On Thursday, the second to last day of the legislative session, proceedings slowed down in the House as members waited for the Senate to pass bills. House Democrats, outnumbered 76 to 44, also played a hand.
The Democrats met early Thursday morning and decided to block measures from the Senate unless Republicans would strip language from a health-care bill which had been amended to require a woman considering an abortion to view an ultrasound. It also contained language in favor of Attorney General Bill McCollums lawsuit against new federal health-care laws backed by President Barack Obama. The bill passed the Senate Wednesday after an emotional debate.
Democrats took advantage of House rules concerning the end of session. The House rules hold that, in the last days of the session, Senate bills cannot be read a second or third time without having the approval of two-thirds of the members. With Republicans needing 80 votes to move the Senate measures, they need Democratic votes to save bills.
We want to deal with the issues of Florida, said Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek. Theyre not sending us up here to deal with ultrasounds.
A bill from the Senate preventing distributing flyers in hotels found all 44 Democrats standing against the measure.
House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, recessed the House until 11:30 when House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, offered his farewell remarks. The House recessed again until early in the afternoon when Cretul offered his farewell remarks. The House recessed yet again until late in the afternoon.
Cretul offered a fond farewell to the House during the extended session. Incoming Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, and Hasner offered the retiring speaker praise for taking over after Ray Sansom resigned in disgrace. Cretul thanked his family, staff and House members of both parties.
An oil portrait of Cretul went up, adding to the procession of portraits of former House speakers. Cretuls picture was placed next to Marco Rubios portrait. There are no plans to put a picture up of Sansom, who served as speaker between Rubio and Cretul.
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