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Rick Scott's response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School could be one of the key factors in the 2018 midterm elections.

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Rick Scott signs 2018-19 state budget, releases veto list

Gov. Rick Scott signed his final state budget Friday, two days after the Legislature sent it to him to review.

The $88.7 billion fiscal plan – the largest in state history – landed on Scott’s desk Wednesday, but the governor did not approve it all.

He vetoed $64 million worth of line items, the smallest being a $25,000 trust fund appropriation to the Florida Housing Finance Corp. for “affordable housing programs.”

One area targeted by Scott in his vetoes was more than $29 million in local road projects, which Scott said were funded outside the Department of Transportation’s normal evaluation process. The largest veto was $7 million for a road project in Lake County.

The budget (HB 5001) approved by lawmakers included the $400 million school safety plan crafted after the Parkland mass shooting with $67 million for the controversial program that would arm school staff and train them for active shooter situations and $25 million that would go toward a memorial and the demolishing of the building where the massacre occurred.

No funding in that plan was chopped from the 2018-19 blueprint for state spending.

“Following the tragedy in Parkland where 17 died, we came together as a state and I was proud to sign the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which invests nearly $375 million to keep our students and communities safe so this never happens again,” Scott wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner.

The 452-page budget passed by the Legislature also included $100.8 million for the Florida Forever land preservation program, $130 million in Medicaid funding for nursing homes, and nearly $90 million in last-minute spending that included hurricane-related projects to repair infrastructure at universities and charter schools.

Scott’s $64 million in vetoes was lower than the $69 million he eliminated in 2014, when he was running for re-election. Scott, a Naples Republican, is term limited this year. He’s widely expected to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

“Typical politicians think about their next job. I’m focused on this job,” Scott told reporters Sunday after the Legislature’s ‘sine die’ ceremony. “I’m glad we had a very successful Session. I’ll think about my future in the next few weeks.”

The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.

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