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Politics

Legislators Set Tentative Special Session Dates for June

May 5, 2015 - 6:00pm

State lawmakers can expect to meet at the beginning of June to start a special legislative session, according to an email sent Wednesday from Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island.

The special session will tentatively begin Monday, June 1, and last until June 20.

President Gardiner originally proposed the dates in an email sent last week to Crisafulli.

"Beginning our special session on June 1 will provide additional time to receive a response from the federal government and we can conclude with ample time for Governor Scott to review the budget prior to June 30," the letter said.

The session is a result of a tumultuous regular session which ended with the House adjourning three-and-a-half days early and no official state budget penned. Neither the House nor the Senate could reach an agreement on whether or not to expand Medicaid in Florida. The House and Gov. Rick Scott firmly oppose the expansion while the Senate supports it.

In March, the Senate approved a bill to allow Florida to accept federal Medicaid dollars to expand private insurance coverage to adults making between 100 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Scott and the House, however, were not on board with the proposal. The House wants to use Low Income Pool funding money for charity care for another year but the funds are set to expire at the end of June.

The disagreement over LIP funding has resulted in Gov. Scott suing the federal government for trying to force the state to expand Medicaid. Scott refused to back down from his stance on the expansion.

Its not going to happen, Scott said. There is no support in the House. Im not going to support it. Its not a program that has worked.

Media outlets and critics called the end of this years session a spectacular example of a legislative crash and burn which left an unfinished budget and a path of dead bills along the halls of the Capitol.

Its not yet clear what else -- if anything -- besides the budget will be addressed in the special session.

The states new fiscal year begins July 1.


Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen

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