Capitol preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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In the usually festive, but reflective final week of the year, government and politics watchers in Florida will look back at a year that was frustrating economically, interesting politically for a non-election year, and will already be looking ahead to the presidential eleciton year of 2012, and the Republican convention in Florida.

This time last year, Gov. Rick Scott was Gov.-elect Rick Scott and was touring the state ahead of his January inauguration. Then-Gov. Charlie Crist was winding down his one term, getting ready to head to St. Petersburg, and a law firm job.

The entire Cabinet was new, this time last year, and during the holidays there were jobs to be filled in their offices, with new state agency heads, and the new governor.

This year is a decidedly quieter holiday period, though it’s about to get dramatically busier with the session starting in early January. Lawmakers will return Jan. 10 to hear the State of the State address, Scott’s second, and to open their annual session. The Senate will get quickly to work, with Senate President Mike Haridopolos having promised an early vote on redistricting bills.

The House, on the other hand, will ease into the session, mostly focusing on committees in the first several weeks. House Speaker Dean Cannon has said no major legislation will be voted on for at least a few weeks.

A round-up from the News Service of Florida.

MONDAY, DEC. 26, 2011

With Christmas falling on a Sunday, Monday is the official holiday. State government is closed and no public events are scheduled.

TUESDAY, DEC. 27, 2011

No events scheduled.

The 1856 regular session of the Legislature ended on Dec. 27.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 28, 2011
No events scheduled.

THURSDAY, DEC. 29, 2011

ADOPTED KIDS GO TO THE CIRCUS: Foster and adoptive families attend the circus, part of a program put on by the Department of Children and Families, the 4Generations Institute and The Feld Entertainment Company, owners and operators of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. (Thursday, 1:30 p.m., Palm Beach County Convention Center, West Palm Beach.

PUBLIC HOSPITAL REVIEW: The Florida Commission on Review of Taxpayer Funded Hospital Districts is wrapping up its work for the year ahead of a report to lawmakers and the governor due at the first of the year. After several months of studying the role of public hospitals and whether there is a need for a change, an inquiry ordered by Gov. Rick Scott, Chairman Dominic Calabro has said the group will probably put the final touches on its report at its meeting on Thursday. The report likely won’t be made public until Jan. 2. (Thursday, 10 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Drive, Building 3, Conference Room A, 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.