No fooling, both House and Senate are in session Tuesday, April 1

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April begins with both the House and Senate in session (no fooling), as well as committee meetings throughout the day.

The House meeting will conduct final votes on a number of issues, including bills banning insurers from discriminating against gun owners; allowing county tax collectors to handle concealed weapons permit applications, and revamp state sentencing laws dealing with juveniles who commit murders or other serious felonies.

House committee meetings will consider standardizing health and safety measures at early learning facilities; the application and evaluation process for state funding of sports-stadium projects. Lawmakers will also learn about a plan to start marketing Florida as a medical tourism destination, and to provide more control over textbooks and instructional materials to school districts.

The full Senate will move on bills to exempt “warning shots” from prosecution; to qualify Daytona International Speedway for sports tax breaks and a measure shielding silent investors from nursing home lawsuits. The chamber will also vote on a controversial bill clarifying gubernatorial appointments to the Florida Supreme Court.

In Senate committees, lawmakers will deal with the immigrant tuition bill, as well as guns, abortion and an overhaul of managed care prescription plans. They will also try to amend the state elderly ombudsmen program and explore increased penalties for human trafficking.

8:30 a.m.:

The House Education Appropriations Subcommittee meets in Morris Hall of the House Office Building to hear HB 921, filed by Rep. Matt Gaetz, which is a plan to give more control over textbooks and instructional materials to school districts.

The House Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee meets in Reed Hall of the House Office Building to consider a proposal (HB 353), filed by Rep. Jeanette Nunez, that would make changes to the state’s expressway authorities, including adding new ethics standards.

9 a.m.:

The Senate Committee on Children, Families, & Elder Affairs meets in Room 37 of the Senate Office Building to consider a proposal to reform the state’s watchdog for the elderly. The committee will also hear a plan to address human trafficking.

The Senate Judiciary Committee 110 of the Senate Office Bldg. will consider a proposal (SB 1400), filed by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, that would make a series of changes in college and university tuition, including allowing undocumented immigrant students to qualify for in-state tuition rates.

11 a.m.:

The chamber considers several bills on second reading. On the agenda are HB 255, which would prohibit insurers from discriminating against gun owners, HB 59 dealing with fetal injury; and HB 523, which would allow county tax collectors to handle concealed weapons permit applications. The chamber will also take up issues including a bill (HB 7035), filed by Rep. James Grant, that would revamp state sentencing laws dealing with juveniles who commit murders or other serious felonies. The bill intends to bring Florida in line with two major U.S. Supreme Court decisions about life sentences for juveniles.

1 p.m.:

The chamber considers 13 bills for final passage. On third reading are proposals to protect “warning shots” from prosecution under 10-20-Life, a bill to qualify Daytona International Speedway for sports tax breaks and a bill (SB 670) filed by Sen. John Thrasher to shield silent investors from nursing home lawsuits. They will also vote on the proposed constitutional amendment (SJR 1188), filed by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, that deals with gubernatorial appointments to the Florida Supreme Court.

2:30 p.m.:

The House Appropriations Committee meets in Room 212 of the Knott Building to consider a bill standardizing health and safety measures at early learning facilities. They will also examine a proposal (HB 7095), filed by Rep. Jimmy Patronis, which would set up an application and evaluation process for state funding of sports-stadium projects.

The House Finance & Tax Subcommittee meets in Morris Hall of the House Office Building to take up a bill (HB 1223), filed by Rep. Patrick Rooney, to start marketing the state as a place for people who need health-care services — a concept dubbed “medical tourism.”

3 p.m.:

The Military & Veterans Affairs, Space, & Domestic Security Committee meets in Room 37 of the Senate building to consider a bill allowing people to carry concealed weapons without a permit when complying with a mandatory evacuation. The panel has temporarily postponed the bill twice.

The Senate Healthy Policy Committee meets in Room 412 of the Knott Building to hear a plan to prohibit the abortion of a fetus able to survive outside the womb unless the pregnancy threatens the mother’s health. Members will also consider plans addressing a physician shortage, drug-resistant bacteria, & HIV testing among plans.

The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee meets in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building to consider an overhaul of managed care prescription plans. They will also take up a bill (SB 1494), filed by Sen. John Thrasher, that could help shield insurers from what are known as “bad faith” lawsuits. Such cases stem from allegations that insurers have not properly settled claims.

The Senate Community Affairs Committee meets in Room 301 of the Senate Office Building.

The Senate Health Policy Committee meets in Room 412 of the Knott Building.

 

 

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.