With negotiations still ongoing, Senate President Andy Gardiner said Monday he expects lawmakers will be able to vote Friday on a budget and end a special legislative session
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.
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.
Even as a flare-up in negotiations on economic-development spending demonstrated simmering tensions between the House and Senate, lawmakers continued Monday to try to come to agreement in two areas that helped spark an ongoing special session: funding for health care and environmental projects.
The legislative battle over health care heated up as a Senate committee grilled a high-ranking official from Florida Governor Rick Scott’s administration.
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.
Gov. Rick Scott raised the possibility Thursday that state government could shut down because of a budget impasse in the Legislature and asked agencies to outline services that need to keep running regardless of whether lawmakers reach an agreement.
House and Senate leaders continued to swap offers on the broad outlines of a budget Friday, but remained far apart on more than just the numbers, with divisions remaining on the conditions for negotiations and the mechanics of how to bridge the differences.
Senators raised questions Wednesday about how Gov. Rick Scott’s administration has handled negotiations with the federal government over billions of dollars in health-care funding that has thrown the state budget process into disorder.
Legislation that would overhaul Florida’s testing program for public schools was in suspended animation Wednesday, as senators weigh whether to exempt some students in high-level classes from statewide standardized tests.