5 things to watch for during the Florida Legislature's opening day


Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

TALLAHASSEE -- The annual 60-day session of the Florida Legislature opens Tuesday in the state Capitol in Tallahassee. Here are five things to watch:

* Gov. Rick Scott will give the annual State of the State address to the Legislature in which he will emphasize priorities of creating jobs, paying down state debt and holding the line on tuition.

* Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford will address their chambers before Scott delivers his speech, and both chambers will hold afternoon floor sessions. The Senate will pass a bill aimed at keeping sexually violent predators in prison for longer periods.

* A controversial piece of legislation dealing with environmental permitting returns to the Capitol. The bill (HB 703) by Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, is still being reworked as it awaits its first hearing before the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.

* A proposal to raise the maximum speed limit from 70 to 75 miles per hour on certain rural interstate highways, subject to approval by state highway experts, will get its first airing. The House version (HB 761) by Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-Lehigh Acres, will be considered by the House Transportation and Highway Safety Subcommittee.

* The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Sen. John Legg, R-Trinity, will consider legislation (PCB 7060) to revamp the school accountability system in Florida public schools.

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