Sixty Days — A prime-time look at the 2019 Legislative Session
The Last 24
Good Tuesday evening. First, some breaking news from late in the afternoon: The 1st District Court of Appeal denied a joint request to put a hold on the appellate case over the state’s medical marijuana smoking ban. Gov. Ron DeSantis wants lawmakers to write the ban out of state law this Session or else he will drop the appeal. The court’s procedural move was more a speed bump than a roadblock, however: It allows the state and plaintiffs to refile a “motion to stay specifying the amount of time needed … to discuss (a) potential resolution.” The Governor’s Office had no immediate comment.
Earlier Tuesday, DeSantis completed his conservative triumvirate for the state’s Supreme Court, selecting former Jeb Bush and Pam Bondi staffer Carlos Muñiz as the last of his three picks to be the next justice. Meantime, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, chair of the state’s school safety panel, told lawmakers school districts need to be stepping up efforts to lock down their campuses. Here’s your nightly rundown.
Protect and defend: Muñiz, the state’s newest Supreme Court justice, says the “role of a judge is to preserve the Constitution, not to add to it or subtract from it.”
After Parkland: Gualtieri told lawmakers that local officials still are not being held accountable for delays in improved safety measures ordered up by lawmakers last year.
Tim-berrrrrr: An increased threat of wildfire is prompting Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to encourage “fast action” on unfinished Hurricane Michael cleanup in North Florida.
More elections? Janet Cruz filed a bill that would return the state Commissioner of Education job to the ballot.
Making a voter: The just-passed Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, better known as Amendment 4, specifically excludes those convicted of murder. But there’s disagreement about what that means.
Transparency in ‘TRIM’ming: Nick DiCeglie introduced legislation to permit property appraisers to post “Truth in Millage” (TRIM) notices online.
Quote of the Day
“I think in the quiet of the night, fair people go, ‘There’s no way to live on $8 an hour.’” — Orlando attorney and entrepreneur John Morgan, who’s backing a state constitutional amendment to boost the minimum wage in Florida.
Bill Day’s Latest
On Monday, Florida Politics first reported the names of 11 applicants who are seeking the position of Director of Cannabis in Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Fried’s office. On Tuesday, Fried took questions from reporters about the unique position she’s looking to fill.
Q: What would the Director of Cannabis do?
Fried: It’s basically two parts. One is the medical marijuana side of things that we already oversee, which is the fertilizers, the pesticides. We have a rule-making hearing Feb. 4 for edibles. So basically, a lot of things that we’re already supposed to be overseeing and making sure that one person is directed toward that.
The other part is the consumer services component of the medical marijuana program. And that is also working on the industrial-hemp and CBD-hemp side of things. So the position is going to be twofold; both on the cannabis and the medical side as well as the hemp side and creating new rules and regulations for the hemp industry.
The person I want for the job is someone with a broad range of experience both on the medical marijuana side and also on the hemp side. And somebody who may understand the rules and regulations that are going to go into place for instituting it in the state of Florida.
Q: Do any of the current applicants stick out to you?
Fried: Well there’s 11 so far that I have seen. We are looking at them. I think that some of them have very robust applications and high credentials, so I’m looking forward to hopefully choosing from one of them soon.
Q: When do you expect to hire?
Fried: Sooner (rather) than later. We have a lot of work to do, so the quicker I can get somebody in place, the quicker I can start working on this agenda item and making sure that medicine is getting out to the patients and that we have a hemp program here for our state.
Gov. DeSantis said he wants the ‘no smoking’ provision cut out of the state’s medical marijuana law last week, virtually ensuring cannabis will be front and center in the Legislative Session.
Plenty of dispensary companies have had lobbyists on retainer since the Sunshine State first dipped its toe in the water with the Charlotte’s Web law five years ago.
And with Florida’s ban on smoking pot possibly going away, even more are signing up. Native Roots is the latest.
The Denver-based company has more than 20 locations in Colorado, where both medical and recreational marijuana is legal.
In the decade since it started up, it’s cultivated a reputation as one of the top marijuana businesses out there — some pot-centric publications have described it as the “Starbucks of legal weed.”
To further its Florida efforts, Native Roots has inked a deal with the team at Southern Strategy Group; the team of Brian Bautista, Paul Bradshaw, David Browning, Chris Dudley, Mercer Fearington, James McFaddin and Clark Smith aims to get the cannabis company a seat at the table.
The Next 24
Aides to Gov. DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Agriculture Commissioner Fried and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis will meet to discuss issues in advance of a Jan. 29 Cabinet meeting. That’s at 9 a.m., Cabinet meeting room, The Capitol.
The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee will receive presentations about nursing-home services, behavioral-analysis services and community-based care services. That’s at 10 a.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol.
The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee will receive a presentation from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Department of Environmental Protection about algae blooms and red tide. That’s at 10:30 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, The Capitol.
The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will receive a presentation about the impact of technology and surveillance on Fourth Amendment rights that shield people from unreasonable searches and seizures. That’s at 10:30 a.m., 404 House Office Building, The Capitol.
The House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee will discuss electricity-service restoration after Hurricane Michael. That’s at 10:30 a.m., 212 Knott Building, The Capitol.
The House Health Quality Subcommittee will receive presentations on physician and nursing workforce issues. That’s at 10:30 a.m., 306 House Office Building, The Capitol.
The House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee will take up a bill that would largely prevent local regulation of vegetable gardens on residential property. That’s at 10:30 a.m., 12 House Office Building, The Capitol.
Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, House Education Chairwoman Jennifer Sullivan, and Senate Education Chairman Manny Diaz Jr. are expected to speak at The James Madison Institute’s Dr. J. Stanley Marshall Day event, part of National School Choice Week. That’s at noon, The Columns, 100 North Duval St., Tallahassee.
Floridians for Dental Access will address the need for dental therapists in Florida at a news conference. The coalition supports legislation filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Rene Plasencia to expand dental care to underserved populations. That’s at 12:45 p.m., in front of the Senate chamber, 4th floor Rotunda, The Capitol.
The Senate Agriculture, Environment and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee will receive a presentation from the Department of Environmental Protection about wastewater-incident reporting, compliance and enforcement. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.
The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will receive a presentation about criminal-justice reform. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.
The Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee will receive an overview of mental-health programs and services in public schools. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol.
The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee will take up issues including an overview of challenges facing the state’s agriculture industry. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 12 House Office Building, The Capitol.
The House Business & Professions Subcommittee will receive a presentation about professional and occupational licensing “reciprocity” with other states. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 212 Knott Building, The Capitol.
Chief Financial Officer Patronis is slated to speak to the House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee. That’s at 1:30 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, The Capitol.
The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will receive presentations about Medicaid reimbursements for hospitals and nursing homes. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 404 House Office Building, The Capitol.
The House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee will receive a presentation about charter-school governance. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 306 House Office Building, The Capitol.
The House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee will consider a proposal to would eliminate a law that allows red-light cameras. That’s at 1:30 p.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, The Capitol.
The House Health Market Reform Subcommittee will receive a presentation from the Office of Insurance Regulation about the state’s health-insurance market. That’s at 4 p.m., 306 House Office Building, The Capitol.
The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee will receive an overview of workforce education. That’s at 4 p.m., 212 Knott Building, The Capitol.
The House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee will receive information about workers’ compensation insurance issues, including the status of litigation and attorney fees. That’s at 4 p.m., 404 House Office Building, The Capitol.
The House PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee will receive presentations about teacher certification and school improvement. That’s at 4 p.m., Reed Hall, House Office Building, The Capitol.