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Session likely to end on a sour note – again

by Dara Kam | March 6th, 2012

A testy Senate Special Order Committee meeting over a controversial “parent trigger” measure late Tuesday night set the stage for what will likely be an ugly end to the legislative session for the second year in a row.

But in a departure from the more typical animosity between the House and Senate, Senators can expect intra-cameral hard feelings before Friday’s sine die.

Intense bipartisan wrangling over the parent trigger measure peaked Tuesday night when Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, and Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich tried to remove the proposal (SB 1718) from a list of more than 50 measures being sent to the floor on special order on Thursday.

But committee chairman John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, backed up by Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner and Senate President-designate Don Gaetz, refused to grant the pair the option of voting solely against the “Parent Empowerment” measure, which they both oppose.

Near the end of the meeting, Lynn repeatedly tried to ask Thrasher to allow her to vote no on the bill. An increasingly angry Thrasher finally cut Lynn off and, speaking over her, ordered the vote on the entire package, which passed by an unusual 4-3 vote, setting the “special order” calendar for Thursday. Lynn, Rich and Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, rejected the entire list rather than sign off on the parent trigger bill.

Lynn called the block vote a “political maneuver” that was “inappropriate and incorrect.”

But Gardiner, R-Orlando, chimed in, reminding Lynn that it was a procedural maneuver on the part of a bipartisan coalition led by Rich and Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, that kept the measure from being withdrawn from a committee and sent to the Senate floor and instead required a special – and very rare – Saturday morning budget meeting to move the bill along. (Thrasher and Gardiner are an odd coalition, considering they are locked in a fight over the 2014-2016 Senate presidency.)

Gaetz, R-Niceville, agreed, accusing the bipartisan group of an “effort to stymie the process so the bill could not get to the floor.”

After the meeting adjourned, Rich said it was the first time all session a bill was not allowed to be removed from the list.

Even before the contentious parent trigger issue comes up Thursday, the Senate must wrap up amendments tomorrow on an equally acrimonious measure – personal injury protection – where battle lines are already drawn within the Senate and between the two chambers.

And Tuesday evening’s discord sets the stage for a testy Thursday, when the Senate will take up amendments on the parent trigger bill and possibly vote on PIP (if not sooner), and Friday, for a vote on the budget and on the education measure.

“It’s going to be a very divisive and bitter kind of a debate. It’s obvious just from this one thing that we did today,” Rich, D-Weston, said of the parent trigger bill. “There are good bills out there. Focusing on what unites us rather than divides us would be a good thing for us to be doing.”

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One Response to “Session likely to end on a sour note – again”

  1. Walter Gay Says:

    The Heritage Foundation Agenda

    The current GOPcare-NOTs Republicans are just trying to complete a decade of the Heritage Foundation’s agendas of cutting taxes, the privatization of Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, government financed educational systems. In addition, the replacement of the Federal Income Tax with a Federal Sales Tax and the reduction of the IRS to just collecting the Federal Sales Tax and the reducing or elimination of entitlement programs. On the States level, the replacement of the States Income or Property Tax with an increase of State Sales Tax.  The main objective is to deload these functions from Federal and States governments. The GOPcare-NOTs Republicans are using the deficit as their current “Starve-The-Beast” tactic.  Which is causing most of this country’s financial problems just to achieve their agendas goals. And most of all; CUT TAXES FOR THE RICH.  With all these changes, it will cut taxes for the rich by the elimination and/or exemptions of the RICH.  Jeb Bush is promoting these agendas across the nation.  (Jeb Bush is an Trustee on the Board of the Heritage Foundation.)

    Do not believe Jeb Bush, other supporters and these RICH Tax-Write-Off Foundations (if they are even paying taxes). Their agenda is the removal of the states and federal governments financial involvement in Education. These rich Tax-Write-Off foundations are non-profit tax shelters. The scheme: First: the beginning the of government vouchers, charter schools systems (Church Academies and contracted For-Profit Educational Corporation schools. Second: government expansion funds to churches to expand their facility and For-Profit Educational Corporation of the cheap lease or the sale of states School properties to the For-Profit Educational Corporations. Third: the discontinuance of the government vouchers and contracts. Fourth: the parents will acquire the full expense of their children education. Fifth: the states and federal government will be free and clear of educating the children of this nation involvement in Education. These rich Tax-Write-Off foundations are non-profit tax shelters. The scheme: FIRST: The beginning the of government vouchers, charter schools systems (Church Academies and contracted For-Profit Educational Corporation schools. SECOND: Government expansion funds to churches to expand their facility and For-Profit Educational Corporation of the cheap lease or the sale of states School properties to the For-Profit Educational Corporations. THIRD: the discontinuance of the government vouchers and contracts. FOURTH: the parents will acquire the full expense of their children education. FIFTH: The states and federal government will be free and clear of financially supporting the educating the children of this nation. BUT WE WILL HAVE LOWER TAXES!

    Watch for these trends and pattern of the politicians and you will see what I have mentioned.

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