Budget, budget, budget. That was the one and only theme that permeated the Capitol as the two chambers met to debate their respective versions of the Fiscal Year 2010-11 state budget. The budget as it currently stands is a lean $68.6 billion dollar plan to run the state of Florida for the next year. It may change if Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage dollars become available to the state.
Florida's House of Representatives and the Senate concluded Week Three with an extraordinary concurrent resolution to the United States Congress, a proposal to save lives with defibrillators, and a resolution to move the 2010 session up by two months to meet a redistricting deadline.
The annual meeting of the Florida Legislature began on March 2. By law the legislature meets on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March. This year’s session kicked off with a bang. The first bill out of the gate, Senate Bill 1666 by Senator Rudy Garcia of Miami, passed the House and Senate and went straight to the governor’s desk, all on the first day. Governor Charlie Crist signed the bill as soon as it was delivered to him and he mentioned that fact during his annual State of the State address that evening.
The media gives extensive coverage to the Florida Legislature during the annual legislative session (which takes place starting the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March and proceeding for the next 60 calendar days). However, many people are not aware that the Legislature does meet in its official capacity for many months leading up to the start of the regular legislative session.