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House Democrats formalize 'caucus' opposition to gaming compact absent inclusion in talks

Can Gov. Rick Scott ratify a gaming compact without a vote from Democrats? The Florida House Democratic Caucus is pretty confident the answer is no.

The caucus on Tuesday formally announced what had been informally previously accepted -- that Democrats have taken a “Caucus Position” to withhold their support for ratification of gaming compact between the governor and the Seminole Tribe of Florida until Democrats are included in negotiations.

The postion was "developed at a routine Tuesday meeting of the House Democratic Caucus,'' the Democrats announced in a statement. It was approved unanimously by voice vote.

“We have been expressing our concerns all session long,” said Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, in a statement. “It should come as no surprise to the governor that we expect a seat at the negotiating table.”

House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, criticized the governor's failure to include legislators in his current talks. "Once again, the people of Florida are witnessing Governor Scott’s failure of leadership,” he said. 

Last week the governor's deputies announced the governor as "getting close" in completing a deal with the tribe and tested the interest of legislators to conduct a May special session on a compact. They sent a signal there was little interest in moving forward without details of the deal. 

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