5 things to watch Monday at the Florida Legislature

Herald/Times Tallahassee BureauMarch 10, 2014 

The Florida Legislature is back in session. Bay News 9 Photo

TALLAHASSEE -- Legislators return for their second week of session and you can expect a few bills to roll and a few jokes to flop. Off campus, the week features the Sometimes Annual Press Corps Skits, in which the press lampoons elected officials and elected officials respond with wild web-cam videos and lame jokes in return.

Here are five things to watch for Monday, March 10:

-- The Senate Gaming Committee hears a bill (SB 688) intended to loosen restrictions on the arcade industry, which was snagged last year by the Internet Café ban. The proposal expands the games offered at places like Dave and Busters and Disney’s Boardwalk, and lets them increase their jackpots.

-- Last week, the House voted to prevent school officials from punishing kids who chewed their pop tarts into guns and this week the Senate Criminal Justice Committee takes up a bill (SB 968) to allow designated school personnel to carry real guns on school campuses.

-- Florida’s gun laws will also come into focus during a rally with civil rights activist and cable TV celebrity Al Sharpton. He is in Tallahassee to protest the “Stand Your Ground” law.

-- The annual legislative tweaking of election law continues in the Florida Senate where the Ethics and Elections Committee considers a controversial proposal (SPB 7068) to limit where absentee ballots can be dropped off. The measure also directs the state to create a program for online voter registration.

-- A proposal to renew the annual back-to-school tax holiday in August gets its first hearing in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee. The proposal (SB 792) was filed by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, would lift the state’s sales tax on school supplies and other items from Aug. 1 through Aug. 3.

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