Capitol Buzz for Wednesday, 2/8
Five Stories To Think About Today
* Catholics Days continues at the Capitol, culminating with a Red Mass of the Holy Spirit program at 6 p.m. Note: It’s also Caribbean Heritage Day.
* The House and the Senate will spend about an hour hosting a reunion for former members during their floor sessions Wednesday.
* The House Economic Affairs Committee will hear several housing-related bills during its 8 a.m. meeting. Bills to cut property taxes for military widows and seniors are up for vote, along with HB 213, which would reform Florida’s troubled foreclosure system.
* The State of Black Florida 2012 conference kicks off Wednesday, with several events billed: At 6 p.m., Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree will give remarks on the topic “Does Race Still Matter in the Age of Obama?” and the Black Caucus will host a reception at 7:30 p.m. at the offices of the Pittman Law Group.
* The House will likely take up a bill that would allow for ads on public school buses during its floor session, which is scheduled to run from 10:45 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Three Issues You Missed Yesterday
* A proposal to move the office that represents consumers before state power utility regulators got mixed reviews, as some say it will make the job more political and others suggest it will insulate it from politics.
* It has become routine to see a politician turning to Facebook or Twitter to connect with voters without a media filter. Gov. Rick Scott--well, his staff--asked Facebook users for one word to describe the Florida legislature. He got more than 150 in the first hour.
* New signs of discord emerged Tuesday in what began as a routine review of the $8-billion-plus budget proposal in the Senate Tourism & Economic Development Subcommittee. The anger and frustration is generally aimed at leadership, but yesterday's particular target happened to be Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-Wellington) who chairs the 15-member panel, probably because senators are being forced to play catch-up on their budget.
Who To Watch Today/Quotable Quotes
* Mike Long, Florida Student Association chairman and the only student member of the Board of Governors. Rep. Matt Gaetz's bill would change the latter position to be appointed by a governor, rather than filling it with the de facto FSA chair, which doesn't sit well with some students. That argument, that Gaetz's alma mater, FSU, isn't a member of FSA and shouldn't have to pay to be, is only part of the problem. Either way, the bill advanced through the House Education committee.