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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch today in Tallahassee



It’ll be a long, busy day at the Capitol, as the budget is discussed on both floors. There are some key bills, too.

  • House Education Committee meets at 8 a.m. and is scheduled to hear HB 7083 that would require charter schools and school districts to use a standard contract. Districts believe it will take away their ability to negotiate with charter schools and oppose it.
  • At 9 a.m., the Senate’s Transportation Committee* will consider SB 772, by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Miami, that would change the makeup of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority. It reduces the number of MDX board members from 13 to 9 and prevents lobbyists from serving on the board. Last week, Gonzalo Sanabria, a longtime Miami-Dade Expressway Authority board member told the Times/Herald that he resigned from the board because of disrespectful treatment toward Mike Fernandez, the former co-finance chairman of Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election campaign. Scott’s office said Sanabria was dismissed because he supported toll increases. The bill would give the governor more control over the board.
  • The main attraction at the Senate’s 11 a.m. floor session, is a final vote on SB 448, the so-called “warning shot” bill, sponsored by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker. Backed heavily by the NRA and having already cleared the House, it would expand the state’s “stand your ground” protections by granting immunity for those who fire a warning shot. They will also begin discussing its proposed $75 billion budget.
  • The Senate will also vote on SB 320, by Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, would require parasailing boat operators to carry liability insurance of $1 million per occurrence, or $2 million in aggregate.
  • The House, meanwhile, is expected to vote on its proposed $75 billion budget for the budget year beginning on July 1. Spoiler alert: Democrats will note the absence of Medicaid expansion. Republicans won’t care.
* One thing NOT happening at the Senate’s 9 a.m. transportation committee that is quite noteworthy is that there will be no second consideration of SB 144. Sponsored by committee chairman Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, the bill would ban red light cameras. It stalled last week in a 4-4 deadlock. Although Brandes said he would bring it back up again for a vote today, he said he chose not to because the prospects of another deadlock, 5-5, was too likely. He said he’s considering his next move, which could include amending the bill language onto a transportation highway safety bill later in session. He did that last year, too, but the amendment failed.

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 5:34pm]


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