Gov. Scott expands Special Session to include medical marijuana

Senate President Joe Negron and Sen. Rob Bradley

SCOTT KEELER | Times Senate President Joe Negron and Sen. Rob Bradley

Scott saysthe repairs are vital to prevent runoff of polluted water from the lake into South Florida waterways.

Public schools will get enough to increase per-student funding by $100 the state's almost 3 million school children.

Wielding the veto pen, the Governor cut out nearly $12 billion from the new state budget, as part of a deal with House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron to fund two of Scott's pet projects. Wednesday afternoon Governor Scott officially added medical marijuana to the special session call.

"Our obligation right now is to look at what's in the amendment and to make sure that we have a law that accurately reflects it and gives access to those patients whose illnesses are enumerated", said Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation. Next fiscal year's budget for now contains an increase of $24.49 per student.

But Senate President Joe Negron says the Senate won't approve a budget deal unless House Republicans and Scott agree to back top Senate priorities. The extra funding amounts to a $100 per-student increase in the budget year that begins July 1.

In all, that would reduce the expected funding cuts by $260 million.

The special session, called by Scott a week ago, almost collapsed Thursday night after Negron lashed out at what he called a "fake narrative" that he had reneged on a deal with Corcoran and Scott.

"What are the kids getting?"

"A citrus processing plant is not the same kind of facility by any stretch of the imagination as a marijuana cultivation facility", Latvala, R-Clearwater, said. The House passed it 108-9 before the Senate voted 29-6. The Senate on Wednesday morning announced plans to take up the issue during the special session.

He and Corcoran had bickered over the future of Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida during the regular session.

Among the other bills signed Friday by Scott was a measure (SB 436) dealing with religious expression in schools. But it leaves in place a public records exemption that helped spur Corcoran's push for transparency at the agency in the first place. Earlier, House Speaker Richard Corcoran promised it would be addressed.

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed amended "stand your ground" legislation on Friday, making it easier for defendants in the state to successfully claim they were protecting themselves when they commit violence.

"I'm excited to travel the state and brag about what got accomplished in the special session", Scott said. Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers said they are reviewing the bill before determining their next steps.

Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) is pushing an approach that would require overriding the governor's school funding veto.

The House still has not sent HB 7069 to Scott for his signature or veto.

Three months after Scott toured Florida to bash Republicans for voting against his agenda, he is ready to hit the road again.

"They worked hard to get a bill that made sense".

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