Null & Void Session?

Questions are being raised Wednesday at the state capitol over whether action taken in the legislative session currently under way is legal.

Lawmakers took an 11-day break over Easter and that may have violated a constitutional provision they don't break more than 72 hours. The governor is being asked to seek guidance from the courts before everything lawmakers do is declared illegal.

Every deal cut on the capitol's fourth floor, every vote taken in committee and every bill approved by lawmakers may be illegal. The reason is right here in the state Constitution. Article Three, Section Three says that lawmakers can't go home for more than three days unless both Houses pass a resolution saying they can leave.

But no resolution was passed and the House's own journal from April 1 shows them being adjourned for 11 days. The issue came up on the Senate floor.

"We are right now in a situation where anything that we do as a body can be called into question as being whether it's void," says Sen. Skip Campbell, (D) Ft. Lauderdale.

The Senate president says not to worry.

"As of this point I have been assured that both actions taken by both chambers are legal and defensible," says Sen. Jim King, (R) Jacksonville, Senate President.

But a letter sent to Jeb Bush by House democrats asks the governor to seek an opinion from the Supreme Court before more time passes.

"To determine whether this session is in fact held under the jurisdiction of the Constitution and if not some recommendations on how we might be able to resolve that," says Rep. Doug Wiles, (D) St. Augustine, House Minority Leader.

The apparent goof has some House members so worried they are considering passing a resolution trying to retroactively make what they did legal, hoping that will be enough to make the courts happy.

A spokesperson at the governor's office says there's no decision yet on whether to seek a Supreme Court review of the situation.


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