June 02, 2017

Rick Scott agrees to sign the $82.4 billion state budget after reaching deal with Corcoran, Negron

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott has agreed to sign the budget and the controversial public schools bill in exchange for the House and Senate coming back in special session next week to inject more than $100 million into the governor’s top priorities, Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, as well as put about $200 million in additional funding for public schools.

The agreement, to be annnounced at a 10 a.m. news conference Friday at Miami International Airport, was reached late Thursday between . House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron, sources told the Herald/Times.

By agreeing to embrace the charter-school friendly, $419 million K-12 public schools bill that was a Corcoran priority, lawmakers will restore funding for economic development that Corcoran had labeled “corporate welfare.” According to the deal, new economic development money will not be used to pay companies for bringing workers to Florida but instead be used for infrastructure and other economic development-related costs.

Scott, a two-term Republican who has loyally supported the school choice movement, had refrained from taking a position on House Bill 7069, but the issue incited a groundswell of criticism and opposition from parents and teacher groups.

The money to pay for the additional spending will come from budget vetoes, expected at as much as $300 million, and the state’s reserve fund, sources told the Times/Herald. The governor will also veto a bill that imposed strict new sanctions in EFI and Visit Florida and the measure will be replaced with new legislation to be drafted during the special session.

 

The session, tentatively set for June 7-9 in Tallahassee, will also be used to resolve differences over implementation of the medical marijuana amendment. Although the framework of the agreement has been worked out at high levels with between the governor, Corcoran and Joe Negron, an agreement has not yet been reached on medical marijuana, sources said.

“I’m really glad to see that House coming close the Senate’s thinking on Visit Florida, Enterprise Florida and public school funding,” said Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, the Senate budget chief. “Thanks to the governor’s involvement, we are able to prevail on these positions.”

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