Five Stories To Think About Today
* As the clock ticks down on the final week of session, lawmakers are expected to start early and wrap up late each day to vote on hundreds of bills that are poised for the floors of the House and Senate. Meanwhile, Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, and Rep. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, will continue budget negotiations.
* Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, D-Weston, is planning a press conference to oppose SB 1718, a hotly contested education bill known as "parent trigger." Headed to the Senate floor, the bill would enable parents with children at low-performing schools to demand big changes, including having the school converted into a charter school.
* The House is expected to take a final vote on HB 931, which would put the Governor in charge of selecting the student member of the Board of Governors. The Senate version of the bill, which is also awaiting a floor vote, would require the BOG to organize a council of state university student body presidents to elect the student member.
* The House will vote on HB 7133, which would ramp up regulations on assisted living facilities, create a central abuse hotline and slap a $10,000 fine on homes that cause a resident's death. The similar Senate bill appears to be stalled, which could kill the proposed overhaul.
* The House is expected to vote on a $10 million claims bill for Eric Brody, who was permanently injured in 1998 by a speeding Broward County Sheriff’s deputy. The Brody claims bill has already passed in the Senate.
Three Issues You Missed Over The Weekend
* A Sunday night meeting produced some compromise, but the biggest budget decisions are still up in the air for Monday night's deadline to end Session on time. Budget chairs JD Alexander and Denise Grimsley still need to decide on several school issues, including the split of USF Polytechnic.
* Reaction was mixed Friday to the news that $35 million had been slipped into a transportation budget for the planning of a portion of the Heartland Parkway in Polk County. The project had been previously supported by Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who also has been pushing for the creation of a 12th state university in Polk County, and who owns land along the possible route of the Heartland Parkway.
Who To Watch Today/Quotable Quotes
* Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker who, in a move that encited a firestorm Friday, closed two re-entry centers in Broward and Manatee Counties. He was absent from a hearing Friday that Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff (who is from Broward County) demanded he explain his decision at.