Happytown: 2013 Legislative session draws to anticlimactic end
State legislature fails to come up with plan for Medicaid expansion but at least it killed the parent-trigger bill
Published: May 8, 2013
ESTIMATED NUMBER OF NEURONS IN THE AVERAGE HUMAN BRAIN
NUMBER OF ELECTED FLORIDA LEGISLATORS IN TALLAHASSEE, FILING 1,898 INDIVIDUAL BILLS IN THE 2013 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF NEURONS UTILIZED DURING THE TWO MONTHS OF SESSION, WHICH INCLUDED THE REJECTION OF $51 BILLION FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO INSURE MORE THAN 1 MILLION OF THE STATE’S MOST NEEDY
“THE LEGISLATURE’S REFUSAL SO FAR IS AN ASTOUNDING ACT OF PARTISAN PARALYSIS, PARTICULARLY WHEN ONE CONSIDERS THAT THE PUBLIC IS PAYING TAXES FOR [MEDICAID EXPANSION] FUNDS, WHICH WOULD GO TO OTHER STATES.”
– LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF FLORIDA PRESIDENT DEIRDRE MACNAB IN A MAY 1 ORLANDO SENTINEL OP-ED
Sources: The Guardian, Orlando Sentinel, myfloridahouse.gov, flsenate.gov
THE BITTER END
Even before the ceremonious “sine die” dropping of the filthy handkerchief closing out the 2013 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee on May 3, the hubris headache of intellectual exhaustion was already in full effect. Any attempts at grandstanding by leadership, specifically House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, as a means of tying a friendship bow around two months of brat-fighting, would be rendered inaudible by the various injustices and gross idiocies that preceded them. Remember late last year when all of the talk was about a new, more ethical, more bipartisan legislature that the electorate could believe in? Well, talk – however expensive it might have been for the lobbyists and other special interests pulling the strings – once again proved to be cheap.
At least most of the time.
As cynical as we’re inclined to be about the Florida legislative process and those seemingly inept puppets who operate it, there were some overarching positives to be gleaned from this year’s Game of Moans. As everyone we spoke to at the beginning of session predicted, the gray-templed Senate proved to be somehow more respectably moderate in its demeanor than the slap-happy House of Representatives, even going so far as to take the lead on the abstract idea of the legislature policing itself via an ethics reform package. Under the new law, which was signed on May 1 by Gov. Rick Scott, the previously powerless Commission on Ethics will be given broader authority to investigate claims of ethical misconduct and to actually collect the fines it prescribes to wayward legislators. Lawmakers, in turn, will be prohibited from hopping out of office and into powerful lobbying positions (like former House Speaker Dean Cannon just did) for two whole years. It’s like Jim Greer never happened! The Senate should also be thanked for narrowly killing the corporate-funded parent-trigger bill for the second year in a row, slowing the seemingly inevitable buyout of public education for just a hair longer.
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