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Does anyone know that the Governor signed 19 bills last week?

Governor Rick Scott

Does anyone know that the Governor signed 19 bills last week?

By Roger Caldwell

     I would have to admit that I did not know that Governor Rick Scott signed 19 bills last week. I would like to put the blame on television, the news, the radio, but the truth is I would have to put the blame on myself.

    The State of Florida’s legislative session begins on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March and continues for 60 consecutive days, which may be extended by a three-fifths vote of each house. Special sessions may be called by the Governor, or may be convened by joint proclamation of the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

    It is absolutely amazing what Florida legislators get done with the limited amount of time they actually meet. There are many legislators that think the legislative period should be extended and this would help them do a better and more efficient job in Tallahassee. In order to get this done, it would take an amendment to the constitution and that is a difficult and arduous campaign. Nevertheless, I know as a political writer I must stay vigilant if I am going to report the political news.

    The Florida legislative session is almost finished and I wanted to take a moment to review some of the bills that have been signed and others that are still being negotiated. Many of these bills, it is very difficult to take a position, because I don’t know enough about them, but there are some that I think are good for Floridians.

To begin with, I think Governor Scott is correct this session when he asked the two houses for a $2,500 pay raise for teachers and a raise for state workers. The governor is also asking the lawmakers to give the state educational system an additional billion dollars to educate our children and I think it is an excellent request.

     I am not sure that I support the governor’s second major priority which is elimination of the sales tax that manufactures pay when buying equipment. The governor says this will generate more jobs but I question the validity of that position.

     The first bill that the governor signed this session was the internet café law that outlawed the operation of internet cafes. This bill was a response to the resignation of Lt. Governor Carroll, and this was the beginning of trying to bring ethics back into Florida’s politics and businesses.

     There was also a Vehicle Registration Fee bill that was passed that eliminates the $220 million tax break that insurance companies were receiving. Massive property insurance reforms are making their way through both houses, but Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is asking to increase their fees, and the governor and lawmakers want to control their increases.

     Finally the governor has made a complete 180 degree turn around, and now supports the expansion of the Medicaid Health insurance program for the poor. There was a time when the governor was not going to accept billions of dollars with the new federal health care bill, but he is changing that tune. The health exchange is still on the table and it will be interesting to see what our governor and the two houses will do.

     To get more information on Florida’s 2013 legislative session go to or


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