Capitol preview: What to expect during the seventh week of the 2011 legislative session

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The Legislature takes a break this week with the Senate taking the entire week off for Passover at the beginning of the week and Easter at the end. The House will take off for both holidays but squeeze in two work days, on Wednesday and Thursday. Both days are expected to be crowded with work, reports the News Service of Florida. The House has more than six hours both days on the floor and a near full committee meeting lineup.

Driving the week:


This week marks the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and the subsequent oil spill that threatened Florida? Gulf beaches all last summer. Gov. Rick Scott will mark the anniversary by spending Tuesday and Wednesday in the western Panhandle, visiting with restaurants and other businesses that were affected.


Scott and the Cabinet will take their meeting on Tuesday to Panama City, kicking off a couple days on the Emerald Coast.

Other items to keep an eye on this week:


US. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California will be in Orlando on Monday to discuss the new congressional budget proposal and Medicare. Expected to join Pelosi are U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown of Jacksonville and Kathy Castor of Tampa. (Monday, 11 a.m., L. Claudia Allen Senior Center, 1840 Mable Butler Ave., Orlando.)


Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet hold their regular meeting in Panama City this week, as several Cabinet members hold events marking the one year anniversary on Wednesday of the Gulf oil spill. Acting as the State Board of Administration, the Cabinet will consider the requested appointment of Rodolfo Engmann to the SBA Audit Committee. The Cabinet will also consider a proposal for the state to purchase 172 acres in the Clear Creek/Whiting Field Florida Forever project near the city of Milton from SSA Developers, part of a growing conservation corridor. One big backer of the plan is the Navy, which is trying to build a buffer of undeveloped land around Whiting Field Naval Air Station, which this project would help. (1 p.m., CDT, Bay County Government Center, County Commissioners Chamber Room , 808 West 11th Street, Panama City.)

Gov. Rick Scott will follow the Cabinet meeting with a tour on Tuesday and Wednesday of places in the Panhandle as part of a check on how recovery from the 2010 BP oil spill is going. The schedule hasn? been released yet.


Wednesday marks the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and resulting spill that consumed much of Gulf coast Florida? attention for most of last summer. Several Cabinet members and the governor plan trips on Wednesday to the area to see how recovery is going.

The House Redistricting Committee starts its work on Wednesday, though it hasn? yet published an agenda and may just hold an organizational meeting. It? actually two committees ?with one dealing with congressional redistricting ?and both are noticed for possible meetings on Wednesday morning at the same time in the same place. Lawmakers have already announced that redistricting committees will meet all summer long, mostly on the road, to gather testimony about how they should redraw political boundaries in 2012. (Wednesday, 8 a.m., 212 Knott Building.)

The House is in session on Wednesday and has a long special order calendar. Bills expected to be heard on the floor include HB 7129 related to growth management, an impact fee bill coming from the Senate (SB 410), a bill (HB 399) dealing with water management district planning and budgeting and the measure (HB 1231) that would deregulate land line telephone service. A wide-ranging elections bill (HB 1355) that now also includes a provision that would set up a commission to pick Florida? 2012 presidential primary date is also on the calendar. The House has allotted more than six hours for session, on the calendar up to 10 p.m. Wednesday night, though it hasn? been going to its full allotted time in recent weeks. (Wednesday, 3:45 p.m., House chamber.)

Also on the special order agenda and available for the House to consider on Wednesday is an odd bill (HB 7143) that repeals sections of law that prohibit workplaces or places serving the public from charging for use of the toilet. Right now, certain workplaces are required by the Department of Health to have toilets, and if those places were to charge to use them, someone could get charged with a second degree misdemeanor. State officials say nobody? been arrested since at least 2000 and charged with charging someone to go to the bathroom.

The House has noticed possible meetings for the Education, HHS, Appropriations and Finance and Tax committees, though agendas aren? yet published. Meeting times are:
Education: Wednesday, 10 a.m., 102 House Office Building.
Health and Human Services, Wednesday, 10 a.m., 17 House Office Building.
Appropriations, 1:30 p.m., 212 Knott Building.
Finance and Tax, 1:30 p.m., 17 House Office Building.

The Florida Citrus Commission DomesticMarketing Committee holds a special meeting on Wednesday focused the “Evolution of Merchandising to Shopper Marketing,” reviewing how shopper marketing in grocery storews has changed, and competition for orange juice from other beverages has increased. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Florida Department of Citrus, 605 E. Main Street, Bartow.)


EARTH DAY: It? Earth Day at the Capitol, and there will be more than 40 exhibitors at the Capitol about encouraging environmental stewardship.

HOUSE COMMITTEE MEETINGS: The House has set out times for committee meetings on Thursday, though specific agendas aren? released. The meeting times noticed for Thursday are:
Redistricting, Thursday, 8 a.m., 212 Knott Building.
Rules and Calendar, Thursday, 9:45 a.m., 404 House Office Building.
Judiciary, Thursday, 11 a.m., 404 House Office Building.
State Affairs, Thursday, 11 a.m., 17 House Office Building.
Economic Affairs, Thursday, 11 a.m., 102 House Office Building.

The House returns to the floor Thursday afternoon, and will most likely take up bills on third reading, passing measures rolled forward the day before. (Thursday, 2:30 p.m., House Chamber.)

Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul is peddling his new book, ?iberty Defined?out April 19 and will sign copies at Barnes & Noble in Tallahassee on Thursday. He will also hold a news conference and in the evening will speak at an event sponsored by the Florida State University Young Americans for Liberty and the Tallahassee Campaign for Liberty. (Book signing: Time TBA, Barnes & Noble, Tallahassee Mall, North Monroe St.; Speech: 7 p.m., Ruby Diamond Auditorium, Florida State University, 600 N. Copeland St., Tallahassee.)

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.