No, Democrats still can’t win on an up-or-down party-line vote. But they can block late-filed amendments, stop a bill from being pulled out of a committee or make clerks read a bill word for word. In other words, the minority can kill bills by killing time.
"That’s a very, very important power that we reserve, largely because that 60-day clock is always ticking," said Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach.
Lobbyists and money
Lobbyists are sometimes more in the know than legislators. They know what’s in bills and are often more than happy to provide amendments that benefit their clients.
The lawmaker-to-lobbyist ratio is pretty lopsided. For the 160 members of the Legislature, roughly 2,000 people register to lobby them. That’s more than 12 lobbyists per lawmaker.
It’s the only bill lawmakers are required to pass, and negotiations almost always come down to the wire.
It’s traditionally the last official act of the legislative session.
Gov. Rick Scott released detailed recommendations for spending a $74.2 billion budget about a month ago. Lawmakers may use that as a starting point, or they can ignore it.
Scott has used the state budget to draw a contrast with the national government, saying Florida leaders made "tough choices" to keep state finances in order. That’s true, but only because they had to. Unlike the federal government, state leaders are required to pass a balanced budget.
Got it? If all goes smoothly you should be able to celebrate Sine Die — the Latin name of the ceremony that marks the end of the session — come May 3.
PolitiFact Florida presents: Legislature 101 03/04/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 4, 2013 12:01pm]