Gov. Jeb Bush made lawmakers go back to Tallahassee to the tune of nearly $50,000 a day for a special session. It's all because internal bickering kept them from getting the job done during their constitutional 60 days that ended May 2, but lawmakers may already be thumbing their nose at the governor.
The governor called lawmakers back into session beginning at noon, but when the clock struck, the chambers were empty. Not until 1 p.m. did the gavel fall. Even the Lt. Governor made light of the starting time.
"So are they there, has anyone seen any of them?" he asked.
When the session finally got started, lawmakers acknowledged the challenge of reaching agreement when they delivered the opening prayer.
"Well God in case you haven't noticed we are back, and we have as much on our plate now as we did the last two months."
The conventional estimate for the cost of a special session is $40,000 a day, but that cost may be outdated.
"The estimate that it costs $40,000 a day to hold a special session is based on items that have always been difficult to quantify, is at least five years old, and is based on variables that have changed."
Florida taxwatch believes $40,000 a day is too conservative.
"The $40,000 may be very very low, if not a ultra conservative number. It could be $50,000.”
Taxwatch takes lawmakers to task for not finishing class size and the Smoking amendment as well as the budget on time. Democrats agree, saying the entire special session is a waste.
"I think it's a slap in the face to all Floridians, that we need to roll up our sleeves to get serious about the peoples business."
The session is scheduled to run through Tuesday, May 27.
Gov. Bush called the special session and limited discussion to the budget, but by a two-thirds vote, lawmakers are adding class size, the smoking amendment, workers compensation, auto insurance reform and perhaps judicial funding.