Slow progress as budget chairs McKeel, Negron meet

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Lawmakers exchanged offers on some low-profile parts of the state budget Wednesday, setting aside for now the thornier issues in the health-care and education budgets. L

awmakers agreed, for example, to fund further excavation at the Dozier School for Boys through the University of South Florida instead of through the Department of Juvenile Justice.

And the House offered $13 million for spring restoration, a new issue. House Appropriations Chairman Seth McKeel said that the Legislature would work with the Department of Environmental Protection to figure out how to spend the money.

Left untouched were issues like a new system of reimbursing hospitals under the Medicaid program for low-income Floridians and differences over tuition increases and financial aid. “I think we can make some more progress on health and education over the next day or two,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron.

McKeel and Negron plan to meet again Thursday.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.