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M&Ms, special sessions and productivity: the ‘Other Session Wrap-Up’

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After an abrupt and acrimonious end of the legislative session, both the Florida House and Senate have come to at least one agreement – a special session to finish a state budget.

Many believe nothing good came out of this year’s 60-day session (or 57-day, for the House). For them, the folks at Moore Communications Group and LobbyTools compiled a number of fun facts and trivia in the “Other Session Wrap-Up.”

To hammer out a budget for 2015-2016, lawmakers expect to come together – so to speak — on June 1, making it the 112th such special session since 1869, the year Florida was readmitted to the Union after the Civil War.

As for actual work stats: 1,754 bills were filed in 2015, and 231 (13.2 percent) passed. That is the fewest number of bills filed and laws passed since the new millennium began. Of those bills passed this year, 154 (or 66 percent) were from the House, 77 (33 percent) were Senate bills.

Numbers also show the House took its time to be so unproductive this session.

LobbyTools estimated the House was in session for 66 hours and 11 minutes over 21 days, for an average of 3 hours, 9 minutes per day. That compares to the Senate, which was in session for 46 hours and 10 minutes over 12 days, an average of 3 hours, 50 minutes per day.

Also making the record books this year is newly minted state Sen. Travis Hutson, the Elkton Republican representitive who replaced state Sen. John Thrasher in Senate District 6.

While in the House, Hutson filed HB 821. After his election to the Senate, he was able to vote on the Senate version (SB 396) of the same bill. That made Hutson a senator voting on his own policy, which was filed when he was in the House.

On a lighter note, M&M candies were certainly popular in the Florida Capitol. Lakeland-based grocery giant Publix donated 96,718 plain, 102,060 peanut and 64,416 peanut butter M&Ms in 2015.

No word on what lawmakers will snack on in June while they battle over the budget impasse; perhaps a few will be forced to eat crow.

The Other Session Wrap-Up 2015

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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