Sixty Days for 4.8.19 — A prime-time look at the 2019 Legislative Session

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Sixty Days — our daily dispatch from the fourth floor.

Sixty Days — A prime-time look at the 2019 Legislative Session

The Last 24

Good Monday evening. Tucked among the many Ron DeSantis appointees to be considered by a Senate review panel Tuesday are seven new picks for the board of the South Florida Water Management District. The Governor asked the previous board members to resign, citing in part the board’s long history of prioritizing the needs of sugar growers over the environment. Conspicuous in his absence from tomorrow’s Ethics and Elections Committee hearing, however, is “Alligator Ron” Bergeron, a former member of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. That’s because his appointment is still being vetted by the Florida Commission on Ethics. Staff is looking into whether Bergeron “created a conflict of interest by signing a contract Feb. 6 with the district to have his company, Bergeron Land Development Inc., complete construction of a water cleaning facility in western Martin County,” according to TCPalm. Sixty Days is unconflicted about its love for The Process. Here’s your nightly rundown.

Unlocked, unloaded: A bill that would have allowed guns in churches with schools on their property died in the Senate.

The difference is 6.66 percent: A measure to increase the requirement to pass a constitutional amendment — to 66⅔% from 60% — is ready for the House floor.

Dereg bill on the move: Legislation to deregulate scores of professions in Florida moved through another Senate panel.

Permission needed? Legislation requiring parental consent before minors obtain abortions has advanced in the Senate.

Selling policy via YouTube: House Speaker Jose Oliva and other Republican lawmakers have a new video laying out plans to improve health care.

Get the pen out: DeSantis signed two bills today: SB 180 on “Lost or Abandoned Personal Property,” and SB 212, the “Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.”

Quote of the Day

“It doesn’t create stronger families, and it only jeopardizes the lives of young women.” — Kara Gross, legislative director of the ACLU of Florida, on the parental consent for abortion bill.

Your Metz Husband Daughton-sponsored question of the day is:

Where are Florida’s famous sponge docks?

As always, click here to tweet your answer to @MHDFirm. The first person with the correct answer will get a shout-out in tomorrow’s 60 Days!

Last time, we asked: Which Florida beach is known as the “World’s Most Famous Beach?”

Answer: “Daytona Beach.”

Congrats to Kevin Besserer (@krbesserer) who was again the first to tweet the correct answer!

Bill Day’s Latest

3 Questions

A Session tradition is returning to Tallahassee as a historic Tampa Bay Lightning team prepares for its first playoff game of the season. For today’s “3Q,” we caught up with Ron Pierce, president and CEO of RSA Consulting. He is again welcoming pro hockey fans in The Process to join him and his firm for periodic weekday watch parties to support the Lightning. The first is set for Wednesday evening at Miller’s Ale House in Tallahassee.

Florida Politics: How did this start?

Pierce: It was just a fun idea. A couple of members actually had approached us in the past about creating a ‘Lightning Caucus.’ And they really encouraged us to host Lightning watch parties for the folks from Tampa Bay. It’s a social atmosphere for the fans who are at Session in Tallahassee.

RSA has the privilege of representing the Tampa Bay Lightning. I’ve represented them from a lobbyist capacity since 2009. What we typically do in Tallahassee is host a watch party almost every weekday game for local hockey fans who want to show up and support the Lightning. Usually, it’s at the Ale House, but sometimes that changes. It’s open to everybody.

FP: Are the Lightning the team to beat?

Pierce: The season’s been historic. The Lightning tied the NHL record for the most number of regular-season wins at 62. If you look at Nikita Kucherov, one of our top players, he had a historic season. He led the league in points scoring and probably is seen as a front-runner for MVP. The players will tell you that the team’s success is great, but all that’s behind them because all of the teams are all 0-0 starting this week. So the most important thing for the team is to go out and win 16 games.

FP: Where did your hockey fandom originate?

Pierce: My wife and I have been in the Tampa Bay region for more than 20 years, so we’re big supporters of Tampa Bay sports in general. With hockey, my family is from Detroit, so I grew up as a fan. My family always rooted for the Red Wings, so I fell in love with the sport. If you’re not a fan of hockey, it’s probably the best professional sport to watch live. Some people tell me, “I’m not sure I can get into hockey.” But to experience a game or a playoff game is truly electric. It’s truly something special.

Lobby Up

Tuesday is FSU Day, and for those who can make it to the 22nd floor of the Capitol complex in time, the festivities start tonight. If you miss the boat, don’t fret — the Capitol will be lit up in garnet and gold overnight before FSU Day proper starts rolling.

Tuesday morning will see the school take over the plaza level and the second- and third-floor rotundas. There will be plenty of informative displays peppered throughout and FSU President John Thrasher, a former House Speaker, will be walking the halls of his old stomping ground, as will members of FSU’s student government.

But the courtyard is where the ‘Noles are hiding the goodies — 4 Rivers will be lighting the grill at noon and handing out hot dogs, chips, and sodas for anyone passing by. Yes, even Gators. Those who can stretch their break to 12:30 will get to see the Marching Chiefs perform and witness the national championship FSU Softball team get their rings.

While the event is sure to draw students and the public, FSU has a sizable lobbying corps. Thrasher tops the list, but he gets some help from fellow in-house talent Laura Brock, Kathleen Daly and Kathy Mears.

Other slices of the school have their own advocates — the FSU SGA is repped by Sean Pittman and Jasmyne Henderson of the Pittman Law Group; Frank Mayernick, Tracy Mayernick and Rob Johnson of The Mayernick Group handle the Florida State University Foundation; and Jon Moyle of the Moyle Law Firm has the FSU Board of Directors on his client sheet.

Breakthrough Insights

The Next 24

Four Republicans will battle in a primary election in House District 7, which opened when former Rep. Halsey Beshears, a Monticello Republican, was named secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The winner of the GOP primary between Lynda Bell, Virginia Fuller, Jason Shoaf and Mike Watkins will face Democrat Ryan Terrell in the June 18 special general election. District 7 is made up of Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Jefferson, Lafayette, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla counties, and part of Leon County. Also, Republicans Randy Maggard and David “Mac” McCallister will square off in a primary election in Pasco County’s House District 38, which opened when former Rep. Danny Burgess, a Zephyrhills Republican, was named executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat Kelly Smith in the June 18 special general election. Polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill that would revamp regulations for office surgery centers after news reports highlighted patient deaths at two Southeast Florida plastic surgery centers. That’s at 8 a.m., 404 House Office Building.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which was created by the Legislature last year after the mass shooting at the Parkland school, will start a two-day meeting in Broward County. That’s at 8:30 a.m., BB&T Center, Chairman’s Club, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise.

The House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a proposal that would expand the legal definition of “tobacco products” to include nicotine products used in such things as electronic cigarettes. That’s at 8:30 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building.

The Senate Community Affairs Committee will consider a proposal that would prevent cities and counties from regulating how restaurants and other establishments distribute plastic straws to customers. That’s at 10 a.m., 301 Senate Office Building.

The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee will hold confirmation hearings for numerous officials, including:

— Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell.

— Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch.

— Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director Barbara Palmer.

— Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Ken Lawson.

— Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom.

— Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein.

— Department of Lottery Secretary Jim Poppell.

— Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault.

— Department of Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director Danny Burgess.

That’s at 10 a.m., 412 Knott Building.

The Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee will consider a proposal that would repeal laws allowing the use of red-light cameras. Critics contend the cameras have become an excessive source of revenue for local governments, while supporters say they help improve traffic safety. That’s at 10 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building.

The House Appropriations Committee will consider a proposal to make a series of regulatory changes involving medical marijuana, including placing a cap on THC levels in smokable pot. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana that produces a euphoric effect. That’s at 10:30 a.m., 212 Knott Building.

Florida State University President John Thrasher is expected to speak during a pep rally that will be part of FSU Day at the Capitol. That’s at 11:30 a.m., Capitol courtyard.

The Restoration Association of Florida (RAF) will host a news conference with those affected by the proposed assignment of benefits (AOB) reforms in pending legislation. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 4th-floor Rotunda.

The Senate Agriculture, Environment and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill that would transfer environmental law-enforcement duties from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to the Department of Environmental Protection. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building.

The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a proposal that deals with a series of issues in the justice system, including creating new judgeships in the 9th Judicial Circuit and the 12th Judicial Circuit. The 9th Circuit is made up of Orange and Osceola counties; the 12th Circuit is made up of DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties. That’s at 1:30 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building.

The Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Education Committee will take up similar bills to create a “disqualification list” of educators who would be barred from jobs in charter schools, traditional public schools and private schools that receive state scholarship money.

— Senate subcommittee at 1:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building.

— House committee at 2 p.m., 212 Knott Building.

The House Health & Human Services Committee will consider a proposal that would seek to place work requirements on able-bodied adults in the Medicaid program. That’s at 2 p.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building.

The House Judiciary Committee will take up a bill that would carry out Amendment 4, a November ballot measure designed to restore the voting rights of felons who have fulfilled their sentences. Critics of the bill say it includes provisions that would effectively disenfranchise felons. That’s at 2 p.m., 404 House Office Building.

The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada for state programs such as Medicaid. The issue has support from Gov. Ron DeSantis. That’s at 4 p.m., 412 Knott Building.

The Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a proposal that would make it harder for citizens and groups to put proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot. The bill, for example, would require that petition gatherers be Florida residents and would prevent them from being paid based on the number of petitions they collect. That’s at 4 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building.

The Senate Finance and Tax Committee will take up a bill that would create a disaster-preparedness tax “holiday” for a two-week period at the beginning of June. Shoppers would be able to buy a variety of hurricane supplies during the period without paying sales taxes. That’s at 4 p.m., 401 Senate Office Building.

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.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

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