Capitol preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the Florida case challenging the federal health care law this week, possibly 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 just a few cases left to decide. The justices could release opinions through the week so it’s not a certainty which day the ruling will come down.

There are other major issues in court this week, including a hearing involving the plan to privatize much of the prison system, and the state’s effort to remove ineligible voters from the rolls, as well as the ongoing fight over barrel racing and gambling in Gadsden County, and the tax requirements for online travel companies.

Politics: President Obama campaigns for re-election in Miami Beach this week.

Also this week, Florida Gulf Coast University considers whether to appeal the amount of its allowed tuition increase, and trustees at Florida A&M University talk about “rebranding” the school’s tarnished image.


BLUE RIBBON TASK FORCE ON HIGHER ED REFORM:  The task force created by Gov. Rick Scott to coordinate higher education changes meets Monday for a workshop at the Capitol. Florida State University President Eric Barron speaks about the idea of having tuition flexibility, among other issues that will be discussed. House Appropriations Staffer JoAnne Leznoff gives a budget overview. Other speakers include Rebecca Rust of the Department of Economic Opportunity and Former House Speaker Alan Bense. The panel will also take public comment. (Monday, 8:45 a.m., Cabinet Room, The Capitol.)

PANEL LOOKS AT ALF REGULATIONS: The Assisted Living Workgroup will meet to discuss regulation and oversight of assisted living facilities in Florida. (Monday, 9 a.m., Florida Department of Law Enforcement Training Center, 921 North Davis St., Building E, Jacksonville.)

STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATES: Maryanna Ovalle, student government leader, Palm Beach State College; Dr. Maria Vallejo, Provost, Palm Beach State College; Angie Flores, student government leader, Miami Dade College-North Campus; Dr. Jose Vicente, President, Miami Dade College-North Campus; and Christine Lindstrom, Florida PIRG Higher Education Program Director, participate in a conference call to discuss the coming doubling of student loan interest rates on July 1. The group is calling for Congress to extend the current student loan interest rates. (Monday, 11 a.m., 1-800-298-6863; Conference ID: 5735566; Password: 694385.)

FGCU BOT TO MEET ON TUITION: The Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees will hold an emergency meeting Monday to consider whether to appeal Thursday’s decision by the Board of Governors to allow a 12 percent tuition increase, lower than the school had asked for. (Monday, 11 a.m., Academic Building 5, Room 309, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers.)

JUDGE HEARS ARGUMENTS IN ONLINE TRAVEL: Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis will hear arguments about motions of summary judgment in a long-running legal fight between Broward County and online-travel companies. The fight centers on whether companies such as Expedia and Orbitz are paying the proper amount of tourist-development taxes. (Monday, 2 p.m., Leon County Courthouse, 301 South Monroe St., Tallahassee.)

NORTH FLORIDA REGIONAL WATER SUPPLY: The stakeholder advisory committee to the North Florida Regional Water Supply Partnership will hold its inaugural meeting on June 25 at the St. Johns River Water Management District headquarters in Palatka. The meeting is introductory, and members of the panel will review basics of Florida water law, identify water supply issues for further discussion and establish their meeting schedule. (Monday, 6 p.m., 4049 Reid St., Palatka.)

ST. JOHNS RIVER WMD LAND ASSESSMENT MEETING: The St. Johns River Water Management District is taking a look at its land holdings to determine whether it still makes sense to keep all of what it owns. The district is holding public hearings on the issue, starting Monday evening in Gainesville. (Monday, 6 p.m., Gainesville City Commission, 200 E. University Ave., Gainesville.)

CD 6 CANDIDATES AT TIGER BAY: Republican candidates for Congressional District 6 – Richard Clark, Fred Costello, Ron DeSantis, Craig Miller, and Bev Slough, will be at the Tiger Bay Club of Volusia on Monday. The candidate forum is moderated by WNDB Radio host Marc Bernier. (Monday, 12 p.m., LPGA Banquet Center, 1000 Champion Dr., Daytona Beach.)


CABINET TO HEAR MONEY MATTERS: The Division of Bond Finance will request approval for the sale of $630 million in Public Education Capital Outlay bonds to refund earlier issues that carried higher interest rates.  The Cabinet also considers a refinancing that bond officials say will save the state an estimated $50 million in interest payments.  The State Board of Administration will get updates on the Florida Retirement System, the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, and the local government investment fund. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Cabinet Room, The Capitol.)

OTHER CABINET ISSUES: The Cabinet will also be asked to approve a set of federal guidelines establishing minimum standards for ensuring that the state does not do business with financial institutions with ties to Iran. A state law passed earlier this year requires the guidelines be in place by July 1. Cabinet members will also be asked to appoint a new member to the Florida Parole Commission and be briefed on the state’s hurricane preparedness. (Tuesday 9 a.m., Cabinet Room, The Capitol.)

BARREL RACING FIGHT RESUMES: An administrative law judge will resume a hearing that started in April about whether a Gadsden County pari-mutuel facility should be allowed to offer betting on rodeo-style barrel racing. Two quarter-horse industry groups argue the state improperly approved a license for the facility. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Division of Administrative Hearings, 1230 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee.)

FPL RATE HEARINGS HIT MIAMI-DADE: The Florida Public Service Commission will continue holding public hearings on a Florida Power & Light proposal to raise base electric rates. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Miami-Dade County auditorium, 2901 West Flagler St., Miami; and 4 p.m., Florida Memorial University, Lou Rawls Auditorium, 15800 NW 42nd Ave., Miami Gardens.)

WORKSHOP TO LOOK AT PANHANDLE WATER STANDARDS: The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a workshop about the development of numeric nutrient standards for several Panhandle estuaries. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Department of Environmental Protection Northwest District Office, 160 West Governmental St., Suite 308, Pensacola.)

ADVISORY PANEL EXAMINES MEDICAID: The Medical Care Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of consumers, industry groups and state agencies, will meet to discuss issues in the Medicaid system. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Dr., Tallahassee.)

MORTGAGE FRAUD PRESSER, ROUND TABLE: The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network will hold a news conference, followed by a panel discussion on combating mortgage fraud in the  state. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., U.S. Courthouse, 111 N.  Adams St., Tallahassee.)

EDUCATION ENROLLMENT DISCUSSED: The Education Enrollment Conference will discuss issues related to the public school system, including what is known as Capital Outlay Full-Time Equivalent Enrollment. (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

PRISON HEALTH PRIVATIZATION AIRED: Leon County Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll will hold a hearing in a challenge to a legislative move last year to privatize prison health services. The Florida Nurses Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are challenging the way lawmakers approved the move. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., Leon County Courthouse, 301 South Monroe St., Tallahassee.)

OBAMA AT MIAMI BEACH FUNDRAISER: President Barack Obama will speak at a fundraising reception on Tuesday in Miami Beach. (Tuesday, 8:35 p.m., The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach.)


TWO-DAY FWC MEETING: The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission holds its regular meeting, with a final vote expected on a revised bear management plan, including a proposed Florida Black Bear Conservation rule and changes to species status for the black bear, , four species of butterfly, a fish called an Okaloosa darter, and the Atlantic Sturgeon. Other issues include a review of a the science plan for the Dry Tortugas National Park Research Natural Area, and a discussion of a final rule on wild hog hunting using dogs in certain areas. (Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., PGA National Resort, 400 Ave. of the Champions, Palm Beach Gardens.)

REBRANDING FAMU: The Board of Trustees of Florida A&M University meets Wednesday in Tallahassee to discuss a “rebranding plan” for the troubled university. The school’s budget is also on the agenda. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Call-in number: 1-800-309-9169; Conference ID number: 92410250.  For more information, call (850) 412-5211.)

COURT HEARS ORAL ARGUMENTS ON PRISON PRIVATIZATION: The 1st District Court of Appeal hears oral arguments in the state’s appeal of a prison privatization ruling. The state is appealing a ruling by Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford that struck down a privatization plan approved by the Legislature after the Florida Police Benevolent Association sued to block the initiative. Fulford said lawmakers improperly folded the privatization plan into the fine print of the budget. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., First District Court of Appeal, 2000 Drayton Dr., Tallahassee.)

BROWARD CUSTOMERS CAN COMMENT ON FPL RATES: The Florida Public Service Commission will continue holding public hearings on a Florida Power & Light proposal to raise base electric rates. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Plantation City Council chambers, 400 NW 73rd Ave., Plantation; and 4 p.m., Broward County Main Library auditorium, 100 South Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale.)

PANAMA CITY MEETING ON WATER STANDARDS: The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a workshop about the development of numeric nutrient standards for several Panhandle estuaries. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Gulf Coast State College, Gibson Lecture Hall, 5230 West U.S. Highway 98, Panama City.)

FEDERAL JUDGE TO CONSIDER VOTER PURGE: U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle will hear arguments about whether to issue a temporary restraining order against Florida’s controversial effort to purge ineligible voters. The U.S. Department of Justice, which filed a lawsuit against the state, is seeking the restraining order, contending that Florida is violating federal law — a contention that Gov. Rick Scott’s administration disputes. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., United States Courthouse, 111 North Adams St., Tallahassee.)

ST. JOHNS RIVER WMD LAND ASSESSMENT MEETING: The St. Johns River Water Management District continues its public hearings to determine whether it still makes sense to keep all of the land it owns. (Wednesday, 6 p.m., St. Johns County Auditorium, 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine.)

FWC MEETING CONTINUES: The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission continues its two day meeting on Thursday. Items on the agenda include a proposed draft rule that would prohibit the harvest of the giant Caribbean pink-tipped sea anemone for the next three years to allow its population to rebuild and various other marine life issues. The full agenda is at, 8:30 a.m., PGA National Resort, 400 Ave. of the Champions, Palm Beach Gardens.)

SCOTUS: Thursday is the last day of the U.S. Supreme Court’s term and if a health care decision hasn’t come by then, expect it.


CLEMENCY: The Cabinet meets as the Clemency Board on Thursday morning. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Cabinet Room, The Capitol.)

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

HEALTH KICKBACK LAW DISCUSSED: The Agency for Health Care Administration will take comments about changes in a law that bars health providers from getting kickbacks for referring patients to laboratories. (Thursday, 1 p.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Dr., Tallahassee.)

CENTRAL FLORIDA WATER SUPPLY: St. Johns River Water Management officials hold a meeting to provide information on the development of a regional water supply plan for central Florida, including Seminole, Orange, Osceola and Polk counties and southern Lake County. The meeting will be in open house format. No formal presentations will be given, but information will be displayed and technical staff will be available to answer questions. (Thursday, 4 p.m., Lakefront Marina Building, 1104 Lakeshore Blvd., Second Floor, St. Cloud.)


RULEMAKING: TMDL IN PENSACOLA BAY: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection holds a public meeting to get comments on draft total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for impaired water segments in the Pensacola Bay and Perdido Bay basins, to be adopted in Rule 62-304.330 and 62-304.335. Draft TMDL documents for the impaired waters are at (Friday 9 a.m., CDT., DEP NW District Office, Conference Room 502, 160 W. Government St., Pensacola.)

KIDCARE, MEDICAID NUMBERS HASHED OUT: The Social Services Estimating Conference will discuss issues such as expenditures in the KidCare program and Medicaid caseloads. (Friday, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

ZIMMERMAN BOND HEARING: Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester presides over a new bond hearing for George Zimmerman, accused of second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford in February. (Friday, 9:30 a.m., Courtroom 5-D, Criminal Justice Center, Sanford.)

PUBLIC SCHOOL ENROLLMENT TALLIED: The Education Enrollment Conference will meet to discuss issues such as enrollment in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. (Friday, 1:30 p.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this post.

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.