Capitol preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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Legislative committees return next week, entirely focused on redistricting. The House and Senate committees that will redraw lines for House, Senate and Congressional districts take their meetings this week, however, to South Florida, with meetings in Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami and Monroe County.

Lobbying disclosure filings are due Monday.

Also this week, the Supreme Court returns from its summer recess.

A summary from the News Service of Florida:

MONDAY, AUG. 15, 2011

REDISTRICTING COMMITTEE: The Florida Senate and House committees on state House and Senate and congressional redistricting meet Monday in Stuart to take public testimony. Lawmakers get back into their redistricting meetings as interest groups complain about the compacted nature of the state’s redistricting process, with lawmakers not scheduled to formally meet to look at formal plans until January. (Monday, 6 p.m., Blake Library, 2351 SE Monterey Rd., Stuart.)

BULLARD FORUM ON EDUCATION: Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, hosts a forum on the “future of public education” for constituents in his Miami-based House District 118. (Monday, 6 p.m., Southridge Sr. High, 19355 SW 114 Ave., Miami.)

LOBBYISTS FILE COMPENSATION REPORTS: Monday is the deadline for Florida’s legislative and executive branch lobbyists to file reports on how much they were paid in the second quarter of this year, from April to June. These reports should cover the second month of the legislative session, the busiest time in the Legislature. These reports will only show income in ranges, not precise billing amounts. (Monday, 11:49 p.m.)

NEW STATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY: This year’s SB 2156 requires that the new head of the new Department of Economic Opportunity report to the governor, the Senate and the House by Aug. 15 on the transition of changes made in state agencies this year, when lawmakers folded various agencies together into the new DEO. Parts of Workforce Innovation, the Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, and the Department of Community Affairs, will now be in Darling’s DEO. The agency isn’t actually created until Oct. 1, but the transition report is due Monday.

TUESDAY, AUG. 16, 2011

GOVERNOR AND CABINET MEET: Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet meet on Tuesday, and while they have several agendas, most of the items aren’t particularly high profile or controversial. The most closely watched item may be a briefing for the Cabinet on Personal Injury Protection insurance, or PIP. That’s on tap to be a major issue in the coming legislative session, with insurers hoping to get out from under some of the fraud costs they say hurt their bottom line. Otherwise, the agenda ranges from routine PECO bond approval, to approval of budget items for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, from the mundane like a pickup truck to the high tech, like a micro X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer and forensic firearm comparison microscopes. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Cabinet Room, The Capitol.)

PROGRESS GOES NUCLEAR: The Public Service Commission will start hearing arguments in Progress Energy Florida’s request to pass along costs for adding new nuclear reactors in Levy County. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

REDISTRICTING COMMITTEES IN BOCA: The Legislature’s Redistricting Committee road show moves Tuesday to Boca Raton, land of condos, retirees, the tony Boca Raton Resort and Club, and generally, quite a bit of money. In Census data from 2006 (city-level data for 2010 isn’t out yet), Boca was more than 90 percent white, and well-educated, with 44 percent of residents of the city having a college degree, double the state percentage. With a median household income over $60,000, a more than 75 percent home ownership rate, and median home values even now in the midst of the bust still topping $225,000 in many neighborhoods, the area is the picture of affluent stability. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton.)

HOSPITALS GET EXAMINED: The Commission on Review of Taxpayer Funded Hospital Districts will continue looking at potential changes for public hospitals. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Dr., Tallahassee.)

REDISTRICTING IN DAVIE: The discussion of where to draw the state’s political boundaries moves later Tuesday to the western Fort Lauderdale suburb of Davie, home to Broward College, Nova Southeastern University and the Miami Dolphins training camp. Western Broward County grown quite a bit since the last time lawmakers drew districts. The suburban part of Broward County west of Fort Lauderdale, with areas like Weston and Coral Springs in addition to Davie, is younger than much of South Florida, and fairly affluent. It’s also much whiter than much of South Florida – the town of Davie is nearly 90 percent white, considerably more than the state as a whole, which was 75 percent white in the 2010 Census, and Broward County, which was 63 percent white in 2010. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., Broward College Gym, 3501 SW Davie Rd., Davie.)

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 17, 2011

MODEL MEETING: The Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology will discuss hurricane-modeling issues. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 1801 Hermitage Blvd., Tallahassee.)

REDISTRICTING COMMITTEE IN MIAMI: The largest college in the nation hosts Wednesday’s redistricting meeting in Miami. Lawmakers will look at political boundaries in a unique political city. Miami-Dade County, with 65 percent of residents saying they’re Latino, is Florida’s only majority Hispanic county, one of just 82 such counties in the nation. Florida’s Hispanic violation has increased since the last Census in 2000, when there were 2.6 million Hispanics to 4.2 million Hispanics in the 2010 Census, representing 22.5 percent of the state’s population. The city of Hialeah, which is in Miami-Dade County, is 94.7 Hispanic, making it the third most Hispanic city in the nation in percentage terms, behind East Los Angeles, Calif., and Laredo, Texas. The city of Miami is 70 percent Hispanic, according to the Census Bureau, and the city of Homestead is just over half Hispanic. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Miami-Dade College, 300 NE 2 Ave., Miami.)

NO LIP SERVICE: The Low Income Pool (LIP) Council will meet to discuss a program that provides money to hospitals and other health providers that care for large numbers of poor and uninsured people. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Dr., Tallahassee.)

REDISTRICTING MEETING IN SOUTH MIAMI: Later Wednesday, the redistricting committees reprise their act in South Miami. (Wednesday, 6 p.m., Florida International University College of Law, 11200 SW 8th St., Miami.)

THURSDAY, AUG. 18, 2011

DETAILED FLA CENSUS DATA RELEASED: Following up on summary population data released earlier this year, the U.S. Census Bureau will release more detailed information based on the 2010 Census. The release will include cross-tabulations of age, sex, households, families, relationship to householder, characteristics of owners and renters, detailed race and Hispanic or Latino origin groups, and group quarters. (Thursday, 12:01 a.m.)

MODEL BEHAVIOR: The Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology will discuss hurricane-modeling issues. (Thursday, 9 a.m., 1801 Hermitage Blvd., Tallahassee.)

HIGHER EDUCATION COORDINATING COUNCIL MEETS: The Higher Education Coordinating Council, which brings together representatives from universities, colleges and private schools, meets on Thursday. The council will discuss the results of a survey sent to Florida universities and colleges asking for input on how to achieve the goals of the council. This newly-formed council is tasked with identifying unmet needs and minimizing program duplication across the different higher education systems. (Thursday, 9 a.m., 1753 W. Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee.)

SUPREME COURT OPINIONS: The Florida Supreme Court releases regular opinions. The court returns this week from its summer recess, though there are no calendared oral arguments until early September. (Thursday, 11 a.m.)
COLLIER LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION: The Collier County legislative delegation will meet on Thursday to discuss the upcoming legislative session and redistricting. The meeting will coincide with the Economic Development Council of Collier County’s pre-legislative luncheon. (Thursday, 11:30 a.m., Vergina Restaurant, 700 5 Ave., South, Naples.)

REDISTRICTING KEY WEST: The hearings on redistricting move to the famed Southernmost point in the continental U.S. on Thursday. You may think there’s not really much you can do with political boundaries in the Keys, being a narrow island chain sticking down off the bottom of the state. It’s not like you could link up Sugarloaf Key with say, downtown Jacksonville. But maybe somebody figured that if they have to sit through a meeting on drawing of lines, communities of interest and discussion of the federal Voting Rights Act, the least they could do was to have it someplace nice to spend an evening, like Key West. We wonder if there are maps accounting for racial, income and partisan differences between crowds at Captain Tony’s vs. Sloppy Joe’s. (Thursday, 4 p.m., Florida Key Community College, 5901 College Rd., Key West.)

SR 40 WIDENING: The Florida Department of Transportation holds a public hearing on Thursday to ask the public their thoughts as it considers whether to widen State Road 40 to four lanes between Silver Springs and US 17 in Volusia County. (Thursday, 5:30 p.m., Ocklawaha Bridge Baptist Church, 14100 E. State Road 40, Silver Springs.)

FRIDAY, AUG. 19, 2011

JULY UNEMPLOYMENT: The state releases unemployment figures for July on Friday. Florida’s jobless rate in June was 10.6 percent, same as in May. The Agency for Workforce Innovation reports the July figure on Friday. (Friday, 10 a.m.)CONFERENCES

WEDNESDAY – FRIDAY 2011 Associated Industries of Florida annual conference
Highlights of the AIF annual conference this week in Palm Beach include a panel discussion on Thursday on changes to Florida’s regulatory climate with Department of Community Affairs Secretary Billy Buzzett, Deputy Environmental Protection Secretary Jeff Littlejohn, and Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City. The lunch keynote speaker on Thursday is Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam. Also speaking at the conference on Thursday is pollster Jim McLaughlin. On Friday, the breakfast keynote speaker is Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, and there’s a redistricting briefing from AIF chief political officer Ryan Tyson. Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, speaks on the future of the state’s economy, and national experts on unemployment compensation and immigration will speak. The lunch keynote speaker on Friday will be Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West.
(Weds-Fri., The Breakers, Palm Beach.)

RIGHTS RESTORATION: The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), a non-partisan statewide organization formed in 2003 with national, state and local member organizations – including the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida – will host its 2011 Annual Convening this year in Orlando. The keynote speaker is Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project. The meeting will focus largely on new clemency rules. (Friday and Saturday, Aug. 19 and 20, Doubletree by Hilton, 60 Ivanhoe Blvd., Orlando.)

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.