Florida House

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This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.


The 2015 Florida legislative session came screeching to a halt three days early, when House and Senate lawmakers could not agree on health care funding.

The House wants no part of Medicaid expansion. The Senate has warmed up to the idea of a type of expansion that would steer federal dollars into private healthcare plans. They'll try to get this worked out during a special session that’s scheduled to begin Monday, June 1.

One of the arguments against Medicaid expansion is that Florida takes billions more from Washington, D.C.  than it gives - and that the money being offered to Florida isn't Florida's to take.


Republican leaders in the Florida Senate offered up a revamped health care proposal Tuesday in an effort to end a budget stalemate that threatens to shut down state government, but the proposal was immediately rejected by Gov. Rick Scott and House GOP leaders.

Legislators are scheduled to return to the state Capitol next week for a 20-day special session where they are expected to pass a new state budget.

 Lawmakers are heading back to Tallahassee on June 1 for a three-week special session.

The Florida Legislature was unable to agree on a single balanced budget during the regular session, which the House sent screeching to a halt three days early.

The divide between the two chambers was sparked by the likely loss of more than $1 billion in federal Low Income Pool money for hospitals that is to set to expire June 30.

 Top Republicans in the Florida House made an offer Thursday to try to bridge a budget gap with Senate Republicans, but it could still result in the state's hospitals getting significantly less than they are receiving now.

Florida House leaders are being criticized for a closed-door meeting of Republican lawmakers to talk about healthcare issues.

Since 2005, monthly health insurance premiums for state workers in Florida have stayed the same.

But a bill making its way through the Florida House could make big changes to the state group employee health plan, which covers more than 300,000 state employees and their families.

Right now, workers pay $50 dollars a month for individual coverage, or $180 dollars a month for their family. That’s a fraction of the cost most people who have health insurance through a private employer.

Associated Press

 This week on Florida Matters, we're continuing our preview of the upcoming Florida Legislative session. State lawmakers have filed a half-dozen bills dealing with how your power company operates in Florida.  What are the chances that changes are on the way?  Our panel includes Tampa Bay Times reporter Ivan Penn  and state Rep. Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey.

  All session long, Florida's legislative leaders have frustrated advocates for the poor, as well as much of the business community, by declining to talk about the billions of federal dollars for Medicaid expansion that the state is forgoing.

Two Florida lawmakers were in Washington, D.C. Wednesday morning to share their perspective on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. 

Representatives in the Florida House voted to keep low health insurance premiums for themselves next year, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Critics say it’s hypocritical for members of the House to pay just $8.34 a month for individual coverage, or $30 for a family policy, since the plan they wanted to offer to some of the state’s poorest uninsured would have cost $25 a month. Meanwhile, state senators and most state employees pay much more for health insurance than state representatives.

Scott Keeler / Tampa Bay Times

Democrats are so angry over House Republicans' refusal to accept federal funds to expand health coverage that they deliberately caused action on the floor to grind to a halt. The deliberate slowdown, which started  Tuesday afternoon, continued Wednesday, threatening to reduce the number of bills that will get a vote before Friday's end of the legislative session. 

Rep. Steve Crisafulli was officially tapped Monday to lead the House GOP in two years, a once-unexpected scenario that sets him up to be speaker of the House in the 2014-16 session. The designation of Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, came after former Rep. Chris Dorworth was ousted in the November elections.

David July

Would you vote for someone before you even got to know them? 

One Florida lawmaker is asking to be selected as the House Speaker... six years in advance. 

As soon as Florida Representatives make their way into the House, the clock starts ticking. 

Candidates can only serve four two year terms, eight years all together.  That means if they have any ambitions for Speaker of the House, they have to get the ball rolling early to gain enough support. 

Florida Independent

It was a working weekend for state lawmakers, and they'll likely be even busier this week.  The House and Senate are still trying to hammer together a single balanced budget before the legislative session ends Friday.

Among the issues still unresolved -- funding cuts to state universities and the creation of the state's 12th university, Florida Polytechnic in Lakeland.

Lawmakers must agree on the budget numbers by Tuesday evening to allow for a constitutionally-required three-day cooling off period before a final vote.  The session is scheduled to end this Friday