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Horse Trading Saves One Special Session Bill

November 17th, 2021 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida lawmakers are expected to end their five day special session Wednesday afternoon after just three days.

With a GOP majority solidly in charge, only one bill creating a public records exemption was ever in doubt because public records exemptions require a two thirds vote.

House Bill 3 B removes from public records the names of employees who complain to the Attorney General about their employer’s vaccine requirements.

Representative Joe Geller asked his fellow Democrats to vote no.

“It takes a two-thirds vote,” said Geller.

Which is more votes than the GOP controls.

Polk County’s Colleen Burton told House members without the exemption medical records could become public.

“They will be able to put it on Facebook, Twitter,” said Representative Burton.

The day began with an uncertain vote count.

Over the three hours before the bill came up, neither House Speaker Chris Sprowls or his top three lieutenants were on the House floor.

“I don’t like most of this bill,” said Democratic State Representative Michael Grieco.

Before the vote, Grieco said he would vote yes.

“There is one issue that’s there that I know would be important to my constituents, and that’s our ability to protect the health information of employees,” said Grieco.

The vote sheet shows eight other Democrats joined Grieco to support the bill.

As the session broke, we spoke with one of the people who had been in the back room of the chamber for three hours.

We how much did was given up to get the Democratic votes and were told ‘You’ll have to take that up with someone higher up’.

So we went to the top, asking House Speaker Chris Sprowls about the horse trading.

“No cost, unless cost is good policy. The public records bill, without that bill there would have been people private, religious, medical information that would be posted on Facebook potentially if there was a public records request,” said Sprowls.

Horse trading is as old as politics and a state with a $100 billion budget can trade a lot of horses.

The public records exemption automatically ends on October 2, 2023.

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