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Mitch Perry Report 8.25.15 – Will Florida GOP Legislature pay any price in ’16?

In a just, accountability-fueled society, Florida Republican lawmakers would pay a price next year for the shenanigans they’ve been up to this year.

As reported by the AP’s Gary Fineout, the nine-day June special session that occurred after House Speaker Steve Crisafulli pulled his members off the floor 72 hours before the session was scheduled to end in the spring cost taxpayers $651,000, the costliest special session in the past 15 years. We won’t know for awhile what the costs will be for the just completed special session (that wasn’t completed) on redistricting eight of the state’s 27 congressional districts. We’ll know more what’s up with that situation after Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis holds a meeting this afternoon to decide what he’s going to do next.

As it stands now, according to the House’s base map, two Florida Republicans will lose their jobs next year, David Jolly and Daniel Webster – but they don’t actually work in the Legislature.

Then again, there could be some Republicans in the Legislature who will be partitioned out after the upcoming redrawing of Senate seats takes place in the fall.

Some 2016 statewide Democratic candidates are already trotting out their lines about Republican incumbents in the House who “quit” on the state -you can bet that will be a campaign slogan in 2016.

But will it matter? Historically it hasn’t in the past 16 years here, as the Florida Democrats consistently fail to take advantage of opportunities presented to them.

However, as everyone talking about the 2016 presidential campaign knows, November of next year is an eternity away. So undoubtedly the GOP thinks with a smooth, clean (and early) legislative session coming up next winter, all will be forgotten by Florida voters when they go to the polls in ’16. But maybe – just mayb e- more competitively drawn-up Senate lines will make some GOP Senators vulnerable. House state members don’t have to fear their districts changing next year, obviously a factor in their obstinance in opposing Medicaid expansion (which explains why Tampa’s Shawn Harrison – who sits in a competitive district – said he disagreed with leadership and would have supported the hybrid plan last year).

Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity’s Florida chapter is so psyched that the Florida House resisted the allure to expand Medicaid this past spring, that they’re showing their love by airing TV and digital ads and mailers this week thanking those lawmakers.

In other news…

Quinnipiac published a poll chock of all types of interesting items yesterday. It showed Floridians are against the Iran nuclear deal and defunding Planned Parenthood, and are for a legal pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

CD 13 Democratic candidate Eric Lynn trotted out the endorsement from some local Pinellas Democrats, a full year before the 2016 Democratic primary. Lynn continues to keep his head down as the lone congressional candidate in the race to date.

Jeff Brandes hates red-light cameras as much as he loathes the Hillsborough County PTC. Yesterday, the St. Petersburg Republican introduced legislation in the Florida state Senate for 2016 that would kill the use of such technology.

Orlando Democratic state Senator Geraldine Thompson wants to ban public displays of the Confederate flag on state property. 

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at

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