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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Relations between Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Legislature hit low point — and could get worse



Gov. Rick Scott's relations with fellow Republicans who control the Legislature are at an all-time low, and as the 2016 session enters its last week, he's perilously close to becoming a lame duck with nearly three years left in his term.

With cool efficiency, Republicans have bludgeoned Scott's agenda, especially on his signature issue of jobs, and the worst may be yet to come. It's nothing personal, lawmakers insist.

Yet, the same House and Senate leaders who battled each other throughout 2015 are no longer feuding. Instead, they are united in their lack of enthusiasm for Scott's goals on taxes, spending and jobs. Other Scott priorities, such as confirming his surgeon general and endorsing a gambling compact he signed with the Seminole Tribe, are in jeopardy.

The legislators who feared Scott's veto pen last year are now almost daring him to use it as a sledgehammer. They are talking about calling a special session to override his line-item vetoes, an act of defiance and retribution that would weaken Scott and make his final two sessions even more miserable.

Scott associates are surprised by how things degenerated so quickly.

"Beats me," pollster Tony Fabrizio, who advised Scott's two campaigns, posted on Twitter. "His first two sessions where (he was a) newbie with no relationships, he got pretty much everything he wanted. Now, bupkis."

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[Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2016 7:22pm]


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