Florida Legislature may override Scott budget vetoes

Volusia school officials: Rick Scott's budget increase not enough to meet needs

Gov. Scott vetoes $25M budget for Visit Florida

The special session started Wednesday.

With the special session set to run from Wednesday to Friday, lawmakers have left themselves nearly no time for gamesmanship.

As the Florida Legislature prepares for a three-day special session beginning Wednesday, Governor Rick Scott is defending his record-setting budget vetoes.

Scott's veto total - which was about 14 percent of the entire $82.4 billion budget - included the main state account that goes to public schools.

Facing pressure from state senators who felt they were being asked to approve a deal worked out between the House and Scott with little in return for the Senate, Negron announced Tuesday that he will push to restore $260 million to hospitals and override Scott's vetoes of projects at state universities.

Rick Scott on Monday defended his latest round of budget vetoes, which set a modern-day record for a governor but came from a long list of spending projects, including money intended for public universities and compensation for homeowners whose trees were torn down by the state. But House Speaker Richard Corcoran promises it will be addressed. Florida requires recess at traditional public schools, but not at charter schools. And state colleges, always on the lookout to help new industries train skilled workers, saw their budgets cut by $30.2 million.

Scott has two weeks to sign the bill into law. Though that's better than the $24 increase in the budget now proposed, the money is just for one year and won't match the loss of capital money.

But the shift also has raised concerns about using nonrecurring funding from vetoed budget earmarks for recurring expenses, such as per-pupil education funding.

The House Democratic leader, Janet Cruz, is altogether correct in calling this special session "a farce being inflicted upon the people of Florida".

"It is now clear that Republican leadership in Florida is willing to play chicken over the futures of our children in order to serve their own personal priorities", she said in a statement issued by her office.

Latvala indicated Scott and his staff were not informed or consulted about the Senate's plan to override the veto.

Complicating matters further, the House and Senate have put forward different proposals for oversight and how to fund the agreed-upon $215 million for education, $76 million for Visit Florida and $85 million for a new economic development fund in the Department of Economic Opportunity.

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.

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