In the last two weeks of Florida’s legislative session, there’s still plenty of time for the legislature to pass bills and the Governor to veto them. But with conflicting priorities between the two branches some of the most talked about bills may get never leave the Governor’s desk.
Florida House and Senate members may have some bills they’d really like to see turn into law. But those bills don’t necessarily match up with the one’s Florida Governor Rick Scott calls his priorities, “making sure teachers get a $2,500 across the board pay raise. The other is to get rid of these sales taxes on manufacturing equipment. We have a little less than two weeks to go in the session. The house has their priorities, I have my priorities, and the Senate has their priorities. I hope everyone ends up with a very successful session we have time to do that.”
In the House and Senate there’s more focus on campaign finance, ethics reform, and the Medicaid expansion. So after this week’s cabinet meeting, Governor Scott mentioned his veto power over bills, asking for mutual success or none at all.
“Well I’m sure the Speaker of the House and the Senate President would like to have a successful session. They know my priorities and I’m sure they want to finish the session well,” Scott said.
Speaker of the House Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) agreed he’s, of course, aiming for a successful session. He’s hopeful, though not certain, one of his top priorities – the House’s healthcare coverage expansion ends up getting through.
“Details get worked out in the wee hours of the session because people realize the clock is ticking. So we believe that there’s still time to pass our plan and have the senate take a really good look at it. We’re hopeful that they will want to see things our way and I’m sure they want use to see things their way and that’s just the way the legislature works,” Weatherford said.
It may sound like rough and tough politics, but Political Scientist Susan MacManus say this isn’t anything unusual. “This is the end of a session when the power struggle is at its absolute peak and the stakes are high for a lot of the legislators who are planning to run for re-election next year not to mention the Governor who is also doing so,” she said.
Though MacManus goes onto say what happens in Florida politics doesn’t always stay there. She says after the nation witnessed the partisanship during the 2008 presidential elections, the state’s been under close watch.
“Eyes all over the United States are watching what happens in this legislative session because, again, Florida has maintained its reputation as the most politically divided state in the union. Particularly if it’s Republicans against Republicans, you can bet we’ll get a lot of national attention,” said McManus.
The end result can’t be known until Session ends May third, but MacManus says the threat of a veto usually works better to have legislators moving in the Governor’s direction than the actual vetoing of a bill.