Capitol preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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Details of the merit pay act will be wrangled over this week in an administrative court as a circuit court judge hears arguments over the privatization of prison health care.

Also in this holiday-shortened week, the state’s largest utility, Florida Power & Light, begins a series of hearings on a proposal to raise base electric rates.

A round-up via the News Service of Florida.


SCOTT ATTENDS MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY IN BUSHNELL: Gov. Rick Scott on Monday attends a Memorial Day ceremony at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell. (Monday, 11 a.m., Florida National Cemetery, 6502 SW 102 Ave., Bushnell.)

ROBINSON HEARS FROM PALATKA: Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson will a community forum with parents, teachers and others to discuss the current state of the education system. St. Johns River State College President Joe Pickens and Putnam County Public Schools Superintendent Tom Townsend will attend. (Monday, 1 p.m., St. Johns River State College Palatka Campus, Valhalla Hall, 5001 St. Johns Ave., Palatka.)

ROBINSON COMMUNITY FORUM IN JACKSONVILLE: Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson then holds a second community forum in Jacksonville, where state Board of Education member Gary Chartrand will also attend. (Monday, 6:30 p.m., Jacksonville City Hall, Suite 400, 117 W. Duval St., Jacksonville.)

FLORIDA CITY AND COUNTY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING: City and county managers are in Bonita Springs this week to talk about managing cities and counties. Ethics, best practices, biogasification, planning, other issues. The agenda is at:


‘FREE MARISSA MARCH’: Backers of Marissa Alexander, sentenced to 20 years in Jacksonville for firing a gun during a dispute with her husband, hold a “Free Marissa March.” The judge in the case didn’t have a choice on the term of her sentence because of the state’s 10-20-Life law. (Tuesday, 8:45 a.m., Hemming Plaza, Jacksonville.)

ROBINSON IS KEYNOTER AT EDUCATION SUMMIT: Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson will be the keynote speaker at the Florida Education Summit, put on by the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Sterling Council. Educators, administrators and others in the community will discuss the future of education. Robinson will address his “vision for K-12 education in Florida.” (Conference is Tuesday through Thursday. Robinson speech: Tuesday, 8 a.m., JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, 4040 Central Florida Pkwy., Orlando.)

BACKING RESTORE ACT – PUT SPILL PENALTIES INTO GULF COMMUNITIES: Leaders from cities, counties, the tourism and hospitality industry and others hold a news conference to urge passage of the federal “Restore Act,” which would require that 80 percent of fines paid by BP through the Clean Water Act for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill go to restore areas impacted by the spill. (Tuesday, 12 p.m., Wharf Express, 1108 S. Magnolia Dr., Tallahassee.)

PRISON HEALTH PRIVATIZATION ARGUED: Leon County Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll will hear arguments about the constitutionality of a legislative plan to privatize prison health services. Opponents, including the Florida Nurses Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, filed lawsuits challenging the plan. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., Leon County Courthouse Room 330, 301 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee.)


MERIT PAY HEARING: Administrative Law Judge John Van Laningham holds a hearing on a challenge to the way school districts evaluate teachers for merit pay. The challenge is filed by the Florida Education Association and two teachers. The judge has set out two days for the hearing. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., DeSoto Building, 1230 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee.)

UPDATE ON 500: The Florida Department of State, Office of Cultural, Historical and Information Programs holds a conference call to get an update on the Viva Florida 500 initiative to commemorate Florida’s 500-year anniversary, or Quincentennial, of the landing of European explorer Juan Ponce de León. Participants will talk about how things are coming in various communities planning to mark the anniversary. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Conference Call: 1(888)808-6959, Conference Code: 9395093665.) Agenda:

KIDSWELL FLORIDA WEBINAR: KidsWell Florida, a new statewide campaign to improve access to affordable, quality health care for children, holds a webinar on health coverage gaps, opportunities to expand coverage and other issues.  (Wednesday, 12 p.m.)

LONG TERM CARE DETAILS DISCUSSED: The Agency for Health Care Administration will hold a meeting to discuss what is known as the long-term care data book. The book provides information that health plans will use as they seek contracts in the long-term care portion of a new statewide Medicaid managed-care system. (Wednesday, 2 p.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee.)


SD 4: BEAN IS FIRED UP: State Senate District 4 candidate Aaron Bean, Republican from Fernandina Beach, attends a meet and greet at the Duval County campaign headquarters. (Wednesday, 4 p.m., Duval County GOP headquarters 4963 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville.)

CD 6: RICHARD CLARK FUNDRAISER: A fundraiser will be held Wednesday evening for Republican congressional candidate Richard Clark, who is running for the 6th Congressional District in northeast Florida. (Wednesday, 6 p.m., Marsh Landing Country Club, 25655 Marsh Landing Pkwy., Ponte Vedra Beach.)


OIR RATE HEARING: Cypress Property & Casualty  Insurance Co. seeks a rate increase averaging 19.7 percent for homeowners and 11.5 percent for condo owners. The overall state rate request is 17.7 percent and must be approved by the Office of Insurance Regulation. (Thursday, 9 a.m., 200 E. Gaines St. Room 116, Tallahassee.)

FPL RATE HEARINGS START IN SARASOTA, FORT MYERS: The Florida Public Service Commission will begin holding a series of hearings about a proposal by Florida Power & Light to raise base electric rates. (Thursday, 9:30 a.m., Sarasota City Commission chambers, 1565 First Street, Sarasota. Another hearing will follow at 6 p.m., Lee County School Board, 2855 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers.)

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

MERIT PAY HEARING: Administrative Law Judge John Van Laningham continues for a second day a hearing on a challenge to the way school districts evaluate teachers for merit pay filed by the Florida Education Association and two teachers. (Thursday, 1 p.m.., DeSoto Building, 1230 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee.)

DEADLINE FOR FPU BOARD APPLICATIONS: Thursday is the deadline for applications to the Florida Polytechnic University Board of Trustees. Information is at:


CITIZENS’ DEPOPULATION SUMMIT: Citizens Property Insurance Corp. acting president and CEO Tom Grady will meet with stakeholders in Tampa to discuss the depopulation of the state-backed insurer and ways to speed up the process. Citizens now handles nearly 1.5 million policies, prompting Gov. Rick Scott and others to call for dramatic action to lower its ranks and shift those policyholders to private carriers.  (Friday, 9 a.m., Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa.)

MEDICAID COUNTY BILLING CHANGES EYED: The Agency for Health Care Administration will hold a workshop to discuss proposed changes in the state’s system of billing counties for Medicaid care. (Friday, 9 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Drive, 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.