Capitol preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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It’s qualifying week for candidates. By Friday afternoon, we’ll know who is running for which Senate, House and congressional seats.

Vice President Joe Biden is in Miami on Monday.


QUALIFYING WEEK: Candidates for the Legislature and Congress officially file their paperwork to qualify to run for office. Qualifying begins Monday and goes until Friday.

DEP DISCUSSES MERCURY LIMITS: The Department of Environmental Protection will discuss development of what is known as a “total maximum daily load” for mercury in waterways. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., Department of Environmental Protection Southwest District, 1305 N. Telecom Parkway, Temple Terrace.)

DEADLINE FOR POLY BOARD APPLICANTS: Want to be a member of the newest board of trustees in Florida, the one for the soon-to-be-independent Florida Polytechnic University? The Florida Board of Governors is accepting applications for the five spots it will fill on the panel until this afternoon. Details: (Monday, 4 p.m.)

BIDEN IN MIAMI: Vice President Joe Biden will be in Miami on Monday. He’ll deliver remarks at the Cypress Bay High graduation ceremony at Marlins Park.

NEW HURRICANE CENTER DIRECTOR: Dr. Rick Knabb takes over as director of NOAA’s Hurricane Center on Monday.


ALF RULEMAKING STARTS: The Department of Elder Affairs will host the first in a series of meetings aimed at negotiating proposed rules to address the safety and quality of care provided to residents of assisted living facilities. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., 4040 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

HIGH COURT WEIGHS ASBESTOS, TOBACCO CASES: The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in two Miami-Dade County cases that involve similar legal issues, though one deals with asbestos exposure and the other deals with smoking-related illness. Married couples originally filed the cases as personal-injury lawsuits against Rinker Materials Corp. and Philip Morris USA. But after the deaths of the husbands who had become ill, lower courts dismissed the cases and said the surviving wives would have to file new lawsuits. The Supreme Court will consider whether the original cases should have been allowed to continue. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Florida Supreme Court, 500 S. Duval St., Tallahassee.)

HAYDEN, EHRLICH AT SUNCOAST TIGER BAY: Democrats Nina Hayden and Jessica Ehrlich, both running in the new 13th Congressional District against Republican congressional dean Rep. Bill Young, speak Tuesday at the Suncoast Tiger Bay club in Pinellas County. Hayden, who ran unsuccessfully for state Senate in 2008 and is an attorney and former Pinellas School Board member. Ehrlich, also an attorney, had an impressive $100,000 fundraising as soon as she opened her campaign. She’s a former congressional staffer. (Tuesday, 12 p.m., St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.)

DEP CONTINUES MERCURY TALKS: The Department of Environmental Protection will continue discussing development of what is known as a “total maximum daily load” for mercury in waterways. (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., Department of Environmental Protection Southeast District, 400 N. Congress Ave., Suite 200, West Palm Beach.)


EFFICIENCY PANEL LOOKS AT WORKER HEALTH INSURANCE:  The state’s Government Efficiency Task Force will consider a series of issues, including recommendations for state-employee health insurance benefits and recommendations for the state retirement system. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

INTEGRITY FLORIDA RELEASES CORRUPTION REPORT: Integrity Florida will release a research publication – “Corruption Risk Report: Ethics Laws.” (Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. Florida Press Center, 336 E. College Ave., Tallahassee.)

MERCURY DRIVES ANOTHER DEP MEETING: The Department of Environmental Protection will continue discussing development of what is known as a “total maximum daily load” for mercury in waterways. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., Department of Environmental Protection Northeast District, 7825 Baymeadows Way, Suite B200, Jacksonville.)

DEADLINE FOR STATE RESPONSE TO DOJ ON VOTER PURGES: The Department of Justice has given Florida elections officials until June 6 to notify Washington what it intends to do about concerns that efforts to purge non-citizens from the voter rolls may be illegal the way they’re being done.


FSU TRUSTEES IN SARASOTA: Florida State University Board of Trustees meet Thursday in Sarasota at the Ringling Museum of Art. The meeting starts with a workshop on alumni database characteristics and “Big Ideas” — proposals for interdisciplinary collaborations that may also serve as a foundation for fundraising efforts. In the afternoon there are committee meetings. The general board of trustees meeting is Friday morning. (Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m., Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota.)

PUBLIC DEFENDER CASELOAD DISPUTE GOES TO SUPREME COURT: The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether the public defender’s office in Miami-Dade County could decline to take some cases because of an excessive workload. The state has fought the attempt to withdraw from cases, saying in part that the public defender’s workload was not so large that it endangered the rights of criminal defendants to get adequate representation. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Florida Supreme Court, 500 S. Duval St. Tallahassee.)

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

MERCURY TALKS HEAD TO PANHANDLE: The Department of Environmental Protection will continue discussing development of what is known as a “total maximum daily load” for mercury in waterways. (Thursday, 1 p.m., Department of Environmental Protection Northwest District, 160 W. Government St., Pensacola.)


STATE DEFENDS THE PENSION LAW: Lawyers for the state faces a deadline to fill its first brief in support of a law requiring public employees to contribute 3 percent of their incomes toward their retirement funds. The state is appealing a ruling by Circuit Court Judge Jackie Fulford barring the state from requiring those contributions by employees hired before July 1, 2011. (Friday)

SBA: The State Board of Administration holds a meeting to review the criteria for the qualifications of the Audit Committee members and to discuss the fourth quarter Board of Trustee’s report. The committee, appointed by the board, helps it oversee the state’s investments. (Friday, 9 a.m., 116 Hermitage Centre, 1801 Hermitage Blvd., Tallahassee.)

JOBS FOR FLORIDIANS WITH DISABILITIES: The Governor’s Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities meets Friday in Orlando. The agenda will include commissioner dialogue with businesses, committee reports, and discussion of policy recommendations for the first report to the governor. (Friday 9 a.m., Fairwinds Alumni Center, University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando.)

SCOTT IN SARASOTA: Gov. Rick Scott speaks Friday to the Argus Foundation in Sarasota. He’ll talk about the legislative session and the economy. (Friday, 11:30 a.m., Longboat Key Club and Resort, 3000 Harbourside Dr., Longboat Key.)

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.