Capitol Preview: What to expect this week in Florida politcs

in Uncategorized by

The third week of the legislative session brings a few measures to the respective chamber floors, but most of the focus will continue to be in committees. The focus on banning Internet cafes, now clearly a fast track effort, resumes on Monday in the Senate, with the ban bill having passed a House committee on Friday. It wouldn’t be surprising to see that measure get to the floor this week. 

Several other controversial measures are in committee this week, from the bill making it easier for parents to turn failing schools into charter schools, to the first extensive look at how the Legislature might expand health care coverage to pick up more people, without calling it an expansion of Medicaid. 

MONDAY

SENATE

GAMING COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER INTERNET CAFÉ BAN: The move to ban Internet cafes in the wake of last week’s arrests of industry officials in a gambling probe has been on a fast track, with the House gaming committee having approved a ban on Friday. The Senate Gaming Committee gets its turn Monday, taking up its bill (SB 1030). The measure by Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, clarifies the definition of slot machines and other gaming machines used at Internet cafés and adult arcades that are already illegal under state law.  Thrasher had been calling for a moratorium to prohibit new Internet cafes from opening.  But arrests this past week of individuals running a chain of the strip center arcades for alleged racketeering and money laundering, and the subsequent resignation of the state’s lieutenant governor, have changed the focus and pace of the legislation. (Monday, 10 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

PPACA PANEL TO DISCUSS INSURANCE: The Senate Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is expected to make recommendations about insurance-regulation issues affected by the federal law better known as Obamacare. Also, it is expected to make recommendations about whether the state-employee health insurance program should be expanded to include temporary employees who work an average of 30 hours a week or more. (Monday, 10 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

SENATE AGRICULTURE WILL BE A BIT ICKY: The Senate Agriculture Committee on Monday considers legislation (SB 872) that would require animal shelters that euthanize animals to put info about how often they do that onto a web site so the public will know. Another bill (SB 1708) would require restaurants, markets or packing houses in Florida to mark beef containing “pink slime” with a label that discloses its presence. The panel also considers sending a message to Congress in the form of a memorial (SM 1706) that it should ban the use of “pink slime” in meat products or at least require it be disclosed in labels. The panel also looks at a bill (SB 948) that requires the Department of Agriculture to establish an agricultural water supply planning program to develop data regarding prospective agricultural water supply demand. (Monday, 1 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

SENATE CRIMINAL JUSTICE: A bill (SB 148) before the Senate Criminal Justice Committee would change the sentencing laws in cases when juries recommend the death penalty. Under current law, a simple majority of a jury can recommend death, but under the bill, a unanimous recommendation would be required. Another measure (SB 812) before the committee would prohibit youth in Department of Corrections or local custody from being put in solitary confinement in most cases. Ian Kysel the author of “Growing Up Locked Down: Youth in Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prisons Across the United States,” a 2012 study of the usage, psychological repercussions, and impact of solitary confinement on young people, is among those planning to testify. Another bill (SB 946) would prohibit sending nude photos or videos of someone to another person without the consent of the person in the pictures. The committee also takes up legislation (SB 1216) that generally pre-empts local regulation of wage theft and provides for a specific civil action in the courts for such claims. (Monday, 1 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

SENATE ETHICS AND ELECTIONS: The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee considers a wide-ranging elections bill (SB 600) that, among other things, revises the law dealing with how long constitutional amendments will be on the ballot. The committee also has a long list of commission and board appointees for confirmation. (Monday, 1 p.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

SENATE COMMERCE AND TOURISM: Wine and football.  A measure to give the Miami Dolphins $3 million a year in sales tax rebates and hotel bed tax money has been rapidly advancing through the Legislature.  Now it’s time for the Jacksonville Jaguars to finally hit the field of legislative committee rooms.  A proposal (SB 922) by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, would allow $2 million a year in sales tax rebates for stadium improvements to go to a pro sports team that already receives a similar break.  Terms of the deal require a team to plan more than $80 million in upgrades and to have at least 15 years remaining on its stadium lease.  EverBank Field in Jacksonville is one of eight stadiums and arenas in Florida currently receiving sales tax rebates from Florida.  The committee will also review the Florida Wine Canister Act (SB 658) that would allow distributors to make and sell “wine kegs” or large containers of wine.  (Monday, 1 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

NUKE PLANTS ALL THE BUZZ: The Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee will discuss and hear presentations about nuclear-power plants, including a controversial 2006 law that allows utilities to collect money for nuclear projects before they start producing electricity. Some Tampa area legislators have called for power companies to return money to customers if a plant isn’t built in a set time. (Monday, 3:30 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

PANEL TO DIG INTO MED MAL: The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider a proposal (SPB 7030) that would make changes in the state’s medical-malpractice laws. The proposal includes tightening standards for expert witnesses in medical-malpractice cases and dealing with a controversial issue known as “ex parte” interviews of physicians. (Monday, 3:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SENATE CHILDREN, FAMILIES AND ELDER AFFAIRS: Elder Affairs Secretary Charles Corley’s confirmation is before the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee on Monday. The panel also considers, among other bills, a measure (SB 1644) that would remove from the record the criminal history of someone who has been convicted of “crimes” such as prostitution because they were a victim of human trafficking. The committee also takes up a measure that would let nutrition groups and contractors that run systems for accepting electronic state benefits cards to operate at farmers markets and other open air markets that sell fresh produce (SB 778). (Monday, 3:30 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

BACK TO SCHOOL SALES TAX HOLIDAY: The Senate Education Committee considers, among other bills, legislation (SB 916) that would set out a period during which the sale of back to school items and clothes are tax free. Another bill (SB 950) authorizes putting cameras on school buses to catch people running the bus stop signs. (Monday, 3:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

CHARTER SCHOOLS ALSO BEFORE SENATE ED: The Senate Education Committee on Monday also workshops the 12 separate bills that have been filed dealing with charter schools. No vote is planned on them, but the material may be combined. (Monday, 3:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

HOUSE

KEEPING THE FAITH?: The House Civil Justice Subcommittee will consider a bill (HB 813) that would make changes in the state’s “bad faith” laws. Business groups have long complained about bad-faith lawsuits, which involve allegations that insurers have not properly settled claims. The subcommittee also is expected to take up HB 19, which is aimed at helping grandparents petition to see their grandchildren if visitation is denied by parents. (Monday, 2 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

DOES THE COMMITTEE APPROVE, UNTIL DEATH DO YOU PART? I DO: A state-sanctioned “marriage handbook” would have to be created by a state-created marriage committee under a bill (HB 1163) by Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, that’s before the House Healthy Families Subcommittee on Monday. The handbook would have to provide information relating to resources, information, and skills “to help couples have a healthy and successful marriage.” The bill sets out the makeup of the committee that would create the book, including marriage education and family advocates. The bill doesn’t address who would be responsible for paying for the production and distribution of the book – nor does it mandate that it be distributed. A clarifying bill on the mandatory reporting of child abuse (the so-called Sandusky law) that seeks to eliminate redundant reporting (HB 757) is also before the committee. (Monday, 4 p.m., 12 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

HOUSE K-12: Public schools would have to teach about the Sept. 11 terror attacks under one bill (HB 559) before the House K-12 Committee on Monday. Another measure before the committee (HB 989) provides requirements for school districts for conducting “emergency lockdown drills,” and requires districts to annually review those policies. (Monday, 4 p.m, 17 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

HOUSE AGRICULTURE AND NAT RESOURCES APPROPRIATIONS: The committee is looking at bills that would: double, from two to four, the number of days an individual can fish for free each year (HB 333); require utilities permitted in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to discharge through an ocean outfall to use a reuse system by Dec. 31, 2025 (HB 707); and require the Division of Resource Management to create an online hydraulic fracturing chemical registry for all wells on which hydraulic fracturing treatments are performed (HB 743). (Monday, 5 p.m., 102 House Office Building, The Capitol.) 

OTHER HOUSE COMMITTEES MONDAY: 

House Gov Operations: 4 p.m.,, 212 Knott Building.

ALSO IN THE LEGISLATURE

BLACK CAUCUS MEETS: The Florida Legislative Black Caucus will hold its regular meeting and hear presentations from Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell and state Surgeon General David Armstrong. (Monday, 6:30 p.m., Tallahassee City Hall, 300 South Adams St., Tallahassee.)

ALSO 

COALITION TO CALL FOR STRONGER ETHICS REFORM: A diverse coalition of conservatives, progressives and government watchdogs will hold a joint press conference to discuss how the Florida Senate’s ethics reform proposal (SB 2) actually weakens ethics laws and to offer a joint call to action for stronger ethics reform legislation.  (Monday, 10 a.m., The Cabinet Meeting Room, Lower Level, Florida Capitol.)

FCS PRESIDENTS HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE: The Florida College System (FCS) Council of Presidents holds a press conference on Monday to release the findings of a new report that they say demonstrates the multibillion-dollar positive economic impact of state and community colleges in Florida. The FCS Council also releases data on college graduates who have successfully transitioned into Florida’s workforce. Participants include the council’s chairman, Joe Pickens, and Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna, Education board member John Padget, Colleges Chancellor Randy Hanna and others. (Monday, 1 p.m., Fourth Floor Rotunda, The Capitol.)

RURAL NORTH FLA BROADBAND: The North Florida Broadband Authority holds a public meeting to entertain questions from the public. Anthony Wilhelm, director of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in Washington will attend to provide technical assistance to the panel. The NFBA is supposed to create a high-speed broadband wireless network infrastructure for underserved communities in the region. The network has been completed and NFBA is now turning its attention to making the service available to local schools, governments, businesses and retail Internet service providers. (Monday, 1 p.m., Riverwalk Clubhouse, 7150 T.L. Johnson Blvd., Fanning Springs.)

TUESDAY

SENATE

SENATE FLOOR SESSION: Proposals aimed at the Kansas-based Westboro Church, low speed vehicles, and Canadian drivers are before the full Senate.  Among the bills on the calendar and available for a vote: (SB 118) prohibits protests an hour before or after a funeral or burial, with protestors having to stay outside 500 feet of where the funeral or burial is taking place; (SB 160) requires the Department of Health to waive the initial application fee for veterans who apply for a radiological personnel certification; (SB 286) gives a design professional working for a company or entity immunity from economic tort suits liability if the contested contract does not name the individual, the business has professional liability insurance required under the contract; (SB 1766) repeals a new law that says international visitors need a special permit to drive in Florida; (SB 62) allows “low speed vehicles” – vehicles with a top speed of 20 mph – to be classified by the DMV as golf carts for just a $40 fee, with the intent of lowering insurance premiums; and (SB 352) which allows Lake-Sumter Community College to become Lake-Sumter State College.  There is also a list of trust fund bills, along with ones correcting typos and eliminate expired statutes, up for third reading.  (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. Senate Chamber, The Capitol.)

ALSO IN THE SENATE

ST. JOHNS RIVER CAUCUS: Members of the Senate whose districts include the St. Johns River or its watershed will meet Tuesday morning. (Tuesday, 8 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS: The Senate Democratic holds its regular caucus meeting Tuesday morning. (Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., 200 Senate Office Building ,The Capitol.)

DRONES AND PORN: The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Committee takes up a bill (SB 92) that would put restrictions on when police in Florida could use unmanned aerial drones. Another bill (SB 86) before the panel bars people from distributing pornographic or obscene materials to minors, or distribute such materials at a school. The committee also discusses the budgets of several justice related agencies. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

SENATE EDUCATION APPROPRIATIONS: The Senate Education Appropriations Committee is waiting on a wide-ranging higher education bill (SB 1720) that deals with audits of universities and colleges, economic development zones for science tech and engineering, and degree programs. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

DEFENSE CONTRACTOR TAX REFUNDS: The sky is the limit for incentives under a measure (SB 236) that deletes caps on tax refunds for qualified defense contractors and space flight businesses, among other businesses, and is the only bill currently before the Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Committee. The bill would remove the limitations on tax refunds an individual participant of either the Qualified Defense Contractor and Spaceflight Business Tax Refund program or the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund program may receive.  The cap is now $7 million for both programs, with the total growing to $7.5 million if the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund recipient is located within an enterprise zone. The panel also discusses the budget of agencies under its purview. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

FINANCE AND TAX: The Senate Finance and Tax Committee takes up proposed draft legislation relating to corporate income taxes and another draft bill on property taxes, and also will continue a review of economic development tax incentives. The panel also considers a bill (SB 522) that exempts local governments and school districts that manufacture biodiesel for their own use from certain regulatory requirements. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

SEN GEN GOV APPROPS: A bill (SB 84) related to the construction or improvement of private facilities used primarily for a public purpose, another (SB 1762) creating a Department of State Technology and a measure (SB 1770) creating the Florida Catastrophe Risk Capital Access Facility to increase the access of small domestic insurers to the Florida Property insurance market, among several other bills. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

OTHER SENATE MEETINGS TUESDAY

SENATE HHS APPROPRIATIONS: 4 p.m., 412 Knott Building. 

HOUSE 

PARENT ‘TRIGGER’ AND IMMIGRANT TUITION IN ED APPROPRIATIONS: A bill (HB 867) that would give parents more of a say in how consistently underperforming schools are overhauled – including forcing them to become charter schools, is before the House Education Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. The measure is opposed by some public school advocates because they say for-profit charter school companies encourage parents to allow them to take over schools to make money. Because the measure sets out a “trigger” for when parents can force a school to change in nature, the controversial bill has come to be called the “parent trigger” bill. The measure was passed along party lines with Republicans in favor, in another House committee earlier this month. Another bill before the committee (HB 7051) allows certain children of illegal immigrants to qualify for in-state college tuition, if the child is a U.S. citizen. They can’t now, because residency status for tuition is based on parents’ address – and their parents don’t legally live here. Background screening for non-instructional contractors on school grounds (HB 21); bullying in public schools (HB 609); and a bill that revises the law related to state-approved teacher prep programs and allows for private vendors to create an educator preparation institute (HB 863) are also among the subjects of bills before the panel. That bill also has language related to local school district development and certification programs for teachers. (Monday, 8 a.m., 17 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

WARRANTS FOR CELL PHONE INFO: The House bill (HB 797) that would require police to get a warrant before searching someone’s cell phone or other device for evidence is among several bills before the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. Another measure (HB 1325) would clear the criminal record of people whose crimes were the result of them being trafficked. Prostitution arrests, for example, often net people who are the victims of human trafficking. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., 404 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

ETHICS BILL IN HOUSE E&E: House E&E takes up a wide-ranging ethics bill that includes a ban on dual public employment and a stronger ban on post-service lobbying for the speaker of the House and Senate president, among other things. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., 212 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

HOUSE ECON DEVELOPMENT: A bill (HB 321) that bars local governments from applying transportation or school concurrency growth management requirements for new development until 2017 without a local vote of elected officials is before the House Economic Development and Tourism Subcommittee on Tuesday. Environmentalists are not big fans of that measure. Other bills before the committee would seek to speed up the permit approval process for manufacturers (HB 357); allow helicopters to qualify for the same tax exemptions as airplanes (HB 661); and repeal a law that called for the Department of Economic Opportunity to develop a program for mapping and monitoring the agricultural lands in the state (HB 4045). The reason for the repeal: the 1984 requirement was never followed and the map never created. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., 12 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

OTHER HOUSE MEETINGS TUESDAY:

House Health Quality, 9 a.m., 306 House Office Building.
House Justice Appropriations, 1 p.m., 17 House Office Building.
House Insurance and Banking, 1 p.m., 404 House Office Building. 
House Innovation Subcommittee: 2 p.m., 306 House Office Building. 
House Higher Ed, 2 p.m., 102 House Office Building. 

ALSO

CABINET TO TAKE UP SPRINGS PROTECTION PROJECT: Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet will consider several issues, including a proposal to buy 599 acres of undeveloped land in Madison County. The $2.15 million proposal would help protect springs in the area of the Suwannee River. The Cabinet also is expected to receive reports from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. CEO Barry Gilway and State Board of Administration Executive Director Ash Williams. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Cabinet meeting room, the Capitol.)

BOARD OF ED TO HEAR CHARTER APPEALS: The Florida Board of Education will receive a report from Commissioner Tony Bennett and take up a series of other issues, including appeals in charter-school disputes from Marion, Lake, Seminole, Orange and Pasco counties. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Turlington Building, 325 West Gaines St., Tallahassee.)

GUN DISPUTE AT UNF GOES TO APPEALS COURT: The 1st District Court of Appeal is scheduled to hear arguments in a case about whether the University of North Florida can prevent a student from having a gun in her car while on campus. A Duval County circuit judge last year dismissed the case, which was filed by the group Florida Carry, Inc., and student Alexandria Lainez. That prompted the appeal to the Tallahassee-based appeals court. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Florida Coastal School of Law,  8787 Baypine Road, fourth floor, Jacksonville.)

WEDNESDAY

SENATE

SEN TRANS AND ECON DEVELOPMENT APPROPRIATIONS: The economic development budget committee takes up a bill (SB 446) that’s more of the effort to tighten the rules on economic development handouts. This measure requires applicants for Quick Action Closing Fund and Innovation Incentive Program grants to first post a surety bond or be able to explain why they shouldn’t in a non-confidential manner and describe the expected economic benefits that warrant the waiver.  The committee also goes over agency budget requests. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

PROPERTY TAX LEGISLATION: The Finance and Tax Committee takes up proposed draft legislation on property taxes (which hasn’t been released yet) and continues a review of economic development incentive programs. (Wednesday, 11 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

BANKING AND INSURANCE: Two philosophies on steering the state’s Hurricane Catastrophe Fund are up as a vote is expected on SB 1262 in Senate B&I. The bill by Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, seeks to reduce the fund by $1 billion a year for three years, reducing the maximum amount of reimbursement that property insurers can collect from the backup fund while expanding the private market.  Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, has proposed reducing premiums by expanding the bonding requirements from one to three years, a move that could generate $6 billion a year without giving much more of the market to private reinsurers.  Another measure (SB 644) before the panel would create a clearing house for private firms to cherry pick the least risky premiums out of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. The committee also has a mortgage foreclosure bill (SB 1666) by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, and several other insurance-related measures. (Wednesday, 3 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

PENSION, CAMPAIGN FINANCE BILLS IN SEN COMMUNITY AFFAIRS: A Senate bill on defined benefit retirement plans for public workers (SB 534), and may also take up Sen. Wilton Simpson’s retirement bill (SB 1392). It also will consider Sen. Jack Latvala’s campaign finance bill (SB 1382) are among the proposals before Senate Community Affairs Wednesday. The panel also takes up a bill (SB 1718) related to discretionary sales tax. (Wednesday, 3 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

EXPANDING HEALTH CARE COVERAGE: Whether it is called Medicaid or not, Florida lawmakers are looking into ways to expand health coverage to those currently not covered. On Wednesday, the Senate Health Policy Committee holds a workshop and takes testimony (though it won’t vote on any legislation) on what such a program to expand health coverage might look like. Getting more people covered is a mandate of the new federal health care law. State legislators don’t want to do it by expanding Medicaid, as the federal government has proposed, but are looking at other ways to get more people insured. The committee also has a long list of bills to consider, though it’s not clear how many it will get to in a short, hour and a half meeting. (Wednesday, 3 p.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

VETERAN TAX BREAKS: Tax breaks and the bugle call for the Borinqueneers.  A bill (SPB 7032) That broadens the pool of military veterans eligible for a homestead property tax break is among those before the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday. The committee is also being asked to support efforts (SM 1266) to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the U.S. 65th Infantry Regiment, known as Borinqueneers, initially a mounted battalion founded in 1899 as the “Puerto Rican Regiment U.S. Volunteers,” which during World War I, World War II, the Korean War had members awarded 10 Distinguished Service Crosses, 258 Silver Stars, 628 Bronze Stars, more than 2,700 Purple Hearts.  The unit’s colors were turned over to the National Guard of the United States Territory of Puerto Rico in 1959. Also in the committee is a bill (SB 1598) that would make income tax credits available for businesses hiring veterans and the disabled. (Wednesday, 3 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

OTHER SENATE COMMITTEES:

Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations: 8 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building. 
Education Appropriations: 8 a.m., 412 Knott Building.
General Government Appropriations, 11 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building.
HHS Appropriations, 1:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building.

ALSO

HEALTH CHOICES BOARD TO MEET: The Florida Health Choices Board of Directors is scheduled to meet to discuss the program, which is expected to be an online marketplace that would help small businesses offer health coverage to their employees. (Wednesday, 11 a.m., Florida Health Choices, 200 West College Ave., Tallahassee.)

THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013

HOUSE IN SESSION: The House is in session Thursday from 12:30 until it completes its calendar for the day. Among the bills currently on the calendar are a measure (HB 109) setting out conditions for issuing permits for the development of alternative water supplies; a bill (HB 191) that increases penalties for stealing electricity; and a bill (HB 351) that clarifies the law regarding the use of foreign legal systems. Also available on the calendar is a bill (HB 239) that would expand the drug-prescribing powers of optometrists; and a measure (SB 365) dealing with “biosimilar” prescription drugs. (Thursday, 12:30 p.m., House Chamber, The Capitol.)

ALSO 

COURT HEARS CUBA-SYRIA LAW APPEAL: The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments about a Florida law that would block state and local governments from contracting with companies that have business links to Cuba and Syria. A federal district judge last June issued an injunction against the 2012 law, saying it likely violated the U.S. Constitution. The law, which was challenged by Odebrecht Construction, Inc., would prevent companies from receiving government contracts of $1 million or more if they do business in Cuba or Syria or are affiliated with firms that do business there. (Thursday, 8:30 a.m., James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building, 99 N.E. Fourth St., Miami.)

SUPREME COURT OPINIONS: The Florida Supreme Court releases opinions. (Thursday, 11 a.m.) 

FRIDAY

HOUSE IN SESSION: The House has a floor session scheduled for Friday morning. After taking up bills on second reading on Thursday, those measures would be available for a final vote on Friday. (Friday, 10:30 a.m., House Chamber, The Capitol.)

ALSO 

STATE WORKER DRUG TESTING APPEAL HEARD: The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in a legal dispute about Gov. Rick Scott’s push to require drug testing for tens of thousands of state employees. A U.S. district judge last year found that the plan was unconstitutional, prompting the state to appeal. Scott issued an executive order in 2011 to require drug testing at agencies under his control, though the plan was placed on hold because of the legal challenge, except for some workers at the Department of Corrections. (Friday, 9 a.m., James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building, 99 N.E. Fourth St., Miami.)

CITIZENS BOARD MEETS: The Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Board of Governors will meet in Orlando. (Friday, 9 a.m., Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority, 4974 ORL Tower Road, Orlando. Call-in number: 1-888-942-8686; conference ID: 5743735657#.)

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.