Following the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, lawmakers will strap in for the second week of interim meetings this week.
This week is set to be the densest committee week yet, with panels planned Tuesday through Thursday. The year’s first committee was shortened to two days, thanks to the New Year holiday and the inauguration. Additionally, a committee week planned for December was used instead to hold a Special Session on property insurance, hurricane aid and toll relief.
But as lawmakers get back into the swing of things, they will lay down the pace for the 2023 Session and outline their legislative priorities.
Although most early meetings are filled with overviews or presentations, lawmakers will start presenting bills Tuesday morning, beginning with a pair of bills in the House Transportation & Modals Committee. One would name the NASA Causeway Bridge the Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Bridge (HB 21) and the other would designate a portion of Interstate 275 in Pinellas County as the Deputy Sheriff Michael Hartwick Memorial Highway (HB 63).
Presentations Tuesday include a PowerPoint on the impact of the 2022 hurricane season on Florida agriculture, an overview of the cyberattack on the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office and an update on the 6th District Court of Appeal.
Wednesday and Thursday will be a heavy day for reviewing hurricane impacts, with the House and Senate committees on hurricane resilience holding panels featuring local government officials from regions impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
Hurricane overview will seep into other parts of the agenda, too, with Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner joining Secretary of State Cord Byrd and Florida Supervisors of Elections President and Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley in their talks on the 2022 election cycle. The three will deliver their presentations before the House Ethics, Elections & Open Government Subcommittee on Wednesday.
Appropriations committees will also begin receiving budget requests, with the Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee getting presentations on the Department of Corrections, the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Commission on Offender Review on Wednesday.
Additionally, the Department of Education will provide updates on the initiative to scrap standardized testing in favor of progress monitoring, with presentations set Tuesday for the House Education Quality Subcommittee and the Senate PreK-12 Education Committee.
Other bills on the docket throughout the week include legislation to add current and former judicial assistants and their families to the list of people exempt from certain public records requests (SB 50) and legislation updating Florida’s name, image and likeness law for college athletes (HB 99).
No legislative panels are scheduled for Friday.
Including this week, five committee weeks remain until the start of the 2023 Legislative Session on March 7.
The Florida Cabinet will also meet Tuesday, its first meeting since Wilton Simpson was sworn in as Agriculture Commissioner. The calendar includes appointing a new Commissioner of the Department of Law Enforcement, an Executive Director of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and a Chief Judge and Executive Director of the Division of Administrative Hearings.