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.
In real estate, it's "location, location, location." In the legislative session, it's "budget, budget, budget."
An effort to scale back standardized testing in Florida schools gained approval from a key Senate committee Monday after a last-minute flurry of amendments aimed at gaining bipartisan support.
Speculation about lawmakers needing a special session is nothing new in Tallahassee; the ratio of legislative sessions to rounds of overtime rumors is roughly 1-to-1.
The Florida House on Wednesday narrowly approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit Supreme Court justices and appeals-court judges to two consecutive terms in office, sending a major priority of Speaker Richard Corcoran to an uncertain fate in the Senate.
One-third of the way through this year's legislative session --- assuming that it wraps up on time --- some of the debates that will define the next six weeks are beginning to take shape.
Like a movie sequel of questionable entertainment value that everyone feels compelled to go see regardless, the 2017 legislative session rolled into Tallahassee this week, mixing the usual pomp and circumstance with interparty acrimony.