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Weekly Roundup: Postscripts

April 1, 2016 - 10:00pm

No matter what the political fight, there's almost always a postscript, some lingering bit of fallout that has to be dealt with in the aftermath of victory, defeat or even agreement.

And it was a week of postscripts in Tallahassee. Not any that might require a special session --- regardless of a cruel April Fool's Day tweet from House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island --- but some that were notable nonetheless.

Backroom Briefing: Ron Who? (And David Who? And ... )

March 24, 2016 - 4:15pm
Carlos Lopez-Cantera, David Jolly, Ron DeSantis, and Todd Wilcox

It can be a humbling experience for a member of the U.S. House to run for statewide office.

Aside from the most-prominent leaders, congressmen and congresswomen aren't generally household names even in their own districts. Expand that to the entire state, and the percentage of the population that knows much about a House member can fall even further.

Weekly Roundup: No Rest for the Weary

March 18, 2016 - 7:00pm
Marco Rubio and Donald Trump

The week after the legislative session is usually a quiet one. Lawmakers, lobbyists and reporters take some time to catch up on sleep, reacquaint themselves with life outside the Capitol, and generally begin the recuperation after a 60-day sprint.

Session Roundup: Let's Go Home. For Good This Time

March 13, 2016 - 3:45pm

As the 2016 legislative session came to a blessedly peaceful end Friday night, you could look at the 60-day assembly through a variety of prisms.

For House and Senate Republican leaders, it was an election-year opportunity to show that they could govern after the messy unraveling of last year's session, which ended with bruised egos and a lengthy list of unfinished priorities.

House, Senate Close in on Budget Deal

March 6, 2016 - 11:30pm

House and Senate budget chiefs drew closer Sunday to a final agreement on the spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1, striking deals on a slew of local projects and throwing an elbow at the leader of the state's prisons agency for an aggressive lobbying campaign.

House Floats Proposal to Hold Property Taxes Level

February 28, 2016 - 1:30am
Don Gaetz and Erik Fresen

Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would use hundreds of millions of dollars in state money to hold local education property taxes steady, as House and Senate negotiators continued working toward an agreement on the budget.

Weekly Roundup: Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

February 26, 2016 - 8:45pm

The legislative session has once again become a waiting game.

Lawmakers, reporters and lobbyists spent much of the week waiting for talks between House and Senate leaders to lead to a deal on budget "allocations" --- the area-by-area breakdown on where the state will spend around $80 billion in the year that begins July 1.

Word of the deal finally came late Friday afternoon, leading to another waiting game --- for the meetings of budget conference committees that will decide how to actually spend the money in each area.

Weekly Roundup: Crunch Time

February 19, 2016 - 7:30pm

Members, bills are dying.

Those four words --- or something like them --- have long been used by legislative committee chairmen and presiding officers to try to get lawmakers to focus on the task at hand or to move quickly through contentious agendas. The line also happens to fit what starts happening as the session enters its second half.

Backroom Briefing: Raise the Wage (for Lawmakers)

February 18, 2016 - 6:30pm

Would the Legislature include more average Floridians if the job paid more?

That was the idea behind a bill (SB 712), pitched this week by outgoing Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner. The bill would have increased most lawmakers' pay by more than $20,000, to $50,000. The Senate president and the House speaker --- who already make more than their colleagues --- would have seen a smaller boost but still pulled in a higher income, at $57,000.

Charter School Fight Intensifies at Capitol

February 17, 2016 - 8:15pm

The legislative battle over charter schools kicked into high gear Wednesday, as measures dealing with educational choice advanced in the House and the League of Women Voters hammered a constitutional amendment that could increase the number of charters in Florida.

Of several education bills that landed on the House floor Wednesday, some of the sharpest debate centered on legislation (HB 7029) that would tighten accountability for charter schools in exchange for relaxing some limits on how often high-performing charter providers can open new facilities.

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