Capitol Buzz for Monday, 2/20
Five Stories To Think About Today
* The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to discuss a proposal that would prevent counties and cities from enacting ordinances that prevent wage theft by employers. It’s a hot issue for Miami-Dade County, as negotiations over a wage protection ordinance have broken down. Worker activists and the business lobby began negotiating an agreement last month, but those talks have failed. The sponsor of SB 862 is Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs.
* The same panel will consider a measure that changes the way the student member of the Florida Board of Governors is selected. That slot is currently reserved for the president of the Florida Student Association, an advocacy group that in the past has charged dues. But SB 1508, a proposed constitutional amendment sponsored by Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, would allow the governor to appoint a student to the position for a one-year term. In an effort to keep the position student-elected, Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, filed an amendment that would remove the FSA requirement and instead allow student body presidents to choose among themselves.
* Changes to the Florida High School Athletic Association, the longtime governing entity of public and private school sports, are up for debate in the House Rules and Calendar Committee. HB 1403, sponsored by Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, would require the FHSAA to establish guidelines for investigations and strengthen regulations over its investigators. It would also allow more children in private schools to play sports at public schools. State law limits that option to students who attend small private schools that do not have a sports program.
* The Senate Rules Subcommittee on Ethics and Elections will hold confirmation hearings for a slew of Gov. Rick Scott appointments to various state boards, including Gary Chartrand to the state Board of Education.
* Kurt Browning is out and his replacement is in. Starting his new job as secretary of state today is Ken Detzner, Scott’s choice to succeed Browning. Detzner is a former beer industry lobbyist who held the job briefly under former Gov. Jeb Bush. Browning, meanwhile, is back in Pasco County and pursuing his bid for school superintendent.
Three Issues You Missed Over The Weekend
* Congressman Connie Mack has made penny-pinching debt-reduction central to his U.S. Senate campaign, but privately he has struggled at times with borrowing and paying his own obligations, court records show.
Who To Watch Today/Quotable Quotes
* JD Alexander and USF President Judy Genshaft. The two will finally sit down together this afternoon to hash out a months-long squabble that came to a head last week with the release of Alexander's spending plan. Alexander, chair of the Senate's budget committee, gave the Tampa university a larger budget cut than any other state school. Coupled with a bill slipped into the budget that would split off USF's Lakeland branch campus into the 12th state university, Florida Polytechnic, the move enflamed the USF community. Monday's sit-down is being refereed by Jim Norman and Arthenia Joyner, Republican and Democratic senators from Tampa who pushed back on Alexander's recommendations at a budget committee meeting last week. It'll be the first time Genshaft and Alexander have spoken one-on-one about the growing controversy since it boiled up last summer.