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Some lawmakers bowing out of Special Session

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(Originally published Tuesday, June 6, 2017) At least eight House members and one senator won’t be attending some or all of this week’s Special Session, set for Wednesday-Friday.  The June meeting is conflicting with some lawmakers’ plans, including one whose brother is getting married out of state. Below is a list, as of Tuesday afternoon, of lawmakers asking for and receiving excused absences for part or all of the three-day session, with reasons given: — Rep. Bruce Antone, an Orlando…

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Jack Latvala: ‘Cooling-off’ period applies to Special Session bills

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Sen. Jack Latvala is telling fellow senators that funding bills planned for this week’s Special Session will be subject to the state’s constitutionally-mandated “cooling off” period. That potentially means, if the bills are changed, that lawmakers could be stuck in Tallahassee past Friday, when the session is scheduled to end. The Clearwater Republican, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a Tuesday memo that he and Senate President Joe Negron, an attorney, had “reviewed relevant legal precedent and accepted…

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‘Progress’ on getting marijuana in Special Session but ‘no deal’ yet

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Legislative leaders working behind the scenes are getting closer to putting medical cannabis implementation into the call of this week’s Special Session. For instance, one senator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “some progress” had been made but there was “no deal” as of Monday afternoon. When this week’s Wednesday-Friday Special Session was announced last Friday, it only included plans to fund education, tourism marketing and economic development. That’s despite dozens of lawmakers, including House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who have said the…

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Rick Scott talks budget, jobs—but not medical marijuana

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Gov. Rick Scott talked about education and tourism funding and job training in the upcoming Special Session but did not mention medical marijuana. Scott spoke briefly with reporters outside an Enterprise Florida meeting in Tallahassee Friday, a few hours after he appeared with legislative leaders in Miami to announce a Special Session next Wednesday-Friday. “I’ve been talking about this for about seven years now,” he said. “I kept talking about it, and we figured out a way to make sure it’s a…

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Florida Democrats accuses Rick Scott of ‘backroom politics at its worst’ over special session

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Florida Democrats are hitting Gov. Rick Scott and Republican leadership over a budget deal announced Friday. In a statement, Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Johanna Cervone said the budget deal fails the state’s working families, while funneling money to Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. “Not only does this budget deal funnel millions to private for-profit charter schools, remove oversight from local school boards, and short-change Florida’s children–it was negotiated in secret, and the end result will bring millions to Scott and…

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Special session called to tackle economic programs, public education funding

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Florida lawmakers will head back to Tallahassee for a special session next week to address economic programs and public education funding. Gov. Rick Scott, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, and Senate President Joe Negron announced Friday morning lawmakers will convene in a special session from June 7 to June 9 to tackle several issues relating to the budget. The announcement coincided with news that Scott signed the budget 2017-18 budget, vetoing $410 million in legislative projects. The Naples Republican also vetoed…

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15 big questions facing Florida politics heading into summer

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Summer is here — well, unofficially at least. And with it comes cookouts, summer vacations, and the start of the 2018 election cycle (again, unofficially). With a tumultuous legislative session in our rearview mirror and a jam-packed election cycle on the horizon, the answers to these 14 questions (plus a fill-in-the-blank) could shape the future of the state. — Does Gov. Rick Scott veto the budget? The Naples Republican isn’t saying whether he plans to veto the $83 billion spending plan;…

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