Five things to look for in Monday’s legislative session

April 22, 2013 

TALLAHASSEE -- All eyes will be on budget conferences Monday, as the Senate and House work to align their proposed spending plans. The two chambers made some progress over the weekend, but failed to reach consensus on the big-ticket items, including the new formula for funding hospitals, a proposed tuition hike at state universities and Everglades funding.

On the policy side, the Senate Rules Committee will take up a bill making it tougher to sue nursing homes for neglect or misconduct (SB 1384). A more controversial version of the bill has stalled in the House, but could be in play again if the Senate companion moves to the floor.

Also up in Senate Rules: a proposal by Sen. Audrey Gibson that restricts the mentally ill from buying guns (SB 1000) and a bill from Sen. Dwight Bullard that prohibits cyberbullying in public schools (SB 626).

The Senate Education Committee convenes a special meeting Monday to hear a controversial proposal to relax the rules governing student athletes (SB 1164). The Florida High School Athletic Association says the bill would open the door to recruiting and lead to free agency at the high-school level.

On Monday evening, Lauren Book, the founder of non-profit Lauren's Kids, will hold a sunset walk and candlelight vigil to raise awareness about sexual abuse and show support for the victims. She finishes the last mile of her walk from Key West to Tallahassee at 11 a.m. Tuesday, and holds a rally in the Capitol at noon.

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