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Ethics v. campaign finance: Is it showdown time?

Consider this series of events as they happened today:

The Senate Rules Committee guts a provision in the House campaign finance bill that would have raised the caps on campaign contributions for the first time in 20 years.

The Senate chairman of the committee has some choice words of observation about the House bill, a top priority of the House speaker.

The House State Affairs Committee, which had scheduled to hear the Senate's ethics bill, postpones the hearing on the Senate bill -- which just happens to be a priority of the Senate president.

The chairman of the House State Affairs Commission releases this statement:

"In today's State Affairs Committee meeting, we decided to TP [temporarily postpone] the ethics bill due to 12 amendments that have been filed on the bill,'' said Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island. "With so many amendments, we needed more time on the bill and feel that the committee process is the appropriate place for substantive debate on these amendments."

The 12 amendments? From Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey. They would have added to the House ethics bill many of the provisions that have been recommended by the Florida Commission on Ethics and, in many ways, would have created more distance betwen the House and Senate bills. 

Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, acknowledges there's a tit-for-tat trade off here. "They keep telling me there's going to be no ethics bill until there's a campaign finance bill,'' he said. 

Obviously, more to come. 

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