Crunch Time at the Capitol

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

"This will probably be the biggest decision a woman has ever made - she deserves the right to know what she's doing."

Florida may be ripe with money problems, but, that's not stopping republican leaders from tackling what they view as a long list of social problems, including abortion.

Yesterday, the senate passed a pair of bills to require pre-abortion ultrasounds and a more rigid parental notification process.

Then, there's drug testing for welfare recipients, approved over the objection of democrats.

Sen. Arthenia Joyner, a Democrat from Tampa voiced her disapproval of the bill:
"We're subjecting them to a test because some people up here feel that, 'oh, these are state tax dollars, and we've got to make sure that everybody who gets one is pure', and I that's the case, then we need to start out by testing all of us because we're paid with tax dollars."

The upper chamber's also approved legislation to overhaul Florida's election process.

All but two republicans voted yes to prevent people from changing
their address on election day and still cast a binding ballot.

Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton) gave his opinion on the issue:
"We do make it convenient for people to vote in Florida, but I've gotta tell you - I wouldn't have any problem making it harder."

If the bill becomes law, it could have a big impact on the 2012 election, a theory not lost on democrats.

Sen. Nan Rich (D-Minority Leader) says,
"I have to wonder whether the only problem that can be found with our electoral process is that maybe some people didn't like the outcome of our last presidential election."

Lawmakers are counting down the hours and the minutes until 10:16 p.m., that's when they can take a final vote on the state budget after a mandatory 72 hour cooling off period that's provided for in the Florida constitution.

And then, they'll head home, probably close to midnight by the time the hankys drop and the 2011 session is in the books.

You can expect a fair amount of horse trading between now and the end of session, potentially including input from Governor Scott.

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