An announcement is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at Miami International Airport. Lawmakers will rework that section of the budget and a bill dealing with Enterprise Florida, the agency that doles out economic incentives, and Visit Florida funding during a special session next Wednesday through Friday.
Lawmakers failed to reach agreement on a key sticking point - how many retail outlets the state's marijuana operators would be allowed to run - during the regular session that ended last month.
The budget lawmakers approved May 8 only included $25 million for VISIT FLORIDA, a $51 million cut from the $76 million it received this year. Initially legislators had voted to slash money for the tourism marketing agency by two-thirds.
State Rep. Jay Trumbull, a Panama City Republican who oversaw the issue in the House, said the money "will help our businesses continue to grow and attract visitors from around the world to our lovely coast". Instead it will be spent on workforce training as well as public works projects.
But school superintendents, teachers union leaders and others cautioned that those added dollars won't be good enough if Scott intends to also sign House Republicans' controversial education bill (HB 7069) - which could cost traditional schools money while making it easier for privately managed charter schools to expand in Florida through financial incentives and additional taxpayer funding. He also convinced lawmakers to boost per-pupil K-12 education spending by $215 million, or $100 per student.
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Scott announced Friday that as part of a budget deal reached with state legislators he is going to veto individual spending items instead of vetoing the entire $82.4 billion budget.
Corcoran, who pushed for slashing the tourism and business incentive money, appeared to be on board in a statement released by the governor's office. From the vantage point of the Senate, we have been supportive of the governor having the ability to compete for new employers to come to Florida as long as its done in a transparent and reasonable way, said Negron, R-Stuart, pointing out that the Senate funded Scotts budget requests for Enterprise Florida and tourism marketer Visit Florida.
Democrats who opposed the education bill quickly lambasted Scott and Republicans. Sen.
"He sold out all his positions to get this bill that screws over public schools", Clemens said.
Additionally, legislative leaders have said they would use a special session on the budget to try to resolve an impasse over legislation enacting the November constitutional amendment on medical marijuana. Corcoran said medical marijuana is not now on the list of special session issues, but that it could be added over the weekend. Now, Gov. Scott has two weeks to decide whether to veto all or parts of the spending plan, and he's getting plenty of encouragement to be heavy handed.