Florida Five: Angry Fla. House quits legislative session 3 days early, Bills passed left for dead

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

steve crisafulli-sunshinestatenews
Fla. House Speaker Steve Crisafulli Photo credit: Sunshine State News

Florida House goes home 3 days early – Angry over the Senate’s insistence of tying Medicaid expansion to the state budget, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli took the dramatic step of adjourning his chamber for the legislative session Tuesday, three days before its scheduled end. “The Senate continues to assert their demand that we agree to expand Medicaid,” said Crisafulli, a Merritt Island Republican. “I don’t call that negotiating where I come from.” The move, unprecedented in recent memory, means lawmakers will leave town without the one bill they are constitutionally required to pass: a balanced budget. Read more

Bills passed, put in limbo and left for dead by the Florida House — The House’s decision to leave town Tuesday, three days earlier than scheduled, is ending the chance many bills will make it to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk for his signature. Some issues — such as water conservation funding through Amendment One, renewing the state’s gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe or a proposed $690 million tax cut package — are closely tied to the budget, which will have to be negotiated in a special session. Read more

Confused about session? Let us help you – It’s no longer a debatable claim to say that the 2015 legislative session has ventured into uncharted territory. The session jumped off the rails at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday when Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, told his 119 colleagues in the lower chamber that they were done and could go back home three days before Friday’s scheduled end date. The Senate, caught off guard, now plans to finish up Wednesday. It’s the first time since the Legislature started keeping records that the chambers will end regular session on different days. So how did we get here? Where are we going? We may not know for some time, but here is a guide. Read more

Obama’s gloomy Earth Day speech did little to scare Florida’s property rights advocates – With much fanfare, President Obama ventured into the Florida Everglades last week to put “climate change deniers” in their place. All he did, though, was drive home an even scarier reality: that property rights in the Sunshine State are under attack. “Here in the Everglades you can see the effect of a changing planet,” Obama said during an Earth Day speech that urged Americans to make environmental issues priority No. 1. Read more

Ex-Miami Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart joins Univision News as GOP political analyst – The Diaz-Balart brothers will now be represented in the country’s rival Spanish-language news networks. Former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Miami has joined Univision News as a Republican political analyst, the Doral-based network announced Tuesday. His younger brother José Díaz-Balart is a top anchor for Telemundo, which is based in Miramar, and also hosts an English-language cable show on MSNBC. (A third brother, Mario Diaz-Balart, holds a seat in Congress.) Read more

Read also: Miami Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart tries to block new Cuba travel

Wait, what? Bears caught on camera enjoying pool at Southwest Florida home

For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page

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