Florida Gov. signs 33 bills including vote-by-mail fix

Posted June 03, 2017

Governor Rick Scott has reached a deal with state lawmakers to hold a special session to discuss education funding, Enterprise Florida and VISIT Florida.

A $100 per pupil boost in state education spending would cost $215 million.

There is also an expectation among lawmakers that Scott will sign a Corcoran-favored education bill (HB 7069) that promotes charter schools and other conservative measures.

That move will require lawmakers to pass a new education funding bill during the special session next week.

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The new deal also has lawmakers allocating $210 million more to schools, so that the state will now spend $100 per student. That part also includes $239 million that greatly expands a teacher bonus program known as the Best and Brightest Scholarship.

When Florida lawmakers begin a special session next week, one issue that has support from 71 percent of voters won't be on their agenda: medical marijuana. House Republicans were adamant that the money could not be used on incentives to lure new businesses to the region. Both chambers of the state legislature approved that big budget cut last month.

“Were going to wait to see what the governor does, ” Mike Grissom, interim president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, said in reference to how Scott handles the new state budget (SB 2500). In doing so, Scott rejected an analysis that Miami-Dade County Public Schools and other urban districts had hoped would eventually let them have more money to pay teachers simply so they could afford housing and other living expenses.

Scott had asked the Legislature for $85 million to replenish a corporate cash incentive fund, but that was ignored by lawmakers.

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"Rick Scott and Richard Corcoran represent dirty, backroom politics at its worst, and this secret budget fails Florida's working families", Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Johanna Cervone said in a statement.

She said the charter school legislation creates "a $140 million slush fund for private charter school operators in exchange for an $85 million slush fund for corporate welfare".

Scott, who chairs the Enterprise Florida board, has expressed anger with the funding package but hasnt indicated if hell sign the $82.4 billion budget before a June 15 deadline or detailed the extent of potential vetoes.

But first, they have to reach an agreement on the legislation - something they have been unable to do since talks broke down the final day of the regular session last month.

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"I think we have the outlines for a tremendous session, a productive session and one that will do great things for the people of Florida", Corcoran said Friday. Scott argues that incentives are critical for job creation in the state. If lawmakers do not act, the state Department of Health will establish rules for the industry later this summer. "I don't have information that that's changed at this point", he said, adding that House and Senate bills were "very, very close" by the end of the regular session.