The legislative steamroller pushes on Tuesday

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The governmental juggernaut rolls on in Tallahassee Tuesday as the Legislature takes up the Florida GI Bill, banning E-Cigarettes to minors and updating rules on assisted living.

A House panel enters the trauma center fray, while other committees address juvenile sentencing and sexual predator laws, as a new information technology agency shapes up.

The Senate convenes to move forward on child welfare bills, a private flood insurance marketplace, the “Charlotte’s Web” marijuana extract, student privacy and local control on textbooks.

And if that wasn’t enough, Florida officials will look for ways to protect and manage the state’s black bear population.

9:30 a.m.:

The Senate will hold its morning session — expected for consideration is proposal SB 860, filed by Sen. Thad Altman, dubbed the Florida GI Bill. It includes steps to increase educational aid and job assistance for veterans and National Guard members. Also on the agenda is bill SB 224, filed by Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. Another bill (SB 248) will bolster regulation of assisted-living facilities.

The House Health Innovation Subcommittee meets in Room 306 of the House office Building to take up bill PCB HIS 14-01 to address the long-running debate over the operation of disputed trauma centers in Manatee, Pasco and Marion counties. The bill will clarify the rules on trauma centers currently operating, allowing them to remain open. It comes after nearly three years of legal battles in the hospital industry. Pending court cases threaten 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.

The House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee meets in Morris Hall of the House Office building to consider proposal HB 7035, filed by Rep. James Grant, to change state sentencing laws dealing with juveniles who commit murders or other serious felonies. Lawmakers will look to ways to comply with two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions — one saying juveniles convicted of murder cannot face mandatory sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

12:30 p.m.:

The House Choice & Innovation Subcommittee meets in Room 306 of the House Office Building to hear a plan for the expansion of school choice for children with disabilities.

The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee meets in Room 212 of the Knott Building to consider a plan to provide mental health training to teachers, among other school personnel.

1:30 p.m.:

The Senate Education Committee meets in Room 412 of the Knott Building to consider a plan to give more control over textbooks and materials to local school districts.

The Senate Judiciary Committee meets in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building to hear a proposal banning schools from collecting data, including biometric information, from students.

The Florida Defense Support Task Force meets at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel at 316 W. Tennessee Ave. in Tallahassee for a legislative update and a speech by U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller.

The Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee meets in Room 37 of the Senate Office Building to consider two bills (SPB 7072 and SPB 7074) making wide-ranging changes in the state’s child-welfare system. Lawmakers have made the issue a priority after a series of high-profile child deaths last year.

2 p.m.:

The Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee meets in Room 301 of the Senate Office Building to take up bill SB 1076 to enact a series of energy-related tax changes, including reducing a sales tax paid by businesses. Filed by committee Chair Anitere Flores, the bill would create a sales-tax holiday from Sept. 19 through Sept. 21 on Energy Star appliances, such as washers and refrigerators, and water-conservation equipment.

3 p.m.:

The House holds an afternoon session on a package of bills aimed at toughening laws dealing with sexual predators and sexual offenders. The Senate versions (SB 522, SB 524, SB 526 and SB 528) have already passed, and now the companion House package of bills (HB 7019, 7021, 7025 and 7027) are up for consideration. The House also expects to consider bill HB 7073, which would create a new state information-technology agency. The proposal comes after months of problems with Florida’s new $68 million CONNECT unemployment-compensation computer system.

4 p.m.:

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee meets in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building to consider several bills, including SB 542, the private marketplace framework for flood insurance , and a committee bill, SB 7062, to shrink the number of policies carried by Citizens Property Insurance. Condominiums and apartment complexes now covered by Citizens would have to migrate to a new computerized clearinghouse, designed to help move policies into the private market.

The Senate Health Policy Committee meets in Room 412 of the Knott Building to consider SB 1030, which legalizes a marijuana extract called “Charlotte’s Web,” supporters say can help children with a rare form of epilepsy suffering from severe seizures. Sens. Rob Bradley and Aaron Bean and Jeff Brandes filed the proposal.

Elsewhere in Florida:

The Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees will meet on a series of issues, including a report from new university President John Kelly. The meeting begins 10 a.m., at Room 101 of the Education Building at 5353 Parkside Dr.

Enterprise Florida and the Florida Defense Support Task Force, which works to protect Florida’s military installations and missions, will meet. The meeting begins 1:30 p.m., at the Four Points by Sheraton, 316 West Tennessee St., Tallahassee.

A new Florida Bar task force focused on increasing diversity among judges and judicial nominating commissions will meet. The meeting begins 2 p.m., at Pier 66, 2301 S.E. 17th St., in Fort Lauderdale.

Legislative leaders are expected to take part in a news conference to help start sexual-abuse survivor Lauren Book’s fifth-annual “Walk in My Shoes” trip throughout the state. The event begins 2:30 p.m., outside the fourth floor House chambers.

The special general election for Florida’s 13th Congressional District takes place to replace the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young. Republican David Jolly, Democrat Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby are seeking the seat that covers much of Pinellas County. Meanwhile, the Republican primary in State House District 44 takes place to replace former Rep. Steve Precourt, an Orlando Republican who resigned early this year. Former Rep. Eric Eisnaugle and fellow Republican Vicky Bell are seeking the GOP nomination to run against Democrat Shaun Raja in the special general election.

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency holds a public hearing in Naples on oil drilling in Southwest Florida. The hearing is from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Golden Gate Community Center, Auditorium at 4701 Golden Gate Parkway in Naples. Those who would like to speak must email requests to Fred McManus, who handles enforcement of the Ground Water & Safe Drinking Water Act, at

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission continue a series of public meetings around the state to discuss black bear conservation and management in central Florida, as well as how the public can get involved. The Ocala meeting will from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Howard Middle School cafetorium, 1655 NW 10th St. 

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 His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, 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 and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.