Capitol Buzz for Wednesday, 2/22
Five Stories To Think About Today
* The foreclosure process could be sped up by HB 213, under consideration in the House Judiciary Committee. Critics of the "Florida Fair Foreclosure Act" say it may force residents out of their homes without due process and lead to more fraud.
* Should automobile racing be Florida's official state sport? HB 745, sponsored by Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, and SB 266, sponsored by Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, would make it so. The question is up for discussion in House State Affairs and Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability committees today.
* The House goes in session at 1 p.m. and leaves at -- well, with about 100 bills on special order, they're not yet sure. One of them, HB 31, would limit protests within a certain distance of funerals or memorial services, an effort to prevent demonstrations by the likes of Westboro Baptist Church.
* A wide-ranging abortion bill, SB 290, is scheduled for its first hearing in Senate Health Regulation committee. Planned Parenthood supporters say it will prevent them from moving locations or opening new centers because of a requirement that clinics opening as of July 1 be owned by physicians. The bill would also require a woman to complete a consent form at least 24 hours before the procedure, creating a waiting period.
* The ACLU's legal challenge of Gov. Rick Scott's executive order requiring drug testing of state employees will be heard by a federal judge in Miami today.
Three Issues You Missed Yesterday
* The University of Florida and Florida State University are another step closer to charging higher tuition than the state's other schools. A bill that would give top universities power to set higher rates, provided that they meet certain benchmarks, was approved by the House education committee Tuesday. A similar bill was OK'd by the Senate's higher education committee last week.
Who To Watch Today/Quotable Quotes
* "What this bill does is if you have a contract with the State of Florida over a certain amount, and a call center is associated with that contract, that those calls should be routed to call centers here in the United States. It's a good American job creation bill that I call the 'Hello, this is Peggy' bill." -Sen. Chris Smith (D-Ft. Lauderdale), introducing his call center bill, SB 678, before the Senate budget committee Tuesday. His nickname for the bill, which passed 21-0, refers to an ad campaign for Discover Bank that pokes fun at call centers.