From Sansom to budget, 2009 is like no other
The 2009 lawmaking session — which is not quite over — will best be remembered not for what lawmakers did, but for what they went through.
The onetime speaker of the House was indicted in a political scandal that by extension condemned the furtive budget process. Not since the Great Depression had the Florida economy been so bad. Republicans were forced to raise taxes and to accept the federal largesse of a Democratic president.
It was a period of tumult and malaise at once, and it is not over yet. Unable to agree on a spending plan — their only constitutional duty during the 60-day session — lawmakers return Friday to pass a $65 billion budget that is a case study in compromise.
"I don't think there's ever been a session like this," said Sen. Jim King, a veteran Republican from Jacksonville. "We've had changes in leadership. We've had indictments. We've had no money. We've had polarized budgets. We've had protests. We've had a governor who became active a little too late in the process." (story here)