Capitol Buzz for Wednesday, 3/7
Five Stories To Think About Today
* Three days remain in session, and only 12 bills have passed both the House and Senate. Three have been approved by the governor. The House passed dozens of substantive bills last week, but the Senate calendar is unambitious.
* The budget will get its first full day of review.
* The Florida Democratic Party will hold a news-conference condemning Gov. Rick Scott and the GOP for what it says is an assault on education during the legislative session.
* The House will take up a Senate bill that would exempt from criminal charges a person making a good faith effort to obtain medical assistance for someone experiencing a drug-related overdose. The person needing medical help would also be protected.
* The Office of Insurance Regulation will hold a public hearing about a proposal by State Farm of Florida to increase property-insurance rates by 42 percent for mobile homes.
Three Issues You Missed Yesterday
* In a dramatic defeat for the Governor and the Florida Legislature, a Leon County court judge on Tuesday ruled that the decision last year to cut public employee salaries was an unconstitutional breach of the state’s contract and ordered the money returned with interest.
* State lawmakers’ push to reduce the size of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. by luring unregulated out-of-state insurers hit a major speed bump on Tuesday. Consumer-focused lawmakers approved an amendment to the so-called surplus lines bill (HB 245), forcing insurers to get a signature before taking over a policy.
* Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll has made a rare appearance in the Senate chambers, one timed just as the upper chamber began debating reforms to the no-fault car insurance system. Carroll had been pulling senators one-by-one into a small meeting room known as "the bubble," and reportedly was pressing them on aspects of the legislation favored or opposed by Gov. Rick Scott.
Who To Watch Today/Quotable Quotes
* JD Alexander and Rick Scott. Alexander said on Tuesday no matter what the pension ruling was, it wouldn't affect the budget. AG Pam Bondi defended the potential $800,000 to be spent on defending the state ($500,000 of which already has been). And after they lost this round, Scott said he was looking forward to an appeal. So what happens next?