Capitol preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

in Uncategorized by

The Cabinet meets this week in the Keys, the state honors fallen law enforcement officers, and the Board of Education meets in Tampa.

MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

HONORING FALLEN LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS: The Florida State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police hosts the 2012 Florida State Law Enforcement Memorial on Monday, honoring law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.  The ceremony includes remarks and a helicopter flyover. (Monday, 10 a.m., Capitol Courtyard, the Capitol.)

OLYMPUS PITCHES INSURANCE RATE HIKE: The Office of Insurance Regulation will hold a hearing about Olympus Insurance Co.’s request for a 24.5 percent rate increase in its dwelling-fire line of coverage. (Monday, 1 p.m., 116 Larson Building, 200 East Gaines St., Tallahassee.)

SHERIFFS HONOR FALLEN OFFICERS: The Florida Sheriffs Association has a separate ceremony for fallen officers on Monday at its memorial wall located at its Tallahassee headquarters. Attorney General, Pam Bondi, FSA Executive Director, Steve Casey, FSA President Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson and Sumter County Sheriff Bill Farmer attend. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., 2617 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee.)

KEYS NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY REVIEW: The Nature Conservancy, Save-A-Turtle in Marathon, Friends and Volunteers of Refuges (FAVOR) on Big Pine Key and Reef Relief on Key West host a meeting the regulatory review of the rules governing the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Key West National Wildlife Refuge and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are gathering public input on the sanctuary’s overall boundary and zoning plan, and other issues, and the groups are holding to the meeting to discuss the review process. (Monday, 7:30 p.m., The Turtle Hospital, 2396 Overseas Hwy., MM 48.5 on the bay side, Marathon.)

SUPREMES TO HEAR HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION CASE; The Florida Supreme Court is being asked to weigh in on whether foreign nationals qualify for the state’s homestead exemption. The case is being brought by the Miami-Dade property appraiser against David Andonie, a foreign national whose three children are U.S. citizens. Pedro Garcia denied Andonie’s request for homestead exemption but trial court and appellate court ruled in the homeowner’s favor. (Monday 9:40 a.m., Supreme Court Chambers, Tallahassee.)

DOCKERY TO GIVE COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS AT USF POLY: In an acknowledgement of her effort to prevent the University of South Florida from losing its Lakeland campus, Sen. Paula Dockery will give the commencement address to the last class to graduate from USF-Polytechnic there before its transition to a new independent Florida Polytechnic University begins. “I’m disappointed my community will be losing the USF presence we have enjoyed for more than 20 years but I am honored to speak to the graduating class of 2012, said Dockery, R-Lakeland, who also likely will be giving one of her final speeches as a senator. She leaves the Legislature in November because of term limits. (Monday, 7 p.m., Lakeland Center’s Youkey Theatre, Lakeland.)

TUESDAY, MAY 8, 2012

CABINET MEETS IN KEYS: Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet move their regular meeting to the Florida Keys on Tuesday. The Cabinet is expected to approve the Division of Emergency Management’s Statewide Emergency Shelter Plan – – and hears a report from the Division of Bond Finance on PECO bonds, FIU dorm revenue bonds, and UF dorm revenue bonds. The Cabinet also is asked to consider the issuance of some new Florida Forever bonds, university system improvement bonds, and Everglades bonds. The bond finance agenda is here: The State Board of Administration must also approve some bonding: The governor and Cabinet will also get an update on water quality in the Florida Keys and the Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The meeting follows the governor’s decision earlier this year to leave in the budget a $50 million line item for sewer and wastewater projects in the Keys that Monroe County officials had sought. The $50 million will go for a number of projects in the county, with a major portion of it, $20 million, earmarked for Islamorada. reported it is the first time “in anyone’s memory” that the governor and Cabinet have met in the Keys. (Tuesday, 9 a.m. Stanley Switlik Elementary School, 3400 Overseas Highway, Marathon.)

HIGH COURT HEARS TRIO OF DEPORTATION CASES: The Florida Supreme Court has scheduled a morning session focusing on plea agreements and convictions that end up with the defendant being deported. The court is being as to decide how those should be handled in light of 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in a Kentucky case. The court will hear separate appeals from three defendants whose cases vary slightly but who all contend they were not advised by attorney that their actions would trigger deportation proceedings. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Supreme Court Chamber, Tallahassee.)
Here’s the cases;

FLORIDA ELECTIONS COMMISSION: Most of the Elections Commission agenda is informal hearings and appeals of automatic fines, but the commission also will review new rules. The agenda is here$File/PUBLIC+FEC+Agenda+04+18+12.pdf
(Tuesday, 9 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

PSC DIGS INTO TECO GYPSUM PLAN: The state Public Service Commission will consider a series of electric-utility issues, including a proposal by Tampa Electric Co. to pass along $55 million in costs to customers for a gypsum-storage facility. Gypsum is a byproduct of using “scrubbers” to reduce pollution from power plants. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

SCOTT, CABINET HELP RELEASE TURTLE: Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet will participate in the release of a rehabilitated sea turtle following a meeting of the Florida Cabinet in Marathon.  (2:30 p.m., Turtle Hospital, 2396 Overseas Highway, MM 48.5 on the bay side, Marathon.)

DEADLINE FOR PUBLIC INPUT ON ELEM/SECONDARY ED ACT WAIVERS: May 8 is the deadline for the public to submit input to the Florida Department of Education on additional waiver requests available for states that received Elementary and Secondary Education Act flexibility waivers from the U.S. Department of Education in the first round.  The first waiver permits states to discontinue Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) determinations and the second waiver permits local school districts to serve Title I eligible high schools that have a graduation rate of less than 60 percent and are priority schools even if the school has a lower poverty rate than other Title I schools.  More information about the additional waivers can be found at Comments go to


HEALTH CARE TRANSPARENCY EYED: The State Consumer Health Information and Policy Advisory Council Data Standard and Transparency Steering Committee will meet to discuss increasing health-care transparency through public reporting of data. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee. A call-in number will be available. It is 1-888-808-6959, with a participant code of 8509223803.)

BOARD OF ED MAKES A PLAN, REFEREES CHARTER FIGHTS: The Florida Board of Education will hold a workshop to discuss a strategic plan for the education system. That will be followed by a regular meeting to consider appeals in a series of charter-school disputes from South and Central Florida. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Tampa Airport Marriott, Tampa.)

FLORIDA TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION: The Florida Transportation Commission meets this week on the Space Coast, and has a Port Canaveral overview, and its annual transportation authority oversight report. The agenda: (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Canaveral Port Authority Board Room
445 Challenger Rd., Cocoa.

THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2012

SUPREME COURT HEARS FORECLOSURE FRAUD CASE: An important case dating back to robo-signing and the crash of the Florida housing market makes its way to the state’s high court. Homeowner Roman Pino argues that New York Mellon dismissed foreclosure proceedings against him after he found out that the bank had filed fraudulent documents. Pino’s attorneys argue that Mellon can’t dismiss a proceeding to avoid a fraud charge. The trial court and the Fourth District Court of Appeal disagreed. The appellate court, however, asked for guidance on how to handle such cases. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Supreme Court Chamber, Tallahassee.)

GAETZ IN MARIANNA: State Sen. Don Gaetz – the next Senate president – will bring his Senate office to Marianna on Thursday. He plans meetings with residents and business leaders. (9:30 a.m., CDT, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, 4318 Lafayette St., Marianna.)

ATWATER AT TIGER BAY VOLUSIA: The Tiger Bay Club of Volusia’s speaker on Thursday will be Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, whose topic is “Jumpstarting Florida’s Economy for Long-term Prosperity.” (Thursday, 12 p.m., Sunset Harbor Yacht Club, 867 Ballough Rd., Daytona Beach.)

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

CAT FUND PANEL TO MEET: The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund Advisory Council will discuss issues such as claims-paying capacity. (Thursday, 1:30 p.m., 1801 Hermitage Blvd., Tallahassee.)

BOARD OF ED GOES DIGITAL, CONSIDERS COLLEGE PROGRAMS: The Florida Board of Education will take up a series of issues, including getting an update about digital learning and considering new programs at Indian River State College and St. Johns River State College. (Thursday, 7:30 a.m., Tampa Airport Marriott, Tampa.)

FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2012

BILL CLINTON IN JAX: Former President Bill Clinton will speak about jobs and the economy during a visit to City Hall in Jacksonville.

SAVEDADE CHAMPIONS OF EQUALITY AWARDS RECEPTION: The Miami-Dade gay-lesbian equality group SaveDade honors “champions of equality,” honoring U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, for his vote to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and the White and Case firm for pro bono work for gay military personnel. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, is expected to attend. Sens. Gwen Margolis and Oscar Braynon, Democrats from Miami-Dade County and Reps. Dwight Bullard and Ron Saunders, Democrats running against each other in a state Senate primary, are all on the organizing committee. (Friday, 6 p.m., 55 NW 36 St., Miami.)

SATURDAY, MAY 12, 2012

BONDI GIVES ADDRESS AT FAMU LAW HOODING CEREMONY: Attorney General Pam Bondi will address the Florida A&M University Law School graduates at a hooding ceremony in Orlando. (Saturday, May 12, 10 a.m., Hilton Orlando, 6001 Destination Parkway, 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.