Two Republican groups will be fighting each other today in the House Environment & Natural Resources Council over HB 1417 by Rep. Dennis Baxley. The bill would ban anyone, generally a business, from prohibiting the possession of “personal private property that is legal product when such product is lawfully possessed & locked inside or to private motor vehicle in parking lot.” This means you would be able to take your gun to work. The National Rifle Association supports the bill. The Florida Chamber of Commerce opposes it. Both groups take it seriously, and it could have implications for those members who are running for re-election in 2008; support for a similar bill last year was the main reason the Florida Chamber decided not to endorse several members in their 2006 election bids.
The House Government Efficiency & Accountability Council will hear HB 185 by Rep. Rene Garcia, which would allow charter counties to vote on a sales tax to support community colleges, HB 1145 by Rep. Marcelo Llorente, which would require testimony before a legislative committee to be under oath, and HB 1433 by Rep. Eddy Gonzalez, which would exempt direct mail advertising from sales tax.
The House will pass their version of property tax reform today, and there are several other bills relating to health and social services on third reading as well. On second reading are a number of government and public safety bills, including HB 1003 by Rep. Joe Pickens, one of the Top Ten Amusing Bills, which would allow law enforcement to drive golf carts on public streets.
The Senate Education Facilities Appropriations Committee will hear a presentation by the State University System
Facilities Task Force. As a former Student Body President at the University of South Florida, I can say that most state universities are up against a space crunch – especially USF. Hopefully, the Committee members will get a better understanding of the needs and work to find an appropriate solution.
The Senate Community Affairs Committee will hear SB 998 by Sen. Mike Bennett, the cable television bill. (For more information on this bill, see my preview of Day 38. Also on the agenda is SB 1778 by Sen. JD Alexander, which expands the charter county transit surtax to include all charter counties. The surtax allows local governments to ask the voters for a sales tax to pay for transit services; JD wants to include Polk county as part of the Heartland expressway project linking Lakeland with Southwest Florida.
The Senate has a number of public safety and military bills on third reading, along with a number of government operations bills on the Special Order Calendar. Among the bills on Special Order is SB 464 by Sen. Gary Siplin, which would designate January 6th (my birthday) as Three Kings Day in Florida.
Wednesday is Miami Metro Zoo Day in Tallahassee.