Capitol Preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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Gov. Rick Scott is off to Washington on Monday to talk health care with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. He’s concerned about Medicaid expansion in light of the new health care law mandate, and also wants to talk about the health exchange requirement, and Florida’s effort to do its own Medicaid changes.

The week ends with a health care summit, put on by Associated Industries, at which a number of lawmakers will discuss some of the same issues. That’s in Orlando.

This is the last week of holiday quiet before a flurry of activity begins with legislative committee weeks starting Jan. 14 and a full schedule of meetings through the next six weeks or so leading up the regular session in March.


NEW LOOK LOTTERY: The Lottery gets a new logo as part of a campaign to rebrand the state’s gambling enterprise on its 25-year anniversary. Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, and students who received Bright Futures scholarships – which are funded by Lottery money – unveil the new logo. (Monday, 10 a.m., Lottery Headquarters, 250 Marriott Dr., Tallahassee.)

CRYSTAL RIVER NUKE PLANT STATUS: Florida Public Service Commissioner Eduardo Balbis will be the prehearing officer at a conference on Monday to review the status of Crystal River Nuclear Unit 3, managed by Duke Energy since its merger with Progress Energy Florida in July. In 2009, during a maintenance and upgrade project, a crack occurred in the concrete containment building that surrounds the unit’s reactor.  Regulators are monitoring the situation, and the projected repair costs. (Monday, 10 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, Room 148, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

JUSTICE OVERTON MEMORIAL: Former Supreme Court Justice Ben Overton, who died last weekend, will lie in repose in the Supreme Court rotunda on Monday. Overton served nearly three decades on the court from the mid-1970s until 1999. Family will receive visitors at the court during the visitation. A memorial service will follow in the courtroom featuring speakers that include Chief Justice Ricky Polston, former Gov. Reubin Askew, former Justice Parker Lee McDonald, and Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte. (Visitation: Monday, 12 p.m.; Memorial service: Monday, 2 p.m., Florida Supreme Court, 500 S. Duval St., Tallahassee.)

SCOTT TO MEET WITH SEBELIUS: Gov. Rick Scott meets on Monday with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to talk mostly about Medicaid, and the federal health care law requirements. Scott has said he wants to talk with Sebelius to clarify whether Florida will have to eventually create a health insurance exchange under the new health care law, and what the state’s options are as far as expanding eligibility for Medicaid. The governor’s office hasn’t released details about the meeting. 

SCOTT AVAILABILITY FOLLOWING SEBELIUS MEETING: Gov. Rick Scott will meet with reporters to discuss his meeting with Sebelius. (Monday, 12:15 p.m., 3 St., SW and D St., SW, Washington, D.C.)

SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH RULES: The Department of Children and Families holds a public meeting about proposed changes to rules for the Community Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services office. The agency was ordered by legislation to change the way it pays for “crisis stabilization services” – essentially services to people who have been committed, or voluntarily sought treatment for mental problems. Currently the agency pays facilities for making a certain number of spots available for treating people in need of services for mental health crises, and pays for them regardless of how many people are treated. Budget proviso language last year required the agency to switch to paying providers on a per diem basis for the number of people actually treated. Another hearing on the issue is Wednesday in Gainesville. (Monday, 1 p.m., DCF Roberts Building Auditorium, 5920 Arlington Xway, Jacksonville.)


SMALL POWER CO ISSUES BEFORE PSC: The Public Service Commission on Tuesday considers a joint petition for renewal of a territorial agreement between Clay Electric Cooperative and the city of Green Cove Springs. The PSC staff has recommended approval. The commission also will consider a petition for Florida Power & Light to recover costs for pulling electricity into the grid from customers who generate it through renewable sources. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, Room 148, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

FORMER GWB CAMPAIGN ADVISOR AT ECON CLUB: Former George W. Bush Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman will speak to the Economic Club of Florida. Mehlman, now global head of public affairs at Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts, has also been chairman of the Republican National Committee in addition to managing Bush’s 2004 re-election effort. (Tuesday, 12:10 p.m., Leon County Civic Center, 505 W. Pensacola St., Tallahassee.)

INVESTOR OWNED WATER PANEL MEETS:  A study commission directed by the Legislature to address concerns of investor owned water utilities meets in preparation for the 2013 Legislative session. The Study Committee on Investor-Owned Water & Wastewater Utility Systems  has been charged with coming up with proposals for lawmakers to consider by the middle of February. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

SEN. SIMPSON OPEN HOUSE: Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, holds an open house at his new Brooksville office. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 10 W. Jefferson St., Brooksville.)

FIRST DAY ON THE JOB FOR ANTONACCI, MCGHEE: Pete Antonacci starts as general counsel in Gov. Rick Scott’s office, replacing Jesse Panuccio, who is the new head of the Department of Economic Opportunity. Antonacci is a former deputy attorney general who most recently had been named to a fill out a term heading a south Florida state attorney’s office.  Tuesday is also the first day of work in a new job for Darrick McGhee, who will become the Scott administration’s director of legislative affairs. McGhee was previously chief of staff at DEO. 


OVERTON FUNERAL: The funeral and burial service for former Supreme Court Justice Ben Overton are Wednesday in the St. Petersburg area where he served for many years on the circuit court bench. Overton, who served on the state Supreme Court from 1974 to 1999, died last weekend. (Wednesday, 12 p.m., with burial to follow, St. Anne of Grace Episcopal Church, Seminole.)

SUBTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH RULES: The Department of Children and Families holds another public meeting about the proposed change to per diem payment for mental health crisis treatment, rather than paying providers per bed available. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Tacachale Campus Staff Development Room #6, 1621 NE Waldo Rd., Gainesville.)

NASA COMMUNITY CREW PROGRAM: NASA will hold a status update news conference to discuss the progress of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The briefing from Kennedy Space Center in Florida will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s website. (Wednesday, 2 p.m., Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral.)


AIF HEALTH CARE SUMMIT: The Foundation of Associated Industries of Florida is hosting a “Health Care Affordability Summit” Thursday and Friday in Orlando, with several lawmakers slated to participate.  Panelists include former Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Alan Lavine; Sens. Aaron Bean and Joe Negron; and Reps. John Wood,  Matt Hudson and Richard Corcoran. (Thursday and Friday, World Center Marriott, Orlando.)

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


CENTRAL FLA REFUGEE SERVICES: The Department of Children and Families holds a public meeting to go over with bid evaluators the process for evaluating proposals for the a contract for customer survey and evaluation of comprehensive refugee services in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties (RFP IOK12BSI). (Friday, 10 a.m., 1317 Winewood Blvd., Bldg 5, Room 202, 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.