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Five Things to Watch in Tallahassee on Monday, March 11

TALLAHASSEE Will they or won’t they? That is the question before the Florida Senate Monday as a select committee discusses whether or not to join Gov. Rick Scott and endorse the expansion of Medicaid in Florida.

The chamber is quietly divided, with Senate President Don Gaetz suggesting that the opposition of House Speaker Will Weatherford is enough to sink the proposal. Others are looking at new numbers that show the state will draw down $51 billion over the next 10 years if it spends $5.2 billion and are not willing to walk away from it. Alternatives will be part of the discussion for the issue that will shroud every other this session.

Here are five things to watch in Tallahassee Monday:

The Senate Select Committee on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will discuss their recommendations on Medicaid expansion.

Campaign finance takes center stage at the Senate Ethics & Elections Committee with SB 1382 by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, that will raise campaign contribution caps from $500 to $3,000 for statewide offices such as governor, Cabinet and Supreme Court merit retention races but leave the cap at $500 for legislative and countywide races.

Advocates for domestic partnerships hold a press conference featuring Janice Langbehn of Miami, who was denied access to her partner of 18 years, Lisa Pond, for over eight hours as she lay a coma died at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital. Lanbehn’s story led to a Presidential Memorandum prohibiting any hospital that receives federal money from denying a domestic partner access to their loved one. Legislation before lawmakers would provide limited protections for domestic partnerships.

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee takes up SB 86 which deals with distribution of pornographic material at schools and SB 1216 which would modify the laws governing wage theft.

A House select committee continues it work on revising the state’s claims bill process, which pays victims who have been injured because of negligence by a state or local government action. The committee is focused on making the process less arbitrary. 

- MARY ELLEN KLAS, HERALD/TIMES TALLAHASSEE BUREAU

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