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Daily Digest for Tuesday, 2/28

Daily Digest for 2/28 [Listen or Download]

[iTunes link]


 Here's what we're watching on Day 50 of the 2012 Florida Legislature.

Five Stories To Think About Today

 * Today marks the last day for committee hearings. By the end of the day, any bills that haven't made it through the committee process will be all but dead. Many proposals, however, will continue flying forward.

* The House will take up a sweeping health care bill, HB 1419, that includes new requirements for hospitals to contract with managed care providers. The lower chamber will also consider a proposal that would let local school boards place advertising on school buses. Any revenue would go back to the school systems.

* Over on the Senate side, the Budget Subcommittee on Finance and Tax takes up several tax-related bills, including one that would lower the corporate income tax, update the communications tax and give voters the chance to give broader homestead tax exemptions to the spouses of military veterans.

* The so-called Casey Anthony bill, SB 858, is up in the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Appropriations. The proposal would make it a third-degree felony to lie to law enforcement in a missing child investigation.

* Elsewhere in Tallahassee, expect a showdown at the State Department of Education. The Board of Education will take up a controversial proposal to change the school grading formula. The new formula would raise the standards -- and include test scores from children who have disabilities or are just learning English. Superintendents, union leaders and advocates for children with disabilities are fighting the changes. Advocates, however, say it is time to raise the bar for students across the state.


Three Issues You Missed Yesterday

 * Senate and House budget-writers began informal and private talks over the weekend with a mutual goal of resolving all differences in time to end the regular session on time March 9. The clock is starting to be a factor, as it is every session.

* Under a bill advancing through the Florida Legislature, the state’s taxpayers could be asked to pick up the tab for damages caused by Amtrak.

* Politico: Conservative commentator Ann Coulter predicted on Sunday that Jeb Bush was throwing his hat into the ring in hopes of being chosen the Republican nominee, but had harsh criticism for that prospect, saying "We don't need another Bush. That would be embarrassing to the Republican Party."


Who To Watch Today/Quotable Quotes

 * Reps. Jose Diaz and Ana Rivas Logan, both Rs-Miami. Diaz wants to exempt the new Miami Marlins parking garages from taxes, and Logan wants the opposite. The showdown is set for today on the House floor. Also be on the lookout for Majority Leader Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (again, R-Miami) to weigh in on the side of Diaz's amendment.