STATE CAPITAL BRIEFS (EVENING EDITION): TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2017

STATE CAPITAL BRIEFS (EVENING EDITION): TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

©2017 The News Service of Florida. All rights reserved. Posting or forwarding this material without permission is prohibited.


HIGHER ED, BEACH FUNDING TEED UP IN SENATE
With committee meetings scheduled to start next week in advance of the 2018 legislative session, senators are poised to take up higher-education and environmental issues that are priorities of Senate leaders. The Senate Education Committee on Sept. 12 is slated to consider a higher-education bill (SB 4) that, in part, would require universities to develop “block” tuition plans and would make permanent expansions in Bright Futures scholarships and need-based aid programs, according to a meeting notice published Tuesday. The bill, sponsored by Higher Education Appropriations Chairman Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, is a priority of Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart. Meanwhile, the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee is slated Sept. 12 to take up a bill (SB 174), filed by Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, that would set aside at least $50 million a year to help address issues such as beach erosion. The committee also is expected to take up a bill (SB 204), filed by Environmental Preservation and Conservation Chairman Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, that would lead to the state spending at least $75 million a year on springs projects and $50 million annually on projects related to the restoration off the St. Johns River and its tributaries or the Keystone Heights Lake Region.

HOUSE PANEL SET TO DISCUSS U.S. CAPITOL STATUE
Amid proposals to replace a likeness of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith with a statue of civil-rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune, a state House committee next week is scheduled to discuss the process of replacing statues at the National Statuary Hall in Washington. The House Government Accountability Committee is slated to take up the issue during a meeting Sept. 12. Each state is allowed two representatives at the National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol, with Florida long represented by Smith and John Gorrie, widely considered the father of air conditioning. State lawmakers in 2016 voted to replace the statue of Smith amid a nationwide backlash against Confederate symbols in the wake of the 2015 shooting deaths of nine African-American worshippers at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. But lawmakers during the 2017 legislative session did not agree on a replacement for Smith. Sen. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, and Rep. Patrick Henry, D-Daytona Beach, have proposed measures (SCR 184 and HCR 73) for the 2018 session that would replace Smith with Bethune, who founded what is now Bethune-Cookman University. Along with Bethune, a panel known as the Great Floridians Committee last year nominated Everglades activist and writer Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Publix grocery story founder George Washington Jenkins Jr. as candidates to replace Smith.

SURGICAL CENTER PROPOSAL RE-EMERGES FOR 2018 SESSION
A Senate Republican on Tuesday proposed allowing patients to stay in ambulatory surgical centers for up to 24 hours, likely refueling a debate about regulation of the centers. The bill (SB 250), filed by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, will be considered during the 2018 legislative session, which starts in January. Under current law, patients are not allowed to stay overnight in ambulatory surgical centers. The House in recent years has pushed to ease that regulation to allow patients to stay up to 24 hours but has not been able to get agreement from the Senate. Steube's bill is different from some earlier versions because it would not authorize the operation of what are known as “recovery care centers,” where patients could stay up to 72 hours after surgery. Previous bills have linked the two issues.


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9/5/2017

© 2017 The News Service of Florida. All rights reserved. Posting or forwarding this material without permission is prohibited.