Sixty Days — A prime-time look at the 2019 Legislative Session:
The Last 24
Former Lottery Secretary Randall Hunt may not have resigned to pursue other business opportunities after all. An investigation by the Orlando Sentinel’s Jason Garcia and Beth Kassab found Hunt’s exit came shortly after a background check turned up domestic violence allegations. The background check was conducted as part of the Senate’s confirmation process. When the results came back, the Senate forwarded them to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office. A spokesperson for the Governor didn’t confirm whether that was the reason Hunt quit after only two months on the job. Here’s your nightly rundown.
Pre-K grades. A proposal that would make sweeping changes in how Florida pre-K programs are evaluated earned bipartisan support in the Senate Education Committee.
Lotto labels. A bill that would put warnings to “Play Responsibly” on all Florida Lottery tickets and marketing materials cleared the House Gaming Control Subcommittee with a unanimous vote.
Drones bill flies. A Senate bill that would allow “limited” use of drones to monitor and manage invasive species within Florida’s swamps and forests earned unanimous approval in its second committee stop.
Vandalism targeted. A measure that would make desecrating war memorials a third-degree felony and put vandals on the hook for repair costs passed the Senate Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability with no objections.
Drug pricing. A proposal that would require drugmakers to give 60 days advance notice of price hikes and submit annual reports to DBPR and OIR made it through the House Health Market Reform Subcommittee despite critics saying it doesn’t go far enough.
Moments of silence. A Senate bill that would ensure public school students are afforded moments of silence at the beginning of the school day passed its first committee by a 6-1 vote Monday.
Polluter penalties. The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee advanced a DeSantis priority that would raise fines for violating environmental laws by 50%.
Artiles appropriation. Rep. Brad Drake and Sen. Manny Diaz have filed appropriations requests that would send $8 million to a private water cleanup company represented by former Sen. Frank Artiles.
Ex-sheriff drama. Lawyers for DeSantis and Senate President Bill Galvano asked a federal judge to toss a lawsuit filed by former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel alleging his constitutional rights were violated when he was removed from office.
Quote of the Day
“The goal is to make us a nationwide leader in training high school teachers in all Florida counties and to also show an example to other states as we begin to do a competitive speech and debate program at their schools. There’s value to doing this if we’re going to promote civics education.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, announcing an initiative backed by the Billi and Bernie Marcus Foundation to improve speech and debate programs at middle and high schools.
Your Metz Husband Daughton-sponsored question of the day is: What city is known as the “birthplace of speed?”
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: Florida man throws what creature through a Wendy’s drive-thru window?
Answer: Alligator jacksonville.com/article.
Congrats to Joseph Salzverg (@JSALZ305) who was the first to tweet the correct answer!
Bill Day’s Latest
Senate President Bill Galvano prioritizes civil discussion over rancor and controversy. But last week, he found himself at the center of varying levels of emotional debate. We spoke with the Bradenton Republican about the changes he’s trying to bring to fruition in the face of skepticism and occasional derision.
Gun rights advocates criticized advancing a bill to close the ‘gun show loophole,’ and House leaders seem skeptical. What can or should the Senate do to make sure there’s a version of this legislation the House will entertain to make the political costs to Senators worth this effort?
Galvano: The discussion surrounding public safety is very important to me, because, in my view, no function of government is more important than the safety of the people we serve. Procedurally, the committee bill has been referenced to the Committee on Judiciary, chaired by President Pro Tempore [David] Simmons. I have great faith in the committee process. I have told the Senators they are empowered, and I’m not going to micromanage from the 4th floor. I have always maintained that this is a difficult bill, and I recognize that there are Senators on both sides of the aisle who have concerns. I respect those concerns and will let the process work.
FP: Vern Buchanan, your Congressman, called for greater assurances the Heartland Parkway won’t detrimentally impact Florida Panther populations. What in the M-CORES program specifically ensures these animals aren’t put at risk, and is any further action warranted to ensure their safety?
Galvano: Congressman Buchanan and I share concern for preserving Florida’s unique natural habitats and wildlife. The legislation, signed into law by Gov. DeSantis, that created the M-CORES Program, already addresses Congressman Buchanan’s concerns. Specifically, the law requires each corridor task force to consider and recommend innovative concepts to combine right-of-way acquisition with the acquisition of lands or easements to facilitate environmental mitigation, or ecosystem, wildlife habitat, or water quality protection or restoration. Additionally, the legislation specifies that the Task Forces should work to ensure to the greatest extent practical that the corridor configurations, project alignment, and interchange locations are not located within conservation lands acquired under the Florida Preservation 2000 Act and the Florida Forever Program. Further, the legislation requires each corridor task force to evaluate wildlife crossing design features to protect panther and other critical wildlife habitat corridor connections, and to evaluate design features and the need for acquisition of state conservation lands that mitigate impacts to wildlife, water quality, and agricultural land uses. Project construction cannot be funded until a report is completed. I have forwarded a copy of the law to Congressman Buchanan and his staff.
FP: You expressed support pre-Session for the Parental Consent bill, now headed for the Senate floor. Do you feel this legislation will meet constitutional tests or the present court will look more favorably on this that consent statutes in the past?
Galvano: In my view, there is no question that parents of a minor child considering an abortion must be involved in such a substantial and permanent decision. There are many states with similar protections, and I believe the legislation Sen. [Kelli] Stargel has put forward will meet any potential legal challenge. Additionally, this bill sends the clear message that here in Florida, we will do everything we can to prevent the abomination of infanticide in our state. When a child miraculously survives this brutal medical procedure, that child’s life must be preserved and treated with great respect and care. I was pleased to see this bill include enhanced penalties for those who would deny proper medical care to an infant struggling for life.
This Session, lawmakers are considering bills that would require public schools to install panic alarms.
Known as “Alyssa’s Law,” in honor of Parkland victim Alyssa Alhadeff, the measures (HB 23 and SB 70) currently describe alarms accessible by all personnel in every building on a school’s campus.
Panic alarms have been around for quite a while — button-under-the-desk style alarms have been in banks for decades. They’re pretty effective for small buildings, but it can be a little more complicated to narrow down where an emergency is on a large campus.
One company, Skypath Security, has developed a platform that provides a direct link with first responders and allows users to upload blueprints of a building’s floor plan. Skypath Security also has a threat assessment team that can use those blueprints or schematics to offer safety recommendations.
Using an interactive mobile app, teachers can mark their classRoom as occupied and tell law enforcement how many people are inside with the push of a button. Rooms that have been secured show up on the app in real-time.
The information allows first responders to know what they’re walking into and what part of a building they should focus on before they charge into an active shooter situation or other emergencies, such as a fire.
To help inform lawmakers about the “Skypath Defender” platform, the Rhode Island-based company has retained Jack Cory, Kenya Cory and Erin Ballas of Public Affairs Consultants.
The Next 24
The For-Eye Care Foundation will be offering free vision screenings for children tomorrow as part of Florida Children’s Week. The screenings will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on the 2nd floor of the Capitol Rotunda.
The Florida Sheriffs Association will launch the Florida Sheriffs Research Institute and release Institute’s first report on Truth in Sentencing during a 9:15 a.m. press conference on the 4th floor of the Capitol Rotunda.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried will host a press conference to discuss a proposed committee bill that would transfer oversight of the Office of Energy from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to the Department of Environmental Protection. It begins at 10:00 a.m. on the Plaza Level of the Capitol.
Sen. Kevin Rader and Rep. Tina Polsky will discuss bills they have introduced (SB 184 and HB 91) to strengthen Holocaust education in Florida schools. The press conference will be held at 10:30 a.m. on the 4th floor of the Capitol Rotunda outside the Senate chamber.
Faith leaders and nonpartisan group Faith in Public Life will join state lawmakers and grassroots advocates to urge the Florida Legislature to support legislation for paid family leave. The press conference will be held at 11:30 a.m. on the 4th floor of the Capitol Rotunda.
Rep. Cary Pigman and the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists (FANA) will discuss a bill (HB 607) to allow advanced practice registered nurses to practice independently. The press conference will be held at 11:30 a.m. on the 4th floor of the Capitol Rotunda.
The first meeting of the Florida Complete Count Committee, chaired by Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez, will be held at 2 p.m. in the Cabinet Meeting Room at the Capitol.
Also, the following committees will meet.
— The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will meet at 8 a.m. in Room 404 of the House Office Building.
— The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will meet at 8:30 a.m. in Room 37 of the Senate Office Building.
— The Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee will meet at 8:30 a.m. in Room 412 of the Knott Building.
— The Senate Agriculture, Environment and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee will meet at 8:30 a.m. in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building.
— The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee will hear a bill that would allow FWC to use drones to manage invasive species of plants and animals when it meets at 9 a.m. in Morris Hall in the House Office Building.
— The House Health Quality Subcommittee will meet at 9 a.m. in Room 306 of the House Office Building.
— The House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee will meet at 9 a.m. in Room 12 of the House Office Building.
— The House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee will consider Rep. James Grant’s specialty license plate bill when it meets at 9 a.m. in Reed Hall in the House Office Building.
— The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee meets at 11 a.m. in Room 412 of the Knott Building.
— The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee meets at noon in Room 12 of the House Office Building.
— The House Business & Professions Subcommittee will consider a bill by Rep. Holly Raschein that would update rules for craft distilleries and wine containers when it meets at noon in Room 212 of the Knott Building.
— The House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a bill by Rep. Blaise Ingoglia to streamline professional licensing for certain professions, including hair braiders when it meets at noon in Morris Hall in the House Office Building.
— The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will meet at noon in Room 404 of the House Office Building.
— The House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee will meet at noon in Reed Hall in the House Office Building.
— The Senate Health Policy Committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. in Room 412 of the Knott Building.
— The Senate Criminal Justice Committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. in Room 37 of the Senate Office Building.
— The Senate Agriculture Committee will hear Sen. Lauren Book’s bill (SB 48) to prohibit declawing cats when it meets at 1:30 p.m. in Room 301 of the Senate Office Building.
— The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building.
— The House Health Market Reform Subcommittee will meet at 3:30 p.m. in Room 306 of the House Office Building.
— The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee will meet at 3:30 p.m. in Room 212 of the Knott Building.
— The House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee will meet at 3:30 p.m. in Room 404 of the House Office Building.
— The House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee will consider a bill by Rep. Jason Fischer that would ask voters whether the Duval County Superintendent of Schools should be an elected position when it meets at 3:30 p.m. in Reed Hall in the House Office Building.
— The House Workforce Development & Tourism Subcommittee will consider a proposed committee bill regarding college athlete’s ability to be compensated for their image or likeness when it meets at 3:30 p.m. in Room 12 of the House Office Building.
— The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear a bill (SB 28) by Minority Leader Audrey Gibson that would provide Clifford Williams with a settlement for wrongful imprisonment when it meets at 4 p.m. in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building.
— The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will consider a bill (SB 1564) by Sen. Stargel that would block insurers from using genetic testing results to make actuarial decisions when it meets at 4 p.m. in Room 412 of the Knott Building.
— The Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee will hear a bill (SB 682) sponsored by Sen. Dennis Baxley that would create a “Florida Guide to a Healthy Marriage” when it meets at 4 p.m. in Room 301 Senate Office Building.
— The House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will meet at 4:30 p.m. in Morris Hall in the House Office Building.