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Session Going Slowly

March 23rd, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Today began the fourth week of the Florida Legislatures 60 day session. Few bills have been passed, budget negotiations remain stalled and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, some are concerned the process is moving so slowly, it will require expensive overtime to get a budget.

The Capitols fourth floor was a ghost town Monday morning. The removal of former House Speaker Ray Sansom and the election of Larry Cretul has caused an internal upheaval, delayed sending bills to committees and has put lawmakers weeks behind schedule.

When you have a speaker that is under pressure, everyday, from the press, to answer questions and I think that it diverted their attention, Barney Bishop with Associated Industries said.

Democrats are saying the first 20 days of the session have been wasted.

More than 10 percent of Floridians are on food stamps and still we have no action going on in the House. We have no budget to look at,” Democratic leader Franklin Sands said. “Were wondering, when are we going to start working for the people of Florida?

This is session number 48 for lobbyist Dick Hollahan. He says lawmakers can act as quickly or as slowly as they want, and they always have.

If they want it in 30 minutes, do it in 30 minutes. Some leader decided that, Hollahan said.

The lack of a clear direction here is starting to concern school boards and other local governments because theyve got to start planning for their budgets.

The downside of not getting done on time is money and overtime. Legislative session costs at least 40,000 dollars a day and to many insiders, overtime looks more likely with each day that passes.

Lawmakers plan to begin budget negotiations by April 8th. Session is scheduled to end on the first of May.

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