TALLAHASSEE Political junkies will find plenty of fodder from Friday’s legislative agenda, which tackles issues from gun rights to pension reform, to keep them talking all weekend. Here are five things to watch:
The House is in session again and representatives are expected to vote on two controversial issues, changes to the Florida Retirement System (HB 7011), a priority of House Speaker Will Weatherford’s that’s been opposed by Democrats and organized labor, and a ban on Internet cafés (HB 155) prompted by the arrests of 57 individuals affiliated with Allied Veterans. The $300 million for-profit operation allegedly donated only 2 percent of its proceeds to charity.
Expect a lively House Education meeting as the so-called parent-trigger bill (HB 867), officially called Parent Parent Empowerment in Education, comes up. The controversial bill, sponsored by Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, enables parents to petition for dramatic changes, including the conversion of a public school to a charter school.
An Omega Omega sorority service for former state Sen. Larcenia J. Bullard, D-Miami, who died Saturday, is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Church of the Ascension, 11201 SW 160th St., in Miami. It will be followed by a litany service at 7 p.m. At 11 a.m. Saturday, a funeral service will be held at the South Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211th St. Bullard is survived by her husband, former Representative Edward Bullard; children Senator Dwight Bullard, Vincent, and Edwina Simms; and four grandchildren.
While there have been more than two dozen gun control bills filed in the Legislature this year, House Memorial 545, which comes up in the Local & Federal Affairs Committee, sends a message to the federal government that any gun control measure violates the right of the people of Florida to keep and bear arms. The bill, sponsored by Neil Combee, R-Polk City, has more than 50 co-sponsors.
A 2011 executive order from Gov. Rick Scott allowing suspicionless drug testing for all state workers goes before a federal judge in Miami Friday. Challengers of the program filed a lawsuit saying it violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on improper search and seizure.
By Rochelle Koff, Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau