Between Monday and Friday, May 2 – the last day of the 2014 legislative session — finds lawmakers in semi-frenzied negotiations on the fate of dozens of bills, as well as facing the Tuesday budget deadline so the state’s spending plan can be passed by Sine Die.
At the top of the Senate’s agenda list is a continuing debate over trauma centers and the marijuana strain known as “Charlotte’s Web.” They may also vote on a bill to lower differential tuition rates for state universities.
The House will be considering a call to set up a private flood insurance marketplace statewide, as well as more authority on textbook decisions for local school boards.
The Senate Democratic caucus will hold a meeting in Room 200 of the Senate Office Building.
The Senate will take many high-profile issues including a proposal (SB 1030), sponsored by Sens. Rob Bradley, Aaron Bean and Jeff Brandes, that would legalize a strain of marijuana that supporters say can aid children with a type of epilepsy that causes severe seizures. Among other issues, the Senate will consider SB 1276, sponsored by Sen. Denise Grimsley, which ensures the continued operation of disputed trauma centers at hospitals in Manatee, Pasco and Marion counties; and SB 1216, to revamp the process by which spring training sports facilities request tax support.
The House is looking at a proposal (SB 542) that would set the framework for private flood-insurance market in Florida. The issue became intense in recent months thousands of Floridians were threatened with massive rate increases in the National Flood Insurance Program. In addition, the House expects to consider two bills (SB 864 and HB 921) that could shift more authority for textbooks and other instructional materials from the state to local school boards.
Elsewhere in Florida:
Administrative Law Judge R. Bruce McKibben expects to begin hearing arguments at 9 a.m. in a challenge filed by a number of major hospitals against the Florida Department of Health to argue against a proposed rule for trauma-center approvals. UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Tampa General Hospital, The Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County, Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa and Memorial Regional Hospital in Broward County filed petitions to block a proposed trauma-care rule. Some of those hospitals are locked in a long-running dispute with the department about trauma centers allowed to open at hospitals affiliated with the HCA health-care chain. The hearing will be at the DeSoto Building, 1230 Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee.
The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in four cases starting at 9 a.m., which include a case in which the Florida Virtual School has accused K12, Inc., of trademark infringement. The Florida Supreme Court is at 500 South Duval St. in Tallahassee.
Sen. Jeff Brandes, and Rep. James Grant, will be a news conference at 9 a.m. in the Capitol courtyard calling for passage of legislation that could help Uber Technologies operate in the state. Uber uses a smart phone app to connect riders with cars; they object to restrictive local limo regulations that it says are outdated.
The Florida Coalition for Children will hold an event at 11 a.m. on the Old Capitol steps to announce a partnership with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
Qualifying for this year’s congressional, the state attorney, public defender, circuit judge and appeals court elections begin Monday, and ends May 2.