No Senate session Saturday, immigration still hangingby Dara Kam | April 29th, 2011
The Florida Senate scrubbed a rare Saturday meeting scheduled to take up a Medicaid overhaul and possibly immigration reform.
Before breaking for lunch after the morning floor session, Senate President Mike Haridopolos said told his members that he is “going to give you a little bit of a break before you come back to work on Monday.”
That puts off until at least Monday the Senate’s discussion of immigration reform as Senate budget chief JD Alexander grapples with crafting a proposal he can sell to a chamber divided on the issue, let alone to the Florida House that wants an Arizona-style package. Yesterday, Haridpolos, R-Merritt Island, assured reporters that the Senate would vote on the issue before the session ends on May 6.
Sen. Anitere Flores, the Cuban-American Republican from Miami initially shepherding the Senate’s immigration plan until Haridopolos gave it to Alexander this week, summed up the difficulty.
“This is a severely complicated, complex issue where there are hundreds of different people that have hundreds of different opinions,” she said. “There are employment provisions. There are law enforcement provisions. There are business owner provisions. And there are just individual human emotions. There are political considerations. All those considerations are all there. To try and make that into a bill that you can get a majority of votes on in the House and the Senate is a problem.”
Immigrants, many of them undocumented, children of parents who have been deported, students in the country illegally and their advocates have thronged the Capitol pleading with lawmakers to abandon immigration reform as the clock winds down on the legislative session.