Capitol preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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Tuesday is Election Day. That’s pretty much all you normally might say about that, but given the closeness of the polls both in Florida and nationally, on the presidential race, it could be Wednesday at least before it’s over. Let’s hope by Thursday, for sure.

Campaigning continues furiously right up until Tuesday – with both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the state before Election Day and U.S. Senate, congressional and state legislative candidates planning a full three days between now and then of trying to shore up the votes they need.

MONDAY

UTILITY FUEL COSTS MEASURED: The state Public Service Commission will begin a hearing about fuel and purchased-power costs for Florida Power & Light Co., Progress Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Co., Gulf Power Co. and Florida Public Utilities Co. This annual hearing determines the amount of costs that will be passed along in customer bills. (Monday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

BOARD OF ED WORKSHOPS ON SCOTT PLAN, SPECIAL ED: The State Board of Education holds two workshops — one to hear from Gov. Rick Scott about his education agenda, and the other to hear about special education. (Monday, 2 p.m. and 2:45 p.m., Boca Raton High School, 1501 N.W. 15th Court, Boca Raton.)

SINK SPEAKS AT PUBLIC ADJUSTERS’ CONFERENCE: Former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is the keynote speaker Monday at the fall conference of the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, which runs Sunday through Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale. Sink, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2010, is now senior advisor at Hyde Park Capital, a Tampa investment banking firm. (Monday, 2:30 p.m., Harbor Beach Marriott Resort, Fort Lauderdale.)

CAMPAIGNS

ROMNEY VISITS SANFORD: GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney makes an Election Eve appearance in Sanford as part of the “Romney-Ryan Real Recovery Road Rally” in the run-up to Tuesday’s voting. (Monday, 9 a.m., doors open 6:30 a.m., Avion Jet Center, 2842 Flightline Avenue, Sanford.)

TUESDAY

ELECTION DAY: Voters who haven’t voted already have until the polls close Tuesday evening to make their choice known.

BOARD OF ED MEETS ON LEGAL STRATEGIES: The State Board of Education is set to decide whether to appeal a federal court decision in Ruiz v. Robinson, dealing with a policy that charges higher, out-of-state tuition rates for students who are citizens but whose parents are in the country illegally, and a state administrative law judge’s ruling in a case dealing with teacher evaluation standards. Both rulings struck down the state’s rules. (Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., Boca Raton High School, 1501 N.W. 15th Court, Boca Raton.)

SUPREME COURT HEARS PROPERTY TAX CASE: The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in a pair of cases brought by Panhandle beach residents who challenge their county’s ability to levy property taxes on them. The first case (Leonard Accardo v. Gregory Brown) involves a group of Santa Rosa County residents who claim they are living on leased land and therefore shouldn’t have to pay. The second case (1108 Ariola, LLC v. Chris Jones) has been filed by condominium and homeowners on Pensacola Beach who also lease their land. The trial court and First District Court of Appeal have sided with local tax collectors, saying the residents owe taxes. (Tuesday, 9:10 a.m., Florida Supreme Court, 500 S. Duval St., Tallahassee,)

FUEL HEARING CONTINUES: The state Public Service Commission is scheduled to continue a hearing about fuel and purchased-power costs for Florida Power & Light Co., Progress Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Co., Gulf Power Co. and Florida Public Utilities Co. This annual hearing determines the amount of costs that will be passed along in customer bills. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

ELECTION NIGHT WATCH: The Florida Chamber holds an Election Night Watch Party. (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., 136 S. Bronough St., Tallahassee.)

WEDNESDAY

BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETS IN SARASOTA: The university system’s Board of Governors meets Wednesday and Thursday in Sarasota. Agendas and packets for the board meeting and the committees:http://www.flbog.edu/pressroom/meeting_agenda.php?id=135
(Wednesday, New College of Florida, 5800 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota.)

FIRST DCA HEARS WRONGFUL DEATH CASE INVOLVING SLAIN PHARMACIST: A three judge panel of the First District Court of Appeal hears oral arguments in Jacksonville in Derrick McCants vs. Wackenhut, a wrongful death case against the security company. McCants wife Shannon was killed while working as a pharmacist at Shands Jacksonville, and Wackenhut was the contractor responsible for security there. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Jacksonville Coastal School of Law, 8787 Baypine Rd., Jacksonville.)

FUEL HEARING CONTINUES: The state Public Service Commission is scheduled to continue a hearing about fuel and purchased-power costs for Florida Power & Light Co., Progress Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Co., Gulf Power Co. and Florida Public Utilities Co. This annual hearing determines the amount of costs that will be passed along in customer bills. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

EDR LOOKS AT POPULATION: The Office of Economic and Demographic Research takes a look at Florida population trends, a statistic that drives a host of issues from school funding to social Medicaid.  (Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., 117 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

OJ MCDUFFIE CASE IN THIRD DCA: The medical malpractice suit filed by former Miami Dolphins wide receiver O.J. McDuffie over the treatment of a toe injury he says ended his career will be heard Wednesday by a three judge panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami. McDuffie’s suit was against former Dolphins team doctor John Uribe. (Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., 2001 SW 117 Ave., Miami.)

NURSING HOME RESIDENTS LIFE INSURANCE DISCUSSED: The Agency for Health Care Administration will hold a meeting about accelerated life benefits for insurance policyholders who are in nursing homes. (Wednesday, 1 p.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Dr., Tallahassee. Dial-in Number: 1-877-299-4502; passcode: 426-284-79#)

EDR REVIEWS TANF ROLLS:  The Office of Economic and Demographic Research looks at social services, particularly expected participation in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, federal cash assistance that is administered by the state. (Wednesday, 2 p.m., 117 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

THURSDAY

EDR AND THE COURTS: State economists will meet to divine the revenue coming from the state court system, a periodic review of Article V fees. Last time it met, the panel reduced expectation for revenues coming from foreclosure filings as the flurry of proceedings tailed off somewhat. (Thursday, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

SUPREME COURT: The Florida Supreme Court issues opinions. (11 a.m.)

ELECTION WRAP AT SUNCOAST TIGER BAY: University of South Florida political scientist and Florida election pundit Susan MacManus will team up with Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith for a review of the 2012 General Election at the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club. (Thursday, 12 p.m., St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave, St. Petersburg.)

THE ROMAINE EMPIRE: Sandwiched in between other meetings, the Lettuce Advisory Committee this week will discuss various chemicals used in lettuce production and the bacterial leaf spot pathogen and the epidemiology status of parsley diseases in Florida. (Thursday, 12 p.m., Everglades Research and Education Center, 3200 E. Palm Beach Rd., Belle Glade.)

INDIAN GAMING REVENUE: The Office of Economic and Demographic Research takes a look at Indian gaming revenue.  The numbers are used to determine how much the state rakes under its agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. (Thursday 2 p.m., 117 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

FRIDAY

NATIONAL ECONOMY FORECAST: The Office of Economic and Demographic Research will revise its national economic forecast. The exercise was last conducted in July. (Friday, 9 a.m., 117 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.