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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Capitol Buzz: Five things to watch today in Tallahassee



The Florida Legislature hits its homestretch, with just three weeks remaining. Here's what to watch for today.

* House and Senate budget negotiators continue working on an estimated $80 billion state budget plan. Last week, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli said he hoped negotiations with the Senate would begin early this week.

* A bill to make it harder to suspend drivers licenses for non-driving offenses goes before the House Appropriations Committee at 3 p.m. The bill has already cleared one committee, and a Senate version of the same bill just passed 7-0 out of its first committee. A Miami Herald investigation found that 77 percent of all license suspensions in Florida between 2012 and 2015 were due to a failure to pay fees.

* A bill that once sought to make most public information on Florida voters secret except to political candidates and parties, is back again, but with big changes. Senate Bill 702 goes before the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability at 4 p.m. Instead of making all voter records secret, the bill would only protected the information of pre-registered voters under the age of 17. Once they turn 18, those records would no longer be secret.

* Florida is ready to officially declare war against terrorists under a resolution the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee will consider at 4 p.m. Under Senate resolution 1710, the U.S. Congress would be urged to declare a state of war against "al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and all other global Islamic terrorist organizations that similarly engage in acts of terrorism against the United States and its people and against allied and friendly governments and their populations."

* Legislation to require more safety regulations for private elevators gets a hearing in the Florida House Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee at 1 p.m. The legislation is named after Max Grablin, a 12-year old Bradenton boy killed by an elevator in a private home in early 2015.


[Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2016 7:52pm]


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