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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Capitol Buzz for Friday, 3/2

2

March

Five Stories To Think About Today

 * It's graveyard time for legislation. With only eight days left in the legislative session, only 27 of the 2,049 bills filed have been passed, according to a daily report compiled by the Florida Senate. Of those bills, five of them were symbolic memorials to Congress and two were the redistricting maps lawmakers are constitutionally required to pass.

* The last of the budget conference committees could meet today. After that, Senate Budget Chairman JD Alexander and House Budget Chairwoman Denise Grimsley will likely take over the budget negotiations.

* The House is expected to take a final vote on a revamp of personal injury protection. On Thursday, the lower chamber tacked several amendments onto the proposal -- a sign that the House and Senate are moving toward a similar position.

* The House will also hear 14 claims bills, including one that would award more than $10 million to Eric Brody, who was permanently injured in 1998 by a speeding Broward County Sheriff's deputy. (The Brody claims bill has already passed in the Senate.) Other claims bills would award money to the family of Juan Carlos Rivera, who was stabbed to death at Coral Gables Senior High School in 2009, and Aaron Edwards, a 14-year-old boy who suffered a severe brain injury during his birth at Lee Memorial Hospital.

* The Senate will take up a bill by Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, that would require minor incidents in schools be handled within the school's disciplinary system -- and not in the juvenile justice system.

 

Three Issues You Missed Yesterday

 * The bill that would give the University of Florida and Florida State University more power to set higher tuition is moving quickly through the House, sailing to third reading shortly after it was taken up on Thursday.

* As University of South Florida leaders tried to come to terms with the massive budget cuts on the way from the Legislature, students marched outside with the same frustrations.

* After impassioned debate, the so-called school prayer bill passed the House by an 88-27 vote. If the bill becomes law, local school districts could allow student volunteers to deliver "inspirational messages" in public schools. Teachers and other school employees could not take part or have any say in the message. The bill is now headed to Gov. Rick Scott, who says he hasn't seen it yet but generally supports the idea.

Who To Watch Today/Quotable Quotes
* Yesterday we were watching the House. Today, it's the Florida Senate. Bills on Internet cafes, parent triggers and ALF reform are all waiting with others to be heard. We'll see where they go today.

[Last modified: Friday, March 2, 2012 4:00am]

    

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