Scott, legislative leaders announce special session


The session will include proposed legislation dealing with public education, Enterprise Florida, VISIT Florida and medical marijuana, according to a Capitol source.

President of the Florida Senate Joe Negron and Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Richard Corcoran joined Governor Rick Scott to make a major announcement in Miami.

That move will require lawmakers to pass a new education funding bill during the special session next week.

Lawmakers have agreed to create an $85 million "Florida Job Growth Grant Fund", which will provide money for infrastructure and job-training efforts.

The governor also announced his plans to veto HB5501, which calls for a 60 percent decrease in funding for Visit Florida. The budget passed by the Legislature would give VISIT FLORIDA $25 million, which is $51 million less than what it received in this year's budget. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton. "With the increase funds to K-12, that really takes a lot of the concern away from the opponents" of HB 7069, a charter-school-friendly $419 million schools bill that was a Corcoran priority.

Silagy Corcoran Grissom Scott

But some Democrats, upset with leadership crafting the budget and a handful of other priority spending bills behind closed doors, have offered publicly to help the governor push back a veto-override.

One (SB 374) contains most of the higher-education policy initiatives supported by Negron, including block tuition for state universities, a new oversight board for state colleges and a cap on enrollment in state college baccalaureate programs.

Florida will fix the state's vote-by-mail ballot law that a federal judge called "illogical and freakish".

Scott, however, deflected questions on the House bill.

Leaders of the public-private Enterprise Florida, as they began a two-day meeting Thursday in Tallahassee, outlined plans to alter marketing but otherwise mostly expressed disappointment in the spending package lawmakers formally sent to Scott on Wednesday. We dont have that, so were going to focus on digital and print, ” said Eric Silagy, president and chief executive officer of Florida Power & Light and chairman of Enterprise Floridas Marketing Committee.

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The additional money that will be added to the budget next week will come from vetoes expected to be made by the governor, which could add up to as much as $300 million. It was a move supported by teachers, school boards and superintendents, who called the original funding increase inadequate.

The budget outcome is complicated by a series of related bills, which are not yet in the governor's possession.

In the end, Gov. Rick Scott and GOP leaders in the House and Senate hashed out a budget deal that allows each of the Republican leaders to claim victory. Scott argues the agency has been critical for job creation in the state. But on Friday Scott was complimentary.

"I appreciate the fact that people fight for what they believe in", Scott said. "We wouldn't be able to do it if we were starting from scratch, but I don't think we are".

Looking for a special session. House Republicans were adamant that the money could not be used on incentives to lure new businesses to the region.

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"It's truly a model for the rest of the nation wrestling with ending corporate welfare", Corcoran said.

But lawmakers eliminated the pot of cash known as the Quick Action Closing Fund from Enterprise Florida's offerings.

The special session was also expected to include pot, after lawmakers failed to reach consensus during this spring's regular session on a measure to implement the November constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for patients with a wide range of debilitating medical conditions. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton. "If we can not, I don't know that waiting a month or two is going to make a difference".

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