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Capitol Buzz for Tuesday, 1/24

The House and Senate are both at work on Day 15 of the Legislature in session, and Florida had its first Primary debate last night.

Five Stories To Think About Today

* Abortion: A House panel is scheduled to take up bills restricting abortions in the third trimester, always a hot ideological topic.

* The Parent Empowerment Act, a.k.a. Florida's parent trigger law, has its first of two hearings by Senators and House members. The bill would allow parents at low-performing public schools to petition the school district for sweeping reforms, or even have the school converted into a charter.

* Prison Privatization: House Justice Appropriations Committee members take on their version of bills calling for prisons to be run by for-profit companies.

* School sports head injuries: Senators will consider a bill requiring more information be given to parents about risks of head injuries and mandating athletes be removed from play until they can be examined.

* Press Skits: Here's a shameless plug for the annual show by the press corps skewering the people we cover -- and vice versa ( It's 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Moon in Tallahassee, and serves as a scholarship fundraiser.

Three Issues You Missed Yesterday

* Mitt Romney got mean Monday night at the Tampa Bay Times/National Journal/NBC debate, lashing out at Newt Gingrich.

* Several state and private employees converged on the Senate Rules Committee to protest against two bills aimed at privatizing South Florida prisons. The bills passed.

* Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Gainesville, announced his plans to run for Congress in a new congressional seat that has opened up in redistricting maps.

Who To Watch Today/Quotable Quotes

* "You have two victims. You've got corporations wanting to make money off two victims. That's like selling bandaids at a prizefight, or stretchers at a plane crash. It's not right." -Tim Marsett, former Florida Department of Corrections employee, during public debate Monday afternoon on prison privatization bills SB 2038 and SB 2036.