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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch today in Tallahassee



Tuesday gets off to a quick and busy start at the Capitol, with the Senate hitting the chamber floor first thing in the morning and the House considering a slate of high-profile bills in committee throughout the day.

  • The Senate will vote on a property insurance overhaul (SB 1770) that is expected to lead to higher premiums for Citizens Property Insurance policyholders in some parts of the state. Supporters say the goal is to bring fiscal stability to the state-run insurer, but opponents rallying at the Capitol on Monday said it will hurt the housing market and ratepayers.
  • The Senate will discuss, but is not scheduled to vote, on the proposal that would make texting while driving punishable as a secondary offense (SB 52). A similar measure passed the Senate last year but was not heard in the House. Also on the special order calendar is the elections reform package (SB 600) that would allow elections supervisors to offer more hours of early voting at more locations. Senate Democrats have said the reforms do not go far enough.
  • The House Regulatory Affairs Committee will scrutinize the state's 2006 law allowing utility companies to collect fees from customers for nuclear power projects before they are built. HB 7167 prevents utilities from charging customers before they get a license for the plant and does not allow for fees to be collected for new plants.The committee will also hear a bill in its final committee stop that aims to allow for easier transfer of event tickets (HB 163). StubHub supports the measure, but sporting venues say it may just lead to more ticket-scalping. 
  • A bill that would allow for certain employees designated by a principal to carry a gun on school property will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee (HB 1097).
  • The panel will also hear the contentious "wage theft" measure (HB 1125) that would prevent local governments from prosecuting wage theft, or employers refusing to pay employees. "Wage theft" ordinances in Miami-Dade and Broward counties would be grand-fathered in but new local laws would be preempted by the state.

[Last modified: Monday, April 15, 2013 8:30pm]


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