Legislature still debating medical marijuana legislation

Scott Keeler  Tampa Bay Times

The special session started Wednesday.

Legislators will return to the state Capitol for a three-day special session where they are expected to pass a new budget for public schools that will be higher than the one they adopted in early May.

Scott last Friday vetoed almost $12 billion from the state budget that takes effect on July 1.

This week's special legislative session focused on funding for education and economic development won't include medical marijuana, at least for now.

In his veto message, Scott said, "Vermont faces an immediate and growing crisis of affordability, and recapturing the available savings - without asking school employees to pay more or cutting programs for kids - can only happen during the unique set of circumstances at this moment".

Legislation that would shift a key burden of proof from defendants to prosecutors in "Stand Your Ground" cases is now on the desk of Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Negron's proposals would have to be accepted by the House, but Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, says he isn't interested. "And without question the House will not allow funding for our schoolchildren to be held hostage to pork barrel spending and special interest demands".

Latvala called the House's jobs and tourism bill (HB 1A) dead in the Senate and called Corcoran, a potential rival for governor, the most transactional politician he's ever seen in 15 years in Tallahassee. He axed the $20 billion K-12 funding plan, insisting on padding it with $100 more per student over the current fiscal year's funding levels. And state colleges, always on the lookout to help new industries train skilled workers, saw their budgets cut by $30.2 million. Florida requires recess at traditional public schools, but not at charter schools.

However, despite no new talks, Scott said last week that he would not close down the government and would eventually sign both bills.

"It is now clear that Republican leadership in Florida is willing to play chicken over the futures of our children in order to serve their own personal priorities", she said in a statement issued by her office.

More outrageous, this special session - as yet - is not scheduled to address a long-overdue regulatory framework for medical marijuana, a further insult to the 71 percent of Floridians who voted in November to legalize cannabis for people with serious medical conditions.

Last-minute scurrying between House and Senate Republican leaders has apparently resulted in a deal regarding the dispensary limits, according to Bradley.

Although House and Senate negotiators have been working on it for the last week, a decision had not been reached Tuesday evening on whether to bring it into the special session.

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