Just two weeks remain in the 2018 Legislative Session, and tensions are high. Lawmakers are scrambling to schedule budget negotiations while addressing new issues raised by the recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Both chambers have passed their respective 2018-2019 budget proposals, each coming in at more than $87 billion with a difference of about $100 million in overall funding. The House and Senate have not begun their annual budget conference process, which has caused some legislative leaders to express frustration and question whether Session will have to go into overtime. Still, it's difficult to tell whether a Special Session is imminent.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran criticized Senate leaders on Wednesday for failing to begin negotiations and hinted the lawmaking process would extend beyond its usual 60-day limit. Just a day later, Senate President Joe Negron said the negotiating process will begin soon and he’s optimistic an agreement will be reached before sine die on March 9.
Leading officials no doubt have been distracted from the regular structure of Session, but that hasn’t slowed the normal hustle and bustle. The fate of a number of smaller initiatives is beginning to unfold during the home stretch of the 60-day lawmaking process.
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