State Capital Briefs (Lunch Edition): Wednesday, April 26, 2017
STATE CAPITAL BRIEFS (LUNCH EDITION): WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

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NEGRON SAYS DEAL REACHED ON 'SUBSTANCE' OF BUDGET
Senate President Joe Negron said late Wednesday morning that the House and Senate "have reached an agreement on the substance" of a new state budget. He said the final "terms and conditions" of the deal were being ironed out, with the expectation that Senate-House conference committees can begin negotiating details later Wednesday. Negron, R-Stuart, said in broad terms, the Senate has accepted K-12 education initiatives backed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, including a $200 million "schools of hope" charter program, while the House has accepted the Senate's higher education initiatives for state universities and state colleges. He said the House has accepted a Senate plan (SB 10) to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, while the Senate has agreed not to use more local school property taxes based on increased property values. The budget deal is expected to include a House position against funding $85 million in new business incentives for Enterprise Florida and to cut funding for tourism-marketer Visit Florida. That expectation drew a sharply worded statement from Gov. Rick Scott, who said the Legislature would be "shortsighted" in cutting tourism and economic development funding. "I would be absolutely shocked if politicians in the Florida Legislature put their self-interests before the interests of our families and small businesses," Scott said in a prepared statement. Lawmakers are trying to finish a budget in time for the scheduled May 5 end of the regular legislative session.

VOTERS WILL CONSIDER EXTENDING TAX CAP
Florida voters next year will decide whether to extend a tax cap on the values of non-homestead properties. The Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a proposed constitutional amendment (HJR 21) that was passed last month by the House. The measure will go on the November 2018 ballot. Voters in 2008 approved a constitutional change that placed a 10 percent cap on annual increases in assessed values of non-homestead properties. The limit will expire Jan. 1, 2019, unless it is extended by voters. Senate sponsor Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, said failure to extend the cap would effectively lead to a $688 million tax increase.

SENATE PASSES FINANCIAL LITERACY BILL, HONORS HUKILL
After years of Sen. Dorothy Hukill pursuing the idea, the Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a measure that would require future high-school students to earn a half-credit in financial literacy before graduation. Senators also named the bill (SB 392) the "Dorothy L. Hukill Financial Literacy Education Act." Hukill, a Port Orange Republican who is chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, has been absent from Tallahassee throughout this year's legislative session because of treatment for cancer. Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican who proposed naming the bill after Hukill, called it a "fitting recognition" for her. Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and other senators said Hukill has remained engaged in pursuing her bills and other legislation throughout the session. He said she has made "incredible progress" in her treatment but has stayed home at the instructions of doctors. A similar House bill (HB 955) is ready to be considered by the full House.


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4/26/2017

© 2017 The News Service of Florida. All rights reserved. Posting or forwarding this material without permission is prohibited.