Thursday legislative agenda includes abortions, service animals, beer tastings and the Keystone XL pipeline

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The Florida House will hold a late afternoon session on Thursday, after a number of committee hearings to consider issues including immunity from criminal penalties for carrying concealed weapon during a mandatory evacuation, increased penalties for computer crimes, rules regarding service animals and other penalties using wireless devices that cause an accident while driving.

Also on the agenda is a bill requiring public schools provide instruction to students about terrorist attacks occurring on September 11, 2001; another bill allows farmer’s markets to accept EBT cards.

Another bill regulates the termination of pregnancies in the third trimester and memorials urging Congress to abolish the U.S. Department of Education and President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

In addition, the House Regulatory Affairs Committee meets to consider authorizing containers of malt beverages to be sold or offered for sale in any size and malt beverage tastings under certain circumstances

8:30 a.m.:

The House Judiciary Committee meets in Sumner Hall, Room 404 of the House Office Building to consider 15 bills, including HB 209, the exemption from criminal penalties for carrying concealed weapon or concealed firearm when complying with mandatory evacuation order during declared state of emergency. They will also consider HB 641, which increases the penalties for computer crimes; HN 849, to require public accommodation to permit use of service animal by individual with disability and provide conditions for public accommodation to exclude or remove service animal; and HB 1253, which increases criminal penalty if person operating motor vehicle while using wireless communications device causes death of human being or viable fetus.

9 a.m.:

The Senate Appropriations Committee meets in Room 412 of the Knott Building to consider its initial budget proposal for the 2014-15 fiscal year. If passed, it heads to the floor in the form of a bill. 

The House State Affairs Committee meets in Morris Hall, Room 17 of the House Office Building to consider five bills, including HB 953, which revises criteria to include prior relevant experience for choosing state contractors.

12:30 p.m.:

The House Rules & Calendar Committee meets in Room 404 of the House Office Building.

1:30 p.m.:

The House Education Committee meets in Reed Hall, Room 102 of the House Office Building to consider seven bills, including HB 85 to launch a pilot Literacy Jump Start Pilot project in St. Lucie County to assist low-income, at-risk children in developing emergent literacy skills. In addition, they will consider HB 279, which requires that instructional staff of public schools provide instruction to students about terrorist attacks occurring on September 11, 2001, and the impact of those events; and HB 7083, which will tighten rules on charter schools.

The House Health & Human Services Committee meets in Morris Hall of the House Office Building to consider ten bills including HB 323, which revises number of registered pharmacy technicians that a pharmacist may supervise; HB535, which allows farmers markets to accept EBT system. It will also consider HB 1047, which revises the circumstances under which a pregnancy in the third trimester may be terminated; requires physician to perform certain examinations to determine the viability of a fetus; and prohibits an abortion of a viable fetus outside of a hospital.

The House Regulatory Affairs Committee meets in Sumner Hall, Room 404 House Office Building to consider HB 169, which regulates signage for businesses selling nicotine products; HB 283, which authorizes containers of malt beverages to be sold or offered for sale in any size and malt beverage tastings under certain circumstances. In addition, they will hear HM 281, which urges the President of the United States to issue final approval for construction and completion of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The House Local & Federal Affairs Committee meets in Webster Hall, Room 212 of the Knott Building, to consider a dozen bills, including HM 285, a measure urging Congress to abolish the U.S. Department of Education.

4:30 p.m.:

The House will meet in a late-afternoon session.

Elsewhere in Florida:

Starting 9 a.m., Rep. Ricardo Rangel once again hosts health-care “navigators” in his district office at 704 Mabbette St., in Kissimmee to help increase enrollment in coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.

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

The Service Employees International Union holds a press conference at noon Thursday in fourth floor Rotunda of the Capitol to discuss healthcare, education, and jobs.

Democratic attorney-general candidate George Sheldon will raise money at a home in Tampa. Beginning 5:30 p.m. at 16201 Sonsoles de Avila, Tampa.

Republican Richard DeNapoli, who is seeking to replace term-limited Rep. Doug Holder, in House District 74, will hold a meet-and-greet campaign event beginning 5:45 p.m., The Plantation Country Club 500 Rockley Blvd. in Venice.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a meeting in Lake County at 6 p.m. at the Citrus Tower, 141 North Highway 27 in Clermont to gather information about a plan by Sabal Trail Transmission to build a 474-mile natural gas pipeline from Alabama to Central Florida.

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.