To the eleven or twelve people (thanks Ed Moore!) who watched this past week’s edition of The Usual Suspects, the public affairs program which airs in north Florida, I apologize for repeating myself, but…
We will know which direction the 2017 Legislative Session is headed by the first day. That’s because that’s the deadline House Speaker Richard Corcoran has set for the filing of individual member projects. In a dramatic shift from years past, the House has moved to a system that requires members to file an individual bill for each budget request. Under this scenario, members must also file all of their requests by the bill filing deadline at the beginning of session.
In Richard Corcoran‘s Florida House, there will be no putting spending projects in the budget during the appropriations process.
So what happens if and when the Senate does not abide by the House’s rules?
Because we’ll all be able to go on LobbyTools or the state’s website and see whether the bills have been filed.
If they’re not filed — and there’s really no indication that the Senate is in a hurry to give in to Corcoran’s way of doing business — the question to Corcoran will be: Are you sticking by your principles? Or are you going to p*ssy out?
Meaning, the Senate will have either filed its member projects before the deadline (at which point the Senate should just bend over and ask for another smack from Corcoran’s paddle).
Or Senators will not have filed their bills and Corcoran is prepared to shut down the government rather than let them in at a later point.
Or Corcoran blinks and allows bill not filed by the deadline to make their way into the budget.
But let’s assume the Senate does not play by Corcoran’s rules. That is, after all, where things appear to be headed.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala sent a message last week to the House leadership: Don’t expect to force the Senate to abide by your strict new budget rules.
“We have our own rules in the Senate. We are going to abide by our own rules,” Latvala told reporters following a committee meeting.
So, let’s assume the Senate does abide by its own rules; what happens after that?
Typically, its during its closing days that we know that the Jenga puzzle that is Session is about to collapse. Think Dean Cannon vs. Mike Haridopolos or Steve Crisafulli gaveling the House to an early close. And, sure, there are train wrecks which, in retrospect, seemed inevitable, i.e. Johnnie Byrd.
But the House and Senate are headed for a collision on opening day.
Can you imagine 59 more days of The Process headed downhill?