Today marks the 36th day of the 60-day legislative session, so the Capitol's clock is starting to become a factor. Here are five things to watch:
- A bill to limit abortions will be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon. The bill (SB 918) by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, cites evolving medical advancements and would ban abortions in cases where a fetus can survive outside the womb unless the procedure would threaten the mother's health.
- The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee takes up a bill (HB 227) that would make it easier for a victim of wrongful incarceration to be compensated. The bill, by Rep. Dave Kerner, D-Lake Worth, would benefit James Richardson, who spent 21.5 years in prison for the murder of his daughter, but after his release was denied money because he was unable to prove actual innocence, even though a hearing officer in his case found there was not enough evidence to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt.
- For the fourth straight week, a Senate committee will consider legislation by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, to allow people to carry guns during emergencies such as a hurricane even if they don't have a concealed weapons permit. The controversial bill (SB 296) is an NRA priority but Brandes has postponed a committee vote for three straight weeks in the same committee -- usually a sign of trouble.
- Corrections officers will demand wage parity with law enforcement officers at one of several press events aimed to call attention to issues not on the Legislature's radar. Prison guards say that with a projected budget surplus of more than $1 billion, lawmakers should close the salary gap between officers who work in prisons and cops on the street. Their legislative champion is Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker.
- A contentious bill to improve transparency on the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (SB 772) will be debated in the Senate Community Affairs Committee.