Sunday, 25 June, 2017

Scott, legislative leaders announce special session

Gov. Rick Scott CHRIS URSO | Times Gov. Rick Scott
Jon Howard | 04 June, 2017, 06:38

Visit Florida will see its funding restored to the current level of $76 million, Scott said, with measures to "increase accountability and transparency" at the agency, which saw its funding drastically cut in the original budget approved by the Legislature last month.

Lawmakers passed an $82.4 billion budget on May 8 and sent the spending plan Wednesday to Scott, who has line-item veto power.

For instance, Scott eliminated $1.9 million in funding for two University of Florida education learning centers, arguing the school could fund the projects out of the $741 million it would receive in the coming year.

The Republican governor remains angered over the Legislature's decision to slash spending for economic development and tourism incentives, as well as rejecting his call for $200 million to fix the Herbert Hoover dike around Lake Okeechobee. House Republicans were adamant that the money could not be used on incentives to lure new businesses to the region. Instead, it will be spent on workforce training as well as public works projects such as roads.

Gov. Rick Scott, not apologizing to Flagler Beach City Manager Larry Newsom.

The governor's large vetoes were money for public schools that he vetoed as part of a budget deal he worked out with legislators.

Legislators will return for a special session next week where they are expected to approve spending $100 more for each public school student. Lawmakers will then come back next week for a special session, where they will vote to apply that vetoed money to programs that Scott has a particular interest in.

Corcoran, who had railed against economic development spending as "corporate welfare", insisted there has been a "meeting of minds" because the state will no longer offer money directly to one business. The governor is happy because legislative leaders agreed to spend more on tourism and embrace reworked economic incentives, his top priorities.

"This bill will not help our students, our teachers, our school employees or our public schools".

Legislative leaders want to have the outlines of a deal worked out on medical marijuana before committing to tackling the issue again. The Legislature failed to pass a bill during its 60-day regular session that would implement a constitutional amendment that legalized medical marijuana. "The governor has called us into special session and we will be there and consider any proposals that emerge during that special session", said Negron.

"I believe the governor will stay true to his support for school choice and innovation", said Hialeah Republican Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., the House Pre-K-12 budget chairman and one of the architects of HB 7069.

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