Capitol preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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With President Obama cutting short a visit to Florida at the end of this week because of the theater shooting in Colorado, and the nation pausing to mourn and contemplate yet another random massacre of innocent people, politics, at least in its basest form, was expected to go dark for a few days.

But it likely will be back next week, with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney replacing Obama as the presidential candidate of the week in Florida. Romney heads to South Florida at the end of the week for a fundraiser.

Tallahassee remains mostly in the summer doldrums, with the Supreme Court and Cabinet on their breaks, lawmakers focused on election and agencies in their slow periods. The PSC takes part of the week off for a conference in Oregon.

There are a number of revenue estimating meetings, and several DEP workshops for setting waterway mercury maximum daily loads. In fact, if the presence of mercury in water is your thing, this is your week. DEP holds hearings on the issue this week in Panama City, Tallahassee, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Sarasota.

A preview via the News Service of Florida.


REVENUE ESTIMATE OF FLORIDA ECONOMY: Revenue estimators on Monday look at Florida economic indicators in their ongoing effort to get a sense of how much revenue the state can expect to collect. (Monday, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

ROS-LEHTINEN AVAILABILITY AT MIAMI OFFICE: Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen hosts a blood drive at her Miami Congressional office.  She’ll be available for media interviews as well. (Monday, 11 a.m., 4960 SW 72 Ave., Miami.)

RX DRUG ABUSE AND NEWBORN PANEL: The Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns holds its second meeting, this one in Tampa. The panel was created by Attorney General Pam Bondi to  to collect data on the extent of neonatal withdrawal syndrome from prescription drugs in Florida. The panel also will look at costs associated with treating expectant mothers and newborns suffering from withdrawal from prescription drugs, and identify programs that provide services to mothers who abuse prescription drugs and newborns with neonatal withdrawal syndrome. (Monday, 1 p.m., St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital, 3030 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tampa.)

MERCURY STANDARDS AT ISSUE: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a workshop for setting a waterway mercury standard, which is known as a “total maximum daily load.” (Monday, 1 p.m. CDT, Camp Helen State Park, The Lodge, 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City Beach.)

MEDICAID DRUGS DISCUSSED: The Medicaid Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee will hold a conference call to discuss issues related to the Medicaid preferred-drug list. (Monday, 4 p.m., call-in number 1-888-670-3525, passcode 8824614371, followed by the # key.)

UTILITY REGULATORS AT NARUC: The Public Service Commission doesn’t meet this week because of attendance at the summer meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, which is holding its summer meetings Saturday through Wednesday in Portland, Ore. The agenda:

CAMPAIGNS HD 9: Republican House District 9 candidate Bradley Maxwell holds a news conference to announce a proposal to protect state employees. (Monday, 10 a.m., Florida Press Center, 336 E. College Ave., Tallahassee.)

BIDEN TO ADDRESS POLICE GATHERING: Vice President Joe Biden will address the National Association of Police Organizations as it holds its annual convention in Palm Beach. The White House hasn’t released details. (Monday, The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach.)


PANHANDLE ESTUARY STANDARDS DISCUSSED: The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a workshop about what are known as “numeric nutrient standards” for estuaries in the Panhandle. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., CDT, DEP Northwest District Office, 160 West Governmental St., Suite 308, Pensacola.)

MERCURY WORKSHOP IN TALLAHASSEE: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will continue holding workshops for setting a waterway mercury standard, which is known as a “total maximum daily load.” (Tuesday, 1 p.m., DEP Carr Building, 3800 Commonwealth Blvd., Tallahassee.)


NUMERIC NUTRIENT STANDARDS IN PANAMA CITY: The Department of Environmental Protection will continue holding workshops about what are known as “numeric nutrient standards” for estuaries in the Panhandle. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., CDT, Gulf Coast State College, Gibson Lecture Hall, 5230 West U.S. Highway 98, Panama City.)

OIR STUDIES STATE FARM HIKES: The Office of Insurance Regulation will hold a public hearing about a proposal by State Farm Florida to increase rates for rental dwelling policies by a statewide average of 58 percent. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE TAX WORKING GROUP:  The Communications Services Tax Working Group holds it second meeting to study and report on tax issues related to the sale of communications services. The committee has been charged with providing a report to the governor and Legislative leaders by Feb. 1. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 2450 Shumard Oak Boulevard, Building One, Room 1220, Tallahassee.)

CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE LOOKS AT GULF DRILLING BAN: The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on “Investigation of President Obama’s Gulf Drilling Moratorium: Questioning of Key Department of the Interior Officials.” The House has asked for, but so far hasn’t gotten documents related to how the decision on the drilling moratorium was reached, leading to the committee hauling in Interior officials for this questioning. Department of Interior and White House officials will be questioned. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., 1324 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C.)

MERCURY WORKSHOP IN DAYTONA BEACH: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will continue holding workshops for setting a waterway mercury standard, which is known as a “total maximum daily load.” (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., Daytona Beach Regional Library, 105 East Magnolia Ave., Daytona Beach.)


FLORIDA BLUE RIBBON TASK FORCE ON HIGHER ED REFORM: The state task force that is examining the full state higher education system holds a workshop at St. Petersburg College on Thursday. The task force hasn’t published an agenda for the workshop. (Thursday, 8:15 a.m., Collaborative Labs, St. Petersburg College EpiCenter, 13805 58 St., North, Clearwater.)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE NUMBERS TALLIED: The Criminal Justice Estimating Conference will meet to discuss the latest numbers, which can affect such things as the prisons budget. (Thursday, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

SUNPAC/JAMES MADISON INST. EDUCATION FORUM: Rep. Mike Bileca, Sen. Anitere Flores, James Madison Institute President Bob McClure and SunPAC Chairman Jeb Bush, Jr., speak at an education forum and luncheon in Coral Gables. (Thursday, 12 p.m., The Globe, 377 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables.)

MEDICAID COUNTY BILLING WORKSHOP: The Agency for Health Care Administration will hold a workshop about proposed rules that deal with billing counties for Medicaid services. The issue has been controversial in recent months, because lawmakers approved a plan to try to recoup money that they say counties owe. (Thursday, 1 p.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Dr., Tallahassee.)

MERCURY WORKSHOP IN FORT LAUDERDALE: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will continue holding workshops for setting a waterway mercury standard, which is known as a “total maximum daily load.” (Thursday, 1:30 p.m., Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, Garden Center, 3109 East Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.)

SUNSHINE STATE RENEWABLE ENERGY EXPO: Speakers at a symposium on renewable energy include Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah, former Public Service Commissioner Nathan Skop, Pine Crest Mayor Cindy Lerner, and several people from academia and business. There’s a reception Wednesday evening, but the event really runs Thursday and Friday, and is put on by the Florida Renewable Energy Producers Association. (All Day Thursday and Friday, Holiday Inn Sanibel Island, 1231 Middle Gulf Dr., Sanibel Island.)


AHCA ASSISTED LIVING WORK GROUP: Gov. Rick Scott asked the Agency for Health Care Administration to reconvene the Assisted Living Workgroup to continue a comprehensive review of the regulation and oversight of assisted living facilities in Florida. The Workgroup’s purpose is to develop recommendations for improvement in the state’s ability to monitor quality and safety in assisted living facilities. It meets Friday in Fort Lauderdale. (Friday, 8 a.m., Florida Dept. of Transportation Building, 3400 W. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. CALL-IN NUMBER: 888-670-3525 Participant Code: 625-643-6859)

ETHICS COMMISSION WEIGHS OPINIONS: The Florida Commission on Ethics will take up a series of issues, including advisory opinions about a former Department of Children and Families assistant secretary who is employed by a DCF contractor and whether a conflict of interest exists for a DCF food-stamp supervisor who works part-time at a gas station and convenience store. (Friday, 8:30 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

CITIZENS BOARD OF GOVERNORS: The Board of Governors of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. will meet to approve rates for the upcoming calendar year. The board met last week to review rate hikes for most of the state-backed insurer’s nearly 1.5 million policyholders. Rates increases are capped at 10 percent for non-sinkhole coverage but the board is also weighing whether to increase rates for new business beyond that point. (Friday, 9 a.m., Marriott Hotel, Miami, Teleconference call number 888-942-868 Participant Code: 5743735657#)

MEDICAID AND FEDERAL HEALTH CARE LAW EXPENSES: State economists hold a Social Services Estimating Conference to look at Medicaid long term expenditures, and expected impact of the Affordable Care Act. Florida will debate this year whether to accept a large pot of Medicaid money for expanded health coverage for the poor: Gov. Rick Scott has said he doesn’t want to participate, but some lawmakers remain interested. (Friday, July 27, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

MERCURY WORKSHOP IN SARASOTA: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will continue holding workshops for setting a waterway mercury standard, which is known as a “total maximum daily load.” (Friday, 1 p.m., Southwest Florida Water Management District, Sarasota Service Office, 6750 Fruitville Road, Sarasota.)

CAMPAIGN FINANCE DEADLINE: Campaign Finance reports are due Friday (July 27) at the Division of Elections for the period of July 7 through July 20. The periods are condensed now ahead of the August primary. (Friday.)


ROMNEY FUNDRAISER: Mitt Romney is expected to be in Boca Raton for a fundraiser at the home of Dr. Larry Kawa. (Friday, 5:30 p.m., Boca Raton.)

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.