Capitol preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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With much of the political establishment keeping one eye on the U.S. Supreme Court for a possible health care ruling and one eye out for Sen. Marco Rubio’s book this week, there are no eyes left to watch the presidential campaign make a stop in central Florida this week. Not to worry, both campaigns will likely be frequent visitors.

Both Romney and Obama are expected at a gathering of Latino elected officials this week in Orlando, though no details have been released on the president’s plans.

Florida government watchers could just park it in Orlando this week – the other hot topic lately, the state university system – will be the focus as the Board of Governors meets there mid-week. Gov. Rick Scott will address the board on Tuesday.


Anyone watching for the ruling out of the U.S. Supreme Court on the Florida case challenging the federal health care law is watching extra closely this week, with a decision possible as early as Monday. The Supreme Court term ends at the end of June, and Florida’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is one of about a dozen cases left to decide. The justices will hand down at least one opinion on Monday, and could release others through the week. The Court has already announced it will have opinions on Thursday, June 21. It’s also possible the Court could wait until the week of June 25 to rule on the case, among the most high profile in recent years.


COMMON CORE STANDARDS: The Department of Education hosts a workshop on the shift to the “common core standards” in 2013, when the standards will be in place nationally. The workshops are for teachers and school administrators. Public Schools Chancellor Pam Stewart is among the participants. (June 18-21, Orlando World Center Marriott, 8701 World Center Dr., Orlando. Agenda:


RUBIO BOOK DROPS: “An American Son: A Memoir,” by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is released Tuesday. The book details Rubio’s political career, including his rise through the Legislature and his eventual run for the Senate. It comes amid speculation that Rubio could be on de facto GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s short list as Romney tries to choose a running mate. (Tuesday)

GULF POWER CUSTOMERS COULD GET BREAK: The Florida Public Service Commission will consider a plan to reduce Gulf Power Co.’s monthly customer bills because of lower-than-expected fuel costs. Also, the PSC will decide whether to approve a slight increase in the company’s base rates to help pay for a potential nuclear power-plant site in Escambia County. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

BIG BEND SEAGRASSES: The Department of Environmental Protection holds a public meeting to get comment on its draft Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve Management Plan. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., First District Community Building, 9335 NE SR 349, Old Town.)

BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING: The Florida Board of Governors meets this week to review work plans for each of the state’s 11 current universities and to consider other business. Gov. Rick Scott will meet with the board during lunch Tuesday. The board’s Strategic Planning Committee will begin to review the work plans that afternoon, continuing the task on Wednesday. Other committees will meet the following morning; among the business is a review of Florida A&M University’s corrective actions by the Audit and Compliance Committee. And the full board will meet Thursday afternoon to consider differential tuition proposals and other matters. (Tuesday-Thursday, Live Oak Center, University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando.)

BEAN WITH YOUNG REPUBLICANS: State Senate District 4 candidate Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, addresses the Nassau County Young Republicans. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., San Jose Mexicana Grille, 463797 SR 200, Yulee.)


STATE EMPLOYEE HEALTH INSURANCE: The Self-Insurance Estimating Conference will look at the health of the State Employees’ Health Insurance Trust Fund.(Wednesday, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

GREENWAYS AND TRAILS: The Florida Greenways and Trails Council will hold a public hearings to update and review its 2012Florida Greenways and Trails System Plan being developed by the Office of Greenways and Trails.  (Wednesday 9 a.m., Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Building, 3900 Commonwealth Blvd, Tallahassee.)

ENTERPRISE FLORIDA DIRECTORS MEET: The Board of directors of Enterprise Florida will meet to discuss their legislative budget request and marketing plan for the 2012-13 fiscal year. The board is also expected to vote on new board members. (Wednesday, 3 p.m. EFI headquarters, 800 N. Magnolia Ave, Suite 1100, Orlando.)

BIG BEND SEAGRASSES: The Department of Environmental Protection holds a public meeting to get comment on its draft Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve Management Plan. (Wednesday, 6 p.m., City Council Chambers, 224 S. Jefferson St., Perry.)

PUTNAM SPEAKS TO CATTLEMEN: Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam delivers remarks at the Florida Cattlemen’s Association’s annual convention. The convention, which includes a bull auction, a banquet with guest speaker Baxter Black, the cowboy poet, and a trade show, as well as the association’s membership and leadership meetings, runs Monday through Thursday. Putnam’s remarks are on Wednesday evening.  (Wednesday, 7 p.m., Marco Island, 400 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island.)

QUINNIPIAC POLL: Quinnipiac University Polling Institute releases a Florida poll. The subject hasn’t been released.


HEALTH DATA DISCUSSED: The state Consumer Health Information and Policy Advisory Council will discuss issues related to the public reporting of health care data. (Thursday, 10 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee.).

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

CANADY SPEAKS AT FLORIDA BAR JUDICIAL LUNCHEON: Florida Chief Justice Charles T. Canady is the speaker at the judicial luncheon on the middle day of the Florida Bar’s annual conference. If you’re wondering if they tell lawyer jokes at the Bar convention, your question is answered: the luncheon also will feature “legal humorist” Fred Knipe. (Thursday, 12:30 p.m., Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee.)

BUSH, GARCIA WELCOME HISPANIC OFFICIALS: Former Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Hispanic Legislative Caucus Chairman Rene Garcia address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Orlando. GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks earlier (see campaign section below). President Obama may address the group on Friday. (Thursday, 1 p.m., Disney’s Contemporary Resort, 4600 North World Dr., Lake Buena Vista.)

FEDERAL JUDICIAL ROUNDTABLE AT BAR CONVENTION: Chief U.S. District Judge Anne C. Conway from the Middle District, Chief U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno of the Southern District and Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Lewis M. Killian Jr. of the Northern District, are the panelists at Thursday’s Federal Judicial Roundtable at the 2012 Annual Florida Bar Convention. (Thursday, 2:15 p.m., Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee.)


ROMNEY: Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses the annual conference of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. The three-day convention brings more than 1,000 Latino public officials at all levels of government to Orlando. Conference participants will join political and policy leaders for panel discussions on education, health, financial empowerment, broadband adoption and the growing clout of Latino voters in American politics. (Romney speech: Thursday, 12 p.m., Disney’s Contemporary Resort, 4600 North World Dr., Lake Buena Vista.)

ATWATER HELPING DESANTIS: Florida CFO Jeff Atwater and state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, are among those hosting a West Palm Beach fundraiser for northeast Florida Congressional candidate Ron DeSantis. (Thursday, 6 p.m., Top of the Point, 777 South Flagler Dr., West Palm Beach.)


DCF NEGOTIATIONS WITH ECKERD: The Department of Children and Families, SunCoast Region, holds a public meeting at which it will conduct contract negotiations with Eckerd Youth Alternatives (Contract #QJ20R), Lead Agency for Community Based Care in Circuit 6, and Eckerd Community Alternatives Hillsborough (Contract #QJ3E0), Lead Agency for Community Based Care in Circuit 13 (effective July 1, 2012). (Friday, 9:30 a.m., Room 803, DCF SunCoast office, Tampa.)

PANEL DRAWS UP DRUG LIST: The Agency for Health Care Administration’s Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee will meet to discuss the Medicaid preferred-drug list. (Friday, 1 p.m., Crowne Plaza Westshore, 5303 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.)

NEW BAR LEADERS: Tampa attorney Gwynne Alice Young will be installed as the 64th president of The Florida Bar on Friday during the Bar’s Annual Convention. Also sworn in on Friday will be Eugene Pettis, of Fort Lauderdale, who will become president-elect, to succeed Young in June 2013. Pettis will become the first African-American to head up the Florida Bar.

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.