Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature, stung by a harshly worded ruling from the state’s highest court, returns to the state Capitol this week for a 12-day special session to draw up new congressional districts.
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.
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.
A rare June special session began Monday with legislative leaders promising to get done with the unfinished business left over from their annual spring meeting: passing a spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1.
Florida can anticipate about $1 billion in funding for a health-care program at the center of a state budget standoff, a high-ranking federal official wrote in a letter Thursday, giving lawmakers a better idea of what to expect when they begin a special session next month.
With the Senate also poised to take up the issue, the Florida House on Wednesday approved a bill that would require 24-hour waiting periods before women can have abortions.
Charter schools would get more construction funding, class-size penalties would be relaxed and school districts would be encouraged to enact dress codes under a series of education bills approved Friday by the Florida House.
With the start of Florida’s legislative session looming, one of the first issues to be taken up will be new rules on the state’s waters.
Gov. Scott signed the last bill left over from the spring legislative session on Wednesday, leaving unscathed an almost historically high amount of the legislation approved this year.
After months of playing coy, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson for the first time on Tuesday publicly acknowledged he is keeping open the option of running for governor.