Sixty Days for 2.26.18 — A prime-time look at the 2018 Legislative Session
State Capitol Building in Tallahassee, Florida

State Capitol Building in Tallahassee

Sixty Days — A prime-time look at the 2018 Legislative Session

The Last 24

Good Monday evening. An angry Jimmy Patronis blistered the League of Cities over PTSD benefits for first responders, and — miracle of miracles — the House gaming bill is again on the move. Will the Legislature pass a gambling measure this year? Sixty Days is betting the under. Here’s your nightly rundown.

Legislative and investigative: At the direction of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a House committee approved an investigation of “local agency actions” related to the mass shooting in Parkland.

Assault weapon ban: As the Senate Rules Committee considered proposals in wake of the Parkland shooting, an amendment filed by Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez banning assault rifles failed, with Republican Sen. Anitere Flores voting with Democrats.

Flak over firearms: Protesters started a sit-in over gun-control legislation as senators considered three contentious proposals in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

All or nothing: A House panel cleared the chamber’s gambling legislation for 2018, making it available for the floor. But the two chambers have a lot of ground to cover for compromise.

CFO’s fury: Chief Financial Officer Patronis, also the state’s fire marshal, called the Florida League of Cities “disgraceful” for “attempting to derail” legislation that would allow first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) access to mental health benefits.

Notably Negron: “Oh, look,” Gary Fineout tweeted. “The House version of the big higher ed bill – a top priority for @joenegronfl – is now scheduled to be heard at its final committee stop. It had been stuck there for last 20 days.”

Confirmation caucus: With little opposition, a Senate panel OK’d 89 appointments and nominations by Gov. Rick Scott awaiting approval.

Steube shakeup: Republican Sen. Greg Steube said he’ll run for Congressional District 17, the seat soon to be vacated by current Congressman Tom Rooney, who said he won’t run for re-election.

Quote of the Day

“When you have a school full of students, and your duty is to protect those students, even if I didn’t have a firearm I would have gone into that scene. That’s what you do. That’s what the coach did who was a true hero.” — Attorney General Pam Bondi, speaking on Fox News Monday about the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Bill Day’s Latest

3 Questions

The bail bond industry is going after a few criminal justice reforms that will be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. The measures are sponsored by Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, who recently said he is not in the “business of making bondsman money.”

Matthew Jones, the president of A Way Out Bail Bonds II Inc, argues it is not about them losing money, but about public safety. Here he lays out the reasons why these proposals concern him:

Q: What are your main concerns with implementing diversion programs across the state?

Jones: My main concern with a civil citation diversion program isn’t so much with giving someone a second chance by issuing them a citation, it is the way the program is set up. If you’re going to hand out citations there should be uniformity within the state and a citation should not be given out to people that commit violent batteries or domestic cases. Right now as the bills (SB 1392 and HB 1197) read, it says no one can get a citation if it’s a domestic or violent crime … unless the arresting officer decides otherwise. So what’s the point of having guidelines if you’re just going to allow the rules to be broken?

Q: Do you have concerns with other reforms, like the risk-assessment instrument tools?

Jones: I do have a concern with Risk Assessment tools. With SB 1392 the goal is help keep the community safer but allow people that can’t afford a bond to put them back on the street with a supervised bond. This includes a lower bond with an ankle monitor. But can a risk assessment done by a computer or even a questioner really predict the behavior of someone? The answer is no. Bondsman can’t even predict the behavior and I’m not saying we can, but I’m saying that we bondsman will make sure our client is in court better than some ankle bracelet or a risk assessment will provide.

Q: Do you think implementing these reforms could lead to the state being sued by the bail bond industry, like in New Jersey?

Jones: The bail industry won’t be suing the state in the reform. I think the people will in two separate ways. One being if someone gets let out of jail on a risk assessment that should’ve never been let out and kills someone. The other way we could see the state get sued is by an offender having to wear an ankle monitor and the government knowing this offender’s whereabouts 24/7. They are innocent until proven guilty. Why should they have to be watched 24/7? That’s a probation mechanism. These people are innocent, not guilty.

Lobby Up

Former Senate President and lobbyist Mike Haridopolos has signed an online ticket reseller, according to registration records.

The representation for Vivid Seats was effective Feb. 14.

We are a resale marketplace, prices may be above or below face value,” the company’s website says.

They offer tickets for events ranging from pro sports, such as Major League Baseball and the NFL, to concerts and shows, including “Hamilton.”

Haridopolos, a Republican, led the Senate 2010-12. He now runs the MJH Consulting firm.

Breakthrough Insights

The Next 24

The Senate Democratic caucus will meet ahead of a floor session. That’s at 8 a.m., 200 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.

The state Elections Canvassing Commission will formally certify the results of a Feb. 13 special election in Sarasota County’s House District 72. Democrat Margaret Good won the election, which was called after former Rep. Alex Miller, R-Sarasota, resigned last year. That’s at 9 a.m., Cabinet meeting room, the Capitol.

The Senate will hold a floor session and take up a number of bills, including legislation that would expand a state needle exchange program. That’s at 9 a.m., Senate chamber, The Capitol.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will take up the House’s major education bill (HB 7055), which provides for “Hope Scholarships” for bullied students. That’s at 11 a.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol.  

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission, which will put proposed constitutional amendments on the November ballot, will hold a public hearing in Escambia County. That’s at 1 p.m. (central time), University of West Florida, Conference Center and Ballroom, 11000 University Parkway, Pensacola.

The Florida State University President’s Advisory Panel on University Namings and Recognitions will hold the first in a series of town-hall forums. FSU President John Thrasher formed the panel to review and make recommendations about university policies dealing with campus names and markers. That’s at 5 p.m., FSU Alumni Center, 1030 West Tennessee St., Tallahassee.

Former state Sen. Jeremy Ring, a Democrat running for state chief financial officer, is expected to appear at a meeting of the Democratic Club of Boca Raton & Delray Beach. That’s at 7:30 p.m., South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road, Delray Beach.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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