Legislature is full steam ahead on Wednesday

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On Wednesday afternoon, the House is in full session following a series of committee meetings on dozens of proposals.  

The Senate will also consider a series of measures: hold down college tuition, increase school accountability, confirm Jesse Panuccio as director of the Department of Economic Opportunity, decriminalize warning shots and extend anti-discrimination rights to pregnant women.

Other panels meeting Wednesday are the Parole Commission, General Revenue, Unemployment Appeals and state economists meet to update revenue estimates.

8 a.m.:

The House Civil Justice Subcommittee meets in Sumner Hall, Room 404 House Office Building to consider: HB 187 — Civil Remedies Against Insurers;  HB 757 – Estates; HB 789 — Rights Of Grandparents and Great-Grandparents; HB 797 — Clerks of Court; and HB 957 — Local Regulation Of Wage Theft.

9 a.m.:

State economists meet in Room 117 of the Knott Building to revise general-revenue estimates, an important step as lawmakers get ready to draw up a budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year. General revenue is a critical source of money for the state’s schools, health programs and prisons. Lawmakers will use the revised estimates as they negotiate and approve a budget before the May 2 end of the legislative session.

The House Government Operations Subcommittee will meet in Webster Hall, Room 212 of the Knott Building to consider: HB 201 – Flags; CS/HB 415 — Pub. Rec./Investigations and Examinations by the Office of Financial Regulation; HB 541 — Public-Private Partnerships; HB 543 — Pub. Rec./Public-Private Partnerships/State Universities; CS/HB 643 — Pub. Rec./Trade Secrets/Computers; and HB 1051 — Pub. Rec./Public-Private Partnerships. They will also consider the following proposed committee bills: PCB GVOPS 14-06 — OGSR Investigation of Allegation of Testing Impropriety; PCB GVOPS 14-07 — OGSR K-12 Education Records; PCB GVOPS 14-08 — OGSR Postsecondary Education Records.

The House Healthy Families Subcommittee will meet in Reed Hall, Room 102 of the House Office Building to consider: HB 1019 — Pub. Rec./Location of Safe Houses. They will also consider PCB HFS 14-02 on human trafficking. There also will be a workshop on PCB HFS 14-03 — Child Protection and Child Welfare Services.

The House K-12 Subcommittee also meets in Morris Hall, Room 17 of the House Office Building to consider: HB 753 — School Safety; HB 921 — Instructional Materials for K-12 Public Education. The board will also consider the proposed committee substitute PCS for HB 497 — Involuntary Examinations of Minors.

The Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee meets in Room 412 of the Knott Building to consider three significant bills, including a measure (SB 1148) to hold down tuition in the university system. The bill would eliminate inflation-based tuition increases and reduce “differential” tuition increases that are as high as 15 percent. They will also hear a plan to simplify the school grading system, as well as plans to create a framework for funding classroom technology needs.

The Florida Parole Commission meets at 4070 Esplanade Way in Tallahassee to consider a variety of cases involving crimes committed in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Office of Economic and Demographic Research’s Revenue Estimating Conference meets in Room 117 of the Knott Building for a final estimate on the amount of general revenue the state has before lawmakers begin the process of shaping the budget.

The Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee meets in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building to hold the confirmation hearing for Jesse Panuccio, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Panuccio has come under scrutiny because of months of problems with the CONNECT unemployment-compensation computer system.

10 a.m.:

The Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission meets at the Rhyne building, 2740 Centerview Dr. to deliberate on cases before the commission.

1 p.m.:

The House Local & Federal Affairs Committee meets in Webster Hall, Room 212 of the Knott Building to consider: HM 15 — Fair Tax Act of 2013; HB 189 — Growth Management; HM 281 – A discussion on the Keystone XL Pipeline; CS/HB 301 –Regulation of Medical Examiners; HB 307 — Regulation Of Public Lodging Establishments & Public Food Service Establishments; CS/HB 311 — Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority; HM 607 — Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. There will also be bills affecting several municipalities: HB 683 — Hillsborough County; HB 793 — Community Development Districts; HB 809 — Manatee County; HB 817 — City of Cocoa, Brevard County; and HB 885 — Manatee County.

The House Regulatory Affairs Committee meets in Sumner Hall, Room 404 of the House Office Building to consider: HB 375 – Insurance; CS/HB 413 — Consumer Collection Practices; CS/HB 565 – Insurance; CS/HB 631 — Loan Originators, Mortgage Brokers, & Mortgage Lenders; and CS/HB 633 — Division of Insurance Agents & Agency Services.

The House Education Committee meets in Reed Hall, Room 102 of the House Office Building to consider: CB EDC 14-02 — School Accountability; CS/HB 433 — Educator Certification; CS/HB 533 — Student Eligibility for Extracurricular Activities; and CS/HB 707 — Background Screening.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government meets in Room 110 in the Senate Office Building to consider SB 416 by Sen. Wilton Simpson, which would set up a managed sinkhole repair program for Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

3:30 p.m.:

The House holds an afternoon session. Under typical procedures, the House votes on issues it has considered during a Tuesday session, so it should be voting on a package of bills to toughen laws against sexual predators and offenders and a bill to create a new state technology agency.

4 p.m.:

The Senate Rules Committee meets Wednesday to consider six bills, including SB 448 by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Crestview, which would protect “warning shots” from prosecution under Florida’s 10-20-Life law. The committee meets in room 110 of the Senate building.

The Senate Rules Committee meets in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building to consider several bills, including a proposal (SB 220), filed by Sen. Geraldine Thompson, to make clear that discrimination is prohibited against pregnant women in such issues as employment.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.