Officially, as of Tuesday, there will be 85 days left until the Legislature returns to the Capitol for committee meetings and 203 days left until the 2016 legislative session begins. But even as a special session to deal with the state budget finally came to an end Friday, there were questions about whether another session might become necessary this year.
After two sessions, 108 days and one rancorous health-care debate, the final gavels fell Friday in the House and Senate following approval of a $78.7 billion budget that settled few of the issues dividing the Capitol.
Legislative leaders finalized a budget this week that includes $44 million used to award “scholarships” of as much as $10,000 to teachers based on their ACT or SAT scores.
Environmental groups got a small win after Florida legislators reached a deal to set aside money to buy land for environmental projects – though it’s less than what the groups wanted.
Negotiators from the House and Senate slashed almost $60 million in economic development spending Saturday as the Legislature drew closer to an elusive final deal on a state budget for the year that begins July 1.
Lawmakers struck a deal Friday on how to spend about $2 billion in hospital funding in the budget year that begins July 1, clearing a key sticking point in talks about a state spending plan and potentially clearing the way to end a special session next week as scheduled.
Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday signed 48 bills, including a measure sure to earn him some political heartburn.
House leaders backed off a request for tens of millions of dollars in bonding for education and environmental projects Thursday, removing one of the stumbling blocks to a final deal on a state spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1.
The state’s annual back to school sales tax holiday could be 10 days longer this year.
While slicing and dicing other areas of the budget, lawmakers plan to boost the state’s spending on prisons by $43 million to address needs such as replacing vehicles and fixing leaky roofs and to wipe out a years-long deficit.