What’s been happening and what’s coming up – April 11th

Last week we saw a number of major issues discussed by the legislature, including:

  • The Budget – Both the House and Senate passed budgets, but with a $3.3 billion difference between them there will be a lot that has to be discussed in conference, which is expected to start this week.
  • Pension Reform – The House passed their bill, sticking with a 3 percent contribution for all public employees.  However, on the floor the Senate amended their plan to have a sliding scale from 2-6 percent for the amount employees would pay in based on how much they make.   This issue is expected to be a key discussion in the looming budget debate.
  • Health Care – The Senate proposal is $800 million less than the House, mostly coming from differences in funding for the Medically Needy and Meidcaid rates.  This will be another point of contention between the two chambers as the budget puches forward.
  • Judicial Reforms – Proposals being championed by House Speaker Dean Cannon continue to move forward, including one that would establish two divisions for the Supreme Court and require Senate confirmation of all nominations.
  • Business Deregulation – The House passed HB 5005 which removes unnecessary licensing requirements and fees from occupations including auctioneers, interior designers and ballroom dance instructors.  The business and job friendly measure still requires action by the Senate, but is receiving pushback from some interior designers who want to guard their profession from the free-market.  Read our press release on this measure here.

 

We now move into the sixth week of the 2011 Session.  With only three more weeks left before Sine Die, there are still a lot of issues needing to be addresses.  Some of the key issues coming up this week are:

MONDAY, APRIL 11th

  • The Senate Rules Committee is reviewing SB 1322 by Jones that will reverse the current lobbyist gift ban, allowing members to accept gifts up to $100 in value and up to $25 without reporting it.
  • The Senate Committee on Community Affairs will review SJR 808 by Diaz de la Portilla which would propose a constitutional amendment exempting senior citizens from property tax increases.

 

TUESDAY, APRIL 12th

  • The House Appropriations Committee will review their “Revenue Cap” proposal, HJB 7221, that would limit spending growth to inflation plus population growth.  The Senate passed their measure, SB 958, the first week of Session.
  • The House Appropriations Committee will also hear HB 1231 by Horner which removes outdated and burdensome regulations from landline telecommunications providers.  This bill is one of AFP-FL’s Business Reform priorities.  Access talking points on the measure here.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will review SB 1558 by Benaquisto, a Concurrent Resolution that would have Congress call a constitutional convention to propose an amendment to the US Constitution that would allow any state to repeal a federal law with a two-thirds vote of their legislature.
  • The Senate Commerce & Tourism Commitee will review SB 1610 by Detert which adjusts the calculation of increases in the state minimum wage.

 

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13th

  • The Senate Subcommittee on General Government Appropriations will review SB 762 by Hays, which repeals the Florida Climate Protection Act.
  • The Senate Budget Committee will review a number of important measures, including:
  • SB 830 by Thrasher which prohibits automatic withdrawal of public employee union dues from their paychecks;
  • SB 1620 by Flores, which expands the Florida Virtual School program;
  • SB 1546 by Thrasher, which creates High Performing Charter Schools and allows Colleges & Universities to develop Charter School programs;
  • SB 1128 by Ring, one of the Senate’s Public Pension Reform proposals.
  • The Senate Education PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee will review SB 1696 by Wise which bans gifts to public school board members and their relatives.

 

THURSDAY, APRIL 14th

  • The Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation will hear SB 1260 by Bennett, a Memorial to Congress in Opposition of the EPA’s continued efforts to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.  Read the full details here.

 

FRIDAY, APRIL 15th

  • Federal Tax Day – Don’t forget to join one of the numerous Tax Day Tea Parties around the State.  See the schedule and location details on our calendar page here.

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