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Today in Tallahassee: Five Things to Know

It’ll be a long, busy day at the Capitol, as the budget is discussed on both floors. There are some key bills, too.

House Education Committee meets at 8 a.m. and is scheduled to hear HB 7083 that would require charter schools and school districts to use a standard contract. Districts believe it will take away their ability to negotiate with charter schools and oppose it.

 

At 9 a.m., the Senate’s Transportation Committee* will consider SB 772, by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Miami, that would change the make-up of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority. It reduces the number of MDX board members from 13 to 9 and prevents lobbyists from serving on the board. Last week, Gonzalo Sanabria, a longtime Miami-Dade Expressway Authority board member told the Times/Herald that he resigned from the board because of disrespectful treatment toward Mike Fernandez, the former co-finance chairman of Gov. Rick Scott’s reelection campaign. Scott’s office said Sanabria was dismissed because he supported toll increases. The bill would give the governor more control over the board.

 

The main attraction at the Senate’s 11 a.m. floor session, is a final vote on SB 448, the so-called “warning shot” bill, sponsored by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker. Backed heavily by the NRA and having already cleared the House, it would expand the state’s “stand your ground” protections by granting immunity for those who fire a warning shot. They will also begin discussing its proposed $75 billion budget.

 

The Senate will also vote on SB 320, by Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, would require parasailing boat operators to carry liability insurance of $1 million per occurrence, or $2 million in aggregate.

 

The House, meanwhile, is expected to vote on its proposed $75 billion budget for the budget year beginning on July 1. Spoiler alert: Democrats will note the absence of Medicaid expansion. Republicans won’t care.

 

* One thing NOT happening at the Senate’s 9 a.m. transportation committee that is quite noteworthy is that there will be no second consideration of SB 144. Sponsored by the committee chairman Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, the bill would ban red light cameras. It stalled last week in a 4-4 deadlock. Although Brandes said he would bring it back up again for a vote today, he said he chose not to because the prospects of another deadlock, 5-5, was too likely. He said he’s considering his next move, which could include amending the bill language onto a transportation highway safety bill later in session. He did that last year, too, but the amendment failed.

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