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Capital preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

By on October 15, 2012

Campaigns pretty much dominate the calendar this week, with Election Day now less than a month away and early voting coming even sooner.

MONDAY

DOE HEARING ON END-OF-COURSE ASSESSMENT SCORES: The Florida Department of Education holds a hearing to hear from educators, business and community leaders, and higher education representatives on new achievement level standards to be tested in new Biology I and Geometry End-of Course assessments, and the FCAT 2.0 Science assessment (grades 5 and 8). The agency is trying to determine the scores that will define the new benchmarks for Florida’s K-12 students. (Monday, 4:30 p.m., Jefferson High School Auditorium, 4401 W. Cypress St., Tampa.)

CAMPAIGNS

SACHS ON NURSING HOMES: Democratic Senate District 34 candidate Maria Sachs holds a news conference with Florida Alliance for Retired Americans President Tony Fransetta to discuss nursing home deregulation legislation that she says was supported by her opponent, Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff. (Monday, 11 a.m., 12773 Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 211, Wellington.)

ALSO

MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT BEGINS: Open enrollment for Medicare begins Monday and lasts through Dec. 7.

TUESDAY

STAND YOUR GROUND TASK FORCE MEETS IN JACKSONVILLE: The Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, set up to look into the state’s Stand Your Ground law in the wake of the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case, meets Tuesday in Jacksonville. About four hours of the eight hour meeting is set aside for public testimony. The Florida Channel will stream live. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Edward Waters College, Adams-Jenkins Community Sports and Music Complex, 1859 Kings Rd., Jacksonville.)

COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES TAX: The Department of Revenue’s Communications Services Tax Working Group meets to discuss tax issues in preparation of a report that is due to the Legislature by Feb. 1. It’s the fourth meeting of the group, which has been asked to review national and state tax policies relating to the communications industry, the amount generated under the tax and the extent to which this revenue has been relied on to secure bonded indebtedness. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., 2450 Shumard Oak Blvd, Building One, Room 1820, Tallahassee.)

PSC WADES INTO WATER, TELECOM ISSUES: The Florida Public Service Commission will take up a series of water-utility and telecommunications issues, including a proposed rate increase for customers of Water Management Services, Inc., in Franklin County. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

ELECTIONS COMMISSION DISCUSSES DIRECTOR, LEGISLATION: The Florida Elections Commission will hold a teleconference to discuss applicants for its executive director’s job and to discuss legislative issues. (Tuesday, 1:30 p.m.: call in number: 1-888-670-3525; access code: 5652593223.) Agenda: http://www.fec.state.fl.us/FECWebFi.nsf/0/89F133257249110785257A87005CA554/$File/Public+FEC+PUBLIC+Agenda.pdf

DOE HEARING ON END-OF-COURSE ASSESSMENT SCORES: The Florida Department of Education holds a hearing to hear from educators, business and community leaders, and higher education representatives on new achievement level standards to be tested in new Biology I and Geometry End-of Course assessments, and the FCAT 2.0 Science assessment (grades 5 and 8). The agency is trying to determine the scores that will define the new benchmarks for Florida’s K-12 students. (Tuesday, 3 p.m., Florida Department of Education, Turlington Building, 325 W. Gaines St., Room 1721, Tallahassee.)

CAMPAIGNS

CANDIDATES MAKE PITCHES IN PINELLAS HOUSE RACES: The Suncoast Tiger Bay Club will hold a forum with candidates in three state House races. They are Republican Rep. Peter Nehr and Democrat Carl Zimmerman in District 65; Republican Rep. Larry Ahern and Democrat Mary Louise Ambrose in District 66; and Republican Rep. Ed Hooper and Democrat Ben Farrell in District 67. (Tuesday, 12 p.m., St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater, 12600 Roosevelt Blvd., St. Petersburg.)

OBAMA AND ROMNEY – ROUND 2: Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama meet for the second of three scheduled debates in the race for U.S. president. This week’s debate, moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley, will be in a town hall format, with the candidates fielding questions on foreign and domestic issues. (Tuesday, 9 p.m., Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York)

WEDNESDAY

CABINET AIDES MEET: Aides for Gov. Rick Scott and members of the Cabinet meet in preparation for the Oct. 23 full Cabinet meeting. (Wednesday,  9 a.m., Cabinet Room, The Capitol.)

CAMPAIGNS

HASNER, FRANKEL DEBATE IN PALM BEACH: Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner and former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel meet in a debate as they vie for an open congressional seat. The debate between the two is not open to the public. (Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., 2751 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach)

US SENATE DEBATE: Florida’s two U.S. Senate candidates will square off in their only face-to-face debate Wednesday at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. The debate between Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and the challenger, Republican U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, will be televised live by several stations and is sponsored by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association. Michael Williams of WPTV NewsChannel 5 in West Palm Beach will moderate, with a panel of questioners of Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Lissette Campos of ABC WFTS in Tampa and Toluse Olorunnipa of the Miami Herald. (Wednesday, 7 p.m., Miniaci Performing Arts Center, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale.)

DESANTIS, BEAVEN DEBATE: Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Heather Beaven will participate in an hour-long debate Wednesday night in their race for the 6th Congressional District. The debate sponsored is by Stetson University’s Center for Community Engagement and the Daytona Beach News-Journal, and will be moderated by News-Journal Editor Pat Rice. It will air afterward on WESH. This debate, the only scheduled between Beaven and DeSantis, is free and open to the public. (Wednesday, 8 p.m., Deland High School, 800 North Hill Ave., DeLand.)

THURSDAY

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: A coalition of organizations will host a two-day forum combating human trafficking, including providing training to law enforcement and other providers such as attorneys, social-service groups and health-care agencies. (Thursday, 8:30 a.m., Hodges University, 4501 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers.)

ENVIRONMENTAL PANEL DISCUSSES WATER STANDARDS: The state Environmental Regulation Commission will discuss water-quality issues, including “numeric nutrient standards” that are part of a long-running legal dispute. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Marjory Stoneman Douglas Building, 3900 Commonwealth Blvd., Tallahassee.)

SUPREME COURT: The Florida Supreme Court issues opinions. (Thursday, 11 a.m.)

DCA TO HEAR BERNARD APPEAL: The 1st District Court of Appeal has scheduled arguments for Thursday in Rep. Mack Bernard’s challenge to his narrow defeat in August’s Democratic primary in Senate District 27. Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, filed the appeal after Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis last month upheld Rep. Jeff Clemens’ victory in the primary. Lewis ruled that Palm Beach County elections officials were justified in rejecting 40 absentee ballots. Clemens, D-Lake Worth, won the primary by 17 votes. The winner of the primary in the heavily Democratic district faces only write-in candidate Travis Genard Harris in the Nov. 6 general election. The case is Addie L. Green et al. v. Jeff Clemens, Susan Bucher et al., 1D12-4520. (Thursday, 2 p.m., First District Court of Appeal, Courtroom Two, 2000 Drayton Dr., Tallahassee.)

DOE HEARING ON END-OF-COURSE ASSESSMENT SCORES: The Florida Department of Education holds a hearing to hear from educators, business and community leaders, and higher education representatives on new achievement level standards to be tested in new Biology I and Geometry End-of Course assessments, and the FCAT 2.0 Science assessment (grades 5 and 8). The agency is trying to determine the scores that will define the new benchmarks for Florida’s K-12 students. (Thursday, 4:30 p.m., Winona Webb Jordan Board Chambers, Fulton-Holland Education Center, 3300 Forest Hill Blvd., West Palm Beach. )

FRIDAY

ETHICS COMMISSION CONSIDERS LOCAL CASES: The Florida Commission on Ethics will take up cases dealing with local officials in places such as Holly Hill and Plantation. (Friday, 8:30 a.m., Room 37, Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

SEPTEMBER UNEMPLOYMENT: Preliminary state unemployment figures for September are released Friday by the Department of Economic Opportunity, along with revised figures for August. Last month the DEO reported August unemployment of 8.8 percent, unchanged from July. (Friday, 10 a.m.)

CITIZENS BOARD MEETS: The Citizens Property Insurance Corp board of governors meets via conference call. Among its agenda items, board members are expected to receive an update on a $350 million loan program that backers say will help reduce the ranks of the state’s largest property insurer. Last week governors asked for an outside investment firm to take a look at the program’s financials to provide comfort to wary lawmakers and policyholders. (Friday, 1 p.m., Teleconference: 888-942-8686 Participant Code: 5743735657#)

MEDICALLY NEEDY CHANGES AIRED: The state Agency for Health Care Administration will hold the first of two public meetings about planned changes to the Medically Needy program, which provides coverage to people who have debilitating medical conditions but do not qualify for Medicaid. The changes are part of an overhaul of the Medicaid system that lawmakers approved in 2011. (Friday, 2 p.m., The Westin Fort Lauderdale, 400 Corporate Dr., Fort Lauderdale.)

CAMPAIGNS

WEBSTER, DEMINGS SQUARE OFF: U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster and Democratic challenger Val Demings will debate at the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida. (Friday, 11:30 a.m., Sheraton Orlando Downtown, 400 West Livingston St., Orlando.)

WEST, MURPHY CLASH AT WPTV: Republican Congressman Allen West and his Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy, lock horns at a congressional debate at WPTV in West Palm Beach. The debate is being billed as the only one between the two candidates. Democrats are gunning for West, known for his incendiary remarks and unyielding conservatism. (Friday, 8 p.m., 1100 Banyan Blvd, West Palm Beach)

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