Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.
A budget is the one bill the Legislature is constitutionally required to pass each year, but 12 lawmakers did not record a floor vote on the 2018-19 state spending plan.
Bear in mind, however, legislators hadn’t planned on being in Tallahassee this past weekend. They had to extend the 2018 Regular Session from Friday to Sunday after they weren’t able to agree on a budget in time for the scheduled “sine die.”
Sen. Kevin Rader, a Delray Beach Democrat, was excused Sunday because of “urgent business matters I must attend to,” he wrote in a letter to Senate President Joe Negron.
“I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” Rader wrote. The only other nonvoting member in the Senate was Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican and former Senate President (2004-06).
Those who did not record a floor vote on the “General Appropriations Act” in the House are: Danny Burgess, a Zephyrhills Republican; Kimberly Daniels, a Jacksonville Democrat; Katie Edwards-Walpole, a Plantation Democrat; Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican; Bill Hager, a Delray Beach Republican; Shevrin Jones, a West Park Democrat; Amy Mercado, an Orlando Democrat; Cary Pigman, an Avon Park Republican; Barry Russell, a Lauderdale Lakes Democrat; and David Santiago, a Deltona Republican.
All House absences were excused. Burgess’ was for military training and voted ‘yes’ after roll call, as did Edwards-Walpole, Gruters and Santiago. Mercado voted ‘no’ after roll call.
House Democratic Leader-designate Kionne McGhee switched his vote from ‘yes’ to ‘no,’ explaining he “pressed (the) incorrect button.”
“The budget insufficiently funds education, law enforcement, and other silos needed for protecting and moving Florida forward,” he said in an explanatory note.
One senator also later changed his vote on the budget from a ‘yes’ to ‘no’: Lighthouse Point Democrat Gary Farmer.
“Donald Trump confirms he’s backing off raising age for purchasing some guns“ via Louis Nelson of POLITICO
“Poll: Rick Scott has slight edge over Bill Nelson in Senate race” via Jim Saunders of News Service of Florida
“Democrats hammer Rick Scott finances, statements with new digital ads” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics
“Rick Scott may be forced to resign early due to Senate bid” via Gary Fineout of The Associated Press
“Florida unemployment holds below 4 percent as state adds 10,500 jobs” via the Ocala Star-Banner
“Session end leaves pile of dead bills” via Jim Turner of the News Service of Florida
“Florida Chamber sums up likes, dislikes this Session” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics
“CRC member Erika Donalds proposes changes to her school board term limit proposal” via Jeffrey Solochek of the Tampa Bay Times
“Digital ads, social media hide political campaign messaging” via Nicholas Riccardi of The Associated Press
“On a Disney cruise, it’s a stressful world after all” via Dan Saltzstein of The New York Times
Quote of the Day
“In places where a lot of choice has been introduced — Florida for example — the studies show that when there is a large number of students who opt to go to another school the traditional public schools the results get better as well.” — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos explains in a 60 Minutes interview her stance on expanding funding for school choice. An effort that House Speaker Richard Corcoran pushed through this session.
Bill Day’s Latest
Wake Up Early?
The Florida Elections Commission is scheduled to meet. That’s at 8:30 a.m., August Turnbull Conference Center, Tallahassee.
Sens. Lauren Book and Darryl Rouson will join Constitution Revision Commissioner Tim Cerio and others to announce a major endorsement of Marsy’s Law for Florida, a push to amend the state constitution to provide equal rights for crime victims. That’s at 9 a.m., Grand Ballroom Salon 2, St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater, 12600 Roosevelt Blvd. N., St. Petersburg.
The Agency for Health Care Administration is scheduled to meet. That’s at 10 a.m., Agency for Health Care Administration, Building 3, Conference Room D, 2727 Mahan Dr., Tallahassee.
The CRC Rules and Administration Committee will meet. That’s at noon, University of South Florida — St. Petersburg, University Student Center, 200 6th Ave S, St. Petersburg.
The CRC will hold a six-hour long public hearing on 36 pending proposals. That’s at 1 p.m., University of South Florida — St. Petersburg, University Student Center, 6th Ave S, St. Petersburg.
Gov. Scott will hold a bill signing ceremony for HB 29 and HB 75, which are expected to help Florida military, veterans and their families get a job and a quality education. That’s at 3 p.m., Jacksonville National Guard Armory, 9900 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville.