Florida lawmakers running out of time in Tallahassee with plenty left to do.

By NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Buckle up. The 2019 legislative session is about ready to pick up speed.

When lawmakers come back from the holiday weekend, they will be poised to start budget negotiations and to try to resolve a laundry list of major — and controversial — issues. That means a sprint toward the scheduled May 3 end of the 60-day session.

The top priority of the final two weeks will be to negotiate a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The House early this month passed an $89.9 billion spending plan, while the Senate’s budget landed on the desk at $90.3 billion. While the overall budget totals are relatively close, that masks the myriad details negotiators will have to work out.

As of early Friday evening, House and Senate leaders had not announced when the formal conference process will start to negotiate the budget. But aside from the budget, they had lined up numerous high-profile bills to consider during the coming week.

On Tuesday, for example, a Senate floor session could include debate about a school-safety bill that would allow armed teachers; a bill that would strengthen the state’s texting-while-driving ban; and a bill that would lead to the expansion or construction of three toll roads.

Across the Capitol’s fourth floor, the House on Tuesday is expected to take up an immigration bill aimed at preventing so-called sanctuary cities and a controversial bill that would carry out a constitutional amendment restoring felons’ voting rights.

After an 11-hour floor session Wednesday, House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, hinted that more long days are coming as budget negotiations and the other issues loom.

“I would say we’re going to be on the floor for a while. We’re going to be in the Capitol for a while,” he said.

MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2019

Legislature:

COLLEGE TRUSTEES CONSIDERED: The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Anay Marie Abraham and Carlos Migoya, who were appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to the Miami Dade College Board of Trustees. (Monday, 5 p.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

SPECIAL ORDER SET: The Senate Special Order Calendar Group will set a special-order calendar, which lists bills that will be heard on the Senate floor. (Monday, 15 minutes after the Ethics and Elections Committee, 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

HOUSE RULES PANEL MEETS: The House Rules Committee will meet to set Thursday’s special-order calendar, which will list bills that will be heard on the House floor. (Monday, 5:30 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE MEETS: The Revenue Estimating Conference will hold what is known as an “impact” conference, which involves estimating potential costs of legislation. (Monday, 8:30 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

JUDICIAL CANDIDATES INTERVIEWED: The 2nd Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission will interview candidates to replace former Leon County Judge Stephen Everett, who was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis as a circuit judge. The candidates scheduled to be interviewed are Winifred L. Acosta, Robert G. Churchill, Jr., Carolyn Davis Cummings, Robert P. Elson, Michael T. Ruff, Lisa Barclay Fountain, Cedell Ian Garland, Jason Lee Jones, Jill Kowalski, Alexis Lambert, Anthony B. Miller, Nina L. Moody, Lance Eric Neff, Amanda P. Wall and Suzanne Hays Van Wyk. (Monday, 9 a.m., Leon County Court Annex, 1920 Thomasville Road, #A, Tallahassee.)

MINIMUM WAGE HIKE AT ISSUE: The Financial Impact Estimating Conference will discuss a proposed constitutional amendment that would raise the minimum wage in the state. The proposal, which could go on the November 2020 ballot, would raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour on Sept. 30, 2021 and increase by $1 each year until it hits $15 an hour on Sept. 30, 2026. The state’s minimum wage this year is $8.46 an hour. (Monday, 9:30 a.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

CASTOR DISCUSSES TRANSPORTATION: U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., will hold a media availability before boarding a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority bus to discuss transportation issues with customers. (9:30 a.m., Marion Transit Center, 1211 North Marion St., Tampa.)

CRIST TOUTS CONSERVATION: U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., will talk about conserving the environment and recreational areas during an Earth Day event that is also expected to include St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. (Monday, 10 a.m., Bartlett Park, 2000 Seventh St. South, St. Petersburg.)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ISSUES ON TABLE: The Criminal Justice Estimating Conference will hold what is known as an “impact” conference. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., 117 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

TUESDAY, APRIL 23, 2019

Legislature:

SCHOOL SAFETY ON AGENDA: The Senate will hold a floor session and could approve a wide-ranging bill (SB 7030) aimed at bolstering safety in Florida schools. While lawmakers have agreed on most parts of the bill, it includes a controversial proposal to expand the school “guardian” program to allow armed classroom teachers. The guardian program was created after last year’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Other issues expected to be considered during the floor session are a proposal (SB 76) that would toughen the state’s texting-while-driving ban; a proposal (SB 7068) that would build or expand three toll roads; and a proposal (SB 122) dealing with the controversial insurance practice known as assignment of benefits.(Tuesday, 10 a.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)

WAYS & MEANS MEETS: The House Ways & Means Committee is scheduled to meet. (Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)

‘SANCTUARY CITIES’ TARGETED: The House will take up a series of bills during a floor session, including a measure (HB 527), sponsored by Rep. Cord Byrd, R-Neptune Beach, and other lawmakers, that seeks to prevent so-called sanctuary cities in Florida. The bill, in part, would require the state, local governments and law-enforcement agencies to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. Also expected to be considered is a controversial bill (HB 7089), filed by Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, that would carry out a November constitutional amendment designed to restore voting rights of many convicted felons who have fulfilled their sentences. Critics say the bill would place too many restrictions on restoring rights. (Tuesday, 12:30 p.m., House chamber, the Capitol.)

SUPERINTENDENT SUSPENSION AT ISSUE: Senate Special Master Dudley Goodlette will take up a case stemming from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ suspension of Okaloosa County Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson. DeSantis suspended Jackson because of her handling of allegations that a teacher abused developmentally challenged pre-kindergarten students at an elementary school during the 2015-2016 school year. Grand-jury reports alleged that Jackson, among other things, failed to implement proper procedures for reporting abuse to the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Education and failed to implement a proper procedure for removing teachers facing allegations involving the health or safety of students. Jackson appealed her suspension to the Senate, and Goodlette, a former state House member, was appointed to hear the case as a special master. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

FELONS’ RIGHTS CONSIDERED: The Senate Rules Committee will consider dozens of bills, including a proposal (SB 7086), sponsored by Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, that would carry out Amendment 4, a November ballot measure designed to restore the voting rights of felons who have fulfilled their sentences. Other issues include a bill passed by the House (HB 879) that would seek to prevent life insurers from using customers’ genetic information in decisions about selling policies. (Tuesday, 2 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SPECIAL ORDER SET: The Senate Special Order Calendar Group will set a special-order calendar, which lists bills that will be heard on the Senate floor. (Tuesday, 15 minutes after the Rules Committee, 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

HOUSE RULES PANEL MEETS: The House Rules Committee will meet. (Tuesday, 15 minutes after floor session, 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

ELECTION RESULTS CERTIFIED: The Florida Elections Canvassing Commission will certify the results of special Republican primary elections in House District 7 and House District 38 and an uncontested special election in House District 97. Port St. Joe Republican Jason Shoaf won the April 9 primary in District 7, which opened when former Rep. Halsey Beshears, R-Monticello, was named secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Dade City Republican Randy Maggard won the primary in District 38, which opened when former Rep. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, was named executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Shoaf and Maggard will face Democrats Ryan Terrell and Kelly Smith, respectively, in June 18 special general elections. In District 97, Coral Springs Democrat Dan Daley was unopposed in his special election to replace former Rep. Jared Moskowitz, who was named director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Cabinet meeting room, the Capitol.)

JUDICIAL CANDIDATES INTERVIEWED: The 18th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission will interview candidates to replace Circuit Judge Tonya Rainwater, who is retiring. Candidates scheduled to be interviewed are Sam Bookhardt III, Michael W. Dwyer, Stephen Henderson, Patrick Lepore, Michelle L. Naberhaus, Kimberly Rezanka, Kathryn Speicher, Marielena Tynan, Eric “Ric” Woodward, Suzanne Taylor and Tesha Ballou. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Maxwell C. King Center, 3865 North Wickham Road, Melbourne.)

RUBIO HOLDS ‘MOBILE’ OFFICE HOURS: Staff members for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will hold “mobile” office hours in Miami-Dade, Franklin and Pasco counties. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Stephen P. Clark Government Center, 111 N.W. First St., Miami. Also, 11:30 a.m., Goodwill, 2121 N.W. 21st St., Miami. Also, noon, Carrabelle City Hall, 1206 Highway 98 East, Carrabelle. Also, 1 p.m., Regency Park Library, 9701 Little Road, New Port Richey.)

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WATER BOARD MEETS: The Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board will meet in Polk County. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Lake Eva Event Center, 799 Johns Ave., Haines City.)

SENIOR SCAMS TARGETED: The Florida Department of Financial Services will hold one in a series of “Be Scam Smart” workshops to help seniors avoid financial scams. (Tuesday, 1 p.m., Churchill Street Recreation Center, 2375 Churchill Downs, The Villages.)

NEW COLLEGE TRUSTEES MEET: The New College of Florida Board of Trustees will meet. (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., New College of Florida, Sudakoff Conference Center, 5845 General Dougher Place, Sarasota.)

STATE ROAD 20 PROJECT AT ISSUE: The Florida Department of Transportation will host an open house to discuss roadway widening improvement plans on State Road 20, from Southwest 56th Avenue in Alachua County to County Road 315 in Putnam County. (Tuesday, 4:30 p.m., Interlachen Community Center, 135 South County Road 315, Interlachen.)

BARCOMB RAISES MONEY FOR HOUSE RACE: A fundraising event is scheduled for Donna Barcomb, a Republican running in Sarasota County’s House District 72. Barcomb is trying to unseat Rep. Margaret Good, D-Sarasota. (Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., Signature Events and Catering, 4870 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.)

MOODY SPEAKS TO LEON GOP: Attorney General Ashley Moody will speak during the Leon County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner. (Tuesday, 7 p.m., Florida State University, University Center Club, 403 Stadium Dr., Tallahassee.)

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24, 2019

Legislature:

SENATE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The Senate is scheduled to hold a floor session. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)

PETITION GATHERING DRAWS ATTENTION: The House will take up numerous issues during a floor session, including a proposal (HB 7111), filed by Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, that would place additional restrictions on ballot initiatives. Among other things, the bill would require petition-gatherers to be registered with the state, to list permanent and temporary addresses and to sign sworn statements that they will obey state laws and rules. Also, ballots would have to include information about contributions raised by amendment sponsors, whether out-of-state petition circulators were used and whether amendments could lead to tax increases. Lawmakers are targeting the initiative process after voters in November passed 11 constitutional amendments and as high-profile measures have been proposed for the 2020 ballot. (Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., House chamber, the Capitol.)

SPECIAL ORDER SET: The Senate Special Order Calendar Group will set a special-order calendar, which lists bills that will be heard on the Senate floor. (Wednesday, 15 minutes after the floor session.)

Also:

PAROLE CASES ON TABLE: The Florida Commission on Offender Review will consider dozens of cases from across the state. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

GILLUM ETHICS HEARING STARTS: Administrative Law Judge E. Gary Early will start a multi-day hearing about whether former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum violated ethics laws while serving as Tallahassee mayor. The Florida Commission on Ethics unanimously found probable cause that Gillum had violated the laws with trips to Costa Rica and New York and tickets to the Broadway musical, “Hamilton.” (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., Division of Administrative Hearings, DeSoto Building, 1230 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee.)

UNEMPLOYMENT CASES HEARD: The state Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission will meet. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., 101 Rhyne Building, 2740 Centerview Dr., Tallahassee.)

RUBIO HOLDS ‘MOBILE’ OFFICE HOURS: Staff members for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will hold “mobile” office hours in Sumter and Hillsborough counties. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Rohan Recreation Center, 850 Kristine Way, The Villages. Also, 1 p.m., Old Town Hall, 1002 Cherry Hills Dr., Sun City Center.)

SENIOR SCAMS TARGETED: The Florida Department of Financial Services will hold one in a series of “Be Scam Smart” workshops to help seniors avoid financial scams. (Wednesday, 2 p.m., Savannah Recreation Center, 1545 Buena Vista Blvd., The Villages.)

UNF TRUSTEES MEET: The University of North Florida Board of Trustees will meet to approve an accountability plan and to receive a legislative update. (Wednesday, 4 p.m., University of North Florida, J.J. Daniel Hall, Jacksonville.)

THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 2019

Legislature:

SENATE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The Senate is scheduled to hold a floor session. (Thursday, 10 a.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)

HOUSE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The House is scheduled to hold a floor session. (Thursday, 10:30 a.m., House chamber, the Capitol.)

SPECIAL ORDER SET: The Senate Special Order Calendar Group will set a special-order calendar, which lists bills that will be heard on the Senate floor. (Thursday, 15 minutes after the floor session.)

Also:

JUDICIAL CANDIDATES INTERVIEWED: The 1st Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission will interview candidates to fill an opening caused by the resignation of Escambia County Judge Joyce Williams. The candidates scheduled to be interviewed are Brandon Caraway, Jason Cromey, Paul Hamlin, Michelle Inere, Frederick V. Longmire, Andrew W. McGraw, Jeremiah Monahan, Charles V. Peppler, Charles E. Russell, Bonnie Staples, David Stevens, Anna Uniacke and Charles P. Young. (Thursday, 8:15 a.m., M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building, 190 West Government St., Pensacola.)

MASSAGE THERAPY BOARD MEETS: The Florida Board of Massage Therapy will meet in Hillsborough County. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Four Points Tampa, 4400 West Cypress St., Tampa.)

BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS AT ISSUE: The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration will hold a meeting about provider enrollment, prior authorization and payment for behavior-analysis services in the Medicaid program. (Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, Medicaid field office, 8333 N.W. 53rd St., Doral.)

SUPREME COURT RELEASES OPINIONS: The Florida Supreme Court is scheduled to release its weekly opinions. (Thursday, 11 a.m.)

NORTHWEST FLORIDA WATER BOARD MEETS: The Northwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board will meet. (Thursday, 1 p.m., district headquarters, 81 Water Management Dr., Havana.)

RUBIO HOLDS ‘MOBILE’ OFFICE HOURS: Staff members for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will hold “mobile” office hours in Pinellas County. (Thursday, 2 p.m., St. Petersburg College, Seminole Campus, C.W. Bill Young University Partnership Center, 9200 113th St. North, Seminole.)

STEUBE SPEAKS AT GOP DINNER: U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., will speak at the Republican Club of South Sarasota County’s Reagan Patriot Day Dinner. (Thursday, 6 p.m., Plantation Golf and Country Club, 500 Rockley Blvd., Venice.)

NORTH CENTRAL PLANNING COUNCIL MEETS: The North Central Florida Regional Planning Council will meet in Columbia County. (Thursday, 7 p.m., Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites, 213 S.W. Commerce Blvd., Lake City.)

FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2019

Legislature:

SENATE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The Senate is scheduled to hold a floor session. (Friday, 10 a.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)

HOUSE HOLDS FLOOR SESSION: The House is scheduled to hold a floor session. (Friday, 10:30 a.m., House chamber, the Capitol.)

SPECIAL ORDER SET: The Senate Special Order Calendar Group will set a special-order calendar, which lists bills that will be heard on the Senate floor. (Friday, 15 minutes after the floor session.)

HOUSE RULES PANEL MEETS: The House Rules Committee will meet. (Friday, 15 minutes after floor session, 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

Also:

PSYCHOLOGY BOARD MEETS: The Florida Board of Psychology will meet. (Friday, 8 a.m., Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa USF, 3705 Spectrum Blvd., Tampa.)

PODIATRIC BOARD HOLDS CALL: The Florida Board of Podiatric Medicine will hold a conference call. (Friday, 8 a.m. Call-in number: 1-888-585-9008. Code: 744469610.)

MASSAGE THERAPY BOARD MEETS: The Florida Board of Massage Therapy will meet in Hillsborough County. (Friday, 9 a.m., Four Points Tampa, 4400 West Cypress St., Tampa.)

RUBIO HOLDS ‘MOBILE’ OFFICE HOURS: Staff members for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will hold “mobile” office hours in Flagler County. (Friday, 9:30 a.m., George Wickline Senior Center, 800 South Daytona Ave., Flagler Beach.)

BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS AT ISSUE: The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration will hold a meeting about provider enrollment, prior authorization and payment for behavior-analysis services in the Medicaid program. (Friday, 10:30 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, Medicaid field office, 1400 West Commercial Blvd., Suite 195, Fort Lauderdale.)

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