The day that was in Florida politics — March 30

day in review

The day at the state Capitol began dark Monday. As we approach the midpoint of the 60-day of the Legislative Session, apparently the grind is starting to get to people. Someone forgot to turn on the lights this morning in the hallway leading to the Senate press room.

It was eerie walking a usually bustling noisy corridor in the subdued quiet and darkness of a Monday morning. Sort of like serving school detention and being freed after the janitors had cleaned up and started to shut down the school for the evening, so I’m told.

• • •

The Florida Municipal Power Agency knows how to make accounting exciting. I’ll give it that. An editor was looking for someone to cover a meeting of something called the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee. Everyone tried to get real small and become invisible as he asked for volunteers. After all who wants to sit through a meeting of auditors — I get it: 2 plus 2 = 4. This comes in and that goes out and if there’s no hanky panky everything reverts to 0. Whoopee!

This was different, though, because on Monday the FMPA, which provides power to 2 million residents, decided to skip a meeting where lawmakers wanted to discuss a $247 million dispute between FMPA and the cities of Vero Beach and Indian River Shores.

That made Sen. Joe Abruzzo mad. Subpoena-issuing mad. Bruce Ritchie has the story here.

And once he gets his subpoena here’s more on what Abruzzo wants to discuss with Florida Municipal officials.

• • •

Rep. Frank Artiles drew a lot of attention with his effort to preempt local public restroom regulations and to teach spring break students the proper barroom etiquette when visiting. Miami police Officer Robert Asencio noticed the Artile agenda and has decided to challenge him in 2016. That story is here.

• • •

Well, forget about going home after a long day and mixing a nice cool glass of instant martini. Monday the Senate Commerce Committee voted to make it a first-degree misdemeanor to sell powdered alcohol. A second offense within five years could result in a third degree felony charge. Five states ban what is known as Palcohol.

• • •

Tuesday the Senate Health Policy Committee will discuss the Charlotte’s Web glitch bill. Patient advocates and growers may want higher levels of THC authorized but as this story points out, they are going to have a hard sell persuading leading lawmakers to lift marijuana prohibitions any further.

James Call



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