It’s Week 6 of the 2018 legislative session in Florida, when lawmakers and lobbyists begin hearing the perennial cry “Bills are dying, people!”
Must-pass bills gain momentum. Many others die on the vine. The fate of Rick Scott’s final wish list as governor will start rounding into shape.
If Scott is worried about his priorities, he isn’t showing it. The week begins with Scott far away in California, helping President Donald J. Trump. He’s raising money for the pro-Trump New Republican Super PAC that’s directed mainly at younger and Hispanic voters.
Joanna Burgos, who does political press for Scott, confirmed that he went west after speaking this weekend at the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) leadership conference in Las Vegas.
“The governor (was) at RJC in NV this weekend then in California for New Republican. He’s back in FL Wednesday,” she said in an email. Asked for specific times and places, she said: “Several CA stops. Not one event.”
Scott has work to do if he’s going to nail down all his budget priorities. Neither the House nor the Senate has yet fully funded his $100 million request for new tourism spending at Visit Florida, making one of Scott’s favored programs an obvious candidate for late-session horse-trading.
Another of Scott’s budget priorities is $1 million for additional security at Jewish day schools in Florida. The House upped the ante, setting aside $2 million for that in language that follows budget line item No. 116, but the project did not appear in the first version of the Senate budget.
As a point of comparison, the first day of Week 6 of last year’s session was April 10. Scott held one event in Bonita Springs and two in Tampa before hosting police chiefs at a dinner at the Governor’s Mansion.