Capitol Buzz: 5 things to watch Monday in Tallahassee
Monday marks the start of the ninth and final week of the 2013 legislative session. Here are five things to watch:
* Progress over the weekend on a $74 billion budget for next fiscal year will likely usher in an era of good feeling between the House and Senate, as lawmakers prepare to scour the document for individual projects in their home districts. The budget must be accessible to all lawmakers for 72 hours before they can take a final vote on it and adjourn on schedule Friday.
* Now that the budget has $480 million for teacher pay raises, tied to pay-for-performance plans Gov. Rick Scott did not request, he must launch a final push for his other priority, a sales tax exemption for manufacturing equipment purchases. The proposal is languishing in both houses with five days to go and appears to be going nowhere at this point.
* All politics is local: The House plans final votes on a series of local bills that affect only one county or city, and which are rarely controversial. On the House calendar are bills that would allow a hotel in Madison County to get a liquor license (Madison voters last year voted to convert from a "dry" to a "wet" county, legalizing sales of liquor by the glass). Another local bill allows Florida State University to take ownership of the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, the arena where the Seminoles play basketball.
* The House is scheduled to debate the bill (HB 13) that would allow police to issue tickets to motorists who test while driving. The measure has already passed the Senate.
* The Senate is set for a final vote on a bill (HB 7083) to speed up the appeals process for the 405 men and women on Florida's Death Row. The bill narrows the timetable for filing appeals and would continue to allow as few as seven jurors to recommend a death sentence, a bare majority on a 12-member panel. Most other states require a unanimous jury verdict of death in capital cases.