Sixty Days — A prime-time look at the 2018 Legislative Session
The Last 24
After House Democrats formally designated him as their next leader on Tuesday, Rep. Kionne McGhee asked his fellow D’s in the Republican-controlled chamber to stay hopeful and not “underestimate the power of the donkey.”
Sen. Bobby Powell and others argued for changes to the way Florida prosecutes juvenile offenders, including what’s known as the direct-file process, in which some minors are charged and handled in adult court.
Support is building across Florida for a stronger texting-while-driving law, but some black legislators say they’ll fight the idea, claiming that it will invite more abuses by police.
Rep. Jay Fant, a Jacksonville Republican running for Attorney General, filed what he calls the “Free Enterprise Protection Act” to prevent “discriminatory action” by any governmental entity in the state against businesses.
Legislation calling for a memorial honoring those who suffered from slavery in Florida advanced unanimously through a Senate committee after Sen. Dennis Baxley explained why he was always for the bill — even though he voted against it last Session.
After facing down Democrats’ harsh questioning of the bill’s intentions, a Florida House committee voted along party lines Tuesday to approve a measure to require most public employees’ unions to meet a dues-paying threshold or face recertification.
The Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance passed legislation to delete some limitations relating to mental health benefits for first responders.
A divided Florida Supreme Court refused to take up a dispute about whether a former Arena Football League player should receive workers’ compensation insurance benefits because of injuries suffered while trying to regain a roster spot with the Orlando Predators.
Quote of the Day
“Don’t vote for it … We don’t want guns anywhere.” — Sen. Linda Stewart, an Orlando Democrat, talking at a Senate Democratic Caucus meeting Tuesday about what she called a “guns everywhere” bill by GOP Sen. Greg Steube.
Bill Day’s Latest
Sen. Tom Lee and state Reps. Erin Grall and Don Hahnfeldt, are pushing bills that would repeal the state’s no-fault auto insurance system. On Tuesday, Lee’s bill was temporarily postponed. The legislation has received pushback because it could have a negative fiscal impact on hospitals, but one powerful company is lobbying for it: Uber.
Javi Correoso, a spokesman for the ride-hailing service, explains why.
Q: In a nutshell, why are you in support of repealing Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?
JC: We believe that repealing PIP and moving to a system that relies predominantly on required bodily injury coverage will result in lower auto insurance costs for most Floridians.
Q: Are you more in support of the House or the Senate bill? And why?
JC: Both bills are improvements over the current system that relies on PIP. Replacing this system with mandatory bodily injury coverage will be a positive result for Florida drivers including our Uber driver partners.
Q: How does your company stand to benefit from the passage of that bill?
JC: The bill will have very little impact on the commercial auto insurance that we are required to purchase. However, there are more than 100,000 Uber driver partners in Florida who face high costs. The cost of their personal auto insurance is important to their personal finances. These bills are an opportunity to lower that cost and see those drivers take home more of their hard-earned money.
Mark Flynn has registered to lobby for Christian Prison Ministries, headed by Lori Costantino-Brown.
She also runs Bridges International, the substance-abuse treatment and community re-entry program headquartered in Orlando.
Bridges was founded by her father, Frank Costantino, an ex-con who served over 22 years on burglary and other charges.
“Upon his release, he founded Christian Prison Ministries to share the Gospel with other prisoners,” according to a news release.
Then, in 1980, “Frank opened up the first aftercare resident program in Orlando” to provide the first ‘bridge’ for those fellow former prisoners trying to transition back into society.
The Next 24
The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee will receive a presentation about Gov. Rick Scott‘s proposed 2018-2019 budget at 8 a.m., 17 House Office Building, the Capitol.
The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 471) that would ban flying drones over prisons and jails. That’s at 8 a.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.
The House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee will receive a presentation from Visit Florida about the agency’s operating budget. That’s at 8 a.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.
The House Health Quality Subcommittee will receive a presentation from Christian Bax, director of the state Office of Medical Marijuana Use, about the implementation of a medical-marijuana law passed in June. That’s at 8:30 a.m., 306 House Office Building, the Capitol.
Aides to Gov. Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis will meet in preparation for a Dec. 13 state Cabinet meeting. That will be at 9 a.m., Cabinet meeting room, the Capitol.
The Florida Supreme Court will take up a number of matters, including a public reprimand of St. Lucie County Judge Philip Yacucci, being disciplined for his conduct in a long-running dispute with a local attorney. That’s at 9 a.m., Florida Supreme Court, 500 South Duval St., Tallahassee.
The Senate Military and Veterans Affairs, Space and Domestic Security Committee will take up a proposal (SB 440) that would allow veterans to receive services through the state Medicaid managed-care system as an alternative to the federal Veterans Health Administration system. That’s at 10 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.
The Florida College System Council of Presidents is scheduled to hold a conference call at 10 a.m. The call-in number is (888) 670-3525 and the participant code is 1326645713#.
The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will receive a presentation about Gov. Scott’s proposed 2018-2019 budget. That’s at 10:30 a.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.
The House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee will hold a workshop on bicycle and pedestrian safety at 10:30 a.m., 102 House Office Building, the Capitol.
Rep. Cord Byrd, a Neptune Beach Republican, will hold a news conference to discuss legislation enabling Floridians to restore their constitutional rights through the courts as an alternative to the backlogged executive clemency process. That’s at 11:45 a.m., outside the House chamber doors, 4th floor rotunda, the Capitol.
Rep. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican, will hold a news conference to discuss campaign finance reform legislation that would, among other things, prohibit political committees and electioneering communications organizations from making contributions to each other. That’s at 1 p.m., 4th floor rotunda, the Capitol.
The Florida Transportation Commission will hold a workshop and is expected to receive an update about issues related to hurricane response. That is at 1 p.m., Burns Building, 605 Suwannee St., Tallahassee.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will receive a presentation about Gov. Scott’s proposed $87.4 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.
The House Health Innovation Subcommittee will hold a panel discussion on pharmacy benefits management at 1:30 p.m., 306 House Office Building, the Capitol.
The House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 165) that would seek to prevent people from making online threats to kill or injure other people. That’s at 1:30 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.
The House Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 405) that would make clear the Florida Public Service Commission has “exclusive jurisdiction” to decide whether underground transmission lines are required for power-plant projects. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 12 House Office Building, the Capitol.
Florida State University President John Thrasher will offer his “State of the University” address during a meeting of the Faculty Senate. That will be at 3:35 p.m., Augustus B. Turnbull III Florida State Conference Center, 555 West Pensacola St., Tallahassee.
The House Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee will receive a presentation on issues related to child support guidelines. That’s at 4 p.m., 12 House Office Building, the Capitol.
The House Civil Justice & Claims Subcommittee will consider a claim bill that would direct Orange County to pay $750,000 to Robert Allan Smith, a motorcyclist who was injured in 2006 when he was struck by a county van. That is at 4 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.
The House Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee will take up a series of measures that would make changes to the Florida Commission on Human Relations. That’s at 4 p.m., 17 House Office Building, the Capitol.
The House Post-Secondary Education Subcommittee will consider a proposal (HB 181) calling for the state to pay the tuition costs of many students at state colleges. That’s at 4 p.m., 306 House Office Building, the Capitol.