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This Week in Flagler and Tallahassee: Tasers in Schools and Beach Preservation

| September 19, 2011

Back in the saddle (not that he'd ever left it): Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts at his first meeting after winning re-election last week. (© FlaglerLive)

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The Week’s Quick Links

The Arts This Week: Galleries, Theaters, Performing Arts

miro garden arts performing arts palm coast flagler county this weekThe Flagler Playhouse launches its newest season Friday, Sept. 23, at 7:30 p.m., with “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” the musical comedy by William Finn, based on the book by Rachael Sheinkin. From the Playhouse: the play “is about six ‘kids’ in the throes of puberty, overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves. A Tony award-winning show with a quirky yet charming cast of outsiders who discover that a spelling bee is the one place where you can stand out and fit in at the same time. Audience participation makes every performance a unique experience.” The show will be staged on Sept. 23, 24, 25 and 30 and Oct. 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9. Tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for students. Check out the Playhouse’s website.

The Palm Coast Repertory Theatre continues with three more performances of “The Laramie Project” at Hollingsworth Gallery on Sept. 22, 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. at City Market Place, 160 Cypress Point Parkway, behind Walmart (see map). Tickets are $20 at the door. Box office voice mail: 386/585-9415.

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Flagler County Commission

flagler county commission government logo Monday, Sept. 19, 5 p.m., at the government services building’s main chamber, the commission holds a regular meeting. The commission is likely to approve a job description for the new economic development director it will hire to lead its Economic Development Council. The pay range for the new director, according to background material the county administration provides county commissioners, is $64,000 to $97,573. Curiously, the job-opening announcement on the county’s website lists the salary range between $73,466 and $110,677. The job opening does not require a college degree. A BA is “preferred.”

Commissioners will also be asked to ratify the agreement hiring the new medical examiner for Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties, Dr. Predrag Bulic, who was selected by Florida’s Medical Examiner Commission and an interviewing committee that included Sheriff Don Fleming, State Attorney R. J. Larizza and County Commissioner Milissa Holland. (The list of the full committee is here.)

The agenda is below:

Redistricting meeting: The Flagler County Commission and the Flagler County School Board will meet in a joint session 5 p.m. Wednesday September 21, in the main chamber at the Government Services Building, 1769 East Moody Blvd., to select one of the three final proposals for establishing new election districts. Wednesday’s meeting is the fourth chance for public input. A joint meeting was held on August 16 which narrowed six proposals down to three and two public hearings on the proposals were held. County Commission and School Board share the same districts. They are not required by State law to maintain the same districts but the practice provides less confusion for the voters. Elected officials are required to reside in their district, thereby ensuring a geographic cross representation of the county. Both boards are elected by a county wide vote. An explanation of the process, maps of the three proposals and a map of the current districts are available here. Residents are invited to attend the meeting Bunnell Fl.

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The county’s original presentation and explanation of redistricting is below:




Palm Coast City Council

palm coast city logo The council meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, at the Palm Coast Community Center. The agenda is relatively slight and mostly ratifies matters already discussed repeatedly to date, including an extension of the temporary moratorium on internet cafes, or low-stakes gambling halls. The council will also likely approve an ordinance on firearms in the city–compelled by the state Legislature’s requirement that no local laws regulate firearms more stringently than state law. The city will also go through several proclamations, including the recognition of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Last year the city took flack for briefly forbidding a utility employee from wearing his pink boots as his own personal commemoration of the month. The city eventually relented. This year, the city is sponsoring a Breast Cancer Awareness program in conjunction with Florida Hospital Flagler.

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Flagler County Schools

flagler county schools logoThe school board meets Tuesday, Sept. 20, first for a 5 p.m. workshop then a regular meeting at 6 p.m., in the main chambers of the government services building. During the workshop, the school board will discuss allowing Tasers back in schools. Buddy Taylor Middle School Principal Winnie Oden, Student Services Director Katrina Townsend, Sheriff Don Fleming and Cpl. Don Apperson, a school resource officer at Matanzas high school whom a student injured when head-butting him earlier this month, will provide information and lead a discussion regarding Student Resource Officers and the use of Tasers in the schools. From the district’s background material on the item, from Superintendent Janet Valentine: “The directive has been that we would not carry tasers in the building during the past four years. In light of a recent issue at MHS that is resulting in the recommendation of expulsion, the Sheriff has met with me, Ms. Oden, Dep. Apperson, and Ms. Townsend to discuss this option. He feels as though we are putting adults and students in jeopardy by not having that option in the event of an incident that gets out of control and jeopardizes the safety of many. I told the group that you would not make a decision that night, but would bring it back to you at a later date. They will share the protocol that would be used, the number of schools/districts statewide that have SRD’s carrying tasers and the rationale of why this would be the safest means of stopping a situation before it gets out of control.”

Flagler Beach City Commission

flagler beach city commission logoTown Hall Meeting on Saving the Beach in Flagler Beach, hosted by the Flagler Beach City Commission, Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 5:30 p.m. at the Disabled American Veterans Building, 206 6th Street, Flagler Beach. Four agencies will make 15-minute presentations each. The agencies include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Florida Department of Transportation, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The meeting will also include 15-minute presentations from four groups or businesses proposing alternate solutions, including Coastal Restorations LLC and Holmberg Technologies Inc. Public comments and questions will be taken.

The Flagler Beach City Commission will meet in regular session on Thursday, Sept. 22, at City Hall, at 5:30 p.m. Among the items under discussion: an agreement between Flagler Beach and Palm Coast for Palm Coast to provide back-up building inspection services. The city recently severed its agreement with the county for just such services, on the assumption that doing it in-house would save money. The city still intends to do it in-house, but wants a fall-back plan should it not be able to meet all its responsibilities. Oddly, it chose to go with Palm Coast rather than continue with the county.

The city will also consider raising water and garbage-collection rates by 1.12 and 1.18 percent, respectively. And like Palm Coast, Flagler Beach will consider an amendment to its firearms ordinance to comply with state law.

The full agenda and background material is below:

Flagler County Tea Party

flagler county tea party movement logoThe Flagler County Tea Party meets at the Flagler Palm Coast cafeteria Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 6:30 p.m. This month’s invited guest speaker is Tom Gion, a website developer who’s also a 912 Project member from Ormond Beach. Gion will speak about the United Nations. The Flagler County Tea Party website can be accessed here.

Tourist Development Council

flagler county tourist development council The Tourist Development Council meets Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 9 a.m. in the main chamber of the government services building in Bunnell. It’ll be a light agenda. The council will consider a grant application for $5,000 from the Florida Agricultural Museum to pay for marketing campaign built around a new website. Website design would cost $3,000, social media development an additional $1,000, and development of a video clip an additional $1,000. The TDC’s full agenda is available here.

In Tallahassee:

florida state capitol tallahassee.The Legislature returns to town, finally ending the doldrums of summer, and they picked a week when things are picking up politically as well.

Just about every GOP presidential candidate is in the state this week, as the Republican Party of Florida hosts Presidency 5, a conference that includes a straw poll of more than 3,000 Florida GOP delegates, in Orlando starting Thursday. There’s a debate of those candidates on Thursday night.

It’s also the week when the American Conservative Union holds its CPAC-FL event, which is already being thought of in its first year as a marquis must-attend event for Republican candidates.

But the focus on Tallahassee will also be on legislative committees, which return in full swing. There are redistricting committees, budget committees and policy committees. The first bills of the new legislative year will be heard by a Senate committee – Senate Military Affairs – on Tuesday afternoon. Still, most of the committees hear overviews, though some of them will get agency presentations, including legislative agendas for the year, which often prove newsworthy.

One of the committees that meets is the special new “Caylee’s Law” committee, which will look at children’s protection issues in the aftermath of that case, and another that will look at child protection issues in the light of the Nubia Barahona case.

Also, as the week starts, Citizens Property customers may learn what will happen to their sinkhole premiums.

Also on Monday, the Senate officially will vote Don Gaetz as president-designate, and the residents of Senate District 1 will choose a replacement for Tony Hill. The Republican Party also will vote this week, choosing a new party chairman to replace the late Dave Bitner.

Finally, on Friday, the committee that will decide when Florida’s presidential primary will be holds its first meeting.

MONDAY, SEPT. 19, 2011

OIR TO RULE ON CITIZENS RATES: The Office of Insurance Regulation is scheduled to rule Monday on proposed rate hikes for Citizens Property Insurance Corp. The state-backed insurer has requested statewide sinkhole premium increases of 428 percent, with rates in some sinkhole prone regions climbing by more than 2,000 percent. At a public hearing in Tampa last week, OIR officials questioned Citizens’ rationale for the hikes and said a last-minute vote by Citizens’ board members to cap premium hikes at 50 percent may not be enough to justify the increase.

EFFICIENCY TASK FORCE CONSIDERS RECOMMENDATIONS: A task force designed to find ways to save money in state government will meet to discuss initial idea submissions, with an eye toward saving $4 billion over the next four years. The 15-member task force is comprised of members appointed by the governor, Senate president and House speaker. (Monday, 9 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

HOUSE REDISTRICTING COMMITTEE: The House Redistricting Committee meets to begin its work drawing maps for the state’s legislative and Congressional districts. Members are set to hear remarks from Chairman Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and look at public information on the process. (Monday, 12 p.m., 404 House Office Building, The Capitol).

HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSE REDISTRICTING: The subcommittee gets started on the once-a-decade redistricting process as it affects their own chamber. Chairman Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, will make remarks. The committee will also review public input from the hearings held around the state this summer. (Monday, 1 p.m., 404 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON SENATE REDISTRICTING: The subcommittee gets started on the once-a-decade redistricting process as it affects the Senate. Chairwoman Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, will make remarks. The committee will also review public input from the hearings held around the state this summer. (Monday, 1 p.m., 17 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

NEW CHILDREN’S ISSUES COMMITTEE MEETS: The Senate’s “Select Committee on Protecting Florida’s Children,” will convene its first meeting and review what laws protecting children exist in other states as well as review pending 2012 legislation. This committee was convened in response to proposed “Caylee’s Law” bills filed in response to the death of two-year-old Caylee Anthony and subsequent highly-publicized trial of Casey Anthony. (Monday, 1 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, The Capitol, Tallahassee.)

GAETZ DESIGNATION: Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, will be designated on Monday as the Senate president-in-waiting, taking over for Sen. Mike Haridopolos in the 2012-2014 session. Gaetz will be the first Senate president from Okaloosa County since President Newman Brackin in 1949. The ceremony will have a western Panhandle feel. The opening prayer will be delivered by Gaetz’ pastor, Rev. John Underdahl of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Niceville. The Color Guard will be from Hurlburt Field in Gaetz’ district, and Gaetz will be joined by wife Vicky, son Matt – better known in the Capitol as Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, and daughter Erin. Technically, the designation ceremony is the Senate Republican caucus meeting. (Monday, 3 p.m., Senate Chamber, The Capitol.)

HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON CONGRESSIONAL REDISTRICTING: The subcommittee gets started on the once-a-decade redistricting process as it affects Congressional district. Chairman Doug Holder, R-Sarasota, will make remarks. The committee will also review public input from the hearings held around the state this summer. (Monday, 4 p.m., 404 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

FLORIDA CHAMBER FUTURE OF FLORIDA FORUM: The Florida Chamber holds its Future of Florida forum Monday through Wednesday. On Monday, highlights include an energy summit, a opening lunch panel featuring NextEra Energy CEO Lew Hay, Commerce Secretary Grey Swoope, and new Department of Economic Opportunity Director Doug Darling. There’s also a redistricting panel and the Chamber’s annual dinner and meeting on Monday. Gov. Rick Scott has the forum on his agenda from 11 a.m. to noon. The full agenda is here: Forum_Agenda.pdf. (Monday-Wednesday, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, 4600 N. World Dr., Orlando.)

TUESDAY, SEPT. 20, 2011

SENATE DISTRICT 1 PRIMARY: Tuesday is Election Day in parts of northeast Florida that are in Senate District 1. There’s a Democratic primary to replace Sen. Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville, who quit the Legislature to go work for Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. No Republicans are in the race, though there’s a write-in candidate qualified. The overwhelmingly Democratic Senate District 1 takes in parts of Duval, Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties. The candidates are: Audrey Gibson and Terry Fields, who are both former state representatives; and Ramon Day and Leandrew Mills III.

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION CONSIDERS BILL WISH LIST: The State Board of Education meets to consider backing legislative proposals ranging from tightening requirements for McKay scholarship schools to a bill that would grant the Florida Virtual School authority to act as a school district. The board will also consider proposals from several colleges to start new bachelor’s degree programs. (Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., Valencia Community College, 1800 South Kirkman Road, Building HSB, Room 105, Orlando.)

BEES, COWS AND SCHOOL LUNCHES: The Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday hears an overview of proposed legislation from the Department of Agriculture and an update on the transfer of school nutrition programs from the Department of Education to the Department of Agriculture, which was done by a law passed earlier this year. The committee, chaired by Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, also hears a presentation on bees and honey production and gets an update from the department on the conversion of the Division of Dairy to a bureau in the Division of Food Safety. The panel will also hear a staff presentation on local and organic food production. (Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

HOUSE LINES UP UTILITY, ENERGY ISSUES: The House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee will hear presentations about utility issues from Public Service Commission Chairman Art Graham and Public Counsel J.R. Kelly. Also, it will hear a presentation about energy policy by Patrick Sheehan, director of the Office of Energy in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

PUBLIC HOSPITALS, ALFS IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The House Health & Human Services Quality Subcommittee will get an update about a commission that is looking at changes to public hospitals. Also, it will hear a presentation about an assisted-living facilities workgroup. (Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., 306 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

HOW NEW CLEMENCY RULES WORK: The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee Tuesday morning hears a presentation on the new executive clemency rules, as changed by Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet in March. The rules ended automatic restoration of civil rights in favor of an application process. The committee also hears a staff presentation on other states’ laws related to reporting of missing children, meets new Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker and hears an FDLE presentation on domestic security. (Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., 404 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

HOUSE PREK-12 APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE: Members will hear an overview of the budget and an update on calculating the FEFP, the main education funding formula in Florida. They will also hear a presentation on school readiness. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., 17 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

HOUSE TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE: Members of the committee will hear an update on the start-up of the Department of Economic Opportunity, which was created by combining all or parts of several state agencies in the last legislative session, as well as taking a look at the state small business credit initiative. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., 102 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

PSC TAKES UP PHONE, ELECTRIC AND WATER ISSUES: The Public Service Commission will consider a variety of telecommunications and water-related issues. Also, it will consider a proposal by Progress Energy Florida to buy power from U.S.EcoGen Polk LLC. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

HOSPITAL DISTRICT TALKS CONTINUE: The Commission on Review of Taxpayer Funded Hospital Districts will continue discussing whether changes should be made in Florida’s public hospitals. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Drive, Building 3, Tallahassee.)

SENATE HIGHER ED: The Senate Higher Education Committee convenes its first committee meeting for the 2012 legislative session and will hear reports from the Board of Governors on “accountability measures,” a report from the Florida College System on remediation for high school students unprepared for college work, and the Higher Education Coordinating Council. (Tuesday, 10:45 a.m., 301 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

PANEL LOOKS AT ALFS, BARAHONA CASE: The Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee will get an update about an assisted-living facilities workgroup and hear a presentation from DCF Secretary David Wilkins about a grand jury report in the death of Nubia Barahona. (Tuesday, 10:45 a.m., 401 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

MEDICAID AND PILL MILLS REVISITED: The Senate Health Regulation Committee will hear a report about the implementation of a new law aimed at curbing prescription-drug abuse. Also, it will get an update about renewing a Medicaid pilot program and implementation of a new statewide Medicaid managed-care system. (Tuesday, 10:45 a.m., 412 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

APD DEFICIT, HOSPITAL RATES GET AIRED: The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will hear a presentation about closing a budget deficit at the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and will get an update about hospital Medicaid rate setting. (Tuesday, 11 a.m., 212 Knott Building, the Capitol.)

HOUSE TRANS/HIGHWAY SAFETY: The House Transportation and Highway Safety Subcommittee hears an overview on the DOT’s new vision of transportation in the 21st Century. It also hears the Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles legislative proposals for the session. (Tuesday, 11:05 a.m., 306 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

PANEL GETS BRIEFED ON DRUG TESTING, APD BUDGET: The House Health & Human Services Access Subcommittee will hear an update from DCF Secretary David Wilkins about drug testing for applicants to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Also, it will hear a presentation about efforts to close a budget deficit at the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., 12 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

DOC SECRETARY, PILL MILLS ON TAP: The House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will be introduced to new Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker and hear a presentation about a new law aimed at curbing prescription-drug abuse. (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., 17 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

BAKER DISCUSSES FEDERAL DEFICIT REDUCTION IMPACT ON FLA: Amy Baker, the coordinator of the Legislative Office of Economic and Demographic Research, gives lawmakers an overview of federal deficit reduction efforts and their possible impact on Florida in the House Federal Affairs Subcommittee meeting on Tuesday. Also on the committee’s agenda is an “introduction to federalism” by House General Counsel George Levesque. (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., 212 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

REINSURANCE MARKET: House Insurance and Banking hears an overview of reinsurance in the property insurance market. (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., 102 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

FIRST BILLS GO TO COMMITTEE VOTES: The Senate Military Affairs Committee takes up three bills on Tuesday, the first of the legislative year to come up for a vote. The panel looks at SB 110, expanding the spaceport territory, SB 152, related to business opportunities for wartime veterans and SB 164, which makes veterans in-state residents for the purpose of university or college tuition. (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. 37 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

CITRUS 601 COMMITTEE: A meeting of the Department of Citrus “601 Committee” will be held on Tuesday. The strange name comes from Chapter 601of the statutes, proposed changes to which are on the agenda. (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m., Department of Citrus, 605 E. Main St., Bartow.)

FORECLOSURE UPDATE: The House Civil Justice Committee takes a look at foreclosure trends and history as it gears up for possible legislation dealing with ways to streamline the process. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 404 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

COMMUNITY AFFAIRS LOOKS AT DEO, GROWTH: The House Community & Military Affairs Committee will be briefed on the newly created Department of Economic Opportunity by the agency’s new chief, Doug Darling. The agency was set up at the behest of Gov. Rick Scott to coordinate economic development, tourism and labor market efforts. The panel will also hear a presentation on changes to the state’s growth management structure following sweeping legislation passed earlier this year. (Tuesday 4 p.m., 212 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

HOUSE -20 COMPETITIVENESS: The House education subcommittee hears updates on the implementation of major education legislation passed last year, including the teacher merit pay bill, which is now the subject of a lawsuit. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 17 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

EMPLOYEE FRS CONTRIBUTION UPDATE: The House Government Operations Subcommittee will be briefed on the status of SB 2100. Passed earlier this year, the law requires employees participating in the Florida Retirement System to contribute 3 percent of their salaries toward their pensions. The law is being challenged in court. The committee will also be briefed on potential changes to the Powerball lottery game, which include higher ticket prices and bigger, more frequent payouts. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 306 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

HOUSE AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE: Members will hear a presentation on the 2011-12 budgets for the state’s water management districts, which saw their tax revenue cut in the last legislative session. (Tuesday, 4 p.m., 102 House Office Building, The Capitol.)


GRADY SPEAKS ON BANKING REG: Tom Grady, Florida’s newest director of the Office of Financial Regulation, will address members of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. During his legislative tenure, Grady pushed for measures to speed up and streamline foreclosures and bolster securities law. The committee will also hear from Jack Nicholson, COO of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. (Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

SENATE TRANS CONFIRMATIONS: The Senate Transportation Committee has the confirmation of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad and several briefings, including hearing the DOT’s legislative package for the year. (Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., 37 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

COMMISSION ON INDEPENDENT COLLEGES MEETS: A commission that oversees Florida’s private universities and colleges, many of whom are for-profit, will review and approve schools that have applied to open new campuses, new degree or certificate programs, and for new licenses. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Orlando Marriott, 1501 International Parkway, Lake Mary.)

TARGETING PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE: The House Judiciary Committee will discuss efforts to move forward with a new law designed to crack down on prescription drug abuse and shady pain clinics. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

NUTRITION AND NUMERIC STANDARDS: The House State Affairs Committee will get an update on the transfer of the School Nutritional Program from the Department of Education to the Department of Agriculture. The shift came at the urging of Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. The panel will also hear a progress report on Florida’s response to federal numeric water standard requirements. The state is trying to come up with more flexible standards that will satisfy federal environmental regulators and the courts. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., 17 House Office Building, The Capitol.)

PSC GETS BRIEFED ON BROADBAND, CUSTOMER SATISFACTION: The Public Service Commission will hold an internal-affairs meeting and hear presentations about Comcast broadband and customer-satisfaction issues related to Progress Energy Florida and Tampa Electric Co. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

NUMERIC NUTRIENTS AGAIN: The Senate Environmental Preservation Committee hears the presentation on water pollution, as well as legislative proposals from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and a presentation by the Department of Environmental Protection on water use and supply. (Wednesday, 10:45 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

SENATE PREK-12 APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE MEETS: The Senate’s budget committee on PreK-12 will gather for its first meeting of the 2012 legislative session to hear reports on the state’s early learning policies and hear an update on the latest estimates of student population and available state funds for schools. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

BUDGET PANEL TALKS DRUGS: The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will receive an update from the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Law Enforcement and the Department of Health about a new law aimed at curbing pill mills and prescription-drug abuse. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., Room 37, Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SENATE HHS TO LOOK AT MEDICAID, FQHCS: The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee will receive an update from the Agency for Health Care Administration about Medicaid managed-care waiver requests. Also, the panel will hear a presentation about reimbursements for patient visits at federally qualified health centers. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

WATER WARS: CONSUMPTIVE USE: The House Select Committee on Water Policy will hold a panel discussion to discuss consumptive use permits. Some Utilities are seeking 30 to 50-year consumptive use permits, the length of which has raised concerns among agricultural and environmental interests. Representatives from environmental groups, agriculture interests, the utilities and water management districts will be on hand to give testimony and answer questions from committee members. The panel will also take public testimony if time permits. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)

HOUSE HHS DIGS BACK INTO MEDICAID, MLR: The House Health & Human Services Committee will get an update about implementing the planned statewide Medicaid managed-care system. Also, it will hear a presentation about an issue in that plan that involves the state sharing profits with HMOs or requiring them to meet a “medical loss ratio.” (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., Morris Hall, the Capitol.)

SENATE TRANSPORTATION, TOURISM, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE: Members of the committee will hear two presentations on the start-up of the Department of Economic Opportunity, which was created by combining all or parts of several state agencies in the last legislative session, as well as taking a look at regional workforce boards. (Wednesday, 3:45 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, The Capitol.)

SENATE HIGHER ED BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETS: The Senate’s budget committee on higher education meets to discuss issues like the state university systems plan to prevent turf wars and updates on new programs, as well as a presentation on higher education goals for the next 15 years and an update on the latest estimating conference as it relates to funding for higher education. (Wednesday, 4 p.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

THURSDAY, SEPT. 22, 2011

SENATE REAPPORTIONMENT COMMITTEE: The committee will discuss maps from senators and outside organizations as they begin the once-a-decade redistricting process. Chairman Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, has promised to take up a map by Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, D-Weston, at the meeting. (Thursday, 8:30 a.m., 412 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

SUPREME COURT OPINIONS: The Florida Supreme Court releases its regular opinions. (Thursday, 11 a.m.)

FAITH AND FREEDOM COALITION PRES 5 KICKOFF: Seven of the eight GOP presidential candidates will speak at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Presidency Five Kickoff on Thursday. The members of the Florida Cabinet and Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll will also attend. The event is free and open to the public. (Thursday, 3 p.m., Rosen Centre Hotel, 9840 International Drive, Orlando.)

MAVERICK PAC RECEPTION: Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford and Maverick PAC’s George P. Bush are special guests at a reception at the Peabody Hotel Thursday in Orlando. (Thursday, 4:30 p.m., Peabody Hotel, Challenger 38/39 Meeting Room, 9801 International Dr., Orlando.)

REPUBLICAN WOMEN RECEPTION: The Florida Federation of Republican Women holds a reception Thursday evening in Orlando to honor Republican National Committee Co-Chair Sharon Day, FFRW Man of the Year Mike Hightower, and president of the National Federation of Republican Women Sue Lynch. (Thursday, 5:30 p.m., Rosen Plaza Hotel, International Dr., Orlando.)

FOX NEWS-GOOGLE DEBATE: FOX News and Google host a Republican presidential debate in Orlando. It will be moderated by FOX Special Report anchor Bret Baier with panelists Chris Wallace, host of FOX News Sunday and Megyn Kelly, anchor of America Live. (Thursday, 9 p.m., Orange County Convention Center South Hall, Orlando.)

FRIDAY, SEPT. 23, 2011

RPOF CHAIRMAN ELECTION: The Republican State Executive Committee is set to meet during the party’s Presidency 5 event to select a successor to late Party Chairman David Bitner, who died earlier this month. Vice Chairman Lenny Curry is expected to be named as his replacement. (Friday, Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando)

CONSERVATIVE GATHERING IN ORLANDO: The Conservative Political Action Conference holds CPAC Florida, based on the organization’s annual gathering in Washington, D.C. Ten GOP presidential contenders, Gov. Rick Scott and conservative author Ann Coulter are among the speakers. The group will also hold a straw poll on the state’s U.S. Senate Republican primary and several panel discussions. (Friday, 8:30 a.m., Orange County Convention Center South Concourse, Orlando)

ALFS GET SCRUTINY: The state Assisted Living Workgroup will meet to discuss oversight and regulation of assisted-living facilities. (Friday, 9 a.m., University of South Florida, Gibbons Alumni Center, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa.)

MEDICAID DRUG PICKS: The Agency for Health Care Administration will hold a meeting to discuss recommendations for the Medicaid preferred-drug list. (Friday, 9 a.m., Airport Marriott, Tampa International Airport, Tampa.)

PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE PRIMARY COMMITTEE: The committee that is expected to decide when Florida will hold its presidential preference primary meets for the first time Friday. The committee has to look at national party rules aimed at giving certain states preference in the primary calendar. The panelists were named Friday. They are: Sen. John Thrasher of St. Augustine and Sen. Rene Garcia of Hialeah, both Republicans, and Democratic Sen. Gary Siplin of Orlando; Republican Reps. Carlos Lopez-Cantera of Miami, and Seth McKeel of Lakeland and Democratic Rep. Cynthia Stafford of Miami; former Gov. Bob Martinez, a Republican; Jenn Ungru, deputy chief of staff to Gov. Rick Scott; and former state Sen. Al Lawson, a Democrat from Tallahassee. The non-voting chairman of the committee is Secretary of State Kurt Browning. (Friday, 11 a.m., 212 Knott Building, The Capitol.)

CPAC – GOVT SPENDING PANEL: As part of the CPAC-Florida event on Friday there’s a panel discussion on a balanced budget amendment. Panelists are Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, Dick Armey of FreedomWorks, and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform. Friday, 12 p.m., Main Stage, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando.)

SATURDAY, SEPT. 24, 2011

PRESIDENCY 5 – The Presidency 5 event continues on Thursday with highlights the Keynote address by Gov. Rick Scott at 1:15 p.m., remarks by presidential candidates starting at 1:35 p.m. and the presidential straw poll at 4:30 p.m. (Saturday)


GARCIA KICK OFF FOR CONGRESS: State Rep. Luis Garcia, D-Miami Beach, will officially kick off his campaign for Congress on Wednesday evening, though he announced in July that he would challenge U.S. Rep. David Rivera, a Miami Republican. (6 p.m., City Hall Restaurant, 2004 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.)

–Tallahassee calendar Compiled by the News Service of Florida.

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