Capitol preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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A week that starts on a somber note, with the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, is the last quiet one for a while in Florida government and politics, writes the News Service of Florida.

The week – with a GOP presidential debate in Tampa on Monday night – leads into the first committee week starting Sept. 19 of the next legislative year and a busy political period with end-of-September events Presidency 5 and CPAC-Florida the week that fall officially starts and the summer doldrums appear to end.

There will be some fireworks this week, surrounding the proposal by Citizens Property Insurance to raise insurance premiums for sinkholes. Citizens board meets Monday, and the Office of Insurance Regulation will hold a hearing on it Tuesday.


SUNDAY, SEPT. 11, 2011

SCOTT’S 9/11 ITINERARY: Gov. Rick Scott will attend a handful of  events to commemorate the 10th anniversary of  the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The governor starts out the day at the Wounded Warrior Project 8K race at The Landing in Jacksonville. He will also attend a memorial service before visiting the Clyde E. Lassen State Veterans nursing home in St. Augustine.

MONDAY, SEPT. 12, 2011

JUDGE HEARS HMO FIGHT: An administrative law judge will start hearing arguments in a fight among HMOs and the Department of Management Services about changes to the state-employee health insurance program. The fight centers on DMS’ decision to choose only one HMO in each county to serve employees. (Monday, 9:30 a.m., DeSoto Building, 1230 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee.)

MISSING CHILDREN’S DAY: A formal ceremony Monday morning at the Capitol will mark the annual Missing Children’s Day. Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey and Gov. Rick Scott are expected to speak. (Monday, 10 a.m., Capitol Courtyard, The Capitol.)

SHERIFFS TO UNVEIL SEXUAL PREDATOR EFFORTS: The Florida Sheriff’s Association will release the results of an 11 month initiative to track and apprehend sexual predators. The group will also announce a future statewide initiative. Speakers will include FSA President Sheriff Ben Johnson. (Monday, 11:30 a.m., 2nd Floor Rotunda, The Capitol.)

PRE-DEBATE LUNCHEON: Ahead of the CNN-Tea Party presidential debate on Monday night in Tampa, the American Conservative Union hosts a luncheon and panel discussion of “Issues that Matter to Conservative Voters.” Moderator will be CNN’s John King, panelists are Mike Franc of the Heritage Foundation; Al Cardenas, of American Conservative Union; J. Robert McClure III, president of the James Madison Institute; and Billie Tucker of the First Coast Tea Party. (Monday, 12:30 p.m., Florida Center and Botanical Gardens, 4800 Hwy 301 N., Tampa.)

CITIZENS BOARD TO ADDRESS SINKHOLE PREMIUMS: The governing board of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. will meet via conference call to discuss options as the state-run insurer looks to dampen the blow of sinkhole premium increases mandated by the Legislature. The board is looking to temper premium increases announced in July that could raise the annual sinkhole premiums by thousands of dollars, a politically unpopular, but, officials say, an actuarially prudent, move. (Monday, 3:30 p.m., Call in number 888-942-8686, Conference ID: 8419204389#)

CNN-TEA PARTY EXPRESS DEBATE: The eyes of the Republican Party will be on Tampa on Monday night as CNN and the Tea Party Express host a GOP primary debate. The two-hour debate at the Florida State Fairgrounds will be moderated by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and will include eight major GOP candidates. Audience members, made up of tea party activists, will also get to submit questions. The following Republican candidates will participate in the debate: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. (Monday, 8 p.m., Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa.)

STATEWIDE MEDICAID WORKSHOP: The Agency for Health Care Administration takes its show on the road to get input from stakeholders on plans to expand the state’s Medicaid program through the use of managed care networks. Lawmakers earlier this year approved measures (HB 7107 and HB 7109) authorizing the expansion of managed care delivery of Medicaid services from pilot program to a statewide rollout. More information about the new laws is available at
The agency repeats the meeting twice this week:
Monday 10 a.m., Marathon Government Center, 2798 Overseas Hwy (mile marker 50) , Marathon.
Tuesday, 2:30 p.m., Field House, University of Miami, 1245 Dauer Drive, Coral Gables.

TUESDAY, SEPT. 13, 2011

HECC DISCUSS DRAFT OF HIGHER EDUCATION REPORT: A group dedicated to ensuring better coordination between Florida’s colleges and universities will discuss the first draft of a report it must issue to the Legislature and governor by December. Florida’s colleges and universities have different governing bodies and sometimes conflicting goals. The Higher Education Coordinating Council is designed to help address this conflict as well as focus the mission of Florida’s higher education systems. (Tuesday, 9 a.m. Turlington Building, 325 West Gaines Street, Tallahassee.)

KRISEMAN TO DISCUSS DOCS AND GUNS REDUX: Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg, will discuss legislation he has filed to repeal a measure passed this year that limits the ability of health care providers to ask patients questions about gun ownership and storage. The bill (HB 4015) was filed in August. Kriseman will be joined by representatives from Doctors for America, which is backing his repealer bill. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., All Children’s Hospital Conference Center, 701 Fourth St. S, St. Petersburg.)

AHCA CONSUMER HEALTH INFO PANEL: The State Consumer Health Information and Policy Advisory Council conducts a regularly scheduled meeting of key health care stakeholders to discuss issues relating to implementing state laws promoting transparency in health care through public reporting of health care data. (Tuesday, 10:00 a.m. , ACHA Conference Room “C”, 2727 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee. Any person interested in participating may dial: (641)593-6241, Pass Code: 5384968#.)
OIR TO TAMPA FOR SINKHOLE RATES: The Office of Insurance Regulation travels to the lion’s den Tuesday as it holds a public hearing in Tampa on proposed Citizens Property Insurance Corp rate hikes. Policyholders in the region are slated to see significant sinkhole rate increases necessitated by legislation earlier this year that require the state-backed insurer to charge sinkhole rates that are actuarially sound. In response, the board met in July and voted to ask for sinkhole rate hikes that in some cases topped 2,000 percent. Citizens board members will meet Monday ahead of the OIR hearing to discuss a slate of options to cushion the blow. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., Tampa Convention Center, Ballroom D, 333 Franklin St., Tampa.)

VILLAGE SQUARE, FSU TAKE ON 9-11 DECADE RETROSPECTIVE: The Village Square and the Florida State University Center for the Advancement of Human Rights hold a forum on “Ten Years Time: 9/11, The Heart of America, The Shadow of the Middle East.” Barry Richard, a partner at the Greenberg Traurig law firm will address “Security, Pseudo-Patriotism, And the Erosion of American Liberties” in a keynote presentation for the forum. Following that, Mark Schlakman, senior program director for the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights will moderate two panel discussions. The first panel will focus on domestic security imperatives with panelists Thomas Battles, regional director for U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service; Rob Davis, first assistant to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida; and Robert LeFiles, director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Fusion Center. The second panel, “American and the Islamic World: Clash or Convergence,” will feature Parvez Ahmed, an associate professor of finance at the University of North Florida and a frequent commentator on the American Muslim experience; Adam Gaiser, an assistant professor and Islamic-studies scholar in FSU’s Department of Religion; Mildred Duprey De Robles of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service; Rabbi Jack Romberg of Tallahassee’s Temple Israel; and radio talk show host Preston Scott of WFLA’s “The Morning Show with Preston Scott.” (Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church, 211 N. Monroe St., Tallahassee.)


MEDICAID AND PUBLIC ASSISTANCE FRAUD STRIKE FORCE: A panel aimed at investigating Medicaid and other public assistance fraud will meet on Wednesday, and will be briefed on existing efforts in that regard, as well as reviewing a draft of a report that the group is expected to deliver to the Legislature by Oct. 1. The strike force is chaired by Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and the vice chairwoman is Attorney General Pam Bondi. The full agenda for the meeting is at (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Miami Office of the State Attorney, 1350 N.W. 12 Ave., Miami.)

AHCA PANEL MEETS WITH INSURERS, PROVIDERS:  The Agency for Health Care Administration holds a meeting to review and discuss strategies to develop health care information exchanges service between health plans and healthcare providers. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Blue Cross Blue Shield Campus Conference Center, 4800 Deerwood Campus Parkway, Jacksonville.)

LOW INCOME POOL MEETING: AHCA will hold a meeting regarding the state’s Low Income Pool, which provides Medicaid services to qualified recipients. Discussion will include legislative updates, funding methodology, policies and procedures in accordance with the approved Medicaid Reform Section 1115 Demonstration. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., AHCA Conference Center A, 2727 Mahan Drive, Building 3, Tallahassee.)
BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETS: The State University System Board of Governors meets to discuss turf war regulations designed to prevent universities from offering competing programs, proposals to start new dental schools at Florida A&M University and the University of Central Florida, and hear from USF Polytechnic on an effort for the university to become an independent university. The first day of the two-day meeting will be committee meetings, with the full board meeting on the second day. Also on the agenda is a presentation on a possible pilot program in the for “adult learner completers,” those who have completed about some college work, but did not finish their four-year degrees. (Wednesday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Ballroom, Graham Center, Modesto A. Maidique Campus, Florida International University, Miami.)

THURSDAY, SEPT. 15, 2011

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

BITNER MEMORIAL: The family of Republican Party Chairman Dave Bitner, who died this past week, will hold a memorial service and celebration of Bitner’s life on Thursday at a farm just north of Tallahassee. (Thursday, 3 p.m., WC Dover Farms, 534 Dover Rd., Havana.)

FRIDAY, SEPT. 16, 2011

MEDICAID THERAPY SERVICE FORUM:  Florida Medicaid is holding a public forum to discuss subjects related to the Therapy Services program. The Agency will discuss proposed and recent changes to the program.  (Friday, 9am,  2727 Mahan Drive, Building 2, Conference Room F, Tallahassee.)


9-11 memorial ceremony. (Sunday, Sept. 11, 9:30 a.m., Tampa Firefighters Museum, 720 E. Zack St., Tampa.)

A fundraiser kicking off Sen. Jack Latvala’s re-election campaign. (Wednesday, Sept. 14, 5:30 p.m., St. Petersburg Marriott, 12600 Roosevelt Blvd., St. Petersburg.)

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.