Capitol preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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Lawmakers return to Tallahassee on Wednesday to start work on redrawing Senate maps. Look at it this way, if this were any other year we’d only be in the second week of session anyway.

The Supreme Court on Friday threw out the map for the Senate, saying it isn’t constitutional. It found eight districts in various parts of the state lacking, meaning in the two week extraordinary session the Legislature will need more than a tweak, likely a whole new map.

The Public Service Commission returns Monday to the rate case for Gulf Power, in the Panhandle.

A round-up via The News Service of Florida.

MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2012

GOVT. EFFICIENCY TASK FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE: The Government Efficiency Task Force Subcommittee on Health and Human Services meets Monday to discuss goals and its agenda. (Monday, 9 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

GULF POWER RATES TO BE SET: The Public Service Commission will hold a hearing to set rates for Gulf Power Co. The PSC last month approved an overall $64.1 million base-rate increase for the Panhandle utility, but Monday’s hearing will detail how that increase will affect customer bills. (Monday, 9:30 a.m. Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)


FLORIDA INNOCENCE COMMISSION: The Florida Innocence Commission, which is looking at ways to reduce the number of people wrongfully imprisoned, meets on Monday. The meeting in Orlando is open to the public. The commission, chaired by Orlando Judge Belvin Perry, will hear a report from one of its subcommittees on “jailhouse snitches,” and a presentation on the DNA analysis needs of the state’s crime labs. After a presentation on the state of forensic science, the commission will discuss recommendations on how courts should treat scientific evidence. (Monday, 9:30 a.m., Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando.)

GENSHAFT AT POLK TIGER BAY: It’s been a busy last few weeks for Judy Genshaft, president of the University of South Florida. She’s been newsworthy in three places – Tampa, Tallahassee and Polk County, home of the soon-to-be Florida Polytechnic University, which right now is still part of USF. Genshaft and David Touchton, interim regional chancellor of USF Polytechnic, as it is still known, will speak Monday at the luncheon meeting of the Tiger Bay Club of Polk County. (Monday, 11:30 a.m., Peace River Country Club, 150 S. Idlewood Ave., Bartow.)


UTILITY COSTS AT ISSUE: The Public Service Commission will take up several issues, including lower-than-expected purchased power costs for Florida Public Utilities Co., a relatively small utility that serves parts of North Florida. Those lower costs could lead to reductions in customer electric bills. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

MEDICAID ADVISORY PANEL MEETS: The Medical Care Advisory Committee, which includes health providers, consumer representatives and state agency officials, will meet to discuss Medicaid issues. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee.)

ONE MILLION BONES: The Tallahassee chapter of One Million Bones, which tries to raise awareness of global genocides, sponsors a panel discussion, “FSU Confronts Genocide.” Panelists are Stefan Schmitt, head of the International Forensic Program of Physicians for Human Rights, Terry Coonan, director of FSU’s Center for the Advancement of Human Rights and FSU instructor and One Million Bones coordinator Jane McPherson. (Tuesday, 7 p.m., Center for Global and Multicultural Engagement, Florida State University, 110 S. Woodward Ave., Tallahassee.)


REDISTRICTING SESSION: The Legislature will meet in extraordinary session starting Wednesday afternoon to try again to draw Senate maps, after the ones they drew were rejected by the Florida Supreme Court. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., The Capitol.)


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

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.