Monday starts legislative week with budgets, high profile issues

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Now that both chambers released proposed budgets for 2014-15, legislators can begin in earnest the process of hammering out a final budget deal that will ultimately be in the neighborhood of $75 billion. House and Senate appropriations committees have set aside several hours this week for debate and possible changes.

House committees will once again look at banning red-light cameras statewide, allowing craft beers to be sold in half-gallon “growlers” and addressing the long-running debate over new trauma centers. Another committee considers having the state take over regulation of limousines, effectively allowing on-demand luxury car services like Uber to expand into the Tampa and Miami markets.   

Florida’s private marketplace for flood insurance makes its way through another committee stop, as well as requiring legislative approval for new historical monuments in the state park system.

The Senate takes up the issue of “Charlotte’s Web,” the medical marijuana extract used to relieve seizures in children; another will consider updating the application and approval process for professional sports franchises seeking state tax dollars to fund stadium projects.

12:30 p.m.:

The House Education Appropriations Subcommittee meets in Morris Hall, Room 17, House Office Building to consider a number of bills including HB 7117, sponsored by Rep. Janet Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach, which would make changes in the state’s school-accountability system, including the school-grading formula. Another is HB 7083, which revises the rules on charter schools and provisions on high-performing charter schools and charter school systems.

The House Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee meets in Reed Hall, Room 102, of the House Office Building to take up a proposal (HB 7005) filed by Rep. Frank Artiles that would block local governments from installing additional red-light cameras and would reduce penalties for motorists who are cited because of the cameras.

The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee meets in Room 404 of the House Office Building to consider CS/HB 837 — Mental Health Treatment; HB 1215 — False Personation; and HB 1263 — Child-on-Child Sexual Abuse.

The House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee meets in Webster Hall, 212 Knott Building to consider HB 1107 — Utility Cost Containment Bonds.

The House Health Quality Subcommittee meets in Room 306 House Office Building to consider HB 211 — Community Health Workers; HB 647 — Infectious Disease Control; HB 687 — Florida Drug and Cosmetic Act; HB 1085 — Behavioral Analysts. Also for consideration is HB 1225, which differentiates between notification and consent procedures for performing HIV test in health care and non-health care settings, and requires testers to get informed consent before HIV testing pregnant women.

1:30 p.m.:

The House Veteran & Military Affairs Subcommittee meets in Room 12 of the House Office Building to consider HB 677, which provides discounts on public entrance fees to military members, veterans and families of deceased military members, law enforcement officers and firefighters.

3 p.m.:

The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee meets in Webster Hall, Room 212 of the Knott Building to take up a number of bills, including (HB 7113) that could ensure the continued operation of disputed trauma centers at Blake Medical Center in Manatee County, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Pasco County and Ocala Regional Medical Center in Marion County. Parts of the hospital industry have been embroiled in a nearly three-year legal fight about approvals of new trauma centers. They will also examine CS/HB 751, which sets practice standards for telehealth providers and requires the registration of health care professionals before they may use telehealth to deliver health care services.

The House Business & Professional Regulation Subcommittee meets in Room 12 of the House Office Building to take up a bill (HB 1329), filed by Rep. Ray Rodrigues, that is aimed at allowing the craft brewing industry to sell 64-ounce “growlers” of beer.

The House Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee meets in Morris Hall, Room 17 of the House Office Building to consider a bill (HB 879), sponsored by Rep. Ed Hooper, that seeks to help build a private flood-insurance market in Florida.

The House Transportation & Highway Safety Subcommittee meets in Sumner Hall, Room 404 of the House Office Building to consider a number of bills, including HB 65 – establishing a specialty license plates for fallen law enforcement officers; HB 225, which tightens the regulations on child restraint requirements, requiring a separate carrier or integrated car seat; HB 863, which exempts from public records certain personal contact information in motor vehicle crash reports; and HB 1193 — Off-Highway Vehicles. The panel will also hear HB 1325, which will change the Florida handicapped parking placards to a sticker; and HB 1389, where the regulation of chauffeured limousines would now be by the state. This bill effectively opens the door for on-demand luxury car services like Uber to spread in Florida cities like Miami and Tampa.

4 p.m.:

The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee meets in Reed Hall, Room 102 of the House Office to take up a proposal (HB 493), filed by Rep. Dennis Baxley that would require legislative approval of new historical monuments in the state park system. The bill comes after a debate about a Union monument proposed for the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park near Lake City.

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee meets in Room 37 of the Senate Office Building to consider a proposal (SB 1030) that could open the door for the use of a marijuana extract that supporters say would help children who suffer from severe seizures because of a form of epilepsy. Sens. Rob Bradley, Aaron Bean and Jeff Brandes sponsor the measure.

The Senate Commerce & Tourism Committee meets in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building to take up a bill (SB 1216), filed by Sen. Jack Latvala, that would create a new application and approval process for professional sports franchises seeking state tax dollars for stadium projects.

The Senate Ethics & Elections Committee meets in Room 412 of the Knott Building to consider a bill (SB 990) filed by Sen. Jeremy Ring to prevent conflicts of interest involving officials of special tax districts and drainage- and water-control districts.

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.