Capitol Buzz for Tuesday, 1/31
There is a full day of committee meetings at the Capitol, but the big news is what will be happening around the state.
Five Stories To Think About Today
* It’s the GOP's presidential primary day. The latest polls show Mitt Romney pulling ahead of Newt Gingrich with nearly 600,000 voting early or absentee, but it ain’t over until polls close at 7 p.m.
* In Gadsden and Washington counties, voters will also decide whether to allow slot machines at racing facilities. Other counties have scheduled similar referendums for later this year, so the results -- and ensuing court battles -- will be closely watched.
* A controversial proposal to privatize 30 prison facilities will be discussed on the Senate floor this afternoon, setting up a likely vote on Wednesday. Opponents will be out in full force and have scheduled a press conference outside Senate chambers right before the session begins.
* The full Senate also is expected to discuss a measure that would allow prayer and other types of inspiration messages during public school events.
* On the House side, two abortion bills get another hearing: one that bans procedures after 20 weeks and another that prohibits a provider from performing a procedure based on a child's sex or race.
Three Issues You Missed Yesterday
* Both Republicans and Democrats alike said they were opposed to banning soda, cakes, and candy bars under the food stamp program, and that government should not be telling people what types of food they can eat.
Who To Watch Today/Quotable Quotes
* "It's my understanding that teenagers use fake IDs for things other than voting, as I seem to remember. Not that I ever used them, but I've read a lot of books. And as I was looking at your driver's license, Senator, when you were flashing it, I was going to ask you why it was that Steve Bousquet's picture was on it. But then when you said that it had to do with points on your license and infractions and violations, then I understood, so my question was answered." -Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) at the Senate Rules Committee meeting Monday, joking about an amendment to CS/SB 159 that narrowly failed 6-6.