Tallahassee, Florida -- March 8, 2011 --
The 2011 legislative session is underway, and it's already promising to be a contentious one. Several bills that would change the way the state does business are ready for a vote.
It's mostly speeches and ceremony with a dash of demonstrations as the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature opens its regular 2011 session.
The Senate, though, on Tuesday also will begin a partisan debate
over a proposed state constitutional amendment designed to thwart
President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
The proposal for the 2012 ballot is sponsored by Senate
President Mike Haridopolos, who's also running for the GOP U.S.
Senate nomination next year.
Demonstrations were scheduled by supporters as well as opponents
of Republican Gov. Rick Scott's proposals to cut public employee
pay and pension benefits, as well as a bill that would set up a
merit pay system for teachers and eliminate tenure for new hires.
Florida lawmakers go into this year's legislative session facing another year of budget cuts and tough decisions, but you might not know it from the traditional festivities set for Tuesday's opening day ceremonies that will include speeches from the new legislative leadership and rookie Gov. Rick Scott.
The day won't be without some of the usual pomp, including
floral arrangements and flowery speeches aimed at promoting
political fortunes or persuading voters that it's time for
government to live within its means.
The Republican-controlled Legislature plans to open the first
week with some political volleys, including a proposed state
constitutional amendment to thwart implementation of the national
health care overhaul.
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