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House, Senate agree on budget rules

Florida House and Senate leaders announced Friday they have reached agreement on joint rules that will guide the addition of projects to the annual state budget.

The lack of an agreement had raised the threat of a budget deadlock during the 2017 legislative session, which begins Tuesday.

The chambers were at odds, with the House insisting on detailed vetting of projects, while the Senate objected to House leaders trying to impose budget policies on the upper chamber.

In a joint statement early Friday evening, Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, said they had found a compromise.

Corcoran said the rules, which will be up for votes Tuesday on the House and Senate floors, are "transformational" and "unprecedented in both accountability and transparency."

Negron said the agreement "preserves the autonomy" of the House and Senate.

"I appreciate the efforts of Speaker Corcoran in working with me to agree before session to joint rules that will enhance accountability and transparency in our budget process," Negron said.

Both chambers seemed to win points in the agreement.

One provision would require detailed information on the projects, which could be filed either as separate bills or amendments.

The proposal includes an eight-page form the House developed requiring project advocates to disclose such details as lobbyist involvement, whether entities seeking funding are for-profit or non-profit and what benefits can be expected.