Capitol Buzz for Tuesday, 3/6
Five Stories To Think About Today
* Leon County Circuit Court Judge Jackie Fulford will announce her decision in a lawsuit over state worker pensions. Depending on how Fulford rules, legislators could face a $2 billion budget hole.
* PIP reform, a top priority for Gov. Rick Scott, is up for debate and a possible vote in the Senate. The proposal strengthens regulations for medical clinics, creates a statewide anti-fraud task force, and bans acupuncturists and massage therapists from participating in PIP. The House companion, which looks somewhat different, passed Monday.
* The Senate is scheduled to take up an anti-human trafficking bill that would allow investigators or law enforcement officers to demand a government ID from people employed by massage establishments. The bill would also add some human trafficking offenses to the list of crimes that qualify a person as a sexual predator.
* The House will hang the portrait of Speaker Dean Cannon. To make room for Cannon, the House took down the picture of former speaker Dannite Hill Mays, who represented Jefferson County in the House from 1891 through 1897.
* Dr. Ruth Alexander, Elizabeth "Budd" Bell and Vicki Bryant Burke will be inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame. Gov. Rick Scott will lead the ceremony.
Three Issues You Missed Yesterday
* Legislative leaders struck a budget deal Monday marked by the creation of a new state polytechnic university in Lakeland, fulfilling the vision of a single lawmaker who wanted the school to grow independently from the University of South Florida.
* A proposal to shrink the size of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. by allowing unregulated surplus lines companies to take over policies hit a speed bump Monday, with a Senate amendment intended to make the bill more consumer-friendly. The amendment, filed by Sen. Thad Altman, R-Melbourne, would change the program from an automatic takeover process to one that consumers have to proactively opt-in to coverage-switch.
Who To Watch Today/Quotable Quotes
* Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs). The Governor may soon be putting his foot down to say no or go to a new, tougher public school grading formula. The formula was previously delayed by Simmons, chair of the Senate PreK-12 Budget Subcommittee, who now says he plans to withdraw the issue.