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Justice budgets growing closer together, but $10 million in differences remain

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The conference committee on the state justice budget appeared to be going smoothly Saturday afternoon, with the House accepting the Senate position on more than two dozen line items, but making divergent offers on many others.

In all the differences totaled nearly $10 million, about $5 million of that in recurring general revenue dollars and some $5 million in non-recurring funds

The House and Senate offers remained separated by more than $2 million for on a trial court technology comprehensive plan favored by the Senate and $2 million for courthouse renovations in Lee and Charlotte counties also profferred by the Senate.

After the meeting, conference committee Vice Chair Sen. Joe Negron called it “a generous, good-faith offer,” and predicted the negotiations between conferees were “almost done.”

Negron and committee chair Rep. Larry Metz both sounded sanguine following the meeting, and anticipated wrapping up well before their Monday evening deadline.

Negron also announced the Conference on House Justice Appropriations/Senate Appropriation on Criminal and Civil Justice would meet again Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m. to close out the remaining differences.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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