Florida's Special Session: Senate and House Begin Negotiations

By Mike Vasilinda
January 18, 2007 6:58 p.m.

Both chambers are now sitting down to negotiate their differences and legislative leaders and the governor remain optimistic.

For the third day in a row, angry homeowners swarmed the Capitol, pushing for lower insurance rates.

"The deal the cards are on the table now for us for the governor and up here to change something. And I got the fire in the belly."

The Senate took all of bills passed by the House, added their ideas, and sent them back.

"In that the house refuses to concur to the amendments that a conference committee be appointed."

Negotiations began in early afternoon and are expected to last into the weekend. Meanwhile, the governor was keeping the pressure on noting that insurance has been dominating his thoughts.

"I think I woke up at 2:30 today. The good news is I got back to sleep, so we’ll continue to work."

One of the reasons that lawmakers have gotten so far in just three days is because there’s been absolutely no partisan bickering.

But nothing is a done deal yet. Danger still lurks in the air as insurance lobbyists try to derail some of the changes being sought. And for lawmakers who might get cold feet, the governor had this warning.

"I just want to encourage them to keep working and don’t let up because people back home when they go home are going to tell them what they think. And they won’t forget what they did here. They will remember what happened here this week for a long time."

A final vote on a compromise is scheduled for Monday. All lawmakers have to do between now and then is agree.

Lawmakers are expected to have a compromise insurance plan ready for a vote by Monday.