Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics

No shutdown, Hillsborough lawmakers predict for special session

"There's absolutely no question in anyone's mind that we will pass a budget," House Majority Leader Dana Young, R-Tampa, told a reporter Wednesday, "and I wish you all would stop printing that the government's going to shut down, because that's not going to happen." [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
Published May 20, 2015

TAMPA — No shutdown.

That was the message, prediction and all-but-ironclad promise from eight Hillsborough County legislators to more than 100 executives at a Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce lunch Wednesday.

"There's absolutely no question in anyone's mind that we will pass a budget," House Majority Leader Dana Young, R-Tampa, told a reporter after the lunch, "and I wish you all would stop printing that the government's going to shut down, because that's not going to happen."

This week, though, Gov. Rick Scott's administration outlined some potential consequences if legislators don't agree on a budget by June 30: lights on highways going dark, teacher pay drying up, no state oversight of privately run prisons.

"You won't see that from the House and Senate," Young said, adding that the appropriations chairmen from both chambers are in discussion already.

The legislators — six Republicans and two Democrats, six from the House and two from the Senate — acknowledged but down-played serious disagreements about Medicaid expansion and indigent health care, saying there's less infighting and rancor in Tallahassee than people are led to believe.

Still, they acknowledged they don't yet know how they're going to do this.

"In fairness to everyone that's expressed an opinion about this, they're all right," Senate budget chairman Tom Lee, R-Brandon, said of questions over Medicaid expansion facing the Legislature.

"We don't know exactly how this is all going to play out," he said. "These are reasonable concerns that people have about this policy. All I would say is, you know, 'What's your plan?' We can't just keep saying no. Republicans control every office in Tallahassee. ... We get elected to solve problems, and we want to come to the table and have a conversation about that. All we're looking for is a dance partner."

A few minutes later, someone from the audience wanted a comment on the House of Representatives' decision to adjourn early, forcing the special session.

"Sometimes when you are in a situation of profound disagreement with someone that you care about, it's better to take a deep breath, step back and let cooler heads prevail before engaging again," Young said.

Legislators also offered reassurances on a few topics of local concern.

Despite questions about the future of federal money for a "low-income pool" that reimburses hospitals like Tampa General for treating the poor, "we will make sure we protect our hospitals that are providing these services," said state Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa.

Also, legislators from both chambers said they recognize how important it is to appropriate funds to build the University of South Florida's planned medical school building in Jeff Vinik's downtown development. USF is seeking $57 million in state funds over the next two years for the project.

There are differences in the House and Senate plans, Lee said, but both sides will continue to work on it because the USF project represents "an important moment in history for us."

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. El gobernador de Florida, Ron DeSantis, hace una declaración sobre el hecho de responsabilizar a los funcionarios del gobierno en Fort Lauderdale en el Complejo de Seguridad Pública Ron Cochran el 11 de enero, luego de que nombró al ex sargento de la policía de Coral Springs. Gregory Tony reemplazará a Scott Israel como sheriff del condado de Broward. (Al Díaz / Miami Herald / TNS)
    Several Senate leaders told the Times/Herald they are prepared to accept new evidence during a daylong hearing scheduled for today. They could decide against DeSantis when they vote Wednesday.
  2. District 3 City Council candidates Orlando Acosta, left, and Ed Montanari. Scott Keeler, Chris Urso
    The St. Petersburg City Council races are supposed to be nonpartisan. Partisan politics are leaking into the campaign anyway.
  3. Protesters gathered outside the federal courthouse in Tallahassee on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, while a federal judge heard arguments for an against the the Legislature's bill implementing Amendment 4. LAWRENCE MOWER  |  Lawrence Mower
    It’s unclear how state and county officials plan on complying with the judge’s order, however. The “poll tax” issued wasn’t addressed, either.
  4. The Florida Capitol. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times] SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The job entails being a part-time lobbyist, part-time expert on the Florida Sunshine Law.
  5. Florida K-12 Chancellor Jacob Oliva presents the state's second draft of academic standards revisions during an Oct. 17, 2017, session at Jefferson High School in Tampa. Gov. Ron DeSantis called for the effort in an executive order to remove the Common Core from Florida schools. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times staff
    ‘Our third draft will look different from our second,’ the chancellor explains.
  6. Igor Fruman, hugs Florida Governor elect Ron DeSantis, right, as Lev Parnas looks on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 in Orlando at the watch party for DeSantis. Fruman and Parnas were arrested last week on campaign finance violations. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    Florida’s governor has shrugged off past donor controversies. This time, there were photos. Now it’s not going away.
  7. The sun sets over a slab which once served as a foundation for a home on Mexico Beach in May. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Area leaders fear lower population numbers will lead to reduced federal funding and political representation.
  8. Senador de Florida, Rick Scott.  Foto: AP
    “The FBI has failed to give me or these families an acceptable answer, but I’m not going to allow that,” Scott said, adding that the FBI didn’t share pertinent information on shootings at Pulse, the...
  9. Courtney Wild, 30, was a victim of serial sexual offender Jeffrey Epstein beginning at the age of 14. Epstein paid Wild, and many other underage girls, to give him massages, often having them undress and perform sexual acts. Epstein also used the girls as recruiters, paying them to bring him other underage girls. Courtesy of Royal Caribbean
    Courtney Wild’s relentless quest for justice has led to a bipartisan push for sweeping reforms.
  10. Scott Israel, former Broward County Sheriff speaks during a news conference on Sept. 25, in Davie. A Florida Senate official is recommending that the sheriff, suspended over his handling of shootings at a Parkland high school and the Fort Lauderdale airport, should be reinstated. BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP
    Naples lawyer Dudley Goodlette was threatened shortly after he made his recommendation last month.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement