Legislative Session will extend through Monday - Florida Politics

Legislative Session will extend through Monday

House Speaker Richard Corcoran told members at the beginning of Monday’s floor session that both chambers have reached agreement on a final 2017-18 state budget.

Corcoran said the Legislature will take the weekend off and reconvene Monday at 1 p.m. to consider the budget and vote.

That contrasts with the speaker’s comment to reporters Tuesday that he was “90 percent” sure the session would end on time, which would have been this Friday.

The announcement also means that millions of dollars in spending differences were worked out behind closed doors, out of public view and participation.

Shortly after, a notice of a meeting between Senate Appropriations chair Jack Latvala and House Appropriations chair Carlos Trujillo was sent.

On the agenda: “Pre-K-12 Education Appropriations, Higher Education Appropriations, Criminal & Civil Justice Appropriations/Justice Appropriations, The Environment & Natural Resources Appropriations/Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations, General Government Appropriations/Government Operations & Technology Appropriations, Public Education Capital Outlay, Administered Funds.”

The state constitution provides that a “regular session of the legislature shall not exceed (60) consecutive days, and a special session shall not exceed twenty consecutive days, unless extended beyond such limit by a three-fifths vote” of each chamber.

Senate President Joe Negron had signaled a need for overtime Tuesday evening.

“You know the timetable as well as I do, with the 72-hour requirement,” he said. “So we will definitely not complete the budget work prior to the end of Friday, and so we’ll continue to work diligently.”

“We made a lot of progress today in a number of budget areas … But I think, given the current schedule, it’s improbable we’ll be able to finish by Friday.”

On Friday, Negron said he hoped to place the bill on senators’ desks by Friday.

“The plan is to reconvene in Tallahassee here at 1 p.m. on Monday for consideration of the budget and budget bills,” he said.

“It would be my goal that we would conclude our session at a reasonable time on Monday evening, to allow members to travel home if they chose to, or stay until Tuesday and go back then,” Negron added.

Updated 11 a.m. — Minutes after the budget announcement, Corcoran’s political committee, Florida Roundtable, sent out an email: “Major Tax Cut Passed!”

“On the opening day of the 2017 legislative session, I committed to you that the House of Representatives would fight to cut property taxes for hardworking Floridians. Today, just two months later, I have great news for you.

“I am proud to share that yesterday we passed HJR 7105, which amends the Florida Constitution to increase the homestead exemption by $25,000.

“If passed by the voters in 2018, this additional exemption will be one of, if not the largest tax cut in the history of Florida at $645 million. An additional $25,000 exemption means real money in the pockets of Florida families. For just the third time in state history, the people will see real tax relief in homeownership.

“This tax cut proves, once again, the Florida House will continue to fight for, and stand with, every day Floridians.”

Capitol correspondent Michael Moline contributed to this post. 

Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.
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