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Session end includes last-minute hopes, and many wishes

Florida legislators are in recess as they await a final vote on the budget but still unfinished are dozens of bills that had been expected to get a final vote today. Among them: A long list of Gov. Rick Scott's appointments, including Public Service Commissioner Lisa Edgar, and Department of Health Secretary John Armstrong, Veterans Affairs Secretary Mike Prendergast, Elder Affairs Secretary Charles Corley and Secretary of State Ken Detzner.

Also awaiting attention is HB 999, a bill relating to environmental permitting that includes putting into law a provision that allows the sugar industry to lease Everglades land for the next 20 years without any additional pollution clean-up criteria. 

Senate President Don Gaetz brought the chamber back into session briefly to handle two bills. He noted, as he attempted bring the session in for a landing: "Now I understand why pilots have to have so much training." 

Then, he brought up Sen. Arthenia Joyner's bill, SB 1682, that includes a primary care residence at Sacred Heart Hospital, a project sought by Sen. Joe Negron, as the bill became a train.

Sen. Rene Garcia included a provision to benefit Jackson Memorial Hospital to be exempt from having to enter into competitive bids when leasing office space to the Public Health Trust. "It's a very innocuous amendment,'' he said. Joyner said she didn't like it and it was defeated.

Following this, the Senate added an amendment to use a massive Department of Transportation bill, HB 7127, to attach the Senate's version of the stadium bill that includes the language not favored by the Dolphins. It passed and sent it to the House. The Senate recessed again.