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After bizarre, chaotic Wednesday, Florida House returns to normalcy

After spiraling into near-chaos late Wednesday, the Florida House returned to normalcy Thursday, with no robot-voices, threats of lawsuits, procedural brinksmanship or petty bickering on the floor. 

“Today is a new day,” said House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel. He said he planned to close out the session in a way that is “befitting” to the Florida House. 

Weatherford also hailed the House’s auto-reader, nicknamed “Mary,” as the session’s MVP, and relieved her of her duties. 

Wednesday was the last day that House Democrats could stall the legislative process and protest a stalemate over healthcare reform by requiring all bills be read in full. In a 12-hour marathon session, lawmakers sat and listened to a robotic-reading of hundreds of pages of legislative text. 

The stall-tactics mostly ended on Thursday, as Democrats no longer had the option of requesting that all bills be read in full. However, several bills remained at risk of being sidelined by the slowdown, including a sports stadium tax package that could benefit the Miami Dolphins. 

The House planned to take up the state’s $74.4 billion budget, which is the only law legislators must pass, on Friday.