5 things to watch at the Florida Legislature on Monday

Posted by Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau on March 17, 2014 

TALLAHASSEE -- Week three of the legislative session gets off to a slow start Monday, giving lawmakers time to return to the capital. Still, some significant proposals will be up for consideration in the upper chamber. Will those lawmakers be able to harness the luck of the Irish?

Here are five things to watch on Monday:

* The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee will take up two controversial proposals, one of which would exempt voters' email addresses from state public records laws. (Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the measure last year.) The other would prevent supervisors of elections from collecting absentee ballots anywhere other than their offices.

* The Senate Criminal Justice will consider a bi-partisan proposal by Sens. Chris Smith and David Simmons that would require the state Department of Law Enforcement to create guidelines for neighborhood watch programs. It would also tweak the Stand Your Ground self-defense law so that injured bystanders could file lawsuits.

* Embattled Department of Economic Opportunity Director Jesse Panuccio will seek confirmation from the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee. Panuccio won the support of the the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development last week, despite the problem-plagued rollout of the state's $63-million unemployment benefits website.

* Senate Democrats will hold a 10 a.m. press conference to unveil their plans to "rescue hundreds of millions of dollars in unclaimed property on behalf of Floridians."

* Planned Parenthood will rally on the steps of the Old Capitol at 11 a.m. in opposition to six bills that, the organization says, restrict women's access to health care. The group will also urge lawmakers to support Medicaid expansion.

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