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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

In session's last two days, 'everyone starts throwing Hail Marys'

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg

In the last two days of the regular legislative session in Tallahassee, the amendments are flying, and senators don't like what they're seeing.

"It's the last 48 hours, and everyone starts throwing Hail Marys," said Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, saying he was "shocked and disgusted" by the sheer volume of special-interest driven amendments that always seem to surface on must-pass bills in the closing days.

Welcome to the Florida Legislature, where, as Brandes tells it, a popular lobbyist lament is that unless an amendment gets attached to a bill, "I'm not going to get rehired by the client." 

Thursday's Senate special order calendar offered a cornucopia of special interest possibilities with bills on craft distilleries, elections, public education and primary health care.

But few bills attract as much attention as those two annual measures that deal with transportation and highway safety, which complicated things for Sen. George Gainer, R-Panama City, a freshman handling his first major piece of transportation egislation on the floor.

As Sens. Aaron Bean and Tom Lee tried to fatten Gainer's bill with provisions allowing more specialty license tags and affecting taxicab regulation, Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, stepped in to complain about the risk of "special interest amendments" jeopardizing passage of both bills.



[Last modified: Thursday, May 4, 2017 11:15am]


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