The House has a full slate of committee meetings this morning, with a Session scheduled for the afternoon.
In the Committee on Business Regulation, the members will discuss HB 223 by Rep. Ed Bullard to allow pari-mutuel cardrooms to offer gambling on dominoes and HB 59 by Rep. Joe Gibbons to allow the cardrooms to offer high-stakes poker and/or dominoe tournaments two times each year. No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em is FINALLY coming to Florida, legally. [Would dominoes be No Limit Miami Hold ‘Em (Sin Límite Miami Hold ‘Em)??]
The Committee on Infrastructure will hear two bills dealing with Tampa Bay transportation: HB 531 by Rep. Ed Homan would change the composition of the Board of Directors for the Hillsborough County Expresway Authority so that a majority are appointed by locally-elected officials, rather than the governor. HB 251 by Rep. Bill Galvano creates the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority (apparently without Polk County). The State of Sunshine blogged about these bills earlier this year, here and here.
The Committee on Economic Development will hear two interesting bills. The first, HB 323 by Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, would allow the Florida Marlins to get a rebate of $60 million of the sales tax collected at a new stadium ($2 million per year for 30 years ) to help fund construction of the new stadium. (Another previously blogged about topic.) The second, HB 1079 by Rep. Trey Traviesa, would allow the Tampa Bay Lightning to get a $60 million more (they already received it for construction of the St Pete Times Forum) to pay for the maintenance and repair. (NOTE: The Forum is owned by the taxpayers of Hillsoborough County and leased by the Lightning – shouldn’t the landlord be responsible for maintaining the facility?)
On the Special Order Calendar, the House will take up it’s version of moving the presidential preference primary. HB 537, by Rep. David Rivera, would move the primary from the second Tuesday in March to the earlier of the first Tuesday in February or one week after the New Hampshire primary (up to the second Tuesday in January). [My original thoughts on this bill are here.]
They will also debate HCR 7011, a concurrent resolition to change to the Joint Rules of the House and Senate requiring the reporting of lobbyist compensation, to reqire reporting via the Internet and to require that the system be available to the public showing at least “the names andbusiness addresses of lobbyists, lobbying firms, and principals, [and] the affiliations between lobbyists and principals.”
Florida SenateThe Senate only has committee meetings scheduled for today. Professional sports franchise bills are also up in the Senate Committee on Finance and Tax. SB 528 by Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla is the Senate version of HB 323, and SB 544 by Sen. Rudy Garcia would give the Miami Dolphins $60 million more to undo the renovations made for baseball when the a a Major League Baseball franchise was awarded to Miami.