As Rick Scott and House wage war, Senate steps back
Almost three weeks have passed since open warfare erupted between Florida House Republicans and Gov. Rick Scott over a major philosophical - but increasingly personal - disagreement over the role of government when it comes to business recruitment and tourism.
But while the House and Scott are in full crisis mode and threatening one another politically, the Florida Senate has been restrained in their reaction and seemingly avoiding being drawn directly into the fire.
Initially, Sen. Jack Latvala was quick to call the House idea of completely eliminating Enteprise Florida and Visit Florida the “dumbest thing” he had heard, but even the outspoken Clearwater Republican has been unusually restrained.
Scott's even tried to draw Senators into the crossfire. Last week while ripping House Republicans during a statewide tour, Scott was sure to specifically praise Latvala and Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, for their support of Enterprise Florida. And in one stop in Panama City, Scott has Sen. George Gainer, R-Panama City, by his side. Still, Senators have been largely outside of the fray.
Senate leaders know the House idea is likely already dead and not worth the level of intensity that has already burned out of control between the House and the governor. In order for the House to eliminate both agencies, they would need to get an identical bill passed in both the House and the Senate. But the Senate has not companion bill filed.
In other words, the idea of the Legislature passing identical bills is remote, and even if it happened Scott would still have the final say in vetoing the bill.
Senate President Joe Negron said he doesn't sense much of an appetite to spend time trying to eliminate Enterprise Florida or Visit Florida.
"What I hear from senators is, we need to review how they do business," Negron said. "There is room for improvement and for more transparency and more accountability."