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Senators talk tolls and bologna

The discussion in the Florida Senate was supposed to be over a measure to alter the makeup of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority. But as rival Miami senators Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Alex Villalobos argued over the merits of the proposal, it quickly turned into a sandwich debate.

It started with Villalobos' proposal to cut down the number of members on the MDX board and ban the authority from hiring lobbyists, a plan pushed by House Rep. Juan Zapata, a Miami Republican, who says the authority has been unecessarily putting up toll plazas on existing West Miami-Dade roads.

Villalobos called it necessary. Diaz de la Portilla said "It's really a local issue," and deferred to Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation chairwoman Sen. Frederica Wilson for a delegation position.

She responded: "I feel like a piece of bologna between two slices of bread." So began the sandwich debate.

Sen. Larcenia Bullard of Miami corrected Wilson, saying the issue was more like rotten bologna, or "tattered, chopped bologna" with green and pink spots.

Al Lawson, a Tallahassee Democrat, said he felt like he was stuck in the middle of a "local food fight."

Minutes later, after the senators voted down the proposal 20-14, Senate President Ken Pruitt dismissed the group for lunch and quipped: "We have tattered bologna in the back."

Was it a local food fight? "Yeah, so what?" said Villalobos, adding the delegation is "always split."

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