There wasn’t enough cash this year for rank-and-file legislators to submit hometown spending requests (aka “member projects” aka “turkeys” in some Tallahassee talk aka “pork” in D.C.). But legislative leaders are still writing a few priority issues into the budget:
$600,000 for a UF student dental clinic. A priority of House Speaker Larry Cretul, it became a flashpoint when Miami Republican Rep. Juan Zapata tried to strike it from the budget, only to be over-ruled. Zapata said it was a priority of House Speaker Larry Cretul, which Cretul's office denies.
$1.7 million to help Marissa Amora who was horridly abused. This is a priority of Senate President Jeff Atwater, who successfully carried her claims bill last year.
$760,000 to help Kimberly Godwin, who was also horridly abused. This is a priority of former Senate President Ken Pruitt.
$6.7 million for the Prodigy program for troubled kids. The chairman of the Senate's criminal justice budget committee, Victor Crist, sits on the the board of one of the 13 nonprofits that form Prodigy. He says the decade-old program got cut this year.
$500,000 for charter schools in Lake Wales, home of Republican Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander.
$5 million extra for the University of South Florida’s expansion in Lakeland in Alexander’s home county of Polk.
$1,298 to help move the Department of Citrus from Lakeland to Bartow.
$250,000 for the FIU Democracy Conference at the behest of Miami Republican Rep. David Rivera, a House budget chief. Rivera, however, backed off special budget language limiting Cuba travel and stem-cell research.
$11 million more for FIU to complete a medical school, another issue championed by Rivera and (likely) Miami Republican Rep. Anitere Flores. They’ll face each other in a Senate race that also features the other House budget chief Marcelo Llorente, who helped back Jackson Memorial’s call to bank surplus hospital cash.