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Stall in State Budget Process

It's decision time for Florida lawmakers. They have until Friday to deal with dozens of issues, if they intend to head home on time on Tuesday.

One man's insistence on a single project could send the session into a tailspin.

House speaker Johnnie Byrd is doggedly insisting on at least $25 million for an Alzheimer’s research center, named after his father. The Senate president is just as doggedly opposed.

"It's not that I want to deny Johnnie his legacy to his dead father, that's not the case at all, it's just right project wrong time."

King asked fellow senators if he should fold on the Alzheimer’s issue. One by one they said no, they argued the money could reduce the waiting list for the developmentally disabled, give 29,000 kids health care in the kid care program, or lessen the cut on state universities.

Sen. Paula Dockery says the research is already being done at the university of Florida.

"I hate to see two different research facilities competing for the talent, the money, the resources," says Sen. Paula Dockery.

The Senate's lone doctor says the money could be better spent helping those who are caring for Alzheimer’s patients.

"We need to subsidize them, and expand them so it touches everyone in Florida not one central area."

But still the House speaker won't budge.

"Unless the house speaker relents, or the senate gives in, this one issue the Alzheimer’s center could cause this session to crash and burn."

The speaker did not respond to interview requests. Top lieutenants say there is not room to budge for now.

"This is not some brand new facility for some ridiculous purpose," says Rep. Rubio.

Even Gov. Bush is concerned that neither side will budge. The governor says he knows speaker Byrd is passionate about the Alzheimer’s project, but the governor spoke with Byrd Wednesday and told him not to let his passion derail this special session.


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