TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Tuesday, March 5.
(1) State of the State address
Florida Governor Rick Scott will hold his annual State of the State address on Tuesday from the State Capitol in Tallahassee.
The Governor plans to highlight his current proposals of keeping taxes low while increasing education spending, as well as explain how his pro-business agenda has created job for Floridians.
"This year, we have two priorities to keep our economy growing: first - remove the sales tax on manufacturing equipment, and second - invest in our teachers by providing them a well-deserved pay raise,” Governor Scott says. "Now is not the time to turn back to the legacy of taxing and borrowing that crippled the economy we inherited two years ago.”
The Governor will ask the Legislature to reward teachers with a $2,500 pay raise.
"Some say they are afraid that giving raises to all teachers may mean that a teacher doing a bad job gets rewarded,” says Scott. “But, thanks to our work, we are now in a better position than ever before to reward good teachers and move bad teachers out of the classroom.”
You can watch the Governor’s State of the State speech streamed live beginning at 11:00 a.m. on abcactionnews.com and on ABC Action News Now! mobile devices.
(2) 2013 Florida Legislature regular session begins
The Florida Legislature begins its 2013 regular session on Tuesday.
The House is scheduled to convene at 9:30 a.m. in the Florida State Capitol. The Senate will convene thirty minutes later.
The 60-day session will run through May 3rd.
Lawmakers plan on taking up a number of bills dealing with elections, education, insurance, ethics, gambling and healthcare.
Following the problematic 2012 general election where some Florida voters waited in lines for hours to vote, both the Florida House and Senate are forwarding bills that would return early voting to a period of 14 days. The bill would also expand the number of locations allowed to hold early voting.
Lawmakers are expected to approve bills increasing the amount the state spends on education. However, the Governor’s desire to see all teachers receive a $2,500 pay raise may face a tougher time passing.
The State is looking at ways of shrinking the number of policies Citizens Property Insurance covers. Florida could be at risk for tremendous losses due to the 1 million policies Citizens has if a catastrophic event, such as a category 5 hurricane, hit the state.
The Legislature is expected to vote on a bill to impose a moratorium on new Internet cafes. There are concerns the cafes are simply illegal gambling halls through the use of computer sweepstakes machines.
Lawmakers are expected to forward bills that would crack down on public officials who are pushing the boundaries of ethical behavior.
Governor Scott announced last month he is for the expansion of Medicaid allowed under the Affordable Care Act. Republicans lawmakers have expressed concerns over the proposed expansion saying it might not be in the best interest for Florida to expand the program.
(3) Awake the State rallies
Floridians who are unhappy with the performance of Governor Rick Scott and the Republican-controlled Legislature plan on attending Awake the States rallies on Tuesday.
Rallies will be held on the front steps of the Old Capitol in Tallahassee, and in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Gainesville, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Palatka, Pensacola, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Ft. Myers, Melbourne, Bradenton, Winter Haven, Flagler County and Vero Beach.
The rally in St. Petersburg will begin at 4:30 p.m. at the intersection of 36th Avenue and 4th Street North.
The Tampa rally will start at 5:00 p.m. at Lykes Gaslight Park. A pre-rally march will begin at 4:30 p.m. at the corner of Willow Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard. Members of Awake Tampa, the Florida Consumer Action Network, Progress Florida, America Votes, and other and community groups plan on attending the rally.
For more information, visit www.awakethestate.com .
(4) Mike Rivera back teaching
Osceola Middle School teacher Mike Rivera will return to his classroom on Tuesday following a trip to new York City.
Rivera was named as the country's Most Hilarious Teacher on Monday’s episode of The View.
The show held a nationwide search and Rivera was selected as a finalist. He traveled to New York City to perform a comedy act in front of the contest judges. Rivera competed against teachers from Toronto, Staten Island, N.Y., Canton, Ohio, and Hamtramck, Mich.
Rivera returned to the Bay Area on Monday night. He is scheduled to talk to members of the media during his lunch break at the school starting at 12:30 p.m.
We wish to congratulate Rivera for being named the country's Most Hilarious Teacher.
(5) Target Tuesday
The Glazer Children's Museum is giving deal for families on Tuesday.
The museum is offering free admission prices for both children and adults from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. today.