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Politics

What's Going on the Week of May 12

May 13, 2019 - 9:00am
FPL repair crews after Irma
FPL repair crews after Irma

First, the power goes out. And later, the bill comes due.

As Florida suffered through hurricanes Hermine, Matthew, Irma and Michael during the past three years, millions of people were left in the dark. Each time, utilities had to mobilize crews to get the electricity back on and to rebuild expensive power systems and equipment.

Utilities have long been able to recoup storm-restoration costs from customers. Typically, it has been done by tacking on a few extra bucks to customers’ monthly bills until the utilities are made whole.

On Tuesday, the Florida Public Service Commission will wade into the issue again.

The commission will consider a request by Gulf Power to pass along $342 million in costs stemming from the massive damage caused by Hurricane Michael in October. The Gulf request is relatively straightforward, as it would add storm-restoration charges to the monthly bills of the utility’s customers in Northwest Florida.

But the commission also will take up a highly contentious issue involving Florida Power & Light’s costs for restoring power after Hurricane Irma in 2017. Instead of tacking on extra storm costs to customers’ bills, FPL tapped a reserve fund and then planned to use savings from a 2017 federal tax overhaul to replenish the reserve.

FPL says the plan saves money for customers. But attorneys for consumers and business groups contend it should be rejected, in part because they say the tax savings should be used to lower customers’ base electric rates.

MONDAY, MAY 13, 2019

STATE COLLEGES AT ISSUE: The Association of Florida Colleges will hold meetings of its executive committee and board of directors. (Monday, executive committee at 9 a.m., board of directors at noon, College of Central Florida, 3000 S.W. College Road, Ocala.)

ROACH SPEAKS TO GOP WOMEN: State Rep. Spencer Roach, R-North Fort Myers, is slated to speak to the Lee Republican Women Federated. (Monday, 11:15 a.m., Pinchers, The Marina at Edison Ford, 2360 West First St., Fort Myers.)

RUBIO HOLDS ‘MOBILE’ OFFICE HOURS: Staff members for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will hold “mobile” office hours in Calhoun and Charlotte counties. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., Blountstown Library, 17731 N.E. Pear St., Blountstown. Also, 2 p.m., Punta Gorda City Hall, 326 West Marion Ave., Punta Gorda.)

CARUSO SPEAKS AT TRUMP CLUB: State Rep. Mike Caruso, R-Delray Beach, is expected to be among the speakers at the Palm Beach County Trump Club. (Monday, 7 p.m., Palm Beach Kennel Club, 1111 North Congress Ave., West Palm Beach.)

TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2019

USF ISSUES DISCUSSED: Committees of the University of South Florida Board of Trustees will hold a series of meetings and discuss issues such as a five-year capital improvement plan. (Tuesday, meetings start at 8 a.m., University of South Florida, Marshall Student Center, Tampa.)

ELECTIONS COMMISSION MEETS: The Florida Elections Commission will meet. Along with taking up cases from across the state, it will receive a legislative update. (Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)

WATER QUALITY AT ISSUE: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a meeting about a triennial review of state water-quality standards as required by the Federal Clean Water Act. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., Bob Martinez Center, 2600 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee.)

SUWANNEE WATER BOARD MEETS: The Suwannee River Water Management District Governing Board will meet. (Tuesday, 9 a.m., district headquarters, 9225 County Road 49, Live Oak.)

HURRICANE HIKE CONSIDERED: The Florida Public Service Commission will take up a series of issues, including a proposal that would lead to Gulf Power collecting extra money from customers to pay costs stemming from Hurricane Michael. The Pensacola-based utility is seeking to pass along $342 million in storm-related costs to customers. For residential customers who use 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month, that would mean an increase of $8 on their bills, starting in July, according to the commission staff recommendation. Gulf would collect the extra charges for about five years. Parts of Gulf’s Northwest Florida service area sustained massive damage in the Oct. 10 hurricane, which made landfall in Mexico Beach and barreled north into Georgia. The regulatory commission has signed off on such proposals from utilities after past storms. Also, Gulf operates under a 2017 rate settlement that anticipated the utility would be allowed to recover such costs if a major storm occurred. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.)

JUDGE HOPEFULS INTERVIEWED: The 19th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission will interview candidates to fill an opening created by the retirement of St. Lucie County Judge Philip Yacucci. The candidates are Melanie M. Barker, Lillian B. Ewen, Jeffrey W. Hendriks, Roberta F. Katz, Usha Maharajh, Leatha D. Mullins, Leonard S. Villafranco and Carlos L. Wells. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., St. Lucie County Clerk’s Office, 201 South Indian River Dr., Fort Pierce.)

PSC HOLDS EVENTS FOR SENIORS: The Florida Public Service Commission will hold events in Palm Beach County to provide information to senior citizens about energy conservation, the Lifeline assistance program and avoiding scams targeted at utility customers. (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., Mid County Senior Center, 3680 Lake Worth Road, Palm Springs. Also, 11 a.m., North County Senior Center, 5217 Northlake Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens.)

ST. JOHNS WATER BOARD MEETS: The St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board will meet in Brevard County after holding committee meetings. (Tuesday, committees start at 10 a.m., with full board at 11 a.m., Canaveral Port Authority, 445 Challenger Road, Cape Canaveral.)

RUBIO HOLDS ‘MOBILE’ OFFICE HOURS: Staff members for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will hold “mobile” office hours in Leon and Hardee counties. (Tuesday, 11 a.m., Woodville Branch Library, 8000 Old Woodville Road, Tallahassee. Also, 2:30 p.m., Hardee County Chamber of Commerce, 135 East Main St., Wauchula.)

BELL DISCUSSES SESSION: State Rep. Melony Bell, R-Fort Meade, will discuss the 2019 legislative session during a meeting of the Tiger Bay Club of Polk County. (Tuesday, 11:30 a.m., Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 500 West Stuart St., Bartow.)

GATEWAY COLLEGE TRUSTEES MEET: The Florida Gateway College Board of Trustees will hold a workshop, followed by a full board meeting. (Tuesday, workshop at 4;30 p.m., followed by board meeting at 5:30 p.m., Florida Gateway College, Lake City.)

LANTANA INTERCHANGE AT ISSUE: The Florida Department of Transportation will hold a meeting about a project to make upgrades at the interchange of Interstate 95 and Lantana Road in Palm Beach County. (Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., Lantana Road Branch Library, 4020 Lantana Road, Lake Worth.)

I-95 IMPROVEMENTS DISCUSSED: The Florida Department of Transportation will hold the first in a series of meetings about a study that will look for ways to improve Interstate 95 in Miami-Dade County from south of U.S. 1 to just north of Ives Dairy Road. (Tuesday, 6 p.m., The LAB, 400 N.W. 26th St., Miami.)

WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2019

DEFENSE ISSUES DISCUSSED: The Florida Defense Alliance will hold a semi-annual meeting. (Wednesday, 8 a.m., Four Points by Sheraton Tallahassee Downtown, 316 West Tennessee St., Tallahassee.)

CITRUS ISSUES ON MENU: The Florida Citrus Commission will meet in Polk County. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Florida Department of Citrus, 605 East Main St., Bartow.)

WATER QUALITY AT ISSUE: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a meeting about a triennial review of state water-quality standards as required by the Federal Clean Water Act. (Wednesday, 9 a.m., Elsa Kimbell Environmental Education and Research Center, 16450 S.E. Federal Highway, Hobe Sound.)

UNEMPLOYMENT CASES CONSIDERED: The state Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission will meet. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., 101 Rhyne Building, 2740 Centerview Dr., Tallahassee.)

VALENCIA COLLEGE TRUSTEES MEET: The Valencia College Board of Trustees will meet. (Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., Valencia College, Lake Nona Campus, 12350 Narcoossee Road, Orlando.)

RUBIO HOLDS ‘MOBILE’ OFFICE HOURS: Staff members for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will hold “mobile” office hours in Duval and Polk counties. (Wednesday, 10 a.m., Five Star Veterans Center, 40 Acme St., Jacksonville. Also, 2 p.m., Lakeland City Hall, 228 South Massachusetts Ave., Lakeland.)

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ON TABLE: Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office will start a series of roundtable discussions about mental-health and criminal-justice issues. (Wednesday, 11 a.m., Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, 520 North Falkenburg Road, Tampa.)

GRAHAM SPEAKS AT TIGER BAY: Florida Public Service Commission Chairman Art Graham is slated to speak to the Flagler Tiger Bay Club. (Wednesday, 11:30 a.m., Hammock Dunes Club, Palm Coast.)

SPACE INDUSTRY ISSUES DISCUSSED: The Space Florida Board of Directors is scheduled to hold a conference call and discuss Florida-Israel Innovation Partnership Grant awards. (Wednesday, 12:30 p.m. Call-in number: 1-866-528-2256. Code: 4875556.)

WITHLACOOCHEE BASIN CONSIDERED: The state Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration will hold a workshop about “total maximum daily loads” --- a water-quality standard --- for impaired waters in the Withlacoochee Basin. (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., Dunnellon Library, 20351 Robinson Road, Dunnellon.)

DEVELOPMENT FINANCE BOARD MEETS: The Florida Development Finance Corp. Board of Directors will meet. (Wednesday, 2:30 p.m., Florida Development Finance Corp., 156 Tuskawilla Road, Suite 2340, Winter Springs. Call-in number: 1-646-741-5292. Code: 1112165603.)

ST. JOHNS COLLEGE TRUSTEES MEET: The St. Johns River State College Board of Trustees will meet. (Wednesday, 3 p.m., St. Johns River State College, St. Augustine Campus, Criminal Justice Multipurpose Room, 2900 College Dr., St. Augustine.)

LAKE-SUMTER COLLEGE TRUSTEES MEET: The Lake-Sumter State College Board of Trustees will meet. (Wednesday, 5 p.m., Lake-Sumter State College, Student Services Building, 9501 U.S. 441, Leesburg.)

I-95 IMPROVEMENTS DISCUSSED: The Florida Department of Transportation will continue a series of meetings about a study that will look for ways to improve Interstate 95 in Miami-Dade County from south of U.S. 1 to just north of Ives Dairy Road. (Wednesday, 6 p.m., Trinity Church, 17801 N.W. Second Ave., Miami.)

LOBBYIST COMPENSATION REPORTS DUE: Lobbyists face a Wednesday deadline for filing reports showing their compensation from Jan. 1 through March 31.

THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2019

UCF TRUSTEES MEET: The University of Central Florida Board of Trustees will meet after holding a series of committee meetings. Among other things, the board will receive an update about the 2019 legislative session. (Thursday, committees start at 8 a.m., with full board at 1 p.m., University of Central Florida, Fairwinds Alumni Center, Orlando. Call-in number: 1-800-442-5794. Code: 463796.)

WATER QUALITY AT ISSUE: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will hold a meeting about a triennial review of state water-quality standards as required by the Federal Clean Water Act. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Department of Environmental Protection Central District Office, 3319 Maguire Blvd., Orlando.)

DEFENSE ISSUES ON TABLE: The Florida Defense Support Task Force will meet. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Four Points by Sheraton Tallahassee Downtown, 316 West Tennessee St., Tallahassee.)

DAYTONA STATE TRUSTEES MEET: The Daytona State College Board of Trustees is scheduled to hold a retreat, a workshop and a board meeting. (Thursday, retreat at 9 a.m., workshop at 1 p.m. and meeting at 2 p.m., Daytona State College, 1200 West International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach.)

RUBIO HOLDS ‘MOBILE’ OFFICE HOURS: Staff members for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will hold “mobile” office hours in Hillsborough, Collier and Miami-Dade counties. (Thursday, 9 a.m., Temple Terrace City Hall, 11250 North 56th St., Temple Terrace. Also, 10 a.m., Estates Library, 1266 Golden Gate Blvd. West, Naples. Also, noon, West Flagler Library, 5050 West Flagler St., Miami.)

TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION HOLDS CALL: The Florida Transportation Commission is scheduled to hold a conference call. (Thursday, 10 a.m. Call-in number: 1-888-585-9008. Code: 837653349.)

COMMUNITIES TRUST PROGRAM DISCUSSED: The Florida Communities Trust Governing Board will meet. (Thursday, 10 a.m., Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 3900 Commonwealth Blvd., Tallahassee.)

GULF COAST COLLEGE TRUSTEES MEET: The Gulf Coast State College Board of Trustees will meet. (Thursday, 10 a.m., Gulf Coast State College, Summit Bank Conference Center, Advanced Technology Center, Panama City.)

REFUGEE ISSUES ON TABLE: The Broward Refugee Task Force will meet. (Thursday, 10 a.m., Family Success Administration Division/Community Action Agency, 900 N.W. 31st Ave., #3022, Fort Lauderdale.)

SUPREME COURT RELEASES OPINIONS: The Florida Supreme Court is scheduled to release its weekly opinions. (Thursday, 11 a.m.)

‘CAT FUND’ ISSUES CONSIDERED: The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund Advisory Council will discuss issues such as estimated claims-paying capacity. (Thursday, 1:30 p.m., 1801 Hermitage Blvd., Tallahassee. Call-in number: 1-888-585-9008. Code: 973664296.)

DOT HOLDS ‘KICKOFF’ MEETING: The Florida Department of Transportation will hold a “kickoff” meeting in Palm Beach County about proposed improvements to Interstate 95 on both sides of Woolbright Road. (Thursday, 2:30 p.m., Inn at Boynton Beach, 480 Boynton Beach Blvd., Boynton Beach.)

I-95 UPGRADES AT ISSUE: The Florida Department of Transportation will continue a series of workshops on the I-95 Multimodal Master Plan for the Treasure Coast --- Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties. (Thursday, 5 p.m., Indian River State College, Mueller Campus, Richardson Center, 6155 College Lane, Vero Beach.)

SPECIAL ELECTION FINANCE REPORTS: Campaign finance reports are due Thursday in special elections in House District 7 and House District 38. Port St. Joe Republican Jason Shoaf and Tallahassee Democrat Ryan Terrell are running in the June 18 special election in District 7, which former Rep. Halsey Beshears, R-Monticello, left to become secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Dade City Republican Randy Maggard and Wesley Chapel Democrat Kelly Smith are running in District 38, which former Rep. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, left to become executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The reports will show finance activity through May 9.

FRIDAY, MAY 17, 2019

DENTISTRY ISSUES TEED UP: The Florida Board of Dentistry will meet in Orange County. (Friday, 7;30 a.m., DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando Airport, 5555 Hazeltine National Dr., Orlando.)

ENVIRONMENTAL ‘EXPO’ HELD: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s South District will hold an environmental business “expo.” (Friday, 8:30 a.m., 2031 Jackson St., Fort Myers.)

OSTEOPATHIC BOARD MEETS: The Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine will meet. (Friday, 9 a.m., Embassy Suites by Hilton, 4955 Kyngs Heath Road, Orlando.)

DAM SAFETY DISCUSSED: The Florida Dam Safety Program will hold a workshop for dam owners about safety issues. (Friday, 9 a.m., Central time, 580 Holley King Road, DeFuniak Springs.)  

UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS RELEASED: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is scheduled to release April unemployment figures. (Friday, 10 a.m.)

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH ISSUES DISCUSSED: The state Agency for Health Care Administration will hold a meeting about a series of issues involving behavioral health. Those issues include assessment services, medication management services, community support services and therapy services. (Friday, 10 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Dr., Building 3, Tallahassee.)

REFUGEE ISSUES ON TABLE: The Palm Beach Area Refugee Task Force will meet. (Friday, 10 a.m., West Palm Beach City Hall, 401 Clematis St., West Palm Beach.)

CITIZENS BOARD HOLDS CALL: The Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Board of Governors is set to hold a conference call. (Friday, 2 p.m., Call-in number: 1-888-942-8686. Code: 9447106691.)

STATE GOP HOLDS QUARTERLY MEETING: The Republican Party of Florida will start a two-day quarterly meeting in Sarasota. (Friday, 5 p.m., Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota.)

DEMOCRATS HONOR NELSON: Former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., will be honored during an event hosted by Bay Blue Block, a coalition of Democratic parties from Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties. (Friday, 6:30 p.m., Fenway Hotel, 453 Edgewater Dr., Dunedin.)

SATURDAY, MAY 18, 2019

EDUCATION ‘SUMMIT’ PLANNED: The Florida Education Association will host an event titled, “Bringing Voices Together: An Education Summit for Florida’s Public Schools.” (Saturday, 10 a.m., Hilton Orlando, 6001 Destination Parkway, Orlando.)

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