Session sleepwalks toward finishby John Kennedy | March 7th, 2012
The Florida Legislature’s last week of session is usually a frenzied time of bills passing and last-minute cajoling by lawmakers to keep other must-pass measures from fading into oblivion.
It’s usually not a time when the House and Senate adjourn, as they did Wednesday, well before nightfall.
“Anti-climactic in the last week of session is usually a good thing,” said Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, in line to become House speaker this fall. “I think the citizens want us to do our work on time, under budget, and get out of town, without too many fireworks. And, hopefully, that’s what we’ll see in the next 48 hours.”
A decision on whether to revamp the state’s personal injury protection requirements for motorists looms as the only big-ticket issue both the House and Senate are working toward a consensus.
Gov. Rick Scott also wants a deal on PIP, which leaders say is rife with fraud.But settling the issue also involves untangling a knot of well-connected doctors, lawyers, pain management clinics and insurers.
A special session on PIP, however, is expected if a deal isn’t done by Friday’s scheduled finish.
Other than PIP, a $70 billion budget awaits a Friday vote. And a Supreme Court ruling on the Legislature’s redistricting plans could emerge by week’s end, which could also force a special session before the month is out.
But when asked about other finish-line priorities, Weatherford was coy.
“We want to pass our bills,” Weatherford said.