Drones, Cuba, guns, water. There’s a good novel somewhere in the legislation that will be heard today, Day 22 of Legislative Session. Choose your own adventure from these five things:
* Drones are the target of two companion bills, HB 649, which will be heard at 8 a.m. at the House Civil Justice subcommittee (404 HOB) and SB 766, which will be heard at 4 p.m. at the Senate Judiciary committee (110 SOB). Sponsored by Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha and Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, the bills would prohibit persons, state agencies or a political subdivision from using drones to capture an image of privately owned or occupied real property or owner or occupant of property “with intent to conduct surveillance” without their written consent.
* The Florida Senate is on the floor Tuesday morning. Among other things, the upper chamber will consider a memorial that would rebuke President Obama for opening up diplomatic relations with Cuba -- and discourage the federal government from opening a Cuban consulate in Florida (SB 866). The proposal, by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, is largely symbolic, but sure to find support among Republican lawmakers.
* A big day for guns. The Senate will vote on a bill (SB 290) by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, that would allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a license while evacuating an emergency. Said Brandes, "“My bill simply allows people who are lawful gun owners who are fleeing for their lives to not be considered felons." (10 a.m., Senate chamber). At 1 p.m., the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will take up HB 623 by Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, which would ban shooting a gun on residential property. It was filed in response to a St. Petersburg man who had set up a gun range in his backyard (404 H).
* The Senate considers an overhaul of the state’s water management system when it takes up SB 918 during today’s 1:30 p.m. Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee (37 SOB). Last week, the chair of the committee and sponsor of the bill, Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, vetted the House version, HB 7003, which passed the lower chamber in the first week. The bills are quite different. The Senate provides broader protections of natural springs and creates and advisory board that would rank water projects. The House version would eliminate permitting as a regulatory tool for the South Florida Water Management District’s oversight of landowners north of Lake Okeechobeee. In its place would be “best management practices”, a series of laxer guidelines for landowners.
* The House K-12 Education Subcommittee will debate a controversial bill (HB 1145) that would allow students to enroll in any public school in the state that hasn't reached capacity. The proposal would also make it easier for parents to transfer their children into another teacher's classroom within the same school.
(By Michael Van Sickler, Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau