No sessions, but several committee hearings face legislators today

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Although neither house is in session today, committees in both chambers will be hard at work on a number of issues that aim to make it to a floor vote before the end of the session.

One House committee will address regulating telemarketers who send text messages to potential customers and create a framework for the private flood insurance marketplace. Another will look at increasing penalties for human trafficking.

The House Appropriations Committee will consider establishing a Pharmacy Audit Bill of Rights and launch a series of “challenge grants” for funding homeless projects across the state.

The Senate Regulated Industries Committee will take up restricting the sale of dogs or cats at flea markets and other venues, as well as eliminating the “separation law,” which drops the wall between grocery and liquor stores.

Continuing operation of HCA trauma centers will be on the agenda for the Senate Appropriation Committee, and the Senate Transportation Committee should be voting on Sen. Jeff Brandes’ bill allowing the state to regulate the limousine business, which would cut regulations preventing services like Uber from entering the Miami and Tampa markets.

8 a.m.:

The House Regulatory Affairs Committee meets in Room 404 of the House Office Building to consider 21 bills, including HB 1191, which limits when telemarketers can send text messages, HB 773, which regulates boxing exhibitions and HB 879, to create a framework for a private flood insurance marketplace.

9 a.m.:

The House Health & Human Services Committee meets in Morris Hall of the House Office Building to consider nine bills, including HB 687, which regulates manufacturers and wholesale distributors of medical gases and medical oxygen and HB 7141 to refine and add penalties for human trafficking.

The Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee meets in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building to consider SPB 7126—Rules Establishing Minimum Water Flows and Levels for Water Bodies.

The Senate Governmental Oversight & Accountability Committee meets in Room 412 of the Knott Building to consider several bills, including SB 1234 to create the Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame.

The Senate Regulated Industries Committee meets in Room 301 of the Senate Office Building to assess SB 1624, restricting the sale of dogs or cats at flea markets and other venues and SB 804, which would eliminate the “separation law” and pave the way for grocery stores to integrate liquor sales into main stores, instead of a separate shop.

The Senate Transportation Committee meets in Room 37 of the Senate Office Building to address SB 1618, the “Chauffeured Limousines and Services Safety Act” that preempts the licensing and regulation of chauffeured limousines, chauffeured limousine services, and drivers of chauffeured limousines to the state. This bill would open the door for luxury-car services such as Uber to enter various Florida markets.

10 a.m.:

The House Education Committee meets in Reed Hall of the House Office Building to consider five bills, including HB 875, requiring school report cards to include school and district return-on-investment (ROI) ratings, and HB 921, which allows school districts to acquire certain digital or electronic instructional materials.

1 p.m.:

The House Appropriations Committee meets in Room 212 of the Knott Building to consider eight bills, including HB 745, which establishes a Pharmacy Audit Bill of Rights, and HB 979, providing the state to create a series of “challenge grants” for municipalities to support homeless projects.

The Senate Appropriations Committee meets in Room 412 of the Knott Building to consider several bills, including SB 246, to improve local government pension plans, SB 544, which allows tax collection offices to process applications for concealed weapon or firearm licensees and SB 1276, which ensures the continued operation of specific trauma centers across the state.

5:30 p.m.:

The Houses Rules & Calendar Committee meets in Room 404 of the House Office Building to create the special order calendars.

Elsewhere in Florida:

House Speaker Will Weatherford, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Rep. Dennis Baxley and Sen. Anitere expect to appear during the Florida Faith & Freedom Coalition and Florida Right to Life 2014 Prayer Breakfast. The event begins 7:30 a.m., at the Doubletree Hotel, 101 South Adams St., Tallahassee.

The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in two insurance-related cases, including a case from Columbia County about uninsured-motorist coverage. The hearing begins at 9 a.m., 500 South Duval St., Tallahassee.

The Florida Public Service Commission will pick up a wide range of issues, including issues involving Florida Power & Light, Tampa Electric Co., Gulf Power Co., and Duke Energy Florida starting at 9:30 a.m., at the Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.

The Florida Supreme Court expects to release its weekly opinions at 11 a.m.

John Moran will discuss his work photographing springs for the past 30 years and threats to springs. The event is sponsored by the Florida League of Women Voters, and is at the Tallahassee City Hall, 300 S. Adams St. starting at 2 p.m.

The State Board of Education will hold a workshop, which will include discussion about how to prepare teachers who are early in their careers. A meeting will follow that include updates from the Florida Association of District School Superintendents and the Florida State College System Council of Presidents. The workshop begins at 3 p.m., at the Department of Education, Turlington Building, 325 West Gaines St., Suite 1703/07, Tallahassee.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Rich will raise money during a reception in Broward County starting 5:30 p.m., at the Carolina Ale House, 2618 Weston Road, Fort Lauderdale.

Political candidates and committees face a deadline for filing campaign-finance reports for the period ending March 31.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy holds the “Solar Uprising Rally” at the dolphin fountain outside the Capitol. The event begins with live music at 11 a.m. and speakers at noon followed by a march.

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.