Special Session Gets Extended

Unable to agree on malpractice reform, lawmakers have extended the session that was to end at midnight Thursday until next Friday, but even that may not be enough time.

A bit of levity accompanied the opening gavel in the Senate, but there was little humor as the House and Senate remained far apart on malpractice reform. The only movement was the Senate passing caps on lawsuit awards almost ten times higher than the $250,000 cap in the House bill.

"That predictability will be a total cap of $2 million, even if there is multiple defendants in that category," says Sen. Dennis Jones

Recognizing the futility, the House voted to extend this special session for eight more days until midnight June 27.

While this legislative session has been extended all the way until next Friday, it's just as likely that nothing is going to happen next week either, and they could be here all summer. With the slip of a tongue even the House speaker knows that another week may not be enough time.

The mess proves right conventional wisdom that special sessions shouldn't be called unless there is agreement. Democrats call the last week a waste of time.

"A waste of taxpayer dollars up here, honestly, and the only thing that is really taking place this week is a number of members have raised some money, I don't know how much further along we are than when we got here," says Rep. Bob Henriquez.

As a sign that no agreement is in sight, senators were told not to give up their apartments for the summer. The legislative session is said to cost Florida taxpayers about $40,000 a day.


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