a web conference to discuss the planned Thursday release of 2011 American Community Survey estimates.  The bureau will offer guidance on how to access and used the estimates, which will become available on an embargoed basis on Tuesday.   The ACS features estimates for education, employment, mortgage status and rent, income, poverty and health insurance.  Estimates will be available for the nation, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, every Congressional district, every metropolitan area, and all counties and places with populations of 65,000 or more people.  The Census Bureau announced this week that after rising for the past three years, the nation’s poverty rate in 2011 held at roughly 15 percent.  Median household income in the United States declined last year by 1.5 percent, the second consecutive annual drop.  And the percentage of people without health insurance last year fell to 15.7 percent, down from 16.3 percent in 2010.   (Monday, 1 p.m., toll-free number is 800 857 46220, passcode is CENSUS)

NELSON TO TALK ABOUT VOTING RIGHTS: U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson will present a keynote address to Florida State College at Jacksonville as part its Constitution Day. Nelson’s topic “Are Voting Rights Secure?” (Monday, 1:30 p.m. Lakeside Room, 11901 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville.)


ALAN GRAYSON AND TODD LONG AT TIGER BAY IN ORLANDO: The Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida hosts Democrat Alan Grayson and Republican Todd Long, candidates for Congress in District 9, which covers part of Orange and Polk counties and all of Osceola County.  (Monday, 11:30 a.m., Sheraton Downtown Orlando, 400 W. Livingston St., Orlando.)

MICHELLE OBAMA IN GAINESVILLE: First Lady Michelle Obama campaigns for her husband Monday afternoon in Gainesville. (Monday, 3:30 p.m., Stephen C. O’Connell Center, University of Florida, Gainesville.)

VAL DEMINGS PEOPLES LOUNGE: Congressional District 10 candidate Val Demings hosts a “people’s lounge” event for supporters. (Monday, 5:30 p.m., Cherry Tree Park, 2725 E. Jackson St., Orlando.)

MICHELLE OBAMA IN TALLAHASSEE: First Lady Michelle Obama campaigns for her husband Monday evening in Tallahassee. (Monday, 6:55 p.m., Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center, 505 W. Pensacola St., Tallahassee.)

CARVILLE AT TIGER BAY SOUTHWEST: James Carville will speak at the Tiger Bay Club of Southwest Florida. (Monday, 7 p.m. Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, 5001 Coconut Rd., Bonita Springs.)


CABINET GETS SBA UPDATE: The governor and Cabinet will get a quarterly review from the State Board of Administration over the state’s investment portfolio, including its pension funds. The panel is also expected to approve a series of bond refinancings that take advantage of historically low interest rates to retire more expensive debt for roads, schools and other state functions. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Cabinet meeting room, The Capitol.)

TECO PROJECTS GO BEFORE PSC: The Florida Public Service Commission will consider a proposal to allow Tampa Electric Co. to recover costs for a fuel-conversion project at the utility’s Polk Power Station. Also, the PSC will consider a TECO proposal for a new gypsum-storage facility at the Big Bend power plant. Gypsum is a byproduct of pollution-control “scrubbers” at coal-fired power plants. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

MAPPING GREENWAYS AND TRAILS: The Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways and Trails will hold an open house about developing a new plan for the state greenways and trails system. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., Ravine Gardens State Park Auditorium, 1600 Twigg St., Palatka.)


FLORIDA ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL LOBBYISTS: The Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists starts its 8th annual conference on Wednesday in Jacksonville. Conference info: (Wednesday-Friday, Hyatt Regency, 225 E. Coastline Dr., Jacksonville.)

PANEL TALKS ABOUT LIP: The Low Income Pool (LIP) Council will discuss a program that funnels additional money to hospitals and other health providers that serve large numbers of poor and uninsured patients. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Dr., Tallahassee.)

TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION MEETS: The Florida Transportation Commission holds a workshop to discuss expressway authorities, new corridors and regional governance. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Burns Building Auditorium, 605 Suwannee St., Tallahassee.

BELLY UP TO THE BAR: The Florida Bar holds its midyear meeting in Orlando. Panels scheduled for the two-day event include forums on labor law and post-conviction practices. (Wednesday-Thursday, Lake Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa, 1900 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista.)

HEARING IN EARLY VOTING LAWSUIT: A federal judge set a hearing for Sept. 19 in the lawsuit brought by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and several voters seeking to invalidate a change that reduced early voting. Brown, the Duval County Democratic Party and the voters claim in the suit that the change disproportionately affects African-Americans, who have taken advantage of early voting more than white voters. The change in the law, passed last year by the Legislature, reduced early voting from 15 days to ten. U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan will hear motions in the case in Jacksonville.


ROMNEY IN CORAL GABLES FOR CASH: Republican Presidential attends a fundraiser Wednesday at the Biltmore in Coral Gables. (Wednesday, Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables.)


SUPREME COURT: The Florida Supreme Court issues opinions. (11 a.m.)

CITIZENS’ BOARD TALKS RATES IN MIAMI: The Citizens’ Property Insurance Corp. board takes its show on the road as it holds a public rate hearing in Miami. Citizens is seeking as statewide average of 11.1 percent for coastal policy holders and 12 percent for members of the PLA, the insurer’s fastest growing sector of coverage. (Thursday, 4 p.m., Miami Dade College, Chapman Center Room 3210, 300 NE 2nd Ave., Miami.)

AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY RESULTS: The Census Bureau on Thursday plans to release 2011 American Community Survey estimates covering trends in income, poverty, health insurance, education, commuting, employment, mortgage status and rent. Estimates will be available by state, Congressional district, metropolitan area, counties and places with 65,000 or more people.


INTO THE TIGER’S DEN: The Suncoast Tiger Bay Club in St. Petersburg will host a luncheon gathering with local political candidates.  House District 69 candidates –Republican Frank Farkas and Democrat Dwight Dudley – will join House District 69 candidates Kathleen Peters, a Republican, and Democrat Josh Shulman in an hour-long forum before the group. (Thursday, 11:30 a.m. St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave, St. Petersburg.)

OBAMA IN BAY AREA: Details aren’t fully available, but President Obama will be in Florida this week and one event that has been released is a fundraiser at the home of Donn Miggs and Lisa DeBartalo. Pearl Jam’s Eddie Veder is expected.

ROMNEY IN SARASOTA: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is expected to attend a fundraiser Thursday in Sarasota. (Thursday, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Sarasota.)


ZOGBY SPEAKS IN PENSACOLA: Pollster John Zogby of Zogby International is the speaker at the annual dinner of the Panhandle Tiger Bay Club in Pensacola on Friday. Zogby is also a senior adviser at the Kennedy School of Government. (Friday, 6 p.m., New World Landing, 600 S. Palafox St. , Pensacola.)


GREENWAYS AND TRAILS AND OUTDOOR RECREATION DISCUSSED: The Department of Environmental Protection will hold open houses about developing a new plan for the state greenways and trails system and developing a new Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. (Saturday, 10 a.m., Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, 3755 NW U.S. 17-92, Sanford.)

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.