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Epic Legislative Logjam Winding Down In Tallahassee

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Florida Legislature. (Source: AP)

Florida Legislature. (Source: AP)

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Gary Nelson has been a member of the CBS4 News team since Septem...
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Legislative Session Coverage
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PINECREST (CBS4) – The Florida Legislature is scheduled to end its regular session this week. Say amen.

When CBS4’s Gary Nelson asked a homeowner in Pinecrest how she would rate the legislature’s performance on a scale of one to ten, she replied “minus ten.”

The session has seen some 2,049 bills filed and only 27 passed as of Friday, or roughly 1.3 percent.

Among the measures approved is one that would permit prayer in public schools. Some might see the theological wisdom in that, believing that a school system among the worst-funded in the nation could use some divine intervention.

The legislature was persuaded by Governor Rick Scott to increase K-12 funding by a billion dollars this year, after persuading lawmakers to reduce school funding by more than a billion dollars last year.

Elenore Levine, shopping at a supermarket on U.S. 1, likened it to a bank robber figuring it’s okay as long he gives the money back.

“Exactly, and then you hope that people forget that you took it in the beginning,” Levine said.

The budget, not yet complete, could slash hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from state universities and/or raise tuition a whopping 15 percent.

“Eventually, it’s going to go back to college only being for the super rich people,” said FAU student Tiffany Shields.

If the legislature might make access to a college education more difficult, a failed effort would have made access to abortion more difficult.

The measure, that didn’t get the necessary votes in the House Monday, would have required women seeking an abortion to first think it over for 24 hours. The measure would have also mandated ethics training for doctors who perform abortions.

A small business owner in Palmetto Bay found the abortion proposal outlandish.

“Politicians mandating ethics training for doctors? I think I feel a headache coming on,” he said, laughing.

Other measures that remain to be acted on this week include a bill that would make home foreclosure easier…for banks.

Another would force more homeowners out of the Citizens windstorm insurance pool and into more expensive policies with private companies. Critics said there is no coverage available from private companies, more expensive or otherwise, due to a reluctance among financially stable companies to write policies in hurricane risky Florida.

One bill that looks to be headed for approval would require random drug testing of all state workers. Well, not all state workers. The bill exempts lawmakers.

There is a perennial saying that “no one is safe when the legislature is in session.”

The session is due to end this Friday, unless lawmakers go into an extended, special session.

Some might find this a good time to say a little prayer.

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