Jesus Camp: Florida lawmakers announce summer special session dates

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click to enlarge Jesus Camp: Florida lawmakers announce summer special session dates - Florida Department of State
Florida Department of State
Jesus Camp: Florida lawmakers announce summer special session dates

Ever since members of the Florida House stormed out of the Capitol last week because of their aversion to discussing Medicaid expansion with the Senate, the very future of the state has been in limbo.

The state legislature has to pass its budget by July 1— it's constitutionally mandated to do so — and was supposed to have complete that task by last Friday.

Instead, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli dismissed his chamber three days early in light of the stalemate over federal Medicaid money, which would cover a gaping hole in the state budget (and insure a million Floridians at the same time). The state is set to lose $2 billion in federal Low Income Pool dollars, which reimburses hospitals for treating the un- and underinsured. All lawmakers have to do to close that gap is accept tens of billions in federal Medicaid dollars that are available through the Affordable Care Act, which the House doesn't want to do because it has Obama attached to it.

But now, the House and Senate have agreed on something: there will (probably) be a special session, and it will (probably) take place from June 1 through June 20.

“While significant discussions lay before us, today marks a very good day for Florida as we have reached agreement on dates for a budget Special Session," Crisafulli said. "We look forward to working with our partners in the Senate as we make continued progress in the weeks ahead.”

So, it's like sleep-away camp for wayward lawmakers. Maybe there'll be s'mores and ghost stories. Or maybe they can craft beaded crucifix keychains and organize partisan dodgeball tournaments.

But will the two houses be able to reconcile their differences? That is the big question.

“Obviously, this House is not interested in expanding Medicaid,”Crisafulli told the Naples Daily News. “That will have to be the first topic of conversation.”

It's not clear whether any other types of legislation will be on the agenda.

The House was dismissed before it could take up tons of bills (including legislation allowing guns on campus and frickin' fracking), so all of those bills died in that chamber and are thus null and void until the next legislative session.

Ride-sharing giant Uber is still hoping to squeeze in some legislation to help its drivers operate in areas that don't allow them.

"Although the Florida Legislature adjourned this session without passing ridesharing legislation, they still have an opportunity in the coming weeks to get it done," Uber said on a webpage aimed at gathering signatures from supporters for such an overhaul. "Legislators can finish what they started by taking up ridesharing legislation as part of the upcoming special session."

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