The Florida Bar
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Week 7: April 14 - April 18, 2014

2016 Legislative Session

Weekly Legislative Session Updates

Week 7: April 14 - April 18, 2014

Florida’s legislature did not meet this week in order to celebrate the Passover and Easter holidays. With this slight break in the session schedule, we wanted to provide a quick snapshot of where the legislative process is headed as we enter the last two weeks of the 2014 Session.

Legislators will be back on Monday, April 21, to begin negotiating budget differences between the House and Senate, including varying tax-cut and education proposals and water-project funding. The House has proposed four sales tax holidays, but the Senate has proposed only one – the “back-to-school” holiday.

By law, the regular legislative session is scheduled for nine weeks and is on target to conclude on Friday, May 2nd. The 2014 Legislative Session follows several weeks of legislative committee meetings which began last September and which we have reported on in our regular Legislative Session Updates.

When legislators return next week, the Senate will hold its final two days of committee meetings and the House is scheduled for floor debate for the remaining two weeks. As you might expect, the Senate committee agendas will be packed with bills that have not yet made it through the committee process. The House and Senate rules state that a bill has to pass in all of its referenced committees in order to be heard on the floor. While the rules are often times “waived,” these bill hearing deadlines essentially mean that hundreds of bills are already dead for this legislative session.

The only bill that must pass this session is the annual state budget. Two weeks ago, the House and Senate passed their respective budget proposals. Due to the holiday week, the budget conference process will not start until April 21st. The budget conference will run on a parallel track to substantive floor debate in the respective chambers for the final two weeks of the legislative session. We fully anticipate that the budget conference committees will also meet throughout next week and during the weekend of April 26th. The budget has to be completed 72 hours before the end of the legislative session. Thus, if the legislature wants to finish on time, the budget must be completed and printed by Tuesday, the 29th. While the two chambers are apart on several issue areas, the budget surplus of over $1 billion should lead to a smooth budget conference process.

As the session comes to a hopefully smooth landing over the next two weeks, we will continue to keep you informed on the specific issues of importance which we have reported on since early March. As these issues move, we will also be keeping a careful eye out for the typical last-minute, late-filed amendments which could adversely impact The Florida Bar.

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For more detailed information on specific legislation tracked by The Florida Bar, visit the Legislation Committee’s webpage on The Bar website at this link:

http://www.floridabar.org/cmdocs/bd160.nsf/WDOCS

Information on all bills of general interest within the profession can be found in The Bar’s “2014 Legislation of Interest to the Legal Profession” at this link:

http://www.floridabar.org/DIVEXE/GCBillReport.nsf/WDOCS?OpenView


[Revised: 02-09-2015]