Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch in Tallahassee
Wit and wisdom are the watchwords — not in that order — in the Florida Legislature on Tuesday as the day begins with the Senate in session and ends with the annual press skits hosted by the Capital Press Corps. Here are five things to watch:
- The Senate will meet to take up a series of relatively routine bills except for one, SB 50, which has been long-sought by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart. The bill would require public boards and commissions to guarantee the public a right to speak before the entity takes any action.
- The House is scheduled to take a do-over on a bill passed last year in the height of the immigration debate that required all international visitors to get a special driving permit before they can drive in Florida. The requirement has been roundly criticized by Canadians, who regularly flock to Florida in their annual winter pilgrimage. The episode has given Florida a bit of a black eye and lawmakers are attempting to remedy it by swiftly repealing the law (HB 7059).
- School safety is the focus in the Senate Education Committee where a series of bills addressing the issue are up for consideration. One bill (SB 514) would allow counties to impose new taxes to pay for school safety and mental health services.
- A revised domestic partnership bill (SB 196) goes before the Senate Children and Families Committee. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, who chairs the committee, said the bill would give domestic partners certain rights, including hospital visitations, property rights and end-of-life decisions. At a press conference Monday, Sobel said the bill has been revised and “narrowed” to mirror domestic partnership registries outlined in 18 Florida jurisdictions, including Sarasota and Pinellas, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
- The 58th Sometimes Annual Capital Press Corps Skits will be held Tuesday night at The Moon. Performances will feature the Capital Press but there will also be video productions from the House, Senate and governor’s office and members of the Cabinet. Proceeds go to pay for scholarships for young journalists. Ticket info: http://www.flcapitolskits.com/.