TALLAHASSEE — The House is in session this afternoon and is poised to take up bills that would shake up the judiciary, seaports and septic tank restrictions.
Backed by House Speaker Dean Cannon, HJR 7111 divides the Florida Supreme Court into two five-justice divisions, one for civil cases and one for criminal. That change would require a constitutional amendment approved by 60 percent of Florida voters.
As written, the bill could go before voters as soon as Florida's presidential primary, currently scheduled for Jan. 31, 2012.
Members will also debate HB 283, sponsored by Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, which would end state regulations for seaport security, which ports argue is already done at the federal level. It would also pave the way for a study on turning the Cross Florida Barge Canal into a "Port Citrus."
The House will also consider HB 13, which repeals rules over septic tanks enacted just last year, when lawmakers were concerned about sewage seeping into spring water. Why the change of heart? The bill's supporters say restrictions cost owners too much money and are too big of a burden.
Five Senate committees will meet today as members continue their work before next week's Passover and Easter break. The Senate Budget Committee will resume its consideration of dozens of bills, including big ones on Medicaid reform, charter schools and school vouchers.
Today marks Gov. Rick Scott's 100th day in office. Scott will mark part of the occasion in Washington, D.C., sharing breakfast with the Florida delegation and testifying before a congressional subcommittee on the danger of prescription drug diversion.
He flies back to Florida for meetings with the Florida Association of State Troopers; the prime minister of Kenya, Raila Amollo Odinga; Leadership Lake Wales; former Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist; and the Florida League of Mayors.
It's also Puerto Rico Day at the Capitol.