20-day special session begins for lawmakers


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Lawmakers left Tallahassee a month ago in a huff after a nasty disagreement about health care in the state. Now, they're back in Florida's capital for a scheduled 20-day special session on deadline to craft a state budget before the month ends.

The Florida House plans to formally vote on health care expansion Friday. The state's current spending plan expires at the end of the month. But both chambers said they're committed to passing a budget before then.

The Florida House listened to the sounds of the Beatles Monday. The track "Come Together" played over the loudspeakers shortly before the chamber started a special session to debate health care and craft a state budget

The Boys were Back in Town on the Senate's side as well.

Both chambers were looking for harmony after a meltdown at the end of April during regular session caused lawmakers to call it quits without a state budget. The sides couldn't come to an agreement on expanding Medicaid.

The House speaker indicated that his chamber is still saying "Dream On" when it comes to the Senate's health care expansion plan

"There's a saying: 'If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck,' Rep Steve Crisafulli said. "It's Medicaid expansion, so whether you're talking to me or other members, other members may have a problem with the fiscal side of it."

The Senate's position didn't change much during the past month. They're continuing to push for their extended coverage plan.

"I've been around for a long time, and while I think it's the right thing to do and it's about as conservative free market as you're going to get, the time is right," Sen. Andy Gardiner said. "Some will say, 'Well, the federal government won't approve it.' I say lets find out."

Senators may be humming "Don't Stop Believing" over the course of the 20-day special session, but it is a long shot the House budges from their stance on health care.