THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, March 14, 2011 --
Vetoes by former Gov. Charlie Crist could still be overridden, House Speaker Dean Cannon reminded House members Monday – and sent them fishing for possibilities.
Crist, who was at the time publicly flirting with leaving the Republican Party as he ran for the U.S. Senate, vetoed several Republican priorities last year, including a measure creating a teacher merit pay system, another changing regulatory laws for property insurers and another requiring all women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound.
Crist also vetoed a bill that would have given legislative leaders additional control over millions of dollars in campaign cash by reviving so-called leadership funds.
Crist ended up leaving the GOP after the session, but eventually lost in the Senate race to Republican Marco Rubio. The whole episode left many Republicans deeply disliking Crist.
Cannon, in a memo to House members on Monday, didn’t just let them know that it was still possible to override vetoes, he encouraged it.
“I am directing the committee chairs to evaluate potential veto overrides in their area and, should they find a candidate for an override, to conduct a public hearing on the bill,” Cannon wrote. “The House will take up any override formally recommended by a committee.”
In addition to bills vetoed Crist that lawmakers could override, individual line items that were vetoed from the budget passed by lawmakers last year could also be taken back up.
With the Legislature currently in session, many of the measures that Crist vetoed last year are already the subject of legislation, or could be. Lawmakers could simply pass similar bills again and send them to Gov. Rick Scott, who has said that he will sign new versions of several of the pieces of legislation that Crist rejected.
The teacher merit pay bill has resurfaced, for example, and is close to passage, though it’s slightly different from last year’s vetoed measure, which was known widely as SB 6. The Senate has already passed this year’s version (SB 736) and it is expected to be taken up on the House floor Tuesday, with passage likely this week. It could end up being one of the first bills signed by Scott anyway.
After Cannon sent out his memo, Senate President Mike Haridopolos joined him, asking his members to feel free to suggest overrides.
“Over the past few weeks, several members of the Senate have also expressed an interest in considering some of the remaining vetoed bills, and it is my desire to be open and inclusive in considering these requests,” Haridopolos wrote.
--List of bills vetoed by Crist available for override:
-HB 5001 Appropriations (individual line items)
-HB 5003 Implementing Bill
-HB 5603 Department of Financial Services
-HB 5607 Retirement
-HB 5611 Review of DMS under FGAA
-CS/CS/SB 1004 Local Government
-CS/CS/SB 2044 Insurance
-CS/CS/SB 6 Education Personnel
-CS/HB 7203 Community Development Districts
-CS/CS/CS /HB 1143 Health Care
-CS/CS/SB 1964 Design Professionals
-CS/CS/HB 1207 Campaign Finance
-CS/HB 7103 Agriculture