A special session meant to bridge differences between House and Senate leaders over education funding and economic development instead seemed Wednesday to be driving the two chambers further apart.
The first substantive meeting of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission showed clear rifts among members of the panel responsible for putting proposed constitutional changes on the 2018 ballot.
Reforms to the way the Legislature puts its budget together lowered the number of "turkeys" wedged into the spending plan, but there are still some items Gov. Rick Scott should consider vetoing, a Tallahassee-based think tank said Friday.
Florida TaxWatch included $177.8 million worth of spending in its annual "Turkey Watch" report --- aimed at identifying projects that were added to the $82.4 billion spending plan under processes the business-backed organization objects to on the grounds of transparency or accountability.
The weeks after the legislative session are typically a decision season for the governor, who has to plow through dozens of bills and hundreds of spending items sent to him by lawmakers and pick which ones become law and which ones don't.
Almost from the moment the gavel fell on the regular legislative session Monday night, there were already calls for a special session.
The regular session was grinding and filled with squabbling --- and ended three days late --- and some members wanted to do it all over again.
To the extent that any legislative session is remembered, the 2017 edition might be remembered as much for what lawmakers didn't do as for what they did.
Supposedly must-pass bills on workers' compensation and medical marijuana turned out not to be as must-pass as originally thought. A gambling bill that lawmakers said was closer to becoming law than ever before? Dead long before lawmakers stopped work Friday night on most issues.
A sprawling, 278-page education package affecting everything from charter schools to school uniforms emerged from the budget process Friday, raising new questions about transparency in the final days of the legislative session.
Lawmakers closed in on an elusive budget deal Wednesday, even as Gov. Rick Scott ramped up criticism of the spending plan as he toured the state.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, and Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, announced Wednesday morning that the two chambers have agreed in principle on how to spend nearly $83 billion in the year that begins July 1.
Sometimes, apologies take a long time in public life. Other times, they come more quickly. And still other times, despite how the old saying goes, it is too late to say you're sorry.
Miami Republican Frank Artiles learned about the last variation the hard way this week. After making expletive-laden and racially explosive comments, Artiles offered apologies to his colleagues in the Florida Senate --- but that was not enough to prevent his resignation under pressure Friday.
It could seem at times this week like Tallahassee was being visited by the Ghost of Sessions Past. The hope is that the phantom will not bring about the same results as those old meetings.
Once again, a program known as the Low Income Pool, or LIP, was in the headlines because of its potential effects on the budget --- something that helped cause a special session in 2015. And once again, lawmakers were putting some hefty policy ideas into the budget process --- something that caused the session to nearly collapse in 2011.