Voters told lawmakers to reduce class size. It remains undone. Voters also told the legislators to ban smoking. These and virtually every other major issue died an immediate legislative death when the Senate President quoted Kenny Rogers and called off budget negotiations.
"You got to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them, and you got to know when to walk away. That time has come,” explains Senate President Jim King.
Sen. Mike Fasano says without a budget, there is little negotiating leverage on any of the big-ticket items.
"We can decide on class size reduction, article 5 things like that, budget has to be decided on to know exactly how many dollars are going to be spent on those issues,” Sen. Fasano says.
The lack of a budget also means that higher traffic fines are on hold, at least for now.
When lawmakers do come back, the overtime will cost $40,000 a day, for every day they are here. That's enough to pay a teacher or, take care of a medically needy transplant patient for a year.
In the end, the session collapsed because of sniping between the two men at the top. Senate Rules Chairman Tom Lee says the bad blood grew worse as the session aged.
"I just think the tone deteriorated sometimes to the point where it makes it difficult for people to do business,” explains Sen. Lee.
The question remaining now is whether time off will heal wounds and whether two different leadership philosophies will ever find common ground.
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