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Florida Lawmakers Wrap Up Special Session

Four issues were tackled in a four day special session of the Florida Legislature. With the drop of the hanky the Senate president and House speaker proudly declared an end to the 2005 special session.

Sen. Tom Lee, (R) FL Senate President, says, "It goes to show you that with a spirit of cooperation we can accomplish great things in a very limited amount of time."

Chief among them is a major overhaul of Medicaid, shifting more patients to private managed care systems, beginning with pilot programs in Duval and Broward Counties and eventual statewide expansion if lawmakers see fit.

Gov. Jeb Bush, (R) Florida, says "What the Legislature did today is the single biggest change and the boldest reform since the beginning of Medicaid.”

Legislators also passing regulations for 1,500 slot machines in Broward County. A tax rate of 50 percent is expected to generate 250 to 300 million in tax revenue each year.

A $2 million apology is also in order for Wilton Dedge, the Brevard County man who spent 22 years in jail for a crime the DNA evidence says he did not commit.

Wilton Dedge says, "Help my parents out because my dad spent his retirement for an attorney. Hopefully it will help out."

It’s a feel-good ending to a legislative session in which lawmakers also decided to strip themselves of all those wine and dine perks they get from lobbyists. It wasn't necessarily easy.

Rep. Allan Bense, (R) FL House Speaker, says, "Every business has problems from time to time. Every marriage has problems from time to time. Get off the marriage thing, huh?”

Gov. Bush promises to sign all the bills into law.


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