From the Capitol

The Florida Legislature met the weeks of October 5th and 19th as part of its regularly scheduled committee weeks to prepare for the 2016 Session.  The third special session of the year, to address the redrawing of the Senate districts, coincided with the second committee week and extends to November 6th.  Meanwhile, the Florida Supreme Court is considering the decision of Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis regarding the congressional maps, which were drawn during the special session last month. Judge Lewis submitted a proposed map to the Court on October 9th. The Justices will hear oral arguments on November 10th.

BUDGET UPDATE Florida agencies submitted their Legislative Budget Requests to Governor Rick Scott for fiscal year 2016-2017 by the September 15th deadline.  Agencies have been presenting their budget requests to various legislative appropriations committees in recent weeks. These presentations are earlier than usual since the 2016 session begins in January, rather than the traditional March.  Governor Scott will use these requests to develop his proposed budget, which will be submitted to the Legislature before the start of session. The Senate and House will craft their own budget proposals during the 2016 Session and pass an appropriations bill agreed upon by both chambers. The passage of the budget is the only constitutional requirement of the Legislature.

Looking ahead regarding Florida’s financial health, State economist Amy Baker presented an overview of the state’s fiscal status before the Joint Legislative Budget Commission on September 15th.  The draft document, once approved, would fulfill the constitutionally required three-year fiscal outlook.  A surplus of $635.4 million is anticipated for the upcoming year.  The State is expecting a dramatic rise in Medicaid expenses which may offset some of this projected surplus.

 

Halloween is upon us! Some fun facts about this spooky holiday –

  • Halloween candy sales average about $2 billion annually in the United States.
  • The first jack o’lanterns were actually made from turnips.
  • Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
  • The world’s largest pumpkin ever grown was a behemoth by a Swiss farmer.  The 2014 pumpkin weighed in at 2,323 pounds.

Daylight savings time begins on Sunday at 2:00 a.m. Remember to turn back your clocks!

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