Capitol preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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As the kids head back to school across most of the state this week, campaigns kick into high gear, with Michele Bachmann in the state and the GOP U.S. Senate candidates holding another debate.

Gov. Rick Scott is off to the Southern Governor’s Association at the beginning of the week, and ends with a speech to Realtors.

Also, this week marks 19 years since Hurricane Andrew struck Miami-Dade County. A round-up from the News Service of Florida.

SUNDAY, AUG. 21, 2011

SOUTHERN GOVERNORS’ ASSOCIATION: Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday heads to Asheville, N.C. for the annual meeting of the Southern Governor’s Association. He’ll participate in the morning in a session called “Closing the South’s Middle-Skill Gap.” Later Sunday morning he’ll participate in a session called “Building a Strategy for Economic Growth in the American South.” (Sunday, Grove Park Inn, 290 Macon Ave., Asheville, N.C.)

MONDAY, AUG. 22, 2011

PHONE FEES FADING: The Public Service Commission will hold a workshop about dialing back regulatory-assessment fees for telecommunications companies, a move related to deregulation of the industry. (Monday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

BOARD OF GOVERNORS WORK GROUP EXAMINES PROPOSED REGULATIONS: Several controversial proposed regulations will be considered by a Board of Governors work group. Among them are a plan to divide the state into economic development zones and a requirement that universities communicate with one another about plans to offer new programs in another university’s area. This proposal is designed to force better cooperation between universities, but has been criticized by many of the universities as having a stifling effect. (Monday, 1 p.m., Room 1721/25, Turlington Building, 325 West Gaines, Tallahassee.)

TUESDAY, AUG. 23, 2011

GULF POWER GOES FOR HIKE: The Public Service Commission will hold its regular meeting and consider a proposed interim rate increase for Gulf Power Co. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

PSC WHITTLES DIRECTOR LIST: The Public Service Commission will hold an internal affairs meeting and continue narrowing its list of candidates to become the agency’s executive director. (Tuesday, after PSC regular meeting¸ Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

PROGRESS-DUKE MERGER VOTES: Shareholders of Progress Energy and Duke Energy will vote on a merger that would include Progress Energy Florida. (Tuesday, the Duke meeting will be at 10 a.m. in Charlotte, N.C.; the Progress meeting will be at 11 a.m. in Raleigh, N.C.)

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 24, 2011
Aug. 24 is the 19th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew making landfall in 1992. The storm destroyed huge swaths of South Florida, particularly in Homestead. Andrew, a Category 5 hurricane at landfall, would kill 23 in the United States. While it wiped out enormous sections of Homestead, it didn’t kill the city. Homestead now has more than double the population it had in 1992.

JUVENILE JUSTICE EDUCATION: Sen. Stephen Wise holds a meeting of the Senate Juvenile Justice Education Workgroup to discuss reform initiatives for kids in Department of Juvenile Justice facilities. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., 301 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

THURSDAY, AUG. 25, 2011

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

NELSON IN WEST PALM: Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson kicks off the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches’ 2011-12 season with a luncheon speech. (Thursday, 12 p.m., Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach.)

FRIDAY, AUG. 26, 2011

PANEL LOOKS AT MEDICAID LONG-TERM CARE: The Long-term Care Managed Care Technical Advisory Workgroup, which stems from the overhaul of Florida’s Medicaid system, will discuss issues such as Medicaid eligibility. (Friday, 9 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Dr. Tallahassee.)

SCOTT SPEAKS TO REALTORS: Gov. Rick Scott speaks Friday evening at the Florida Realtors annual convention. (Friday, 5 p.m., Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, 9939 Universal Blvd., Orlando.)

CAMPAIGNS

REPUBLICAN US SENATE CANDIDATES DEBATE: Adam Hasner, George LeMieux, Mike McCallister and Craig Miller debate at an event sponsored by the Florida Family Policy Council and the Central Florida Tea Party. The debate will be moderated by Keith Landry. (Saturday, Aug. 20, 10 a.m., Howard Middle School, 800 E. Robinson St., Orlando.)

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is also chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, will speak at a $100 per person fundraiser for President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign at The Villages, the massive retirement community near Leesburg. (Thursday, 3:30 p.m., La Hacienda Recreation Center, 1200 Avenida Central, The Villages.)

Republican Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann speaks to the Tri-County Tea Party next Saturday. (Saturday, Aug. 27, La Hacienda Recreation Center, 1200 Avenida Central, The Villages.)

Republican Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann speaks at the Florida Family Policy Council’s Annual Policy Awards Dinner. (Saturday, Aug. 27, Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel, 9939 Universal Blvd., Orlando.)
http://flfamily.org/?page_id=262

CONFERENCES

FLORIDA REALTORS MEET: Realtors from across Florida attend their annual convention and Trade Expo Wednesday through Sunday Aug. 24-28 in Orlando. Highlights include Gov. Rick Scott speaking Friday evening and a Friday afternoon insurance subcommittee meeting featuring Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, Florida Health Choices CEO Rose Naff and Citizens Property Insurance Legislative Affairs Director Christine Turner Ashburn. (Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, Orlando.)

FLORIDA WATERFOWL CONFERENCE: People concerned about waterfowl and their habitat – both bird hunters and conservationists – will meet to discuss health of the fowl and the watersheds they live in. (Thursday and Friday, Aug. 25, 26, Ocala Hilton, Ocala.)

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.