TALLAHASSEE — Legislators will get the damage estimates on the Florida economy this week, as economists complete their revenue projections for the 2009-10 budget year and budget writers set to work on cutting programs to fill the expected $3.2 billion budget gap.
While the budget committees will meet all week, several controversial bills will get a hearing:
• A Senate committee will take up a bill that overrides local sexual predator ordinances and another that bans the public display of a noose;
• The Florida teachers union mounts an offense against a bill expected to get its first hearing this week that would base teacher pay on student performance and a Senate committee begins work on a bill to increase graduation requirements;
• A recycling bill designed to get the state to reach its recycling goals by 2020 is expected to pit environmentalists against business groups over whether to restrict use of plastic bottles and shopping bags;
• And both House and Senate committees will hold workshops this week over the future of gambling, including a visit from Las Vegas casino owners who want to bring resort casinos to Florida.
Meanwhile, the governor and Cabinet will take up an issue on Tuesday on whether to tighten the restrictions for homeowners who hurricane-proof their homes. In response to complaints from insurers that people are getting mitigation credits for questionable improvements, the Office of Insurance Regulation wants the governor and Cabinet to require homeowners to include photos of their hurricane-proofing improvements.
Mary Ellen Klas can be reached at meklas@MiamiHerald.com